help me choose a guitar

Discussion in 'Community' started by funkywhat2, Aug 2, 2003.

  1. funkywhat2 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 14, 2002
    I'd like to learn to play an instrument, and since I'm not cut out for the didgeridoo (trust me, I've tried) I decided to play the guitar. Sine it's my first instrument, I've no clue as how to shop for one, or what would be best to start with. I don't really want a cheap, crappy thing, but I'm not rich either. Any help would not only be helpful (duh), but would be appreciated.

  2. G4scott macrumors 68020


    Jan 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I'd say learn to play the cornet, then I could sell you my cornet.

    As for guitars, though, I'm relatively clueless...

    Although it might help to mention what type of guitar you want to learn, electric, acoustic, or bass, or whatever else is out there...
  3. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    acoustic...yamaha makes some good entry level instruments

    electric...fender's standard stratocaster is a good, relatively inexpensive, all around electric guitar, and it could take you all the way into the studio or gigging around town and be a very sturdy instrument

    if that's a tad bit pricey at $499 list usd (3-something street price), epiphone (a division of gibson instruments) makes some very affordable instruments you can find at the store under $250 usd

    if you absolutely want an american made electric or acoustic that is affordable at the same time, then peavey is good for that

    if you don't know if you want to continue guitar, then steer clear from a very expensive paul reed smith electric or taylor acoustic guitar...i had an unkowing friend buy a $2,000 dollar taylor (which listed for over three thousand dollars) not knowing that it was total overkill for him...he didn't stick to playing and ended selling it used for way less

    we all know the rich kid who gets a powerbook and uses it just to surf the net and nothing more ;)
  4. crenz macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2003
    Shanghai, China
    I don't know what kind of music you're into, but I'd recommend starting off on an acoustic guitar. It is more versatile and I feel more satisfying also: Especially in the beginning, it is very easy to distract yourself with distortion, effects etc. on the electric guitar :) but that's just my two cents. Also, the acoustic will allow you to show off at your friend's houses and at BBQs without lugging an amp around :D .

    I'd say find a friend who knows guitars well or a prospective teacher and get them to help you buy the guitar. There's a number of things you need to check on the guitar itself (two guitars of the same model can sometimes be quite different), and you wouldn't know that as a beginner. They will also help you to know about the different types of guitars -- it's better to see and understand when seeing the guitar than by having brand names thrown at you via the internet...

    Make sure you get a decent guitar but not too expensive so you have some money for lessons. If you can't afford continual lessons, at least take 4-5 at the beginning, get a good book, and go take another 2-3 lessons after two or three months (You'll be surprised how much easier it is to play guitar once somebody shows you some good technique :D ). I know individual lessons are somewhat pricey, but I wouldn't really recommend group lessons except for maybe the first few hours.

    Last but not least, get something to motivate you: Chords for the songs of bands you like (a teacher and the Internet help with that), tapes that you can play along with, friends that listen to your efforts. You might even find somebody to play together with.

    Hope this helps! Have fun :D

    (Do feel free to get back to me if you have questions. I'm primarily a bassist, but sometimes you just have to deal with those guitar-thingies :D )
  5. johnnowak macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2003
    New York, New York
    If you're willing to be the outcast, get a Parker. They're much easier to play than any Fender or Les Paul for sure. I believe their cheapest model is made overseas (as is often the case with guitar manufacturers) and you could probably swing that one. The NiteFly is a better guitar though without going overboard.

    Sure your idiot guitarist friends might not go "phat guitar man, its so angus young," but you'll know you've got one of the best things going.
  6. smada macrumors member

    May 7, 2003
    for a basic entry level electric, I'd recommend epiphone. Don't even consider gibson, in my opinion. Epiphone is essentially the same guitar, but for much much much cheaper.

    I play a fender highway 1 strat, and must say that while all my friends think it's soooo cool, it doesn't really have the best tone, and it's cursed by having an awful hum that I've never been able to track down. A friend of mine's telecaster is plagued by the same problem, and it's probably more common than you'd think.

    All in all, my advice is to not go overboard when purchasing a guitar, but remember that a quality guitar will is necessary for you to advance in skill.
  7. vollspacken macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2002
    Boogie-Down Berlintown
    I recommend that you get yourself a nice and cheap squire standard stratocaster or an ephiphone...

    I generally don't buy instruments that cost more than $500 anymore... cheap stuff serves the purpose well and especially fender mexico models or squire standard models are nice gear. don't spend too much just for the sake of showing off...

    I wanted to sell my guitar (a sunburst squire strat, I'm a bass player and don't touch the guitar that much), but when I pulled it out of it's case, I couldn't do it :) :) :) such a nice and beautiful intrument...

  8. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    this is so true

    i used to be a guitar teacher and i have been playing for 27 years...i am a slow learner so it took me at least six years to get somewhat competent on guitar

    but many of my students or friends progressed so fast (2 years) that a quality guitar then would have made the path easier...beginners more than anyone need an instrument with relatively low and easy string action so they can finger chords and lead guitar passages...very cheap guitars cannot be set up like that

    but once you get fairly good, then it doesn't matter what kind of guitar you can get a fifty dollar garage sale special and sound way better than a rich kid with a paul reed smith or taylor just starting out

    when you get advanced, you may want to experiment with the tones and subtleness you can get from manipulating heavy strings set up really high off your fretboard...many great jazz players and some blues players (like the late stevie ray vaughn did this) and you can get the most amazing sound coming off of your guitar with heavy strings set high...but this is basically for someone who is pretty good

    i know of an amazing player who owns just about every type of guitar out there and to search for the ultimate unique sound, he often hits the stage with the worst piece of junk guitar he can find...due to his great skill he can play anything on it and he often gets better sounding tones on those guitars than most players can using the most expensive gear

    advanced players start searching for a unique sound because they have mostly mastered technique...and it's that originality that requires a master and very few have that quality...jimi hendrix and carlos santana are a couple of examples of great talents that have captured that instantly recognizeable originality
  9. scem0 macrumors 604


    Jul 16, 2002
    back in NYC!
    My sister wanted to learn guitar too.

    She bought a pretty expensive one, and then decided she didn't want to play, and sold it for $50 less.

    So my advice is to get a really cheap one to see if you are gunna follow through, and then when you know you are fully interested, get a good one.

  10. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    following through is the hardest part

    i would say that out of ten guitarists who start out in the beginning, only half will still care anything about playing one year takes time and dedication

    and maybe one out of ten will be there five years later and allow themselves to get good enough to play in public and make decent recordings
  11. e-coli macrumors 68000


    Jul 27, 2002
    The Gibson Les Paul Classic.

    It's the only guitar you'll ever need to own. It's insanely versatile and sounds like a million bucks. It plays wonderfully. Trust me on this. ;)

  12. Moxiemike macrumors 68020


    Jan 1, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Boy. Gibson really has people brainwashed! They're acoustics are bunk, the new Paul's are overpriced and don't sound that good compared to others.... Sheesh.

    Seems like you can;t buy a Paul from after 95 if you want it to sound good
  13. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    Start educating yourself. Read Guitar World magazine and soak it up. There's A LOT to a guitar. The high-end ones are definitely works of art. That's why they cost so much. The mass-produced guitars are good too and I'm sure you'll find a decent one. I'd start acoustic to build up hand strength and dexterity. Learn your scales and chords.
    I started playing a couple of years ago and it was like a therapy for me. No smoke, no drink, just play. It was cool. Best way to stay out of trouble.
  14. funkywhat2 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 14, 2002
    Thanks guys, I've got a friend I can drag along with me one day. I'll post back when I finally buy it.
  15. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    are gibsons good guitars?
    i think so...all the ones i have owned were good

    are they worse, the same, or better than pre-95 models?
    about the same imho

    dollar for dollar, are they a good value?
    no way...they are overpriced

    which brings the issue to epiphone, gibson's less expensive line they are both good guitars and a good value

    if you like that style of guitar, then start with an epiphone and if you feel the need, then buy a gibson...when i started playing, there were no epiphones like the gibsons so i started with a lower end used gibson and that guitar was fine for what it cost...but i realized from that point on twenty years ago, that i preferred fender (which was good because they are also cheaper):D
  16. mrjamin macrumors 65816


    Feb 6, 2003
    my Gibson Blueshawk is far superior to any epiphone i've ever played or owned. There is a huge difference in the build quality, tone and feel of Gibsons to their epiphone counterparts.

    Back on topic, yeah, the epiphones are great. I dunno if they're still doing them but the Epiphone Special Plus II's are great, much much better than the Epi Special II, and they're around the £130 mark. The Les Paul/SG Juniors by Epiphone are pretty good and dirt cheap. I nearly bought one of the Gibson equivalents.
  17. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    the blueshawk is a great improvement over gibson's long standing solidbodies...the les paul and sg

    but guitar players are the opposite of us mac users...where macheads love the latest improvements and newer gear, guitarists usually like the basic designs of guitars developed in the late 40s to late 50s...not much that has come after that has really gained a lot of ground

    the blueshawk has the great balance of the les paul, but at a fraction of the weight...and while being light like the sg, it is not neck heavy like the sg...and the blueshawk, like the other older gibson models, have that sustaining sound gibson is famous for

    but because guitar players stick to tradition, i think the original designs like the late 50s sunburst les paul and the cherry colored sg will be the top selling gibson solidbodies for many years to come

    and for fender, the stratocaster with it's stock, hum producing 60 hz passive pickups will still be the top seller over a strat with active electronics (which is so much easier to deal with in the studio)

    if mac users were like guitar players, apple would not sell much of anything that used storage technologies better than a floppy or an operating system later than 7.x
  18. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    ...anyway, don't buy a guitar based on computer buying principles though

    it doesn't have to have the latest technologies to be useful in learning how to play

    what can be neat, which i have not done, would be to combine the low tech of guitars with the high tech of macs and use a keyboard with midi as a go-between with the mac and the regular acoustic or electric guitar...and heck, toss in a digiridoo (sp?) or ancient stone aged percussion instruments while you are at it and create something totally new in the process

    i think music can expand with the advent of computers and still keep its integrity

    i once knew this music professor who only liked medieval instruments or earlier and considered the piano too powerful and thus not a real it relates to human touch and feeling...i doubt his ideas go very far these days and i am sure he does not own a computer:p
  19. bwawn macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2002
    Re: help me choose a guitar

    Don't be too sure about that yet. I learned how to play a didgeridoo, circular breathing and all, in a single day using a PVC pipe with wax melted on the end (so as not to hurt my lips). It literally took one day with a $1 (if even that) PVC pipe, and I had never played a wind instrument ever before -- bass was my only musical background, and I had never touched any kind of wind-related instrument before that.

    I'm not trying to steer you off guitar here -- I'm actually looking into getting an inexpensive acoustic guitar as well right now so I can teach myself how to play -- but I'm just saying, don't put off didgeridoo quite yet. It's loads of funs, sounds great, and impresses everyone, and if you're dedicated, will take one day to get down all the important basics. If you go with the cheap PVC pipe at first too (make sure to put wax at the end you're blowing on to protect your lips!), you take absolutely no hit financially, leaving you plenty of money for a guitar.
  20. thegeek187 macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2003
    if it was up to me ide get a 58 esquire but there aint that many out there anymore

    only 58 esquire that i know is in working condition is with the BOSS!!!!! and even he only pulls it out occasionaly
  21. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    some have said that the boss had a '48 esquire or broadcaster

    though development of that model of guitar began in 1948-49, the final product did not hit the shelves until summer of 1950 for the esquire and fall of 1950 for the broadcaster

    in most of the history of the models, the esquire had one pickup and the broadcaster had two...but the esquire started out with two and when they changed to one, the body cavity still remained routed for two so some have modified the one pickup model and stuck another pickup in there...confusing??

    the path of conception to prototypes to the store can take a while, so for the first fender solidbody, there is some confusion as to what the first year of the model family is

    some will cite the date of the neck or body cavity of instrument but the guitar could have been assembled in final form sometime later...especially if some extra parts are in inventory...some have been known to sit around for years at fender

    when the guitar leaves the factory finally assembled, then that is the proper "date" of the thing...i have to say then, that the bosses guitar is a 1950...yes, he has way more than just one:p
  22. thegeek187 macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2003
    ok jef ...i was just counfoused by your

    but that guitar even though its old plays pretty good saw it 2 nite in a row 26th/27th!
  23. themadchemist macrumors 68030


    Jan 31, 2003
    Chi Town
    It was always my understanding that fenders less than 800 or 1000 bucks were not terribly good. Some of the companies that don't make great high-end guitars make pretty solid entry-level guitars, whereas fender places its emphasis on the high-end.
  24. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    the middle level stratocaster made in mexico is a good guitar

    the standard american made one is better

    but the custom shop models are fantastic...but a strong player could make quick work of any one of the three models and make it sound great
  25. Fender2112 macrumors 65816


    Aug 11, 2002
    Charlotte, NC
    I suggest taking a look at Ovation's Celebrity line. I have one now which I bought about 10 or 12 years ago and have really enjoyed it. The neck is a bit narrower which works well for folks who have small hands, like me. Ovations are different from other acoutics guitars because the bodies are made from a compsite material (not wood), kind of like a cross between plastic and graphite. They have a rounded back which gives them a unique tone.

    If you want an electric, its hard to go wrong with a Fender. I will suggest that you go to a nice guitar shop and try a few brands. They all have a unique feel, as do acoustics. It's import to get a guitar that feels good in your hand, especially for a beginner. If you do go electric, don't forget to budget for an amp, which is another whole discussion. But do get a good one. A cheap amp will make even the best guitar sound like crap.

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