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Do off-the-rack guitars show true colors or be re-strung?


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I think sometimes that depends on the store. I'm not sure, but I think some stores re-string 'em when they come in to make them more playable. I remember in the 70s, Gibsons always came with some horrid-feeling strings on 'em...and the store where I hung out never changed 'em. Bought two Gibsons from that store, the first thing I did was change the strings.
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Strings can make a big difference in sound and feel. I've heard some acoustics really come alive with a fresh set of strings. Electrics guitars will usually sound better too, but I the difference is more obvious to the average person on an acoustic. But then again, if the strings are totally crusted over and too gross to touch, of course, a new set of strings will make the guitar more playable. I certainly wouldn't want to go anywhere near a guitar with strings that look like you might catch a disease if you play on them! It's to a store's benefit to keep guitars in their best playing condition - set up properly and with a decent set of strings. It definitely does make a difference in both playability and sound, which translates to more sales!
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There's no question that "newer" strings are going so sound better and, (as long as you plan on changing your strings when needed), will have a "truer" sound to your use compared to strings where the life is gone.


As Lisa said, this is particularly true on acoustics, both because acoustics depend more on "natural tone" and because the materials in most acoustic strings corrode more quickly than the materials most electric strings are made of.


Taylor, Larrivee, and others have adopted Elixir strings on their guitars they ship to dealers primarily because they sound good longer and the coating on the wound strings keeps them from corrosion. So Elixir strung guitars will probably be closer to what you'll hear with your new strings.


Most full time pro players I know change their electric strings after every or every other gig depending on their "personal acidity level", how much they play a guitar on the gig, and their playing preferences.


Some players don't like the brightness of a completely new set of strings, and prefer a few hours of playing time, (I think EVH does this).


Depending on the customer service level of the dealer, you may be able to get them to put fresh strings on a guitar you're serious about, (but it's probably a bit much to have them do this on more than one or two guitars at a visit. The smaller dealers are probably much more willing to do this than the supersores.


Finally there's the whole issue of "the sound" you get when you try a guitar at the store. For electrics you're "sound" consists of the combination of your head and hands, your amp, effects and cables, and the guitar and strings, (remember even the thickness of the strings is a factor... if the guitar ships with corroded 9's and you put on brand new 11's you'll probably hear a big difference). Although you can get a feel for how a guitar sounds in the store, you'll know for sure when you get it home to your rig.


What I do is to make sure I know the return policy of the store, buy the guitar, see if I can get them to "throw in" a pack or two of strings... then restring the guitar as soon as I get home. Within a few hours, I'm usually pretty familiar with my new axe and know if it's a keeper or not.



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One of the stores near me restrings all their acoutics. they use Martin SP's on the ones that sell best and Elixers on the ones that don't sell so rapidly. I would think that the store outght to be sure that the guitars play well and sound good in order to sell. I wonder how many sales have been lost because of dead or bad strings.

Psalm 33:3

The best instrument you have, is your heart.

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