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Need guitar buying advice...

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Need guitar buying advice...

Old 12-21-07, 12:35 AM
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Need guitar buying advice...

I am thinking about purchasing a guitar soon and could use some advice. I've never played before but have always been pretty intrigued.

What is a good "starter" electric guitar that will be the best sound/value combo? I am willing to spend up to about $500 or so (on just the guitar), so it doesn't have to be real cheap like a Squier.

The two main "contenders" I have looked at are the Fender Standard Strat (made in Mexico version) and the Epiphone Les Paul Standard. I would love some advice from DVDJosh or any of the other guitar guys around here. Thanks.
Old 12-21-07, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by SexualPudding
The two main "contenders" I have looked at are the Fender Standard Strat (made in Mexico version) and the Epiphone Les Paul Standard.
As a beginner you can't go wrong with these two.
I'm thinking the Strat might be a little bit easier to play for a beginner. It's also not as heavy as the Les Paul.
Old 12-21-07, 02:15 AM
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My first guitar was a 1974 Fender Mustang. I went to a music store and told the guy I wanted a good guitar that would hold it's value and I wouldn't get killed on if I decided I didn't want to play any longer. That was about 13 or 14 years ago and I still have it in it's origional case under my bed. Since then I've bought an American Strat and Telecaster. I'm not sure what the Mustang would be worth now but I'd be willing to bet it's worth more now than what I paid for it then. I think I'd try to buy an American made guitar even if I had to buy a good used one. I think it will hold it's value much better but that's just my opinion.
Old 12-21-07, 02:31 AM
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Definitely buy something decent, as the sound, build, and overall quality will be noticeable. I don't know electric guitars that well, so I'll defer to others.

-p
Old 12-21-07, 02:50 AM
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if you go over to Musicians Friend, they have a little deal where you buy that Epi LP Standard and get a pack with a bunch of starter stuff in it (15 W amp, cables, tuner, headphones) for free pretty much.


http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ack?sku=513157



Also, what guitarists do you like and what do they play?

I'm more of a Gibson man myself because my heroes (Cream-era Clapton, Allmans, Page, Eagles, Frehley, Perry, Santana etc) played Gibsons. So... ?I'd say take that into consideration. MF has an Electric Guitar Buying Guide on their site as well.

Last edited by DaveWadding; 12-21-07 at 02:54 AM.
Old 12-21-07, 06:03 AM
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You are def starting with the right two axes, but we need to know a little more about what kind of music you dig, cuz the LP and strat are very different in many ways.

I've got both, and have had several LP's and strats. I used to have a legit Gibson but was forced to sell it in hard times, that being said I've got an EPI now and it sounds great, not as well constructed (had some issues with input jack, and such) but still a nice piece.

Best strat I ever had was a mexican standard believe or not, I've got an American now that doesn't compare.

$500 will get you a kick ass guitar, you certainly don't need to spend that much but if you want to it will last you a while.
Old 12-21-07, 06:51 AM
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Guitar Hero
Old 12-21-07, 07:39 AM
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I also suggest keeping an open mind. Although Fender and Gibson/Epiphone are the Kings in this area they certainly aren't the only decent guitar makers out there especially at the price range you're looking at. Ibanez, Schecter, and a few others also make good guitars.
Old 12-21-07, 07:46 AM
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Aria makes a decent Strat knock-off that plays wekk, nice fretboard too. Probably better than the Mexican Fender, and definitely cheaper.
Old 12-21-07, 07:48 AM
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I hear that John Mellancamp got his first real six string down at the five and dime, but then again . . . .
Old 12-21-07, 07:55 AM
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Another vote for Ibanez. Great guitars IMO. HUGE range of guitars for whatever style suits you. And, unlike many Japanese guitars, many of them hold their value (or even increase) over the years.

I've never understood the love for the Strat. They just don't do anything for me. Now a nice Les Paul, that's just a thing of beauty.
Old 12-21-07, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Shannon
I hear that John Mellancamp got his first real six string down at the five and dime, but then again . . . .
Wasn't that Bryan Adams?
Old 12-21-07, 08:42 AM
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SP, thanks for the call out

There is some great advice in this thread already. I'll just try and supplement.

I would have recommended either a MIM Fender Strat (with a single single humbucker pickup config) or a Epi Les Paul. My first "real" electric was a Epi LP, and I still have it.

Now here's the kicker with import models - quality control. I would probably have to play 20-30 import models to find the gem in the rough. But I know what I look for and listen for.

Here's what you can do, even as a novice, to find one for yourself:

1) Make sure the guitar is in tune. I don't care if I had to ask the sales guy to tune up 40 guitars. An out of tune guitar will sound like crap no matter what.

2) Acoustic tone. What this means is "how does the guitar sound UNPLUGGED" Strum it, listen for a full, pronounced tone, good string vibration. A guitar that sounds like crap unplugged will sound like garbage plugged in. All of my guitars have a rich tone unplugged.

3) Sustain. Strum a chord. See how long it rings. You don't need Spinal Tap sustain, just one that doesn't sound like it dies out suddenly. Then do the same with a fretted note, finally with a bent note.

4) QC. Look over all parts of the guitar. Are the pots scratchy? Are the tuners solid? Are all the electronics in place well? How about the frets? Do they feel smooth and even? Does the nut look well placed? If binding, is it properly attached? Is the fretboard a dark, rich color? How about the paint?

5) Comfort. Play the guitar. How does it feel in your hands? How about in strumming position? Grab a strap. Does it fit your body contours well? Is the weight manageable?

6) Maybe most importantly, don't pick the guitar that looks the best. Pick the one that sounds the best. This doesn't mean get the pink one, but if you really wanted black, but the red sounds the best, that's your guitar. My PRS is orange. But it was the best one, by far. It even had two tiny dents in it. It's hard to put down $1800 on a slightly damaged guitar, but it's TONE and FEEL, not two dents that I probably would have put there within 6 months myself. It's not the most important thing to have the best looking guitar on the block, but the best sounding one.

Okay, now the buying logistics. Honestly, I would not buy my first guitar at Guitar Center. I love Guitar Center. But people treat their guitars like crap. Most of their stock is likely to be out of tune, not well setup, and damaged. I'd go to a smaller store that takes care of their inventory and can help you better. You need service, not necessarily price. At the low end anyway, there won't be much different and most m&p stores will price match anyway.

Last piece of advice. Do not go out to "buy" a guitar. Go out to look for a guitar. If you find one you really like and is a quality instrument, then buy it. But don't feel pressured into buying something. Stock changes constantly. And they might have something in the back, so don't be afraid to ask!!

Good luck, and PM me or e-mail me for help. Let me know what you end up getting!!
Old 12-21-07, 08:44 AM
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Ibanez and Schecter are strictly for shredding and hair-metal. Buy a real guitar instead.
Old 12-21-07, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Ibanez and Schecter are strictly for shredding and hair-metal. Buy a real guitar instead.




Old 12-21-07, 10:09 AM
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Ibanez makes several non hair-metal shredding guitars... I own one (SZ series) and it's a nice little "backup" axe. Now, it's true that most of the Ibanez models that are advertised are the Vai and Satriani types... But not all.

I'm a Strat man but you can't go wrong with either... Play both and decide if you're a Les Paul man or a Strat man. You may be both. Good luck!
Old 12-21-07, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Ibanez and Schecter are strictly for shredding and hair-metal.
Alright, I'll get one of those.

Originally Posted by wendersfan
Buy a real guitar instead.
Oh.
Old 12-21-07, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Josh
Do not go out to "buy" a guitar. Go out to look for a guitar. If you find one you really like and is a quality instrument, then buy it. But don't feel pressured into buying something.


I've played, bought and have had many, many guitars over the years, and the best ones (the ones I've held onto) are the ones I've "chanced" into that won me over without me looking for them - sorta like women...
Old 12-21-07, 11:01 AM
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I also want to add, that I'd recommend starting on an acoustic guitar. But if you must go electric, make sure you pick the right amp, as that's almost as important as the guitar, since it has a huge affect on your sound, style and development as a player.
Old 12-21-07, 11:19 AM
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My first, and favorite, guitar was an Epiphone Les Paul with sunburst finish. I loved that guitar. It has a great tone, plays well and feels very comfortable, but that's all subjective. I had plenty of friends that bought Fender strats and I never liked them. They felt too thin against my body and the distance between the strings and fretboard wasn't as deep as the Epiphone. Go to a Guitar Center and play around with every model they have for a couple hours. You'll find a match in no time.
Old 12-21-07, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by slop101
I also want to add, that I'd recommend starting on an acoustic guitar. But if you must go electric, make sure you pick the right amp, as that's almost as important as the guitar, since it has a huge affect on your sound, style and development as a player.
I second the acoustic guitar route as well although I understand the desire to have an electric guitar to play. The string action on the acoustic will strengthen your fret hand in addition to building some nice calluses on your fret fingers. Plus you can learn to play serenades such as, "I gave my love a cherr-y that had no stone..."


My first electric was an Ibanez RG, one of the metal guitars wenders is referencing. It has a thin neck and is a fairly durable guitar.
Old 12-21-07, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by slop101
I also want to add, that I'd recommend starting on an acoustic guitar.
This used to be my recommendation as well, but I've been rethinking it. A quality acoustic is much more expensive than a comparative electric. Not to mention generally harder to play at first. There's no sense in fighting the guitar to learn it. I think that it's generally easier to learn on an electric with light strings and then move up.

Not to mention that a beginner really has no idea how to properly care for an acoustic.
Old 12-21-07, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveWadding
if you go over to Musicians Friend, they have a little deal where you buy that Epi LP Standard and get a pack with a bunch of starter stuff in it (15 W amp, cables, tuner, headphones) for free pretty much.


http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ack?sku=513157



Also, what guitarists do you like and what do they play?

I'm more of a Gibson man myself because my heroes (Cream-era Clapton, Allmans, Page, Eagles, Frehley, Perry, Santana etc) played Gibsons. So... ?I'd say take that into consideration. MF has an Electric Guitar Buying Guide on their site as well.
Your guitar tastes are almost eerily right up my alley, Dave. I am pretty much all about late 60's-70's sound. Clapton, Duane Allman, Page, Don Felder, etc. are guys I like a lot.

Thanks for the heads up. I am leaning heavily towards the Epi now. I figured I would probably like the sound a bit more than I would the Strat, but I just wanted to make sure build quality and what not was as good or better.

That package on MF looks very nice, but unfortunately, I am a lefty. I haven't seen any packages on there for those, and I believe just the guitar is going to run me $520.00, give or take.
Old 12-21-07, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Josh
SP, thanks for the call out

There is some great advice in this thread already. I'll just try and supplement.

I would have recommended either a MIM Fender Strat (with a single single humbucker pickup config) or a Epi Les Paul. My first "real" electric was a Epi LP, and I still have it.

Now here's the kicker with import models - quality control. I would probably have to play 20-30 import models to find the gem in the rough. But I know what I look for and listen for.

Here's what you can do, even as a novice, to find one for yourself:

1) Make sure the guitar is in tune. I don't care if I had to ask the sales guy to tune up 40 guitars. An out of tune guitar will sound like crap no matter what.

2) Acoustic tone. What this means is "how does the guitar sound UNPLUGGED" Strum it, listen for a full, pronounced tone, good string vibration. A guitar that sounds like crap unplugged will sound like garbage plugged in. All of my guitars have a rich tone unplugged.

3) Sustain. Strum a chord. See how long it rings. You don't need Spinal Tap sustain, just one that doesn't sound like it dies out suddenly. Then do the same with a fretted note, finally with a bent note.

4) QC. Look over all parts of the guitar. Are the pots scratchy? Are the tuners solid? Are all the electronics in place well? How about the frets? Do they feel smooth and even? Does the nut look well placed? If binding, is it properly attached? Is the fretboard a dark, rich color? How about the paint?

5) Comfort. Play the guitar. How does it feel in your hands? How about in strumming position? Grab a strap. Does it fit your body contours well? Is the weight manageable?

6) Maybe most importantly, don't pick the guitar that looks the best. Pick the one that sounds the best. This doesn't mean get the pink one, but if you really wanted black, but the red sounds the best, that's your guitar. My PRS is orange. But it was the best one, by far. It even had two tiny dents in it. It's hard to put down $1800 on a slightly damaged guitar, but it's TONE and FEEL, not two dents that I probably would have put there within 6 months myself. It's not the most important thing to have the best looking guitar on the block, but the best sounding one.

Okay, now the buying logistics. Honestly, I would not buy my first guitar at Guitar Center. I love Guitar Center. But people treat their guitars like crap. Most of their stock is likely to be out of tune, not well setup, and damaged. I'd go to a smaller store that takes care of their inventory and can help you better. You need service, not necessarily price. At the low end anyway, there won't be much different and most m&p stores will price match anyway.

Last piece of advice. Do not go out to "buy" a guitar. Go out to look for a guitar. If you find one you really like and is a quality instrument, then buy it. But don't feel pressured into buying something. Stock changes constantly. And they might have something in the back, so don't be afraid to ask!!

Good luck, and PM me or e-mail me for help. Let me know what you end up getting!!
Awesome. I really appreciate such detailed info. Many thanks to you and everyone else who chimed in.
Old 12-21-07, 09:37 PM
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I'm a Gretsch man.

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