Visit to Dawsons in Reading

General, Guitars
 It’s about 20 years since I’ve even set foot in a music shop of any size, so a trip to Dawsons in Reading was a matter of some excitement to me. I’ve spent years looking on music shop websites, such as the Dawsons one and the Andertons one, and GAK and Thomman and many more.


They’re both easy to find and sport a sizable car park, a massive win there.

Entering via the back of the store you pass some electric drum kids and the massive wall of guitars unveils itself to you. 5 rows high over two floors. Goodness.

The first thing that shocked me is HOW BIG IS AN EPIPHONE DOT. Seriously. A lot of the guitars were a lot bigger than I’d been expecting for some reason.  I’ve got a semi (childish laugh), but that’s around Les Paul sized, so that may have swayed my expectations. Also HOW HEAVY IS A LES PAUL! Even the weight relieved ones.

And that leads me on to the joy of being able to touch and try all these guitars that I’ve spent a lifetime wondering about.  The Yamaha selection was a little light, not a Pacifica or RGX in sight. But I did get to meet a Revstar (sadly locked to the stand) and the Variax Standard. Which I’ve fallen in love with a little, despite it being like a Pacifica 112 in build, but with an SSS configuration (I have this on good authority from Yamaha Music London over email)

As an interesting experiment we stood there and did a side by side comparison of a £500 Epiphone Les Paul and a £2000 Gibson Les Paul. Blind folded, I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. They were both in my dream jet black with a white trim.

I’ve never actually touched or played any of these instruments so it was like a lifetime’s ambition fulfilled to get a feel of all of them. Never just buy online like I’d been tempted, go to a place that lets you experience it.

Winning guitars of the day for me were:

  • Squire Affinity Jazzmaster (such a plain looking thing, cheap, but I was drawn to it)
  • The Telecaster (OH MY GOD, it fits me like a glove)
  • Variax (oddly, having not heard it)

The surprise of the day to me was that I preferred the feel in playing of a Stratocaster to a Les Paul and felt more affinity to it. But neither was close to that Telecaster.

Also, the staff left us well alone, which I very much appreciate being a bit of an introvert. I think if I’d been spoken too I’d have run away.

A lovely day out and should the prices be right, I will return come the purchase of a new guitar!

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