Monthly Archives: June 2016

Tips For Buying A Used Electric Guitar

A wise step while looking for used electric guitars would be to collect as much information about the instrument as possible. This should include knowledge about the serial number of the instrument, in case you want some additional information about it from the manufacturer, the modifications done to it, like replacement of pick-ups, strings, change in paint and so on. Secondly, it is important for you to ask (if buying from a private seller) why he wants to sell his guitar and if he purchased it new or used.

Check the Condition of the Guitar

Body

There are three designs in the body of an electric guitar – solid body, semi-hollow body, and hollow body. Your selection of the body depends on your playing style. As a beginner, you do not have to bother too much about the body, and hence can begin by selecting a solid body. Once you are thorough with basic lessons and ready for advanced learning you can choose some other body for your guitar.

Neck Construction

The neck is the most important as well as the moat delicate part of an electric guitar. Firstly, you will have to check for any damage – like a crack along the neck or the area between the neck and the head. The point where the neck joins the body of the guitar is also important to check for cracks as it might result in the complete breaking of the guitar. Some scratches here and there on the surface or the finish of the instrument are not a major concern as they don’t affect the sound quality. But cracks that have gone deep into the structure will definitely amount to a bigger problem in the sound and you may have to replace the neck. Also, if the neck is a little warped or bowed do not include the instrument in your selection list.

Apart from the above concerns, you also need to check out the types of guitar necks and choose the appropriate one. Basically there are three ways in which the neck is connected to the body – set neck, bolt-on neck, and neck through the body. The first type of neck is glued to the body permanently. Gibson guitars are a perfect example of set neck guitars. These models are quite expensive as compared to others and are also difficult to repair. The second type, i.e., the bolt-on neck, is attached to the body with the help of bolts or screws starting from the back of the body and penetrating into the back of the neck. This neck attachment reduced the production cost of electric guitars and brought them in demand, since the bolts could be easily adjusted or even replaced. Fender guitars are seen with this method of neck attachment. The third type is neck through the body, wherein the neck is an integral part of the body constructed out of one single piece of wood or several pieces laminated together. The selection of an electric guitar also depends on the convenience of placing your fingers on it and moving from one fret to another. There are a few standard neck profiles from which you can select a suitable profile for yourself for ease in playing. These profiles are termed as C-shaped, U-shaped and V-shaped neck profiles. The shape of the letters roughly correspond to the shape of the profile.

Strings

There should not be any buzzing in the strings while playing the guitar – whether plugged or unplugged. The strings should also not go mute in between. The correct way to check the strings is to play the guitar before purchasing. It will help you identify any rattling or buzzing in the strings. If the guitar is used for a very long time you might notice rust on the strings and even slight breaking.

Bridges

A bridge is a part on the electric guitar that supports the strings, connects them to the body, and transfers the vibrations of the strings to the body to produce resonance and sustain. There are two basic types of bridges; stoptail or fixed bridges, and tremolo bridges. While fixed bridges are permanently attached to the body, tremolo ones are movable. With tremolo bridges you can bend all the strings at a time to attempt variations in notes, however, it can cause the guitar to go off-tune at times. Hence, many players prefer stoptail bridge which offers more controlled, in-tune and sustained notes. Consider all these factors and decide on which type of bridge your guitar should have.

Check the Sound Quality

Action

The word action here refers to the distance between the strings and the fret board. Ideally, the strings should be closer to the board, so that they can be pressed down easily to fret the notes, but not so close that they touch the board. If the strings are close enough to the board right from the head to the bridges, you can say that the guitar has a good or the correct action.

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance between the bridge and the nut. The point between these two parts is where the string vibrates. Scale length is a vital component of an electric guitar or any fretted instrument for that matter, because it affects the tonal quality as well as playability of the instrument. The two very common types of scale lengths are Fender scale 25-1/2″ (longer scale that provides higher string tension and a trebly sound) and Gibson scale 24-3/4″ (shorter scale and easy to play, which provides lower string tension and produces a little thick and less trebly sound). There are other scale lengths as well, but these two are the most preferred ones.

Intonation

Intonation is the accuracy of the fretted notes produced from the strings. For setting the intonation of the guitar, bridge saddles (the points on the bridge supporting individual strings) are moved either closer or away from the fret board till the octave on the 12th fret and its harmonics are equal. If an electric guitar is off-tune or is set in an incorrect intonation, the chords played at the bottom of the neck sound correct but the same chords played higher on the fret board sound a little off-tune. Another important thing is to check if the guitar is able to hold the tune for a few hours once set, or if you have to keep setting it frequently. When checking this though, keep in mind that every musical instrument needs intonation setting done from time to time. Make use of digital tuners to check the intonation for an accurate result.

Pick-ups

Pick-ups are magnetic devices that sense the musical vibrations of the strings in an electric form and pass electronic signals to the amplifier as well as speakers. There are two types of pick-ups – magnetic and piezoelectric – and both produce different sounds. It is very important to check these pick-ups while buying the instrument because they are pretty expensive to replace. If you are buying an electric guitar for yourself, then it is quite easy to examine the pick-ups. However, if you are purchasing it for someone else you will either have to take the person along with you or should know exactly what style of playing he/she prefers. The number of pick-ups also vary according to the model of the instrument. For some models there are two pick-ups – one close to the neck that produces a thicker sound and the other close to the bridge to get a treble sound effect. Some electric guitars also have a third pick-up in the middle, which adds to the sound blending combination.

Where to Buy?

Retail music stores are the most approachable destinations for buying used things. The people working there are well acquainted with the ins and outs of musical instruments and are able to give right suggestions. If you have access to such a local store nearby, do make a visit. If not, get in touch with a private seller, provided you ask all the questions mentioned in the introductory paragraph. Do not hesitate to voice your queries regarding the instrument and satisfy yourself before making the purchase. After all, it’s a one-time purchase and, of course, an important one in your music career. Another important point to note is the amplifier used for the electric guitar. When you are testing the sound quality of the guitar, use a quality amplifier available in the shop or borrow one from your friend. If the amplifier is not good it definitely affects the sound quality of the guitar. Nowadays even the Internet has become a great source for buying used stuff. Craigslist, eBay and other such sources are good options to check out.

A used electric guitar is a good option against buying a new one, not only because it costs less, but also because as a beginner you don’t have to invest too much just for trying your hand at it. Furthermore, if you are amongst the few lucky buyers, you might get a piece that is rare or out of production. Lastly, take your friend or someone knowledgeable in this field along to make the best buy.

Tips For Buying Rustic Furniture

Go for salvaged wood
The weathered texture of salvaged wood provides a nice contrast to metallic accents in homes and is used to create a festive ambiance in any room.

Home is the second place after a mother’s embrace that radiates warmth and tender affection. A house done up with soothing wooden furniture will not only take you back in time, but also give your home the classic rustic touch that reminisces of bountiful country homes. That said, investing in rustic pieces of furniture is definitely your best bet at making your house a little more warmer and classier than mere modern furniture. Besides, the warm, musky odor emitted by wooden furniture is definitely worth every penny you end up shelling for the same.

You can alternatively mix contemporary furniture with a touch of rustic elegance to create a whole new look on your home front. Besides, investing in distressed and rustic furniture adds to the character of the home and ups the comfort level. Given below are the points you need to consider before purchasing a rustic piece of furniture.

Chalk out the layout

What’s the overall look you want to achieve in your home? Investing in rustic furniture for the entire house will leave you with a classic look no doubt, but that will leave no scope for any modern furniture. The best way to decide the look you want to achieve in the house is to sit down with your family and plan the layout of the furniture. This includes deciding on the room, and also taking into consideration redoing other elements of the interior decor to achieve a complete rural set-up.

Decide on the size

A vital tip for buying rustic furniture would be to decide on the size of the furniture before you invest in it. This is vital because determining the size will help you decide on the layout, and also avoid overdoing the decor of the room. Anything that looks massive in a small room should be avoided solely because it would make the room too crowded. Similarly, smaller pieces of furniture would look lost in a spacious room. Seek to find a perfect balance by not going overboard or restricting yourself when deciding the look of the room.

Look into the construction
Rustic furniture is created using twigs and logs that are bent and assembled to form a single piece of furniture. They are generally enhanced using various styles inclusive of chip carving, milk paint, and silver or gold brushwork. It would make sense to check the quality of the wood, in particular the joints and the edges, before selecting a piece of furniture. Check to see if the furniture is made from high-quality wood instead of one made from particle board. Also remember to check the color of the furniture. Anything that appears off-color is indicative of imitation or processed wood product.

Check the durability
Rustic furniture is ideally made from a variety of material including cedar, hickory, pine, and maple. If you are looking for a piece of furniture that will last long, you should look for durable hardwood pieces. Furniture made from hickory, white and red cedar are ideally your best bet to create a rustic feel in your home. In addition to being sturdy, the wood should also be able to sustain the elements of nature if you are thinking of placing them outdoors.

Consider the cost
Pure wood furniture is likely to be a tad more expensive than those constructed from plywood. Ideally, the higher the quality of wood used to construct the furniture, the more you are expected to shell out. The general rule of thumb to be remembered is that real, solid, hardwood furniture, although expensive, makes a lasting piece of furniture. Before you invest, do check out deals at Rustic Furniture Depot, Black Forest Decor, and Tres Amigos World Imports that specialize in rustic furniture.

Tips For Buying A Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

When it comes to kitchen sinks, we know that stainless steel is the way to go, because of its classy look, ease in cleaning, durability, and quality. It is resistant to cracking and peeling. It is also a budget-friendly option. So, is there anything else that needs to be considered? Yes there is. A major factor being the size of the sink, after which, one has to decide between a one or two sink bowl.

After gathering opinions of various experts, we have distilled the major factors to consider while buying a stainless steel kitchen sink.

Stainless Steel Sink Buying Guide

Material and Finish
▣ An important factor is the quality of the sink. This directly relates to the material, i.e, the quality of the steel used to make the sink. Check the gauge of the steel, i.e., the thickness of the metal. Sinks are available in a variety of gauges, and differ according to the brand and purpose. A gauge is a numerical value that indicates thickness. The higher the number, lower is the thickness, while a smaller number indicates thicker steel. This is important because it determines the durability of the sink.
▣ While cleaning the utensils, sinks with thinner steel create more sound, whereas, a thick stainless steel sink will create less noise. The advised range for a stainless steel gauge is between 18-20g or lower.
▣ It is also advisable to check the composition of stainless used in the sink. The best option is to choose a 300 series sink made with 18% chromium and 8% nickel. This combination gives the best quality and offers maximum protection against corrosion.
▣ Stainless steel sinks are also available in different finishes. The best bet is to go for satin-finish sink, which is fairly durable. Extremely glossy and polished sinks are more prone to scratches and other damage.
Design
▣ Undermount or drop-in models? Choose the ones that blend with your kitchen design. Undermount models create a seamless look, as they are installed below the countertop. Drop-in sinks have flanges around its perimeter which helps it fit into the countertop.

▣ So, if you want a seamless look, opt for undermount models. Drop-in sinks help in keeping the water off the countertop. Choose whichever suits your needs and convenience.

Size and Depth
▣ Most people opt for 6-inch deep sinks. However, they cannot hold much clutter and splash. Opting for a 9- or 10-inch sink, will provide plenty of space for convenient usage. Consider the size of your pots and pans that you regularly use. Also, very deep bowls go way below the countertop, this requires you to bend while using the sink. So, choose the depth that is comfortable to work in, and is not too deep from the countertop surface.

▣ The shape of the sink bowl also determines the space available for usage. Bowls with square corners and edges provide more space. Curved and smooth-angled sinks may not be spacious like the squared ones, but these sinks are easy to clean, drain, and maintain.
▣ Check for insulation options like sound-deadening pads. Most manufacturers provide options for sound control, as stainless steel sinks create more sound than other sinks.
Drain points
▣ Look for drainage points in the sink. Most manufacturers now place the drainage point towards the back of the sink, rather than the center. This provides more space and convenience of use under the faucet. You also get more space in the under sink cabinets, as the drain pipe also moves away from the center. Most models have the drain points at the left or right, which helps in better drainage after utensils are piled in it.
▣ Also check for sink drain assemblies and baskets. Some sink models come with it, while some do not have that option.
You may also consider comparing different brands of stainless steel sinks, and decide the best option for your kitchen. We say, look for both; quality and convenience.