I'm thinking of getting an electric guitar...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Francois Caron, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    I used to play the piano and the clarinet many, many years ago, but lost interest in both after a while. My mother sold the piano and I sold the clarinet. [​IMG]

    Today, I feel like taking another stab at finding something I'd actually would enjoy playing and thought about an electric guitar. A friend already gave me some great advice on NOT to go for a cheap model otherwise I'll have to retune it every few days. However, I can go cheap on the guitar amp since I'm not aiming to play in a band. Not yet anyways. [​IMG]

    I've pretty much narrowed my choices down to two models, the main difference being the style.
    I was thinking of either this one, http://www.epiphone.com/default.asp?...CollectionID=6 or this one. http://www.epiphone.com/default.asp?...CollectionID=6

    Any opinions? Any other suggestions? Any recommended accessories such as guitar stands, guitar bags, strings and earplugs? [​IMG]

    EDIT: I just found out that Godin guitars are made in Montreal. They might be good or better than the Epiphones, and cheaper as well.

    EDIT: EDIT: Here's the Godin that interests me, the SDxt in blue. http://www.godinguitars.com/godinsdxtp.htm
     
  2. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Godin makes very good guitars, both electric under the Godin name, and acoustic under the Seagull brand. I don't think you could really go wrong with one.

    I have owned an Epiphone LP Custom for about 9 years now. While it's been a pretty decent guitar, the past couple of years have begun to show a few problems with the guitar. Most notably, some frets are popping out, necessitating a fret job, and the neck is trying to separate from the body, producing a hairline finish crack around the neckjoint.
     
  3. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    OK....I'll try to do a quick crash course in Guitar buying.......

    Quick background....I am a "guitarist"....play in a local band and have played for about 15 years. I have a Gibson Les Paul standard and two Gibson Epiphone Strat Models

    Number one.....Your friend gave great advice....DO NOT buy a cheepo guitar to learn on....you can save money on other things like the amp etc...

    You do not need to break the bank either. Used guitars are good too as long as they are sold at a specialty store and have been gone over buy a guitar tech.

    Epiphones are a great guitar to learn on. That is what I learned on.....
    Getting the "right" one for you though is the key. Guitars need constant maintenence. A strat style will not need as much as say a Les Paul style. The big things that need maintenence is the neck and fretboard. A maple fret board will just need to be cleaned periodicaly since it is a hard wood. A maple fret board will also play "faster" as it is smoother. A rosewood board will have to be cleaned and oiled every so often so it does not dry out...not a big deal but just something to keep in mind. Rosewood is nice because some say it is more forgiving and just "nicer" to play on. All necks have something in them called a tress rod that should be adjusted as a neck warps. Necks WILL warp because of the immense stress from the strings. When a guitar is not maintained the neck CAN get beyond repair. Strat Style necks are bolted in and can easily be qwitched. Guitars like Les Pauls are glued in and CAN"T be replaced.
    In essence, what I would do is learn on a Strat style. If your not sure what a strat style is look at Erick Claptons guitar. These guitars are easy to maintain and easy to play. I would get one with a rosewood finger board as well. Fender has models that are made in Mexico that are DECENT....they are not the real thing by any straetch but a great learning guitar. Fender also has a model that is U.S. made but with a bit Cheaper components. They play just like a 1,500$ american Strat but Cost about 600$....pretty cool. The key is to really go out though and see what is comfortable...I knopw you can't play but if you just pick up a guitar and hold down a few a strings and strum a lot of times you can tell if it is the guitar for you.
    As for strings....I recommend size 9's. They are a little bendier and "easier" to play and learn on. get a lot of different weight picks. A lot of people when they begin like a thin or medium weight.....I use about as thick a pick you can buy but started on thin and medium. Buy a strap that has some cushioning. For obvious comfort reasons. Do not go nuts on money for an amp. Peevey makes a lot of decent starter models that are reliable.....I am not a huge Peevey fan but they do make nice starter models....and definately do not be a fraid to buy a used amp.....just like decent HT amps....they can last forever. And most of all.....take LESSONS!!! Guitar IS NOT EASY!! you need to take lessons and gain some confidence in yourself. Your fingers WILL be very sore at first but as you play will get tougher. As for the guitar having to "tuning a guitar every few days"......no matter what guitar you get...it will have to be tuned and checked EVERY TIME you pick it up to play. Yes some guitars have string locks but most guitars do not...I never liked them myself. So to sum up....buy a decent guitar that is easy to maintain.....buy thinner strings and a starter amp (used if possible as you can get more bang for the buck) and take lessons. If you need anymore advice please let me know. Guitar is sooooo much fun if you stick to it.
     
  4. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I would have to recommend a made in Mexico Fender Strat over an Epiphone or Godin. Be sure to play them before deciding on a particular model. Fenders and the Godin you are looking at have a longer scale (25.5") length than the Epiphones (24.75"). This can make them a bit harder to play at first.

    Tuning instability is a factor in all guitars - even my expensive Gibsons are prone to tuning issues depending on the environment they are in. On cheaper guitars ths can be exascerbated by poorly designed necks, bad wood choices, as well as crap hardware or strings. The one source of tuning problems on guitars without a fixed bridge is the tremolo unit. If you don't intend on using it, remove the bar and tighten the springs down to fix it. The next area is the nut, where strings can bind. These issues can be fixed by a competant tech.

    From a long term maintenance point of view, a set neck design (like the Epiphone or their upscale Gibson counterparts) are more difficult to fix, as the neck is glued to the body. Fenders have bolt on necks that can be removed or reangled easily. Bound necks are also more costly to refret, though it should take you quite a while to wear out the frets on a reasonable quality instrument. The Epiphone will also be more susceptable to finish cracking than a Fender. Even if babied, a laquer based finish will crack if the environment changes too quickly (temperature and humidity).
    I disagree, to a point. I much prefer the MIM to the American versions. I have been using them professionally for well over a decade with no issues whatsoever. While there are some improvements on the American versions in terms of hardware, they are nothing that can't be added on later.
     
  5. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    Don't get me wrong Jeff....the MIM Fenders are nice guitars......The reason I put DECENT in caps in my post was to say that it is good.....a lot of people see the MIM thing and think cheep.....that is far from the case. We may have to agree to disagree about the American one being much "better" though......from quality, craftmanship and hardware I don't think they can be compared..... Since you echoed EVERYTHING else I said though about tuning and neck issues than obviously weagree on all of the "important" issues.
    What type of music he wants to play will have an effect on his decision too.........but i would still opt for a strat style to learn on.....once he finds his "niche" than he can figure out the type of guitar he will want to move up to.
     
  6. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    If you want a quality guitar that will serve you for many years to come my recommendation would be.......CARVIN. I have one I had made back in 1987 and played it for about 10 years in a working rock band. It is still in great condition although I don't get to play it as often as I would like.
     
  7. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    I work in MI retail, and have been in it for 16 years. I'm also a professional player.

    Francis, the Godins are great guitars even in the $450-600 CDN price range.

    The MIM Fender guitars are actually fabricated in the States, painting and final assembly are done in Mexico (IE cheap labour, less stringent pollution control laws re:painting considering the quantity of guitars made there). The key differences are the woods used and pickups. A good value for the money.

    Epiphone LPs are a decent guitar in spite of their overseas construction.

    Ibanez guitars are great for their 'fast' playable necks.

    The best thing I can tell you is not to be entirely bound by brand name - if you have access to a variety, try them all - music stores (unlike other types of retail) are a hands-on type of sales operation. Factors like appearance are one thing, but combinations of woods, pickups (tone for single-coil/humbuckers), and neck radius play a big factor in what makes one guitar preferable over another from player to player. And, quite frankly, the kind of music you play can be better suited to one guitar over another (at least factory built, modifications notwithstanding). Look at the best guitar that you can afford.


    That's not always the case. Even a higher end Fender strat can have tuning issues because of the floating bridge (IE tune one string and it changes the tension on the others, and you keep going until the bridge is often higher than you like). New strings will always stretch when first put on, so expect some frequent retuning in the early stages, and eventually when well-worn, won't tune properly either. Besides I play live in clubs, and when teperature and humidity changes from location (IE outdoors to hot humid club), I have to fix my tuning before every set!

    Intonation is affected by the saddle distance. The cheapest no-name type guitars are not exactly precision manufactured where fretboards are concerned. And as far as your own playing style, intonation will be a problem if you have a grip like The Hulk, and force the strings too hard with your left hand.

    Believe it or not, the best-selling guitars are the least expensive - there are far more beginners than pros. That's where most musical instrument manufactures make their bread and butter, and have to make a good value playable entry level guitar. We sell tons of Squire (by Fender) Strat packs ($4-500 range) with everything in them - amp, bag, strap, cable, etc. We recommend them for our music school here as well.

    The only other piece of advice I'll give you is not to buy a guitar from a big-box or chain retailer. To them this is just another product, and often they are very uncomfortable to play, which will frustrate you all the more.

    If you're not sure, see if your music store offers a rental program - try it before you buy it. Usually you get a percentage of rental towards your purchase, and may even want to try a different guitar from time to time to see what suits you best.

    Remember - only consider the best that you can afford, especially when you're just starting out. I bought my first bass used for $75 and this was to play in our University Jazz Band(!) over 20 years ago. It did the job for a couple of years, and since then I've bought 4 real ones, and have spent anywhere from $800-1700 for them - two of which I still have - an original Steinberger XP-2A and a Godin 5-string with EMG humbuckers (along with that $75 starter!)

    Even Paul McCartney said his Hofner Bass was a cheap guitar when he bought it. Terrible tone and intonation. It still does today, but thanks to the influence of Macca, that cheap, crappy-sounding bass sells for a couple of thousand dollars!

    Best of luck.
     
  8. Joe D

    Joe D Supporting Actor

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    The biggest thing to consider when buying a guitar is what scale length would you feel more comfortable with.

    The general rule (but not always) is that if you have small hands, you will be more comfortable with 24.75" scale guitars, such as Gibson.

    If you have large hands, a 25.5" scale would be better, such as Fender.

    Les Paul Standards aren't very easy to play IMHO due to the large body limits upper fret access, but I have a Les Paul Special that plays really nice.

    An Epiphone Explorer is a really nice guitar and very comfortable to play on.

    Carvin's are excellent, but kind of expensive for a first guitar.
     
  9. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Some feedback on my research during the last couple of days along with all your posts.

    - I can easily spend $500 CDN on a new guitar, or what I would call "an average night at the Casino." [​IMG] And no, that doesn't includes extra accessories such as gig bag, picks, spare strings, stand, neck strap, cable and amp. Those are "fixed costs" items which I've budgeted at between $200 and $300 CDN.

    - I went to Archambault and Steve's today, mainly because they both carry the Godin line. They could be considered "chain stores", but they don't have that many outlets. And they both seriously cater to musicians since both stores are riddled with guitars, hot amps and plenty of cables to try just about any guitar on any readily available amp.

    - In Montreal, Gibsons are in the $1,500-$2,000 range, Epiphones are in the $800-$1,000 range, and Godins are in the $450-$600 range. The closer the manufacturer, the cheaper it appears to be, but that doesn't mean the guitar is of lesser quality.

    - Steve's has the better deals, but not by much, about a $20-$40 difference for comparable models with some color schemes selling for less (no wonder -- they hurt the eyes). Steve's location and interior are very run down while Archambault has much better digs ever since they added the huge extension almost ten years ago. Most likely Archambault will match Steve's prices or throw in some much needed accessories. The two stores are only ten minutes apart on foot so there's definitely competition between them.

    - I'll most likely go for the Godin mainly because again, based on my friend's knowledge, they're the preferred brand amongst Quebec's professional musicians. He even pointed out that just about everything Godin and his sons manufacture are of excellent quality, making it very difficult to go wrong. Most important for me, they're local boys who truly know their stuff and charge very reasonable prices for their quality instruments. So why not support the local team?

    - I didn't know about the maintenance of the rosewood fingerboard. Then again, I was concentrating mainly on the sonic qualities of the material, so thanks for the heads-up on that.

    - I'll have to ask a member of the store's staff to demo a couple of Godin SD and SDxt for me, one with the rosewood fingerboard and another with the maple fingerboard so that I can narrow down to which one sounds most like what I want to play.

    - Final decision between the SD and SDtx will depend on how they sound and whether I can handle the scale of the SDtx which is 25 1/2" compared to the SD's 24 3/4". I forgot to check that information when looking at the different models. I believe my hands are of average size, but they could still be considered small when resting on a guitar.

    - Kudos on locking down the tremolo and removing the bar. I was already planning on removing the bar since I consider that piece an "advanced" device which may get in the way while I learn how to play the thing. Now all I need to do now is find out how to lock it down.

    - Guitar lessons. I'll first try out what's available on the Internet. Depending on how that goes, I'll decide afterwards if more advanced lessons will be necessary.

    That's it for now. I'll purchase the guitar some time in December. I'm a bit busy these days and wouldn't be able to enjoy it if I purchased it right away. Also, I'll be on vacation during Christmas, which will give me plenty of time to play my heart out! [​IMG]

    Thanks everyone!
     
  10. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I respect your bias towards a local manufacturer, I don't think you'll go wrong with a Godin. I'm pretty picky about guitars, and the ones I have tried just aren't for me, although I do want a Glissentar. Godin are a quality instrument. I used Simon & Patrick and Norman acoustic 12s on my latest album. I went for Larrivees when they were based in Vancouver and have recently been eyeing the Dingwall line.

    The last time I looked, Gibsons here were anywhere from the mid teens to the mid three thousand range. A basic MIM Fender strat should run about $400-500.

    As for lessons, this is one area that deserves some thought. While you could learn from a book or the net, having a real person there who can point out some obvious bad habits when you are first learning is very critical. I would suggest finding a respected teacher and taking at least a dozen or so lessons to start you off. Unlearning bad posture or technique is a LOT of work. Proper playing position will greatly enhance your ability to progress, so please do yourself a favour and start off right.
     
  11. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    I'm already thinking about the lessons. It wouldn't surprise me if I find a teacher that ends up being one of the more famous guitar players in the province. Despite Quebec's incredibly strong entertainment industry, our market is still too small to allow anyone in the industry to earn a ton of money. That means even big name musicians may still want to supplement their incomes with teaching jobs.

    I'll check it out at the store. Most likely I'll make my purchase at Archambault. Steve's is simply too messy, very much like a teenager's bedroom. [​IMG]
     
  12. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Sorry Francois, when I said "Chain store" I wasn't inferring to music stores, just places like Sears, etc.

    I work for a nation-wide music store, so I should have used a better choice of words.

    Again, good luck.
     
  13. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Aw crap! Now I started to look at the Exit-22 (2 3/4" scale)! I know this model is readily available because there's only one body style available with a choice of fingerboards, and I saw plenty of them in the two stores I visited.

    Man! This is a lot like a woman shopping for shoes! I already feel sorry for the poor clerk who'll have to assist me! [​IMG]
     
  14. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Personally, I hate Fender Strat necks.

    Hamer makes some really nice lower model guitars. My brother bought one and I was shocked how great it sounded and how well it played.Its god a great sound and its very comfortable to play. Its also pretty versatile.In the $500 range this is what Id look at. In the $500-$1000 Id look at Gibsons,BC Rich and Hamer. Joe and Chuck mentioned Carvin and Ive always wanted to play one. They have some guitars that seem really decent for this range. Check out their website and the "guitars in stock" link.

    The best thing to do is just go to a music shop and sit down and feels best to you.


    "Number one.....Your friend gave great advice....DO NOT buy a cheepo guitar to learn on....you can save money on other things like the amp etc.."

    I learned on a finger bleeding old acoustic and cheaper 80s model Jackson.
    (Everything changed when I played my first handmade BC Rich some years ago.Now I only buy handmade with Neckthru construction)
    You can fix up a cheaper model guiatar and make it better. Changing the wiring, pickups,etc. But generally,your prone to have more problems on the cheaper guitars.My friend had a cheaper model Jackson that was constantly in the shop.This is why I mentioned Hamer. They have pretty high quality control even with their import lines.


    "The one source of tuning problems on guitars without a fixed bridge is the tremolo unit."

    I AGREE. Your just learning and dont need one. Id get a fixed bridge on ur first guitar.Preferrably Tune O Matic or Tone Pros.
     
  15. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    The Exit-22 has a fixed bridge. That was one more element that made me change my mind.

    Now I have to decide on a practice amp. The Roland Cube-15 is a contender. Any other suggestions? It's difficult if not impossible to properly sort out the small amps from the big amps at most review sites. And I need multiple choices because I don't exactly know what the store will have in stock when I go there. They do have stacked boxes of cheap amps, but I don't even know if they're any good. Most of them are names I haven't even seen at the review sites!
     
  16. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Choosing an amp will depend largely on the type of music you want to play. That would be the first thing we'd need to know to give you any useful advice.

    You may also want to consider something like the Pod (www.line6.com). It is small, offers a wide range of okay sounds and effects, and can plug into your stereo. These are going for about $150 used. It is pretty versatile, and even if you move up to another rig it can still be useful.

    You asked about stands - my personal preference is for the Flip-It On Stage stand. It is a locking type (so you guitar won't fall over), and uses a material that won't wreck the finish like rubber can. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...28139?v=glance)
     
  17. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Jeff, guitar stand noted. I wouldn't want to mar the wood grain with rubber streaks.

    Now here's the problem with what I'll be playing. I have no idea! If it sounds good, I'll most likely play it. Rock, blues or metal, if it's challenging and sounds good, I'll give it a shot.

    Once I learn how to play the thing of course. [​IMG]

    Now how about Line6's guitar amps? Roland had a few sample clips on their site, but they don't really give you the big picture. Line6 however posted a clip for just about every setting on their amp. Plus their sales network includes Archambault meaning I know I'll find it there when I get the guitar. Or at the very least I'll at least be able to order it.

    I'll check out Marshall and Behringer's Web sites if they have one. Hopefully they also have a few clips along with detailed descriptions of their products.

    EDIT: Marshall MG15CDR?
     
  18. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Keep in mind that the guitar used is going to have a pretty big impact on what type of sound you are going to get. For an all around amp, I would probably go with Line 6, but the amps may not be that inexpensive. Cheap Marshalls are junk, they don't sound good for anything IMO. Even the expensive Marshalls are pretty much a one trick pony, and the modern ones aren't great. They made soem great amps in the 1970s, but they aren't the same anymore.

    Distortion sounds on inexpensive amps generally suck. You really need to sit down with the guitar you intend to buy and try it out with the amp.

    It isn't so much streaks with the stands, the rubber actually eats the finish on any laquer based guitar. I remember the look of dismay on on everyone's faces at a local music shop when they discovered that their new wall hangers had melted the finish on about 50 Gibsons, most of which were $2500+ instruments.
     
  19. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    [​IMG]

    That must have been one heck of a sale they had there! [​IMG]
     
  20. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    Jonz, you really must play a Carvin to appreciate one. As for the amp Francois, for my practice amp, I use a Crate with an 8" speaker for messing around and daily practicing. I live in a condo, so I can't use serious amplification without the neighbors complaining. They are inexpensive and give good sound, a good value for learning. Jonz, the way my Carvin sounds on my serious amp, a 1980's vintage Fender Twin Reverb, would blow your mind. I used this amp at least 2 nights a week for about 10 years and it is still going strong. BTW, on stage I always ran my guitar into my amp via a Nady 2 channel wireless system. Still have it and it is as good as when it was new!![​IMG]
     

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