If you're looking to buy a guitar that sounds/plays better than your present guitar, it's best to take your present guitar with you to the store to do a comparison providing the store isn't an environment that your guitar might get stolen or damaged by too many people in a tight spot. Also take your capo. Some sales personnel will be skeptical of letting you use just any capo because it might scratch something but I've never had one refuse me the use of my Kyser.
The reasons I'm suggesting this is because background noise and room acoustics can really deceive your sense of hearing. What sounds good or bad at the store may be different when you get home. Another lesson I learned when hanging around audio buffs and picking out stereos is "louder sounds better". If you're doing an A/B comparison of two audio sources, try to make sure the two are the same volume because your human tendency is to think the louder one sounds better when you're overlooking other subtle differences. It's easier to control this with stereos and electric guitars but take it into consideration with acoustic guitars as well. If the new guitar initially sounds louder when you strum it and you think it sounds better than your current guitar, also take into consideration how it sounds when playing individual notes on the mid to high frets. Make sure the guitar sounds good at the volumes at which you play.
Make sure the new guitar you're looking at will do all the things you like such as capo adjustments and lower tunings without buzzes. Check intonation. Compare the neck on the new guitar for width and curvature on the back. If you're playing this new guitar and you notice there's certain "spots" you miss when playing your fav tunes, then there's probably a difference somewhere. Go back to your old guitar and see what it is.
If I would have known this advice several years ago, there would presently be one less guitar in my collection. (The one I don't tell anyone about.)
Bob, Gman ( o )==#
Love your site! Hey when test-driving a new guitar, it's a good idea to play ALL the frets on ALL the strings, to check for buzzing and intonation. I once played a guitar where the 12th and 13th frets were the same pitch, probably due to a shoddy fret job.
Rob E., CT
HOME BACK TO GENERAL TIPS