Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

spottie
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Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by spottie » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:04 am

So far, my guitars had either been commissioned or ordered online, with one purchased directly from a member here. I had never set foot into a guitar store before. I'm going to GFA Miami next week, and would love to try some guitars there. Are there any etiquette I should be observing? Like not to wear belt or buttons to avoid scratching the guitars or something? I have no clues. One of the piece I just learned has rasguedo and tambour in it, is it ok to play when trying the guitars? Not sure that might scratch the guitars?

Honestly, I felt a bit intimidated and might end up not trying anything at all.  I have no intention to buy right now, but want to check out Hill guitars with soundports to see if it improves player's listening experience. Greg Byers and Traphagen are on the vendor list, I want to check them out to see if they might be the ones I can contact in a few years to buy a guitar for my 50th birthday? The problem is, I'm currently at advanced beginner level only, I'm afraid I might get laughed out the door with my playing. (I'm sure they are professional enough not to do anything like that, but still...)

Advice are greatly appreciated.

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Steve Ganz
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by Steve Ganz » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:40 am

Talk to the exhibitors when they are not particularly busy. Tell them that exactly how you feel and your playing level/experience. They will appreciate knowing.
They have a top protector they can attach (static held) to protect the top.
After you tell them your experience, tell them you are interested in playing something. Keep it simple. Pay attention to how you touch the instrument.
Most importantly: Do not attempt your newly learned rasqueados.
Steve

celestemcc
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by celestemcc » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:47 pm

Tried a lot of guitars at a very small Boston event. All of the above, and it's just a very nice ouch to wear things that won't scratch the guitar, it shows you get it. Most of the luthiers were very friendly and accommodating.
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petermc61
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by petermc61 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:09 am

I worry that you needed to ask this question.

Clearly, etiquette demands that you be highly respectful of the condition of instruments when you try them. Buttons, belts, flamenco techniques etc are all a risk to instruments. I also suggest wearing long sleeves or taking an arm protector so as not to sweat on or rub the finish.

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Keith
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by Keith » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:54 am

wear a long sleeve t-shirt (no buttons), if wearing a belt move the belt so the buckle is at your side, no golpe (tapping) or other techniques that might inflict damage and do not assume the luthier has a static tap plate or other safety devices. if you use a guitar support at home then spend some time getting use to a foot stool. best advice, treat the guitar as a guitar you do not want to buy as a result of damaging it.
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

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simonm
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by simonm » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:26 pm

Pretty much as others have commented. The only real dangers apart from dropping it on the floor or bumping into stuff are belt buckles or scratchy buttons (or jewelry) on your front that can damage the back of the guar. I noticed a guy who was trying load of guitars in a shop was wearing one of those fancier shirts where the buttons are behind a layer of cloth and it was outside his pants so if he had a belt it was covered up.

Aaron Green
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by Aaron Green » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:05 pm

I appreciate you asking the question. When people try guitars at my studio or if I am at an event, it is most important to me that they be cognizant of the fact that this is not their guitar (yet) and to treat it as such. I love having people over and playing guitars but if I ask someone to please be careful of their buttons, take off their watch or bracelet or rings...and I get a look like I am being condescending or otherwise overly cautious...it puts my back up as it were. Unless you are willing to buy a guitar you scratch or otherwise damage..a little self awareness goes a very long way.

And I don't care about someone's playing level. My belief (self serving as it may be) is that everyone should have the guitar that inspires them to sit down and play. Whether or not you are the most "worthy" of it. In fact, if it does inspire you to sit down and play, and you do so regularly, that is the only metric of "worthiness" that exists IMO.
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souldier
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by souldier » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:27 pm

Common sense goes a long way here as shown by the suggestions above. The bottom line is that these instruments are expensive and delicate. Do your best to leave it in same condition. Also remember that luthiers/dealers want their guitars to be tested. They didn't travel many miles just for their guitars to sit unplayed. Also put aside any thoughts that your skill level will get you laughed it. If you are that self conscious, you will be more focused on your playing then on hearing the instrument. Loosen up, enjoy your time, and play as many guitars as you want. Would be a terrible shame if you went all the way to miami and just looked at the guitars on display.

With that said, trying these guitars at conventions arn't the most ideal way to test a guitar. The hall can be so noisy and distracting that it becomes difficult to really get a sense of the guitars true sound and nuances, coupled with the fact that you probably arn't playing your own familiar guitar first. If there is an instrument you want to hear more closely, you can ask the luthier if it is possible to test the guitar in a quiet area.
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astro64
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by astro64 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:47 pm

I have been to many GFAs. Some luthiers are more relaxed about it than others. All the above advice is good. I wear long pants, an arm sleeve or long sleeved button free shirt. The biggest challenge is hearing the instrument in the loud vendor fair. Going to a quiet hall (usually with the luthier) is a good option but even then it is never silent for long.

SteveL123
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by SteveL123 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:11 pm

spottie wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:04 am
.................... I'm going to GFA Miami next week, and would love to try some guitars there. ..................
How are you enjoying GFA and what guitars have you tried?

spottie
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by spottie » Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:28 pm

Thank you all for the suggestions, they are great help! I haven't thought of arm sleeves and will definitely bring one. Watch and rings are those I haven't pay attention either, so I will make sure to tuck them out of sight. I want to be respectful, but sometimes, being relatively new, I just don't know what are the things to watch out for. It's like growing up using chopsticks, I never know what those dozen forks/knives are for at the formal banquet:) Getting a crash course here definitely helps!

spottie
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by spottie » Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:32 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:11 pm
spottie wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:04 am
.................... I'm going to GFA Miami next week, and would love to try some guitars there. ..................
How are you enjoying GFA and what guitars have you tried?
I'm flying out tomorrow, will report back. Looks like they added more luthiers than they initially have on the website. Looking forward to my first GFA.

spottie
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by spottie » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:52 pm

I had a great time at the Miami GFA. I was there two full days and didn't expect it to be so intense. The first day I barely had time for lunch and did manage 5 minutes to pop in the vendor area right before it closed, just get an idea of the lay of the land. The second day, I skipped part of finals of the senior division and stopped by the vendor halls again. Then I realized there were actually two vendor halls and therefore headed to the one I didn't go to before. There were some guitars there but the majority are strings and sheet music. I talked to the Strings by Mail people as I was excited to see thy are now carrying Guitarlift. Then I realized that the last day vendors close early at two and I ran out of time again.

I headed back to the first vendor area and saw Mr. Byers there. The previous day Zoran Dukic gave an amazing concert with a Greg Byers guitar. I talked to Mr. Byers, gave him my sincere compliments on his guitar from the previous day concert and inquired about his waiting list, which is about a year. I also asked him if he still makes fan braced guitar, and he explained that now he uses two fans to make a lattice which was on the guitar I heard playing by Zoran Dukic. He offered me his guitar to try but I didn't take up on it. After the two days spent at GFA, I realized what I needed is 5,000 hours of more practice before even thinking about another guitar :)

What souldier said about convention was also very true. It was so noisy, I wonder how can anyone hear what the guitar really sounds like. I guess if people are really serious about purchasing there, they probably will find another quite area somewhere else once they narrow down their choices.

astro64
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by astro64 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:58 pm

The Miami GFA indeed had the problem that it lacked easily accessible quiet spaces to try out the guitars. At other GFAs there are rooms and hallways around to do that. Overall, the vendor fair did not seem very well attended.

David Conti
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Re: Etiquette trying guitars at conventions?

Post by David Conti » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:33 pm

Part of the problem with exhibiting guitars is that you get all types of people and some that should really know better. At this years GFA I had one of the performers grab a guitar I had (after telling them that they need to be careful etc...) and proceeded to put a big sweat stain on the back.
Of course it was 97 degrees out and super humid but you always get one or two guitars scratched.
If you want to make a guitar sellers hair stand up on the back of his neck just play Asturias or Leyenda......
Most people are respectful and good but some just think it's like guitar center.
It was a "down" year as the vendor fair had 10 less vendors and all I can think of is that no one wants to be in Miami in late June, I certainly will not be back. But next year is here at "home" for me in Indianapolis and it should be good as we are close enough to Chicago to get a good draw of people and Luthiers.

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