The Blues Kitchen, Camden read more

buying a guitar?

I should mention that I’m no expert in the technical sense, but have been doing this for ages.

Guitar I bought most recently is a Fernandes ‘Vertigo’.

A Fender Strat is my best guitar I guess, certainly the most expensive, but with one reservation – the way I play my right hand fingers tend to brush against the volume dial which has the obvious effect as the set progresses.

Sometimes I don’t notice until it’s well down, which is a bummer, I can’t always hear what the audience hears anyway as the monitor is set for me not them, so to suddenly notice that the guitar volume is down is a real distraction to say the least, it kind of plays on your mind, it’s like you don’t know what your audience has heard up to then and whatever they heard it wasn’t what you wanted them to hear.

One rather unsatisfactory remedy is to wedge a plec or something under the dial concerned. Some may say, ‘Why not adjust the way you play?’ but I have other guitars, not really a sensible idea to change your approach for each one.

Anyway I looked at as many guitars on the internet as I could find. The Fernandes fitted the bill – right hand has a neat comfortable slot behind the bridge and my fingers don’t catch the volume dial.

So far so good. I bought via the internet which may (in this case) have been a mistake – the shop was in the West Country and I live in London.

First thing I noticed was that the volume and tone controls had not had their little screws tightened so the dials lifted off.

Next up – the mounting for the pick-up select switch was loose, and eventually became so loose that the whole mounting rotated, thus pulling on the connections.

Third – the Fernandes Vertigo has sustain and feedback which require battery power, nothing wrong there it was what I ordered, but when I came to change the battery – one of those chunky rectangular 9 volt jobs – there was barely enough wire on the battery connector to get the thing out without risking breaking the connection. Imagine you’ve overlooked how long the battery’s been in there, you’re in a dark-ish club and the battery goes – even with an uber helpful roadie and the trusty torch, changing that with little or no pull-out room on the wire is near impossible.

My local guitar guru fixed all those things for me, but surprisingly he doesn’t work for nothing.

This is a middle price range guitar – and fair to say for me it plays very well – (not necessarily from the audience’s point of view you understand) – but wouldn’t you think that before the makers let the thing leave the factory they’d make sure all the bits and pieces were properly fixed on?

Moral of the story – don’t buy on line unless you’re prepared for the hassle of getting them to take it back and fix it, or check all that stuff before you leave the shop!


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