Hi forum members,

I am planning on buying my first guitar. I am in Australia, so my budget doesn't go as far as it does in the states, but it is a maximum of AUD$1399 ish (as a guide the jackson below goes for $849 in the states, so guitars in that range is what I am looking at). I want to buy in Australia so please don't suggest I use my budget to get a better guitar purchased outside Australia). I know that is a fair wack of money for a first guitar but I want to buy something I won't feel the need to upgrade for many years.

I want to play a fair mix of styles: AC/DC, Tool, Led Zep, Guns & Roses, Hendrix (particularly his blues stuff), and possibly some Dire Straits and Pink Floyd.

With that in mind I have 4 main criteria:
1. Must be Hardtail (can't be bothered with a trem as a beginner).
2. Must have at least 1 humbucker
3. Must be fender strat-ish shape (don't like Les Paul shape)
4. Must have forearm cut on the front of body and belly cut on the reverse. I want it to be super comfortable

I have scoured the internet, and I have narrowed my choices to 3, and I would love your opinions on build quality, neck profiles, pick ups etc. And based on my needs which you'd choose.

• Jackson DK2HT: SD JB & 59 Humbucking pick ups can coil split (5 way selection switch), so Dire straits and option.

• Charvel San Dimas Pro Mod Hard Tail: SD JB Bridge Humbucker, SD STK-S6 (Single Coil Neck), is the fact there is only 1 humbucker and issue for the styles listed? Only has a volume knob, no tone knob, is this an issue? (i only plan on playing at home).

• Godin Freeway EMG: 2 x EMG 81 pick ups, would mean single coil stuff not an option.

Thanks a million for any input!!
the big problem with being adamantly against a trem is that, IMO anyway, for the stuff you want to play, you'd ideally want either HSS or HSH pickups, and the vast majority of guitars with those pickup layouts have a trem. Good spot on the charvel, it's probably worth a look (though if you can find one of the discontinued japanese-made ones, that'd arguably be even better), but even with it, it's only HS rather than HSS.

1 humbucker shouldn't be a massive problem. Normally for heavier stuff you'd be using the bridge pickup exclusively/almost exclusively. Only slight concern is guns n roses as a fair number of slash's leads use a neck pickup. but then you'd be losing the neck single coil sound which'd be handy for hendrix, dire straits and pink floyd.

there's gonna be some compromise, in other words. Personally, though, for that range of tones I'd want HSS or HSH- handy enough when you say you ideally want a strat shape, just the trem thing. One option might be a guitar with a non-recessed tremolo and then you could just block it and remove the trem arm.
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Godin makes a guitar called the Belmont - part of their Richmond line- that is a hardtail HSS guitar. It should have all the quality of a typical Godin and is in your price range.

However, it is:

1) more like a modified SG than a LP or Strat

2) its pickups are 2 SD Lipsticks and a SD '59, so it may not have the tones you want on tap

Licea is a one-man shop making unique guitars (all double cuts) from bamboo. Most, if not all, are hardtails. There are HSS and HSH guitars in the line. The price is a couple hundred voce your budget, though.

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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Sep 3, 2013,
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Hiya , im pretty much a n00b , so disregard most of what I say , but id have to beg u to reconsider the les paul body thing .
I used to have an old bullet strat as my first guitar , sounded awesome on the high strings and terrible on the low strings , I stopped practising chords cause it just reverbed like mad even without plugged in to an amp . I should probably state most of my playing is done without an amp so as not to end up single .
Since then ive bought an Ibanez art 100 and absolutely love it , I found it so much easier with the les paul shape to play the high strings above to 12 to 15th fret . I also found I practise chords , barr chords and progressions/turnarounds a lot more now cause it doesn't make me cringe .
I also love the flatter neck shape of the Ibanez , for me it just seems so much easier to play . Oh , and I absolutely love the way it looks , all white body , black trim , big pearl inlays , sooo sexy=)
Anyhow , just my 2 cents ( minus gst) , feel free to ignore=)
I should prolly also state it only cost me 450 bucks , and I probably paid too much=)
But I really cant emphasize how much I love the clear sound I get out of it and how well it was set up from the shop
And consider neck shape and fret scale, find out what's comfortable.
How about a Schecter, they do some nice hardtail guitars which ticks all your boxes. Have fun, try loads of different guitars!
Thanks for the input greg and johnny. Shecter do look good, but the only guitar they have with the forearm cut is the Banshee model and that doesn't come in a hard tail. As far as neck shapes go I have tried a telecaster with a modern C neck which felt slightly too large. Also tried a EBMM Silhouette, quite a thin neck compared to the tele, and this felt great. More in line with the Jackson I would believe, but I don't know what neck shape the Charvel or Godin have.
For the charvel, the one volume knob is fine. My ESP M-II has it and I love it, not a fan of tone controls, but it also makes the guitar much brighter than with a tone control due to not being able to turn it down. That'd be my pick out of the ones you listed.
Of the three on paper, I'd say the Jackson.
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Just buy a strat and be done with it. You definitely want to avoid floating Floyd style bridges but the vintage trem on a strat really isn't any more bother than a fixed bridge.
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