The Canadian Guitar Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I can assume these questions get asked every week or so. I've done a few searches, but nothing really popped out at me since it appears guitar buying is largely individualistic. All the same, I need some help and advice.

First off, I have never even held a guitar in my life and I haven't a clue how to play. I've always wanted to learn to play and recently decided that since I'm not getting any younger I might as well start now. As such, I am more or less unable to 'try before you buy'. I do not know anyone that plays, so taking an experienced person that I know will not be an option. I will be buying locally, probably from Long and McQuade or perhaps from Second Encore or St. John's Music (Winnipeg). Buying used is ok, but I'm apprehensive about getting hosed on a bad deal buying someone else's junk guitar. That's why I'd prefer to buy from a store, for assistance in set-up and support. I'm not looking to be a rock star, just something to have some fun with at home.

I've been using Youtube a lot for research purposes, mainly for what different guitars sound like. Although it's hard to tell given variations in quality and amps/effects, I think I prefer the sound of Fender Strat variants over something like a Les Paul. I don't want to play any sort of really heavy metal, some basic Metallica riffs are about as hard as I'm wanting to go and even then that's not a top goal. I like songs like Layla (love it!) and All Along the Watchtower, both Strat pieces, but I also like songs like Smoke on the Water, Sweet Child O' Mine, and stuff like by AC/DC and CCR. Being able to play some more recent stuff by Green Day, Nirvana, or Sum 41 would be nice too.

I've got a basic idea about sound differentiation between your average Strat and your average Les Paul, but that's about it. Fender's sales policies mean I don't even know what any of the Strats/Squiers sell for in the real world, which would be nice to know. Squier's are attractive because they're inexpensive. I've read good things about Godin guitars, I like the idea of buying Canadian, but again I can't find any price lists. Add to that, I don't know what kind of sound they have. Same goes for Ibanez and Yamaha guitars. I may not even like/be any good at playing guitar, though I'm pretty determined to be able to play the basic riffs of songs I like. So I guess I'm looking at spending between $500 and $1000 for everything (again, I'm hesitant to spend big since I don't even know how into this I'm going to be), but at the same time I don't want total junk. Name brands don't really mean anything to me since I'm not trying to impress anyone with my name brand Les Paul or Strat. Something that sounds more like a Strat would be better though. I'm also going to need advice on amps and other accessories. Nothing too big and loud, but being able to adjust the sound/tone (levels of ?distortion?) would be nice to have.

:confused-smiley-010
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,155 Posts
www.hammguitars.com

For amps...you have lots of options but here are some:

Vox AD50
Roland Cube 60
Tech 21 Trademark 50
Used Line 6 Flextone III

those amps are probably around 300-400$ each so yeah pretty good. The Roland, Vox, and Tech21 are probably your cheapest bet but im not sure.
The older flextones are supposed to be bad, so yeah ask around as I am not sure...just giving you ideas.

For guitars, Andy Hamm on this forum has some to tell...Godin is also a great brand, as is ibanez and schecter. You will want a guitar with a humbucker for most heavier rock music, so if you get a strat dont get all single coils.


Another alternative would be to buy a tube amp that does cleans well, and then stick a distortion pedal in front. Or you could just get a tube amp, but yeah if you arent sure you are going to play for a long time yet, I would go for the amps I mentioned at first.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,317 Posts
Firstly...you sound as though you are very motivated, determined and realistic. Those are great qualities to have as a "beginner"

I would suggest going to a few music stores and trying (holding) a variety of guitars and listening to amps in the price range you have selected. There are so many factors to consider for both the amp and the guitar. You seem to like the Strat sound/style so start with what appeals to you. Never underestimate the appeal of how a guitar "looks" (colour, shape, finish, etc.) to you personally. It might sound silly, but it is often an important factor as it is something that will "draw" you to playing that guitar...possibly for a long time after you buy it.

Some stores might have guitars/amps that you could rent for a short term. This could also be a consideration depending on what they have to offer (i.e., variety, etc). If you tried a variety in the comfort of your own home (without the feeling of intimidation that one gets in a store) you will get to know what appeals to you.

Don't be too quick to hesitate to buy used. There are constanly excellent used guitars advertised in this forum that have been well cared for and are not "bad deals" or "junk". The best guitars I have owned have all been used. Same can go for amps.

I will wait for others to respond. They will, no doubt, provide lots of addtional information for you to consider.

I would also suggest getting a tuner at the same time you get a guitar. Keeping your guitar in tune is essential and a skill that you need to learn early. Electronic tuners are not very expensive.

Keep asking question as the thread progresses. There are many very experienced guitarists here to help you.

Good Luck.

You have many hours of enjoyment ahead of you.

Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I'm not sure spending $300-$400 on an amp appeals to me. I'd rather put the money into a better guitar, like an actual Fender in lieu of a Squier. If Yamaha or Godin or whatever makes something similar, for cheaper, I'm fine with that. I was thinking of one of the strats with a humbuker pickup (more versatile?), but this is coming from a guy who has only known what a pickup actually is for about a week. I was wondering if there's some way play with a set of headphones or just plug it into my computer (Mac laptop) as I'm the type that likes to practice without others listening in (haven't played an instsrument since grade 8 band, about 9 years ago). I'm pretty sure that pedals give you different effects, but I don't really know if I'd need one.

I'd be pretty happy if I could get a sound similar to the riffs on Layla, Fox on the Run, and All Along the Watchtower. I don't want that deep tone as heard on Metallica/Black Sabbath stuff. Don't get me wrong, I like Enter Sandman and Snowblind as much as the next fellow, but matching that sound is not my primary goal. I'd much rather have that more squealish, higher pitched sound that I seem to hear on Strat-based music. At the same time, I don't really know what those 'Strat songs' sound like when played on something like an Epiphone Les Paul variant, which I think might be at the upper end of my price range.

Speaking of prices, I've checked out Fender's catalogue and noted a Standard Fender Strat to be ~$570, I assume that's $US. What's a regular Strat go for these days?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
365 Posts
Even though our dollar is on par with the US, we pay a lot more for musical instruments (among lots of other things).

Someone might of mentioned it, but buy used. Whether you quit playing a week later, or want to upgrade a few months later, you'll usually at least make your money back.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,800 Posts
I'm not sure spending $300-$400 on an amp appeals to me. I'd rather put the money into a better guitar, like an actual Fender in lieu of a Squier.
thing is though, a great amp will make a so so guitar sound pretty good. a great guitar will sound like garbage through a crappy amp.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
I have to say I'm not in too much of a position to offer much advice since I was in your shoes only a few months ago. I have to say, though, that you're doing way better than I was at that stage in the game just in the fact that you've done your homework.

Definitely have to agree with what has been said before, that even if you don't have any clue what to do with it, just putting your hands on a guitar and getting a feel for it, whether you can play it or not is a helpful thing. I walked into a local store without a clue, had a guitar put in my hands and walked out with it. It became the source of incessant frustrations just because it sounded and felt absolutely terrible. It now lives in a closet and I definitely wasted my money on that one. While you can expect to look to store staff a bit for guidance, it isn't that uncommon for some of those sales people to just want your money and for you to leave, since they've seen too many newbies come through, buy, and know full well that what was just sold has a very good chance of landing forgotten somewhere to collect dust within a month or two. Granted, I seem to get snubbed a lot more as being a girl so that might not be as much of a case for others (but that's a completely seperate story)

Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut and what feels right, even when there isn't the experience there to back you up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,568 Posts
No neighbourhood kids that play, or perhaps friends of your own kids? No one at work? Nice to have a second opinion when shopping.
too bad you are so far away or I'd loan you one of mine.
good luck , you will enjoy.
cheers and Hi.
RIFF
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,048 Posts
I only bought my first Electric guitar in February. Before that I only played my acoustic or other peoples' electrics. It has been my obsession ever since. Nothing for me has been as fun as playing electric guitar.

I will add my advice to other peoples. Long & McQuade does not operate (hopefully still not) on commission. If someone knowledgeable there helps you, you know they are doing it because they want to help, not because it is going to earn them any extra money. (That's the way I feel it should be). I went to the one in Calgary on a Monday morning (when it was pretty much deserted) to try out guitars. Since you don't play yet, you could tell the guy that helps you to play some stuff. Anyways, I told the guy the types of sounds I wanted and he put me in a practice room with a few amps and kept bringing me different guitars to try. My favorite salesperson ever- very humble and helpful and gave me privacy to do a couple of very basic embarrasing licks. I was looking for a range of sounds and wanted both a single coil and and a humbucking pickup.

Personally, if I were you, I would try to get a nice enough guitar that you will still like it and want it after you improve. I would consider getting a Mexican Strat. I saw one on sale at a store in Fernie for $400 because he closes the shop for the summer and didn't want to move everything back to his other store in Cranbrook- was so tempted. The Mexican Fenders I believe use much of the same quality components as the American Fenders, and many of them can be very well built. A brutally honest knowledgeable salesperson that you can trust would be your most useful ally. Maybe even someone from this forum in your area could go with you to look at guitars. Seriously, I love helping people buy guitar stuff. (It's probably one of the funnest days off I could imagine). Anyways, because of the quality pick-ups and parts, the Mexican Fenders have the potential to be really great guitars if you get one that was built really well. You could love it to the day you die. That being said, if you wanted to even go with a Squier, you might fluke out and get one that didn't use crap wood, and the neck might not twist on you and it might have great intonation, but this is a pretty big risk that would require you to bring a knowledgeable guitar maker with you to the store. Then, you could just upgrade the electronics (the pickups and crap) when you want a better sound. Anyways, check the used section of Long & McQuade first. I couldn't bring myself to buy a guitar brand new unless it was some sort of amazing deal. As much fun as it is to be the first one to carry a guitar out of the store, it is not worth upwards of $200 to me to do so.
Because I am mostly obsessed with amps now, this next part is really hard for me to say...
You should probably start with a Sol!d [email protected] practice amp to start off with for around $100 or less. That means a cheaper amp with the "T-word"s in it instead of tubes. Then, as you get more and more into guitar and you get more and more particular about your tone, and want to put more money in, you can open yourself up to the wonderful world of tube-amps. 1 year ago, I could have had an absolute blast on a little Peavey Rage amp or something like that, and not known I was missing anything. You could even get a cheap digital modeling pedal from someone second hand for next to nothing. I originally had a zoom pedal ($90) that now I never use for more than a tuner. Something that is I guess only worth about $20 to me now. Could probably even hook something like this through your home stereo...
Anyways, by going cheap on the amp, you can concentrate on getting a guitar that you will like the feel of and that could sound great through any nice amp in the future.
That being said, I have an older guy who plays in my band at church and he has an extremely valuable 35 year old Framus Electric guitar lofuand he can play absolutely anything (amazing musician), and he plays it through a little 10 watt solid state Traynor Bass practice amp (no tubes). Everyone (who doesn't know any better) thinks he sounds amazing. I plan to eventually force him play through one of my tube amps(when I get a couple more), but in the mean time pretty much everyone is happy with the situation (except me because I realize the beautiful tone possibilitieslargetongue)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,800 Posts
paul - i didnt want to get an electric guitar if i didnt get to use the amp too! my old squier affinity series sounded just fine unplugged, but a lot better into my old rage 158.

with the quality of today's beginner model instruments, you can find some really nice players for cheap that allow you to get an amp that gives you more sounds that inspire you to play. you can get a guitar set up to play amazingly, unfortunately the same cant be said for amps - if you buy something you dont like the sound of, you may develope the idea that your guitar is crappy when really its the little 108 2 knob wonder you're using.

in the end it is up to the buyer, generally i'd say most people start out with a beginner guitar, beginner amp, learn some music and develop their ear and tastes and go from there.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,800 Posts
hehe cost of my squier strat and rage 158 in... 1998? (used: $425.

cost of a NEW rage 158: $90. cost of a NEW squier affinity: $200?

gotta love it lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Ok, so it's important to get as good of an amp as possible so I can get a good quality sound, but not as crucial as getting a good guitar. The more I think of it, the more I want something that sounds like a strat. I think it's time to actually go to a store and see what they can show me.

Thanks for all the replies folks, you've all been very helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
do you happen to be in Winnipeg??

I might have a 2006 White/Maple Fender Strat Mexi (the one with the new trem block, bigger frets, possibly better hardware) for sale at the end of Nov. Might be moving so need to get rid of some stuff.

If you're interested let me know, still have all the plastic on pickguard :p
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,317 Posts
do you happen to be in Winnipeg??

I might have a 2006 White/Maple Fender Strat Mexi (the one with the new trem block, bigger frets, possibly better hardware) for sale at the end of Nov. Might be moving so need to get rid of some stuff.

If you're interested let me know, still have all the plastic on pickguard :p
I have this same guitar (same colour also). I think that it is excellent value for the price.

bcmatt suggested that you consider a Mexican strat in one of his posts

Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Hey man:

I suggest you to try out some Korean made guitars like Cort (eg G250) which has a split coil function ( to switch between single coil and humbucker). This way, u can have strat sounds and thick humbucking sound if u wanna play rock.
As for amp, I would go for Roland CUBE30 or Line6 because they have so many effects build into them. Save u a lot of money buying effect pedals. Also, I believe CUBE30 also have acoustic simulator. So u can make ur electric guitar sounds like acoustic!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
im preaty new myself.. soo i dont know if i can give you any helpfull ideas. but i can tell you what not to do..

dont buy the first thing you see
dont let the sales guy influance you on buying anything
dont buy guitars with single coils, i find them to sound too much of a clean sound
dont go for brand names, go for quality.

i screwed up on all of these when i went to the music stores. and i baught a hell lot of shit that i dint need like a gig bag, extra straps, and cleaning supplies.
i baught a Yamaha Pacifica 012 for like $235 CAD which was a total rip... dont buy what i baught!
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top