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Best all-around guitar under $1500(USD)

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(@jmh1819)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 20
Topic starter  

Hi, I've been playing guitar for about a year and a half now and I think it's time to get a better guitar then what came with the Christmas-special starter pack. I went to my local guitar center and was overwhelmed with the number and types of guitars out there. Then I went down to the guitar center in Hollywood and was even more overwhelmed . So I figured I'd ask you guys, what you thought the best type of guitar was for a generally all-around player. I like music from pretty much every genre from heavy metal(Children of Bodom, Lamb of God) to Pink Floyd to alternative, so I'd like something that sounds good both clean and really distorted. I'm hoping to grow as a guitar player in the future and I'd like a guitar that would grow with me. Also, there seemed to be all kinds of strat type guitars(50s strats, American strats, HSS), is there a certain kind that most people get?


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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7850
 

Answers to that question are as numerous and confusing as the number of guitars on the market. By the time you can afford a $1500 guitar, you should have a really good idea of what you like.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@the-dali)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1507
 

I'll give you my opinion, since this is the "opinion" section...

If you are looking for a new guitar and have $1500 to spend I would look at the Fender USA Deluxe Stratocaster SSH. This guitar will have very versatile pickups and electronics (S-1 switching can give you a variety of sounds) and the neck will feature a LSR roller nut and locking tuners. You can get metal to the Beatles out of this guitar.

If you are looking at used guitars, you can probably get one of the following which would be very capable guitars:
- Gibson Les Paul Classic - can be had for about $1400 - $1600
- PRS CE - bolt-on model from USA Paul Reed Smith $900 - $1400
- Fender Deluxe Stratocaster, price ranges from $750 - $1000
- Carvin CT3, CT4, CT6 - "poor man's PRS" - great build quality. Range from $600 - $1500 used; You can get a CT3 brand new from Carvin (custom made) for $1350.

All are great options, but my recommendation would be the Strat Deluxe.

-=- Steve

"If the moon were made of ribs, would you eat it?"


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(@jeffster1)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 231
 

I'm going to agree with the Fender Deluxe HSS. I got mine for about $1250 (CAD) and it's a fantastic guitar. I have 3 guitars and it's my favourite. I used to think I was a "gibson" guy, but the day I picked up that strat I lost all of that. Not only that, but if you ask me (here come the flames) Gibson's quality control has become absolutely abysmal. The Epiphones these days are just as good (sometimes better) than their gibson counterparts. Unless you can get an older gibson.


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

I'm with the others, you practically could purchase any guitar. First I'd focus on the type of guitar. For example, Les Paul, Strats, Teles... The pickup config: single coil, humbucker, single coil + humbucker...

For each type and pickup config I'd select several brands and sub-styles. For example, for Les Paul, I'd check Gibson, PRS, and also some SGs. And not only the 'major' brands, perhaps also Yamaha, Parker, etc.

And before the purchase I would always play the guitar. Perhaps you like a model but not the sound or it is not comfortable for you (weight, size, etc.).

Anyway, it is always funny!


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(@jmh1819)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 20
Topic starter  

Answers to that question are as numerous and confusing as the number of guitars on the market. By the time you can afford a $1500 guitar, you should have a really good idea of what you like.

yeah i know, I'm just trying to avoid having to buy a guitar now then buy another guitar when I really don't like the way that one sounds then buy another one after that. My guitar teacher thinks I should get an SG standard which is where I got the 1500 dollars(I also really like the SG too). I'm just trying to get different peoples opinions on what I should get. I thought this would be a good opinion thing cause I bet there's alot of people like me who like playing guitar but not shopping for one.


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

I'm just trying to avoid having to buy a guitar now then buy another guitar when I really don't like the way that one sounds then buy another one after that.
If this is the issue, don't think, just purchase the first one. Independently if you like or not your new guitar, you will purchase another guitar as soon as the GAS attacks you!

Seriously, take your time. You like the SG, go to a store and play several SG, Gibson or not. A friend loves the Yamaha SG-2000. When you play, try to feel how the guitar sounds and vibrates. Is it comfortable for your body? Play it unplugged as well. Try all the pickups, volume and tone combinations. Don't be in a hurry.

Once you play it you will know if it is your guitar.


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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3460
 

Answers to that question are as numerous and confusing as the number of guitars on the market. By the time you can afford a $1500 guitar, you should have a really good idea of what you like.

yeah i know, I'm just trying to avoid having to buy a guitar now then buy another guitar when I really don't like the way that one sounds then buy another one after that. My guitar teacher thinks I should get an SG standard which is where I got the 1500 dollars(I also really like the SG too). I'm just trying to get different peoples opinions on what I should get. I thought this would be a good opinion thing cause I bet there's alot of people like me who like playing guitar but not shopping for one.
SGs are great guitars - I'm a fan - but so are plenty of other makes. I'm with Ric on this, it's usually better to wait until you actually know WHY you want one over another. In the earlier stages you don't know exactly how your musical style and tastes will develop, so how can you predict in advance what instrument you should have? There's a tendency to feel that if you have a really good guitar then you'll play better as a beginner or intermediate player, but there's not really a lot of truth in it - unless of course your current guitar is rubbish, in which case it certainly can help and inspire you to play more if you can use a reasonable one.

There's really no answer to this, except to keep saving and expect to want more guitars and better amps on a more or less ongoing basis. By all means buy a better one now - the best you can afford - but just don't hang too much on expecting that you have then solved the problem once and for all. Sometimes that happens, but probably not all that often.... Good luck, and enjoy what you get. :)

Chris


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(@phillyblues)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 127
 

I've only played for less than a year so I'm no expert by far. I bought a new '08 American Standard Stratocaster for my first electric and I haven't regretted it for a minute. I've had it now for a couple of months and have had a chance to go back and play some other electrics since then and I truly believe I made the right choice for my first (the only other guitar I may lean toward is a Gibson ES-335, but that's easily twice as much). The Strat cost $1,000.00 which is perfect for your budget and still leave's enough $$$ to get a nice amp as well (I went with a Fender Blues Jr. which ran about $400.00). If your into blues or blues rock, it's a great guitar (yes, I know, I know, its not the guitar, its the guitarist...but if I can't play like Clapton, Hendrix, Beck, Gilmour, SRV et al, then I may as well look like them ).

Again, just my personal preference...at the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and ultimately the guitar has got to FEEL right to you so go out and try as many as you can. Outside of the ES-335 I mentioned above, the other one's I was personally interested in were the Gibson Les Paul Custom and the Fender Baja Telecaster but the Strat ultimately won out based on the type of music I wanted to play and which guitar I thought gave me the most for my $$$.

Good luck.


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(@rahul)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2764
 

You are lucky you have so much choice. Hope you are able to find the best one.

Good luck !


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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

simply put...an SG is a killer guitar, but a Fender strat is the most versitle. the deluxe with the humbucker tops the cake.
get the Fender.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


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 Ande
(@ande)
Honorable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 659
 

My inexperienced advice is that you shouldn't spend $1500 on anything until you have a solid reason. Get a decent axe- it'll make playing easier and more fun. But $1500 is a DELUX guitar. How many of them can you afford? Unless the answer is LOTS, don't spend that much on one until you know why- the strats mentioned here rock. (They rock right out of my price range!) But so does a Gibson. And a...(insert your fave here).

So unless you look forward to having a bunch of $1500 guitars (in which case, more power to you, and get one for me) don't make a decision until you've been playing long enough to really want one, for reasons related to your music. (An SG can kill- but it don't sound like a strat. What sound do you want? Until you know, don't invest that much.)

If that advice doesn't appeal to you, get the USA Strat. I don't have one, but have played a couple. Heaven. Still, it don't sound like an LP...what kind of music do you play, anyway?

Best,
Ande


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(@racetruck1)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 519
 

$1500 is a LOT of guitar! Lotsa choices out there. Especially if you also include used guitars. I personally found better values in used stuff.

Fender, I like American Standard Strats myself, but play a lot of them, I found that there are a lot of quirks even between consecutive serial numbered ones. I'm also a purist, I think Strats should be SSS. A great all-around instrument.
Telecasters are also another great choice. The epitome of a workingmans instrument. Just ask Vic! No problem in that price range new for either one.

Gibson, I really like SGs, Great sound, classic looks and not as heavy as a Les Paul. I really like my 67, plays and sounds great with a thin fast neck.
Les Pauls are a little more money, I also think that the Korean made Epiphones from the Ninetys are better quality than the new Gibbys. Again, being a purist, P90s or Humbuckers in these puppys. Still find great bargains in this price range if you look hard enough, but more money than a Fender. (Sometimes a lot more! ) My personal favorite is an ES-335, but I play a lot of blues and classic rock n roll. 335s also really hold their value too. But, then again, REALLY hard to find in that price range. I also have a 67 Gibson and a 98 Epi Supernova and the Epi was only $200 with a broken neck and the Epi WILL hold it's own. I actually like it a tad better than the Gibson after putting in good pickups and repairing the neck. Good Epi DOTs can be found for about $400 bucks. Epis are a great value, especially the Korean ones.

Others, Modern guitar manufacturing almost, (I said almost) makes it hard to find a bad guitar. Just be careful and play before you buy. The advantage with the big names comes in when you decide to resell, a name brand will keep its resell value better than a no-name or "budget" line.

Speaking of a "Budget" line, can anyone remember a certain Squire model that was a good deal?.......................

When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming......
like the passengers in his car.


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10340
 

Telecasters are also another great choice. The epitome of a workingmans instrument. Just ask Vic!

I was wondering when someone would get around to mentioning Teles.....

Is there a more versatile guitar? You can play anything from surf rock through C&W (there's no other guitar got that twang!) through classic rock via the blues right through to heavy metal.

Sweet Child Of Mine - neck p/u, try the intro, sounds as close as you can get to Slash's SG tone without actually buying an SG...

Stairway To Heaven - OK, I'm BORED with that song at he moment - seems to be on the radio every time I switch on, or at least once a day.....but every time I hear it, I want to pick up the Tele and join in.....

All Right Now - another song that was made popular on the LP, but there's nothing you can do on an LP (in my opinion, for what it's worth) that you can't re-create on a Tele.

Paranoid - originally done on an SG, but easily done on the Tele...

Hmmmmm - Saturday night beer talking again? maybe, maybe not.....maybe tomorrow AM I'll post a few soundclips of just how good a Tele can sound, even in the hands of a hack like myself......

All I'll say to end this post, having played a Telecaster I don't think I could ever fall in love with another guitar the same way - and having a Tele with a Maple fretboard, I don't think - I know for certain! - I could ever play a guitar with a rosewood (or amy other wood, no matter how cool it might be to own one) fretboard.

As always, just MY opinion.....

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

I own a Les Paul, SG, Telecaster, and Stratocaster and love them all.

But if I had to recommend a good first guitar to someone, I would probably recommend the Stratocaster, it is the most versatile of the guitars. I like the HSS models, so you get both the humbucker and single coil tones. Plus the Strat has a whammy bar if you are into that kind of stuff.

I think the Les Paul is best for Rock music, it has a thick dark tone and sounds awesome with distortion. But it has a rich beautiful tone clean too. It probably has the best sustain of any guitar. The downside? They are really heavy, I sometimes get a stiff neck if I play mine for a few hours. And, you can't get bright tones out of it.

The SG is MUCH lighter and has a slightly brighter tone than the LP. It is also much easier to play high on them. I really can't think of a negative for the SG, except it doesn't have a Whammy bar.

The Telecaster has that unique tone, if you love Country, it is THE guitar. But it works good for Rock and sounds excellent with distortion. I really don't think it can do Metal, the tone is too thin. Great necks, super easy to play. The single coils do make a bit of noise at high volume or with too much distortion.

The Strat, like I said, it is the most versatile, you can get just about any sound out of it. Downside? If you use the Whammy bar a lot it goes out of tune some. But my LP goes out of tune easier, so not much of a problem. The Strat has a jangly tone, it is not easy to get a Rock clean tone out of it, always sounds a little Blues or Country to me.

There are lots of other great guitars. The PRS guitars are supposed to be somewhere inbetween the tone of a Les Paul and Strat. Many people will play nothing else.

Then there are hollow and semihollow body guitars. They get a very rich, acoustic guitar like tone the solid bodies can't get. They can do Rock although they tend to feedback at high volume.

You just gotta go down and play lots of guitars through a good amp. Play it clean and with distortion, listen to the different pickups. Get a guitar that feels good to you and is easy to play. But most importantly, get a guitar that sounds great to you.

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


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