Looking to buy an electric guitar

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by EricDeB, Jun 10, 2006.

  1. EricDeB

    EricDeB Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey guys, I love listening to guitar, especially electric guitar, and I always die when I hear a great guitar solo, so I figured I would try to pick it up this summer since I have nothing better to do. I don't have a lot of money to spend (about 150 on the guitar itself), cause I'm saving for college. I'll probably buy it on eBay to get the best deal so retail could probably be between 200 to 350. I know absolutely nothing about guitars. What would you guys recommend?

    Thanks a ton
    Eric
     
  2. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 1997
    Messages:
    2,156
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Real Name:
    François Caron
    Two brands known for their cheap prices and playable guitars: Jay Turser ( http://www.jayturser.com ) and Agile ( http://www.rondomusic.net ). You can also check out the pawn shops. A lot of people give up learning how to play and eventually sell their instruments.

    In order to foster anarchy on this site, what about your choice of guitar amp? Solid-state or tube? [​IMG]
     
  3. Kyle McCabe

    Kyle McCabe Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Pawn Shop. All the way. Without stressing an ego, I would consider myself a seasoned guitarist. Over the past two decades, I must have purchased a dozen guitars. Most of these were from pawn shops, due to the excellent values that I've been able to find after doing a little searching.

    I'm definitely sold on Jackson and Charvel guitars as my 'weapon of choice'. But I do recognize that there are a ton of great guitars out there that can be had for under $200.

    Let me give you some pointers on how to shop for a good guitar:

    1. Check the intonation! In my eyes, this is the single most important aspect of purchasing a guitar. Of course, the intonation can be adjusted, but in most cases, it should at least be consistent throughout each and every fret. Just in case you aren't familiar with intonation, I'll explain it in very simple terms: The pitch made by the open string should be EXACTLY one octave lower than the pitch made by the same string on the twelfth fret. It should be the exact same note, only an octave's difference!

    If the intonation is off, and is beyond adjustment, then you will be one seriously frustrated guitarist.

    2. Be sure the tuning keys are of a good quality! A lot of low-end manufacturers cut corners on their cheap guitars by skimping on the tuning keys. Bad idea. What good is a guitar that can't stay in tune?

    Make sure your tuning keys are made of a good quality metal, not an ABS plastic.

    3. Make sure that the neck is comfortable for your hand! I prefer a thin neck on my guitars because it offers a little more playability when you consider speed as a factor in your playing. Since you're a beginner, this may not be a concern, but you at least want the guitar to feel good in your hand. Go to your local music shop, and get a good feel for neck differences. You may be surprised by how much they vary in size.

    There are a ton of other factors that determine a guitar purchase for me. However, I have tried to keep this in perspective from a beginner's point of view. These three key points will ensure that you get a decent guitar that will leave you a little room to grow on, and certainly keep you from suffering the frustrations of, well, a piece of crap. :)

    Keep us updated!

    Regards,

    Kyle McCabe
     
  4. EricDeB

    EricDeB Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey thanks guys. If I end up joining a band and becoming world famous I'll thank you guys personally. Haha.



    Thanks a ton
    Eric
     
  5. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 1998
    Messages:
    5,584
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    My recommendation, before you buy anything, would be to spend some time at a reputable instrument dealer trying out different brands, and becoming familiar with the different types of guitar selling in your price range.

    For a beginning guitarist, the first thing I would consider is fit. Extremely generalizing, electric guitars come in two basic scale lengths - 24.75" (Gibson Les Paul) or 25.5" (Fender Strat). Depending on your fingers, the shorter scale will be easier to play, both due to the reach involved, and the string tension. Try a few guitars and see what feels most comfortable to you. You will want low action (the distance between the string and the fretboard) to make fretting notes easier. Lighter guage strings will also help, and lessen fatigue. If the guitar is uncomfortable you aren't going to want to play it.

    As Kyle mentioned, tuning stability is important to being happy with your playing - there are few things more frustrating than having to retune every other note, but this whole area gets beyond the beginner level quite quickly. Stock intonation should be considered, but most modern guitars can be intonated correctly. The quality of tuners, which will be compromised on many low end guitars, will make a difference. The type of bridge will also matter. For a beginner, you will probably be better off with a fixed bridge, rather than a tremolo. If it has an arm sticking out of it, it is a tremolo system. These require proper setup to work properly, and are better left until you have the basics of playing down.

    You also have to decide what kind of sound you are looking for. The pickups used in the guitar will determine this. Single coil pickups will be thinner and brighter. Humbuckers will be fuller and more powerful. Both have their uses.

    I'm going to go against Kyle's pawn shop recommendation for the simple reason that until you gain some experience as a player, you have no idea what you should be looking for in terms of instrument build, quality, or condition other than basic asthetics. You also have no idea what a given guitar should be worth, and could easily overspend. The same applies to eBay.

    Instead, I would look for a store that offers a liberal return policy, so if you buy the guitar and end up not liking it you can return/exchange it for something else.

    Click on the Othyrworld link in my sig if you need my references.
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    +1 on Rondo!

    Another great place to go online is www.musicyo.com , Gibson's online direct site full of exclusive great deals. You will not go wrong with anything from musicyo.

    The "SX" stuff has a very good reputation on www.talkbass.com - you'll need an amp and lessons or try to teach yourself with a "teach yourself how to play guitar" book. Have fun!
     
  7. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 1999
    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Damn! That misicyo site has some bargains. I am looking too now, and wanted an electric that I could hook up to my PC and teach myself on. I have NHT-Pro A20s and a Delta-1010, so I could go without an amp for the moment.

    The Kramer Focus and the Guitar Method software could be the thing to get me started.
     

Share This Page