Firehawk2410
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
508 IQ
#1
So I started out with a Squier Stratocaster that came in a bundle with an amp for $200.00 USD, and the guitar pretty much sounds like crap and the amp doesn't work anymore. About a year after that I bought an Epiphone Les Paul 100 for $300. I first used my guitars for taking guitar classes in school and practice but I play them a lot more now, and I notice the tone quality just isn't that great, and because I'm devoting more time to playing them I'm looking to upgrade. I've bought a new amp and an effects pedal and realized the guitar still doesn't sound that good.. I need some advice as to what would be a great new guitar for me, if any.
I'm kind of at a crossroads as to if I should buy a real Fender Strat, a real Gibson Les Paul, a different model or brand entirely, or if I should just invest in new pickups. The problem I see with new pickups is that I'm putting them in a "low-end, not-Gibson Les Paul" and that just doesn't seem right. However, that would be cheaper than buying "a real guitar." I really like the Les Paul because my two favorite guitarists use it a lot, and their guitars have always sounded great live even though they don't use any effects. I'm kind of hesitant to go outside of the old-school standby guitars just because I get the impression that everything else outside of that is meant for hardcore metal players.
What should I do?
Firehawk2410
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
508 IQ
#3
Quote by JAHellraiser
What amp are you using? The only mention of that, that I see is the broken one that your first guitar came with..

also, who are your two favorite guitarists that you mentioned?

Sorry, I took that out by accident. I have a newer Line 6 Spider IV 30 amp that I use most of the time with a Digitech RP255 pedal.

My two favorite guitarists are Ace Frehley (KISS) and Joe Perry (Aerosmith), but Eddie Van Halen is a close third. The only problem is that Eddie uses his Frankenstrat and his own models of guitars and amps which are ungodly expensive, so I usually don't go off his inventory. Another reason I like Les Pauls is because of Slash, also.
Huge Guy
My muscles sure are mean!
Join date: Sep 2012
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#4
How much do you want to spend? You could go with a higher end Epi LP like a Studio or Standard.
dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
3,265 IQ
#5
1) I bet a lot of people here will suggest you use some of your budget on a better- read tube- amp of some kind. (I don't know your amp, but I see a lot of dislike for Line6 Spiders around here.)

2) what kind of budget do you have?

3) where are you?

4) are you willing to buy used?

As to the rest...there are loads of guitar makers out there, some aimed at metal almost exclusively, but most are aiming at the whole market. And some of them offer more bang for the buck than do the big name companies.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Nov 4, 2012,
samuraigoomba
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2012
491 IQ
#6
http://www.rondomusic.com/

Since you like the classic rock tones, here's a company that makes a lot of Fender/Gibson copies for cheap. I hear a lot of good things about the 3000 series Agiles. They're LP copies with a lot of really nice features (ebony fretboard, grover tuners) in a somewhat inexpensive guitar.

You can also get a lot of good deals shopping used. A lot of MIJ fender and gibson copies from the '80s sell online for pretty cheap prices. I'm looking at some myself.
Firehawk2410
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
508 IQ
#7
Quote by dannyalcatraz
1) I bet a lot of people here will suggest you use some of your budget on a better- read tube- amp of some kind. (I don't know your amp, but I see a lot of dislike for Line6 Spiders around here.)

2) what kind of budget do you have?

3) where are you?

4) are you willing to buy used?

As to the rest...there are loads of guitar makers out there, some aimed at metal almost exclusively, but most are aiming at the whole market. And some of them offer more bang for the buck than do the big name companies.


1. Dammit dammit dammit dammit dammit...should have researched some more before buying that thing. The volume controls are annoying as heck.

2. This whole thing is sort of hypothetical. I'm a senior in high school and I'm looking to get a job soon so I can put a little dough aside for guitar gear and what not.

3. I'm in Ohio in the U.S.

4. I guess so but I've never really looked into it. I'm just afraid whatever the used item it is will go bad, much like a used amp I bought for practice when I started playing.
whywefight
~I'm not fuckin around~
Join date: Dec 2010
1,725 IQ
#8
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I bet a lot of people here will suggest you use some of your budget on a better- read tube- amp of some kind. (I don't know your amp, but I see a lot of dislike for Line6 Spiders around here.)


I'll be that guy. I wouldn't get a better guitar until you get a better amp. I did that, and it was a mistake.
Huge Guy
My muscles sure are mean!
Join date: Sep 2012
792 IQ
#9
Quote by Firehawk2410
1. Dammit dammit dammit dammit dammit...should have researched some more before buying that thing. The volume controls are annoying as heck.


You must still have it at the factory settings. If you adjust it properly you won't have the volume issues.
dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
3,265 IQ
#10
This whole thing is sort of hypothetical. I'm a senior in high school and I'm looking to get a job soon so I can put a little dough aside for guitar gear and what not.


OK, then the answer is that you have time, but little patience or money.

Step #1: sort out what kind of music you're most interested in playing. That will help you figure out your gear needs. If its one genre, like metal, you might be able to get a very focused rig. If it is a couple of closely related genres, you might be able to get nearly the same setup, but go for a more flexible guitar or amp (or both). If you want to play a wide variety of genres (or tunings!), ultimately, you're going to want multiple guitars and/or amps.

But you have to start somewhere, so focus on your favorites.

Step #2: while you're sorting that out, how are you going to use your gear? If you're not planning on playing with other people right away, try one of these:



That's the route I took- I bought my first electric guitars 3 years before I bought an amp. But by that time, I knew what kind of amp I was looking for.

3) after you figure out your gear desires, you'll be able to sort out your budgetary needs. Rule o thumb, though, at least initially, you should probably spend more on your amp than your axe and effects. I usually think of it as 15% effects, 40% axe, 45% amp unless you're using a modeling amp.

4) guitars don't really "go bad" so much as start that way! They just have variable rates at which they reveal their flaws. But the peeps around here can definitely help you stretch your budget by highlighting better used models and ones you should steer away from.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Nov 4, 2012,
Huge Guy
My muscles sure are mean!
Join date: Sep 2012
792 IQ
#11
The Micro BR is awesome. You can play with headphones and also record music. I got mine for about a hundred bucks on ebay. I have a couple of songs I recorded with it saved in my profile, if you want to hear what it can sound like.
Last edited by Huge Guy at Nov 5, 2012,
dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
3,265 IQ
#12
I personally have the Tascam and the last 2 Korgs.

Each of those devices brings different things to the table- tuners, recording, amp & pedal models, metronomes, recording, computer interface...

In short, each is pretty damn cool as a practice device!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
krehzeekid
Me like guitars
Join date: Dec 2009
316 IQ
#13
I'm not going to suggest a new amp. While your amp isn't the best, it isn't the weakest part of your rig. That would be your guitars. However, I don't think the Gibson route is the best way to go.

My suggestion would be a good mid-range guitar (give us more info in regards to feel, musical style and sounds for better info) such as an Epi LP standard, MIM fender, certain Godin models, 400/1000 series LTD's and whatnot (there is a tremendous variety of mid-range guitars for any type of player!). The LP-100, and the strat pack guitar, are pretty much junk as far as guitars go, and a decent mid-range guitar would do wonders for your playing experience.

I would stick to getting the most basic version of a good guitar though. That way, you have some money left over either for pickups (swapping pickups in most mid-range guitars will give you way better sound- not quite top quality, but definitely better than stock) or to put towards a better amp. The spider 30 isn't great, but it certainly isn't the piece of crap it's made out to be. It's a modelling amp and it has it's limitations- it'll never pass for a pro rig, but it does it's job decently well. you would certainly benefit from upgrading the amp, I'm just not convinced it's your biggest issue at the moment.
Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things...
JAHellraiser
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2009
2,405 IQ
#14
I'd definitely forget about changing pickups after seeing your amp. Not because it's stupid to put money into a lower end guitar like you were asking about, but because it'll make practically no difference on an amp like the spider.

What kinda of music do you majorly play though? Give us lots of examples and such and that'll help.
bowvice
Registered User
Join date: Mar 2008
87 IQ
#15
Dude, just go play some guitars at your local music shop. Seriously, just go play every guitar that catches your eye, or that a person who works there recommends to you. And don't worry about an amp. I've been in your situation before and you need a guitar that is great to practice on, both amped up and acoustically, don't go and get gear crazy and spend your money in ridiculous ways.

Oh and try PRS guitars, they'll most likely be the best things you've ever put hands on.
BradIon1995
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2012
127 IQ
#16
Rewire your Squier with whatever pickup setup you want, personally I'd recommend you turn it into an HSS for good versatility. Get some Seymours, CTS 500k pots etc, learn how to set up a Strat to your liking (Fender have a really good Strat setup guide on their support page on their site) and you'll have a guitar that isn't as good as a Fender, but it'll be a lot better than stock for a fraction of the price of a Fender/Gibson. Spend the cash you save on an acoustic
PsiGuy60
UG's Least Wanted
Join date: Aug 2009
603 IQ
#17
While your amp is crap, it's not the weakest link right now.
That'd be your guitar, so you are technically correct in upgrading that.

I'd reccommend getting something like a higher-end Epiphone Les Paul or, as reccommended elsewhere in the thread, an Agile. Getting new pickups for your existing guitars is kind of a waste, not only because the actual guitars are sub-par but also because with your amplifier it won't make a difference anyway.

Because you'll be setting aside money anyway, I'm going to reccommend you save up for a second-hand Marshall DSL combo or similar. Just because your amp isn't the weakest link now doesn't mean it doesn't need replacing.
Ceci n'est pas une signature.
Last edited by PsiGuy60 at Nov 5, 2012,
NHECOS
UnBanned
Join date: Aug 2009
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#18
Pick the Les Paul.
Gear:
DIGITECH Grunge -->
IBANEZ Silver Cadet -->
FENDER CD 140 SCE -->
BOSS ME-70 -->
LINE 6 Pod Studio UX1
ESP EC 401 VF TSB -->
YAMAHA THR 10 -->
MILF Tease
ChiliPepper9
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2012
21 IQ
#19
Don't look for a guitar just because of the people who use them, they might get them to sound great live, doesn't necessarily mean you can get them to sound as good, because tone is influenced by everything. Honestly, if you want a great guitar for a great price, look online for an old Ibanez rg550, it's different than a Fender Strat or Gibson Les Paul, but sounds and plays a heck of a lot better
LP_CL
Gimme a beer!
Join date: Apr 2008
2,072 IQ
#20
get another amp man. you'll thank me later
Hufschmid
Blackat
Washburn USA Custom Shop
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Engl
Mephaphil
No empty frets.
Join date: Apr 2012
1,956 IQ
#21
Quote by ChiliPepper9
Don't look for a guitar just because of the people who use them, they might get them to sound great live, doesn't necessarily mean you can get them to sound as good, because tone is influenced by everything. Honestly, if you want a great guitar for a great price, look online for an old Ibanez rg550, it's different than a Fender Strat or Gibson Les Paul, but sounds and plays a heck of a lot better


Subjective nonsense. He might like the Fender more, I wouldn't say it plays better than my MiM Tele, and I wouldn't say it sounds better playing Cream either. If you were talking about Steve Vai I would probably agree. It does depend on who he likes and what he really wants to play. The Ibanez is a good guitar though.

If you can play a D Major chord, and you have Hendrix's strat, Marshall 'Plexi', fuzz box and wah you will sound pretty much the same as Jimi when he plays a D Major if you play that D. The soloing may be a different issue but you'll be closer with his gear than Vais'. Tone is in the fingers but its also largely in the gear. If he wants to sound like someone or a certain style you should be looking at what gear compliments it the most.

You should always optimise your experience to what you want it to be, not move further away from it.
Quote by Shredwizard445
Go ahead and spend your money, I don't care. It won't make you sound better.


Quote by Shredwizard445
Sure upgrading your gear will make you sound better.


Last edited by Mephaphil at Nov 5, 2012,
Firehawk2410
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
508 IQ
#22
Thanks for all your advice guys! I didn't expect all this, and all the different opinions are kind of confusing me. So, I'll clarify what you guys asked for and I'll ask some more questions:
- I mostly play hard rock and some blues rock music from the 70's and 80's. Some of my favorite bands are KISS, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, and Led Zeppelin. Ace Frehley has recently become my favorite guitarist but Joe Perry is almost tied for my fave. I also like the current guitarist of KISS; Tommy Thayer.
- I've grown to like the feel of my Les Paul over the Strat. Maybe it's just psychological but I think the neck feels more comfortable to my hand. The only thing I don't love that much is the weight, but I guess I'm used to it and the guitar still looks great in my opinion.
- What exactly is an MiM Fender? I've never heard that before.
- It looks like a lot of you guys are recommending amps. I know this isn't the gear forum, but I could I get some more guidance in the amp department? I have no idea what I'm doing and I hope the details I gave above can help you guys help me.
Thanks again!
Last edited by Firehawk2410 at Nov 5, 2012,
Mephaphil
No empty frets.
Join date: Apr 2012
1,956 IQ
#23
Fender makes guitars in different parts of the world. They are built with different quality parts.

The best Fenders are the MIA or AM Standard. Made in America or American Standard.

Then we have the MIM & MIJ. Made in Mexico/Japan. Not as good pickups, wood, craftsmanship etc. However, you can get excellent specimens from both Japanese and Mexican Fenders.

People generally look on the Japanese Fenders as the second choice, but they tend not to sell them anywhere except Japan. You will get people who say the difference is minor and the Japanese and Mexican sound and feel very similar.

But no two guitars sound and feel the same, it's up to you to find one that you love.

I have a MIA Tele that I love, and a Mexican Tele that I love more. It doesn't sound as nice, but it plays so well that with a shit load of fuzz you'll never know the difference

You have different kind of amps.

Cheap solid state amps are where people generally start with their amps, from bundles etc. Big mistake. These amps are made with poor parts and lack the soul of different types of amps. Its quite hard to find a good solid state amp.

If its 10 watts, made by Squire, stay away. In fact, run for the hills.

Hybrid amps are a combination of different types of amps. It depends on the type. Marshall make some awesome hybrids, but that's because they are made with valves. I don't have a lot of experience with hybrid amps except some Marshalls and Blackstars. The Marshalls can be expensive. Some of my buddies have some great Blackstar hybrids, like the HT-5. Not too expensive. One to consider.

Modelling amps basically have digital 'models' of popular/famous amps. They can be very good or not. Its a bit hit and miss. They are generally very good for those on a budget, can give nearly accurate tones for famous blues, high gain, rock and roll amps etc. You can download user made amp models or make your own.

The Vox Valvetronix and Fender Mustang series are good entry level amps, if you can't afford a tube/valve amp look into one of them.

Tube or valve amps are the holy grail of amp types. They sound warm, are naturally driven by forces which we don't understand, smell nice and just have something the other types don't have. Soul. They don't try and sound like anything, they sound like what every other type of amp wants to sound like. They are also expensive. A Fender Blues Junior is a good choice to start with, but you'll need a pedal for fuzz/distortion/overdrive.

Something else to look into.

What's your budget for an amp?

I Hope my brief guide helped a bit.
Quote by Shredwizard445
Go ahead and spend your money, I don't care. It won't make you sound better.


Quote by Shredwizard445
Sure upgrading your gear will make you sound better.


Last edited by Mephaphil at Nov 5, 2012,
Firehawk2410
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
508 IQ
#24
Quote by Mephaphil

You have different kind of amps.

If its 10 watts, made by Squire, stay away. In fact, run for the hills.

Hybrid amps are a combination of different types of amps. It depends on the type. Marshall make some awesome hybrids, but that's because they are made with valves. I don't have a lot of experience with hybrid amps except some Marshalls and Blackstars. The Marshalls can be expensive. Some of my buddies have some great Blackstar hybrids, like the HT-5. Not too expensive. One to consider.

Modelling amps basically have digital 'models' of popular/famous amps. They can be very good or not. Its a bit hit and miss. They are generally very good for those on a budget, can give nearly accurate tones for famous blues, high gain, rock and roll amps etc. You can download user made amp models or make your own.

Tube or valve amps are the holy grail of amp types. They sound warm, are naturally driven by forces which we don't understand, smell nice and just have something the other types don't have. Soul. They don't try and sound like anything, they sound like what every other type of amp wants to sound like. They are also expensive. A Fender Blues Junior is a good choice to start with, but you'll need a pedal for fuzz/distortion/overdrive.

Something else to look into.

What's your budget for an amp?

I Hope my brief guide helped a bit.

That just told me (mostly) everything I haven't learned in the past three years. Thanks!
I'm thinking I'm going to set aside at least $400 USD on an amp, because my modeling amp just isn't doing it for me, even though it's a year old, and that was $300. Because I recently made up my mind on what type of music I really want to play, I think a valve or hybrid amp like you mentioned would be great. I'm someone who likes things simple, raw, old-school, and straight-forward, and all the crap that my modeling amp includes just confuses me and I only ever use a couple settings. I do have an effects pedal, but I'm a cheapskate so I got an "entry-level" pedal. I kind of like it but I'd rather not use it to mask my guitar and amp. I'd rather let the guitar and amp be able to show themselves off without a "digital crutch" so to speak.
And yes, I do have a 10-watt Squier and even a 15-watt Fender that came in a bundle. Neither work anymore, but they were just "learner's amps" when I bought them.
As for the guitars, I'm still not sure what I'm going to do, but I think I'll buy a higher-end Epiphone Les Paul unless a bunch of the guys here tackle me before I reach for one. I've decided I'm not good enough yet or rich enough to justify buying a real Gibson, but I just love the way the Les Paul looks and how it feels.
dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
3,265 IQ
#25
Nothing wrong with an Epi Les Paul.

However, there are a load of guitars out there that are based on the LP design, and each company gives you a different experience. So, what do you like about LPs and what do you want out of your guitar?*


* and don't just say "Awesome sounds!"
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Firehawk2410
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
508 IQ
#26
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Nothing wrong with an Epi Les Paul.

However, there are a load of guitars out there that are based on the LP design, and each company gives you a different experience. So, what do you like about LPs and what do you want out of your guitar?*


* and don't just say "Awesome sounds!"

I like the shape of the Les Pauls even though they don't have the body cutaways like the Strats do. So far the shape hasn't been uncomfortable. The position of the selector switch and the tone knobs is also the right fit for me. I just want a guitar that actually sounds at least half-professional. I don't want one that has pickups set up for heavy metal exclusively. I like hard rock and blues rock and I want a guitar that has an attitude with just the distortion of the amp, but also sounds great clean. I also want something that has good sustain, as my current guitar can only hold the sound for several seconds before it's inaudible.
dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
3,265 IQ
#27
Quote by Firehawk2410
I like the shape of the Les Pauls even though they don't have the body cutaways like the Strats do. So far the shape hasn't been uncomfortable. The position of the selector switch and the tone knobs is also the right fit for me. I just want a guitar that actually sounds at least half-professional. I don't want one that has pickups set up for heavy metal exclusively. I like hard rock and blues rock and I want a guitar that has an attitude with just the distortion of the amp, but also sounds great clean. I also want something that has good sustain, as my current guitar can only hold the sound for several seconds before it's inaudible.


This recent thread talks about LP-shaped guitars that have more contoured bodies than the standard Gibson LP.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1570528&highlight=What+LP+shaped+guitars+are+out+there+that+have+contours

Not all of them will be in your forseeable price range, but many will be. So, if you're patient, you'll be able to at least consider Les Paulian guitars that you may find more comfortable than the originals.

And that isn't all they may have to offer you.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Nov 6, 2012,