Is It Worth A Road Trip?

Welcome to this edition of the Fingerstyle Monthly. This month I'd like to touch on the differences between buying a guitar online and from a retailer.

I'll put it in the context of my own personal experience.

A few months ago I gave in to my lust to buy a resonator guitar. I'd only played one National resophonic in my entire life. And that guitar was an older model that had been brought back to life by it's owner.

But I've listened to a lot of music on them and really like the sound. So I did a lot of online research, made my decision based on that research and ordered the guitar.

That's right, I bought a guitar that I'd never seen or played, online.

Well, it turns out that I like the guitar pretty well. It's a good way to "get my feet wet" with a new type of instrument.

The problem is that I had only played one resonator before, and that was years ago. I knew that it would feel different in my left hand, but I didn't know how different.

So I've played this guitar for several months, but it just didn't feel right. I decided that I wanted to play a current model National Reso-Phonic Guitar.

I wanted to see how Nationals factory set-up felt. I was also curious to see if there really was $1500-2000 worth of difference between my new guitar and a "real" resonator.

There was only one problem. No one in my town sells Nationals. So I went online to find out where the closest dealer was.

National Reso-Phonic listed only two dealers for the entire state. When I looked at those dealers websites, one had quit carrying them and the other only had two in stock.

Long story short, I ended up going to a store in Houston, three and a half hours away.

Once there I played several different models of Nationals. Having the different guitars in my hands answered several questions.

  • Nationals factory set-up was better than the one on the guitar that I had bought
  • The set-up on every National that I played was consistent
  • The fit and finish were superior on the Nationals
  • The Nationals were worth the price difference between them and the import

With these questions answered, I would buy a National online. If it hadn't been damaged in shipment to the dealer, it should be a great playing guitar. Just do as much research as you can first.

Would I order a new guitar from the dealer that I visited in Houston? Probably not. I'll go into that story in a later issue.

New Stuff

I've added a couple of new things recently. They are aimed at making the site more useful to visitors. On the Beginner Guitar Lesson page, and the Free Online Lesson page I've added short surveys.

The surveys are to help me get information on what visitors want to learn. You aren't asked any personal information. There are just some boxes to click in to let me know what your preferences are for lessons.

I've also added a Request Page. It's purpose is to let me hear your suggestions on how I can improve

Well that's it for this month. I hope that you find this information helpful. Here's a video of some pretty slick playing on a resonator guitar. I hope that you enjoy it.

See you next month!

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