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Old 03-24-2013, 09:53 PM   #1
Skyyr
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Returning guitar player needs help selecting guitar

Hey guys,

I played guitar briefly in high school, where I took lessons for about two years. That was about 10 years ago. I'm wanting to get back into it.

I'm by no means an expert, so I've been doing lots of reading and research over the last week. I've also been picking the brains of a guy I work with, who's played guitar for the last 14 years. He suggested I start with a Gibson SG (he's a big Gibson fan). I trust his advice, so that's where I started with my search.

After looking at the models and reading about the different music styles, I found the Gibson SG Gothic Morte. I ran this by my friend, who was somewhat against the active pickups and the "metal" sound they produce. The more I thought about it, I pretty much have only really been interested in playing that style of music. I'm by no means a metal head, but all of the music I listen to it either hard rock on the verge of metal, metal, or symphonic metal.

That said, the Gibson SG Morte seems to be, overall, a very solid guitar with no real manufacturing shortcuts, good value, etc. I like the aesthetics as well, as they're somewhat neutral. I can get it semi-locally for about $800 new.

Is the Morte a solid guitar for my purposes? Are there any other models from different manufacturers that compare quality and performance-wise to it? I'm by no means sold on the Morte, it just seems that every other guitar I looked at had some sort of compromise (construction, price, quality, etc.) - the Morte just seemed solid all-around.

I briefly looked at ESP LTD's, BC Rich's, and Ibanez's, but they seemed to sort of be different flavors of the same. I'm really wanting a solid guitar to start out on without pegging myself into only one genre of music, although I will probably only use for a one.

I'm open to any suggestions and, again, I'm by no means set on the Morte - I'm just giving my background on what research I've done and how I arrived at where I'm at.

Any input?


Answers to the questions in the stickied thread:

My budget: No specific limit, though I'm big on bang for buck. I want a solid, semi-versatile guitar to learn on until I know exactly what I like. I can always build a custom guitar later as I learn how to play better.

Favorite artists: Nightwish, Within Temptation, Black Veil Brides, AC/DC, Rise Against

Preferences: I like clean, powerful lines and strong colors. I really like a blacked-out look. Body shape isn't as important as the entire "package" is. I do seem to prefer symmetry for the most part, but it's not an absolute requirement.

New or used: New, unless there's a used one that could pass for like-new.

Location: Nashville, TN area.

Current gear: None yet. Just getting back into this after a 10-year hiatus.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:52 PM   #2
hydraone
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Personally, I love SGs but hate active pickups. To my ear, they sound sterile and boring.

As far as I know, the artists you've listed used passive but high output pickups. Active won't sound right.

More important than pickups however is your amp. So I'd recommend looking into that a hit more. An amazing guitar through a shitbox amp isn't going to sound good.

A new SG Studio or SGJ will run you less than $1000. Look into some Seymour Ducan pickups if the stock Gibby ones don't do it for you.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:57 PM   #3
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In my experience, the only advice I've ever gotten about guitars that was worth a damn was either on an internet forum, or from a luthier. I'm not saying your friend doesn't know what he's talking about, but I've known so many guys that have been playing forever, and they rarely know more than all the BS they've been fed over the years. The fact that your friend swears that a Gibson is the best way to go suggests the he may be one of those guys. I think Gibson does make a lot of great guitars, but they are by no means the best options around. it all depends on the player's preference in the end.

SGs are known to be neck heavy. For me, that's a deal breaker. As far as everything else goes, they are pretty good. I don't know about those pickups though. I like Duncan Blackouts, which are actives, but I've never tried the Gibson actives. My guess would be that they were made to copy the EMG tone, which I personally do not like. But you might want to google that one.

There are loads of other guitars out there. If you just want a flat black guitar, and you don't mind the actives, you could probably find a used LTD EC-1000 in minty condition for pretty cheap. Or a Schecter Blackjack. I think the cost/quality ratio on used Korean Schecters and LTDs is great. Then you could spend more money on a good amp, which is a pretty good idea. Most people want to get a great guitar and then get by with a mediocre amp because they don't know any better, but that is simply not a good idea.

Last edited by W4RP1G : 03-24-2013 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:04 PM   #4
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Well, if you can play at all I'd just go to the guitar store, play a ton of guitars and amps and make some notes on what you liked and what didn't like. Don't even worry about the prices. Then I'd research the stuff you liked to see if there are huge problems that just demoing wouldn't reveal, etc. Then I'd go back with the stuff you liked in mind and focus on testing that stuff more thoroughly and take notes again.

The key point is that if you've been out for a while and you have a decent budget (which it seems you do have) please don't buy something on your first trip to the store. Take notes, research and then wait until at least the second trip to buy.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:22 AM   #5
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Bring a notepad and pen, visit all the stores you can, play everything, take notes, then decide. Everyone has different likes and dislikes. Just because someone you know loves a certain brand/model, doesn't mean you will enjoy them as well.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:31 AM   #6
Skyyr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydraone
As far as I know, the artists you've listed used passive but high output pickups. Active won't sound right.


Are you sure? I was almost positive most of them, Nightwish, BVB, Within Temptation, and Rise Against used active pickups. Not sure about AC/DC.


Any opinions on BC Rich Mockingbirds? What's the difference between the Special, ST, and Pro series? I also like the ESP LTD EC-1000's. How do those compare to the big picture, sound-wise?

Again, I'm wanting a solid very hard rock/metal guitar that I grow on and isn't faddish (meaning good, solid construction and sound that is versatile).
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Again, I'm wanting a solid very hard rock/metal guitar that I grow on and isn't faddish (meaning good, solid construction and sound that is versatile).


My brands of choice, given that sentence, would be:

Reverend (especially the models with the new Railhammer Chisel or Anvil pickups)
DBZ
Fernandes

I'm not saying they're the best. I'm saying they produce good guitars for the style that are NOT faddish, and at fairly reasonable prices.

Popular brands that make good heavy rock/metal machines include ESP, LTD, Ibanez, Dean, Shechter, BC Rich and others, but they can be a bit overexposed.

Then there are brands like Godin who have a couple of guitars in their line that certainly fit the bill- the Redline HB, the (discontinued) Velocity- but really aren't known for it.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:50 PM   #8
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Think about amps, too. Your amp can make or break your sound. Don't make the mistake I did and buy the Line 6 Spider that the guy at Guitar Center pushed on me (I also had not played in a decade or so).
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:33 PM   #9
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:44 AM   #10
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I'm an Ibanez guy myself and after doing a quick ebay search, you can get Ibanez RG550's or RG770's a dime a dozen, well, more like $500-$700 all day long. They definitely have earned their place in the metal, rock, and shred realm. They're very versatile guitars that can play many other genres as well.

Schecter and ESP (LTD) both build great instruments. The Schecter C1 and Hellraiser are both great options and can be had for around $450-$550. You can nab most LTD 1000 Deluxe Series guitars for around $600-$800 all day long as well.

That being said, if you play a $5,000 ESP custom through a $100 amp, clearly the amp is going to be the chokepoint to your tone (and fun). If you can shell out $600 or so on a guitar and spend another $300+ or so on a decent used amp, you should be pretty satisfied with your rig for a long enough time to decide how serious you are about playing guitar.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:55 PM   #11
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I've been playing this custom build from a company in Austin (https://monikerguitars.com/guitar-configurator/), and after throwing in some Seymour Duncans it's basically a great quality custom guitar for the price tag (paid around $950 including the SDs). I tried playing around with guitars of the same price range in local shops but I couldn't get the right tone... maybe I shouldn't have compared them to the $5,000 guitars in the shop
So definitely save some room in your wallet to improve your pickups if you end up getting something like a Gibson SG. My friend put some Phat Cat P-90s in his and it melts faces.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MESAexplorer
I'm an Ibanez guy myself and after doing a quick ebay search, you can get Ibanez RG550's or RG770's a dime a dozen, well, more like $500-$700 all day long. They definitely have earned their place in the metal, rock, and shred realm. They're very versatile guitars that can play many other genres as well.

Schecter and ESP (LTD) both build great instruments. The Schecter C1 and Hellraiser are both great options and can be had for around $450-$550. You can nab most LTD 1000 Deluxe Series guitars for around $600-$800 all day long as well.

That being said, if you play a $5,000 ESP custom through a $100 amp, clearly the amp is going to be the chokepoint to your tone (and fun). If you can shell out $600 or so on a guitar and spend another $300+ or so on a decent used amp, you should be pretty satisfied with your rig for a long enough time to decide how serious you are about playing guitar.



+1 on the RG550/RG770

i got my 550 for 200 bucks, had about 200 dollars worth of restoration done, now it plays like a dream

and i just love the rg body shape in general, so comfortable
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:33 AM   #13
Skyyr
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Thanks for all of the feedback, guys.

I did a bit more research and now I'm leaning towards a Les Paul studio, especially after finding out that Rise Against uses them (I love their sound). I never associated a Les Paul with punk / metalcore.

For those unfamiliar with Rise Against:

Any thoughts?
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