August 31, 2015

Back to School – A Great Time for Guitars New & Old

Mike Murphy

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Back to School by Aaron Jorgensen

It’s that time again, 50 pounds of books, new school clothes, reconnecting with old friends, and maybe a few new ones. Some students are making their way off to college, some venturing into their first year of high school or jr. high. At Murphy’s Guitars, however we find that the “back to school” season is a peak time for getting a new guitar, or tuning up the axe that’s been collecting dust in the attic for years.

Many of the local schools in the Salt Lake and Davis county areas offer guitar programs in jr. high and high school, so many students find their way into our doors looking for a back to school guitar. If you’re looking for a new back to school guitar, here are a few things to consider.

1. Does the guitar have a hard case, soft bag, or no case at all?

You’ll be carting this guitar to and from school every day (or every other day). Wouldn’t you feel better knowing its protected?

2. What do I do when I’m done with the class?

Hopefully, you’ll keep the guitar! You just spent all of this time learning to play, why not continue learning? Murphy’s Guitars offers a trade up program that allows students that origianlly bought their guitar from us to trade up to a better quality model when they’ve had a taste of playing. We also offer private lessons that will allow you to really hone your skills 1-on-1 with any of our experienced instructors. If you decide that guitar isn’t for you when it’s all over, we also offer a buy back program. Ask a Murphy’s Guitars team member for additional information.

3. Renting vs. Owning

Around this time of year, I hear this question all the time. Which is better? We offer guitars in a very affordable price range that make it easy to own your very own guitar today. When you rent, many companies will have you pay almost $100 more for the same model on a rent-to-own program. It usually makes more sense to buy the guitar, and when the class is over, see if you want to sell it. Murphy’s does, however offer special fiancing that makes owning your instrument easy. See an associate for financing details.

So maybe you have an old guitar gathering dust in the attic, a new guitar might not make sense to you, but what exactly goes into tuning up an old guitar that’s been out of practice for a few years? Here are a few things to consider when going back to school with an old guitar.

1. Is it playable?

Fairly obvious, I know, but sometimes this question isn’t easily answered without the help of a trained guitar repair tech. If a guitar has been stored for an extended period of time (with our without the strings at full tention) there are a number of problems that could possibly arise. In a climate like ours (dry deserts of northern Utah) we have a very low humidity which poses a problem for the woods in guitars. If a guitar hasn’t been properly cared for, it could have a number of problems depending on your climate, where it was stored, and many other factors. It’s usually best to see your local repair shop, and let them determine how well the guitar has held up.

2. Is it valuable?

It doesn’t happen every day, but a few times each year we’ll have a local student bring a guitar in for repair. The story usually goes, this guitar used to belong to my mom, dad, grandma, etc. and I’m using it in my guitar class at school. Upon dusting off the headstock and the inside we’ll discover that this student has been transporting an instrument of value to and from high school every day (without a case usually). This isn’t exactly a bad problem to have, but it can be scary knowing that if someone recognized the value of the instrument, they might be motivated to make off with it. It’s always best to do a little research before sending jr. off to school with grandpa’s old guitar, and take it to your local guitar shop to see what they say.

3. Will this instrument be easy to learn on?

Often times playable, and easy are not even remotely the same thing. Many guitar players don’t even relize it, but their guitars could very well be out of shape. I’ve heard the old story so many times, “this old guitar seems like it’s gotten so hard to play over the years.” Sometimes age or practice are a factor in that, but often times the biggest factor is the health of the instrument. As your instrument ages it needs propper care, or the woods will move and warp causing the strings to end up further away from the fretboard, making the guitar harder to play. Sometimes this is fixable, but it’s always best to take an instrument to your local shop, and see what the verdict is. A guitar that has fallen out of setup might not be too bad for an experienced player, but to a beginner, the health of an old guitar could be the difference between a lifelong passion, and giving up in frustration.

I hope this has been helpful, for more information visit us on social media, email us at mail@murphysguitars.com, or visit us at 133 n. Main Street in Bountiful, Utah

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