Author Topic: Seeking guitar recs/advice...  (Read 3770 times)

jkn

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Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« on: April 26, 2010, 02:06:34 PM »

I've started a thread on rM about guitars... My fantastically wonderful wife is trying to buy me one for my birthday this year...  please have a look and weigh in if you'd like.  Thanks!

http://relaxedmachinery.ning.com/forum/topics/guitars-1
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

Wayne Higgins

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 02:50:25 PM »
I've got 3 electrics.  An Epiphone Sheraton.  Semi hollow body.  Really loud.
A Fender Strat.  Mexican made.  I think paying 2-3 times for on made a few hundred miles north in Arizona is ridiculous.
A Gibson Les Paul Studio.  Nice.  I just got it this past year, haven't got much of an opinion on it yet.
IMO, the strat has always had a clean sound.  Telecasters are great, but a different sustain. 

I would not suggest any guitar for anyone else based on name.  It depends on what you want, what sound you want.  Then I would say try out a number of them.  I went to 5 different stores and tried out about 20 strats before I picked the one I got.

Check out the smaller independent stores.  Play with them.  When you get one with the right feel, you'll know it.  When you try them out, play them sitting down.  You will probably be practicing and recording more sitting than standing.

I have this thing about acoustic guitars have to "smell" right.  I can't explain it.  Mine smells perfect, like a new mobile home.
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Blackinfinity

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 04:58:24 PM »
I own RG2228 which is an 8 string guitar...

It really depends on what music you are playing and what sound you are after...be more specific ?
What kind of tone do you want ?
And most importantly of all what is your budget ?

For ambient music the effect processor/sound processing unit is more important then the guitar itself.
But despite how bad the guitar you buy is...get atleast good pickups...the difference can be astronomical.
I can personally recommend EMG pickups cause they are very clean and dynamic sounding.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 05:01:55 PM by Blackinfinity »

triksterb

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2010, 10:36:25 PM »
Gonna have to agree with Wayne about finding the right feeling guitar to play.  My first guitar was a Fender strat, and I liked it, but the sound was a bit lacking to me (it was a beginner guitar after all)  One day, my friend asked me if I would like to trade it for his Ibanez Artcore semi hollowbody (he really liked Fender guitars for some reason)  I said yes, because I heard him play it and I liked the sound of it.  So we traded and we both liked our new guitars.  I really liked the Artcore, and after putting in new pickups or whatever (don't really know the technical terms for all of that stuff) in his Strat, he really liked it. 

I played the Artcore for a few years, and it dawned on me that I didn't really like how big the guitar is; I could never play sitting down and it always felt uncomfortable to hold.  Sure I could play it, but not after struggling to find an non uncomfortable position to play in.  I know that if I had never traded, I would be much better at the guitar today than I am now.  Right now the Artcore just kinda sits there collecting dust, and comes out once in a blue moon with an Ebow before I remember how awkward it is to play sitting down and I put it away for a few more months.

Moral of the story is: don't just focus on how it sounds, but on how it feels to hold it both standing up and sitting down.

jkn

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2010, 05:50:22 AM »
I'll repost here what I posted over on relaxedmachinery...


Guitars
Posted by John Koch-Northrup on April 26, 2010 at 2:05pm in General - Creative Discussion (Change)
 

I'm continuing my search for a guitar.   I've ruled out hollow electric and the bigger semi-hollows.   Has to be easier for me to get my hands around - and preferably lighter.

For some odd reason I've become very intrigued by a Fender Jaguar... I think it's the switches...   example:  http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?partno=0259200306

The semi-hollow tele also looks interesting. 

There are also a couple of Gretsch's I like the looks of.

These are all me researching on the internet - not playing any yet.

[edit:  please read about 4 posts down for my explanation of what I'm kind of looking for... thanks!]


Reply by John Koch-Northrup 16 hours ago

Note for anyone new to my "quest for a guitar"...

My wonderful and lovely wife, Heidi, has decided that she wants to buy me a guitar for my 40th birthday coming up in August. I have an upper limit of $800. I have hand/wrist probs (kind of like carpal tunnel meets tendonitis but not totally either of those... neuroligist has told me "medical science doesn't always have the answers, etc..." - I'm not whining (not today at least) just letting you know why I want a smaller lighter guitar.

I "really" play piano (and synths, etc..)... and have for 35 years. I've played bass for the last 20 years - I love my G&L L1000 - and I also have a Gibson Grabber.

I won't be playing wailing guitar solos - heck - I won't really even be playing with a pick (can't hold one very long). Easy to hold, light, good tone, stays in tune... those are my keys.

I'm looking to do more ethereal ambient guitar... like Cocteau Twins or Kranky artists... or some good old thick dirty fuzzy shoegazer type guitar sounds... that's what I'm looking for.

Reply by John Koch-Northrup 16 hours ago

I've always wanted a semi-hollow like a Gibson ES-335 (could be getting the model # wrong - the thinner one - not the 175 fatter one)... or a Gretsch. But now that I'm actually buying a guitar - I want something smaller that I can easily hold and play (due the hand/wrist/forearm probs I have). The Jaguar has recently caught my eye more seriously.

Heidi has an Alvarez acoustic from the 70's that I play now and then.

And I still have my really old Gretsch solid body (very small - kinda SG-ish) from around 1959 or 1960. Have to decide if I'm selling that off. It's in "rough" condition - but could be fixed up by the right person.

I'm amazed that video is even appearing at work today - normally everything youtube is 100% blocked. I still won't click play though... ;-)

Reply by John Koch-Northrup 18 minutes ago

Thanks for everyone's thoughts. Truly appreciated.

Obviously, I won't *really* know until I spend a couple afternoons trying out guitars... but I love chatting about it and hearing what other people use and how they use them... so keep at it! I've love to read more.
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

jkn

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2010, 05:56:04 AM »
Thanks for everyone's thoughts...   I know I have to just go play and the right one will find it's way into my hands.  I like getting advice from friends - and I like hearing other's opinions about their guitars and what's good for certain styles etc... 

It truly does boil down to feel...   before I'd even plugged in the fretless bass I bought last year - I knew it was the one as soon as it was in my hands.   There was an immediate connection.   Plugging it in just confirmed that it was right - and then I spent some time trying to make sure there wasn't something I was missing (I checked with numerous people - including this forum - if I was making a good/bad decision for any reasons that I couldn't just "feel").

I got my G&L L1000 bass the same way - it just felt right.

My Yamaha piano - once I played it - I knew it was the one - and my friend/ex-manager that called me to come in and play it knew I'd like it.

So - please continue to talk about what you like and don't like and what works and doesn't work for *you* - I love reading about it.  It helps me narrow my search.
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

sraymar

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2010, 12:49:44 PM »
You might want to consider a PRS SE. They're under $800, light, balanced, thick sounding, lots of options(even semi-hollow), and look cool!

Steve
Ambient isn't just for technicians!

The artist isn't a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist.

Don't be afraid to grow, give yourself a chance.

Blackinfinity

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2010, 02:46:29 PM »
yes, PRS looks good, what you should especially look for is if the guitar is "Neck-through" this will make a big difference in the sound and dynamics.
Neck-through guitars usually have a lot better sustain and dynamics and more "body" in the sound. I really wish I had that on my guitar..I will make sure to have a neck-through on my next guitar for sure.

sraymar

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2010, 12:25:52 AM »
yes, PRS looks good, what you should especially look for is if the guitar is "Neck-through" this will make a big difference in the sound and dynamics.
Neck-through guitars usually have a lot better sustain and dynamics and more "body" in the sound. I really wish I had that on my guitar..I will make sure to have a neck-through on my next guitar for sure.



This is my personal fav, I'd love to pick up one of these. It would be my Robert Fripp guitar. He uses a Les Paul copy with vibrato. I believe all the PRS CEs have set necks. They're made in Korea which accounts for the discount but they're slick, and at these prices you could slap in a couple of Seymour Duncan zebra PUs!



Steve
Ambient isn't just for technicians!

The artist isn't a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist.

Don't be afraid to grow, give yourself a chance.

petekelly

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2010, 01:15:00 AM »

A set neck doesn't make a huge difference to sustain in my experience - the wood used in the body is more significant. Big lumps of mahogany or maple will create more sustain than alder. However, the guitar will weigh a lot more. I had a Les Paul DeLuxe and a Yamaha SG 1000 and they weighed a ton !
If you want infinite sustain get an ebow :)

I've found the strat type bodies to be the most comfortable for me. Then there's the neck to consider (size / the type of wood used in the
fingerboard), the action etc. A tremelo arm is another consideration. There's a lot of 'snake-oil' attached to guitar tone in general, you've got to
make your own choices. For example, there's a ton of amplifier / cabinet modelling software out there and I've heard great reviews of some of them and tried them out and thought they were awful.

In terms of pedals, I would personally recommend a volume pedal, particularly for 'ambient guitar'. 

cheers
Pete

Blackinfinity

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2010, 08:51:35 AM »

A set neck doesn't make a huge difference to sustain in my experience - the wood used in the body is more significant. Big lumps of mahogany or maple will create more sustain than alder. However, the guitar will weigh a lot more. I had a Les Paul DeLuxe and a Yamaha SG 1000 and they weighed a ton !
If you want infinite sustain get an ebow :)

I've found the strat type bodies to be the most comfortable for me. Then there's the neck to consider (size / the type of wood used in the
fingerboard), the action etc. A tremelo arm is another consideration. There's a lot of 'snake-oil' attached to guitar tone in general, you've got to
make your own choices. For example, there's a ton of amplifier / cabinet modelling software out there and I've heard great reviews of some of them and tried them out and thought they were awful.

In terms of pedals, I would personally recommend a volume pedal, particularly for 'ambient guitar'.  

cheers
Pete

I guess it depends on who you ask, and what guitar we talk about, the neck alone is not what gives sustain, also the wood..but in general neck-thru guitars are known deliver better sustain, otherwise manufactures would not bother doing the effort.
Why not nech-thru is standard, is cause it is a lot more expensive to manufacture. However it gets more common in cheaper guitars, ibanez for instance did begin to release neck-thru guitars 2-3 years ago, and it was a huge success...so I guess and hope they will move over to neck-thru more...their is certainly and demand for it. If you want more sustain you could also buy an baritone guitar with longer neck, mine has 27.5 scale neck, it certainly gives extra sustain, especially useful if you play very slow music as me. Ebow is nice too.

I have tried most virtual amp software out there, but I have not tried the latest Amplitube yet.
But my experience so far is that while they often have a lot of clarity in the sound all of them sound way to plastic and digital, it do not sound realistic, often it sounds very good when you play monophonic (one string at the time), but when you play chords especially with lower frequencies and high gain it sounds just way too digital. I still prefer the sound of the POD X3 to most software amps I have tried, it have a better feel and response... but it really depends on what kind of music, I am a metal guy, I play mostly high gain sound,  for certain kind of music and production it works well. If you are not playing high distortion software amps works very satisfying. It is the high distortion sounds that is the weak link of todays viritual amps. 

The best virtual amp right now is the Fractal audio AXE FX, they are also working on VST version of this... will be interesting, I will buy the hardware version later this year.  From what I have heard it sound really incredible, it also have REAL tubes inside...which gives the sound and feel of a real tube amp.



« Last Edit: May 01, 2010, 08:54:16 AM by Blackinfinity »

sraymar

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2010, 10:47:54 PM »
Here's a nice neck-thru body guitar but its almost $4G.



Destroy All Guitars features some interesting boutique guitars and amps you might want to check out if you haven't already.

Steve

Ambient isn't just for technicians!

The artist isn't a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist.

Don't be afraid to grow, give yourself a chance.

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2010, 05:32:24 PM »
I am not really much of a string player...took a few lesson back in high school, have played on a few of my own and client sessions, very rudimentary stuff, and so on,

Having said that I used to manage a music store and I know and appreciate the feel of a well built guitar. For others seeking guitars I have always had the same advice and rules:

1. Unless you are looking at boutique, high end and hand made, then use brand name as a starting point, but not necessarily an end-all-be-all to your decision making process.
Why? Well, as soon as you get away from American made instruments IE: Chinese, Korean, Japanese and even some Mexican...they all share the SAME factories. In Japan & Korea, Fender and Fernandez share the same factory (well they used to before Fernandez had major issues)

In Korea, one of the largest factories is owned by Westhiemer corporation and they make: Epiphone, Ibanez and their house brand which is Cort...all 3 are the same quality.
Fender now owns Jackson, Charvelle and a few others, and so on.

2. Try hard as you can to never buy over the net or mail order, unless its rare, vintage or a steal. I am a firm beliver that you need to hold the instrument in your hands and see which one feels and plays the best for you.

3. Whenever possible BUY USED, there are many great used stores around and when buying used you can often get almost twice the instrument as your initial budget will allow, plus many well worn instruments will play fantastically and sound better with age (especially solid top acoustics).

4. Go into a music store and play, play, play...try different brands, styles and price points. I have held low end import guitars that smoke high end name brand guitars from time to time. In other words you can often get lucky.

Now of course, I have my own criteria for my collection...for me it will almost always be:

Fender in name (pure nostalgia and body style)
Japanese in origin (because in my usually not so humble opinion, Japanese fenders which are rare, smoke most of the USA and Mexican ones by a mile, Japanese Fernandes rock too if you can find one)
Lacquered maple fretboard
Guitars will be a Telecaster body style
Basses will be a Jazz Bass
I also lust for a vintage 4001 Rick Bass...

Good luck John!

PV

"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

Wayne Higgins

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2010, 03:55:58 PM »
I'm selling my Les Paul, in case you're interested.  I just can't get comfortable with it.  It's a 2002 LP Studio.
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jkn

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2010, 08:19:49 AM »
Thanks, but I'm really leaning more towards a strat or jaguar.  I'm not anti-Gibson (I own a Grabber bass) - but I tend to lean towards Fender/G&L styles.

Note - still haven't bought something - but then, my birthday isn't until August and there's always the money issue... ;-)
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2010, 01:03:29 PM »
Yeah, I've got a strat that I won't sell.
So, I'm a "Sr Member", huh?  In June it's SENIOR DISCOUNT TIME!!!
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2010, 01:22:34 PM »
Speaking of...

It was a self-birthday/father's day gift.  I wanted a 12 string acoustic/electric.  I was looking at Ovations.  They are now made by the Huaoa company in China, or something like that.  Nothing against the PRC, but the metal finish on the components is cheaper quality and rusts quickly.  So, I was looking around and was disappointed and found a Mitchell 12 string for $250.  I figured I'd rather pay little for a cheap guitar than a lot.  There was this sticker on the pick guard, and when I took it off, the paper of the sticker and the glue stuck to the pick guard.  I got some goo gone and took off the glue, as well as the shinny finish on the pick guard.  Then, I got some paint, to cover up the newly dulled pick guard.  Looked like shit.  So I got some nail polish remover and took the paint off.  Then I got a can of spray paint and taped up the guitar really good and spray painted the pisk guard.  Still looked like shit.  Then I ordered a pick guard from Stewart-McDonald.  It was too small, by about 1/16 of an inch.  Shit!  But, I found that the pick guard was actually a flimsy plastic piece.  So this morning, I decided to go for it and I peeled off the pick guard completely.  I spend about an hour getting the glue and paper off the guitar, and decided that the guitar will be much better off with no pick guard at all.  It's a cheep guitar, but it sounds really good. Much more important, is quite well-tempered.  I hooked it up to a chromatic tuner and an "A" is an "A" everywhere!  As well as the other notes.  I tune it down a half step and use a capo, so I need a bigger capo.  I put it on the 8th fret and played "Here Comes the Sun" but the e-strings were pulled in and it sounded like crap. (and we all know that it is definately not my inability to play, right?).  I haven't hooked it up to the recording system yet, that's next.

So, I'm selling the Les Paul.  I still want a lap steel and a drum pad machine.  Yes, Oenyaw is going funky!
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michael sandler

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Re: Seeking guitar recs/advice...
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2010, 05:18:13 PM »
I love the sound and neck of my Tele, but it weighs a ton (alder body, so alder can weigh a lot) and the body shape is a bit awkward. They are versatile, though. You can play about any style of music on a Tele if you upgrade the pickups. I put Bardens in mine, but they are too expensive. I would have got Bill Lawrence pups had I known about them.

They do make Teles with contours for more comfort, but I'm not sure how much more that costs. I'm sure too that had I got a Strat I'd be equally happy. Actually I only got the Tele because the store I got it at had 2 Strats and a Tele and the Tele was the only one where I liked the neck. It's really important to me that I like the feel of the neck and the fretboard.

MikeS