Becoming a gear head
Since I'm starting to get back in to playing and all and actually considering becoming more responsible in practicing, I was wondering about the flip side of playing. Gear, amps, f/x boxes, hard-ware, pick ups, etc. I was wondering if there was information available about guitar gear so I can make educated choices when buying equipment. I'll be buying a better guitar now (Mex Fender as opposed to the Squier) and want to change the pick-ups and other stuff but I was wondering if I can learn what is out there, why some are better than others so I can make a better choice. Thanks for any info.
"I use heavy strings, tune low, play hard and floor it. Floor it, that's a technical term." - SRV
if you have a standard (MIM) strat, there really is no need to change the pickups, they're quite nice by themselves.
for the most part, just use your hands and ears...look for guitars that feel nice to your hands and sound right to your ears. bring a friend and have them play the guitar for you.
as far as quality goes, it seems that on the whole (there are exceptions) you get what you pay for. this means that for the most part the lower priced guitars will be lacking in quality. i'd try to stay away from those as your main guitar. i have one and it's like my backup guitar, or just for when i feel like doing something weird, cos it's got a unique tone.
cant go wrong with a standard strat
You can learn a lot right here. We are always discussing different guitars, amps, pedals, etc...
Then go down to your local music store and try a few things out. :D
Here is a good site if you are into doing things yourself on guitar.
If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis
Sometimes the lower-priced stuff can surprise you with good sounds, but do some research first. "Try before buy" is always best, but you can also get a good feel for the quality of something by reading user reviews. Of course you won't know if your particular example of any piece of gear is a lemon until you actually use it in your usual venue, but you may get some hints as to what things to stay away from.
Harmony Central has reviews of guitars and amps, basses and bass amps, pickups, and effects. Sometimes it seems like the same item gets rated anywhere from 1 to 10 by different people, but you can probably average it out by careful reading. If nine people "love it!" and one says "it stinks!", well . . . Reviews of guitars can also be found on Epinions.
For other than used gear, Musician's Friend and zZounds (to name two) also show user reviews for products they sell.
Other than cables and other accessories, there's not much except second-hand gear in my collection. It's a fairly long drive to a music store in my area, so I've done several Internet purchases. I've done alright (so far) with eBay deals by doing the research before placing a bid. Again, good reviews don't guarantee that the one you might be about to bid on hasn't been beaten on by its previous owner(s).
Another thing to note is that every significant guitar, amp and effect maker has AT LEAST one active forum dedicated to the discussion of that particular piece of gear.
Today, it's relatively easy to walk into your local music store knowing more about any one guitar than the entire sales staff.
There's an incredible resource of people out there just giving out detailed, reliable information: company insiders, gear collectors and just plain gear nuts who want to know everything there is to know.
Here's a couple:
PRS: Birds and Moons -
Gibson - The Les Paul Forum -
Marshall Amps -
The list goes on and on and on, but needless to say that before I make any serious purchases, I read what people are saying about it for at least a couple weeks, sometimes months, or in the case of my forthcoming PRS, a couple years.
For me, every time I've started reading a given forum, I've changed what I wanted within a day or two, I realize there are options I didn't know existed, models that would suit me better, even places to get them that would be much cheaper.
Good luck and happy reading! There's a world of information out there!
Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...
You'll find plenty of information right here on the forum. Like in the Amps & EFX section. You'll read about techniques for building a great signal chain and other informative information. Here's a few units to research on. All tube amps, Equalizers, Attenuator's to start with and move on from there.