How to buy an electric guitar

Guitar Tricks Forum > Gear Discussion > How to buy an electric guitar

matonanjin2

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Joined: 08/11/17

Posts: 113

Originally Posted by: yogijules

This is suuper-helpful! Thanks so much!

......

Sounds like it's mostly about getting something comfortable to play, as tone is determined more by amps and pedals than the guitar?

NO!!! Look back up to my post above. After you get into this electrical (dark?) side more you will learn about what is called the "signal chain". But, distilled down, from the millisecond you strike the strings and the pick-ups turn those vibrations into electrons until those electrons are converted into sound coming out the speakers, your tone is modified.

The signal chain includes your pick choice, type of pickups, guitar type (hollow body vs. solidbody, etc.), pedals, amp (tube-type vs. solid state, amp vs digital, etc.)

Is tone determined by amps and pedals? Absolutely. But the issue I have with your statement is the word "more". Everything along that chain effects tone.

I remain of the opinion that the first, and possibly most significant, determinant of tone is the guitar and which pick-ups it uses, humbucker type or single coil type.

This is why I suggested seeing what your guitar idols are playing.

And this is only a starting point. My idols have always been SRV and Clapton. Strat Guys. My second "good "guitar was a Strat. I played it a lot. But over the years I've migrated more toward the humbucker tone.

Purely to confuse you, some manufacturers are producing "hybrids". Fender makes their HSS which has a humbucker and two single coils. Gibson makes guitars that you cfan "switch" from Hum to single coil.

I still encourage you to look at your idols for a starting point.

And I discourage you from using Craigs List. With "starter" guitars like a Fender Squier or made in Mexico Strat so reasonably priced there is no reason to buy a potential problem some someone you don't know. Go to a local dealer with a liberal return policy.

Years ago Santa knew that I wanted to learn guitar. She brought me a Yamaha Pacifica and a tiny little practice amp after I retired. She didn't make it in the shop at the Norht Pole but got it from a local store here. She didn't pay more than 2 or 3 hundred dollars for the kit. Over the years I have acquired more guitaars and amps and pedals, etc. Some would say too many. But I will go back and play that Yamaha on occasion and it plays great!!!

You can get a great starter electric guitar now for little investment.

#11

Originally Posted by: yogijules

This is suuper-helpful! Thanks so much!

......

Sounds like it's mostly about getting something comfortable to play, as tone is determined more by amps and pedals than the guitar?

NO!!! Look back up to my post above. After you get into this electrical (dark?) side more you will learn about what is called the "signal chain". But, distilled down, from the millisecond you strike the strings and the pick-ups turn those vibrations into electrons until those electrons are converted into sound coming out the speakers, your tone is modified.

The signal chain includes your pick choice, type of pickups, guitar type (hollow body vs. solidbody, etc.), pedals, amp (tube-type vs. solid state, amp vs digital, etc.)

Is tone determined by amps and pedals? Absolutely. But the issue I have with your statement is the word "more". Everything along that chain effects tone.

I remain of the opinion that the first, and possibly most significant, determinant of tone is the guitar and which pick-ups it uses, humbucker type or single coil type.

This is why I suggested seeing what your guitar idols are playing.

And this is only a starting point. My idols have always been SRV and Clapton. Strat Guys. My second "good "guitar was a Strat. I played it a lot. But over the years I've migrated more toward the humbucker tone.

Purely to confuse you, some manufacturers are producing "hybrids". Fender makes their HSS which has a humbucker and two single coils. Gibson makes guitars that you cfan "switch" from Hum to single coil.

I still encourage you to look at your idols for a starting point.

And I discourage you from using Craigs List. With "starter" guitars like a Fender Squier or made in Mexico Strat so reasonably priced there is no reason to buy a potential problem some someone you don't know. Go to a local dealer with a liberal return policy.

Years ago Santa knew that I wanted to learn guitar. She brought me a Yamaha Pacifica and a tiny little practice amp after I retired. She didn't make it in the shop at the Norht Pole but got it from a local store here. She didn't pay more than 2 or 3 hundred dollars for the kit. Over the years I have acquired more guitaars and amps and pedals, etc. Some would say too many. But I will go back and play that Yamaha on occasion and it plays great!!!

You can get a great starter electric guitar now for little investment.

yogijules

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Joined: 08/26/19

Posts: 3

Sooo helpful! Thank you all! Even a video, Bill - nice touch!

That answers my questions for now. I'm not in a rush to buy one but want the info because knowing me, I'll decide it's time to get one and two hours later I'll be driving it home.

You have made that dream a pending reality for me : )

#12

Sooo helpful! Thank you all! Even a video, Bill - nice touch!

That answers my questions for now. I'm not in a rush to buy one but want the info because knowing me, I'll decide it's time to get one and two hours later I'll be driving it home.

You have made that dream a pending reality for me : )

K-rad

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Joined: 12/26/18

Posts: 14

There is so much great stuff in here! There is an overwhelming amount of choice and then when you add amps the choices grow exponentially! This thread is so great at addressing the struggles of being a total beginner and being overwhlemed with so much that I don't yet know about what I should and shouldn't be concerned about.

I've been thinking about getting an electric guitar- more because I'm a night owl and I find most of my practicing happens between midnight and 2am and I find myself focusing on how to do things the most absolute quietly possible than anything else on my accoustic guitar- which kind of dampens the fun of practice (tiny apartment, paper thin walls).

What is becoming painfully clear is that to make a good purchase probably means going to a place and actually trying guitars out for fit, feel and sound. That'll prevent me from buying anythinng for a super long time.

#13

There is so much great stuff in here! There is an overwhelming amount of choice and then when you add amps the choices grow exponentially! This thread is so great at addressing the struggles of being a total beginner and being overwhlemed with so much that I don't yet know about what I should and shouldn't be concerned about.

I've been thinking about getting an electric guitar- more because I'm a night owl and I find most of my practicing happens between midnight and 2am and I find myself focusing on how to do things the most absolute quietly possible than anything else on my accoustic guitar- which kind of dampens the fun of practice (tiny apartment, paper thin walls).

What is becoming painfully clear is that to make a good purchase probably means going to a place and actually trying guitars out for fit, feel and sound. That'll prevent me from buying anythinng for a super long time.

manXcat

♪It's getting better all the time♫

Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 914

Originally Posted by: K-rad
I've been thinking about getting an electric guitar- more because I'm a night owl and I find most of my practicing happens between midnight and 2am

Hi K-rad

If that's the case, you won't really need even a 20W practice amp. A set of decent studio headsets, preferably closed type, and either a portable practice amp like Blackstar's Fly 3 or BOSS' Katana Mini would be perfect. Alternatively you could use a VOX AmPlug, but IME (I have a NUX AmPlug equivalent) I prefer the overall functionality and versatility of my Fly 3, ....or buy both. For headset use, all current practice amps these days will have a headset port out and mp3 port in aka aux out & aux in.

If choosing between them, the AmPlugs are almost as expensive as a Fly 3, so the choice is a no brainer AFAIC. That's coming from someone from who owns and has hands on exp beyond initial buyer excitement novelty using both with electric and e-acoustic along with the option of a few other amps in my home studio.

Originally Posted by: K-rad
What is becoming painfully clear is that to make a good purchase probably means going to a place and actually trying guitars out for fit, feel and sound. That'll prevent me from buying anythinng for a super long time.

Reasonable caution is a positive attribute provided it doesn't cripple the decision making process turning it into procrastination. Sooner or later you will have to 'dive in the water' if you're going to embark on the journey of learning to play guitar or experimenting with electric guitar if you already play. Better sooner AFAIC, as guitar is one of those things with a time needed to assimilate skill acquisition curve.

In my own case, when I bought my first guitar after such a long hiatus, I had had hands experience of acoustic and electric in my youth, so I had some idea of characteristics which were important to me, and where to start looking.


If you can't try, and remember that info overload and too much choice is just as confusing and bewildering as none at all. Apply logic and a measure of discernment to advice offered on reasonably priced and versatile, and you simply can't go wrong.

There is a lot of choice out there, especially in the US, but as a bullet proof go to, a contemporary Squier Affinity Tele or Strat body and neck will be a good fretting fit for most of average height and build, and make a superb no risk first or later guitar, especially the Tele in my book. Ibanez and Epiphone et al are other popular choices, but other than a preferred or inarguably sexy look something Ibanez in particular promote heavily, it's just difficult to beat what I've recommended on value and performance for the $$$. One doesn't need to spend a lot of money to get a perfectly playable, truly enjoyable to play guitar.

Better still, another bang for the buck no brainer and errantly labeled a "beginners" guitar because it is so popular within that demographic for good reason, is a Yamaha Pacifica HSS, a contemporary take on the venerable Strat. Full disclosure (I own and play three of these in HSS config of varying segments of hardware & PUP configs, but they're just a few of many so any preferential bias is moderated with comparative balance). The alnico V model PAC112V in particular is incredibly versatile, beautifully built and finished, incredible at its pricepoint. Stage ready is understatement. The 112J is even less expensive and sounds magic. I really like the tone from decent ceramic PUPs too. The only people I could perceive not loving any Pacifica are those with giant hands, as its string spacing is tighter than most -relatively.


Unless buying second hand from a trusted source, any of those mentioned are so inexpensive, why would one?


Just pick any one of those three in your preferred colour and shape, dive in inexpensively, get playing, enjoy, and buy that dream guitar of your imagination later when you have sufficient time hands on to determine what that'll be, because it'll change with growth on your journey.

Above all else, really enjoy everything about the journey, because having the time and energy to commit outside your career and or any other activity it might be in competition with notwithstanding, that's the key to maintaining motivation.

.

♪A little better all the time♫

#14

Originally Posted by: K-rad
I've been thinking about getting an electric guitar- more because I'm a night owl and I find most of my practicing happens between midnight and 2am

Hi K-rad

If that's the case, you won't really need even a 20W practice amp. A set of decent studio headsets, preferably closed type, and either a portable practice amp like Blackstar's Fly 3 or BOSS' Katana Mini would be perfect. Alternatively you could use a VOX AmPlug, but IME (I have a NUX AmPlug equivalent) I prefer the overall functionality and versatility of my Fly 3, ....or buy both. For headset use, all current practice amps these days will have a headset port out and mp3 port in aka aux out & aux in.

If choosing between them, the AmPlugs are almost as expensive as a Fly 3, so the choice is a no brainer AFAIC. That's coming from someone from who owns and has hands on exp beyond initial buyer excitement novelty using both with electric and e-acoustic along with the option of a few other amps in my home studio.

Originally Posted by: K-rad
What is becoming painfully clear is that to make a good purchase probably means going to a place and actually trying guitars out for fit, feel and sound. That'll prevent me from buying anythinng for a super long time.

Reasonable caution is a positive attribute provided it doesn't cripple the decision making process turning it into procrastination. Sooner or later you will have to 'dive in the water' if you're going to embark on the journey of learning to play guitar or experimenting with electric guitar if you already play. Better sooner AFAIC, as guitar is one of those things with a time needed to assimilate skill acquisition curve.

In my own case, when I bought my first guitar after such a long hiatus, I had had hands experience of acoustic and electric in my youth, so I had some idea of characteristics which were important to me, and where to start looking.


If you can't try, and remember that info overload and too much choice is just as confusing and bewildering as none at all. Apply logic and a measure of discernment to advice offered on reasonably priced and versatile, and you simply can't go wrong.

There is a lot of choice out there, especially in the US, but as a bullet proof go to, a contemporary Squier Affinity Tele or Strat body and neck will be a good fretting fit for most of average height and build, and make a superb no risk first or later guitar, especially the Tele in my book. Ibanez and Epiphone et al are other popular choices, but other than a preferred or inarguably sexy look something Ibanez in particular promote heavily, it's just difficult to beat what I've recommended on value and performance for the $$$. One doesn't need to spend a lot of money to get a perfectly playable, truly enjoyable to play guitar.

Better still, another bang for the buck no brainer and errantly labeled a "beginners" guitar because it is so popular within that demographic for good reason, is a Yamaha Pacifica HSS, a contemporary take on the venerable Strat. Full disclosure (I own and play three of these in HSS config of varying segments of hardware & PUP configs, but they're just a few of many so any preferential bias is moderated with comparative balance). The alnico V model PAC112V in particular is incredibly versatile, beautifully built and finished, incredible at its pricepoint. Stage ready is understatement. The 112J is even less expensive and sounds magic. I really like the tone from decent ceramic PUPs too. The only people I could perceive not loving any Pacifica are those with giant hands, as its string spacing is tighter than most -relatively.


Unless buying second hand from a trusted source, any of those mentioned are so inexpensive, why would one?


Just pick any one of those three in your preferred colour and shape, dive in inexpensively, get playing, enjoy, and buy that dream guitar of your imagination later when you have sufficient time hands on to determine what that'll be, because it'll change with growth on your journey.

Above all else, really enjoy everything about the journey, because having the time and energy to commit outside your career and or any other activity it might be in competition with notwithstanding, that's the key to maintaining motivation.

.

♪A little better all the time♫

William MG

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Joined: 03/08/19

Posts: 512

Well oh my goodness this is a topic with so many sides, and while I will normally defer to manX I do have a different take on:

"Unless buying second hand from a trusted source, any of those mentioned are so inexpensive, why would one?"

For me, it's more than just a transaction. I really enjoy haunting the music swaps. Thanks to my son I have become somewhat of a regular on Saturday mornings... just browsing, talking over coffee. Most know me by name now. I get to mess with stuff, buy something if the price is right and I am interested, and at the same time I know because the original purchaser took the initial "bite" on devaluation, I will probably come out ok if I want to part with something.

So many angles to this. Have fun!

Repertoire:

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (Made Easy)

Link to the lesson here - very good for a beginner

Wild Horses (Made Easy)

Link to lesson here

Highway To Hell

Link to lesson here

Honky Tonk Women (Made Easy)

Lesson here - very easy for beginners

Breaking the Law - fun, fast paced song.

Lesson here

Honky Tonk Women - (Not Made Easy!) I will lick this song someday

Lesson here

#15

Well oh my goodness this is a topic with so many sides, and while I will normally defer to manX I do have a different take on:

"Unless buying second hand from a trusted source, any of those mentioned are so inexpensive, why would one?"

For me, it's more than just a transaction. I really enjoy haunting the music swaps. Thanks to my son I have become somewhat of a regular on Saturday mornings... just browsing, talking over coffee. Most know me by name now. I get to mess with stuff, buy something if the price is right and I am interested, and at the same time I know because the original purchaser took the initial "bite" on devaluation, I will probably come out ok if I want to part with something.

So many angles to this. Have fun!

Repertoire:

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (Made Easy)

Link to the lesson here - very good for a beginner

Wild Horses (Made Easy)

Link to lesson here

Highway To Hell

Link to lesson here

Honky Tonk Women (Made Easy)

Lesson here - very easy for beginners

Breaking the Law - fun, fast paced song.

Lesson here

Honky Tonk Women - (Not Made Easy!) I will lick this song someday

Lesson here

hobinlobo

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Joined: 07/19/16

Posts: 47

Originally Posted by: manXcat

this would've fixed that - inexpensively.

I wouldn't disagree with this. I did quite like the feel of the guitar. So it is quite possible I could have changed the pick ups and been happy with it.

#16

Originally Posted by: manXcat

this would've fixed that - inexpensively.

I wouldn't disagree with this. I did quite like the feel of the guitar. So it is quite possible I could have changed the pick ups and been happy with it.

hobinlobo

Full Access

Joined: 07/19/16

Posts: 47

Originally Posted by: K-rad

What is becoming painfully clear is that to make a good purchase probably means going to a place and actually trying guitars out for fit, feel and sound. That'll prevent me from buying anythinng for a super long time.

There could be another alternative. Identify somewhere that has a good returns policy (and will allow you to return it even there is nothing wrong with it, and you've just changed your mind). Then identify a guitar you think you'll like, knowing you can return it if it turns out that it just isn't for you.

#17

Originally Posted by: K-rad

What is becoming painfully clear is that to make a good purchase probably means going to a place and actually trying guitars out for fit, feel and sound. That'll prevent me from buying anythinng for a super long time.

There could be another alternative. Identify somewhere that has a good returns policy (and will allow you to return it even there is nothing wrong with it, and you've just changed your mind). Then identify a guitar you think you'll like, knowing you can return it if it turns out that it just isn't for you.

K-rad

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Joined: 12/26/18

Posts: 14

Originally Posted by: hobinlobo

There could be another alternative. Identify somewhere that has a good returns policy (and will allow you to return it even there is nothing wrong with it, and you've just changed your mind). Then identify a guitar you think you'll like, knowing you can return it if it turns out that it just isn't for you.

lol! I am terrible about returning things. I feel too sheepish.

But based on this thread and some more research I think I have my eye on my first electric guitar. Hopefully, I can put aside enough cash between now and Christmas. And it’ll also give me time to change my mind 1000 more times

#18

Originally Posted by: hobinlobo

There could be another alternative. Identify somewhere that has a good returns policy (and will allow you to return it even there is nothing wrong with it, and you've just changed your mind). Then identify a guitar you think you'll like, knowing you can return it if it turns out that it just isn't for you.

lol! I am terrible about returning things. I feel too sheepish.

But based on this thread and some more research I think I have my eye on my first electric guitar. Hopefully, I can put aside enough cash between now and Christmas. And it’ll also give me time to change my mind 1000 more times

matonanjin2

Full Access

Joined: 08/11/17

Posts: 113

I know this thread is getting a little stale. But Sweetwater just posted this on their website. Anyone looking may find this helpful:

15 Best Guitars for Beginners 2019.

Even if one doesn't buy one of those guitars recommend the selection process and descriptions will probably serve you well. Of the 15 recommended I think 8 are electric.

#19

I know this thread is getting a little stale. But Sweetwater just posted this on their website. Anyone looking may find this helpful:

15 Best Guitars for Beginners 2019.

Even if one doesn't buy one of those guitars recommend the selection process and descriptions will probably serve you well. Of the 15 recommended I think 8 are electric.

ak7799

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Joined: 12/04/18

Posts: 12

Some very good answers in here about what to buy. I have a few suggestions to complement them. A lot of stores like guitar center and musician's friend have brand new guitars at discounts ( you can also call to get a discount on most good brands) . You can probably get a very nice squier the same price a used. Haven't had good selection and prices on amazon - you can call and ask for a discount for some. products. Google is your friend once you have chosen a model. You can also browse google express/shopping.

#20

Some very good answers in here about what to buy. I have a few suggestions to complement them. A lot of stores like guitar center and musician's friend have brand new guitars at discounts ( you can also call to get a discount on most good brands) . You can probably get a very nice squier the same price a used. Haven't had good selection and prices on amazon - you can call and ask for a discount for some. products. Google is your friend once you have chosen a model. You can also browse google express/shopping.