A Serious Discussion, Not every guitar reviewed on the internet deserves a 9 or 10.
Mar 5 2008, 02:29 PM
Posts: 667
Joined: 6-July 07
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Through my morning ritual of sitting on the can and catching up on ultimate-guitar.com and the forums here, I finally had it after seeing another $300 guitar get reviewed as a 9.5, which leads me to this statement that I wish many people considering doing reviews would consider:

Not every guitar on the internet is a 9 or a 10 or 5 star worthy.

I have a Schecter Gryphon. While it is a decent low end guitar, I know very well it is not a 4 star guitar, let alone 5. The neck has tiny imperfections that you can feel when you run your hand down it (I was the first one to play it and it was maintained very well, they’re not nicks). You can see the visible scarf joint at the headstock. The low end Grover tuners do not hold tune as well as their high end brothers and with aggressive bends/vibratos, I can make most of the strings go a quarter flat after 15 minutes of play. The sustain on this guitar is average for a bolt on neck, and is absolutely destroyed by set/thru neck guitars. The playability is high as the frets are very good, actually, and the deep cut away gives you great access to the higher registers. The satin finished maple neck lets your hand zip up and down the neck. The sound is ho-hum at best. Sure, the coil tap opens up the versatility of the instrument, but it goes from sounding like a dodgy humbucker to a dodgy single coil. Of course, I’m unfairly comparing it to much higher dollar pickups in my other guitars (DiMarzio Evolutions, IBZ V7/V8, and Seymour Duncan Live Wires) but it’s that kind of perspective that is necessary to really give any sort of benchmark on something as subjective as sound. The finish on the flamed maple cap is decent. The action and intonation out of the box were very good, intonation was dead on. Action was nice and low with out buzzing or fretting out on 1.5 step+ bends. The banding is not as thick as it would be on a higher dollar guitar but it is VERY attractive for the money.

This is an honest review of a low end guitar. I got it for $400 from guitar center just over a year ago. I would give it a 3 star rating or about a 6.5 on a 10 scale. I believe it to be of higher quality than Epi LPs/SG or Squiers at the same price and more versatile, but this guitar is rightly dwarfed in comparison to higher end guitars.

Why, does every vendor I see this guitar appear on currently have it reviewed as a 5 star guitar? Why is EVERY guitar a 5 star guitar? My guess would be naivety and a desire to justify their purchase. I know I am not alone in wishing there was a veritable “Consumer Reports” or such of a non-biased reviews on a broad spectrum of gear. GuitarWorld does a fantastic job, but they maybe cover a guitar or two a month.

So how do we help combat this affliction of dishonest and naïve reviews? Well, I guess the first step would be education.

When test driving a guitar, put it through it’s paces. Look at the neck; first, see if there is any bow to the neck, meaning there is too much relief and the strings float really high at 12th fret. Next, run your hand up and down the back of the neck, does the finish grab the skin of your palm? Do you note any imperfections in the wood? If the guitar has binding, trace the binding with your eye, are there any gaps or bubbles in the binding? Now look at the neck joint if it’s a set neck, this is likely to be where any glaring finish flaws will be. Now play it. I recommend having a repertoire of different licks you can play to put it through it’s paces. I play “Swamp Music”/”Fade to Black” to test cleans, “Fight Fire with Fire”/”Cowboys from Hell” to test the responsiveness/clarity of pickups, I play some Maiden to really get an idea of the tone of the guitar since their music has a lot of mids/highs, I’ll attempt some Friedman Deth solos to get an idea of the highs (I said “attempt” meaning played as neatly as I can, but still sloppy tongue.gif). Then I’ll just bang out some major chords to see how it sustains. While the chords are ringing, I move my right hand around to different areas of the body to see if the whole body is vibrating with the instrument. Now pull a much higher end guitar off the shelf (A Gibson or JEM or Soloist or American Standard) and do the exact same thing with that instrument. You now have perspective on your test subject.

What other tips can you offer the community to help improve the strengths and impartiality of the reviews we see on this and other sites?

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Posts in this topic
- Goliath   A Serious Discussion   Mar 5 2008, 02:29 PM
- - OrganisedConfusion   I only buy top class guitars They have to pass ri...   Mar 5 2008, 02:38 PM
- - Guitarman700   here is the worst review i have ever read, its for...   Mar 5 2008, 02:44 PM
|- - lavendell   QUOTE (Guitarman700 @ Mar 5 2008, 02:44 P...   Mar 5 2008, 02:51 PM
|- - Toni Suominen   I think you Goliath make a very good point, I also...   Mar 5 2008, 03:23 PM
- - Spreedmaster   What a terrible review! Guitars really should ...   Mar 5 2008, 03:12 PM
- - blindwillie   Can't agree with you more Goliath. I prefer re...   Mar 5 2008, 03:21 PM
- - OrganisedConfusion   I really like Trond's pedal review as it is ve...   Mar 5 2008, 03:22 PM
- - Duncan   To be fair I don't think all guitars can fit o...   Mar 5 2008, 04:39 PM
|- - mattacuk   QUOTE (Duncan @ Mar 5 2008, 03:39 PM) To ...   Mar 5 2008, 04:48 PM
- - Goliath   While I get what you're saying Mattacuk, there...   Mar 5 2008, 04:57 PM
|- - DeepRoots   QUOTE (Goliath @ Mar 5 2008, 03:57 PM) Ad...   Mar 5 2008, 05:04 PM
|- - mattacuk   QUOTE (Goliath @ Mar 5 2008, 03:57 PM) Wh...   Mar 5 2008, 05:48 PM
- - Smells   yea I think theres some good points stated here, a...   Mar 5 2008, 05:27 PM
- - Juan M. Valero   well the most important is the quality not the quo...   Mar 5 2008, 05:32 PM
- - Goliath   Perhaps there should be a "star color" s...   Mar 5 2008, 09:11 PM
- - MickeM   I'm too tired to the the entire post so maybe ...   Mar 5 2008, 09:29 PM
- - blindwillie   I was in a hurry in my last post so it got a bit s...   Mar 6 2008, 10:27 AM
|- - MickeM   QUOTE (blindwillie @ Mar 6 2008, 10:27 AM...   Mar 6 2008, 11:48 AM
- - Paul Coutts   very good point to make, man I notice the same thi...   Mar 6 2008, 11:12 AM
- - Milenkovic Ivan   For example in a review you can say "this gui...   Mar 6 2008, 10:19 PM
- - Unleash-The-Shred   QUOTE (Milenkovic Ivan @ Mar 6 2008, 04:1...   Mar 6 2008, 10:22 PM

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