The problem with a NEW guitar especially an acoustic is that it’s NEW!
A new acoustic guitar leaves the factory with very high action and it is not meant to be played until it’s set up correctly. It’s stiff, tight, hard to play and makes your fingers hurt. The store is supposed to tell you-but sometimes they don’t know because no one told THEM.
Acoustic guitar problems occur therefore because no proper setup was ever done. The acoustic guitar factories typically put out guitars day after day. They never know who it’s going to end up with them. They’ll say, “Well, we don’t set them with low action because we don’t know if possibly a slide player. Because they for the most part like higher action, may purchase it”. Sure we get that. However guitar factories really need to relay that kind of info to the stores. So, they in turn can relay it to acoustic guitar players. Most noteworthy and perhaps most important, give them an option to have a similar model side by side with a set up included. Set it for lower action so customers have a choice-high or low action. We get calls like this all the time from customers indicating,”Hey, it’s NEW”. “Why is this guitar hard to play?” If there was a setup option with a new guitar they wouldn’t have to sell so many guitars. They could sell great service too. Think about it?
So….what does an acoustic guitar player do? The best way to deal with it is to contact an independent custom guitar shop to have the action set exactly, where they need it to be. In our Custom Shop in South Carolina we typically have the customer drop it off or ship it with instructions on how he wants it to play, we’ll work on it. When he or she comes back to pick it up-we’ll ask them to test it out. If it’s fine-that’s great! If it needs more work to make it comfortable for them then we’ll tweak anything that needs to be done to get it where players want it to be while they’re right there to test it so they won’t have to come back again with the same problem.
While a NEW acoustic guitar can look beautiful on the wall in the store it may need lots of work to get it where the players needs it to be. An acoustic guitar should play with ease and sound great. The player shouldn’t need to think about the difficulty of playing but rather about entertaining and getting their musical point across and creating the mood for the gig. There is hope. You don’t have to sell your acoustic guitar or return it but you need to have it set up properly for YOUR style of playing to be happy. We’ll do it for you, just bring it in. Typically a day turnaround time for an acoustic guitar will get you going and playing comfortably and your fingers will thank you.
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