Used Guitars Done Right https://guitarsdoneright.com Used Guitars in Tampa, St Pete, Palm Harbor Wed, 18 Mar 2020 16:12:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://guitarsdoneright.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/cropped-Fender-Guitar-Strat-1-32x32.jpg Used Guitars Done Right https://guitarsdoneright.com 32 32 Corona Virus & Guitars https://guitarsdoneright.com/corona-virus-guitars/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=corona-virus-guitars https://guitarsdoneright.com/corona-virus-guitars/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2020 13:56:56 +0000 https://guitarsdoneright.com/?p=34330 So yeah, gigs have disappeared, but this thing is affecting all guitar owners – not just professionals. For instance – what if you want to buy a guitar or need a guitar repair or setup? There are people trying to make you think you can (almost) go about life as normal. For instance, Forbes recently […]]]>

So yeah, gigs have disappeared, but this thing is affecting all guitar owners – not just professionals.

For instance – what if you want to buy a guitar or need a guitar repair or setup?

There are people trying to make you think you can (almost) go about life as normal. For instance, Forbes recently published an article about car buying. (Hang on, I’ll bring it back to guitars..) “Even though the CDC says the coronavirus can’t survive on hard surfaces for long..” – actually as of right now, the CDC doesn’t seem to mention a time for COVID-19 but the Journal of Hospital Infections says that similar virus’s can survive from two to five days on hard surfaces (like guitars).

The article made it seem as though it’s still safe to shop at dealerships as before, but like you may want to keep a bit of distance if your salesperson is coughing. But we now kow that you don’t have to be coughing or have any symptoms at all, to be spreading the virus and despite what was previously thought, asymptomatic carriers might be the main transmission method. We also now know that the virus can remain in the air for up to three hours.

The article suggested having the salesperson sit in the back seat, but the CDC says you should keep a distance of six feet. Unless they’re talking about a stretch limo, it would seem that they’re willing to put people’s lives at risk just to sell cars.

So it’s easy to see why you may hesitate to visit your local guitar shop where you would presumably be handling several guitars not knowing who handled them in the previous three days and not knowing who coughed or sneezed in the store in the past three hours.

Since I’m over seventy myself, and since I care about my customers, I’ve decided to drastically change the way I do business.

Instead of having customers come to my house to try out guitars, I now meet them in an open, public place with a portable amp and I keep the recommended distance between us. Every guitar I sell has always been thoroughly cleaned with denatured alcohol or naptha and polished.

In addition, I now wipe down the guitar and strings with denatured alcohol after a customer handles it. I wear gloves when handling guitars I bring to show.

If you’re selling a guitar, I suggest you consider similar measures.

I’ve also started selling guitars online through this website and will soon be selling on Reverb as well.

Sales of new guitars will likely be affected as reported in various guitar media sites such as Guitar.com

What about repairs and service? I’m still playing this “by ear” and I’ll admit I haven’t figured out exactly how to handle service.

But I am going to devote several days to setting up a DIY Guitar Setup section to help players to properly do their own setups.

It bothers me to read forum posts where the “solution” to everything from fret buzz to action issues, is to “tighten your truss rod nut”. I’ve gotten the backbowed necks with stripped truss rods from customers victimized by those posts and often had to tell them that their guitar only needed a setup before, but now is likely not worth repair. Yes, I can extract the nut and fix threads in many cases and I can remove the fretboard and replace or repair the truss rod in others. But removing a fretboard is time consuming and costly – even at my $5 an hour “wages”!

Yes, there are “YouTubes” and web pages out there on how to do your own guitar setups, but many have inaccuracies that can bite you and many are just trying to sell you stuff.

I’ll show you how to make your own tools or where to buy good ones cheaply. I’ll show you the correct steps for guitar setups and exactly how to execute each step. We’ll cover things that most others leave out, like fret level issues, nut slot issues, fret end dressing, intonation and much more – so stay tuned!

]]>
https://guitarsdoneright.com/corona-virus-guitars/feed/ 1
Squier P-Bass – How Cheap Can Fender Get??? https://guitarsdoneright.com/squier-p-bass-how-cheap-can-they-get/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=squier-p-bass-how-cheap-can-they-get https://guitarsdoneright.com/squier-p-bass-how-cheap-can-they-get/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2020 12:46:43 +0000 https://guitarsdoneright.com/?p=34236 I don’t have much time this morning, so I chose a guitar that looked like it wouldn’t need very much work. But it seems it’s always those innocent looking guitars that bite the hardest! Read on to learn how badly Fender cuts corners on these.. (Now keep in mind, I buy these off Craigslist, Marketplace, […]]]>

I don’t have much time this morning, so I chose a guitar that looked like it wouldn’t need very much work. But it seems it’s always those innocent looking guitars that bite the hardest! Read on to learn how badly Fender cuts corners on these..

(Now keep in mind, I buy these off Craigslist, Marketplace, etc. just like everyone else, so this is a glimpse of what you’re likely to run into when buying used guitars..)

The only thing that stood out at first was that the G-string was loose. I tuned up the strings and took my measurements –

Nut slot heights were ok – about 0.015 inch – much better than usual. Relief was a whopping 0.035″, but the 3/16″ truss nut was good and I brought it down to just barely under 0.015″ and there was plenty of movement left for future adjustments.

String height was almost off the chart at skyscraper level – 0.140″+ But the neck angle and threads on saddle screws show that there is lots of room for adjustment, so I’ll do that later with the new strings.

checking fret level on p-bass guitar
Checking fret level

After removing strings, I checked each fret for level end-to-end (E to G) and found four high fret ends – all under the G string, which would have caused buzzing for many players. Maybe that was why the action was set so high?

Dressing a high fret end (while holding camera in other hand!)

I used 600 grit sandpaper and brought those high frets down and rechecked to be sure they were level and that I’d preserved the crown.

Remember that loose G-string? It was loose because the tuner key had come loose. The tuner key came loose because it was held with just 2 screws. And why just 2 screws? Well, it seems Squier felt they could save a few more pennies this way!

They hid their misdeed by using fake screws to cover the other two holes in each tuner key! Can you believe that???

Glad Leo never saw this!

I agree that Squier generally offers a lot of bang for the buck and is a good choice not just for beginners but for any player on a budget. But I’ve argued for years that many other companies offerings are just as good and often better. I couldn’t ask for a clearer illustration than these photos!

I’ve never seen a Jay Turser, Silvertone, Washburn or Harmony cut corners this bad. It seems that only the biggest marketers – Fender’s Squier and Gibson’s Epiphone can get away with tricks like this and their customers don’t seem to complain that much.

Naturally, I’m removing all the tuners and drilling two extra holes for each and screwing each tuner key in with four screws, because I only sell good guitars! 🙂

The strap buttons were screwed in tight and securely, but two of the bridge screws had stripped in the soft wood of the body, so I’m reinforcing those with specialized hardwood shims otherwise known as “toothpicks” 🙂 and Titebond. While the bridge and saddles are off, I’ll dump them into my hydrosonic jewelry cleaner for a super-cleaning. Check out the bottom photo to see how shiny and clean they come out.

Someone had already dressed the fret ends and they did a good job. Neck angle was good; pickup heights were good/ jack was tight and everything else checked out ok.

cleaning the fretboard

I found some knobs for the controls, then cleaned the fretboard. First time over the fretboard was with naptha and 0000 steel wool. Photo shows second time through with naptha and a paper towel. Third time was fretboard conditioner.

If you use steel wool to clean your frets and fretboard, be sure and tape your pickups to protect from bits of steel wool being attracted to the magnetic poles. I wipe the filings off the fretboard with a paper towel, then collect the rest with a strong magnet before removing the tape.

I found one more example of Squier’s cheapness – cheap screws. The screw that held the string guide had broken in half so only the top half of the screw was holding it. When I tuned the strings, it popped off! So I drilled a new hole a bit below the old one and used a new screw.

Bridge and saddles after hydrasonic cleaning

]]>
https://guitarsdoneright.com/squier-p-bass-how-cheap-can-they-get/feed/ 2
Used Guitar Shopping on the Cheap https://guitarsdoneright.com/used-guitar-shopping-on-the-cheap/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=used-guitar-shopping-on-the-cheap Sun, 08 Mar 2020 14:51:25 +0000 https://guitarsdoneright.com/?p=34205 I’d posted a bass guitar on Marketplace for $120. I’d checked it out end to end, checked every fret for level from E to G then polished the frets with rouge and a dremel tool; filed nut slots down to spec (they’re always too high), set the relief and verified the truss rod and truss […]]]>

I’d posted a bass guitar on Marketplace for $120. I’d checked it out end to end, checked every fret for level from E to G then polished the frets with rouge and a dremel tool; filed nut slots down to spec (they’re always too high), set the relief and verified the truss rod and truss rod nut were good.

I checked every screw – tuner key screws, strap button screws, bridge screws, etc. for snugness and filled and redrilled a couple of stripped screw holes.

After cleaning and polishing, I installed, stretched and tuned a new set of good strings; set string height to specs, then set intonation.

Finally, I took photos and posted the ad online. One of the responses to that ad was from a fellow offering $90, which was $30 less than the $120 asking price and just $15 over what I’d paid for the guitar, not counting the new strings.

Now, here’s how I feel about “haggling”. If it’s a vintage guitar with collector value, we can certainly debate the value. If it’s an expensive guitar, say $1500 or something, maybe there’s fifty dollars or so of “room”. But if I’m selling a guitar in the neighborhood of $100 – a guitar I’ve done a $60 setup on (I setup every guitar before selling) and put new strings on, etc. My purpose is to provide the best guitar possible at the lowest price I can. I’m not trying to “rip off” anyone, so I don’t pack extra profit into my price – I’m selling as low as I can so I can buy another and “play” with it.

Naturally, I declined the offer. He countered with $100. I declined. Two days later, I got a message from the same person, asking if he could bring a guitar for me to look at. I said “Sure.”

Why can’t sellers clean their guitars???

Well, he’d bought the bass guitar in these photos, and it was buzzing “a bit” and wanted to know how much I’d charge to fix it.

I looked it over (filthy!) and saw that there was zero relief. In fact, there was a slight back bow, and string height was about right – for a Strat, not for a bass!

With a flashlight, I looked into the truss rod hole and saw metal shavings and a partially rounded hex screw. Some pickup adjustment screws were way out but the pickup was still too low, which indicated that the underlying foam needed replacing.

The nut slots were cut way too low so that no matter if everything else was fine, open strings would buzz on the first fret, and the nut was chipped and needed replacing.

Slots too low and chipped at G end

Too bad. The guitar looked nice otherwise. I had to tell the guy that a setup ($60) plus the price of a nut would have covered everything and ended up with him having a decent guitar if not for the truss rod issue.

If the nut or threads were stripped, there would be extra charges for extraction and replacement and if the nut couldn’t be removed due to stripped threads, the guitar was not likely worth repairing.

With that, he said, “I should have listened to you, but I thought if I couldn’t haggle the price down, I wouldn’t be getting a good deal.”

He said he paid $100 for this guitar. Now, he was looking at about another $100 to make it playable with a big chance that it couldn’t be fixed at all.

Underlying foam has dried out

We arranged a trade, where I took his guitar, basically for parts and credited him $40 toward the $120 guitar he’d initially inquired about. So that $120 guitar cost him $100 – $40 + $120 = $180 !

I did get the truss nut to turn but the threads were stripped and it could not be removed. That did remove much of the stress on the neck and a less scrupulous dealer could make it play ok and sell the guitar, but the next time it needed adjustment, the buyer would be out of luck. I will not sell the guitar with this neck.

I’ll have to replace the neck but I can use this one for a practice neck for when I want to try and remove the fretboard and replace the truss rod.

So, I didn’t come out so good either. I got some $10 tuner keys (wholesale value), $10 pickups and another body (I’m accumulating a box full of guitar bodies!) worth about zero to me, but let’s say $20 value – a break even deal if I ever need the body.

But I did gain a customer who is likely to refer people to me in the future.

Used guitars are not commodities. Not all guitars of a certain make, model and year are worth the same. Condition is a HUGE factor. Brand-new guitars on the shelves need a setup and 96% of them won’t get one. Things can only go downhill from there.

Why buy a guitar that is uncomfortable to play, won’t play right and will never give the right notes fretted up and down the fretboard?

The moral of this story, kids – is if you encounter an old man who refurbishes instruments just for the love of the instruments and because he prefers to see people playing or learning on decent guitars, if he’s willing to stand behind the guitar; the guitar plays great and the price looks fair – it just might be a better deal than the “great deal” garage sale guitars out there! 🙂

Not So Fast!

Later, I decided to remove the fretboard and repair or replace the truss rod and/or nut. Everything went well and I’m about to reattach the neck and setup the guitar. Stay tuned for pix and more info!

]]>
String Height Measuring – Capo or No? https://guitarsdoneright.com/string-height-measuring-capo-or-no/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=string-height-measuring-capo-or-no Mon, 02 Mar 2020 17:07:52 +0000 https://guitarsdoneright.com/?p=34149 This morning, I had a customer tell me that I’m wrong to measure string height at the 17th fret (Strat) with a capo on the 1st fret and stated that his Fender manual doesn’t say to use a capo for anything other than setting relief. Lots of debate on the forums about this, so let’s […]]]>

This morning, I had a customer tell me that I’m wrong to measure string height at the 17th fret (Strat) with a capo on the 1st fret and stated that his Fender manual doesn’t say to use a capo for anything other than setting relief.

Lots of debate on the forums about this, so let’s settle it once and for all, shall we?

Who should we use for reference? Fender “invented” the Strat and Tele but they’ve been ambiguous on this matter. I’ve seen Fender manuals that said to use a capo, but all the ones I’ve read lately don’t mention capos for setting action. Some Fender manuals don’t even suggest a particular measurement, while others give 4/64 inch at the 17th fret.

Dan Erlewine’s “Guitar Player Repair Guide” (which I highly recommend) says to capo at the 1st fret and measure at the 17th fret for Strats and Teles.

Gerry Haze of Haze Guitars (the most knowledgeable guitar guy I know!), says to use a capo when measuring string height, and he gives excellent reasons on his website.

And my very favorite guitar tech – Me – LOL! – says to use a capo, but whether you do or not, be consistent and always measure the same way.

What’s the difference? IF your nut slots are cut correctly, on a 25.5 inch scale guitar, measuring at the 17th fret with the string height at 0.064″ (Erlewine) the difference between measuring with or without a capo is roughly 0.010″ which is about 2/3rds of 1/64th of an inch.

Note that my calculations depend on your nut slots being cut correctly, which would be roughly 0.012″ – 0.016″ measured at the 1st fret while fretted at the highest fret. Unfortunately, new guitars are often shipped with slots from 0.025 to 0.035 above the 1st fret! And that’s going to mean a much bigger difference if measuring string height without a capo.

When you’re actually playing, most strings are fretted. Open chords generally use three or four fingers (apologies to EM and A7), and many of those chords do not play all six strings. Barre chords fret ’em all, of course. So, on average, most strings will be fretted, meaning that the nut slot heights will have no effect on string height – which is another reason to take them out of the equation.

If you only have one guitar and you stick to one method or the other, you shouldn’t have any problems. But if you have multiple guitars or you do setups for others, then it just makes sense to take the nut out of your string height equation.

THERE! We’ve settled the issue. 🙂

]]>
Don’t Clean Your Pickups??? https://guitarsdoneright.com/dont-clean-your-pickups/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dont-clean-your-pickups Mon, 24 Feb 2020 15:44:41 +0000 https://guitarsdoneright.com/?p=34145 I love GuitarWorld.com but dang! I wish they’d stop selling voo-doo and pixie dust! Their latest article about Britney Howard’s belief that filthy pickups are the key to her sound is a real disservice to its readers and guitar players everywhere. That crud can corrode and eat into your pickup poles, which may indeed affect […]]]>

I love GuitarWorld.com but dang! I wish they’d stop selling voo-doo and pixie dust!

Their latest article about Britney Howard’s belief that filthy pickups are the key to her sound is a real disservice to its readers and guitar players everywhere.

That crud can corrode and eat into your pickup poles, which may indeed affect sound eventually, but probably not in a good way or manufacturers would make them like that to start with. The crud can destroy protective coatings on your windings, create shorts, soften the wood where the pickups are anchored and cause all manner of problems.

If I hear one more word about “tone wood” (on solid body guitars), filthy pickups, corroded strings, filthy fretboards, etc. – being the “key to a great sound”, I think I’ll start selling “Pixie Dust” that is “Guaranteed to make you sound like..” (enter name of your famous guitarist here.)

Electric guitars make their sound by vibrating a conductor in a magnetic field which induces a tiny ac current in the coils of a pickup. That current gets sent to your amplifier which (surprise!) amplifies the signal and sends it to a speaker where the current is converted into a sound that generally mimics the sound of your vibrating strings.

If the wood of your guitar is considered non-conductive and non-magnetic (which would be all wood that comes from this planet!), then it cannot interact with the electro-magnetic fields that create your sound.

That leaves just one way for the wood to matter – if it allows the two anchor points of the strings to flex – as in maybe a rubber guitar body. Many argue that this is how the wood affects s ound. But stop and think a moment – any wood that is so soft that the anchor points (where tuner keys meet the headstock; nut meets the neck; saddles, bridge and tailpiece (if any) meet the body; etc..

..if any of these points were allowed to “give” in any appreciable manner, your tuning would keep going flat until it reached a point where the soft wood was compressed to the point where it was no longer soft. At that point, it would be as hard as any hardwood.

I’ve worked on some pretty cheap guitars – even $50 brand-new! I’ve never seen one made of balsa wood or anything that would act like I’ve described above.

Any wood used for guitars has to be capable of anchoring solidly. Any microscopic differences would soon stop having an affect as the wood became compressed.

Every used guitar is unique, just like any used car is unique. Two models of the same year, color, etc. will not have gone through the same experiences, and those differences can affect playability and sound.

I think we should realize that “sound” is experienced in our mind more than in our ears. I would love to see an experiment that showed two exact same guitars, but made of different woods, displaying different signals on instruments and proved that those differences were due to the wood difference – AND that those differences could be noticed by the average guitar player.

I’ve seen first-hand, that a person’s expectations can affect what they think they’ve heard. Tell them they’re listening to a $10,000 “Stratovarius Rockenbacker”, then play a Squier and they’ll be “amazed at how great the sound is”!

If you don’t believe me, I have some Pixie Dust to sell you.

]]>
Stupidest Guitar Article of the Week https://guitarsdoneright.com/stupidest-guitar-article-of-the-week/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=stupidest-guitar-article-of-the-week Thu, 06 Feb 2020 18:55:27 +0000 https://guitarsdoneright.com/?p=33705 it’s title? The best electric guitars under $500: 10 top choice electrics for smaller budgets – guitarworld.com Despite the somewhat redundant wording of the title, the article promised to be an interesting read – and it was, but not for their intended reasons. The first thing that stood out to me was a Jackson King […]]]>

it’s title?

The best electric guitars under $500: 10 top choice electrics for smaller budgets

– guitarworld.com

Despite the somewhat redundant wording of the title, the article promised to be an interesting read – and it was, but not for their intended reasons.

The first thing that stood out to me was a Jackson King V JS32T at $249 and a crappy Epiphone Les Paul SL at $119 – with nothing in between!

A list of “10 best electric guitars..” that has a less-than-stellar quality Jackson at $249 and an awful Epiphone (there are lots of super-great Epis – just not this one!) at $119 with no Squier Affinity ($199), no Squier Bullet ($129) – both of which are superior to the Epiphone SL and Specials in both parts quality and workmanship. (Not saying that Squier has great parts quality and workmanship, but it’s obviously better than the lowest priced Epis)

And what’s the point of a “Top 10” article if it compares apples to oranges?

A Flying V vs an LP vs a Strat vs a Tele? Really??? And in the real world, “under $500” is a totally different market from “under $250”. A kid with just $300 for guitar, amp, cord, etc. isn’t going to be spending much time comparing $499 guitars.

I love GuitarWorld.com and appreciate all they do for guitarists, but these articles (there’s one for “under $1000” also) remind me of my Journalism teacher when she would assign us to write a story with x-number of words.

While these articles may satisfy an editor’s word count and fill a page with “content”, they do a disservice to guitar lovers who may be searching for usable information.

]]>
Superbowl Firebird & Shakira’s Other Custom Guitars https://guitarsdoneright.com/superbowl-firebird-shakiras-other-custom-guitars/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=superbowl-firebird-shakiras-other-custom-guitars Tue, 04 Feb 2020 14:20:20 +0000 https://guitarsdoneright.com/?p=33651 Shakira stunned the Super Bowl with a Swarovski crystal Gibson Firebird – but she has a surprising history of dazzling custom guitars. From a Fender Mustang to a Yamaha Revstar, Shakira is doing her part to revive the guitar’s popularity. Read more..]]>

Shakira stunned the Super Bowl with a Swarovski crystal Gibson Firebird – but she has a surprising history of dazzling custom guitars.

From a Fender Mustang to a Yamaha Revstar, Shakira is doing her part to revive the guitar’s popularity.

Read more..

]]>
Andy Gill, influential guitarist with Gang of Four, dies aged 64 https://guitarsdoneright.com/andy-gill-influential-guitarist-with-gang-of-four-dies-aged-64/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=andy-gill-influential-guitarist-with-gang-of-four-dies-aged-64 Mon, 03 Feb 2020 15:04:47 +0000 https://guitarsdoneright.com/?p=33575 The Gang of Four heralded Gill as “one of the best to ever do it … we’ll remember him for his kindness and generosity, his fearsome intelligence, bad jokes, mad stories and endless cups of darjeeling tea. He just so happened to be a bit of a genius too.” Gill’s guitar sound inspired Kurt Cobain, […]]]>

The Gang of Four heralded Gill as “one of the best to ever do it … we’ll remember him for his kindness and generosity, his fearsome intelligence, bad jokes, mad stories and endless cups of darjeeling tea. He just so happened to be a bit of a genius too.”

Gill’s guitar sound inspired Kurt Cobain, Michael Stipe and Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose debut album he produced. Read more..

]]>
Renewed Epiphone Emphasis + Kramer Plans https://guitarsdoneright.com/renewed-epiphone-emphasis-kramer-plans/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=renewed-epiphone-emphasis-kramer-plans Sun, 02 Feb 2020 14:13:42 +0000 https://guitarsdoneright.com/?p=33519 Gibson CEO JC Curleigh says he is ‘Really Putting Attention’ on Epiphone Now, Talks Kramer Plans. Yup – they’re bring back Kramer! Yay! For the video version, click this image – For the Cliff Notes version, click this link to Ultimate-Guitar.com]]>

Gibson CEO JC Curleigh says he is ‘Really Putting Attention’ on Epiphone Now, Talks Kramer Plans. Yup – they’re bring back Kramer! Yay!

For the video version, click this image –



For the Cliff Notes version, click this link to Ultimate-Guitar.com


]]>
New Epiphone Models https://guitarsdoneright.com/new-epiphone-models/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-epiphone-models Fri, 31 Jan 2020 13:31:15 +0000 https://guitarsdoneright.com/?p=33412 Guitar World has an article detailing 28 new(ish) Epiphone models. The Cliff Notes version – The Original and Modern Inspired by Gibson guitars boast a host of classic and new features, including the more Gibson-like Kalamazoo headstock, as well as upgraded electronics and finishes. What’s more, the word on the street is that every Gibson […]]]>

Guitar World has an article detailing 28 new(ish) Epiphone models.

The Cliff Notes version –

The Original and Modern Inspired by Gibson guitars boast a host of classic and new features, including the more Gibson-like Kalamazoo headstock, as well as upgraded electronics and finishes. What’s more, the word on the street is that every Gibson model will now have an equivalent Epiphone version.

– GuitarWorld.com

Now, I’m a sucker for a 335, but Epiphone’s $449 price is higher than Fender’s Squier Starcaster Classic Vibe at $399, (also available in their Contemporary Active series) which is absolutely awesome in every way!

If you want an even lower price, checkout the Squier Starcaster Affinity series at just $299.

Hey Fender ! – How ’bout a free T-shirt for that plug??? 🙂

]]>