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Picks, Cables and Amps, Oh My!!!


Carbonite

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So I have purchased my first guitar. Going to be taking lessons next week and have been looking into picks, cables and amps.

 

I was hoping to get some advice from you guys on all three.

 

Picks

I don't yet have a preference. I know I want something that isn't going to flex when I play it. At least I think I do.

Guitar Player Magazine had this review of a Brazilian Agate Stone Pick from www.picksandstones.com

I have held many picks in my hands from stores recently and the only ones I feel like I like are those thicker solid picks that don't bend. So I am thinking that these picks might be right up my alley.

Does anybody use a stone pick? Do you like it?

Also, what shape do you use.

I was thinking either Tri point or tear drop. http://www.picksandstones.com/products.php?cat=14

Or do you suggest I get something else to start?

Also, they have these amber picks there that cost over 100 bucks, but apparently they give a similar tone to some old tortoise shell picks that have been banned. I doubt I will go that route unless I really get into playing the guitar and I think it could help accentuate the tone I like.

Any advice?

 

Cables

Well, I just want something that isn't going to constrain the sound from the guitar to the amp. I guess I would like the equivalent of an HDMI cable over composite as it pertains to video but out of a guitar cable.

 

Amp

I don't think I need anything crazy here. What I do want is something that will give me a clear tone that wont impede me from learning properly. I have tried out the Peavey Vypyr amp and like that. It also had some added features to it that I don't know if I will use or not. Its a modeling amp though and it had some great sounds as I turned the dial on the amps.

Oh, and I must be able to plug headphones into this thing.

Any advice here?

 

 

Thanks in advance for any advice you guys have.

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Picks: I would get a mess of different ones and try them out to see what works best for you. Don't bother spending the extra money on any of that exotic stuff like stone picks just yet; you're just starting out and your tastes will likely change as your progress. Celluloid, Tortex and other synthetic materials are easy to find and inexpensive enough to buy several different shapes and weights so you can spend some time experimenting.

 

Cables: The most expensive, "highest quality" cable is not always the best choice and, depending on your amp, might not even make an appreciable difference. For good sound with durability, I like Whirlwind cables; I've also been using George L's cables that sound really great (they retain high frequencies better than anything else I've tried) but they don't hold up very well in my experience, especially the patch cables.

 

Amp: Probably the biggest factor on how your setup is going to sound and tone is totally subjective. I've never tried any of the Vypers but Peavey certainly has a long running reputation for building good products at fair prices. You're going to get some replies from folks saying you should definitely go for a tube amp and I'm one of those "Tubes or death!" people myself but, at where you're at, I think the best way to go is to just get an amp that's easy enough for you to get a tone you're satisfied with. The modeling stuff might be cool as the different sounds and effects could inspire you to play more often and, if nothing else, give you some idea of what sort of effects are available and what they sound like. The down side is that you might get hung up on messing around with the amp more than playing or simply find it overly complicated. If you have a music store in your area, go in and try out some amps to see what you like best; since you're not really playing just yet, don't feel embarrassed about asking one of the sales people to play a guitar for you.

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pics: get a bunch of everything (shape wise/thickness wise) i wouldnt worry too much about weird materials, and figure out what works best, you may find thins are good for certain picking, and thicks for others

 

cables: i use a mess of different kinds, many of which were made and few were bought, i think i have some "livewires"? i forget the name but they work great......and monster cables are good

 

for cables i will say this, get something with metal ends that are openable so you can easily fix them if broken

 

amp: there is a run of line 6 amps that are 1. very cheap 2. range in power but all very powerful 3. have tons of different settings that are easy to use 4. their LOUD for the prices they have, a friend of mine had one and it was a nice beginners amp that was loud enough to even use when you got better

 

im not big on peaveys but thats just me but if YOU like it get it,

 

im a "tubes or death" guy too

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Thanks for the tips guys.

 

I intend to take the guitar with me to the guitar shops and run some amps through their paces.

 

I guess I will just buy a mess of picks and fiddle around until I feel comfortable with one.

 

On the cable, I just don't know what I am getting yet.

I mean, when I search for cables I find so many different kinds under each brand, so I have no idea what to look for.

 

Are these all proper:

http://accessories.musiciansfriend.com/product/DiMarzio-Instrument-Cable?sku=332100

http://accessories.musiciansfriend.com/product/Monster-Cable-S100-14-Straight-Instrument-Cable?sku=331638

http://accessories.musiciansfriend.com/product/Live-Wire-Advantage-Series-14-Straight-Instrument-Cable?sku=330470

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the 1st and 3rd look great, you cant really tell but the ends of those are openable, which makes repairs easy as all you have to do is open up the end and solder the small copper wire (very easy)

 

the second one doesnt look openable (plastic end) which if it does break your stuck with another bad cable

 

im not saying your cables will break, but it happens sometimes and its much nicer to be able to fix them

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Picks: I would definetly go with Fender heavy picks, they last forever it seems, very hard to break.

 

Cables: I use Fender platinum cables, they make every amp I plug into louder, They are actually really cheap as well.

 

Amps: is you want striaght tone, get a Epiphone stack at Guitar Center, For about $300 you can get a 1x12 Cab and Epi Tubed head, great deal. If you want diffrent tones then def. go with Line 6

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the 1st and 3rd look great' date=' you cant really tell but the ends of those are openable, which makes repairs easy as all you have to do is open up the end and solder the small copper wire (very easy)

 

the second one doesnt look openable (plastic end) which if it does break your stuck with another bad cable

 

im not saying your cables will break, but it happens sometimes and its much nicer to be able to fix them[/quote']

 

+1

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Picks - Get one of each and just use 'em till you zero in on one of a few. I went through just about every pick phase you could thingk of. Dunlop Tortex, Celuoid, Nylon, Tear Drops.........:-& I finally settled on Fender Mediums after about 15 years of playing. That and Fingers.

 

Cables - There's a great Article on Cables in the May 2008 Guitar Player that compares 49 different cables. There's a lot of good cables out there, that's the good news. There's no way to tell by Price, or thickness or anything. You just have to try them out. The best thing about Monster cables is their warenty, and they marked high in GP cable match up. I use braided cables from the stack of no name cables they have at the guitar center checkout, but I use Live Wire and Fender patch cables for my pedals.

 

Amps - Amps are very important but don't have to be expensive. I your playing with a drummer, you'll need something kinda loud. At Least 30 watt Tube or 100 Watt Solid State. Buy last years model on clearance or used from a reliable source. Try 'em all, the lend the Timbre to your guitars Voice. An amp with muddy overdrive or thin cleans will kill a good guitars voice, the right one will let it do it's job. I like Fender and Mesa over Marshall, but others swear by Marshall. You can't go wrong with any of those. If you're getting Crate or Peavy test drive it first, they make good amps and bad amps. Their good one are really good, their bad ones are Super-crap. Really Test Drive any amp before you buy it. I use two Fender Stage amps off a Stereo Chorus Pedal. When I'm at home I use a broken old Fender Red Knob Deluxe 85 that sounds Great.

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Picks: Pretty much a tie between Dunlop Extra Heavy and this brand I can't find anymore called "Ice Pix". The Dunlops are great for blues riffs ( bum-ba-bum-ba-bum-ba-BWAAHHHOW BWAH... sound that out like a walking bass riff lol, that's the best way I can describe the sound) and growling open chords. The Ice Pix are medium gauged, not too hard and not too soft. Perfect for rhythm.

 

Wires: I think it's a Livewire, I'm not sure. I picked it up at GC over a year ago and it hasn't failed me yet. It's a yellow see-thru cord with braided wire inside. Hardly any interference, it gets the job done.

 

Amp: I'm playing through a Marshall MG30DFX at the moment. It's not the best, but I got a good deal on it. I'm not a fan of it's distortion channel, so I play through my Digitech RP-1 into the clean channel, mainly using the "Neck Pickup Blues" and "That Strat" (renamed to "Live at Leeds" because with my P-90, it sounds a lot like the tone Townshend pulled off during that era) presets. I'd like to get a tube amp at some point, but they're pretty expensive and not many people are hiring high school students right now.

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Picks - I like Dunlop Gator Grips the 2.0 mm. Its a nice heavy pick. I would try out a bunch of different ones.

 

Cables - I use Spectraflex. You can order them off of their website. All kinds of colors and designs.

 

Amps - I am a Marshall tube junkie. Buy the amp that you like. Just try out a bunch.

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Picks:

I used Fender Heavy picks for years 'till I discovered Dava GripTips, which are the best picks I've ever used... As I've said before, the best thing one can say about a pick is that you don't notice it... GripTips have no string/pick drag, great attack and last forever.

Cables:

No preference

Amps:

Fender Twin Reverbs

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If you just bought your first guitar and are about to start learning, dont mind all that stuff, its a waste of time if you are not sure you will be playing a year from now (or 20 years from now).

 

As Rich said: get a lot of different picks and use them enough to decide which you like best. Spending a lot on a single pick doesnt make sense... you will lose lots of them when learning, so the cheaper the better (as long as they feel right for you).

 

Cables: you can get anything from very cheap to very expensive, they have differences you will not notice (or even know) while learning... I would go with one of those 15-20 buck cables... make sure its not a 100 ft cable... 10 will do.

 

Amp: you have already decided on one, and it should work just fine while you learn and while you decide wether or not you want to invest/spend more on guitar related stuff.

 

 

What guitar did you buy?

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Cables: The most expensive' date=' "highest quality" cable is not always the best choice and, depending on your amp, might not even make an appreciable difference. For good sound with durability, I like Whirlwind cables; I've also been using George L's cables that sound really great (they retain high frequencies better than anything else I've tried) but they don't hold up very well in my experience, especially the patch cables. [/quote']

 

Darn Rich always beats me to the punch, but gives great advice as usual. FirstMeasure mentioned the May 2008 Guitar Player that compares 49 different cables. In this month's issue (April 2009) an active cable called ZEROCAP by Atlantic Quality Design was tested by Art Thompson. Art does a great job explaining the whole issue of capacitance in cables. Basically, with higher capacitance lesser high frequencies will be allowed to come through. ZEROCAP uses an active circuit that reduces capacitance down to 50pf for the entire 20 foot cable, which is extremely low. But Art does state that allowing more high frequencies through may not be something everyone wants. He also gives the same advice of trying out a bunch to find something that suites you.

 

What's next? I think I'll invent the active circuit pick! I'll put a thin layer of piezoelectric material on each side of the pick and when you activate the circuit it'll make the pick stiffer, thereby change the overall tonality. What do you all think?

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Thanks for all the replies everyone.

 

I picked up some Dunlop Tortex picks of all different sizes. Without playing the guitar yet, the purple one at 1.14 feels best in my hand out of those. I also picked up a Fender Medium and a Dunlop with a croc on it. .96mm. I will let you know how it goes on those.

 

I purchased a cable from a local shop. Its probably not the best cable, its a PV by Peavey. lol

I got it because the guitar will be here tomorrow and I want to have something to play with this little amp I already have, which brings me to the amp.

 

So, my stepfathers brother sent me over this little amp called a Gorilla. Its a 50 watt solid state amp that has something called Tube Cruncher. Anyways, I took it in today to find out if it worked and it did. I have decided to use that a couple weeks until I can afford and actual Tube amp because I toyed with them today and I agree, they sound better to me. So I will likely pick up another cable with that anyways.

 

Thanks again everyone.

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Thanks for all the replies everyone.

 

I picked up some Dunlop Tortex picks of all different sizes. Without playing the guitar yet' date=' the purple one at 1.14 feels best in my hand out of those. I also picked up a Fender Medium and a Dunlop with a croc on it. .96mm. I will let you know how it goes on those.

 

I purchased a cable from a local shop. Its probably not the best cable, its a PV by Peavey. lol

I got it because the guitar will be here tomorrow and I want to have something to play with this little amp I already have, which brings me to the amp.

 

So, my stepfathers brother sent me over this little amp called a Gorilla. Its a 50 watt solid state amp that has something called Tube Cruncher. Anyways, I took it in today to find out if it worked and it did. I have decided to use that a couple weeks until I can afford and actual Tube amp because I toyed with them today and I agree, they sound better to me. So I will likely pick up another cable with that anyways.

 

Thanks again everyone.

 

 

[/quote']

Wow, I kinda envy you. You're just at the beginning of the adventure. Every kid in my School had a Gorilla Amp and a Mako Explorer knock off. This was like 20 years ago.

Man...Have fun.

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