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Sam-Y 07-06-2009 09:16 PM

Electric Guitar 101
 
What's up people? I'm planning on buying an electric guitar and was hoping you could give me a little lesson on everything I should know about them. Now I've done research on the internet but nothing beats personal experience and knowledge (and there are a lot of experienced musicians on this site who could offer me more as opposed to some guy I don't know writing some articles). So that's why I'm asking you! Please educate me. :shycouch:

Dr_Rez 07-07-2009 12:33 AM

It depends on the type of music your going for. What are you going to primarily be using it for?

If you dont know choices such as Strat and Les Paul styles would probably suit you best.

mr dave 07-07-2009 02:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam-Y (Post 699560)
Now I've done research on the internet

nice.

what have you come up with as early favourites? there has to be something out there that caught your eye. you can usually find a cheap version of just about any commercially produced model out there.


a few more questions to consider...

what's your rough budget or at least the minimum you plan on spending?

you have an amp already?

is this an upgrade from another electric? if so, what kind?

and like RezZ said, what do you plan on playing with it?

Sam-Y 07-07-2009 08:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RezZ (Post 699677)
It depends on the type of music your going for. What are you going to primarily be using it for?

If you dont know choices such as Strat and Les Paul styles would probably suit you best.

Well I want to play mostly jazz (funk) and rock. I would like to have a versatile guitar though so I could go out of my range. Would I be able to do that with a Strat or Les Paul?

Quote:

Originally Posted by mr dave (Post 699739)
nice.

what have you come up with as early favourites? there has to be something out there that caught your eye. you can usually find a cheap version of just about any commercially produced model out there.


a few more questions to consider...

what's your rough budget or at least the minimum you plan on spending?

you have an amp already?

is this an upgrade from another electric? if so, what kind?

and like RezZ said, what do you plan on playing with it?

Well I haven't done much research on actual guitars yet, I was learning more regarding guitar anatomy. I'm confused between single-coil and humbucker. How can I rate a guitar in terms of quality and sound. I've heard that there are many differences in sound with different guitars. I've also heard that the shape and fret/string size must suit the player's needs. Too many things to consider lol.

I'd say my budget is around a $1000 (Can). I'd rather buy a decent guitar now since I've already been practicing on a crappy one.

I don't have an amp so I'll need a little lesson on that lol. This will not be an upgrade from another electric, I was playing acoustic before.

Is there anything else I should consider when it comes to pickups?

Ricochet~kun 07-07-2009 12:19 PM

Quote:

Well I want to play mostly jazz (funk) and rock. I would like to have a versatile guitar though so I could go out of my range. Would I be able to do that with a Strat or Les Paul?
a strat, yes, and i think you could do it with a paul, but its sound is much beefier and thicker becase of its humbuckers. (as opposed to the strat's single coil pickups)
i woudl say, if you leaning more toward jazz (funk) do strat and for rock go les paul. thats just personal preferance though, either guitar can do either.

Burning Down 07-07-2009 02:25 PM

When you've narrowed down your choices (so far it seems to be either a Strat or a Les Paul), go to a store and spend some time trying them out. That's the only way you can really get a feel of what the guitar has to offer. Sound and weight should be things you're thinking about as well. Are you going to be standing or sitting with this guitar? Probably sitting for the most part since you're a beginner, but you still need to take weight into consideration. IMO Les Pauls are heavy. I don't own either guitar (I have a Rick and a Gibson SG), and have rarely ever played a Strat or LP so I can't give you info on the sound of each guitar. Thankfully other posters have done that :)

The size of amp you get depends on where you're going to play your guitar. Most likely you'll be playing at home so you don't need anything like Marshall stacks :laughing:, you'll just need something simple. Talk to a store employee.

You're in Toronto like me, so I recommend buying from Steve's or Long & McQuade. I know L&M offers financing as I was able to finance a $3500 flute from them two years ago. Since your budget is $1K, you can probably get a low end Strat. Not sure about a Les Paul though, but if that's what you're looking for, you can probably finance it or get a lower-end Gibson SG. Good luck!

Sam-Y 07-07-2009 02:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ricochet~kun (Post 699889)
a strat, yes, and i think you could do it with a paul, but its sound is much beefier and thicker becase of its humbuckers. (as opposed to the strat's single coil pickups)
i woudl say, if you leaning more toward jazz (funk) do strat and for rock go les paul. thats just personal preferance though, either guitar can do either.

How about a guitar with mutiple pickups? Would you recommend that? Is there a guitar with multi pickups that I could use for both genres of music?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Burning Down (Post 699952)
When you've narrowed down your choices (so far it seems to be either a Strat or a Les Paul), go to a store and spend some time trying them out. That's the only way you can really get a feel of what the guitar has to offer. Sound and weight should be things you're thinking about as well. Are you going to be standing or sitting with this guitar? Probably sitting for the most part since you're a beginner, but you still need to take weight into consideration. IMO Les Pauls are heavy. I don't own either guitar (I have a Rick and a Gibson SG), and have rarely ever played a Strat or LP so I can't give you info on the sound of each guitar. Thankfully other posters have done that :)

The size of amp you get depends on where you're going to play your guitar. Most likely you'll be playing at home so you don't need anything like Marshall stacks :laughing:, you'll just need something simple. Talk to a store employee.

You're in Toronto like me, so I recommend buying from Steve's or Long & McQuade. I know L&M offers financing as I was able to finance a $3500 flute from them two years ago. Since your budget is $1K, you can probably get a low end Strat. Not sure about a Les Paul though, but if that's what you're looking for, you can probably finance it or get a lower-end Gibson SG. Good luck!

Hey Burning Down, long time no chat! How you been?

I was definitely considering financing and from the sounds of it, I think I'm going to have to drop more than a grand to get long-term investment decent guitar (I don't want to move my way up since I've been practicing for a while now and really feel like skipping the middle-man guitars lol). I've been given several brands so now it's time to pick. This is the hard part. If I'm going to go in debt for it, I might as well get something that is worth it.

Also, have you heard of Cosmo Music? They're suppose to have good prices too.

Ricochet~kun 07-07-2009 04:50 PM

Quote:

How about a guitar with mutiple pickups? Would you recommend that? Is there a guitar with multi pickups that I could use for both genres of music?
i THINK you mean one with humbuckers and single coils. try a fender (or squire) fat strat. the humbucker is in the bridge position. the pickup isnt really what makes your sound though, in the end. its having the right tone and distortion (i think). but yeah, go to a store and check out some crap. see what you like, tell them what you want and they should be able to whip it up for you. i would suggest guitar center =P

mr dave 07-07-2009 06:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam-Y (Post 699967)
I was definitely considering financing and from the sounds of it, I think I'm going to have to drop more than a grand to get long-term investment decent guitar (I don't want to move my way up since I've been practicing for a while now and really feel like skipping the middle-man guitars lol). I've been given several brands so now it's time to pick. This is the hard part. If I'm going to go in debt for it, I might as well get something that is worth it.

i think this is a mistake.

skipping the 'middle man' guitars is not going to make you sound better or improve any faster. last week i was having to explain to you how to finger chords for a relatively straight forward rock tune. if anything, someone with high end gear who's still learning how to play screams 'drama queen / attention whore'.

specifically what guitars have you used prior to this point. brand names and models. how long have you been playing guitar? based on your posts here it only seems to have been about two months.

you say you've done 'research' but don't have any preference on what kind of guitar you want and haven't been able to figure out the difference between a single coil and humbucker pickup? what sort of research have you done? i feel like i'm repeating myself from another thread when i asked you specifically why you wanted to play guitar / music. it still applies here, now more than ever. especially considering the amount of money you (or your parents) plan on dumping into this.


----
as for the questions you came up with earlier...

single coils are generally brighter sounding, with more high end, but they create a noticeable amount of buzz when used individually. it's not overpowering or anything but it's there.

a humbucker is basically two single coil pickups put together in an alternating fashion so that they cancel out their buzzing sound. this also ends up cutting some of the high end though and results in a darker low end sound overall.

in terms of multiple pickups, the vast majority of electrics offer 2-3 pickups per model. you can get electrics with just 1 pickup but they're generally the lowest quality models available (or the Malcolm Young signature model). even if you get something with 3 single coils (like an old school strat), you can still toggle the selector to activate 2 of the pickups at the same time to somewhat emulate the humbucker sound.

rating a guitar on quality and sound. that's done with your eyes, hands and most importantly - your ears.

in 16 years of playing guitar i have never once considered fret size or talked to anyone who did. although stainless steel frets are apparently freaking awesome if you want to spend the extra cash for a custom shop job. no. you don't need stainless steel frets.

string size will affect your overall tone. bigger strings tuned to standard will be under increased tension and result in a brighter sound. generally speaking most people use bigger strings to tune lower and maintain a relatively constant tension in the strings on their guitars. the vast majority of guitarists use 0.09s or 0.10s unless you've got a 7 or 8 string or tune significantly lower than standard. ultimately irrelevant until you've experimented a bit and know what you want to be doing.

as for your amp situation a small combo amp (40-60 watts) is more than enough power for most small scale practice sessions and even small gigs if there's a PA present.


----

for $1000 you can set yourself up with a decent little combo amp and a nice mid-range guitar that will last for as long as you want. it won't have Gibson or Fender (made in USA) on the headstock but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing either.

ultimately your sound comes from your hands, it doesn't matter how much money you dump into your gear. if you can't make a no name guitar sing at least a little bit then it won't matter how many thousands of dollars you spend on a 'professional' instrument. the same can be said about your instrument, having a bunch of strangers on the net tell you X model is what you need is worthless, only your hands and your ears can tell you what instrument is right for you.

Dr_Rez 07-07-2009 09:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mr dave (Post 700086)
ultimately your sound comes from your hands, it doesn't matter how much money you dump into your gear. if you can't make a no name guitar sing at least a little bit then it won't matter how many thousands of dollars you spend on a 'professional' instrument. the same can be said about your instrument, having a bunch of strangers on the net tell you X model is what you need is worthless, only your hands and your ears can tell you what instrument is right for you.

Everything here is very true in more than just guitars. Any product (especially motorcycles) are cluttered with strong brand bias.


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