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Real or Copy: Which Route Should I Take?

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Crank-N-Jam
(@crank-n-jam)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Topic starter  

My next guitar purchase is going to be a Telecaster. What I'm having trouble deciding is whether I should save for an American Fender, or go ahead and pick up a MIM or some other brand.

On one hand I'd love to get an American made guitar of good quality, but I'd have to save for it, which means early next year at the earliest. On the other hand I could get a MIM or Tele copy much sooner (and just about everything I've read says they are of good quality too). I also have this thing in my head saying that I'm not a good player at all, so I wouldn't appreciate a really good guitar if it bit me in the arse.

I guess it really boils down to this: do I want just a few expensive guitars, or many cheaper guitars? I've got my Epi LP and Epi AJ-100. A Tele, SG and Gibson LP will complete my list of "must haves". Will they be the "real" deal or "copies"?

In your opinion, which route should I take?

"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"


   
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blackzerogsh
(@blackzerogsh)
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First off, I think you should go with real becuase, you say you're not that good, and if get a low quality tele, it's not really going to encourage you to play because it's not that fun to play it.

Now, when it comes down to the model, thats completely up to you, you can go to GC and try out the american and the MiM and see which is better to you.

Hope that helps


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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I've gone the multiple cheaper copies route, myself. There is no "pearl of great price" guitar that I'd scrimp, save and sacrifice for. I like some variety, though I settle on a few favorites. "Tone" is principally in the player's technique anyway, and I'm never going to be good enough to do justice to a pricey guitar.
:lol:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Ignar Hillström
(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Play the real deal and play a cheaper clone and decide for yourself. I currently have:

Ibanez RG550 superstat
Ibanez AF75SB jazzbox
Ibanez PF60 western
Ortega R180 classical
Dean Avalanche Zone H fatstrat
Yamaha 60s classical

I love and use them all, and I really don't think having a single Gibson LP supreme would be able to replace all my guitars. Do you need different sounds? Do you notice the difference between a $2000 guitar and a $1000 guitar. If so, is the difference enough?

I can see myself ending up with just one guitar, one non-modeling amp and a booster pedal later in my life, but right now I go with many cheaper guitars. It's really a personal choice that you'll have to make yourself. And probably a choice you'll be making a few times in your life.


   
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Crank-N-Jam
(@crank-n-jam)
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Topic starter  

Well, I do plan on playing every Tele type guitar I can get my hands on, cheap and expensive.

Another aspect that I'm trying to keep in mind is that I will probably never play in a band. I'm a 34 year old beginner. It'll take me some time before I'd be good enough to play in a band, so at this stage of the game this is only an expensive hobby. So I keep telling myself that I can't really justify a $1000 dollar Fender, or a $1400 Gibson. Yet, since they are the guitars that my musical interests play, I kind of want them. Could I get the same or similar sound from a $300 MIM Tele? Probably close enough for me, but it's still just a "copy".

I know it's a very personal decision, but I'd still like to hear what route others have taken and why.

"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"


   
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geoo
 geoo
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Well, I am a 35 yo beginner myself. when I started looking at guitars I was at Guitar Center and talked myself into plunking around on a $2k+ Taylor that they had hanging on the wall. While I was there I also played around on some cheap Yamahas, other brands that I cannot remember now, but the one that caught my attention was a $600 Ovation. To me it felt better than the Taylor that I couldnt afford anyway. I got the best guitar for my money that day.

Now, that doesnt mean that I couldnt go back in the future and play all the wall guitars and find an expensive Taylor that feels the best that day.

I guess what I am saying is that it really shouldnt be about the brand. Choose it on how it sounds and feels.

Geoo

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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JosephLefty
(@josephlefty)
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One of my favorite guitars is my white Jay Turser Tele.

I had it properly set up by their factory service Tech.

It is easy to very play, sounds great and it is very light.

Probably the only other thing I will do to it is put Grover tuners on it. But I like to put them on everything.

Possibly pickups down the road but I do that when I am bored and feel like taking something apart. It doesn't really need different pickups.

I really like this guitar. I couldn't picture myself being $700 happier with a made in america stamp on the headstock. With some guitars, probably yes but not in this case.

An American tele next year does no good for your playing over the next 12 months. :?:

If it was easy it wouldn't be worth doing.


   
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gunslinger
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I dont believe I have ever owned a Fender or a Gibson (and I think I'd remember that). When I was starting, I got whatever I was given because I wan't old enough to have a job, and video games seemed to take what money I did make for myself. That's when I got some no name acoustic that has long since disappeared (no idea what happened to it).

Somehow in highschool, I had an electric guitar that I think was a Squier Strat (dont remember right now, but it was some strat copy). Unfortunately it (like many other things) got lost when I left for bootcamp.

So I was in the US Navy, but I was low level so I didnt make enough money to justify spending it on something that expensive. That's when I got my Hammer strat copy, which I lost in a poker game after drinking far far too much one night.

Soon after, I got out of the Navy and came back home. I wanted a guitar, but I was moving so I was darn near broke. I picked up a Peavy Raptor (which I had a ton of fun with, but it sounded like absolute crap) for 15 bucks and kept it for 6 or 8 months. At this point, I knew better than to leave it behind until I had something better to play. It could be months or years before you pick up another guitar if you end up without one for whatever reason.

That's when I decided to buy one new. I ended up getting a Washburn X-40, which I really enjoy playing. I caught it on closeout, so it wasn't too expensive at all.

Recently, I hit the pawn shop to find an acoustic so that I could take it with me if I went camping or whatnot (something so cheap I wouldnt cry if it got broken). I now have a Samick Dreadnought that I picked up for little more than a song so I can hit the lake or whatever I'd like to do.

For now, to keep myself from going out and spending tons and tons of money, I'm building a solidbody electric with my dad, and tonight I'm ordering either an effects pedal or something like Behringer's V-Amp (havent decided yet).

In October, my car will be paid off. In December, my fiance graduates with a BA in English (sociology minor). My car insurance goes down next month because I turn 26 in in about 14 days. At the beginning of next year I am going to start buying some decent equiptment (probably an amp first...I'm using the Rogue amp that has their 100W tuberider head in it and a little squier practice amp). I dont know what guitar I'm going to get after that, but it will probably not be a Strat (since I've overdone the strat copies over the years...I can always borrow my brothers Fat Strat). I'll just have to decide if I want a Gibson LP, SG, a Fender Tele, or end up going with something completely off the wall. I have a while to play with some and decide what I want.

Sorry that was so long. It was just going to be a quick post on what I had at what point and why, but I ended up reminicing over it all. The main reason I went with the less expensive ones is because that's the kind of money I had at the time. Looking back, I'm glad I got to play the inexpensive ones so that when I'm ready, I'll really appreciate whatever I get.

Our songs also have the standard pop format: Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, bad solo. All in all, I think we sound like The Knack and the Bay City Rollers being molested by Black Flag and Black Sabbath.

Kurt Cobain


   
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Ignar Hillström
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Being in a band has nothing to do with age or experience. I had been playing for a few weeks before I played with others for the first time. I'm now in band working hard towards our first album. When I joined this band I'd been playing for one and a half year. Assuming you'll life beyond the age of 36 there is nothing stopping you for playing in a band for quite a few decades.

Get the guitar you feel best with and falls within your budget. If you take guitar serious a proper guitar will last all your life. $1000 might seem a lot but means little if it gets you 40 years of daily entertainment. The only real important question is: Do I notice a big difference when playing the more expensive guitar?


   
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Crank-N-Jam
(@crank-n-jam)
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Topic starter  

Thanks for the responses everyone!

That is a good point as to whether I'll notice a difference between a MIA or MIM or whatever. I haven't sat down at my local shop yet to try them all out (we don't have a GC around here, so it's all mom and pop shops). I guess in a sense, I'm putting the cart before the horse. It's still nice hearing other opinions though. Gives me something to think about while I'm trying them out.

"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"


   
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Anonymous
 Anonymous
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Crank,

I am also an "older" beginner at age 38 (soon to be 39 next month!) and there is one thing I didn't read from the others: Do you "need" the Tele right now? Are the guitar(s) you have sufficient to satisfy your musical needs at the moment? If the answer is yes save for the American Tele. It seems to me that's the one you REALLY want. If you just want a Tele NOW then go with one of the others.

I keep a wishlist saved at American Musical Supply's website and to be honest most of the ones I have on the list aren't more than $500-$600. I too want an American Tele but first I would like a Gibson Les Paul and since I really cannot afford one anytime soon (nor justify it at this time) I can be very happy with the Epi Les Paul Studio for $450. One thing I found out from getting my current guitars professionaly set up (see this thread) is that with the proper setup almost any guitar can be be made to play like a more expensive guitar. A lot has to do with bragging rights. It would be great to be able to tell everyone you own a Fender American Tele or a GIBSON Les Paul. Forget about the name and just play the guitars in the store like everyone else said. You'll pick the right one.


   
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Crank-N-Jam
(@crank-n-jam)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Topic starter  

My girlfriend would certainly say I don't NEED another guitar right now. If I were honest, I'd say I don't either. However, now that I've learned a bit more about playing, I've come to a place where I think I'd like a good single coil guitar to achieve some of the sounds I'm looking for. I love my Epi LP, and it has been professionally setup and plays wonderfully. So yes, it's more a want than a need, and unfortunately I get GAS really bad sometimes.

We are also saving for a house. I know that in the next few years I won't really be in a position to purchase much gear. So I'm trying to get as much now as I can before the soon-to-be-wife cuts me off from gear purchases. :lol: She's very understanding, but she's also much better with money than I am. I like my toys a bit too much, and I have many expensive hobbies (like SCUBA diving).

Anyway, knowing me, I'll end playing everything and liking the most expensive guitar in the shop. :D

"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"


   
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geoo
 geoo
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So I'm trying to get as much now as I can before the soon-to-be-wife cuts me off from gear purchases.

To some extent, this is my reality too. Right now, I can make any stupid (or smart) decision I want to without reprocussion because its my money. But I know someday it wont be that way.

I still say play em all but your right, this might be the only chance in 10 years you'll get to purchase the guitar of your dreams. Go for it.

Geoo

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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kingpatzer
(@kingpatzer)
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Could I get the same or similar sound from a $300 MIM Tele? Probably close enough for me, but it's still just a "copy".

Actually a MIM is NOT a copy. It is made by Fender. It's just made in a factory not in the USA.

My favorite Strat is my MiM Jimmy Vaughn Strat. Now, I've put a little bit of money in it with sheilding and having the frets done by someone I trust, but it's still far less expensive than a MIA strat, and it plays BETTER than an off-the shelf strat because I took the time and money to have a good luthier spend a bit of time on it.

Also, when setting your budget remember this -- the guitar is just one part of your sound chain - and it's not the most important link! A $20 thousand Benedetto played through a $100 amp will sound like a $100 amp. On the flip side, a $200 Squire played through a really really good tube amp will be very hard to distinguish from a top end Fender played through the same amp.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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There are many, many really good guitars in the $300 range, but except for a few brands (e.g., Ibanez), I would play the actual guitar I'm buying before risking the purchase. I would even pay an extra few bucks to do that, rather than risk the 50/50 proposition of mail order -- especially if the name on the headstock in Fender. Go to a store and that has 10 guitars similar to what you want, and play until you find the one that makes you say "This is it." If there is any question about the workmanship or funkiness or "it looks great, but just doesn't feel quite right" do not buy. If you think an adjustment might help, ask for this before committing to a buy (and there's really no committing anyway, don't feel pressured). If the every guitar you play is a little "off," and you suspect there might be a good one somewhere, ask if there are any more in the back you can try. This is a treasure hunt, and there is treasure out there, bucko -- ya just got to work a little for it.

-=tension & release=-


   
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