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Guitar advise?





highvoltagerock
I won't be buying an electric guitar until the new year, but I was wondering if anyone could give me some advise on what I should look for, and what I should ultimately buy...

On a related note, who do you think makes the best guitars? Fender? Gibson? other?...
gverutes
If you are new to guitar, get an acoustic with nylon strings or electric guitar. Until you build up finger strength, it will be very difficult to play a steel string acoustic guitar.
highvoltagerock
I'm working on a Acoustic right now. I am just trying to figure out which one to buy when I do go electric... (Its easier to save if I know how much I am going to need...) Smile
Ankhanu
I can't tell you what to buy, as it's a very nuanced question... but I can offer some advice to help you figure out what you should get for yourself.

1st - Figure out what you're going to be playing. Think of the music you listen to and think of what you'd like to do with the instrument. Look at what people who are playing what you want to play are using. You might want to start your search with instruments similar to your heroes'.

2nd - Go to stores and test guitars. Yeah, I know you don't know how to play, but you can still go in and see how they feel in your hand; you don't need to plug them in and make a lot of noise while you do it, just get a feel for the different styles and how your hands deal with them. See #1 regarding where to start Wink

3rd - Ask advice of the store clerks. They have experience with the instruments and can help you find the right solution based on your needs. You've gotta be careful though, some are just in it for the sale, but some genuinely recognize that helping a newbie find the right gear will benefit them in the long run, helping you stick with it and find a passion.

4th - Your selection of amp can be just as important as, sometimes more important than, your selection of guitar.

Figure out how much you're willing to spend on your setup. Chances are you won't want to drop serious cash just yet.

Starting out, you don't want to toss too much cash down on any element of your setup. The economy brands like Squire and Epiphone (among others) are good choices to start with. Don't get too caught up in brand names, they largely don't matter, especially when you're starting. Find what feels and sounds right in your price range.

As for an amp, right now, Fender just released a new basic modeling amp starting at the $100USD range, the Mustang I and Mustang II amp. From what I've seen they're REALLY good value for the money... the low price is probably a limited time introductory price, and I imagine the price will go way up after the intro period.
Aside from that, play around and test things again, get advice from the dealer...

Regarding who makes the best guitars, Fender, Gibson, other... it's HIGHLY subjective. The different brands do different things well, and it depends on what sound and feel you're after. Gibson does pretty good humbucker equipped guitars, with darker sounds and high output, while Fender largely produces guitars with single coil pickups and brighter tones. Personally, while I love some Gibsons, I find that they're highly overpriced for what you get, often a couple hundred dollars more expensive than a similar quality (though different sounding and feeling) Fender. There are a bunch of other brands that are good quality as well, but it really depends on what you're after.
liljp617
Listen to the post above.

I would like to make an addition or two though: Take someone who plays guitar or knows a lot about them with you when you go to look/purchase. Don't let the salesperson be the guy who decides for you. You wouldn't let a car salesman make the choice of what car you buy, would you? Even if they told you, "Oh man this is the best car for the money it's great!" No, you would test drive the car or get someone who knows what they're doing test drive it, and you would probably have it taken to a mechanic before purchasing. All that good stuff. It's really only slightly different with a guitar.

Have someone go with you, plug the baby in an amp and see how it plays. See how the neck fits in your hands (someone with small hands probably doesn't want a Gibson or Epiphone as the necks are thick generally). Make sure the neck is in good shape and that there's no loose knobs, string buzzing, wiring issues, etc.

Avoid anything with a tremolo for starters. Anything that doesn't have a quality tremolo in it should be avoided at all costs. And frankly you won't see a quality tremolo in anything under $900 or so unless you're lucky. Honestly, just don't get a tremolo, it's not worth the hassle or money if you haven't mastered the basics of guitar.

If you're looking to spend somewhere between $300 and $600, I'd keep an eye on Squire, Ibanez, or Epiphone...depending on your style of play.
Ankhanu
Good point, Lil, both points (friend with experience, no tremolo).

I will say that the current Squire Classic Vibe (CV) and Vintage Modified (VM) series are really good quality for the price... Hell, they're just really good quality. They're a good place to start, imo. You do have to be careful with Squire, however, the quality can be really up and down (though the CV and VM are generally quite good)... some are just garbage. Same thing with Epiphone; some Epis are really good (but they're usually high priced too), but some are just garbage. Always try before you buy.

Personally I'm not a fan of Ibanez, but I know people who adore them.
liljp617
Also, don't buy one of those "Starter Packs" or whatever they're called.
sandmanxyz
liljp617 wrote:
Also, don't buy one of those "Starter Packs" or whatever they're called.


+1 Cool
davidalpiano
I would go for an electroacustic guitar. They have a warm and rich sound
Ankhanu
davidalpiano wrote:
I would go for an electroacustic guitar. They have a warm and rich sound


In general, I'd have to disagree on this point. I find that more often than not, they're quite mid-heavy and a little bit quacky.

Played simply acoustically, it'll sound like any other acoustic of similar construction and wood types, but the pickups that tend to be in them are garbage and take a lot of careful EQ work to make sound good. You need to put down real money to get a good sounding (amplified) electroacoustic. Piezo pickups are usually a better choice than an in-body microphone or magnetic coil pickups in an electroacoustic, IMO.
gangi
liljp617 wrote:
Also, don't buy one of those "Starter Packs" or whatever they're called.


Totally agree
rogue_skydragon
I feel that Gibson makes the best-quality guitars out there. If you can get your hands on a Gibson Les Paul, you'll be able to hear the richness of what these guitars can do.
Ankhanu
Gibson makes a solid guitar, no doubt, but they are far from the best out there... they're not even the best factory manufactured guitars. They're also heavily overpriced for the quality they provide. You can buy a similar quality Fender, for example, for about $1000 less. I really don't understand Gibson pricing. For the same price, you can get a superior quality instrument from most of their competitors (ie. Fender, Rickenbacker, PRS, Gretsch, etc.)... they're in the price range of good quality hand-crafted instruments.

That said, they make a very nice instrument... though the exact model and date of manufacture can have a heavy influence on whether it's a nice instrument or a frustrating, very expensive hunk of wood. They're pretty good at building dark-toned humbucker equipped rock/blues machines... not so great at guitars with articulate, sparkling highs and single-coils. It's not their niche.

For a beginner I would never recommend spending Gibson prices. It would be ridiculous.
tingkagol
This thread is insightful. I'm not really into electric guitar that much (I'm more the drummer type), but I've always fancied the look of the Fender Telecaster.

I have a nice & cheap Squier Jazz Bass (which I have no complaints about) and planning to acquire a second-hand Mapex V Series drumkit, just for practicing... Smile
Ankhanu
Do you know what series the Squire Jazz is? The Classic Vibe and Vintage Modified series are really good quality for the price, while I find the Affinity series and a few others are kinda painful to play Razz

I'd really love to get into drumming; I just never had any real time behind a kit. Chances are when I do get a kit, I'll get a Roland V-drum set. I'm not going to be gigging drums (and if I do, I know enough people with acoustic kits) and V-drums are much quieter in the house and take up less space. It'll cost to get good touch responsive mesh pads though.
tingkagol
It's the Affinity alright. Razz I don't have that much problems with it though (maybe because I don't have any high-end basses to compare it to. lol).

I've been drumming since the 90s but I've never owned a single drumset. My reluctance to get one has to do with noise levels. I wanted to wait until I had a nice practice space where my next door neighbors can't hear me. Skill-wise, I'm as good as anybody who doesn't own a drumkit. ha.

***

To get the topic back on track, I also like the look of the Fender Jaguar.


The electric guitar is perhaps the instrument that least interests me though so I'm all about the looks.
Ankhanu
If you had a bad bass, you'd know Razz There are good instruments in the Affinity series, but they're rare. The quality control is really lacking in the line, which means some instruments come out fantastic, but most are kinda crap. A low quality instrument is just unpleasant to play and would probably turn you off of picking it up.

Yeah, drum noise is a bit of an issue, though there are methods to reduce the noise (towels on the heads, practice pads, etc.)... but you can never get away from the fact that you're hitting something hard with a stick Razz It's gonna be noisy. Sometimes I wish that I was more of an a-hole, 'cause I wouldn't care about how neighbours felt and could be as loud as I want... alas, I'm not that way Wink
tingkagol
Ankhanu wrote:
If you had a bad bass, you'd know Razz There are good instruments in the Affinity series, but they're rare. The quality control is really lacking in the line, which means some instruments come out fantastic, but most are kinda crap. A low quality instrument is just unpleasant to play and would probably turn you off of picking it up.

I used to play with locally-made basses that are extremely cheap, but just god-awful. My fingers were aching most of the time because the distance between the strings and fret board was too high ('action'? ). I also got to play a Washburn 5-string which was kind of heavy and a bit old (input jack was already busted). So yeah, my Squier Jazz Bass is the only bass that has so far passed my limited expectations for a 'good' bass, given my history with really bad, god-awful basses. hehe.

For some reason, I haven't even tested a high-end bass (probably for psychological reasons, to prevent myself from 'wanting' it). What brand/series can you recommend?
Ankhanu
Honestly, without spending >$500 or so, I'd really suggest the CV and VM Squires. They're really good quality for cheap. The have Jazz Basses for certain, and there's a Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass... there's probably Precision basses too. I was really critical of the VM Jaguar Bass when I heard about them, but I played one recently in-store and it exceeded my expectations.

If you play around with some Yamaha, Washburn, etc. you may find something that plays well for a good price. Yamaha suffers from inconsistent quality control too; I have a Yamaha BBN5 5-string that I picked up for $500 that plays beautifully... but I've played other BBN5s that I absolutely hated, they were just garbage. Really, the best advice is the most obvious: go to a store, pick up some basses and see how they play Wink
gverutes
Gibson and PRS are my favorites. Fender and Ibanez can be good for certain models.

For bass, I like Warwick, Aria, and Gibson
tingkagol
Quote:
Really, the best advice is the most obvious: go to a store, pick up some basses and see how they play

Guitar shops out here are kind of protective of their high-end gear - cheaper instruments are sort of just lying around out in the open, while the more expensive ones are almost always encased in glass or mounted high up the walls. Hell, I feel all they lack is a "DO NOT TOUCH" sign. Casual testing is just discouraged, I guess, favoring customers seriously prospecting to buy expensive gear. I'm not a serious musician by any means, but this whole store "set-up" just discourages me. That's probably why I haven't been able to test high-end basses and other instruments.
Ankhanu
gverutes wrote:
For bass, I like Warwick, Aria, and Gibson


Man, I've had a visual love for the Gibson Thunderbird IV for as long as I've been playing... but damn they're expensive. I've played a couple Epiphones and other knock-offs, and they've been ok, but I'd love to put a genuine Gibson to the test. I know I like the sound, as I've heard a lot of players.

Same deal with the Rickenbacker 4001/4003. Would LOVE to get my hands on one, but they're so expensive. Adore the tone, love the look, but never tried one.

tingkagol wrote:
Guitar shops out here are kind of protective of their high-end gear - cheaper instruments are sort of just lying around out in the open, while the more expensive ones are almost always encased in glass or mounted high up the walls. Hell, I feel all they lack is a "DO NOT TOUCH" sign. Casual testing is just discouraged, I guess, favoring customers seriously prospecting to buy expensive gear. I'm not a serious musician by any means, but this whole store "set-up" just discourages me. That's probably why I haven't been able to test high-end basses and other instruments.


I can understand your stance... I rarely go into the locked, humidity controlled acoustic room for the same reason Razz
That said, I can certainly see the store wanting to protect those instruments. Even a tiny ding in the finish can seriously compromise the selling value. I was really surprised to see some of the instruments that the local store started mixing in on the floor, such as a $1200 Fender Jaguar on a rack right out on the floor, a $1600 Fender Jazzmaster on the main floor wall in easy reach, a $2400 Gibson ES335 next to the Jazzy, and a $2200 Gibson SG next to that... they're taking some risks Razz
Don't be afraid to ask the clerks to pass you one of the instruments to test... at least just once Wink It'll give you a feel for how they play compared to economy models. It'll help with your perspective on price versus the actual differences in feel and playability. Sometimes it's just not worth dropping an extra $1000 for a $100 upgrade in playability Wink
gs-resume
Im a gibson lover (who isn't) but I had never owned a real les paul, only sg's. I owned an epiphone 56 RI gold top and I could hardly wait to get this guitar when it came out. The guitar looks, sounds and plays great, but as I have probably owned over 40 guitars in the last 8 years (I buy, sell and fix guitars as a hobby), I couldn't help but notice a few things to be aware of: First off, the bridge pickup was really loose, and I had volume disparity between the two pickups, due to imbalanced height and pot ratings. The finish is fairly sloppy (I can't tell if it's on purpose as it says 'worn gold top' but there are bits of over/under spray. There is a ton of cylce hum, and when you look inside the pot cavity the wood is unfinished with no shielding paint or foil-I suggest adding some foil. The Wiring is not the greatest,fairly clean solder but not the best, so I ordered some repro bee oil in paper caps off ebay, with different pots and wire to get the guitar sounding closer to the vintage tone, with less clutter in the cavity. Despite the guitar body being glued out of several pieces, it sustains fairly well, though I plan on swapping out some parts to help with this. In all honesty, my epi 56' sustains better (though overall is not even close).

Long short of it is, it's a great guitar, great value, and perfect for anyone looking to mess around with different wiring's, without messing up a 3000 dollar guitar. I can hardly put it down even as is. In fact, it has inspired me to sell off my gibson sg's towards purchasing one of the higher end les pauls. This LP will be good for gigging, as you don't have to worry about it getting stolen, lost or banged up as much as a higher end LP (although no one should plan to abuse a guitar!).
Ankhanu
gs-resume wrote:
...I had volume disparity between the two pickups, due to imbalanced height and pot ratings.


Interesting! I always assumed the pot ratings for the bridge and neck were the same! What is it normally for LPs, 500k pots? What was this one set with? 1Meg pots tend to get too harsh with most humbuckers (other than Fender Wide Range), and 250k would be pretty dark... I know there are other values used (though less commonly)... but I'm not sure why they would be Razz
tomisme
I would recommend The Fender Stratocaster. Most guitarists will tell you that Stratocaster necks are the most playable guitar necks available.
gs-resume
Of note with the strat is that In its original form, the Stratocaster was offered in a 2-color sunburst finish on a solid, deeply contoured ash body, a one-piece maple neck with 21 frets, black dot inlays, and Kluson machine heads, until 1956, when Fender started making bodies made from solid alder. There was also a set of available custom colors that wasn't standardized until 1960. These custom colors were mostly automobile lacquer colors made by Dupont and could be had for an extra 5% cost. The single-ply, 8-screw hole white pickguard was a unique concept that allowed mounting all electronic components—except the recessed jack plate—in one easily removed assembly. Subsequent Stratocaster designs (by both Fender and imitators) may or may not have improved on the original in usability and sound, but vintage Fender models are still often worth large amounts of money, and many prefer the timbre of older models.
gs-resume
Also for consideration may being the epiphone dot with a semi-hollow body and Alnico Humbucker pickups. The Dot achieves a warm and clear tone. Its construction offers a lot of sustain as well, which makes it capable of being a singing lead guitar. The solid wood block that runs down the middle of the guitar helps prevent feedback, but the guitar will generally generate feedback more easily than a solid-body guitar.

There is a first generation Dot (approx. from the origine to 2001 or 2002) with a maple neck, and the name Gibson inscribed on the truss rod cover. The present Dot has a mahogany neck and the name The Dot is inscribed instead of the name Gibson.

The Dot is based on the Gibson ES-335 or ES-355. Many musicians cannot afford these expensive Gibson models, so the Dot is a cheaper alternative semi-hollowbody.
gs-resume
Additionally, the Les Paul Studio is a popular compromise. The Les Paul Studio is designed for a studio musician. This means that the guitar is targeted toward guitar players more concerned with tone and playability than cosmetics thus eliminating unnecessary expenses that go into a model designed for performances. For this reason, the elements of the Gibson Les Paul that contribute to tone and playability (a carved maple top and standard mechanical and electronic hardware) are retained, while elements that do not (binding on the body and neck as well as ornate inlays) are not. The maple top on the Studio series is 1/8 of an inch thinner than other Les Paul models that feature a maple top. The Studio was made to hit a specific price point below the standard Paul, allowing novice guitarists to enjoy the pedigree, shape and image of a Les Paul at a greatly reduced price.
rocking
liljp617 wrote:
Also, don't buy one of those "Starter Packs" or whatever they're called.


lol, totally agree....
Another advice for you:
Don't spend time on this now, If you are not planning to buy the guitar soon.
Moreover if you will a one year before you buy the electric guitar, you don't need any advices!
You should go to music shop and try to play a lot of guitar and find the one fits you the best
(considering your budget).
Petee
If brand name isn't important to you, I would recommend a Douglas or Agile guitar. They are great guitars for the price. I recently got a used Douglas Spad Natural and I'm very happy with it. It feels very light compared to my Les Pauls (also off-brand guitars), but it's a very comfortable guitar and plays great. Like most guitars you'd buy (including the expensive ones), it needed some setup, but knowing how to do that is an important skill to have. If you don't feel comfortable setting it up at first, have a friend or local tech do it for you so you can see how it's done. Small adjustments to the bridge, saddles, and truss rod can make a significant difference in the playability of any guitar.

As far as I know, Douglas and Agile guitars are manufactured overseas and sold only from Rondo Music here in the states. The have most popular styles: Strat, Tele, Les Paul, etc. If you like the Les Paul style (my personal favorite), the Agile AL-2000 for only $225 would make a great starting guitar and should last you a long time. Rondo Music has a store on their website, as well as on eBay. I think their eBay store has the most accurate inventory, however. In any case, they're definitely worth checking out.

Best of luck to you. Guitar is a wonderful instrument. Smile
Ankhanu
Yeah, the quality:price ratio with a lot of the Rondo/Douglas/Agile stuff is great.
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