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Posts Tagged ‘Guitars’

(Disclaimer:  this post is about the restringing of an Ibanez steel string acoustic guitar with D’Addario nylon strings.  The initial purchase of the string set was from my own funds.  A replacement 6th string was provided by D’Addario at no cost to me.  Otherwise, the company has provided no compensation for this post and has no influence on my opinions.    —    KMAB)
A couple of months ago I borrowed a steel string acoustic guitar from my brother.  It has been unused for several years.
On first strum, I noted the strings felt rough and (I thought) “chippy”.  It struck me they were somehow rusted and the rust was flaking off when I went up and down the length of the strings.
I thought the guitar might still be manageable / playable, but I kept getting what I felt were splinters.
I decided to replace the strings.
I have two acoustic guitars which I own.  My very first guitar, which is also a steel string, and, a 3/4 size guitar which has nylon strings.  I love my steel string, but the 3/4 is the one I reach for for extended practice or lengthy noodling sessions because the strings are easier on the fingertips.  I, therefore, decided to try nylon strings as the replacements.
I went to my local music store and purchased a set of D’Addario “Folk Nylon” strings and swapped them with the steel strings.  As it would happen, the 6th string (the “low” E) snapped at the tuner while I was tightening / tuning the strings.  The other five tuned up fine.
I sent an email to D’Addario:  explained the situation and requested a replacement for what I felt was a defective string.  The following day, I received a response they would be sending me a new 6th string and a replacement set (for my trouble).
My initial thought was: “Yeah, we’ll see.
A week later (last Thursday), I received the string and set!!
The following day, I added the 6th / “E” string and tuned up the other strings.  Because I have experience with nylon strings I fully expected to be tuning and re-tuning – and this has been the case…  Nylon strings stretch a lot more than steel strings and the guitar reacts to the tension with its own movement, so the process is not a “one and done” deal.
Anyway, I’ve been noodling with the guitar each day.  Tune, practice, re-tune, etc.  Each day the changes are smaller and the time spent tuning is shorter.  I expect the strings will be fully set sometime this week.
Although I’ve changed nylon strings before, I don’t have any experience of fully tuning them.  The one time I did a restring, I only kept the guitar for a week before returning it to its owner (my daughter’s fiance).  I will say, when we last visited them, the guitar was (again) slightly out of tune, but that seems to be true for my steel strings (acoustic and electric), too, so I think it’s just a function of continuous tension for string instruments.
Now…  The main thing is what does it sound like.  Fantastic!!  The guitar has a deep, resonance it simply did not have with steel strings.  The notes last longer (the sometimes need to be muted) and there is a very sensual vibration from the guitar body / box, which I don’t really get from my first guitar.  It’s there.  It’s just not as resonant.  (Which basically means I’m now tempted to replace the steel strings on my first guitar with nylons once they come due.)  AND they feel excellent, too!  Nice and smooth to the touch.
I had never purchased D’Addario strings before as they are more expensive than my usual brand.  This excellent customer service means I will definitely consider them in the future.
You may ask why I chose them (a new string brand) to start off with as they are not my “usual” brand and I’m really into brand loyalty.  Well, I try to support my local brick and mortar businesses when I can.  The store did not have my usual brand in stock for this string type.  Pure accident / coincidence.
One closing note about restringing guitars:  it is NOT recommended you re-string steel string guitars with nylon strings.  The two string types have vastly different tensions and string diameter which means you may also have to adjust your action (the height of your strings above your frets).  It may also cause the neck of your guitar to bow somewhat in reaction to the decreased string tension.  This will mean adjusting the guitar neck via the truss rod.  These are relatively easy (sometimes) things to do, but you can seriously damage your guitar if you are not careful.
And you should NEVER replace nylon strings with steel strings (on a nylon string guitar) as this will almost certainly badly damage your nylon string guitar.  Steel string tension is MUCH higher than nylon and the internal reinforcement is simply not present in a guitar intended for nylon string use. You will probably snap your guitar in half or pull the bridge off of the body.
In my case, I went from steel to nylon – NOT nylon to steel.  A word to the wise should suffice…
Oh, yeah.  Please remember ALL of my guitars are relatively inexpensive.  I am, therefore, in a position to play with them / modify them, just to see what happens.  I also have multiple guitars, so I can continue to practice each day even if I really mess up one of them.  Try to avoid doing anything today which will interfere with your practice tomorrow…
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On This Day In:
2020 The Responsibility Side Is On The Right
Where Clear Winds Blow
2019 Define Your Life…
2018 It Is No Secret
Day 25: When 4 or 5 equals 2
2017 Cowardly Defamation
2016 With No Allowance For Chance?
2015 Details
2014 Here’s One…
2013 Non-Fungible Commodities
2012 Hope And Tears
2011 Just Long Enough
Meaningful Thoughts

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Donner DLP-124S Electric Guitar   —   guitar review
[Disclaimer:  I have not received as a promotion any guitar or music related product, nor am I mentioning anything in this post to secure compensation / income for myself or the manufacturers of the products mentioned.  I am only posting about these items because I personally purchased them and am excited to be learning about music and playing guitar.    —    KMAB]
Background:  I am a rank beginner guitar player, so please take all of my advice / opinions with a healthy grain of salt…  This is one in a series of reviews of guitars and kit I am doing as I learn how to play guitar.  All of my purchases have been at the bottom end / inexpensive side of the market.
Start of review:
Two weeks ago I purchased my fourth guitar (my second electric).  This one is the Donner (brand) DLP-124S (pictured below).  On sale and with a discount, it came delivered for just under $150USD.  The “normal” retail price on their site is just under $170USD.  I gather the naming convention is “Donner Les Paul” style with the ending “S” standing for the color: “Sunburst”.  I don’t know if the “124” means anything or not.
Delivery:
The guitar arrived in less than the promised 10-day delivery (good).  This was the longest it took to receive any of my four guitars.  It was the first of my guitars to arrive in an undamaged box (great).  It was not double-boxed, which is what I was expecting.  It came in a water-proof plastic and taped wrapped cardboard box.  All in all, a positive experience.  Not great, but positive.
What you get: 
The Donner site is long on marketing and short on actual information about the guitar.
Visual checklist:
• neck  –  straight, flat and not visibly warped or bent;
• nut  –  bone (in the marketing buff and it looks slightly discolored the way bone is supposed to look.  Would I know the difference?  Not without taking it off and breaking it.  I’ll assume it’s bone.
• strings  –  strum…  not in tune, but string ends are not excessively long or wrapped around the tuning pegs
• body  –  again, beautiful color and shiny finish.  I am very pleasantly surprised.  It looks “classy” to me.
• controls  –  the switch is responsive without being resistant, the volume and tone both turn smoothly. I am able to hear the differences between the pickups on the switch (after it’s plugged in and the amp is turned on), but the difference is not as big as on my “Strat”.  It’s only a three-way switch:  neck, both, and bridge.  They are labeled “treble” and “rhythm”.  I’m not sure what that’s about…  I assume it means high and low strings, not neck and bridge, but I really can’t tell.  (Again, I’m a rank beginner.)
• tuning pegs  –  no gaps and they seem sturdy
• tremolo bar  –  n/a
• strap  –  feels like nice cotton woven material with leather ends.  It’s comfortable and I won’t need to replace it anytime soon.
• pick (“plectrum”)  –  none.  A missed marketing opportunity by Donner.  The gig bag and strap have “Donner” on them.
• action and intonation  –  the strings height “look” fine, and they don’t feel bad on my fingertips. The guitar comes with a little action card.  I check it and then use the metal one I purchased separately some time ago.  They match.
• “gig-bag”  –  this is a decent bag.  See additional comments below…
The guitar is a steel six-string electric guitar with dual (neck and bridge) humbucker pickups. “Humbucker” pickups simply means they are (as near as I can tell) double posted and wound to breakup the 60 cycle hum which is common to unshielded single pickups.  In English, this means you get less feedback from the environment you’re playing in.  I have not opened up the electronics to see if they are in a shielded cavity or not.  As I only play in my bedroom or living room, my environment isn’t a big concern.
The guitar comes with a padded “gig” bag, a strap, a cable and a couple of Allen wrenches to make adjustments to the truss rod and the intonation.  It also comes with two cards: one with basic chords and one with action millimeter guides.  The guitar does NOT come tuned and ready to play, but it it pretty close.  I attached one of my electronic tuners and was playing in tune within five minutes.  The intonation was (is) practically perfect (according to my tuner).  The “action” (the height of the strings from the frets) seems pretty close to what the YouTubers are saying is standard height and although heavy (weight), the guitar is very easy to play.  I’m not sure if this (ease of play) is because of better strings or better action or a combination of both.  Either way, I was comfortable playing around with this guitar for well over an hour after it was tuned up.  (It didn’t hurt my fingertips.)
My “other” electric guitar is a Stratocaster style and this DLP is about twice the weight even though it is no larger (physically).  In fact, this guitar feels smaller in my hands.  I stood them side by side for comparison.  The DLP is thicker and does not have cutaways for your arm (in front) or stomach (on the back).
The sunburst paint / finish on my guitar is beautiful.  I didn’t think I’d like it only being “sunburst” on one side (the top), but the truth is I think it makes the guitar look classier and it makes me almost want to get a full-on black guitar.  Most of the other sunburst guitars (I’ve looked at) have a similar effect on both top and bottom, which is why I originally wasn’t too taken with this before its arrival.
The neck is very comfortable in my hand.  It’s somewhere between the width and fretboard flatness of my dreadnought acoustic and my other electric.  In other words, its almost as comfortable on the board side and slightly more comfortable on the underside.  The underside is stained / colored in a dark honey orange / brown.  It is smooth without being slick.  In other words, your hand doesn’t stick, but it also doesn’t feel like you’re on a slimy polyurethane shellac.  The frets end cleanly at the edge of the board and are moderately tapered so they neither stick nor slice your hands / fingers.  They are not rounded though.  The fretboard itself is fresh looking (dark and smooth) and did not come with that “ashy / dusty, oil me now” look which two of my other guitars had on delivery.
The tuners seem stable.  Easy to turn without dead spots or wiggles.
Extras:  I haven’t had to use the Allen wrenches so I don’t know if there are any issues with the truss rod.  The shoulder strap is a nice cotton feeling material.  Much better quality than my other three “included” straps, but obviously not as good as the full leather strap I bought (separately) for my primary acoustic.  Similarly, the included cable is much nicer than the one which came with my other electric (starter kit).  In fact, it compares favorably with the replacement I purchased.  It generates no more buzz than my good cable, so now I have two decent cables in case one goes on the fritz.
I would like to discuss the gig bag separately (here).  I was very dissatisfied with the “bag” which came with my first electric guitar.  It was little more than a plastic dust-cover with a cheap zipper.  It was bad enough I bought an upgrade (from Donner) for just over $20USD.  As it happens, the current bag is not as good as my upgrade (from Donner), but it is FAR superior to the dust-cover (from the other guitar manufacturer).
Factoring in the bag, the cable and the strap with the total price, this is probably $35-40USD (at retail) additional value.
After all this, you’re probably thinking:  “Who cares? What does it sound like?”  Well, disappointingly, I can’t give you very much input there.  Unplugged, it sounds much deeper / heavier / fuller than the unplugged Strat-style I own.  Not acoustic level loud / full, but significantly fuller than the Strat-style.  I don’t know if that’s because it’s a heavier / more solid guitar, or just because it has much better strings.  I can say, it tuned up faster and has stayed in tune better, too.  Again, is that the strings, the tuners, the weather or something else?  I don’t know…
Okay, how about plugged in?  Again, due to my extremely limited experience, I can only give a very limited evaluation.  I can play the standard beginner open chords and the standard A-minor and Blues pentatonic scales and (again) this guitar sounds “fuller”.  I don’t know (I don’t yet have the vocabulary) how to describe the differences. This guitar has three positions and the Strat has five.  This guitar seems to have more sustainability.  I have to palm mute it or it goes on forever.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  I can imagine circumstances where it could be either / both.
Final Recommendation:  This guitar is a very nice beginner’s guitar.  On the guitar I received, once tuned, the intonation was spot on and the tuning was almost exactly the same at the end of the hour (plus) as when I initially started playing with it.  The price is very good and the only things missing are an inexpensive “starter” amp and a little electronic tuner to make this a pretty perfect starter set.  I feel the extras add a great deal of value to the purchase.  Not because you won’t get similar items from other vendors.  Because you won’t get them with similar quality.  Again, this is my limited experience with only three other vendors.
Given the weight, I’m not sure I would recommend this guitar for small (under 10-years old) children, but it seems to be both an excellent instrument and an excellent value for any beginner over 10 or 12 years old.  And it’s pretty good for a retired codger like me…  It’s now in my regular rotation and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up with other Donner equipment (particularly a starter / practice amp or some effects pedals).
So, for now, keep on picking and strumming!
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On This Day In:
2020 Poor Proof
Right From The Start
You Voted For An Incompetent And Corrupt Business Person To Drain A Political Swamp
2019 I Wish This Were More True
2018 Used To Rejection
Day 16: Looking Ahead (Just A Little)
2017 Tonight
I Rejoice
2016 Conscientious Courage
Speaking Of Which…
2015 The Beautiful Snow
2014 Nurtured By The Voices
2013 Précis
2012 Fear And Understanding
2011 Just Being Human

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I’ve always remembered having a love for music and a desire to play a musical instrument.  Unfortunately, I’ve never had the funds to pay for instruction or the time to commit to learning how to play one.  I have owned numerous instruments, but in the end, always just sold them or given them away.
Recently, (December 2020), I decided I would like to finally learn how to play an instrument and I talked myself into it being guitar.  (I then talked my wife into letting me.)  In early January, I purchased an Orangewood Austen dreadnought acoustic guitar for a little over $200.  See image below…
20210108_Orangewood_Austen_USD200
I’ve been practicing with it almost daily and I am having a ball with even the simplest of accomplishments (tuning, scales and trying to get clean chords).  My fingers are slowly starting to callus and I’ve gone from “about” 15 minutes a day of practice to “about” an hour a day.  Per “everyone’s” suggestion, I forced myself to start slowly and build up the amount of time I’m actually playing.  I would estimate I’ve now practiced 40 hours (total “ish”) over the last two months.
I’ve also been watching a ton of YouTube videos about playing and maintaining guitars, and about music in general (as related to playing a guitar).
I’ve been enjoying this experience so much I decided to make another “small” investment.  I decided to treat myself to a birthday present of an electric guitar.  Although I feel like I will really continue this new hobby, my wife remains unconvinced, so she agreed provided I purchased another inexpensive guitar.  I decided on a Glarry GST “starter pack” which comes with a 20W amplifier for a little under $120.  Again, see image below…
2021_03_19_Glarry_GSTw20W_Amp_120
I ordered the guitar a couple of days ago and was advised delivery would be sometime around my birthday (next weekend).  Why green?  I couldn’t decide between the two other colors I “really” wanted, so I picked green because it was St. Patrick’s Day.  Lo and behold, it arrived today!  It’s beautiful and light as a feather!  It feels almost like a toy compared to my acoustic.  I’m dead chuffed over getting it delivered so quickly, so I decided to jump on my blog and post about it!!!
Anyway, it’s already early evening and I want to be able to devote a few hours to playing with it, so I’ve unboxed it and set it aside (for now).  (Play “with” it.  NOT play “on” it.  LoL!)  And… tomorrow is another day!
[I’ve recently become aware some countries require folks to disclose if a referenced item (product of value or other remuneration / compensation) has been received (by yours truly) as consideration for its being mentioned on my blog.  I have no recollection of ever receiving a “free” anything which I have subsequently discussed or reviewed on this blog. In any case,…
I have not received as a promotion any / either guitar or music related product, nor am I mentioning either in this post to secure income for myself or the manufacturers of the products mentioned.  I am only posting about these items because I personally purchased them and am excited to be learning about music and playing guitar.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Repercussions For Health
2019 Chained To #45
2018 Some Men Make Their Office As Small As Themselves
2017 Too Many
2016 Not Yet, Anyway
2015 On Pornography
2014 Nudge, Nudge
2013 The Journey Will Be Joy
2012 Hopeful Flights
2011 Irrationally Predictable
Lawful Restraint

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