Chemistry, Comfort and Compatibility: Finding Your Perfect Match

1956 Gibson J-200
 It was beautiful. It was big. I sold it.
Many of us have been in relationships that had plenty of
sparkle, but were painful much of the time. So it is with guitars. When I was
fresh into the guitar world, my head was easily turned by beautiful wood,
artistic inlays or an exquisite tone. In a moment of passion, I would commit to
a guitar that was utterly amazing, but wasn’t right for me. In spite of a
strong attraction, without the day-to-day ease that comes from comfort and
compatibility, the relationship was doomed.
Although breaking up is hard to do, sometimes it is clearly
the best move. The wisdom of experience coupled with the realization that there
is no shortage of amazing guitars on the planet led me to healthy, happy (yes,
even blissful!) long-term relationships with some great guitars. A little
forethought can do the same for you.
Make a List

Before you begin shopping, write down your criteria for your
perfect match. (Lists don’t lie!) Start your list with fundamental
requirements, such as size, type (acoustic, electric, etc.), playability,
quality of workmanship and price range. You can find information about guitar
types and tips on guitar shopping and negotiating the deal in this article on
how to buy a guitar. 
Once you are clear on the basics, add in your personal needs
and desires, such as kind of wood, decoration, tone and general appeal. This is
the time to reflect on yourself and your music.
Know Yourself, Know
Your Music, Trust Your Gut

It is important to consider your body type when choosing a
guitar. If, for example, you are small or have a short upper body, you will
play and feel your best with a small guitar. Never underestimate the importance
of the size and shape of your guitar – a guitar that is too large for you can
actually cause injury to your hands or arms!
Different styles of music call for different kinds of
instruments. Is the guitar you’re considering built to bring out the sound of
the of music that you will be playing on it? You may need
to face the fact that you require more than one guitar in order to be effective
with the different styles of music you play. (Hey, what guitar player doesn’t
like an excuse to collect guitars?)
Try to avoid excessive peer influence, brand bias or flashy
sales gimmicks when choosing a guitar. When you find a guitar that really draws
your attention, pick it up and play it. Tune in to the way it sounds and to how
it feels in your lap. Play it some more. Is it your guitar?
Once You’ve Found It,
Never Let It Go!
It’s a lot of fun to buy a guitar, but it’s even more fun if
the guitar is a sweet deal and a good match. Once you’ve found that match, take
it home, give it lots of attention and watch the relationship grow!

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