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Are guitar necks getting worse?

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Is there any way to get a guitar that doesn't have neck problems? Let's find out.

A common complaint these days across many new guitars regardless of price or brand is neck problems. Specifically, the nut and the frets.

And when I say "regardless of price or brand", I'm not kidding. Whether you spend $200 or $2,000 on a guitar these days, you're almost guaranteed to find one or more of the following issues:

  1. High frets (uneven)
  2. Sharp fret ends
  3. Improperly cut nut

It's almost required these days to know how to fix high frets, level frets, file sharp fret ends and install a new nut yourself just to have a decent guitar worth playing.

But why?

The answer is the elimination of inspections by both the guitar manufacturers and the guitar retailers.

What is supposed to happen is that every guitar should be inspected three times. First by the factory themselves, second by the warehouse that receives it, and third by the retailer when they get it before it's finally sold to you. Sometimes the second inspection doesn't happen if the factory ships direct to retailers. But at bare minimum, the guitar should be inspected at least twice.

These days, the total amount of inspections that happens for the vast majority of guitars is once. It's done at the factory, only the factory, and done poorly. After that, the guitar is packaged and then shipped to a warehouse where during transit it's jostled around, then placed in storage. After that it's shipped to the retailer where again it's jostled around and placed in storage.

By the time you get the guitar, its box hasn't been opened since it left the factory.

"That's good, right?" No, that's bad.

That guitar has been through hundreds if not thousands of miles of transit, banged around, and subjected to temperature changes both hot and cold. NO WONDER it's screwed up by the time you get it.

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