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Old 07-30-2014, 04:43 PM   #1
JGM258
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Two weeks into my first high end guitar and I'm kinda "meh." Help and thoughts?

So 16 days ago my ESP Horizon III FR arrived and I've put probably 30 hours into the guitar. It seems to be a great instrument but I'm not loving it or really all that thrilled with it. I'm kind concerned about this because I think with the kind of money this instrument is worth I should be completely happy. It's set up great, stays in tune well, and plays nicely. Pickups are ok, not fantastic, same thing with the sound overall (Krank Chadwick 2x12 combo, no pedals/effects). Nothing seems to be wrong with the axe, but nothing seems to shine about it either (except the fretboard is smooootthhh as polished glass).

I'm concerned about overall value too, I could get a Ibby Jem7 Steve Vai signature used for a straight up trade(3k new, $1500-1600 used all day long), Gibby LP standard, the list goes on. Just this alone can make me have a hard time sleeping.

I'm pretty conflicted, what would you do/what do you think I should do? I'm pretty sure I'm going to trade it in for that Ibanez or maybe a used USA Gibson/Jackson. I just need a guitar I will love to death and plays like a dream, not that easy to do but I'm willing to work for it.

So thoughts? Thanks!
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:52 PM   #2
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If you have such strong opinions about your guitars, the best thing to do is to try them out first. That's the only way to make sure that you'll love the instrument Just today I tried out an LP studio, and I don't even like Les Pauls that much, but the guitar was so beautiful and just so lovely that I really wanted to take it home, which of course didn't happen on my budget. I probably didn't help you at all just remember that even the cheapest guitars might be the ones you'll love, you just have to try them.
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGM258
So 16 days ago my ESP Horizon III FR arrived and I've put probably 30 hours into the guitar. It seems to be a great instrument but I'm not loving it or really all that thrilled with it. I'm kind concerned about this because I think with the kind of money this instrument is worth I should be completely happy. It's set up great, stays in tune well, and plays nicely. Pickups are ok, not fantastic, same thing with the sound overall (Krank Chadwick 2x12 combo, no pedals/effects). Nothing seems to be wrong with the axe, but nothing seems to shine about it either (except the fretboard is smooootthhh as polished glass).

I'm concerned about overall value too, I could get a Ibby Jem7 Steve Vai signature used for a straight up trade(3k new, $1500-1600 used all day long), Gibby LP standard, the list goes on. Just this alone can make me have a hard time sleeping.

I'm pretty conflicted, what would you do/what do you think I should do? I'm pretty sure I'm going to trade it in for that Ibanez or maybe a used USA Gibson/Jackson. I just need a guitar I will love to death and plays like a dream, not that easy to do but I'm willing to work for it.

So thoughts? Thanks!

Next time, make sure to spend a lot of time auditioning your gear ... lessons learned etc.

To find the one you'll love to death may be a little challenging. Auditioning the gear thoroughly will help you get the gear you'll love/like a lot.
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:53 PM   #4
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Whatever you do, I would not order your next guitar blind. It takes a long time and it is often more expensive but I'd still suggest buying in person from a store. It's just so hard to be picky over the internet, the specs and finish can be perfect but none of that matters if it doesn't make you excited in person.

Can you return it to the store you bought it from? Some places have a 30 day return policy.

Either way, I would get something else. A guitar that expensive should make you really excited to play, and if it doesn't there are plenty more that might, as you said. No sense in sticking with a guitar that you don't really love.
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc8995
Whatever you do, I would not order your next guitar blind. It takes a long time and it is often more expensive but I'd still suggest buying in person from a store. It's just so hard to be picky over the internet, the specs and finish can be perfect but none of that matters if it doesn't make you excited in person.

Can you return it to the store you bought it from? Some places have a 30 day return policy.

Either way, I would get something else. A guitar that expensive should make you really excited to play, and if it doesn't there are plenty more that might, as you said. No sense in sticking with a guitar that you don't really love.


Thanks for the insight so far guys

I got it from GC and have two weeks to exchange it, I think I will now.
Its hard to find FR guitars in my budget though, there arent many options and almost no stores stock high end FR guitars, I could live without it but would really prefer to have it. If I find something that speaks to meI'll pull the trigger, but if I dont, I may go the Carvin route, or just wait and see, which I really hate doing.

Last edited by JGM258 : 07-30-2014 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:13 PM   #6
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Take notes, try to analyze what exactly you don't like about it. Every new guitar you play serves to help you discover what exactly works for you in a guitar.

It can be a very long journey, though fun and informative.

This is why buying used is so great, so you don't suffer any financial loss buying and selling gear you're not 100% about.

A guitar being objectively great has no bearing on you liking it. The Horizon III has an odd elongated shape, a significant carved top, an unusually round radius for a superstrat, less common, more traditional minded woods and pickups - any of these can be contributors to you not liking the guitar.

A Jem like you mentioned is extremely different feeling. Very balanced shape, flat top, very flat radius, of course different weight distribution and cutaways, which make huge differences in feel.

You get the point.
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:04 PM   #7
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Ive played horizons in the past and loved them but couldn't bring myself to pay the asking price for one. Im more than happy playing the MH1000 series or my 400.

Played some other "high end" guitars too, loved them, but like yours there's been something i couldn't put my finger on.

I do believe there is a "high end" guitar out there for everyone, just gotta keep looking for it till you find "the one."
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:39 PM   #8
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I went through the same thing as you, I can't believe I'm saying this but, good thing we bought our guitars from gc. I started with a MP Fender thinline tele, after a couple weeks I was meh just like you. Traded it in with a lil more cash and got an Epi ES339. After a couple weeks with that I was meh yet again. Finally(?), I got a Fender Mustang that I absolutely love and can't wait to get home to. Its not going back.

Take it back!
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGM258
So 16 days ago my ESP Horizon III FR arrived and I've put probably 30 hours into the guitar. It seems to be a great instrument but I'm not loving it or really all that thrilled with it.


I think you need to identify what it is that you want out of a guitar. I've got some very high end (well, $6K+, if you call that high end) and vintage guitars, and I've got some fairly cheap guitars (under $200, but with a PLEK job) and a lot in between. Honestly, I've found some gems at both ends, and I've discovered that cost definitely doesn't identify "better" when it comes to guitars. Prettier, maybe...

I bought an over $4K Gibson Axcess Custom and put over $1500 worth of modifications into it. I put the same modifications into an Agile that cost about a quarter of that, and it turned out that the Agile is getting more playing time. I didn't have high hopes for a Variax JTV-89F (I'd really wanted a JTV-59 with a Floyd), but it turned out to be spectacularly good. I've got a gorgeous late '70's Gibson L5S that's being sold for around $6K.

I'm pretty convinced that a guitar is what you make it. I've had guitars that didn't impress me all that much at first that have become like comfortable jeans, and others that were simply spectacular that mostly sit in their cases.
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:22 PM   #10
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Trying before buying is never a bad idea. I do have to add though, I bought two guitars without ever playing them - a PRS Mccarty and ESP Horizon. Both were 2nd hand but for the price it really was a no-brainer. The PRS was love at first feel, the ESP more like a mail order Russian bride which I grew into loving. Two very different guitars yet both get equal amounts of love. I'd say sit and play/feel the guitar and listen so that you can find out why it's not working. Maybe if you talk things out with your woman you can sort it out.

Both guitars are coil - splitting so versatility is there. Keep in mind with the Ibby Jem; it plays and sounds great but is very specific what amps it likes and how it sounds. All the best.
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGM258
Thanks for the insight so far guys

I got it from GC and have two weeks to exchange it, I think I will now.
Its hard to find FR guitars in my budget though, there arent many options and almost no stores stock high end FR guitars, I could live without it but would really prefer to have it. If I find something that speaks to meI'll pull the trigger, but if I dont, I may go the Carvin route, or just wait and see, which I really hate doing.


I priced out a Carvin built to my specifications. I came out to just over 1800 USD. Alas it was beyond my budget. It sounds like you have a budget to get a really nice Carvin complete with a real FR.

For what it's worth Tony MacAlpine played Carvin's for years. So that's a pretty good indication that they're high quality...
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:35 PM   #12
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Don't buy a guitar without playing it first. Simple as that. Blows my mind that online stores are so popular. I would never purchase a guitar, even a cheap one, without holding the exact one that I'll be buying, in a store, and playing it. Every single guitar is unique, even two guitars that are the exact same model, same specs, from the same brand. It's the nature of wood.
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by JGM258
Thanks for the insight so far guys

I got it from GC and have two weeks to exchange it, I think I will now.
Its hard to find FR guitars in my budget though, there arent many options and almost no stores stock high end FR guitars,


Look at some higher end Schecters. The Blackjacks, Blackjack SLS, Hellraiser, and Banshee lines all come with real Floyds, and are most definitely in your budget, considering that they're cheaper than what you already bought, or just about anything else mentioned in this thread so far. Hell, at your budget, you might even be able to get one of their USA-Made guitars.
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:42 PM   #14
JGM258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowthewitch
I priced out a Carvin built to my specifications. I came out to just over 1800 USD. Alas it was beyond my budget. It sounds like you have a budget to get a really nice Carvin complete with a real FR.

For what it's worth Tony MacAlpine played Carvin's for years. So that's a pretty good indication that they're high quality...


I would LOVE a Carvin, (superstrat, FR, Blue flame since they don't have any good blue quilts, binding, maple fretboard mmmmm.) but then there is the whole try before you by thing... Not to mention I have $250 store credit and a 20% off coupon at GC, if it weren't for that I would get one.

I'm still open to all options, if I don't find something I love when I go to GC, I may just have to wait a month or two and get a Carvin. I'll be sure to try everything in my budget though.

Thanks again guys!

Last edited by JGM258 : 07-30-2014 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:22 PM   #15
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You must have likes the looks of the guitar, or you wouldn't have ordered in the first place. I would try some different pickups, because I've found that modding helps me bond with an guitar. The ones it has are a SD JB, and a SD Jazz, a common combination. I didn't like the JB in standard series wiring, and while I do like the Jazz, it might sound a bit clinical to some. You might get some suggestions on alternatives if you indicate the genres of interest.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:34 PM   #16
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Just trade it. Some guitars just never feel like home and nothing will change that. I got a LP Studio once and it felt kinda weird but I thought getting it personally set up would fix it. No dice, not my axe so out it goes. I really wanted to love that guitar as it had a great sunburst finish that was pretty rare on LP Studios but we never mated.
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:04 AM   #17
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Like dspellman, I have guitars that vary greatly in price. As has been pointed out, more expensive doesn't translate directly into "feels ,better/works for you." One of the cheapest guitars I own feels great and holds tune like a mofo- it just needs better pickups.

As for buying online...

I do it because I can get things that way I can't get otherwise. Or sometimes at a better price. But I always make sure I buy from sellers with good return polices.
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Old 07-31-2014, 01:10 AM   #18
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Yeah i was also disappointed with my ESP Horizon, I always thought of them as the "other" ibanez but for me it wasn't the case. I bought it without playing it, and the quality was not up to scratch for the price. Also just didnt like it, sticky neck, neck heavy etc. But then i bought my guitars from ibanezrules, with the platinum setup where as the ESP was out the box but still, not my cup of tea, to each his own. One of my fav guitars is a 15 y/o chinese $50 strat copy that i did up myslef.

Its frustrating how you cant really play a guitar before buying it (at least in AUS) because the one you play will be the display model thats all messed up.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc8995
Whatever you do, I would not order your next guitar blind. It takes a long time and it is often more expensive but I'd still suggest buying in person from a store. It's just so hard to be picky over the internet, the specs and finish can be perfect but none of that matters if it doesn't make you excited in person.

Can you return it to the store you bought it from? Some places have a 30 day return policy.

Either way, I would get something else. A guitar that expensive should make you really excited to play, and if it doesn't there are plenty more that might, as you said. No sense in sticking with a guitar that you don't really love.


agreed. i'm normally the person who's in favour of buying online, but if you're tried it and ended up with something you don't like, it's time to change your strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Offworld92
(a) Take notes, try to analyze what exactly you don't like about it. Every new guitar you play serves to help you discover what exactly works for you in a guitar.

(b) A guitar being objectively great has no bearing on you liking it.


(a) Agreed.

(b) Well, it does a bit, I mean no-one's going to like a guitar that's objectively terrible

But I know what you mean and I agree- it doesn't trump personal preference. Like if a michellin-starred chef made me a dish with an ingredient I hated, I'd still hate it.
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Old 07-31-2014, 05:17 PM   #20
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Just because it's really expensive doesn't always mean you'll love it. I had an ESP Eclipse that was a great guitar, but it didn't really bond with me. I've never found a PRS that bonded with me either, and I went out a few times intent on buying one.

Just keep looking, there's a million guitars out there and you'll find one.
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