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Old 12-17-2012, 11:09 PM   #1
Enyidah
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What makes an "Intermediate" Guitar?

I was thinking $400 would get me a solid "Intermediate" guitar, but some reviews I've read on mine classify it as a beginners. I thought I upgraded enough from my cheap Ibanez Gio.
This also segues into another question, to what extend would quality pick ups improve my guitar, as in, would it bring it up to an "intermediate" level guitar?

I bought a (brand new) $400 Schecter Omen extreme 6
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:14 PM   #2
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I don't think a guitar goes up a level by upgrading it. It has to do with what it's built as.
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:20 PM   #3
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i think the different categories of beginner, intermediate, etc all boils down to what you can afford. To be sure the higher up the monetary food chain you go generally the nicer the guitar but more often than not the gear is better than the player (often times even at the entry level). i usually classify Intermediate at the $700 range with upper level starting around $1500 but again these are very blurry lines. Sometimes a $300 guitar smokes and will be one of the best players out there. I would say that play what you can afford and play the living hell out of it.

Chasing a sound and modding your guitar is nice but i don't usually consider it an upgrade in level. When ever i buy used guitars (i kinda buy and sell a lot keeping only the ones i love in the stable) i look for bone stock. Modding will for the most part degrade the value of a guitar. I usually suggest that if you are looking for a higher grade guitar save the money that you would put toward mods and buy a more expensive guitar in the future. But again, this is ONLY my opinion... everyone you talk to will have much different takes on the matter.
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:33 PM   #4
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Oh okay, makes sense. I feel like I'm wasting money but I will adopt your advice of playing the crap out of a cheaper guitar, in this case my $400 one, and be happy with what I've got. There will always be something better. Anything is an upgrade from my Ibanez gio grx 20.

As for the pickups, say in a year or two, would you personally bother upgrading them?
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:33 PM   #5
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There isn't really such a thing, it's purely subjective.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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beginner / intermediate / high end ... it doesn't matter. Your budget is your level.

Go to a guitar store with a budget in mind. Then play EVERY guitarthat catches your eye, in your budget range + 15% over (negotiate it down later). Ignore the name on the headstock. Go by feel and sound.

It takes time... but you will find a guitar that speaks to you.
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:14 PM   #7
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Under $1000 - beginner
$1000-$2000 - intermediate
over $2000 - advanced.

(Over $3000 - you're probably into serious jazz)
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:15 PM   #8
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Give an advanced guitarist a beginners guitar and they will play like an advanced guitarist.
Give a beginner guitarist an advanced guitar and they will play like a beginner guitarist.

For example the guitar Jeff Loomis plays costs $999.99. Going by phank's list Jeff plays a beginners guitar but he sure doesn't sound like a beginner.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:27 PM   #9
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Anything above $300 new in price= who knows? Once you get out of the absolute bottom end, it seems like there's a lot of variation. Some guitarists play cheaper instruments because the one they have is particularly good, or it has a tone they can't replicate with a different guitar.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T00DEEPBLUE
There isn't really such a thing, it's purely subjective.


i wouldn't say it's purely subjective. hardware, quality of the wood, electronics, etc. etc. are all pretty objective. whether you like the guitar is another thing, but something like a suhr is clearly a pro level guitar whereas (to me, anyway) something like a schecter is clearly intermediate level.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phank
Under $1000 - beginner
$1000-$2000 - intermediate
over $2000 - advanced.

(Over $3000 - you're probably into serious jazz)


I've been playing guitar for over a decade and have never had to drop a grand on a guitar.
I'm pretty sure I'm not categorized as a beginner

It is definitely a subjective thing.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
i wouldn't say it's purely subjective. hardware, quality of the wood, electronics, etc. etc. are all pretty objective. whether you like the guitar is another thing, but something like a suhr is clearly a pro level guitar whereas (to me, anyway) something like a schecter is clearly intermediate level.


eh... i dunno dave it is pretty subjective and more about what works for you. for instance jimmy page used a danelectro for some zep songs. that was a cheapie guitar back in the day and yet jimmy certainly got "pro" results. by the same token a $1000 Les Paul is kinda low end for a Gibson. it really can't be quantified just by $ alone. youca get som "high end" guitars that in theory have good wood, hardware etc that still are crap and cheaper guitarsthat are stellar.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:08 PM   #13
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Some people may like Plywood more than alder. If you present a guitar made out of plywood and another made of alder they could sneer at the alder and cuddle the plywood, proclaiming it the king.

While there is a common consensus about quality, it is still a subjective consensus.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monwobobbo
eh... i dunno dave it is pretty subjective and more about what works for you. for instance jimmy page used a danelectro for some zep songs. that was a cheapie guitar back in the day and yet jimmy certainly got "pro" results. by the same token a $1000 Les Paul is kinda low end for a Gibson. it really can't be quantified just by $ alone. youca get som "high end" guitars that in theory have good wood, hardware etc that still are crap and cheaper guitarsthat are stellar.


i dunno. I know what you mean, but at the same time i sorta disagree.

I mean... looking at guitars with floyds, for example, since that's what i know. the cheapo no-name floyds are the beginner instruments, the ones with floyd rose specials and frt-x000s are intermediate, and the pro guitars have the schaller-made OFRs. There's probably a little overlap in there and the odd exception, but more often than not that's pretty much the way it goes. Name me a guitar with a schaller-made OFR on it and I can almost guarantee* it'll be what most people consider a pro level guitar.

Same thing goes for vintage style trems, or other hardware. the name-brand, precision engineered and hardened stuff is normally on the pro level instruments.

it's more a mixed bag when you look at pickups, though that's quite a modern thing too- when i started out playing (which wasn't that long ago, like 12 years or something like that) almost all guitars with name-brand pickups were pro level. Plus even with the pickups, if you broaden your criteria out to include the electronics, the intermediate level guitars with the name brand pickups nearly always use mediocre electronics (pots, switches, caps and the like) whereas the pro level stuff also uses good quality electronics.

Again, looking at the wood. alder is found on most things, but again most guitars with south american mahogany or swamp ash, or solid figured maple tops (not veneers) will be pro level.


Now... you can argue till the cows come home if any of those things make it a better guitar, but there's definitely correlation.
















* this is not a guarantee.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:26 PM   #15
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The whole thing comes down to perception. As an example: you could have a Gibson Les Paul Studio, a perfectly respectable guitar, alongside a guitar built to the same specs (perhaps built in China) and the Les Paul would be perceived as a "higher quality" thus more for "advanced" players brand because of the history. The Chinese guitar, built by whomever, may not have the company history but have the same specs, and be viewed as a "beginner" guitar because it wasn't produced in the Gibson factory. I would say that some cheap, no name brands, play as well as better known brands. The better known brands may be quality, but that quality comes with a price tag, usually higher than the no name brand.

Again, this is a subjective discussion. As a personal "for instance", I have an Epiphone 339 Pro that I think "feels" better and sounds better to me than semi-hollows that cost twice as much, so I feel my Epiphone is an intermediate guitar. Someone else may see it as a beginners guitar, we could argue our views and neither one of us is going to concede the others point. Pure subjectivity.

Last edited by SteveHOC : 12-18-2012 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
i wouldn't say it's purely subjective. hardware, quality of the wood, electronics, etc. etc. are all pretty objective. whether you like the guitar is another thing, but something like a suhr is clearly a pro level guitar whereas (to me, anyway) something like a schecter is clearly intermediate level.

I don't think there should be such clear cut definition of beginner/intermediate/pro. The aspects that make a guitar great really depends far too much on the player, making the area too gray and subjective for such 'categories' to really exist.

You could consider a certain computer, for example, to be a 'pro' computer because it's capabilities can be accurately measured against other computers, but you can't do that at all with guitars, that's why i don't think it should exist.

You could argue that the flame on a guitar's top is a more heavily figured flame, but i personally don't like overly-flamed tops; They just look gaudy, kinda like a tie that's got diamonds encrusted all over it. But that's my personal preference. To try to give defined sanctions between guitars implies how much you will enjoy the guitar, and sometimes that's not always true. It might be true with computers, but it isn't necessarily true with guitars.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:50 PM   #17
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There's a point where there's really no set "intermediate" or "pro" it's just how much of a quality instrument you want, and what you can do with it.

I'm sure there are or have been professionals playing with $400 guitars, just like I'm sure there's beginner and intermediate bedroom players playing on a $2000+ guitar.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
What makes an "Intermediate" Guitar?



The person playing it...
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:59 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DancesWithSheep
The person playing it...


this
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:49 AM   #20
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Ok guys. Take the player out of the equation.

Theres a pricing heirarchy that usually points to the level of quality/craftsmanship on a guitar.

What Phank wrote is pretty close when you JUST consider the instrument.

Originally Posted by phank
Under $1000 - beginner
$1000-$2000 - intermediate
over $2000 - advanced.
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