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Skill level, and Specific Guitar importance?


charlie brown

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Had a thought...as you progress "skill wise" does the specific

type of guitar you play, neck shape, pickup arrangement, etc.,

become more or less important. I ask this, because is seems

like, the more skill I learned (and I'm no "Shredder," by any means)

the easier it was/is to play all that on ANY guitar...so my specific

"demands" (silly as they may have been) seemed to lessen, and I found

it easier to go from one guitar to another, with much less adaptation time.

 

But...What are your thoughts, experiences? There's no "right or wrong"

answer, obviously, but I'm interested in other's opinions, and/or reasoning.

 

CB

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I have a suspicion that as I got better guitars, I became a better player, but if it's true it's only because they were more expensive and easier to play. They also make you want to play better, I suppose... after you've invested a few thousand dollars and realise that you're still not very good, you start working harder.

 

For instance, knowing what my new Spirit/Les Paul Special sounds like, I know I'm not doing it justice, and have decided to improve my lead work. I intended to do that anyway, but the Casino is such a good rhythm guitar I haven't had the desire to.

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I have a suspicion that as I got better guitars' date=' I became a better player, but if it's true it's only because they were more expensive and easier to play. They also make you want to play better, I suppose... after you've invested a few thousand dollars and realise that you're still not very good, you start working harder.

 

For instance, knowing what my new Spirit/Les Paul Special sounds like, I know I'm not doing it justice, and have decided to improve my lead work. I intended to do that anyway, but the Casino is such a good rhythm guitar I haven't had the desire to.[/quote']

 

I totally agree with this. But...a $10k guitar doesnt make you a rockstar either.

And then there is the argument that a seasoned pro can make a $99 El-Cheapo sound fantastic.

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I think that the one thing very bad and very good players have in common is that the guitar isn't as important as the one playing it. Good players sound impressive no matter what they're playing, and people like me, on the other hand, make it impossible to tell the difference between a three thousand dollar guitar and piece of plywood.

 

I think I'll go practice a bit... :)

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I have a suspicion that as I got better guitars' date=' I became a better player, but if it's true it's only because they were more expensive and easier to play. They also make you want to play better, I suppose... after you've invested a few thousand dollars and realise that you're still not very good, you start working harder.

 

For instance, knowing what my new Spirit/Les Paul Special sounds like, I know I'm not doing it justice, and have decided to improve my lead work. I intended to do that anyway, but the Casino is such a good rhythm guitar I haven't had the desire to.[/quote']

 

But, is that due to the the actual guitar, or just a better "set-up?" I understand the feeling that you want to

play a better guitar, in a more skilled manner, but I kind of question if the expense, beyond what would

constitute a totally competent guitar, isn't more about ego satisfaction, as opposed to real "need?" Again,

this is not a "right or wrong" thing...just curious. I have quite expensive guitars, and some of much lesser

value, and...if the truth be told, it really doesn't matter (to me), from a playing perspective, which I use. They

all are set up, and play equally well. And, they all...of course, have their own tonal Identities, to a certain

extent, too. But, it seemed to me, the more proficient I became, the less important any one type of guitar

I thought I needed, became too.

 

CB

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Interesting thread CB=d>

 

My first guitar was a 72 Gibby SG (which I still have).... For the time it was very affordable, and I played that guitar religiously for about five years. Even as I became more proficient, the less I would seek change in my equipment set-up.

 

FFWD to 1981 when I purchased a Gibby LP Custom:

I purchased this guitar becuase it was exactly like Randy Rhoads Les Paul, right down to the engraved pickguard. I didnt even play it. I just asked the GC Sales Person to take it down and wrap it up, and I took it home. To my shagrin I didnt at all like the low fat frets, and the guitar basically was shelved for twenty some odd years. Now it's currently being re-fretted.

 

FFWD to 1982:

My first Charvel Strat... My Dad gave it to me as a graduation present, (which my son has now taken complete ownership of).... I learned the art of using a tremolo system with this guitar, and is responsible for locking myself into EVH](*,) ... But it's a great player.

 

FFWD to 1987

Moser and Lee Garver made four guitars for me when I briefly toured with Warrant when their guitarist grew sick with some mysterious illness. But they were fantastic guitars..... (My son has also taken ownership of the two Mosers and the Kramer I kept).

 

Finished College in 1989:

Time to get serious about my career... I just turned 25 and I started to feel old about being on stage at the Roxy Theatre one night when two 15 year old girls asked me back to their hotel after playing. That was the defining moment in my life that I didnt want to do this anymore. And I never played a gig in Hollywood after that. I cut my hair, and got a job, and have been at the same job going on 19 years.

 

FFWD to 2001:

My son started taking interest in music (Sax)....Which then eventually allowed him to gravitate to drums and guitar. My interest re-sparked with guitars.

 

FFWD to 2005:

My daugther started taking to music and has already become an accomplished flute player, and took interest in guitar too. She now has here own little group.

 

FFWD to 2006:

I played my first Epiphone, (my pals JL REV) and I was awe struck how fantastic the guitar played and sounded. Back in the era when I was serious about the guitar, most Hollywood strip players looked down on Epiphones, so naturally I took the bait as well](*,)

 

Now, I'm glad I'm more open to guitars that have different tones and applications. I never dreamed I would be playing a Casino or a Les Paul Jr with a p-90 and CC pickup..... How things can change

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I have always found the transition from 24 3/4" scale to 25 1/2" scale quite difficult. I naturally favor the shorter scale for easy of playing.

 

So, after all these years of playing, I now tend to play lead on my Fenders, and rhythm on my Epis (and similar).

 

I know this makes no sense really, but if I get used (again) to bending on the shorter scale, I figure my Fenders will eventually end up gathering dust - which would be a pity, as I love the Fender tone above all else. I guess this is another reason why I have always liked Fender Jaguars (but I don't own one at present, unfortunately).

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Question:

 

Had a thought...as you progress "skill wise" does the specific

type of guitar you play' date=' neck shape, pickup arrangement, etc.,

become more or less important.[/quote']

 

Answer:

 

My first guitar was a 72 Gibby SG (which I still have).... For the time it was very affordable' date=' and I played that guitar religiously for about five years. Even as I became more proficient, the less I would seek change in my equipment set-up.

 

FFWD to 1981 when I purchased a Gibby LP Custom:

I purchased this guitar becuase it was exactly like Randy Rhoads Les Paul, right down to the engraved pickguard. I didnt even play it. I just asked the GC Sales Person to take it down and wrap it up, and I took it home. To my shagrin I didnt at all like the low fat frets, and the guitar basically was shelved for twenty some odd years. Now it's currently being re-fretted.

 

FFWD to 1982:

My first Charvel Strat... My Dad gave it to me as a graduation present, (which my son has now taken complete ownership of).... I learned the art of using a tremolo system with this guitar, and is responsible for locking myself into EVHBrick wall ... But it's a great player.

 

FFWD to 1987

Moser and Lee Garver made four guitars for me when I briefly toured with Warrant when their guitarist grew sick with some mysterious illness. But they were fantastic guitars..... (My son has also taken ownership of the two Mosers and the Kramer I kept).

 

Finished College in 1989:

Time to get serious about my career... I just turned 25 and I started to feel old about being on stage at the Roxy Theatre one night when two 15 year old girls asked me back to their hotel after playing. That was the defining moment in my life that I didnt want to do this anymore. And I never played a gig in Hollywood after that. I cut my hair, and got a job, and have been at the same job going on 19 years.

 

FFWD to 2001:

My son started taking interest in music (Sax)....Which then eventually allowed him to gravitate to drums and guitar. My interest re-sparked with guitars.

 

FFWD to 2005:

My daugther started taking to music and has already become an accomplished flute player, and took interest in guitar too. She now has here own little group.

 

FFWD to 2006:

I played my first Epiphone, (my pals JL REV) and I was awe struck how fantastic the guitar played and sounded. Back in the era when I was serious about the guitar, most Hollywood strip players looked down on Epiphones, so naturally I took the bait as wellBrick wall

 

Now, I'm glad I'm more open to guitars that have different tones and applications. I never dreamed I would be playing a Casino or a Les Paul Jr with a p-90 and CC pickup..... How things can change[/quote']

 

:)

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All of this is very true. A great guitar player can take an average guitar, with a decent set-up, and make it sing. I really learned some lessons lately myself. Since being unemployed I have sold all of my " high end " guitars. The electric I currently own is a Squier Strat; but, you know what ? I still enjoy playing and have noticed no drop off in my skill on the guitar. Its actually ben a humbling experience and I have learned that I don't need mega expensive guitars to enjoy playing. I seriously doubt that I will ever again go and drop 2 grand or more on a new guitar.

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When I started playing, I had more money than talent. I was able to buy then what are considered to be desirable guitars today, vintage and American made. If it wasn't a "BIG NAME" brand, I wasn't interested. Even then I knew that I liked a variety of guitars, and added something different to my collection with each purchase. I stopped playing for quite a few years to deal with jobs, family, and other interests, and the guitars were stored away until I rekindled my passion for playing guitar. When it came time to add to the collection, I found that I could no longer afford those now expensive big name American made instruments. But there were more choices available by looking towards smaller guitar manufacturers and imported models.

 

I think that with the increase in my knowledge of guitars, I became much better at distinguishing a crappy guitar from a good one, regardless of the name on the headstock. With the progression of my playing skills, I found it easier to switch guitars more easily, much like CB mentioned above, without needing time to adapt. Both of these factors, coupled with the many lower cost options available, enable me buy buy well made guitars, modify them to suit my needs, and move on from there.

 

Since I'm a fan of variety, the pickup configuration, shape and sound of a guitar have always been important elements to consider when I'm buying a new instrument. What has become less important is the instrument's make or country of origin. As long as it's well built and does what I want it to, I'm happy with it.

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LOL hey Duane' date=' maybe move this to the [b']Old & New Epiphone Members Introduce yourselves!!![/b] thread?

 

j/k :)

 

LOL!!!

 

I guess the long winded point I was trying to make is my playing style as it progressed pretty much could acclimate to most guitars, with exception of a Fender strat..... Amplification, now that's a different story for me... As I got better, I had to have an amp that could grow with my playing. IMO if a guitar (regardless the brand) if in decenet working condition, can be played to sing by a slightly above average guitar player.

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Well, I know that aesthetics come into play, as well. We all have our favorites, and preferences, that way.

It's fun to hear the younger players, pontificate about how they really have to have this or that guitar/amp, to

get "any tone," at all. LOL! I was like that, as a young player, myself. Couldn't possibly do without

George's (same kind of ) guitar/amp setup, or later...Eric's, or Page's, etc. It's something we all go through,

(or, most of us, anyway), and it's not necessarily a bad thing, even. But, it does sell lots of unnecessary gear,

in that never ending "tail-chase," for THE tone! ;>) I suppose, on some level, we STILL do that, even when we

know better? Old (familiarities) and habits are hard to let go, or break, sometimes.

 

CB

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Six months ago I began sliding downhill (50th b'day) and as they say at that age, learn a language or learn an instrument. I decided to take up guitar, though I barely know my basic chords yet.

 

First guitar I got was an eBay chinese strat copy package deal (amp, picks, stand etc.) for AU $120 delivered.

 

At about the same time I ordered an epi g-400 custom and an epi lp ultra-II from a shop near where I was staying.

 

Didn't take long before the sg arrived and I pronounced it my favourite, a month or two later the ultra turned up, then it was my favourite. I came home from that trip on xmas eve and after I set up all the guitars on stands and got down to practicing more seriously I found I gravitated towards the strat copy as the most comfortable to play.

 

I'd say it's because of it's skinny neck, I've got fairly short fingers and I was able to reach the frets on the lower strings more easily.

 

If and when I become a better player, I doubt that a skinny neck will be as important to me, but I got a way to go yet.

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A good guitar won't make a bad guitarist good' date=' but it will be a lot easier to learn on, and the player will be more likely to stick with it if he's not constantly fighting against his instrument.[/quote']

 

Bingo, I had crap guitars when I was young, got disgusted with trying to learn and quit for 30 years.

 

Now I'm 52 and a beginner again but I have a few nice, not big buck but middle of the road stuff ($500 - $600 range) that I've had setup and play really well.

 

I still suck but I know I have learned more now in 4 months, than I ever did in 10 years, on my no name pieces of junk and I enjoy it now, even if the wife and dogz don't (screw em it's my house :) )

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Guitars matter.

Has this ever happened to you:

You play a song or a lick' date=' on one guitar just right. Ten seconds later you pick up a different guitar, play the same song/lick, and it just isn't played as well.

Guitars matter.[/quote']

 

Ummm, I don't know:-k ...if all things are equal "playability" wise, I think the only thing I've really

experienced, that way, is the tone difference, between guitars...that may make it seem like it doesn't

"work," or sound as correct, as the other guitar. But, the actual "lick/passage," should be the same...

again, all things (technically) being equal. I know you can be quite influenced, by a particular sound/tone,

that seems "right," where the same thing, on a different guitar or another instrument entirely, and it's

different tone, just doesn't "work!" I think that, is pretty common?

 

CB

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Middle of the road, all the way. I think the guitar does dictate skill level, as well as a desire to play the thing in the first place. This doesn't include the kid who's Dad bought him/her a 2000 plus dollar Gibson, cuz that's what he/she wanted, and there it sits collecting dust. 'Course everyone pretty much starts out on crap, and when they discover they CAN play the thing, then the natural course is to "buy up". Some of us can't stop buying up, and amass huge collections of guitars (darlings, you know who you are), and theres others who have 2 or 3, and have settled on them because that's whats most comfortable for them. And half the battle is not having to "fight" the guitar everytime you play it, so naturally you either buy up, trade up as your ability increases. Some people can take a substandard instrument, and make usually basic improvements to it, and keep the same guitar for years before they feel the need to trade up, just depends on the person, I guess.

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I wouldn't consider myself particularly great at guitar by any means, but lately I have noticed that I don't notice the change from my Les Paul to my AE148 acoustic, despite the neck almost being twice as thick on it, and requiring considerably more pressure on the strings to play.

 

Right from the get-go I've idolized Claudio Sanchez for his sheer diversity with no effects (bar reverb, but, you know,) so I've always sought to express what I need to express without any kind of effects, and it tends to carry across multiple guitars and setups well because of it. It's quite handy being able to blow my (non-playing) friends away with fast alternate-picked riffs with any old guitar I have handy.

 

The only things that affect my guitar choice now are body shape and build quality.

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Ummm' date=' I don't know:-k ...[/quote']

Man, it happens. In fact it just happened.

I play a little Pearl Jam lick on my Strat...smooth as hell to play. Move over to my Casino - wider neck - and the lick just doesn't play the same.

 

Come on, you know the real answer to your original post lies in the fact that what is played on one guitar is a hell of a lot easier to play than playing it on a Ric 12 string or a short scale Ric 325. Of course guitars matter. My Epiphone EJ-160E doesn't play as easily as a thin neck Ovation. No matter what your skill level is, an Ovation is easier to play than just about any acoustic.

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Yeah, Matiac...I often wonder why I have bought, or buy so many? What would Freud say? LOL!

I guess...bottom line, is I "Love 'em!" One certainly can't play all of them, at once. I have seen guys who can play

2 at a time, which is pretty amazing/impressive. But, I'm doing well, to get around one! ;>b

 

CB

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Man' date=' it happens. In fact it just happened.

I play a little Pearl Jam lick on my Strat...smooth as hell to play. Move over to my Casino - wider neck - and the lick just doesn't play the same.

 

Come on, you know the real answer to your original post lies in the fact that what is played on one guitar is a hell of a lot easier to play than playing it on a Ric 12 string or a short scale Ric 325. Of course guitars matter. My Epiphone EJ-160E doesn't play as easily as a thin neck Ovation. No matter what your skill level is, an Ovation is easier to play than just about any acoustic.[/quote']

 

Well, yeah...for "style" or types of music, it may be a bit more "authentic." But, really...you could actually

play any music, on any guitar (given it was a decent, playable instrument). "Concert for George," is a perfect

example, of playing a certain style/type of music/songs, with instruments that were not (always) the same,

as they were done on, originally. Yet, it sounded "Damn Good," anyway. That's where the "skill" and "heart"

come in...I think. As to one over another, in "preference?" Sure...but, because your J-160E's neck is not as

easy for YOU to play, it might be more comfortable, for someone else, than the Ovation. LOL! But...as I stated

at the beggining, there's no "right or wrong," here...just wanted some feedback/ideas.

 

CB

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When I started guitar I knew I wanted a SG. Gibson was ruled out almost instantly due to lack of skill and high of price. Even the inexpensive used ones...were beyond my needs. So I started looking for a well built, intermediate

level, SG with a set-neck. Bolt-On was a deal breaker for me. Honed-in on the G-400's and my first was a Goth. Soon,

(after the thievery), the gas pains started and the accquirin' began. I've got five G-400's now. Most seem to try and

get a different type of guitar every purchase for the diversity. My approach has been different. I like the ability to

have multiple, very similar guitars handy in different locations. I'm still learning, S-L-O-W-L-Y, so while it is probably

beneficial in the long run to be able to readilly adapt to whatever, scale, shape, size, make, string gauge, or fret type,

I'll be happy if I can just become somewhat proficient on MY guitar. I feel like that will be easier to do without con-

fusing the issue with something that feels markedly different. I love guitars, eventually I would like to have other types, but until I get better with my current choice I don't see me finding a desire for something unfamiliar. Look at the

large number of famous guitarists that are known for a single type of guitar throughout their career. (Some, more or

less, a SINGLE guitar throughout their career.) Gas is hard to deal with so I do have to have a new SG every now and

then; but for 20+ years an SG is all I every wanted so I'm happy. Some day, maybe I'll find I've reached a level of ability that I'll feel it's time to branch out and attempt something not so much like my close circle of horned friends, but at that point an Angus Young Signature Gibson will be awfully tempting.....

 

Wedgie

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