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Old 02-25-2008, 03:53 PM   #1
Arab Swordsman
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Buying a guitar

Ok, I'm taking the advice of some people on this board and looking to buy an electric guitar so I can start learning. I don't want to spend a ton of money just in-case I never get the hang of it. I saw a few kits priced around 200 that include the guitar and amp and wanted some opinions on which brand of guitar is best. I've seen a Yamaha, Peavy, Fender, and Ibanez in my price range. Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:48 PM   #2
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I would recommend a Gibson. Stunning action and they look great, too. The Beatles used them quite a bit, which speaks volumes about their quality.
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:49 PM   #3
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Gibson makes a good Epiphone starter kit which is basically a generic version of their Les Paul model, also Ibanez is a good starter.
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:39 PM   #4
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Hey, Arab, if a Fender is in your price range then I give can give you a few pointers.
Look at the back of the neck to see where it was made.

U.S. - highly recommended
Japan - recommended
Mexico - not recommended

The Mexican ones are the cheapest so if that is in your price range then
go for it but be prepared (maybe) for some repairs down the road.

The Fender Telecaster is a solid rhythm guitar with a good, hearty tone but
if you want a harder, metal edge to play fast solos & licks, then go for the
Fender Stratocaster. You can easily add a tremelo/vibrato/whammy bar
to a Strat (if it doesn't come with one already) OR look into an Ibanez.

Also remember, the more pickups the guitar has, the more range in tone
you will get. If you're are just starting out then don't get a very powerful
amp right now. A 40 Watt Peavey will be more than enough!

Good luck!
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:40 PM   #5
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IMO, if you're just starting you really have two options. Get a Fender Stratocaster MIM "Made in Mexico," ($300-500) the American versions cost a lot more. Strats can rock out with a harder tone but also have a bluesy tone to them. Think Weezer's Say it Ain't So.

Les Pauls are very versatile and some of the best guitars around. Epiphone makes a more cost-effective version then Gibson... which is the real deal, costing a CRAP LOAD of money. If you get yourself a nice Epi LP, you'll be able to play most anything. They're great rhythm guitars and can also take the lead.

As far as amps go. A great amp to start with is a Line 6 Spider III. These amps have multiple effects so you don't need pedals... and they sound pretty good and can be loud if you ever want to play with someone else eventually. They also have a new line that's more expensive... it's a tube amp. Tube amps give better tone, IMO.

MIM Strat - $300-500
Epi LP - $300-500
Spider III Amp - $300-400

So you can get the whole setup for like, around $500-600 or so. I wouldn't get one of those cheap amp+guitar package deals because they retain no value and would be worthless if you wanted to get rid of them. Plus, they're usually crappy guitars. Although Squier guitars have gotten better. (Squier is a cheap version of Fender guitars).

That's what I'd do though. That's basically what I did. You have a nice intermediate set-up that is good enough for when you get good to gig with if you actually wanted to (as in, play it with other people, not necessarily put on a show or something)... and it retains it's value decently for resale.

That's my suggestions.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:41 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback so far. I'm basically looking at a setup for around 200 bucks just because this will be my first guitar and I don't have the cash for a nice setup until my wife goes back to work (we had a baby in November). I'm looking for something that is decent and will let me practice until I can take some lessons and get better. Then I'll look to upgrade the amp and guitar.

These are some I've been looking at that are in my price range. I know they won't be the best but I just want to get my feet wet and not go overboard at first. Are any of these better than the rest or are they all about the same?

http://www.target.com/Peavey-Raptor-...0guitar&page=1

http://www.target.com/Fender-Starcas...0guitar&page=1

http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/nav...=5&item=379581

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Epiphone...51-i1150173.gc

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Ibanez-I...53-i1372012.gc

I'm leaning more towards the Yamaha because of the price (only 155 delivered with tax) and the reviews at Guitar Center's website say it's pretty good.
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Old 02-26-2008, 01:55 AM   #7
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Hey Arab,
this is a subject close to my heart.

I have played guitar for many years. One of my hobbies is building solid body electric guitars. I like mainly Strat types and variations of Strats (different pickup configurations, tremelos, etc.)

Anyway though, what Stoo said I think is right on the money. If you are buying a guitar off the rack the rules are: Made in USA=best, Made in Japan=good, Made in Mexico=crap (usually, but there are exceptions).

Before you buy though I would have to ask the most important question: who are your biggest guitar influences? That would seem to me to be a HUGE factor in what type of guitar you want to buy. It would be for me.

My biggest influences are Eddie Van Halen, Jimmi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ritchie Blackmore, and Yngvie Malmsteen. So obviously I'm a Strat man all the way.

Who are your biggest influences?
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Old 02-26-2008, 01:59 AM   #8
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I have no ideas about guitars, but my friend owns one I can ask him about it and see what he says and then let you know.
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Old 02-26-2008, 07:24 AM   #9
Arab Swordsman
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As far as influences I'm definitely a rock guy. I like Angus Young, Dave Grohl, and Mike Campbell.
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:37 AM   #10
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i know tanglewood make decent quality acoustics and they do a bass starter kit which is great quality and really good value. might be worth a look to see if they do any electric guitars but im not too sure.
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:46 AM   #11
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I checked out the links so here's my 2 cents:

Peavey: No.

Fender: Yes! This looks like a good bargain. Too bad there's no info on the amp though.
Anyway, you've got 3 recommendations here for a Strat so you can't go wrong
if you choose this one.

Yamaha: If you're leaning towards this for the price then go for it. I've had
2 Yamaha acoustics and loved them. Played them to death but I can't vouch
for their electrics. This looks decent for your 1st guitar.

Epiphone: Seems like a good deal. You like Angus Young so this might
be the one for you!

Ibanez: No. The bottom cutaway isn't deep enough if you want to play
the really high notes with ease (like you can on a Strat-type body).

P.S. for No Ticket:
Weezer covered the Murray Head tune? Gotta hear that!

P.P.S. for monkey:
I'm a Pete Townshend guy but Eddie Van Halen is the absolute best.
(Funny Yngwie story - Way back when Yngwie was first becoming known
in N.America, my friends and I were huge Eddie fans. One of my buddies
bought an Yngwie record and we went home to my house to listen to it.
We were very impressed but we didn't realize that the record was only
an EP to be played at 45 r.p.m. When I switched the turntable speed
and heard it properly we couldn't believe what we were hearing!
That guy is incredible!)
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
P.S. for No Ticket:
Weezer covered the Murray Head tune? Gotta hear that!

Ha, noooo. Say It Ain't So is one of the singles off of Weezer's first album, The Blue Album which came out in 1994. One of their first big hits right after Buddy Holly and Undone "The Sweater Song."
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:21 PM   #13
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Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I had off of work today so I decided to go out and pick up my guitar. I found a pretty good deal at Sam's for a Fender Starcaster. Here is the link to the one I got. I'm going to start playing around with it tonight!

http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/nav...=5&item=349574
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arab Swordsman
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I had off of work today so I decided to go out and pick up my guitar. I found a pretty good deal at Sam's for a Fender Starcaster. Here is the link to the one I got. I'm going to start playing around with it tonight!

http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/nav...=5&item=349574

You're going to want to learn power chords for electric guitar. I don't know if you know how to read guitar tabs but basically it's like this:

E
B
G
D
A
E

Those are your six strings on a guitar. The EAD being the top strings closest to you (they are lower notes), the GBE strings being the ones closest to the ground, the bottom ones I guess (they have higher notes). When you read guitar tabs... the lines represent the strings and the numbers represent the frets. An example being:

E---------------------
B---------------------
G---------------------
D---4---4----6---6---
A---4---4----6---6---
E---2---2----4---4---

You just put your finger on the second and fourth frets (frets are the little sections/spaces on the guitar neck) and that's the 244 power chord. I'm not exactly sure what note that is off the top of my head. But you basically just do that all up and down the neck and you get all kinds of different chords. 022 just means you only put your fingers on fret 2 for two of the strings while the "0" means you just pick that string without putting a finger on it. That's called "open."

Basically all of rock is built around power chords, which you use because the kind of chords used for say acoustic guitar do not sound as good with distortion. I'm talking like the G C E A D chords. You would most likely only use those kinds of chords on electric guitar when it's on clean.

Be sure you don't strum the strings that do not have any numbers on them. Like above, the GBE strings in my example. I mean, you can, it won't matter too much if it's on heavy distortion, but it does kind of make the chord sound "messy."

And in tablature, "h" ... like "3h4" means to "hammer on." Or to pluck your string while one finger is on fret 3 and while it's ringing you put the other finger down on fret 4 to change the note. If you just try it, you'd know what I'm talking about. There's also "p" or something like "3p" which means to pull off... which is kind of the opposite. You pluck the string with your finger on the 3rd fret and then remove it while the string is ringing.

Uhhh "x" usually means you either do not play the strings or you mute them by putting your hand over the strings or something to that effect.

OH... and another important technique is PALM MUTING. Where you rest the back of your palm against the strings at the bottom of your guitar (near the bridge, which is that metal thing at the bottom below the pick-ups)... while plucking to kind of mute the sound and then play them open to be louder. Kind of like making the verses of a song quiet and then the chorus LOUD. You want to kind of only gently rest your palm on the strings... not tooo much. Kind of a delicate thing. But it's not really too hard to figure out.

I just thought I'd give you some pointers in case you didn't know. That's good stuff to know to begin learning electric guitar.

Also. LEARN HOW TO HOLD THE PICK RIGHT!! It doesn't seem important. I know. But the problem is, by the time you figure out that it is important, you'll have learned it wrong and picked up a bad habit making your technique sloppier. Google the right way to hold the pick. I thought forever that it isn't important and then realized it kind of is after playing for awhile.

Anyway. Hope something there helps you out. Good luck! Don't give up!

Last edited by No Ticket : 02-26-2008 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Ticket
You're going to want to learn power chords for electric guitar. I don't know if you know how to read guitar tabs but basically it's like this:

E
B
G
D
A
E

Those are your six strings on a guitar. The EAD being the top strings closest to you (they are lower notes), the GBE strings being the ones closest to the ground, the bottom ones I guess (they have higher notes). When you read guitar tabs... the lines represent the strings and the numbers represent the frets. An example being:

E---------------------
B---------------------
G---------------------
D---4---4----6---6---
A---4---4----6---6---
E---2---2----4---4---

You just put your finger on the second and fourth frets (frets are the little sections/spaces on the guitar neck) and that's the 244 power chord. I'm not exactly sure what note that is off the top of my head. But you basically just do that all up and down the neck and you get all kinds of different chords. 022 just means you only put your fingers on fret 2 for two of the strings while the "0" means you just pick that string without putting a finger on it. That's called "open."

Basically all of rock is built around power chords, which you use because the kind of chords used for say acoustic guitar do not sound as good with distortion. I'm talking like the G C E A D chords. You would most likely only use those kinds of chords on electric guitar when it's on clean.

Be sure you don't strum the strings that do not have any numbers on them. Like above, the GBE strings in my example. I mean, you can, it won't matter too much if it's on heavy distortion, but it does kind of make the chord sound "messy."

And in tablature, "h" ... like "3h4" means to "hammer on." Or to pluck your string while one finger is on fret 3 and while it's ringing you put the other finger down on fret 4 to change the note. If you just try it, you'd know what I'm talking about. There's also "p" or something like "3p" which means to pull off... which is kind of the opposite. You pluck the string with your finger on the 3rd fret and then remove it while the string is ringing.

Uhhh "x" usually means you either do not play the strings or you mute them by putting your hand over the strings or something to that effect.

OH... and another important technique is PALM MUTING. Where you rest the back of your palm against the strings at the bottom of your guitar (near the bridge, which is that metal thing at the bottom below the pick-ups)... while plucking to kind of mute the sound and then play them open to be louder. Kind of like making the verses of a song quiet and then the chorus LOUD. You want to kind of only gently rest your palm on the strings... not tooo much. Kind of a delicate thing. But it's not really too hard to figure out.

I just thought I'd give you some pointers in case you didn't know. That's good stuff to know to begin learning electric guitar.

Also. LEARN HOW TO HOLD THE PICK RIGHT!! It doesn't seem important. I know. But the problem is, by the time you figure out that it is important, you'll have learned it wrong and picked up a bad habit making your technique sloppier. Google the right way to hold the pick. I thought forever that it isn't important and then realized it kind of is after playing for awhile.

Anyway. Hope something there helps you out. Good luck! Don't give up!


Wow, I have no idea what that means
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:43 PM   #16
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Oh! I completely missed this thread until now! Congratulations Mr. Swordsman, sorry again if my tone was alittle uncourteous in the other thread - but you've made a wonderful decision!

You're going to learn an instrument, to create music from scratch, add to the collective artistic achievements of the human race! Yay! Playing an instrument feeds your soul, you will find it incredibly rewarding.

Here's an online guitar tuner, click on the strings to hear how each one should sound. Then adjust the tuning pegs on your guitar accordingly;

http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/onlinetuner.html

Don't worry if you can't get your guitar perfectly in tune just at the moment - it can be difficult to tune by ear straight off.

There are many guitar tunings out there - DADGAD is a folk tuning employed frequently by Bert Jansch and Jimmy Page, DGDGBD is Open G (this means, if you hit all the strings, you play a 'G' Chord), great for blues slide.

I teach guitar, and most of my students really enjoy working through the about.com Beginner Guitar Lessons...

http://guitar.about.com/library/blgu...sonarchive.htm

Give them a go, and see how things develop! Good luck!
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Old 02-26-2008, 09:17 PM   #17
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Oh yeah. Other tunings. Well, most rock songs are usually either in standard tuning... EADGBE (what I mentioned earlier) or "drop d" tuning DADGBE. Sometimes they also use Eb tuning (which is a half step down)... usually done to accommodate your voice.

If you're in standard tuning and want to change to drop do... just pluck the D string and tune the low "E" string until it matches. Viola, drop D.
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Old 02-26-2008, 09:53 PM   #18
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Most of Keith Richards classic riffs are played in Open tunings I think.
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matinee Idyll
Most of Keith Richards classic riffs are played in Open tunings I think.
Yes, Open G is his standard!

Anyway, Arab, don't get scared by all of this. If you want to start playing
songs right away then take the power chord route as No Ticket suggests.
However, learning the proper, major chords first is essential.

Get a good beginner book or DVD and (as the link you provided so cheesily said),
"you'll be rockin', swingin', wailin' and singin' in no time!"

Learning the chord positions can sometimes be extremely difficult but
stick with it because (after practice) it will become 2nd nature.
If your fingertips hurt, that is normal. Take the pain and build up those
calluses on your fingers.

What kind of amp did you get?
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
Yes, Open G is his standard!

Anyway, Arab, don't get scared by all of this. If you want to start playing
songs right away then take the power chord route as No Ticket suggests.
However, learning the proper, major chords first is essential.

Get a good beginner book or DVD and (as the link you provided so cheesily said),
"you'll be rockin', swingin', wailin' and singin' in no time!"

Learning the chord positions can sometimes be extremely difficult but
stick with it because (after practice) it will become 2nd nature.
If your fingertips hurt, that is normal. Take the pain and build up those
calluses on your fingers.

What kind of amp did you get?

Yup. Definitely don't give up on it. It takes time, but you'll get the hang of it if you stick with it. And eventually your fingers won't hurt anymore... I play sometimes for 4-6 hours without stopping.
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:23 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matinee Idyll
Oh! I completely missed this thread until now! Congratulations Mr. Swordsman, sorry again if my tone was alittle uncourteous in the other thread - but you've made a wonderful decision!

I teach guitar, and most of my students really enjoy working through the about.com Beginner Guitar Lessons...

http://guitar.about.com/library/blgu...sonarchive.htm

Give them a go, and see how things develop! Good luck!

No problem! I got the Fender DVD on how to learn Electric guitar so I'll use that and the about.com lessons. Thanks for the info.
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:25 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo

What kind of amp did you get?

I got the Fender SP-10 which came with the set. It's a 10 watt practice amp which is perfect for me because I can't go nuts with the baby in the house.
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:38 AM   #23
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Now I have another question...I'm pretty new to all of this so I hope this isn't a dumb question. I have a pickup switch and tone controls on the guitar but I'm not sure how they would effect the sound. I see that the switch changes the pickup from the bridge up to the neck but how does that make a difference in the sound produced? My controls also adjust for how much neck and middle pickup I get but I don't know what level I should put these at. Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 02-28-2008, 02:48 PM   #24
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The pickup closest to the neck will give you more bass and the one by
the bridge will give you more treble. Your tone control knob gives you
finer command over both bass & treble.

What setting? It all depends on what song you want to play. If you are
playing a song with a wide range of dynamics (soft verse & loud chorus)
then that is where the pickup switch comes into play. (Luckily, your Strat
has it in a convenient position - unlike the Les Paul.) I wouldn't worry about
this stuff right away. Learn your chord positions so you can play a song
and then figure out your tonal settings later.

Note: Your amp settings make a big difference! Experiment a little.
Turn up the bass on your amp so as to not make your treble pickup
sound so rinky-dink. If you have a reverb button on your amp, put it on
and you will be amazed at how cool it sounds. (Not too much, though.)
It's all about experimentation...

For you Epiphone Les Paul owners out there - Is it as heavy as the Gibson?
'Cause that thing is a real PIG in terms of weight!
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:28 AM   #25
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Thanks Stoo. Well, I just learned the first 3 major chords and I'm starting the 3 minor chords from the About.com lesson plan. I've also learned the notes of the string and why it's called a G chord even though you have your fingers on the E, A, and B strings. This is really fun!
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