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Author Topic: My first guitar - help me out  (Read 24559 times)

beatpunkus

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My first guitar - help me out
« on: 26 Dec 2004, 16:05 »

Alright, so, I'm going to be buying my first guitar soon, and I don't have much of an idea what sort I should purchase. I know I want an electric (I'm just getting this to have fun with for now, so I'm not real worried about starting on acoustic to build up finger strength and whatnot), but as far as the brand and style, I'm clueless. I have it on good authority that Fenders are overpriced pieces of crap, and I'm probably not going to change my mind on this unless you give me a really convincing argument to the contrary. But anyway, any help you all could offer would be great. As far as the technical aspects of guitar go, I know next to nothing, so keep it simple please. However, I do have a very wide knowledge of music itself, so feel free to indulge in that area. Thanks in advance!


By the way, hello to everyone.
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jeph

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #1 on: 26 Dec 2004, 16:14 »

What kind of music do you want to play?
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Oerdin

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #2 on: 26 Dec 2004, 16:31 »

I don't want to barge in on beatpunkus's thread but I'm also in the market for a first guitar.  My big issue is that I'm left handed and I can't seem to find any left handed guitars under $700.  When I was in college my room mate tried to teach me how to play his right handed guitar, however, I am afraid I am hopelessly left handed and it didn't turn out to well.  Does any know of a good place to pick up a discount or even second hand left handed guitar?

   I'd like to start with an accoustic guitar maybe one which has the plug for the amp already built in, but, I have no idea about brands or styles are better then others.  Music wise I'm aiming for more of a Jack Johnson like mellow rock sound something which won't sound to bad if I'm sitting on my back porch play guitar and singing for a few friends (because that's likely to be the only venue I'll be playing).  Does anyone have any suggestions?
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beatpunkus

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #3 on: 26 Dec 2004, 16:33 »

Well... I'm not real sure, that's the problem. I listen to everything, and I'm interested in learning how various guitar styles work. To answer your question though, I suppose I'll be starting off just sort of tooling around with basic rock music, though I am a big fan of loud, kinetic punky stuff too.  Does that help at all? Oh, also, I'd like to limit the guitar price to around 400-500 so I've got some money left for a decent amp too, if at all possible.
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jeph

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #4 on: 26 Dec 2004, 18:27 »

I'd recommend something by http://www.espguitars.com">ESP or http://www.ibanez.com">Ibanez in that price range. They have a bunch of different models so you can find one that fits your style and looks good too. I wouldn't recommend anything with a Floyd Rose bridge as adjusting or restringing one of those is a task best left to professionals. All of their stuff is very high quality for that price range, so you should be happy with your choice.

One good example in your  price range: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=guitar/search/detail/base_pid/516681/">click here
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fin

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #5 on: 26 Dec 2004, 19:10 »

Speaking as someone who, after owning a guitar for almost a year and learning hee-haw, i think you may want to consider getting an accoustic for your first guitar. the reason being with an acoustic you can pick it up and play it without having to switch on amps etc, I only ever play my electric when make a concious decision to have a session at the guitar. My old flatmate used to leave his old acoustic lying around the kitchen, even though it only had four strings i would constantly be picking it up and trying to play something - thinking of only playing a few largely imaginary chords and ending up playing for ages, or till somebody told me to shut the hell up for playing a badly timed acoustic rendition "my own summer (shove it)".

My point  being, unless you are incredibly determined you'd be best getting an acoustic, or an electric and a cheap accoustic, because you'll play more often. Even if you want to play songs that _should_ be played on an electric, theyll sound cool on an acoustic, and anything fancy enough to *need* an electric will probally be out of range till you have a lot of experience. thats my two cents anyway.
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beatpunkus

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #6 on: 26 Dec 2004, 19:23 »

Yeah, the point you make is something that's been sort of in the back of my mind fin. Since I'm in college/working, it's always a toss up of how much time I'll have in a given day. At the same time, I have a limited budget, so honestly it's probably one or the other (acoustic or electric) not both. So mainly, I'm concerned that once I make this purchase, I'll end up not liking my choice, and I'll be stuck with what I get. Does anyone else feel that starting on electric would be a mistake? I appreciate the help so far guys.
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jeph

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« Reply #7 on: 26 Dec 2004, 19:38 »

Starting on electric is fine. Play both at the store and see which feels more right to you.
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RaideR

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #8 on: 27 Dec 2004, 12:51 »

yeah going to the store and play is indeed a good idea , because i went to a store to buy a electric guitar but just for laughs i tried a bass and fell in love with it, but anyway if you want to buy a not too overpriced guitar try buying a value-package which usually include a guitar , amp and lot's of other stuff for a really good price,

also i you want to buy your guitar of the internet try www.music123.com
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gothiccheese

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #9 on: 27 Dec 2004, 13:36 »

For my first guitar I got some speacial started pack that came with a traveling amp and a crappy book I never used. I think I might of liked an acoustic, but I first learned on electric so I got one of them, but I'm getting an acoustic as a late xmas pressie.
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Husker B.

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #10 on: 29 Dec 2004, 09:15 »

Hi,

Just a bit of a bio to let you know where I am coming from:

I spent 5 years as the guitar department manager of one of those huge chain stores that musicians love to hate (myself included, most of the time).

I sold an average of $650,000 worth of guitars a year. At an average sale of $250 that's a whole hell of a lot of customers.

I've sold guitars and other gear to a broad spectrum of professional players, including Nico Mcbrain of Iron Maiden, Marylin Manson, Daisy Berkowitz, John 5, and Twiggy of Manson, Ryan Primack of Poison the Well, All of New Found Glory, Further Seems Forever, Dashboard Confessional, Nonpoint, Jude, Walter Orange of the Commodores, Dion (of Dion and the Belmonts), Bootsy Collins of P-Funk, Members of Lynard Skynard, Extreme, Saigon Kick,  and abot half a hundred other bands that I could list here.

I know what I'm talking about when it comes to guitars, getting the sound you want for the dollars you want to spend and more.

About 5 posts back a guy named "Jeph" gave you the best advice you could ever get:




Quote
Play both at the store and see which feels more right to you.


He's so right.

Play EVERYTHING at the store and see what feels right.

As for my recommendations, I'm a big fan of the Mexican Fender stuff.

Every single Mexican guitar fender makes is cut and shaped in the U.S.

I've been to both factories.

They cut the bodies and necks on the EXACT SAME machines that they make the Eric Clapton signature strats on. The bodies and necks are then packed up and driven about 3 hours south to Ensenada, Mexico to be painted and assembled.

At the same time the trucks drop off the parts for assembly, they pick up Wooden Amplifier cabinets that are used to make the U.S. tube amps.

Fender takes advantage of the closeness of the two factories to devide labor up. The U.S. has all the machines for detailed cutting, and the less exacting cuts required to make wooden boxes are done down there.

So for about $330.00 you get a guitar that was shaped in the U.S. on the same line that $1500 guitars were cut on. The guitar comes with a lifetime warranty, and Fender is pretty good about it if you ever need parts replaced.

I also concur with Jeph about the low cost Ibanez stuff being nice guitars. They are well made, and the fret jobs are pretty good right out of the box (something I can't say for the mostly awful inexpensive Epiphone stuff).

We sold ESP, and I found that the LTD stuff has some consistancy issues; one guitar would play great and the next would have a horrible set-up out of the box.

My last piece of advice to add is: Buy the one you play. Don spend 45 minutes playing a guitar and falling in love with it, and then saying "Do you have one of these in a box?"

No two guitars of the same model are EXACTLY the same. There will be differences in feel and tone from guitar to guitar. When you find one you like, make sure it isn't digned up, make the store change the strings for you and buy THAT one. It will still have the same warranty as if you opened the box, and you'll know what you are getting.

If you want more advice, or see things and want opinions, let me know. I'm always happy to help a new player get started.

Peace, and Rock On...
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lb969

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #11 on: 29 Dec 2004, 14:23 »

Im a fender Bass player meself...

My Squire Precision is GREAT

(jazz Pickup as primary, Concert as Secondardy)

Squire makes Left handed and right handed models too

just post your Zipcode and i can look up a dealer for you....

EDIT: Stratocasters come lefthanded....
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Husker B.

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #12 on: 29 Dec 2004, 18:54 »

Quote from: Oerdin
I don't want to barge in on beatpunkus's thread but I'm also in the market for a first guitar.  My big issue is that I'm left handed and I can't seem to find any left handed guitars under $700.  When I was in college my room mate tried to teach me how to play his right handed guitar, however, I am afraid I am hopelessly left handed and it didn't turn out to well.  Does any know of a good place to pick up a discount or even second hand left handed guitar?

   I'd like to start with an accoustic guitar maybe one which has the plug for the amp already built in, but, I have no idea about brands or styles are better then others.  Music wise I'm aiming for more of a Jack Johnson like mellow rock sound something which won't sound to bad if I'm sitting on my back porch play guitar and singing for a few friends (because that's likely to be the only venue I'll be playing).  Does anyone have any suggestions?


Try some of the inexpensive CF Martin guitars...MAritn makes many of it's models available left handed for little to no upcharge vs. the right handed version. If you're looking for something really nice, that's sub $700...that might be a place to start...
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LoveandaMolotovCocktail

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #13 on: 29 Dec 2004, 18:59 »

Go to a Guitar Center near you, if there is one, and play all different sorts of guitars to see what feels best for you.  Guitar Center isn't the bset place for buying a guitar IMO.  They have a good selection so you can try anything and everything out.  It's a bit pricey though, for me at least.
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Johnny C

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #14 on: 29 Dec 2004, 19:46 »

Quote from: Husker B.
I also concur with Jeph about the low cost Ibanez stuff being nice guitars. They are well made, and the fret jobs are pretty good right out of the box (something I can't say for the mostly awful inexpensive Epiphone stuff).


I disagree with this. Maybe it is the weather up here or something, but my Epiphone has worked damn well for the last two years, and manages to put out a pretty nice, toned sound out of, um, the non-tuned type of amp, and do not even start me on how nice it sounds coming out of a 500-watt Fender tube amp.

As far as the Mexican Fender thing goes, well, Husker is right in that you want to try and get the best bang for your buck, and while I severely dislike Fenders (heavy, shittily-equipped pieces of junk that they are), $330 is a good deal for any guitar, and if the type of guitar works for you, then I say go for it.

But try EVERYTHING, not just what looks cool or has a brand name attached. The nicest guitar I was unable to buy ($200 at a time when I had about $50) was a Rickenbacker-shaped guitar with lipstick-case pickups made by a company known for its cheap knockoffs. It played amazingly well and sounded fantastic plugged in, and the only other thing I can tell you about it is that I have no clue who made it. Point is, name is no matter. If it plays well in your hands, good.
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ASturge

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #15 on: 30 Dec 2004, 03:26 »

some people said go to teh store and try some out, that is teh best way. So long as teh guitar shop owner knows you're going to be something then he'll be super helpful.

my recomendation- depending on your price range, id go for a gibson les paul epiphone, although its very heavy it is extremly versitlie. not only can you play punk on it and get a nice sound you can also use it for blues, basic jazz and WROK.

ps. dont listen to anyone, i had an epiphone. it was beautiful. it also had seven strings....for no reason whatsoever
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MetaPop

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #16 on: 30 Dec 2004, 12:20 »

Hey! Quit with the Fender bashing! If you like them (as I do) then they're great. Personally, I have issues with Epiphones too, but thats mainly because I don't like the way they play, the way they're set up or the sound they make. I've seen Epiphones with terrible hardware straight out of the box, and you can hardly claim Strats are heavy against most Les Pauls. As has been said, each instrument is individual, and you have to take each on as they come. If I found a Gibson stylee instrument I really liked (there are a few gorgeous LPs I've had the good fortune to play) then I would happily buy one. To have prejudice can stop you buying beautiful instruments.
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xeno

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #17 on: 30 Dec 2004, 12:28 »

I have to disagree with everyone here. I tried out every bass in the store, many times, and here I sit with an Epiphone in my lap.  Granted, I've only had it for a moth or two, but it still seems like a solid investment.

As for the lefty issue, I'm left handed, but can't play a lefty guitar. I need all the control of my good hand to work the neck.
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Husker B.

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #18 on: 30 Dec 2004, 12:29 »

On the Epiphone issue that seems to be confounding folks:

I worked in a store that had as many a 600 guitars in stock EVERYDAY.

Part of my job was to walk the floor with my employees and tune the guitars.

How many people here have ever tuned over 100 different guitars in a single day?

How many people have done 5-6 times a week for several years?

One of my best days ever was $17,000, and I didn't sell a single guitar that was valued at more than $1000 that day. That was like 20 different instruments in a single day, not counting amps, pedals, and all that other fun crap to go with them.

What makes any brand is consistancy. How close is one guitar to the next? Do the $200 guitars show any of the same attention to detail that the $2000 ones do?

Look, I've laid hands on guitars that most folk could never dream of touching in their lifetimes. I've spoken with Paul Reed Smith, Bob Gallien (of Gallien Kruger amps), Michael Tobias, Bob Conklin of Conklin Guitars, Ken Smith and half a hundred other guys. I have a photo on the wall of my office of the tele that Lenny Kravitz plays in the "American Woman" video while it was being built while I was in the Fender Custom Shop.

I'll tell you this:

From my experience, the cheap Epiphone stuff is mostly garbage, with poor tuners, crappy pots and input jacks, and fret jobs that are about as smooth and level as a New York Freeway. They make some nice guitars, but they get to the point that they aren't worth what they ask for them. This comes not from the one guitar someone bought, but from opening and setting up THOUSANDS of them.


Fender's Squire lines are a little better, but most of the really cheap Squire stuff is made in Indonesia or China, and neither one is known for great quality control. The Korean made stuff is better. Hell, 95% of Ibanez stuff is made in Korea, the other 4% is japanese (who make EXCELLENT guitars) and the remaining 1% are US Custom stuff, which start around $2000.



In order of quality of electric guitars that I have experience with in the under $500 category my top 5 would be:


5. Washburn
4. LTD (Low cost ESP)
3. Yamaha
2. Ibanez
1. Fender (not Chinese or Indo Squire)


I'm not a great player. I make no claims to be, but there are damn few guys you will ever talk to who know more about how guitars work, what makes them sound or feel how they do, and what you can expect to get from the instrument.

If you want advice on anything else, just ask...I'll be happy to answer.
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MetaPop

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #19 on: 30 Dec 2004, 13:02 »

My first ever guitar was a chinese squier. Yes, it was total rubbish. However, with new pickups and a better bridge + tuning pegs, its really fairly playable and sounds good too (though that took a lot of amp fiddling). Still, you'd defintiely be better off buying one that wont require all this upgrading.
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Oerdin

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« Reply #20 on: 30 Dec 2004, 18:10 »

Ok, I'm looking for an entry to mid level left handed acoustic guitar.  I've never owned a guitar so I would be learning to play on this instrument but I don't want an el cheapo guitar which I'd have to replace in a year or two.  I was out shopping for a left handed guitar today and I'd like to here the opinions some of you have about a Godin S6 Seagull.  I found a brand new left handed S6 on sale at a local guitar shop for $416 and it seemed like a very good quality Canadian built guitar with a very good sound range.

The S6 was cheaper then most of the other lefties I've seen and it didn't have a "tinny" sound like a Yamaha I saw plus the S6 seems to use higher quality wood.  Can anyone tell me anything good or bad about this guitar or maybe even recommend a different guitar under $1000?  Any help for this newbie would be appreciated.
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beatpunkus

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #21 on: 30 Dec 2004, 20:22 »

Man, this topic has produced far more quality advice than I anticipated at first. Based on what everyone has said so far and my own research, I would say I'm leaning towards an Ibanez, but I still have a couple friends that I am planning on having discussions with about this. A problem I am running into is that the stores by where I live are pretty much all crap, and I don't want to order one online because I want to play it before I buy. I was planning on taking a trip to the nearby big city (Indianapolis), but it looks like that might not work out. Does anyone know of any online music stores that have a liberal return policy? This would help me out tremendously.
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RaideR

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #22 on: 31 Dec 2004, 02:19 »

http://www.music123.com  has a 45 day return policy , for more info about their return policy http://www.music123.com/CustomerService/Return.aspx click the link
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captainawesome

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #23 on: 31 Dec 2004, 06:22 »

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=guitar/search/detail/base_pid/511192/

Thats the guitar I own.  It's not high quality material, but its such a steal that I would reccomend it to anyone.  You expect to get some trashy beater guitar, but it gets a great sound for just being $60.  I have many friends jealous of me, because they paid $400 for hteir accoustics, and my rogue still gets a better tone.

As for left-handed, I know fender has sume sub-$500 left handed accoustics, my brother owns one, he got it for something like $425, I think.
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Johnny C

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« Reply #24 on: 31 Dec 2004, 13:10 »

Godin produces very solid guitars, Oerdin.

And beatpunkus, if you ARE able to go to Indianapolis, find a friend or two who has already gone guitar shopping and have them come help you out. Also, do not get suckered in by a guitar salesman. It is kind of like buying a car except, uh, not.
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osaki

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #25 on: 31 Dec 2004, 17:28 »

Quote from: Oerdin
stuff about being left handed


i, like my pal jimi hendrix, play the guitar upside-down, which resolves the left handed difficulty.
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Oerdin

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« Reply #26 on: 01 Jan 2005, 11:59 »

Doesn't that mean all of the notes are in reverse order?
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Husker B.

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« Reply #27 on: 03 Jan 2005, 07:05 »

Quote from: Johnny C
Also, do not get suckered in by a guitar salesman. It is kind of like buying a car except, uh, not.


As a former guitar saleman, I have to tell you that Johnny C's advice is....



...dead on balls accurate. :)

One of the things I hated about the music store gig was how many of the guys I wound up working with who would sell the most expensive thing they could ram down a customer's throat just to pump their paycheck for the week.

There are some good guitar salesmen; I'd like to think I was one. My goal was to get a customer the sound THEY wanted at the price they wanted to spend.

I'll admit that sometimes that is a challenge. I'd get kids who were 12-13 years old coming in with their mom who wanted to spend $100 on a guitar and an amp that was loud enough to gig with, and they would get testy when you tried to explain that trying to get that was a bit like trying to buy a new car for $2000. It's a pleasant thought, but it's not reality-based.

Judge the advice the salespeople give you against each other, and remember that your friends that play aren't always the most impartial sources of information.

In the biz we used to talk about guys with their "expert friend". A customer would come in and demand a B.C. Rich Warlock, because their neighbor's headbangin' cousin told them that was the best guitar ever...and we would ask them what kind of music they wanted to play.

" I wanna sound like Eric Clapton...."

Then you spend the next 3 hours explaining WHY the Warlock is not the best choice for the Clapton tone....

True story, I had a guy come in to my store and buy a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier (A reall badass high end heavy sounding amp). He walked up to me and said, I want a Triple Rectifier and a cab (That was about $3000, then).

Six months later,  the guy comes back, and sells me his rig in trade for a Marshall TSL (Triple Super Lead, another "screamin' " amp). I asked what was wrong with the Boogie, as he was about to take a bath on it...Since trade ins rarely net you even half of what you paid for the item. He told me, "I just want the Marshall". I shrugged, and he gave me about $1000 on top of the trade in for the head and cab.

3 months later, he's back. And want's to sell his amp and get me to order a Soldano custom head for him...and sell me the Marshall.

I told him the head was going to take awhile to get, and asked him "What are you looking for? What do you want to sound like?" and stood my ground until he started talking...

He looked at me, and said, "I've tried the two amps that everyone told me were the best, and I didn't like them. I want to sound like Nirvana..."

He bought $5500 worth of Deadly distortion...I walked him to the pedal case, and showed him...


...The Boss DS-1.

It's a $39.00 stomp box that Cobain used to record with.


$39.00.


I sold him that and a '65 Fender Twin Reverb. Grand Total about $1100. Tax Included :)

That guy wound up buying like 5 guitars from me after that, but never looked at another amp again.


The point to this whole monologue is: Picking a guitar salesman is a bit like picking a doctor or a dentist. This is a person that you should build a relationship with, and don't just grab the first guy you meet. Check around. See from your friends, not what they bought, but who they bought it from, how they were treated, and wheter or not they felt like they got good service. If they had problems, find out how and how long it took for the salesperson to resolve them.

Find the salesguy who is willing to give you some time and some real answers. Find out about the instrument you are interested in from the manufacturer, and ask the salesguy questions that you already know the answer to, test him. Make sure he (or she) isn't full of crap.

Also, if the salesperson says "I don't know" that's not a bad thing as long as the next thing they say is "But I'll find out for you." I used to hammer my salespeople to check catalogs or call the manufacturer if they ever were asked a question they couldn't answer. You can't know everyting, but you can try to learn it.

My last rant for the day:

Remember, once you reach just a bit past the really cheap, entry-level stuff, it stops being about which is "Better".


I used to respond to customers who would ask me what the "best guitar" was with this question:

Which is better a Porche 911 or a Mini-Van?


Think about it for a second...

(insert "Jeopardy!" Theme)

95% of people say the Porche right away.


The follow up question is then:

What happens when you want to move a Sofa? Take your Kids on Vacation?

It's not about which is "better", it's about what you want to DO with it...

Eric Clapton, Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen, Billy Corgan, Chet Atkins, Ottmar Leibert, and John 5 all play "guitar", but the things they are trying to accomplish with the instrument are pretty radically different, and their grea reflects that. Can I say that Clapton's Strat is better that Ottmar's Classical?

Guitars and amps are to guitarists what paintbrushes are to painters. You might use one for the fine details, and a different one for painting a wide blue sky. Guitarists wind up being the same way; finding different tools for their different styles and sounds.

If anybody's got questions about stuff, I'll be happy to give impartial advice....


Peace  and Happy New Year :)
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Oerdin

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #28 on: 04 Jan 2005, 13:24 »

Huskar, I have to say you have been the mosthelpful person I've run into so far in my search for a new guitar.  Thank you.  ;)

I knew that Taylors were way outside of my price range and my skill range but since I live in San Diego I decided to go down to Taylor's factory in El Cajon (east of San Diego) and take the tour.  I must say I am now very impressed by the amount of craftman's ship that goes into making a Taylor Guitar and I found it to be a very educating experience.  I still can't afford a Taylor guitar though.

Right now I'm leaning towards a Seagul S6 Left Handed model but everyone keeps telling me to get a Martin.  I have found a local dealer who has a D15SL in stoke which he's willing to part with for $850, however, people keep telling me I should get a rosewood guitar instead of a mohogany guitar like like the Martin D15S.  Any professional suggestions?  I'm looking to sound kind of like Jack Johnson or the Dave Matthews Band.
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Husker B.

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #29 on: 04 Jan 2005, 23:30 »

Oerdin,


Rule fo thumb for acoustic guitars (there are exceptions, but this is so often true that it's useful as a guide):

The darker the wood the darker the tone.

Maple is a very light colored wood and all maple acoustics tend to be very shimmery and bright.

Mahagany is a warm light brown, sometimes almost red, and it's tone is denser than that of maple, lot of strong mids, with a soft round bass response.

Rosewood is normally dark, almost chocolate brown, with some lighter streaks in it. Rosewood has the deepest bass response, and yet still has a tight bright top end.

To me the differences in the wood isn't a better or worse issue, it's a taste issue. Jonny Reznick of the GooGoo Dolls uses all Maple Guilds for most of their acoustic stuff, and his tone is fantastic for that sort of sound.

Rosewood guitars tend to be expensive, because the wood itself is rare (It's now harvested in the West Indies, and is growing scarce there. Brazil stopped legal exports of their rosewood decades ago, thus the super expensive premium on "Brazilian Rosewood" guitars)

I've played some of the Godin electrics (Godin and Segull are part of the same canadian company), and was thrilled at the price to quality ratio. I've only played a few though (we didn't carry them) so I don't know if I layed hands on a couple of "good" ones, or if that is characteristic of all of theier stuff. We took a Seagul in for trade at the store, and I fell in love with the tone of that guitar (I wish I'd bought it...oh well).

You cannot go wrong with CF Martin, as long as the guitar is wood. Martin only began making composite guitars (Wood Laminate- a fancy term for Plywood, which is what most inexpensive guitars are made of) a few years ago. I'm not opposed to laminate guitars in general, but for some reason, most of the Martin ones just seemed lifeless...I'd rather save the cash and buy a less expensive laminate guitar from someone else...

The best I can tell you in the comparison is this. This is your first guitar, and it's unlikely to be your last. If you like the seagul, it feels good and sounds good, and it is significantly less than the Martin, I'd get that.  Down the road, no matter how nice a guitar you buy for the first one, the bug will strike you, and you'll want another. The Seagul wil become your "Out" guitar. If you spend even $850 for a Martin (they can run into the several thousands) you're going to be reluctant to take it to the beach, or camping or anywhere you might want to bust out the guitar that isn't your living room. The inexpensive guitar that sounds and palys good will ALWAYS have a purpose.

Think about it. I mainly play bass and my stage rig is a 1200 watt amplifier...1200 freakin' watts. but when I want to just kick back in my living room, that amp is way freakin' overkill. I still have a little 25 watt "practice" amp that I've had for like 12 years,,,and it rocks out the living room just fine.

Your first guitar may well serve the same purpose....

BTW, thanks for the compliment...I'm glad to be of service :)
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RaideR

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #30 on: 05 Jan 2005, 04:15 »

Sooo it's safe to say that we handled the guitars, but what about amps, what is a really good amp for a bass ( and electric guitar of course)
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Husker B.

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #31 on: 05 Jan 2005, 09:12 »

Let's talk amps:

There are several different ways to go about getting amplified to play. I’m going to start with the basics, and talk a little acoustic theory, but I swear I won’t get too technical.

Amplifiers (which will now be called amps, because I am too lazy to type the whole word) come in a few different styles. The most common are “Combo? amps, that is the amplifier and speaker all in one. There are also “Head and Cabinet? setups, where the amplifier is plugged into a separate speaker box. You can also get all jiggy and get separate preamps (the preamp is the part of the amp that shapes the sound, such as gain, bass, treble etc.)  and power amps, but that tends to be the domain of the seasoned pro, and I’m not really going to go into that much…ask me in another post if you want that stuff expanded.

The relative power of amps are usually compared by “watts?, which in this case refers to the amount of power the amplifier outputs to the speaker.  This can be misleading though, as there is no standard rule for manufacturers on what constitutes the “output wattage?.  Companies usually set it at how loud the amp gets before it produces unpleasant distortion, but without getting way technical, a company like Mesa Boogie will rate an amp at 100 watts that another company might rate at 150 watts, because Boogie’s in house tone standards are higher than the other company’s.

To understand the purpose of all that wattage it’s important to consider what the amp is being used for.

There are 100-watt bass amps that struggle to be heard over drums, and there are 30-watt guitar amps that you wouldn’t want to sit in your living room with if it was turned all the way up.

Amps are powered in three basic ways: Tube, Solid State, and Hybrid.

Tube amps use expensive, fragile, obsolete, vacuum tube technology from the 1940’s that weighs a freakin’ ton and has to have the tubes replaced periodically to produce sound. So why the hell are they still around?

They sound GREAT.

Tubes are funny things. They are essentially light bulbs on steroids. When electricity is passed through them, they glow, and it’s that glassware that makes them so special.

See, in any other realm distortion is a bad thing. You want a clear pic on your TV, clean sound from your stereo, and crisp reception on your phone, but from your guitar amp, you want that dirty bastard to sing like someone sand-papered Pavaroti’s throat.

When you push a tube really hard, it distorts…but it does it in a way that is pleasant to the ear…The tube can bleed off that excess energy as heat, so if you push the circuit really hard, it just keeps getting richer sounding.

Solid state amps are half the weight, way more reliable, and require no regular maintenance. But they tend to suffer from one of the few limitations of transistors vs. tubes. When a transistor gets too hot and distorts, it produces nasty-sounding square wave distortion, because even with a huge heat sink, they still can’t bleed energy like a tube. Think what a boom box sounds like when it is turned up too loud, and you get the idea.

Hybrids try to solve the problems of both by combining the two. They use a small tube in the preamp to provide a warm distortion to the lighter, more efficient solid-state power-amp section. They are generally successful at sounding a little warmer than all solid state amps, but usually don’t match up to the tone of all tube. But since a 100-watt hybrid amp can run about $500, and a 100-watt Tube amp $1000, they serve a major purpose. :)
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Husker B.

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #32 on: 05 Jan 2005, 09:18 »

Sorry,


I could write a damn book on this :)

I'll get to more of this soapbox rant soon...but I have to bolt now...I just wanted to post what I wrote so far....
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Valen

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #33 on: 05 Jan 2005, 14:24 »

I would buy that book.

There is about 500 million tons of information here which I wish I had known when I bought my first guitar.  I literally had no idea what to go for, what brand was good, bad, hideous, and that's the position all beginners find themselves in.  I started by buying a couple of guitar buyers guide magazines and trying to figure what the deal was.   At the time this seemed sensible, but too many of these kinds of mags are paid to write rave reviews, and every second review said something like "this k-rad axe is easily as good as a premium les paul at a tiny fraction of the price".  These guys were also probably in fender's pocket as well, so I didn't learn a lot that was of practical use to me.

Beatpunkus has taken probably the MOST sensible approach anyone in his position could take.  These forums are populated by people who are INTERESTED in what they're talking about, and you end up meeting genuinely altruistic people like Husker B, with his truly impressive knowledge.

I've just got a few things to add which i dont think have been fully addressed.  It is very important to get a guitar which is good quality, and won't make you sound like shit because of manufacturing flaws.  But that said, there is no real demand for a beginner to search for hours and hours and hours to find the *perfect* starting out guitar.  This is simply because when you're only just beginning, the difference between a passable guitar and a very good one is pretty much invisible.

Hell, when I first started I thought my mate's ashton strat-copy was pretty good.  When I was trying out some in a few shops, I could barely distinguish a major difference.  I asked to see something that would seriously impress me.  The asssistant dude climbed up on a ladder and with great reverence, placed in my hand a Paul Reed Smith Custom 22 (the blue flame maple job).  Naturally at the time I had no idea what I was holding, and was not really that impressed.  I didn't have the knowledge or skills to appreciate its brilliance and beauty.

To come round full circle, when your first starting, you need something that feels good to you (as has been suggested by so many other sensible people here).  It doesnt matter if its an epiphone or a guild or a vintage or some unknown indonesian brand.  If it feels right to you at that time, then that is what is important.  By the time you get to the point that you can see the flaws in your guitar or feeling limited by it, you would probably want a new one anyway, regardless of what you started out with.  

My first guitar was an Ibanez RG440 (1986) which i bought through the trading post second hand for a very good deal.  I ended up with a cool-looking, floyd-rose locking-tremolo job which it took me about 2 months before i could get the damn thing in recognizable tune.  

I learnt a lot from that guitar, and in retrospect it was a very fine piece of construction, but for where i was at the time, it was a major headache.

Good luck with learning to play, acoustic or electric, stick with it and enjoy that fantastic ability that is making music!
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Apathy

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #34 on: 05 Jan 2005, 16:40 »

Anything I can say will have been said before I'm sure, so I'll keep this short and to the point.  Also bear in mind I've only been playing just over a year so my advice might be bollocks, but after a year, this is the impression I've been given.
As you pointed out in your original post, electric guitars are generally easier to play when talking finger strength.  Acoustics, although brilliant in their own right, can take a bit more of a pounding if you will, when playing.  I started out with an Ibanez Ergodyne, which was fantastic.  I still have it and love it.  It's a quality guitar which generally costs around £300 - £400.   My acoustic enabled me to develop a good impression of what gave them their popularity, but once I stopped messing with it and went back to my electric, I was astonished at how much easier electric guitars generally are to play.

I was also advised by two friends who play very well, to learn on electric, which is all I'll say to you really.  Don't go for something cheap, go for something that you'll still be moderately happy with once you're at a level where you can start thinking sound quality.  

Good luck :)
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RaideR

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #35 on: 06 Jan 2005, 08:04 »

for all you starting bassplayers (like myself), i found the ultimate beginners bass, it's called London City P-Bass.
this bass costs 165 Euro (about the same in dollars) , and sounds pretty good
i dont know if it's available in the US
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beatpunkus

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #36 on: 08 Jan 2005, 10:35 »

Alright, now that we've pretty much covered everything on guitars, here's the next logical question: what should I look for in an amp? I understand the differences between the types (tube, solidstate, etc), but does anyone have a brand/model they love/hate? I'm thinking a $150-200ish marshall personally...
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RaideR

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My first guitar - help me out
« Reply #37 on: 09 Jan 2005, 03:31 »

it depends on how much watt you want it to be, but i like Hartke amps
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