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what to look for in an electric guitar(long replies welcome)

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(@kaizer-szoza)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 103
Topic starter  

Hello all,

I am currently looking to add an electric guitar to my collection. I have never owned an electric guitar and the search is daunting. So many brands and so much to consider. I would like to do a little research first and have come to you all for some experienced advice. I would be playing a bit of everything from rock to metal. Aesthetically, I really like to Les Paul style over some of the Strat styles, but again sound and playability is what I am looking for.

if one is buying a guitar, what are some of the things he/she should look for? What kind of hardware?(from the tuners to the pickups)

thanks in advance.

p.s. if at the end there may be a guitar modestly priced that contains some or most of what you think a decent electric should have please state.


   
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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

Wow, tough question. :D

I think the first thing you need to consider is tone. What type of music do you like? What model guitar does your favorite artist use, or what type of guitar was used in favorite recordings?

If you are into Metal for instance, you would probably prefer the tone of a guitar with humbucking pickups. If you like clean tones or Blues, you might prefer a guitar with single coils. Perhaps you like the very acoustic guitar like tones of a semi-hollow or hollow body? Maybe you like the twang of a Tele, or the rich, deeper tones of an Les Paul?

So that is where I would start to look.

Then consider your budget. You want to get the best guitar you can for your money. Today there are many great affordable electric guitars, competition between many companies has driven the cost down.

I read lots of reviews before I buy a product. You will always see reviewers who say a product is the best ever, another will say the worst. You have to read lots of reviews to get a clear picture of what the guitar is really like. If you see 10 reviewers out of 50 that say the guitar goes out of tune, it does. If you see one review out of 50 that said the guitar broke the first day, that person is probably careless, or perhaps got the very occasional "lemon". Companies are forced by competition to make a quality product, Generally quality is excellent across the board today.

But I first look for a guitar I like the tone, that plays well and stays in tune. And of course looks is important, you have to like the look. :D

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108
 

You might check out How to buy a guitar. You should also check out the recommendations in the forum "I'm Looking for a New". In the end, it's a matter of trying several out and deciding what feels comfortable for you and sounds best in the price range you can afford.

My recommendations are down in the staff picks threads in the forum "I'm Looking for a New" (and I'm playing my pick in my avatar).

The May issue of Guitar Player reviews 35 reasonably-priced solid bodies as well.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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(@coloradofenderbender)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1106
 

That article in Guitar Player really did a nice job summarizing the available, reasonably priced solidbodies on the market. I think that is a great place to look if you are in the market.


   
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(@biker_jim_uk)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 536
 

I'd recommend going to a store and asking to try a few different ones in your price range.


   
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 Bish
(@bish)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3636
 

It helps to have a price point in mind.

You can use that criteria to do a search for all guitars on that price range. I've done that alot when looking for a new purchase but nothing concrete in mind. From there, I look at brand, style and hardware.

Anything under a thousand dollars leaves you a world of choices. I'd probably say EPI and Schecter (in my experience) will give you a great bang for the buck. Up from there you can find some very nice PRS guitars, (still under $1000) and then you can look at Ibanez, LTD and a host of others with very decent guitars.

The world is open for your pleasure....let us know how the search progresses.

Bish

"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"


   
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 Taso
(@taso)
Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2811
 

Considering you like the style of the Les Paul, and you like rock and heavy music, the Les Paul will be perfect for you.

You can get a pretty darn good one for about $1,000, around there. Gibson makes some cheaper ones that are $800 or less too. But for me, if I'm paying over $600, I want the best of the best.

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


   
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(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

I want a neck free of fret buzz with appropriately low action

No sharp fret edges, neck binding helps

Brand name tuning machines, sealed die cast or quality Kluson style Ie: Gotoh, Grover, Schaller, Fender, Gibson ect....

It needs to look cool to me, both body style and finish

It needs to feel good in my hand

It needs to sound good to me

It should hang well balanced on a strap

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@kaizer-szoza)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 103
Topic starter  

thanks all.

and how about the pickups? obviously I could go to a store and sit down and play them all...if one has the time. By the time get up or by the time I get home doesn't leave much time for runnign out to any store. I am that guy at 3am practicing in the dark of night.
I am very interested in which hardware I should look for. I am not set on any brand per say, but I would like one with decent electronics and such. I see some that come with humbuckers, or Duncans, or.... Some guitars have Bigsby and others a Floyd Rose. Some have lockable tuners, others Grover tuners.

Maybe I should ask the question slightly differently.

If you had 600-850 dollars to spend and could choose what you would put on your guitar, which hardware would you choose? Build me your guitar:))


   
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(@stringslinger)
Active Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 6
 

I'be got a DEAN HARDTAIL import guitar... Paid around 475.00 I think, and it came with deluxe hard case... looks like a cross between a Gibson and PRS and sounds great too, plays great as well. It has two humbuckers paterned after Gibson paf's with a little more output and it has a carved top like PRS guitars.

I've owned a custom Gibson Les Paul Classic and PRS swamp ash... both 1500+ and this guitar is almost as good... the finish is perfect etc...


   
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(@rocker)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1128
 

dimarzio pickups, tone pros bridge and tail piece , and like trguitar said name brand tuners- grover, shaller

for a guitar with a tremlo, i woulk go floyd rose or wilkinson 8)

even god loves rock-n-roll


   
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(@sgincyqx)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 404
 

Go here and build one, and post your results if you can.

http://www.nymphusa.com/kisekae/kisekaeE1.asp

Just scroll down until you can see the different thumbnails of guitars, you should be able to come up with something cool :wink:

Ewan McGregor: I said, "Eve, I want you to look after my wedding ring while I'm away," and she started to cry and I said, "Eve. Eve, I can't wear my ring or I won't get laid on the trip!"


   
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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Fun... but an impossible question. :)

You might as well ask us to choose a wife for you. :wink: You can list all your favourite attributes - height, hair and eye colour, personality, abilities and character, and you'll still end with somebody that you just happen to click with, for reasons that you can't actually explain, and that who quite possibily bears no similarity to your list. Guitars are much the same - you just have to fall in love with one that seems right for you.

Which isn't much help.... so here's a few things to consider:

  • There's only so much you can find out by reading reviews and opinions. You won't know what they feel or sound like to you until you try them.

    Your own 'electric style' will develop as you play. It's unlikely to be pre-set. So it's hard to know what exactly the right guitar for you is in advance. If you avoid the really cheap junk there are very many good guitars available at a 'midrange' price. I'd probably start there and expect to be saving for a better one in year or two when you have have a clearer idea of what sounds and style you want.

    There is a lot more to playing electric than just the guitar. A decent amp can make a lot of difference, both to the sound, and to how much you end up paying. Ditto for effects pedals, etc. When you buy your first electric guitar you're opening up a very big (but exciting!) can of worms.

  • Good luck with the hunt anyway. 8)

    Cheers,

    Chris


       
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    (@rich_halford)
    Reputable Member
    Joined: 19 years ago
    Posts: 225
     

    Hi Kaizer

    I may have been in a similar position to you last year; I loved my acoustic but wanted an electric. I ended up buying a Line 6 Variax 300: https://www.guitarnoise.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=25924 and later a Roland Cube 30 amp.

    As it happens I just have never got on with it. Its definately not the guitar, its me. I am still learning and just love my acoustics and I find the hassle of having to get the electric out of the case and sort out cables etc to be a pain. We have just bought a new house (yesterday) and I plan to have a dedicated guitar room so I can leave the gear out and the electric hung on the wall with my acoustics which I know will allow me to pick it up more. Just thought i'd mention that as it is worth considering.

    As to electric guitars themselves, if you don't know what sound you want then you'll go for what you like the look of. I prefer the look of the Les Paul to the Strat, but the Variax is strat shaped. I bought the Variax because it was a cheap entry into electric and it would give me lots of sounds to chose from. On that front it is awesome - no need to be bored sounds-wise.

    i lent it to a friend who has Fender strats/teles and a mid-level PRS amongst other guitars. When he plays my Variax it sounds fantastic. However, if he plays it on a strat setting and then plugs his strat into the same amp and plays that, the 'real' strat sounds better (as you'd expect). He was very impressed though.

    So, in summary, if you really don't know what sound you want and if you are inexperienced with electric guitars I thorougly recommend the Variax. You can pick one up new for less than £300, use it until you know what guitar sound you want and then sell it if you need the extra cash towards your 'pucker' guitar, if thats the way you want to go. Another option is to add the Variax electronics to the body-shape of your choice AND fit the pickups you want to that bodyshape - you can have a humbucking PRS with strat/tele/335/acoustic/banjo etc on board (check out this guys work:
    http://www.guitaristjeffmiller.com/guitars.htm )

    Hope you find something you want.

    Regards,

    Rich.


       
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