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How can a total beginner choose a guitar?


skilsaw

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I've bought 4 new guitars in the last year. An acoustic and an electric each, for my son and I.

Unfortunately I'm not skilled enough to play the guitars before hand and know if they are good value at their price. Much of my poor tone is related to poor technique. But I'm working on it.

 

So how should a rookie choose a guitar?

 

I've got the GAS for a Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster but would like to get past, Nice color, no scratches and dents, comes with a case. Tone - unable to really judge due to inexperience.

 

I won't be laying down my cash until January, and I want to have a more discerning ear by then.

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sounds like a good choice cos played through a half decent clean channel a strat will sound like any other strat. the 2 and 4 positions are nice to my ears. I've found strats always feel nice and comfortable so find a neck that feels great and away you go. If in any doubt then the Mexican ones are fine and less expensive and look, feel, play and sound the same. Pricing is easy as there's so many of them for sale at any time. ranging is trickier because they have so many designations, but basically for the classic strat tone you have standard (Mex) or American standard (US) - the rest are all variations on the theme. If you want to trry a cheapy version I'd recommend Squier Classic Vibe.

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I'm not skilled enough to play the guitars before hand and know if they are good value at their price.

So how should a rookie choose a guitar?

First off, do some legwork online to see what you might be interested in and the price points.

Second, if you have a friend who plays, ask him to "test drive" your planned purchase for you. In the absence of a friend, most music store people would be happy to do a demo for you to give you an idea of the guitar's capabilities, sound, tone, etc. can be. If it's an electric, try to play it through the amp you'll be using because that can make a big difference too.

 

Good luck and happy shopping!

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You've got to read up on the various makes and models and realise that what you pay for it is probably 3 or 4 times what it cost to make.

 

My 1st guitar back in 1975 which I bought with my 21st birthday money was a Yamaha FG180 acoustic (cost £32GBP) and I wish I still had it now.

Ten years later I started teaching and got to play hundreds of guitars. I learned a LOT about quality, tones, construction/parts and cheap vs expensive. You do get what you pay for, mostly.

 

2 days ago I played a friend's Epiphone LP Standard for 2 hours and was amazed how good it was; one of those will be my next guitar as I don't want to take over £2k's worth of Gibson LP Custom to every gig....

 

Good luck!

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Hello!

 

How should a rookie choose a guitar? Very good question! I guess, most of us went after what our heroes used.

 

Later on, You develop an ear for judging which guitar, amp and effect You need to satisfy Your hunger for tone.

 

You have to try lot of guitars to know what fits Your needs both musically, and ergonomically.

 

I think, the advice I would give to an absolute rookie, is to buy an instrument that has great fret access, not cumbersome and has humbuckers (because of versatility). Probably, I'd recommend an SG, or a superstrat.

 

Cheers... Bence

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An American Deluxe Stratocaster offers lots of tonal options. The five-position switch along with the S-1 push/push switch in the volume pot allow for ten clearly distinguishable selections.

 

However, this is just one side of the coin. The other, partly more subtle side can make things more complicated, and these points finally go around what you get for your money.

 

Remembering the times when I was a rookie, I had the luck of having been guitar technician for my bandmates one and a half year before I started playing. I think it is always best to have a player at hand who is experienced in doing setups, too. She/he can quickly evaluate the present adjustments, and how much space may be left for optimising or personalising them.

 

If everything is OK with the build so far, one may evaluate tone. First, use an amp sounding as clean as possible with all the controls of the guitar fully raised (I use full-range acoustic guitar amps for it).

 

Finding "live" and "dead" spots on the fretboard isn't a problem, and a rookie can do this, too. Just check every string at every fret, but don't be too optimistic: I haven't found a single guitar or bass with an entirely consistent tone all along strings and frets. Critical on Stratocasters are E1st around the 4th fret, B2nd around 9th fret, G3rd around 13th fret, and D4th around 6th fret, all plus/minus one fret. Beyond the neck heel, guitars are rather unpredictable in general. If notes die instantly, they could be fretted out. Checkin fret heights is very important - a possibly expensive fret job could have to be done. Refretting a maple fretboard is more expensive than a rosewood one.

 

Evaluating note separation when chording is an important point in my opinion. Try some different open chords and barre chords up to the 9th position, strummed and arpeggioed as well. Listen to the notes as they are dying away. Just try to fret and pick consistently; there's no further virtuosity required. I suggest trying this using different pickup selections.

 

Finally, one should check for inappropriate noises and feedback. This is the only point I suggest using high gain amplification and a certain volume. Take care that no noise gate is activated. Any control or switch will cause a certain noise during operation but should not when left alone or tapped on its knob or lever. Since the pickups are noiseless designs on an American Deluxe Strat, hum and buzz should be rather moderate. There should be no magnetic feedback whistle and mo microphonic howl with the strings muted. Note: Tapping on a pickup with the fingertips or a plastic pick will cause clicking noises with the strings on the guitar despite of muting them.

 

Perhaps I have forgotten some details, but apart from that, everything else will be your personal taste and your guts.

 

Good luck!

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I've bought 4 new guitars in the last year. An acoustic and an electric each, for my son and I.

Unfortunately I'm not skilled enough to play the guitars before hand and know if they are good value at their price. Much of my poor tone is related to poor technique. But I'm working on it.

 

So how should a rookie choose a guitar?

 

I've got the GAS for a Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster but would like to get past, Nice color, no scratches and dents, comes with a case. Tone - unable to really judge due to inexperience.

 

I won't be laying down my cash until January, and I want to have a more discerning ear by then.

For acoustics, the Takamine jasmine 34c is the best 100 dollar git ive ever played, the epiphone hummingbirds are outstanding also for only a little more, the epi Texan is outstanding also. I can show you a video of the Texan essentially beating a gibson. For electrics you dont need to spend much for a beginner and should NOT be buying a 1000 dollar guitar imo. You havnt the skill yet to warrent it, but dont get a crappy first act either.

 

For electrics the Classic Vibe line up of squire strats, teles are outstanding. Epiphone SG and les pauls are great for the price also,

This here is one of the best beginner gits you can get an Epiphone faded sg 400,only 300 it rocks hard. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EGGVWCCH?utm_source=MSN&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=none&utm_term=Bing_PLA_All_Products&device=c

 

 

If youre a rooking spending thousands on a guitar wont help your tone much. Mexican made fenders and Epiphones are really all a beginner needs. Once youve been playing a year then you could upgrade to a faded gibson les paul studio for only 800, you dont need to spend thousands, even gibson has great guitars for a reasonable price.

 

There are many other brands, but if you want a decent beginner guitar for you spend around 300 and youll have a solid one. For kids, id spend less because they give up too easily on things. I got my daughter a 100 squire strat and a year later she just quit playing and is done with it now.

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There's only a good half a dozen actual guitars, everything else is a direct copy or extremely derivative at best. Think of your favorite records and what guitar sounds you hear, ask here and most of us can tell you what they used, and you'll soon find the handful of guitars that make the sounds you want to get close to making yourself. Then go find the ones you really dig and buy them. Pretty simple!

 

rct

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There's only a good half a dozen actual guitars, everything else is a direct copy or extremely derivative at best. ...

 

rct

When talking about solidbodies only, this will come pretty close. Including hollowbody and semi-hollow electrics there are some more.

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Buying a USA built Gibson or Fender you should be fine. The warranty will be good if you buy it new, the guitar should hold its value and will most likely be at least playable with minor adjustments. That alone is no guarantee of quality. You could get whatever you buy setup professionally they should be able to tell you if its intonation can't be set, if the neck is warped, if the wiring is screwed up somehow. If they tell you before they do any work on it you should even beer able to return it within a few days or weeks of purchasing it.

 

With buying a Strat as a beginner, the main question I would ask myself is will I be able to tolerate single coil hum. For me, I just can't get past it, so the only Strat I own is a Squier Affinity with an upgraded loaded pickguard. I just don't play it enough to justify spending more on a Strat, although I did buy a Fender USA Tele I spend moist of my time playing that in the middle position for noise canceling. If you're not sure it won't bug you, you might want to start with one of the nicer Squiers like the Classic Vibe Series. Personally, I prefer humbuckers like in my Gibson.

 

Check lots of reviews and watch lots of videos of people demonstrating similar models. Some opinions are better than others, but there may be little bits of useful info in their descriptions to help you decide.

 

Have fun shopping!

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Lots of good advice here. Thanks.

 

I've been through the "kids losing interest" scenario. My son is very good in music generally, and showed more interest in Jazz Band than Orchestra in high school. He purchased his first archtop electric with his own money and it was his pet while in the Jazz Band. When highschool ended, he sold everything. A couple of years later he purchased a reasonable acoustic and played it for a year then sold it. When he expressed interest in guitars for the third time, I wondered if he would stay with it and at least not sell them if they were special instruments. The rule was that he couldn't sell the new Gibson acoustic and archtop. Good thing too. He has moved out of province (state)and stored everything with his mother. He told me a couple weeks ago he bought himself another guitar. He now has good instruments to return to when he wants and I've learned a lesson. Let him buy and sell guitars with his own money,so I don't need to fret (Little guitar pun)over it.

 

I'm not going to be in a rush to buy my next guitar, but I will have one and a suitable amp some day. In the meantime, I'll continue with my lessons and develop an ear for what I like.

Thanks.

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I agree that buying a new quality Fender or Gibson is a good idea. That's what I did when I started out and it was fun growing into my guitars. I originally bought a cheap Fender Squire starter pack and it had to go. My first guitar was a new Fender American Deluxe Strat and it was perfect.

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I'd say 99% of the guitars and basses in a given music store are set up well and play fine. It's really hard to find a bad guitar even in the $99 range these days. If a kid isn't serious enough to get the basics on a cheep guitar then there's no need to waste any real money on them.

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