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Unread 11-10-2003, 09:40 PM   #16
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Good grief, that's alot to read - all around one topic at that...

To sum this up, there is no "one, perfect guitar" for everybody. A "newbie" as they're being referred to in this thread should practice on what they can get their hands on at the time. My first electric guitar was an ol' beat up Jackson that had worse tone than a dying cow and couldn't stay in tune for longer than 5 seconds. Anything more than that would've been overkill for me. I wouldn't have known a good sounding electric back then if you'd shown me a Gibson LP right next ot my Jackson.

In that sense, if a "newbie" is buying their first guitar, spending $300 vs. $150 on a guitar won't make much immediate difference to them at all. Long-term if will, but in the immediate future, it won't. They won't know the difference anyways. The guy I bought my Jackson from knew 4 chords and couldn't even string them together in a sensible fashion. The Jackson was his second guitar (right behind his American Strat Deluxe) and having a beautiful guitar like that in his hands made him no better of a player than having a piece of crap like the thing he sold to me (the Jackson).

All that to say that if you're a brand new "newbie", buying something that "feels right" to you at the moment isn't all that bad of a decision. As your ear for tone improves, you'll drastically change your preferences. I remember just a year or two ago when I was convinced that I was born to play an LP as my token electric. Come to find that it's the last tone in a guitar that I need - I ended up picking up an American Tele instead (incredibly different guitar in every way).

Short term "newbie": buy something cheap on eBay. You'll end up changing your mind in a year or two anyways, and will end up trading it in on something better AFTER your ear for tone has developed. This way, you'll have less invested in a guitar that you'll end up getting rid of anyways.

Already been playing for a while "newbie": chances are, your ear has developed some. Hopefully. Go ahead and be a somewhat discriminating buyer at Guitar Center. Play around on MIM Strats/Teles, Epi LP's, Ibanez whatevers, etc. Don't sink yourself too deeply in any given guitar because YOUR EAR WILL FOR, AND QUEST FOR TONE WILL STILL GROW AND CHANGE!!!

Fairly advanced newly graduated "non-newbie": you probably know the tone and style that you hope to emulate by now. NOW you're finally ready to start spending the big bucks on gear. ONLY now are you ready! Why? Because now you actually have a direction that you're going.

Otherwise, you're just another lemming jumping off of a popular cliff because all of the lemmings in front of you are (buying a certain guitar because someone else has it, too).

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Unread 11-10-2003, 09:41 PM   #17
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Just thought of a example,a younger me. When I first started ,I attempted to play this OLD harmony f-hole guitar, the strings were about 2 inches off the fretboard,no kidding! Anyway I went to a pawn shop and bought a Alverez guitar for $ 130.00 . When I went to the music to pick up some song books and other guitar related supplies,I was checking out this guitar that felt pretty good and noticed the price was $135.00. Man,was I mad, for $5 more I could've had NEW guitar instead of a USED one. Moral of this story,we all learn from our mistakes.
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Unread 11-10-2003, 09:47 PM   #18
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the sad truth is, some people can play for 10 years, and still not be able to hear a good guitar tone. myself, i don't think i'll ever be a good judge of electric guitars, but i'll put my ear up against most anyone for hearing a good acoustic.

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Unread 11-10-2003, 09:58 PM   #19
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That's true. Rule 28, Never,ever buy something because of it's looks,or brand at a real low price. Another personal leson from gchord. I once thought I had a real nice deal on a B.C.Rich Warlock at $75.00,man I took that that so fast it made my head spin,sold it to a freind for the same price. A week later he found out that the neck was broke in two and somebody super glued the neck! I re-funded the money and was mad once more. Moral: If it seems like it's too good to be true,it probably is.
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Unread 11-10-2003, 10:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanspeer
I remember just a year or two ago when I was convinced that I was born to play an LP as my token electric. Come to find that it's the last tone in a guitar that I need - I ended up picking up an American Tele instead (incredibly different guitar in every way).
I remember last year, I was convinced I wanted a Tele. I ended up getting a Gibson LP.
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Unread 11-10-2003, 11:37 PM   #21
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Ryanspeer said:

Good grief, that's alot to read - all around one topic at that...
You're point?

You're not too brief yourself!!

Still, that was an excellent disertation. Very insightful and sharp.

I concur 100%!

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Unread 11-11-2003, 09:24 PM   #22
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i agree w/ what ryan said. when i read the initial post in this thread ( no offense ches) i didn't like it much...it just said what *not* to tell a newb...and considering that 95% of the advice given to newbs on this board are one of either two things that ches said were things *not* to say, as a newb i'd have nowhere to go and would be utterly confused. Having an experienced guitarist go w/ u is a good thing, but many times you won't have access to one experienced enough (or experienced period) to know what to listen/look for. If you're like me, you didn't know many people in the guitar world prior to buying your first guitar...so you have nowhere to go.

So I'd like to say here that headstock is very helpful in choosing your first guitar. When I got my "first" guitar, i got a packaged yamaha deal from costco. It was actually a decent guitar, but after hearing a few recommendations for seagulls and considering the $$ aspects, i decided to go for a seagull. It cost me 200 bucks more, and the yamaha sounded nearly exactly the same, but I got the seagull anyways. Now that I can actually hear/feel some differences and looking at the resell values off ebay(though I guess the yamaha wouldn't of been a bad pick), my decision makes more sense, and I would say i'm happy with what I got. I probably didn't get the best deal, as I'm sure there are better deals out there, but I ended up with a pretty nice guitar. If you're brand new to the guitar world, again, you have no idea what to look for, nothing to base your purchases on. Knowing companies by doing a little research would give you a big step (i think) into choosing a better guitar.

Here's a little exaggerated example. I've played violin for about 8 years now, and I recently purchased a fairly cheap violin (2 grand). Now the guy i bought it from also had a verrry nice violin (a strad), and when I played it, i could see the vast difference in sound, tone, etc. between mine and his. But if I were now starting on the violin, I probably wouldn't be able to hear any difference at all. I would have no "acquired taste for sound" in my head, and an ultra bright-sounding $400 machine violin would probably sound just the same (or even better). If I were offered the two violins for $300 bucks each, chances are I would take the ultra-polished-shiny-cheapo-that-looked-like-my-best-friend's over the antique-ized scratched up million dollar strad. That's how I (we all) used to think, and i'm sure the person selling it would try to entice me into buying the cheap violin. But if i did just a bit of research and I knew that strad made some pretty nice violins, i would go for the strad. why? I could hear no difference in sound, in anything. It may have not been too pretty. But because I had a little bit of bg knowledge, I could make a better decision.

Also, when I say that one should look at headstock i don't mean "ooh look, a fender/squire" thing, i mean know brands and what they're known for. Llike if a squire is known to have some pretty good guitars but also be pretty inconsistent, as a newb I'd stay away cause i'd know it would be a pretty easy way to get ripped off. If i had heard that yamahas however had pretty nice beginner guitars with good consistent quality for the price, i'd go hunting for some cheap pacificas off ebay. Yamaha isn't a big brand name or anything, but by knowing the headstock I would have a better idea of what I was looking for, and have a much better chance of ending up with a better guitar. Now i'm sure that you could by some chance end up with an extremely crappy yamaha...but the odds would be on your side
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Unread 11-11-2003, 09:55 PM   #23
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For what it's worth, what I did was decide which songs had the guitar sound I wanted. Did the research to find out which rig was used. Then I looked for the unit that felt good to me and put forth the sound I wanted. I'm a lefty player, but learned on a righty rig, so that narrowed my search down a bit. I ended up with a sweet 1997 Hendrix Tribute Strat, slung lefty and strung righty. American made with a maple neck, straight as can be, and three position selector instead of a five. You need to decide what you are looking for, then search for the best feeling and sounding rig you can afford. By the way, I prayed for guidance and pray that you too can find the guitar of your dreams!
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Unread 11-11-2003, 10:35 PM   #24
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i agree w/ what ryan said. when i read the initial post in this thread ( no offense ches) i didn't like it much...it just said what *not* to tell a newb...and considering that 95% of the advice given to newbs on this board are one of either two things that ches said were things *not* to say, as a newb i'd have nowhere to go and would be utterly confused. Having an experienced guitarist go w/ u is a good thing, but many times you won't have access to one experienced enough (or experienced period) to know what to listen/look for. If you're like me, you didn't know many people in the guitar world prior to buying your first guitar...so you have nowhere to go.
No offense taken. I didn't figure my original post to be my last will and testament on the subject, but rather I wanted to get the discussion going. I didn't have a definitive answer, so I didn't post one. I just first and foremost wanted to address that advice, and give a moment of pause to all newbies, before they blew their hard earned dollars.

That's what I want to do here, come up with a fool-proof methodology. Ryan is definitely onto it. Good direction!

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Unread 11-13-2003, 07:01 AM   #25
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No offense taken. I didn't figure my original post to be my last will and testament on the subject, but rather I wanted to get the discussion going. I didn't have a definitive answer, so I didn't post one. I just first and foremost wanted to address that advice, and give a moment of pause to all newbies, before they blew their hard earned dollars.

That's what I want to do here, come up with a fool-proof methodology. Ryan is definitely onto it. Good direction!

Chesh


Well to tell ya the truth, chesh.....I don't think there really IS a "foolproof" method of someone choosing their first guitar! Everyone has different tastes in music, EVEN NEWBIES! So now you have guitars with so many different pickups to choose from. All with their own unique sound. Now granted, a newbie may not realize the difference in tone between a humbucker pickup or a single coil, but some might... as was posted in a previous post about a newbie going out and finding a guitar for the style of music he/she wanted to play. They may not know what KIND of pickup it is, but the sound it produces may tell them this is what they want or not.

Then, lets consider a persons body weight. To me, I like having a Les Paul again, but to tell ya the truth, it IS heavier than what I remembered! A larger person may prefer a heavier bodied guitar like a les paul body style, while a thinner person may prefer a lighter bodied guitar such as a strat style. Though I must stress this is not always the case! You could have a long slanky basketball player type newbie person like a heavy bodied guitar like a paul, while a heavy set newbie person plays a strat bodied guitar....go figure!

Then lets consider necks, some are wide, some are narrow, some have 21 frets, some 22 (PRS) and some 24 (PRS) (By the way, I know we are talking newbies here BUT not EVERYONE will start out with a $100.00 guitar, there are some rich people I know who have expensive instruments and can't play them worth anything! Thus I included a high dollar name like PRS....also, they make the SE series, so that is a lot cheaper than the american PRS guitars. Though granted, the MAJORITY of newbies will start out on a cheapo guitar....I just thought I would point out that not all newbies are that way! ) This is not to mention a persons finger length! Soime have short, stubby fingers and some have long fingers able to curl around a basketball! Then some have in between finger lengths. All of this could determine why a newbie chooses one guitar over another, they don't know anything abot neck radius, but they may know if the strings are harder to press down on guitar A as oppoosed to guitar B and choose B because it is easier for them to play!


Now lets get to one other thing that I will mention while we are on the subject of newbies....COLOR! YES COLOR! The more I have talked with newer players, it seems that some have chosen the guitar they have just because of it's LOOKS! This is especially true in women newbie guitar players. But men are also affected by a "shiny" new cheapo guitar! most younger newbies want a guitar that looks "cool"(you know, the wannabe punk rocker who wants skull and crossbones all over the guitar), while older guitar newbies may like a guitar that isn't so hard on their fingers to press down, but still looks nice and has a pretty color! So color and nice looks can also affect a newbies purchase of a guitar!


Of course, the old favorite of every newbie...PRICE....whatever is the cheapest.... THAT is what I want until I am ready for something else....hard to play or not....good looking guitar or not. This is whatb is on the mind of the MAJORITY of newbies because they figure they can get something they can afford now and move up later if they are still into guitar. Not a bad strategy, but one that could cost them a little more hard work if they just get any old guitar out there that is cheap and has strings that are a mile off the fretboard!

All of the things I mentioned....A persons taste in music, a persons size, a persons hand size, even the guitars LOOKS...all of these things.... EVEN for a newbie....can affect their purchase...NOT just price! Now they may not know WHY they chose guitar B over A and couldn't tell you the reasons if their life depended on it. But what little knowledge they DO have they use it to justify their purchase.

This is why it is so hard to say to EVERYONE that buys a new guitar....."follow these steps if you are just starting out and you will get a great beginner guitar!" Now we can make a guide that may help them in being aware of what is out there...BUT.....how do you explain to a newbie all of the choices they have....WITHOUT overwhelming them?? To me that in itself is a challenge. By the way, this forum is speaking to people all over the world! Not just in America! That is why I am afraid to reccomend anything....because as soon as I do....somebody in a different part of the world, would have to pay import taxes just to order that guitar I reccomended! So if a guide IS made, it needs to be more of a general guide that any newbie in any part of the world can use to make a guitar purchase based on principals that work for every corner of the globe! Quite a challange! However, I think it IS possible to make such a guide if you take all of the posts into consideration and generalize it! Just my two cents.......
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Unread 11-13-2003, 10:24 AM   #26
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a general method is what Chesh is pretty much trying to develop from what I can tell. the point isn't necessarily to recommend a certain guitar, but to recommend a method that can be used to get the best "bang for the buck", and in the case of newbies, the buck usually isn't very high.
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Unread 11-13-2003, 10:44 AM   #27
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I hope you didn't take any offense to my post Chesh. None was intended... I have to say that reading your posts are actually pretty informative and FUN to read because they readable.

I think some people around here get a kick out of never using punctuation capitalization or prooperr speling in't that gr8?!? im hapee 4 u all! :-) Yes, if you write like that, you know who you are.

Thanks Chesh for writing your posts in ENGLISH. Some people could take a few pointers... (no offense intended...)

I have to say that the non-stop posts about "what guitar is the best" and "which distortion pedal is the best" can get pretty tiresome. It's only as people start to understand that tone is by and large a variable where there IS no right answer all the time, that they'll understand that a guitar's headstock or the label on a pedal doesn't make it fantastic and incredible in and of itself...

This is a great thread, so let's keep it going!
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Unread 11-13-2003, 08:50 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by ryanspeer
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we know who we R? R U sure?

I think, generally, that we are trying to make a guitarist's guide to buying a guitar, right? Not for some kid that's going to buy a guitar, figure out they really never were serious about the instrument, then quit three months later. Also not necesarily so that the serious beginner can find their perfect guitar the first time they go guitar shopping, but so they can get a good value instrument. I think there is no true fool-proof method (i.e. Someone who reads the guide, only to go out and buy a guitar just for the name brand anyways despite what the guide says...), but I think that all of us here can put together a darn-good method of choosing a guitar for both the beginner and the guitarist wishing to upgrade.
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Unread 11-13-2003, 10:55 PM   #29
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I think, generally, that we are trying to make a guitarist's guide to buying a guitar, right? Not for some kid that's going to buy a guitar, figure out they really never were serious about the instrument, then quit three months later.
Well, that's the idea, tho I would propose (suggest, submit, etc.) that they reason a lot of kids give up the guitar 3 months later is for very reasons we are working on this methodology, namely, that the guitar is not properly set up, or has problems, and the kid assumes it's his fault, like, for instance, inproperly intonated, strings slots too high, action too high, and so on.

Also, plywood doesn't sound that great! I don't know if any makers are using plywood anymore, but tons of cheapies were made from it not even 10 years ago, or, perhaps 15.

Chesh

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Unread 11-14-2003, 03:18 AM   #30
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Hi everyone, I'm just gonna type... I'll see afterwards where my heart is in this topic.

I bought my first guitar and it was an Ibanez GAX70. GREAT guitar for the price. And i don't believe it to be a piece of crap. I think highly of it. Granted i've modifyled everything about it. I sometimes wonder what the humidity is like in inddonesia where they make these things. I had to just the truss rod, bridge, and string guage to get the action just right. I bought the guitar because i liked the way it played. I'm a firm believe that if you don't like the tone then you can worry about changing it later. In other words "If you like it for the price, get it up to speed with you later". I've put in toni iomi sig gibson pickups, and sperzel locking tuners. Both have haled me sustain GREAT amounts. These pickups are a great ever compared to most guitar in the local guitar center. So it's true that you can pick up a dirt cheep guitar that playes pretty sweet.

But our problem is that not all guitar makers make nice guitars at a low price. And there are alot of companies that make guitars the should only cost about 50 bucks, but they sell them for 150.

Another thing that i've held to is that having a guitar is better than not having a guitar.

I have a firend that was given an el chepo nylon guitar for her to learn on. It's total cra. But guess what, she's just happy to be learning guitar. So i think that every guitar has a player in need of it. All guitars have a crowd.

Or best hope is to educate the noobs that want to learn. Education is the key. I've only been playing for about 15 months, but i've blown away life seasoned played in knowlege at the drop of a needle. I don't do that to show them how litle they know, i do it to show how much they can learn, if they want to. Already i know all sorts about guitars, and how sustain and tone are developed, and i've made my own amp, and i'm working on my second. Once that's done i'm gonna make my own acoustic. Once that's done i'll move onto making hollow body. And it's all because i'm willing to take the time to learn.

One thing we can do it try and show noobs why they would want to learn more. I don't know how, but that can be a goal.

One thing we gotta eduacte to people is what differs between guitars. We need to tell people to look out for guitars with wich you can adjust the action easily. A guitar that's a pain to adjust is not a nice guitar. Expecially once you find out that you can make you guitar easier to play with adjustments. And other things too, like how much string guage can have an effet on what they think of the guitar. This is really true when looking at acoustics. Other things that most noobs don't know is that a solid top on an acoustic will produce better tone and will last longer, and be a better investment in the end.

Another thing we have to consider is that you don't NEED a guitar that can do 8 fret bends with ease for a first guitar (if you havn't played a guitar that can do that, your missing out man). All a first guitar is meant to be is a guitar that you can learn on so that once you buy your next guiar you know what you would like different. In the words of my guitar techer peter morley "You shouldn't replace you first guitar until you absolutly hate it, then you know it's time is up"

Very wise words when you think about it. For a first guitar it'll be fine until you start playing stuff that the guitar doesn't like...

For example, go and try to play some phil keaggy stuff like legacy on an acoustic under the 400 dllor range. It won't happen, the guitar just won't like the string tention. And then you try and play it and you'll feel like your playing it wrong. You're really not, it's just that the guitar can't do it. Why do you think so many of the best guitarist have custom guitars? because the want them to do thier specific things. This is the extreme, but on a low level it applys to noobs.

Once noobs who bought a cheep asain squir try playing some project 86 stuff they'll notice it doesn't quite sound right. This is the opertune moment to take them to the local guitar center and say "play some riffs on this guitar" as you hand them a 1100 dollor SG gibson. And they'll say WOW, i want a guitar like this. This is when it's time to upgrade. Time to show around as see what you think feels like that that you can accually afford.

The truth to tell a noob who says " i want a guitar, what should i do" is to just simply say. "Do your own research".

I must admit that i have also told people that they should just go play and see what they like, but i see much fault in that.

One thing i think we could do is compose a list of all guitars that fit low budgets, and classify them into different suggested stlyes. This would have to be a massive effort, but not unreachable. Just try writing a program some time without any programing knowlege. It's a very daunting task. But if you have a passion for it...

Just think, if we all had a text file like this. People would ask things like, what guitar should i buy? And we can just ask, what kinda music you like? And they say classic rock and we just say. Ok, here is a list of guitars from 150-600 dollors that could make nice classic rock guitars, go to a local shop and see what you think. Now, this doesn't really look good for out of usa poeople, but that's where harmony centeral comes in. They have the largest reader review base i've ever seen. they're a great place to see what people think of a particlar product before you buy.


Well... it's late here (1:20am) and i have to be up at 7:00, so i'm heading off to bed...

Hmm, my guitar really wants to sing... i'll have to give in for just a bit.....

Guitars are soooooooo great.... and people wonder why guitarist are known for drooling....
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