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Old Yesterday, 02:36 AM   #1
jkim4007
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should i upgrade my guitar or my amp?

I have an Epiphone G-400 and a Line 6 Spider IV 15W. I haven't played electric guitar in quite a bit (been trying to get better at acoustic) and want to get back into it. Thing is, this combination sounds bad. The cleans are muddy, and the crunch sound is straight up bad. I'm considering upgrading, any advice on which component should I upgrade?

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Old Yesterday, 02:58 AM   #2
Tony Done
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Just looking at pics of the G-400, I would say different pickups, uncovered vintage style to get rid of the mud, and a better amp for crunch.

EDIT - you could just try taking the covers off the current pickups before investing in new ones.
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Old Yesterday, 03:17 AM   #3
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Better amp will make a bigger difference in my opinion. What's the budget?
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Old Yesterday, 04:27 AM   #4
jkim4007
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budget would be around $800-900 max. if i upgrade the amp, i'm probably gonna take the guitar to a GC somewhere and get it set up properly.

edit: also i don't think i'll be playing shows in the foreseeable future, so everything is just for home use

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Old Yesterday, 07:05 AM   #5
Powersurge213
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What kind of stuff do you play? Do you have any pedals/want any pedals?

I would definitely say get a new amp, and with that budget you could get a pretty decent bedroom set up, so then it's the question of what would work best for what you want to play?
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Old Yesterday, 07:29 AM   #6
TheLiberation
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I think a new amp + pickup switch (although I haven't tried the pickups on this guitar, but I'm guessing stock pickups in this price range won't be jaw-dropping) could give you a huge improvement with this budget, and is probably the best option assuming you like the guitar overall. There's indeed just the question of what do you play.
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Old Yesterday, 08:43 AM   #7
Robbgnarly
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I have a G-400 and stock it is OK, your amp is the biggest culprit. You could get a used Peavey vypyr tube 60. Here is one and the Sanpera II foot controller for $250
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Peavey-...456-i4225571.gc
This should cover any music style you want and can be 100% gig able also. It also sounds very good.

Then I'd throw a new bridge pickup in the G-400, I have a Seymour Duncan SH-4 in mine and it sounds great. You can then either save the rest of your money or get a new guitar and have 2 solid guitars and a solid amp.
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Old Yesterday, 08:44 AM   #8
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Amp-wise, what you want for noodling around the house is not what you'd want for jamming. Generally speaking, it's better to upgrade the amp first. Mediocre guitars can sound good through a good amp. Good guitars can sound mediocre through a mediocre amp. Save your money until you're ready to jam with some peeps and then decide. Your current amp should easily be able to produce some clean tones. If you get a new amp and the issue is with how your guitar is setup, then the issue will remain.

Two other things to consider: How old are the strings? Old strings can severely affect the tone. When was the last time the guitar was setup? If the pickups are too close to the strings, it can cause muddiness. Too far, and it can produce a tinny sound. You can take it to a shop, and it will run you $40-50. Or you can spend $25 on some tools, learn to do it yourself, and be able to setup your guitars for the rest of your life. I've been doing my own setups for more than 25 years. When I first learned, it was a little intimidating. I was questioning everything I did and was scared that I was going to ruin something. When I finished, I was amazed at the difference. First time took me 1 1/2 hours to do. Now, they take me about 10 minutes. That's a good thing, as I have 7 basses and 4 guitars. I do setups twice a year, April and October, after the weather changes. Your owners manual has the steps, but not in the right order. Tune, truss rod, action, intonation, pickup height is the proper order. Adjusting the truss rod and action affects intonation, so you want to do intonation after those two. I've found it better to use the open string for intonation than the 12th harmonic. The reason being that if the intonation is off, the harmonic could be off as well. I also re-tune between every step. You will need: tuner, screwdrivers, a capo, and a finite measuring tool. I use a digital caliper that I bought on Amazon for $8. TIP: If you have to tighten the truss rod, loosen the strings some first, so you aren't fighting their tension.

If your strings are old, change them and follow up with a setup. If they're not old, still do a setup. I'm willing to bet that the difference is night and day. If you need help with it, just ask. Good luck!
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Old Yesterday, 08:52 AM   #9
Bhaok
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Amp. Overall it will have the greatest impact on tone then fidgeting with little knick knacks on a guitar.
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Old Yesterday, 09:17 AM   #10
monwobobbo
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amp for sure. the G400 is a solid guitar so getting a new one can definitely wait. i'd look at the tube vypyr or perhaps a used Peavey Valveking.
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Old Yesterday, 10:25 AM   #11
Random3
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I would say if you are happy with the feel of the guitar then change the amp. I agree with the guys that suggested a Vypyr, it is pretty similar to the Spider but better in basically every way.

I would also caution against a pickup upgrade in a guitar like that. Pickups are not going to have as much impact as the amp, and generally speaking with modellers like the Vypyr and Spider pickup changes aren't as noticeable anyway. Plus the amount you would need to spend to get a reasonable upgrade would probably not be worth it on a 250 instrument.

The most important factor I would say though is what the guitar FEELS like. If you aren't sure about the feel of the guitar then I would consider changing it, otherwise I suggest changing the amp.
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Old Yesterday, 10:44 AM   #12
TheLiberation
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Yep, I definitely agree that amp is #1 priority. It's just that, as I said I don't know how good the stock pickups in this guitar are, but if the OP likes the guitar but it turns out the pickups still seem to sound not too great even through a better amp, it might be a good idea to change the pickups as well, it's definitely within his budget to get a nice set of Seymour Duncans or DiMarzio's for example.

But still, best to try with a better amp first and see how that sounds. Maybe it will be just fine with the pickups as they are.
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Old Yesterday, 10:55 AM   #13
Random3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLiberation
it might be a good idea to change the pickups as well, it's definitely within his budget to get a nice set of Seymour Duncans or DiMarzio's for example.


This I disagree with, a nice set of Duncans or DiMarzios would cost somewhere around $250, given that the guitar is worth $400 it would make more sense to sell the guitar and upgrade the whole thing. Otherwise you end up with a low-midrange instrument with high end pickups, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. This is even more relevent because through a modeller, upgrading the pickups will have less of an impact on tone than it would be worth.
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Old Yesterday, 11:09 AM   #14
monwobobbo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random3
This I disagree with, a nice set of Duncans or DiMarzios would cost somewhere around $250, given that the guitar is worth $400 it would make more sense to sell the guitar and upgrade the whole thing. Otherwise you end up with a low-midrange instrument with high end pickups, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. This is even more relevent because through a modeller, upgrading the pickups will have less of an impact on tone than it would be worth.


dude where do you live? you can get either brand for $75 - 80 bucks @ and be just fine. ever play in a bar that kinda on the seedy side? bringing your $1500 Gibson SG standard may make way less sense than throwing decent pickups in your G400 and doing the gig with that. if you sell your epi you can always take the pups out and put the originas back in. you really aren't taking a loss thre.

agree that new pups going into a modeller (until you get to the high end ones) proably will be a waste as they really don't see subtle nuances all that well.
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Old Yesterday, 11:34 AM   #15
anders.jorgense
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Would you should do is take your guitar to a music store and try amps to begin with.

Then it is a matter of upgrading the pickups and do another amp testing round.

Fresh strings is essential to sound in my opinion so make sure you got that installed before going anywhere.
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Old Yesterday, 11:45 AM   #16
dthmtl3
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With $900 I would get a new amp and a new guitar.
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Old Yesterday, 11:50 AM   #17
Robbgnarly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random3
This I disagree with, a nice set of Duncans or DiMarzios would cost somewhere around $250, given that the guitar is worth $400 it would make more sense to sell the guitar and upgrade the whole thing. Otherwise you end up with a low-midrange instrument with high end pickups, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. This is even more relevent because through a modeller, upgrading the pickups will have less of an impact on tone than it would be worth.


You really have no idea, $72 for a bridge pickup Duncan or Dimarzio, there are some brands that cost $30ish like GFS and they are pretty good.
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Old Yesterday, 12:00 PM   #18
Random3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbgnarly
You really have no idea, $72 for a bridge pickup Duncan or Dimarzio, there are some brands that cost $30ish like GFS and they are pretty good.


I have four different DiMarzios, each cost about 75. 75x2=150. 150 in $ is about $230.

If that isn't the current price in the U.S. then I retract my comment, although I still advise against swapping out pups with a modeller.

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Old Yesterday, 12:12 PM   #19
Robbgnarly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random3
I have four different DiMarzios, each cost about 75. 75x2=150. 150 in $ is about $230.

If that isn't the current price in the U.S. then I retract my comment, although I still advise against swapping out pups with a modeller.

Yeah here it is $72USD which is ~48GBP

You can get the Duncan Hot rod set for $125 and that is for the SH-4 and SH2n set

Besides, I have a G400 that I paid $299 new for and I threw a $72 Duncan SH-4 in the bridge. It was originally just as a back-up, but I liked it so much it was my main guitar in my prog-rock/metal band and I have some really nice, much more expensive guitars. But having a cheap, well playing, great sounding guitar is not a bad thing at all
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Old Yesterday, 12:25 PM   #20
monwobobbo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random3
I have four different DiMarzios, each cost about 75. 75x2=150. 150 in $ is about $230.

If that isn't the current price in the U.S. then I retract my comment, although I still advise against swapping out pups with a modeller.


which ones though? sure some DiMarzios are more expensive and may well not be worth putting in a cheaper guitar. obviously american pups are more expensive in the UK. we pay a fortune for Bare Knuckles over here .

the other thing though is that just because a guitar is inexpensive doesn't mean it's crap overall. often the biggest difference between two models is the qualty of the electronics and perhaps tuners. i don't have an Epi SG but rather a Vintage, got it used for $150. i have no problem with the idea of putting better pickups in it (and will when i have the spare cash). the guitar plays great and looks sharp to boot.
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