Fun starter Guitar and Amp?

Ottobon

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Well i played a electric guitar at my sisters house and now i'd really like to pick up the guitar again, i played for about 6 years or so, but only ever acoustic.

Anyways i was wondering if anybody knows what to look for if im interested in a Guitar and Amp (or whichever is important) for making crazy sounds, i kind of always liked the different sounds electric guitars made, but never looked into buying one as i didn't have any money at all (and was young)

anyways, all i know right now is that Yamaha doesn't make too bad of guitars for the money (if im wrong though tell me) and that if you turn up the gain on a amp it sounds all yummy! but how do you make a guitar sound all "wom wooom" like say in the beginning of Hendrix "Voodoo Child" etc,

I'd like to know more, especially as to what to look for with products, im a complete Noob with electric guitars so all the info possible would be great

Thanks!
 

jensked

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Aha, you're asking the right guy.

One moment please while I write a gear-guide
 

Ottobon

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i thought this would be a better place then MR2oc! those guys are either too poor to own guitars (mki drivers, like myself) or too busy buying new rims (mkii drivers)
 

jensked

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Ok

If you have any more questions, just post them here.

First of all you have to decide how much money you want to spend.
You don't want to spend too much money, but if you don't spend enough money, you get crap.

For the record: I have a Fender 50th anniversary strat, a custom MIAudio Blues Pro, a Crybaby Hendrix wah and a Vox AC30 amp. (= 2000 euros), but that will be a little too much for a starter.

Ok, first things first, a GUITAR
You have to decide what sound you want: fat (a humbucker element) or spanky (a single coil element).
If you want a fat sound, I'd go for a Epiphone Les paul (that's the cheap Gibson). That costs around 500 euros.
If you want a spanky sound (Hendrix, The Who,...), you should go for a Yamaha, a Squier (cheap Fender) or a Mexican Fender. (also around 500 euros).
You can choose between a Telecaster or a Stratocaster, but I'd suggest the strat because it's more versatile. A Fender standard stratocaster is a very good beginners guitar. A Squier is cheaper, but you get less tuning stability. I suggest you just go to a shop and try some guitars, but start out with the Fender standard Stratocaster to see what's what. Better spend a little more than to buy a cheap guitar that isn't fun to play.

But i'm a very classical guy when it comes to guitar gear: no extreme Steve Vai sounds/guitars for me.
You can get most guitars in different colours.

Standard stratocasters: (there is also one with single coil + humbucker for extra versability)
http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?section=guitars&cat=stratocaster&subcat=standard

Classic Stratocasters, a little more expensive, but in my opinion the best value/price, but gives you classic stratocasters from for example the '50s, they have less power
http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?section=guitars&cat=stratocaster&subcat=classic

Squier stratocasters, those are quite cheap but i'd never buy one, but they're the best in their price category
http://www.squierguitars.com/products/search.php?section=guitars&cat=stratocaster&subcat=standardseries

Amp
Most guitarists love valve amps (totally analog, nothing digital), but they're heavy, expensive, valves need replacement,...you should go for digital when you start out.
I have only one amp to suggest for a beginner: that's the Vox Valvetronix.
It's a digital amplifier with one valve, suposely to improve the dynamics. I used to own one before I got my valve amp. I'd still buy that one and I admit I kinda miss the bugger. Especially the Marshall tones are melting when you use them with a humbucker.

The Vox Valvetronix has several amp types: from Vox and Fender's to Marshall's to high gain (yummy for you) amps. So you can play clean and heavy.
It also has a lot of effects (reverb, delay, chorus and an automatic wah, that's the Voodoo Chile effect). You can only use some effects in combination with each other, but it's a good start. If you want to nail the intro of Voodoo Chile completely, you'd need a real wah wah pedal, but that's at least 100 euros.

Vox Valvetronix: (the black ones are the ones you are going for, best value for price)
http://www.voxamps.co.uk/valvetronix/

accessories
Don't buy cheap cables.
You need a pick, I use Dunlop Nylon 0.73 exclusively ;-)
Strings: If you buy new strings, you should buy the same gauge as the ones that are on your guitar (probably 0.09-0.42 or 0.10-0.46)
The higher the range, the heavier the strings. The heavier the string, the heavier it sounds, but it's more difficult to play or bend. You should ask for 0.09-0.42 to start with, especially on a cheaper guitar which is always more difficult to play.
If you plan to change the gauge of your strings, go with your guitar to the shop, especially with Stratocasters that have a tremolo brigde, if you place to heavy strings on the guitar, the guitar will bend and the neck has to be adjusted to cope with the tension of the strings
 
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Jacobfox

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I'd like to add a few ideas to that. I play an Epiphone SG, and while I have the cheapest one ($149), they can go all the way up to about $600. The top of the range g400 Sg is identical to the lowest end gibson, except it's made in malaysia, china or indonesia instead of Nashville. A good one in this category is a g310, their intermediate SG. The instrument sounds similar to a Les Paul, it also has a fat sound.

As for an amp, line 6 makes a good 15 watt starter amp for about $100. It has a few effects and is fun to play around with.
I agree, cheap cables suck. Picks are important, I use a dunlop Tortex green or purple (.73 and 1.1 if I remember correctly).
As for strings, I use GHS boomers because they're cheap, they sound alright and they have a hex steel core on the wound strings which gives consistent tone and aids longevity. It doesn't hurt that Zakk Wylde uses them either.

If you're in the states, check out guitar center. I don't remember if you are, but if you're in the US, there's likely one close by. It's a fun experience going to one of their stores and the prices kick ass.
 

avanti

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I am also considering getting a guitar, but since I have never played before I'm gonna start with an acoustic, or a electroacoustic.

I have been looking at the Aria AMB series:
http://www.ariaguitars.com/int/03_products/pro_ag_amb_40.html
and the Squier Stratacoustic:
http://www.squierguitars.com/products/search.php?partno=0937400092

The aria costs about 250 euros, so I'm looking for something in the 250-300 euro range. Does anyone have suggestions for other electro-acoustics in the same price range?
 

jensked

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Mmmm considering I should be called "Mr. Guitar", I just need to make a reply on every guitar question.

Avanti, 250-300 euro might be a bit cheap. I always recommend to stretch your budget. A cheap (and you have to admit, 300 euro for an instrument is pretty cheap) instrument will definitely limit your playing. It's easier to learn on a better instrument.

Try a Ibanez electro-acoustic or maybe a cheap Ovation if you can stretch that far.

Golden tip:
Ibanez is also great for good value electric guitars: very easy playability and mostly also quite versatile. Ibanez electrics are excellent beginners guitars.
 

NecroJoe

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I've been playing guitar for about 18 years or so, and have had nearly 30 guitars in this time (I've narrowed it down to two, now) and I'm more and more dissapointed with the quality of "budget" electric guitars every year. It seems they went from being made in Japan, to being made in Korea, to being made in China, with a dip in craftsmanship every time.

I would really REALLY strongly suggest buying used.

Fender, especially, seems to pump out really crappy fretboards and fret finishing, not to mention the pick-ups are far-too apt to feedback.

The buggest thing is, spend enough you won't get frustrated, like all those people who bought their first digital camera from Walmart because it was $30...but it only had 640x480 resolution, you know what I mean?

Schecter and Ibanez (EYE-ban-ez? ee-BAN-ez? I go with EYE-ban-ez) seem to make at least acceptable budget guitars.

If you're looking for something meatier, Epiphone makes some really nice Gibson-alternatives, but the cheaper you go, the worse they get (poor wood quality=spitting headstocks, twisting necks, etc)

As for your question about the specific guitar tone,
1) Get a "Wha" pedal. Dunlop Crybaby's are as synonymous with Wah pedals as Sure Shure SM-58's are to stage-performance microphones. They are THE pedal.
2) Get a vintage distortion/fuzz/drive/gain pedal.
3) The larger your speaker, the more full your sound. If you buy a combo amp, go for at LEAST a 10". 12" would be preffered. It sounds like for the tone you are looking for maybe a used Marshall, a Roland would be really nice...stay away from Peavy or most of Crate's selections, unless you want a more modern crunch.

#1 tip, though...Stay Away from Rogue!!
 

cdbob

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I agree with everything said in the above posts. But one thing that they forgot to mention is patch cords and tuner/metronomes. For Patch Cords I would recomend the Planet Wave Custom Series($35 CDN) (http://www.planetwaves.com/Pcablesdetails.aspx?ID=1). They are great cords that have a lifetime warrenty and are great quality. For a Tuner/ Metronome I would recomend the Korg TM-40($40 CDN) (http://korg.com/gear/info.asp?a_prod_no=TM40&category_id=5) It offers both in one which is very nice to have and good battery life. Unless your woodsheding the batteries should last you a decent while. These should be good enough to get you well on your in terms of equiment.
 

NecroJoe

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I agree with everything said in the above posts. But one thing that they forgot to mention is patch cords and tuner/metronomes. For Patch Cords I would recomend the Planet Wave Custom Series($35 CDN) (http://www.planetwaves.com/Pcablesdetails.aspx?ID=1). They are great cords that have a lifetime warrenty and are great quality. For a Tuner/ Metronome I would recomend the Korg TM-40($40 CDN) (http://korg.com/gear/info.asp?a_prod_no=TM40&category_id=5) It offers both in one which is very nice to have and good battery life. Unless your woodsheding the batteries should last you a decent while. These should be good enough to get you well on your in terms of equiment.

Why buy a tuner?
http://www.gieson.com/Library/projects/utilities/tuner/
:lol:

For a hobbyist, though, uber-high quality cables aren't really that important. Like...I don't buy monster speaker cable for my home theater, because I have a noisy apartment (traffic, fans, etc) and I wouldn't notice the difference. I'd say buy the 2nd cheapest.
 
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cdbob

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Tuner yes there is an internet one, but at a gig or something or in real life you need a portable tuner. The patch cord is better because before I got my planet wave I went through many, many patch cords. So in essence they are really cheaper.
 

Top Geek

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Tuners...ha! I use my ears :D

If you want a fat sound, I'd go for a Epiphone Les paul (that's the cheap Gibson). That costs around 500 euros.
If you want a spanky sound (Hendrix, The Who,...), you should go for a Yamaha, a Squier (cheap Fender) or a Mexican Fender. (also around 500 euros).
Can you post some examples of a "fat" and "spanky" sound? I'm thinking about an electric guitar too (I've played acoustic for years) and I'm wondering how different these sound :)
 
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NecroJoe

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Tuners...ha! I use my ears :D


Can you post some examples of a "fat" and "spanky" sound? I'm thinking about an electric guitar too (I've played acoustic for years) and I'm wondering how different these sound :)

Typically, humbuckers provide the thickest, chunckiest, meatiest sound. Richer in bass tones, and the high notes sound are thick and still sound well-rounded.

Single-coil pick-ups are typically more "twangy" for lack of a better word.

I know this will piss a lot of people off...but... When there's no gain involved, humbuckers provide a closer sound to an accoustic, or a clean "rock" sound, where-as single-coils tend to provide the sound more associated with country.

PLEASE! Hold back your arrows!!! I was just trying to give a quick, hopefully easily-understood example without providing mp3s.

Humbuckers' (Les Pauls..most Gibsons, in fact) drawbacks are sometimes-muddy lows, and single-coils (Most Stratocasters) can have sometimes-thin highs.

For me, the best balance is a H-S-H triple pick-up configuration. I'm more of a humbucker man myself, but I like the option of having a single-coil thrown in the mix to help get better defined highs, and sometimes clear-up the lows.

Clapton and Hendrix played, pretty much exclisively, Fender Stratocasters.

Jimmy Page plays almost exclusively Gibson Les Pauls.

For an acoustic player...maybe not a great comparison, but...compare the sound of 12's to the sound of 9's. The 9's may give you brighter sounds, but the 12's will give you thicker sounds. Make sense?
 
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Well, now, Hendrix wasn't country, was he? :D

Actually, I was hoping for some links so I could hear it ;)
 

NecroJoe

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Well, now, Hendrix wasn't country, was he? :D

Actually, I was hoping for some links so I could hear it ;)

See, that's why I didn't say "Strats are for country." I tried to dance delicately. *laughs*

According to an article linked from Musiciansfriend.com
"Tone & Pickups
First off, think about the great guitarists whom you admire and whose tone you'd like to emulate. Though there's no tone like your own, another player's sound provides a great starting point. With that in mind, let's go to the actual tone-producing hardware: pickups. Generally, you have two pickup choices: single-coil (such as those characterized by Fender Stratocasters) or humbuckers (characterized by Gibson Les Pauls). Single-coils have that thinner, "twangy" sound often favored by fans of blues-rock, country, and roots-rock. Humbuckers have a fatter, warmer tone and are often favored by hard-rock/metal players and jazzers. But there are no strict guidelines; you can play jazz with single-coils and country with humbuckers. Use your ears here, and know the difference.

Now let's talk about specific sounds. For example, if you want a funky single-coil tone more like Stevie Ray Vaughan, start with a Strat. You'll also want a Stratocaster if you're trying to emulate Jimi Hendrix (in fact, Fender produces an upside-down Strat if you really want to take the Jimi challenge). If you're more into the fat tones of early Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, or, say, Soundgarden's Kim Thayil, try a Les Paul or other mahogany-bodied guitar with humbuckers. Another popular pickup choice these days is the P90, which is basically Gibson's version of a single-coil pickup. It is often found on old vintage electrics, or new "retro" models that seek to recreate that vintage tone and look.

Be aware, however, that good "tone" is really created by a combination of pickups, body wood, and your individual technique, not to mention your choice of amplifier and effects. So if you buy a Jimmy Page Les Paul, I'm afraid you're still going to have to spend some time practicing. There's no magic bullet here. Pickups are just one piece of that larger tone puzzle.
"

Sorry...no links to post. I've been looking for like...a Guitar World: Guitar 101 comparing article...no luck.

Really crappy, I know:
[YOUTUBE]http://youtube.com/watch?v=bzZ4UYO_rpc[/YOUTUBE]
The first position is the bridge Humbucker, the 2nd switch position is the neck humbucker, and the 3rd (middle) position is a single-coil...like what you'd find on most Fender Strats.

To More directly compare,
[YOUTUBE]http://youtube.com/watch?v=YcYi8tAxIeM[/YOUTUBE]
1st: Fender Stratocaster w/ single Coils
2nd: Paul Reed Smith with Humbuckers
3rd: Telecaster with 1 humbucker, and 1 lipstick (single coil-ish)
4th: Strat with H-S-S config
5th: Gibson/Eiphone Les Paul

This one's better, although it doesn't use a real Gibson Les Paul, and doesn't play the Strat...
[YOUTUBE]http://youtube.com/watch?v=GqMUe-5kK7I[/YOUTUBE]

Hmmm...tricky...
 

NecroJoe

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Here you go...
[YOUTUBE]http://youtube.com/watch?v=H8Awaj5rKpc&mode=related&search=[/YOUTUBE]

They pick some crappy Les Paul clips, though...
 

cvrefugee

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I wish I would have known this stuff like 12 years ago before I got my Strat. Me wants humbucker...
 

NecroJoe

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I love my humbuckers.


...but I'm a bass player, so what do I know? :p Yamaha BB series.

Basses probably have the same number of options, active electronics are more common, Ps, J's, Humbuckers (aka dual-coils) Soap bars, just like on some classif vintage instruments...

One of the best things about humbuckers is that they are quieter (higher signal-to-noise ration) and yet, have higher output...they don't feedback as easily, and they make it easier to make a good sounding recording...plus I like the sound better. For me, the only downfall is that the high notes (solos) don't quite cut through the mix as well. You have to boost the volume a LOT for your solo when playing live.
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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Yep, tons of active PU's in basses these days. I'm not complaining, but I just have an affection for passive hardware. That being said, I played an Ibanez the other day with a strange-looking active system and it sounded great.
 
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