Stark Guitars

Buying Guide

First, play the strings in the open and see how they sound; after that, take a good look at buzzing or strange vibrations at the end of the sound. If you test multiple guitars, always use the same amp, and test both clean and overdrive.

How do you see the strings?

Look at the condition of the strings (even if you are going to change them shortly) and ask for the gauge, if you see it necessary.

Perhaps of all the tips to check an electric guitar, this is not the most important, but if the strings are very new or very old, the tuning will be unstable.

How is the guitar action?

What is action on the guitar? It is the distance between the strings and the fingerboard of the guitar. Look at the action they have; it must be comfortable to play.

What is the correct action? There is no universal answer that is always valid. But what you should know is that the higher the action, the more difficult it will be to play (it is usually used in Blues since many bendings are used), and the lower it is, the easier and faster you can play (recommended for main guitarists).

Although I emphasize that there is a standard measurement if it can be said that a normal height is usually around 2 mm for the sixth string and 1.5 mm for the first string.

Does the guitar fret?

What is guitar fretting? It is the annoying sound or hum that is produced when the string, when played on one fret or in the open, rubs against the next fret. In other words, you play the fifth fret, and the string touches the sixth.

If the guitar frets, you will need to adjust the neck or fix the frets; they should be done at the store.

Check if the guitar is well octave or fifth

If you don’t know what the octave of a guitar is, I’ll explain it to you.

As you already know, the 12th fret of each string must have the same note as open, but not only that, it must also have an octave higher than the one that sounds open.

Therefore, an octave is a process of making the 0 and 12 fret sound the same, with the 12th fret having one more octave. You could say that octave is tuning the frets. If our guitar is not well octave, the harmonic of the 12th fret will be displaced.

So, look at the octave of the guitar, and the 12th fret harmonic on each string. This, like everything else, has a solution, but you should go to a luthier if you don’t know how to solve it.

Look at the controls.

Take a look at the tone and volume control. The volume is simpler, but there are more electronics in the tone. Turn the tone little by little and see if it sounds lower or not.

How are the pills?

Look at the pads and their wear, also the selector.

Look at the neck joint with the body.

This aspect is important since the joint has to be strong enough to withstand the tension caused by the strings on the guitar. In addition, the union also affects the tone of the guitar.

Body style

Guitars can be:

  • Solid-body.
  • Semi-hollow or semi box.
  • Hollowbody.

Solid guitars have great sustain and more spin. On the other hand, the semi-hollow and hollow body provide a more acoustic sound.

Number of frets

Normally guitars come with 22 frets, but some come with 24. Take a good look, because if you like songs with high-pitched solos, one of 22 may be too small for you.

Guitar Amplifier

There are several ways to classify a guitar amp: by the inches of the speaker, by the power, if they are open or closed … etc. However, the parameter that is really used to classify the amplifiers is by the element that is used in the previous stage and in the power stage: tubes or transistors.

Valve Amplifier

Tube amps were the first to appear. The valves are vacuum tubes that, when heated above 100º Celsius, produce sound. This has the counterpart that they need a couple of minutes from when you turn them on until you can use them. So if you have half an hour a day to practice, they may not be for you.

They are also heavier, require more maintenance, and are more expensive. Be careful, I insist on maintenance; the valves wear out over time and have to be changed.

Reading through all these downsides, you’ll probably think that these amps aren’t the best option, but you’ll be surprised to learn that they’re the ones used by the most faithful and puritanical on guitar. Why? The reason is that the sound delivered by these amplifiers is of a higher quality than that of transistor amplifiers.

Transistor Amplifier

Transistor amplifiers are more practical because they have less maintenance and are less heavy. If you add to this that its price is lower, you have a perfect amplifier for those people who are starting to play the guitar.

Hybrid Amplifiers

With the idea of ​​combining the best of each type of amp, hybrid guitar amps were born. Thanks to the combination of tubes and transistors, it is possible to have very good power and a warm and natural sound.

Equalization of an amplifier

Probably if you look at your guitar amp, you will see among other wheels, some with the name Volume, Gain, Bass, and Treble. And you’ve probably noticed that when you turn them one way or another, the sound of your amp varies. But do you know how they work? Let’s see:

These controls are actually variable resistors called potentiometers (or pots if you want to sound cool ) with which we can make various modifications to the signal.

Thanks to these potentiometers, we can expand or reduce the signal, filter the frequencies … etc. We better see each of them:

  • Volume: sound volume, measured in decibels. It is in the pre-stage of the amplifier and provides the force of the sound.
  • Gain: amplifies the signal. It is in the pre-amp stage. The higher the gain, the greater the distortion (overload) or fuzz. Therefore, with the gain, we control how clean or dirty we sound regardless of the volume.
  • Treble: frequency of the treble tones. In other words, how sharp the sound is. It is in the pre-amp stage.
  • Bass: frequency of low or bass tones. In other words, how bad the sound is. It is in the pre-amp stage.
  • Master: we control the volume of the signal that we send to the speaker. It’s in the power stage.

Therefore, we have that the Volume, Gain, Treble, and Bass are in the previous stage, and with them, we control the shape of the tone. These buttons are also called equalizer frequency or simply equalizer.

Maintenance

The maintenance of the guitar is something quite important. Guitars are expensive, and you have to give them the care they need to keep them in the best possible condition. Also, if it is done on a regular basis, it should not take too much time, and over the years, you will appreciate it.

The kit that I recommend is the one I have, and the truth is that I am quite happy with it.

The guitar case contains various accessories for your guitar:

  • 8 Allen keys.
  • Rope winder.
  • Pliers to cut the strings.
  • String and neck cleaner/lubricant.
  • Guitar cleaner.
  • Cleaning cloth.
  • Rope action measuring ruler.

I use everything from the case, but what has surprised me the most is the string cleaner. Before using it, I thought there was a bit of filler coming in, but after using it, I was quite surprised for good. If you don’t believe it, here is a photo I took of the cleaning part after 2 uses.

Think that that dirt was on my strings and probably will be on yours.

Every few days, I pass him the cloth from the kit along with the cleaner, and the guitar is in perfect condition again.

By the way, both the string cleaner/lubricator and the guitar cleaner are sold separately in case you want one of these products but don’t want to buy the entire kit.

There is also a complete kit, which also includes a tuner, a slide, a capo, a screwdriver, and picks, but it is worth almost double, and I see it a little worse in relation to value for money:

Fast fret

This product is the one with the best reviews, and probably if I had to buy one, I would buy this one. Although like the one that comes in the kit works correctly for me, I have not bought it.

On the other hand, there is also a string cleaner to use more frequently. To get the best care of the strings, the idea is to wipe this cleaner every time we stop playing the guitar.

Mini amplifier

If you want to practice with the guitar without disturbing your boyfriend/girlfriend, family, roommates, or neighbors, an amplifier of this type will save your life. There are amplifiers of various brands, but the most successful of all is the one manufactured by the famous Vox that I put below:

This product delivers a good quality sound and impresses with the possibilities of effects it offers: tremolo, chorus, delay or reverb, and at various levels.

On the other hand, there are 7 different models to adapt to the needs of each guitarist: Top Boost, Classic Rock, Metal, Bass, Clean, Blues, or Lead.

Among all the guitar accessories, this is the best gift for a guitarist who is just starting out and lives wall to wall with you.

Buying Guide

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