Index by Post Number

1: Index
2: Guitar 101
3: The 10 Commandments of the Electric Guitar
4: How to Decide what Electric Guitar to Buy.
5: How to Decide what Electric Guitar to Buy, Continued.
6: How to try out Electric Guitars
7: Solidbody Electric Guitar Suggestions by Price Range and Style


All of this info is given in good faith, based on what we believe, to the best of our knowledge, to be correct. It’s aimed at beginners and intermediate players, and often the information has been simplified to make it easier to understand (and so it doesn’t take up even more space). Please bear in mind that all recommendations are based on the general consensus of the regulars of the forum, the specific examples which we’ve tried (we may have tried a particularly good MIM strat, for example), and also our own subjective opinions. Also, all recommendations are on a “to try” basis, rather than “to buy”- we mean you to try the gear we’ve recommended to see if it suits you for your situation and the type of music you play. New models come out all the time, and we don’t always have time to add them- don’t disregard something because it’s not on the list, it’s possible that we either haven’t had time to add it yet, or haven’t tried it ourselves!
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Electric Guitar 101

Ok, this is to answer all the basic questions about how an electric guitar works, what all the parts are and do, etc..

IF YOU WANT ANY INFORMATION ON AMPS, FX, OR PICKUPS, CLICK HERE: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=278232

How a guitar works: Basically, the pickups in your guitar are magnets. The strings are made of a magnetic metal, and when they vibrate, they induce a current in the pickup, which is proportional to the frequency of the note, and this signal is sent down your guitar?s lead/cord/cable to your amp. Here?s a link for more information: http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/electric-guitar1.htm

EVERYTHING in your guitar has an effect on your tone- what wood it?s made from, what gauge of strings you use, what type of pickups, type of bridge, etc. See below (How to buy a guitar) for info on how the different parts of the guitar affect your tone.

First of all, a diagram of a Fender Stratocaster (Strat), Gibson Les Paul, and for all you shredders/metallers, an Ibanez RGT prestige.

Fender Strat:

Gibson Les Paul:

Ibanez RG:
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Electric Guitar: the 10 commandments.

1: Though shalt not play an expensive guitar through a cheap amp.

Your amp is more important than your guitar. 80%-95% of your tone is in your amp (an entirely scientifically-sound percentage, that I just made up. You know what I mean, though). Spend accordingly: under £400, split your budget between guitar and amp about evenly as some cheap guitars play VERY poorly, and you need to normally spend at least about £150 to get something playable, ditto for the amp; up to about £1500-£2000, a 2:1 ratio on amp to guitar is about right- over this, split it about evenly, or however you want (but make sure you?re spending at least about £1000 on the amp). Increasing the cost of your guitar will make it FEEL better to play, but it?ll only SOUND slightly better.

2: Thou shalt read #1 again. It?s that important.

3: Thou shalt not buy a guitar made of a crap wood (agathis, plywood, etc.).

The quality of the wood in your guitar is the next most important (from a modding point of view, at least- it?ll sound good with a pickup change, for example). Alder, mahogany, ash and basswood and maple are all good woods. Agathis (generally) and plywood are not. Bear in mind wood can be of different quality, even of the same species. You can upgrade things like tuners and pickups a lot easier than you can upgrade the wood your guitar is made of!

4: Thou shalt have the correct pickups for the style of music you want to play.

This is the next most important thing to getting your sound after having the right type of amp. Make sure your guitar is routed properly for the right pickups for the kind of music you want to play. As a (very) general rule, if you play metal or hard rock, you want humbuckers, and for softer stuff, single coils are good. Or you can get a mixture. If you have a bridge humbucker, you can play metal with ANY solidbody guitar (of decent wood), if you have a good enough amp.

5: Thou shalt not spend lots of cash slightly improving your sub-par amp with pedals etc.

If it?s not metal enough etc., it?s cheaper in the long run to bite the bullet and buy a new amp, which you?ll end up doing anyway when you buy £300 worth of pedals and find your amp still isn?t cutting it. (Exception: if you have an all-tube/valve amp, an overdrive pedal can be useful and indeed almost a necessity, and a delay pedal is very useful to have) Spend the money on pedals AFTER you have a great amp.

6: Thou shalt not be influenced by the guitar?s looks as they (generally) don?t affect the tone.

BC Rich?s and similarly ?metal?-looking guitars DO NOT sound more metal. As in 4, any solid body guitar made of decent wood, with a bridge humbucker will sound metal if your amp is metal enough. If you aren?t sounding metal enough, it?s probably your amp?s fault (as long as you aren?t using a Rickenbacker or hollow body jazz guitar or something!).

7: Thou shalt not ask ?I like X?s tone, what pickups does he use??.

If you like said player?s tone, getting his amp will get you 95% of the way there. THEN get the pickups, and it should make up the last 5% (if your guitar is made of the same wood). Also, related to this commandment: PLEASE STOP LOOKING AT EMG?S IF YOU HAVE A PRACTICE AMP, THEY?LL ONLY SOUND HOW YOU EXPECT IF YOU HAVE A MESA RECTO, OR SIMILAR ALL-TUBE, DARK-VOICED, HIGH GAIN AMP. If you have such an amp, be my guest, EMG?s can sound huge/awesome/generally pretty darn metal, BUT WITH THE RIGHT AMP. See Commandment #1 and #2.

8: Thou shalt not buy a guitar with a cheap, crap double locking tremolo.

They are more bother than they?re worth. They?re made of crap soft metal, they won?t hold tune and they won?t sustain as well. You MAY get lucky, but it?s not worth the risk. Either fork out for a good trem (Original Floyd Rose, Floyd Rose Pro, Floyd Rose Speedloader, Schaller, Gotoh, Kahler or Ibanez Edge (NOT Edge III), Ibanez Lo-Pro Edge, Ibanez Edge Pro (NOT Edge Pro II), or Ibanez ZR, and a lot of expensive guitar brands? own brand of trem (e.g. Vigier) - if it?s not one of these, assume it?s crap, unless proven otherwise), or go with a hardtail or non-locking trem. Also, a lot of the decent trems are a different size to the crap ones (even the studs can be a different size, if the whole trem is the same size) so it?s frequently not just a matter of buying a better trem when your crap one breaks. Most guitar companies are incredibly scabby- they?re TRYING to make it hard to upgrade, so you have to buy a whole new guitar from them.

9: Thou shalt not buy a guitar without trying it.

Forums can give you advice like ?the electronics on X model are dodgy?, or ?Y has a dodgy tremolo?, but you won?t know if you like the ?feel? of the guitar unless you try it. Ditto with amps and any other piece of kit.

10: Thou shalt make the right choice in Looks versus Specification.

If you?re on a budget, you may well find you have to either buy a guitar you like the look of, or one you like the specification of. Pick the one you like the specification of. A guitar that looks good but is made of plywood or which won?t stay in tune, is no fun. Also, frequently, companies try to persuade you to hand over your money for looks in cheaper guitars. If you have lots of cash, then you can buy a guitar that both looks good, AND is good.

11: Since number 2 isn?t really a commandment? .Thou shalt not buy a high output, ceramic NECK humbucker (like an invader) unless you have a damn good reason, and know exactly what you?re doing.

?But I play metal!? I hear you squeal.

[Tommy Lee Jones voice] ?I DON?T CARE!? [/Tommy Lee Jones Voice]

You then jump over the edge of the giant dam (clearly about 300 feet up), and emerge unharmed, but wet.


99% of distorted metal is played in the bridge pickup position. You?d be FAR better off getting a less me(n)tal neck pickup that actually sounds nice with cleans (most metal I listen to anyway has more cleans than need of a ceramic neck pickup). Exception: you know exactly what you?re doing and the tone you?re after, and you need said ceramic neck pickup for that. Or you never use cleans (you have a second guitarist in your band who covers those, for example, or a second guitar).

12: Thou shalt not expect a major difference in tone from higher gauge strings (thanks to Danno 13 for this one- if this is controversial, it's his fault! )

You'll only notice much of a difference if you make a major jump, say from 9's to 12's- I find that I play so much worse with higher gauge strings (because of the increased tension) that my tone actually gets worse- but if you want to try, be my guest.
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How to decide what electric guitar to buy

Here it is: how to decide what electric guitar you want. You may think this is quite long, but, in my opinion, it?s as short as I can make it without gipping you on some of the need-to-know info (and it?s a hell of a lot shorter than some of the more in-depth articles which are decidedly useful, but perhaps not if you don?t know what a pickup is yet). Know any less, and you?ll be at the mercy of unscrupulous salespeople and know-it-all idiot friends? advice, who don?t know their whammy bar from their, er? personal whammy bar .

Ok, this might seem very basic to some of you, but if it does, then that means it?s not aimed at you. This is designed to help all the guys who are new to playing, and who are trying to decide what type of a guitar to buy. There are a lot of guitars out there, and I know when I bought my first, looking back on it, it was a lottery and I?m surprised that I got a decent guitar at all (although I did end up with a crap locking trem!). I wish I?d known about UG and the many other online guitar forums when I started.

I?ll split this into steps, to make it easier.

And bear in mind the 10 commandments are still useful here (particularly the fact that your amp is the most important thing you can buy in shaping your sound).

1: What type of music do you mostly like to play?

This is pretty easy, even if you don?t play yet and are only starting out. You normally have favourite bands, etc., and know pretty much straight off, the type of stuff you want to play.

If you have a favourite player, it doesn?t hurt to see what guitar they play, but bear in mind they (a) frequently use many different guitars, particularly in the studio, and (b) unless you buy their top of the range signature model, you probably aren?t getting anything close to what they?re playing (and even then, theirs might be a custom shop model). It?s better, IMO, to find out what guitar they use, find a cheaper guitar made of the same exact woods, and put in whatever pickups they use (signature guitars are expensive because of a large royalty paid to the endorsee for every model sold- and also some of the cheap signature models only LOOK like the artist?s guitar- they can be made of totally different, substandard woods, have the wrong pickups etc.). And remember Commandments #1 and 2: if you don?t have the exact amp they use (and they may use several), say goodbye to nailing their tone if you only have their guitar.

Also, it?s better to know a particular style of music you want to play, rather than one particular band, because you may stop liking that band after a while. Also, once you start to play, it?s INCREDIBLY likely that if you even learn one song in another style (jazz, or blues) that you?ll get hooked on it.

2: What type of pickups do I want my guitar to have?

Pickups are magnets that have coils of wire wrapped around them, which convert the (metal) strings? vibrations into electrical signals that the amplifier puts out as sound (this is a very basic definition, but it?s all you need).

As a very general rule, if you play metal or hard rock music, you?re going to want a (full size) bridge humbucker; it?s very difficult to get that kind of chunky sound without one, even if you have a high gain amp. Humbuckers sound ?fuller? and warmer than single coils. They are also "noiseless" meaning they won't squeal when you turn up the distortion. A neck humbucker doesn?t hurt either, for slightly less ?metal? solos, and cleans.

Cleaner, poppier, funky tones and srv-type blues can benefit from single coils. They get noisy/squealy with lots of distortion. Single coils sound treblier than hum buckers (as a general rule), and have less gain/power.

If you don?t know, or play a mixture of styles, get a mixture of humbuckers and single coils. You can get fat strats with a bridge humbucker for rockier tones, and single coils in the middle and neck position for lighter tones, or HSH (bridge and neck humbuckers, and middle single coil) which I?m partial to, although it?s rare in off-the-shelf guitars other than Ibanez and Godin.

There are also so-called "single coil-sized humbuckers. These are the size of single coils, but are noiseless. These DO NOT sound exactly like humbuckers, nomatter what the manufacturers say (physics won't allow it)- they sound sort of halfway between single coils and humbuckers. However, if you want a noiseless pickup and you can only fit single coils in your guitar, unless you want to cut up your guitar, this is your only option. Also, as long as you treat them "as is" you can get good results with them- just don't expect them to sound exactly like a humbucker or single coil.

There are also active pickups, which utilise a 9-Volt battery (passive pickups do not), which can be great for metal music, among other things.

As a general rule, the bridge pickup is brighter and good for distortion, and the neck pickup is warmer and good for cleans and mellow solos (and shred!).

What magnet should I get in the pickups?

I?ll give a very general answer, because this isn?t an in depth article about pickups.

Alnico II: warm, smooth sounding, great for vintage tones, and smooth overdriven tones (think Slash from Guns n? Roses), can be a little sweet sounding for heavier tones (and can get a little muddy with distortion).

Alnico V: sounds organic, while still having plenty of power for heavier tones too. A good choice if you play both cleans and overdrive/distortion.

Ceramic: tight, can be a little sterile sounding, but great for distortion. Cleans are bland and uninspiring, at best. Good choice for metal, poor choice for vintage tones.

Alnico III and IV are also used, but rarely. Their specs are (approximately) in between Alnico II and V.

Bear in mind, you can mix magnets- one option is a ceramic bridge pickup, for distortion, and an alnico V neck pickup, for good cleans and distortion.

How hot should I get the pickups?

Most companies measure their pickups? power (hotness) as their DC resistance. The higher the number in kilo-ohms (k), the hotter, assuming all things are equal (like wire gauge etc.). EXCEPTION: avoid doing this with Dimarzio pickups, they use strange wire gauges (which affects the resistance), their outputs in mA (milliamps) are more accurate. Bear in mind, a hotter pickup WON?T be louder, but it will produce more gain/distortion and sound more compressed. Also, again as a general rule, the better the pickup?s distortion, the worse its cleans, and vice versa. So get a lower output pickup if you like cleans, and a higher output pickup if you like distortion. The neck pickup normally has a lower output, since string vibrations are louder at the neck, and also because it tends to be used more for cleans.

Anyway, as a VERY general rule for outputs (e.g. if a company describes one of their pickups as being for a certain tone/style, and it disagrees with these rough figures, disregard my rough figures!):

KEY: Vintage = 1950?s tones, vintage hot = 70?s rock, medium high = 80?s hard rock/hair metal/shred, high output = metal.

For humbuckers: Vintage: 6-8.5k (Dimarzio: 200-250mA output), Vintage Hot/Medium output 8.5-11k (Dimarzio 250-325mA output), Medium High Output 11-15k (Dimarzio 325-400mA output), High Output 15k+ (Dimarzio 400mA+ output).

For Single Coils: Vintage: 5-6k (Dimarzio: around 90-100mA output), Vintage Hot/Medium output 6.5-7.5k (Dimarzio 120-130mA output), Medium High Output 7.5-10k (Dimarzio 130-180mA output), High Output 11k+ (Dimarzio 180mA+ output).

Bear in mind as well, pickups are very easy to change if you don?t like their tone, as long as your guitar is routed (holes cut in it) for the size of pickups you want to put in. If you KNOW you?re going to change pickups, play the guitar unplugged too (you should play it unplugged anyway, to be honest)- if it sounds nice, it means the wood is good, and will take a pickup change well. If not, avoid it.

3: What wood do I want my guitar to be made from?

This is mostly preference, and affects the tone of your guitar. Bear in mind, some pickups work better with some woods than others.

I?ll put a brief description of the main tone woods (any similarity to Warmoth?s wood tone finder is entirely coincidental, and mainly due to the fact that I copied it. Here?s the link, it has these and more obscure woods: http://www.warmoth.com/guitar/options/options_bodywoods.cfm ).

Alder: Good tone, used a lot on strats. Quite bright, but well-rounded. Good value.

Mahogany: Deeper, warmer, bassier tone than alder. Often used with a flame/quilt maple top/cap, to even out the bass and add a bit of brightness, and also to look nice!

Swamp Ash: Also used a lot on Strats. Good balance of brightness and warmth. Similar-ish tone to alder (but slightly more complex sounding, and dearer).

Basswood: used a lot on shred guitars, particularly Ibanez. Very light weight, soft (dings easily), very nice warm (lots of mids), musical tone, but can sometimes almost sound too ?nice? or ?sweet?, particularly if you want a ?nasty? tone for e.g. metal. Great for melodic soloing/shred, though.

Which wood you pick is down to the tone you want, and also what pickups you want to put in. Again, if you have a favourite player, it doesn?t hurt to see what wood they use. And, I may sound like a broken record, but it?s because it?s important: remember Commandments 1 and 2!
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How to choose what electric guitar to buy, continued

4: Necks

Normally you have a choice of 21, 22 and 24 frets. It?s really up to you which you prefer- 24 can be a slight advantage for shred and metal, but it?s nothing major.

Size of frets: Jumbo tend to be easier for bending and playing fast on, medium tend to be better for rhythm work, but again, it?s all preference- most people just prefer a certain size for everything- and you really have to try them to see which you prefer.

Neck profile: thinner necks tend to be easier for playing fast on (shredding) and soloing, but can be uncomfortable and cause hand cramps etc., thicker is slightly harder to play fast on, but is more comfortable, and easier for playing chords. Oh, and anyone who says you can only play fast because you have an Ibanez Wizard neck is lying- it?s marginally easier, that?s all- if you can?t shred on a Strat, you won?t be magically suddenly able to because you have an Ibanez!

Nut width: again, this is all preference, due to your hand size and what you?re used to. I won?t touch anything other than 43mm (wide), but that?s just me- you have to try them!

Neck woods: like bodies, these affect your tone. Maple and Mahogany are the two major ones, maple being brighter and mahogany being warmer sounding.

Style of Neck: there are basically 3 styles of neck: bolt-on, glued in (set), and thru-neck.

Bolt-on: the neck is bolted to the body. The advantage is, if your neck breaks, you can just buy a new neck (unlike glued in and thru-neck, where your entire guitar is basically broken), but some people say the sustain isn?t as good. However, with a good solid neck joint, you can get great sustain with a bolt-on. Also, some guitars have bulky joints which can make playing on the upper frets uncomfortable.

Glued-in/set: the neck is glued to the body. Gives good sustain, but a messed-up glue job can actually make the sustain worse than a poor bolt-on, since glue doesn?t transmit sound well. Also, if your neck breaks, you?re screwed.

Thru-neck: The neck continues through the whole body in one whole piece. The advantage is that the sustain is meant to be better, and it?s very comfortable as there is no heel for the neck to be attached to the body. If your neck breaks, you?re screwed.

Fretboard woods: Again, affect the tone and feel. Ebony is very smooth feeling, and is bright, rosewood is warmer sounding, and maple is bright sounding. Feel is, again, personal preference.

5: Do I want a tremolo/whammy bar?

Simply put, you can either have one or not. The advantage of having one is that you can do crazy Vai-type squeals/dive bombs/horse noises etc, and the disadvantage is that if you have a bad one, if you look at it funny, it?ll go out of tune. If you aren?t going to use one, it?s handier not to get one, to be honest (particularly for double-locking types, which involve more complicated stringing and tuning- it?s not rocket science, but it does involve more work).

If you don?t get a trem, you?ll probably get a hardtail of some description. These tend to have better sustain, as well. You won?t be able to do any whammy-tricks, though.

Types of trem: basically, there?s:

Vintage style (Fender Strat and Bigsby type): good for subtle vibrato but won?t hold tuning too well with anything more extreme.

Modern non-locking (like Wilkinson and PRS types): hold tuning better than the vintage ones, but not so well as double-locking.

Double locking (Floyd Rose and equivalent): ultimate tuning stability (there are clamps that lock the strings in place at the nut and at the trem), and allow pitch to be raised AND lowered by several semitones (assuming the trem is recessed into the guitar's body, and set up to float), but involve extra effort in setting up and changing tunings, and there are some poor licensed examples, which don?t hold tuning very well at all- see Commandment #8.

List of good double-locking tremolos: Original Floyd Rose (OFR), Floyd Rose Pro, Floyd Rose Speedloader, Schaller, Gotoh, Kahler or Ibanez Edge (NOT Edge III), Ibanez Lo-Pro Edge, Ibanez Edge Pro (NOT Edge Pro II), or Ibanez ZR, and a lot of expensive guitar brands? own brand of trem (e.g. Vigier).

Bear in mind there are two types of Floyd Rose Tremolo: "original" style, and "low-profile" (or "lo-pro"). Original style trems have the fine tuners in front of the string clamps, and sit up out of the guitar's body more, while low profile trems have the string clamps in front of the fine tuners, and they sit lower into the guitar's body, so are more comfortable. However, the low-profile trems need a very deep cavity to have full up-pull (pitch-raising), and to be honest, not everyone thinks they're more comfortable: it basically depends which you're used to. The Ibanez Edge and Gotoh trems are original style, but are lower-profile than OFR's, offering perhaps the best of both worlds.

6: What colour/shape do I want?

No-one wants an uncool looking guitar, but you?re better off with a crap looking guitar that plays and sounds good, than a crap guitar that looks good. Colour and shape should be last on your checklist. Get the best playing and sounding guitar you?ve found, and THEN buy it in the nicest colour that it?s available in.

7: Try the guitar

You?ve done all the research, and you know this guitar will get you closest to the tone you want (assuming you have the right amp). However, if you don?t like its feel (or indeed its sound), you?re screwed (at this point you also need to check how it sounds unplugged, and check it for any defects etc.). If you try it, and don?t like it, you?re basically back to the drawing board. You need to find the next-best guitar in terms of specs, and try it. And keep trying, until you get a guitar that you like to play, which is closest to your original ideal specs.

And that?s it (I think). Generally speaking, and all things being equal, things which affect your tone the most, from greatest to least, in my opinion:

Amp >> pedals (depends on the pedal, I?m mainly talking about overdrive or distortion pedals here) >> speakers >> pickups >> wood of guitar >> wood neck is made from (wood for neck and wood for body can switch in importance, if the guitar has a tremolo)>> strings.

How you play affects it too (and quite a lot!), obviously, but it?s harder to quantify, as everyone plays differently.

Remember this order, when deciding what to buy next. A set of EMG pickups WON?T make you sound like Metallica, if you don?t have a Mesa amp, for example.

Again, I apologise, this is very basic, but (a) I don?t have the time to make it any longer and (b) if I increased the complexity even a little, it would be about 5 times this length. This is about getting the ?need to know? info, in my opinion, to those who need it most, rather than giving those intermediate players (who already know a bit of tech. stuff) some more info that might help them a little.

Also, these are all generalisations. In other words, in some very specific cases and exceptions to the general rule, what I have written may be wrong. It?s correct in most cases, though (I hope!). Some people like single coils for metal (you?ll want a noise gate though!), other people like slim necks for chording, but they?re the exception. This article is to help those 9-people-out-of-10 for whom the generalisations will assist in coming to a decision, not the 1-person-out-of-10 who likes to think ?outside the box?. Also, in order to ?think outside the box?, you normally have to have tried the established way, and decide you don?t like it!

Hope this helped!
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How to try out guitars

Before you select a guitar, there are a few things you need to think over.
-The style of music you play.
-A budget you can live with.
-How long you've been playing. If you've ever owned a guitar before.
We all gravitate towards the guitar that looks the Hawtest, but looks and color, shouldn't be your first concern.
Wood type, bridge type, pickup configuration, guitar weight, brand reputation, and UG member recommendations should all come into play.
You need to have in mind, a few guitars that suit you best, before you even walk into the store.

Walking into The Store:

Wait, you've already blown it! Are you sure you're in the right place? Most of us only have a couple of options.
Ideally you live in an area with large chains, and local shops. Keep in mind that large chains pay their workers with commission. A money driven worker will not be working towards your best interest, no matter how nice he seems. Local shops might be able to offer you a better deal, but they don't carry as large a selection.
It's good to get prices online, some stores will even match competitor's prices, but whenever possible, physically play as many guitars as possible. Keep in mind that in most cases, the recommended list price for a guitar, is about twice its actual selling price.
In addition, when you are trying to get more guitar for the money, It might be worth your time to look into local pawn shops, classified Ads or to check out Ebay. There are some good deals out there, you just need to know where to look.

Take a Friend:

Guitar stores can be overwhelming. When possible, bring a guitar playing friend with you, preferably someone with purchasing experience. You want him to be objective and to run interference for you, if you run into any pushy sales associates.
Start off by finding the models and styles in your price range. If you aren't happy with the choices, at least you'll create a basis for comparison.
If you have a favorite type of pick, make sure you have one in your pocket. You want to feel as comfortable as possible.
There's no reason to call over a sales associate just yet, because you should start off by playing your choices acoustically.

Testing a Guitar:

Once you're certain about the model, you're ready to test some guitars. Don't be afraid to ask for one off the wall. When they don't want one played, they will usually tag it, but it's a good idea to leave the top shelf guitars alone unless they are in your price range. Let the sales staff know you're serious and they will be more willing to work with you on a good deal.
To make things simple, I've made a checklist.
Before playing...
-Sit down in a quiet area and feel the guitars weight. Make sure it's balanced, and suited to your size.
-Move the knobs and switch. Make sure they are tight.
-Go to the input jack, see if it wiggles.
-Lift the guitar to your face. Check the headstock and neck joint for small cracks or chips.
-See if the neck looks straight.
-Shake the guitar. Listen for loose parts.
-Look at the fretboard. Make sure there are no wood imperfections, raised or crooked frets. Make sure the frets don't poke through the side of the board.
Before plugging in....
-Strum and fret each string. You're listening for fret buzz.
Keep in mind, guitars aren't always set up prior to placement on the selling floor.
Sometimes they aren't even tuned. Action and fret buzz are USUALLY adjustable, but the guitar shouldn't buzz and rattle everywhere.
-Check the guitar's harmonics. Compare tones at the 12th. See if the guitar is intonated.
-Make sure the board isn't too wide for you. See if you can reach the higher frets.
-Make sure the bridge saddles are level, with no sharp points.
-Make sure the tuners don't feel loose.
Amp it up...
-Ok, find the pain in the ass sales guy. You'll need a guitar cable, and an amp,
Don't Let him plug you into a $1,000 amp. You're testing the guitar not the amp.
-If possible, have a riff ready. If you're tagged as a complete noob, you'll get less respect.
-Use the switch. Select the neck pickup. Select the bridge. Listen for crackling noises.
Roll the knobs and listen for noise. Touch and lift your hand off the bridge, listen for buzzing that stops when you ground it. If you're into Metal, and are looking at a humbucker guitar, expect to hear less noise than if you were testing a single-coil guitar.
-Check the pickups with the amp on clean and with gain.
Questions to Ask...
-Hopefully you already know the wood type of your choice guitar. You need to make sure the salesman knows that you've done your homework.
"Do you have any other Mahogany guitars in this price range, you could recommend?"
-Let the salesman know that you've noticed any imperfections.
"I like this ibanez, but I'm picking up fretbuzz through the amp. Do your guitars come
-Spend a while playing the guitar. Look upset even if you like the guitar.
"What can I get this guitar for?" "Does this guitar come with a case?"
You want to walk out of there, with as many free extras as possible. Especially if you've found anything wrong with the guitar. Any minor flaw, might work as a bargaining chip.
- "What's your return policy?"
Final thoughts...
IF YOU LIKE THE GUITAR ON THE SALES FLOOR, TAKE THAT GUITAR, NOT ONE FROM THE STOCKROOM. Unless it's a floor model, you should still get a box for it. You just don't want to take the time to find the perfect guitar, only to end up with a lemon in the end.
Also keep in mind, stores make a lot of money off of purchase insurance. In almost every case, it's not worth it to buy protection on a guitar. Except for the neck, every part is easily replaced. In addition, any flaws would be apparent within the usual 30 day return time frame.

Good Luck, Jenny
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Solidbody Electric Guitar Suggestions by Price Range and Style- many thanks again to Jenny for valuable assistance in this post

Ok, here are some recommendations for guitars. These are based on personal preference, so you want to try them before buying them in case you don?t like them. It?s also assumed that you?ve checked it out for defects (see above post)- if you see, for example, an Ibanez rg321 in your local shop with its neck split in two, don?t buy it because this guide says it?s good, Also, this guide assumes you have the sense to buy a guitar that?s good for your style. Likewise, don?t buy the Ibanez rg321 if you only play jazz, for example.

I?ve split the styles into low gain (pop, jazz, blues, soft rock), Mid gain (all kinds of rock), and high gain (metal/shred), and each of these sections have been split into hard-tail and tremolo sections (frequently a guitar is available in various versions, I haven?t put in every possible one you can get). Bear in mind, there will be quite a bit of overlap between these sections (especially if you have a good amp), and remember with a pickup change most of these guitars will be able to do any type of tone- so if you like a Fender Fat Strat, for example, and want to play metal, it?ll do metal if you put a metal-style high gain humbucker in the bridge position.

These are also only list of the ?usual suspects?- i.e. guitars that most people in the world have access to. If there?s a great guitar that?s only available in Uruguay, for example, I probably haven?t included it .

My final advice is, if you?re only new to guitar, or play a wide variety of styles, it?s probably a good idea to get a guitar with a mixture of humbuckers and single coils, to see which you prefer- either HSS (bridge humbuckers, middle and neck single coils) or HSH (bridge and neck humbuckers, middle single), for maximum versatility.

Key: USA = cheaper (or only available) in USA, EU = cheaper (or only available) in the EU. * = I?ve tried it, i.e. personal recommendation. I haven?t put prices up for each model, since prices vary so much according to location, they?re only there as a rough guide. Also, all prices assume you?re buying new. If you?re willing to risk it, you can save quite a bit by going second hand.

Starter Packs: Starter packs generally are a bad idea. The main reason is that the people who make good guitars rarely make good amps, and vice versa.

However, according to jj1565 (jenny), the best starter pack (not really a starter pack, you have to buy them separately) is a Dean Evo XM ($99) and Roland Microcube amp ($125).

Price up to £200 ($350/290 Euro):

In this price range, you aren?t going to get an amazing guitar. However, with a little knowledge, and a little luck, you can get a decent guitar that will be worth upgrading with good pickups, tuners etc. It?s assumed that in this price-range that you?ll upgrade the pickups etc. at some stage, and that you have tried it out to check that the quality control has been ok. I haven?t gone any lower in price than £200, because in the UK at least, you?ll struggle to get a decent guitar under £200. You can get a pacifica 112 for £150 if you shop around, but this recommendation band would look pretty bare in that case, lol. In the USA, you can probably get a decent guitar around $200-$250- guitars are GENERALLY better value in the USA, many of these guitars may squeeze into a lower price band if you?re from the USA .

Low Gain


Squier Telecaster (unsure of models): I?ve heard bad things about the squier strats, but the teles are meant to be good for the price.

Mid Gain:


Yamaha Pacifica 112*: Fat Strat-style guitar. Great value, and versatile, and has an alder body.


Agile AL-2500/2800 or better (USA): Basically LP copies. Good spec in terms of wood, but not being in the USA, I haven?t tried them. On paper, at least, sound like a much better deal than an Epi. Also available in tremolo models. In most cases, you have to buy them without trying, as they?re only available from www.rondomusic.net

High Gain


Ibanez RG321*: great value, wizard II neck, built for shred/metal. Mahogany.

Schecter Omen 6: A valid alternative to the Ibanez. Basswood, thicker neck profile, probably better for rhythm than lead.

Tremolo: I would advise against getting a guitar with a locking Floyd-type tremolo in this price range, odds are it?ll be a cheap example that won?t hold tune and will be more bother than it?s worth.

Ones to avoid: anything too cheap, or no-name brands. Also, any Epiphone LP cheaper than a Studio, or SG cheaper than a 400 model. Anything with a poor quality licensed Floyd Rose tremolo (I have a list of the good Floyds above). Anything that says B.C. Rich on the headstock.

£200-£400 ($350-$700/290-580 Euro): In this price range, you probably aren?t quite up to pro standard, but you should get a guitar that, with a few upgrades, should be, near enough.

Low Gain:


Fender Standard (a.k.a. Mexican) Stratocaster: with a pickup upgrade, and assuming you test it to get a good example, can rival the American series. The Highway 1 and Mexican 50?s, 60?s and 70?s reissues are also worth a look for a little more cash, with specs in-between the Mexican Standards and American Standards.


Fender Standard (a.k.a. Mexican) Telecaster: with a pickup upgrade, and assuming you test it to get a good example, can rival the American series.



Yamaha Pacifica 612/812*: great value guitars, with Seymour Duncan pickup(s). At this price, any kind of name-brand pickup is a bonus.

Fender Standard (a.k.a. Mexican) Fat (or double fat) Stratocaster: with a pickup upgrade, and assuming you test it to get a good example, can rival the American series.

PRS SE (various models): great value guitars, with a large choice of pickup options.


Yamaha AES620/720: Seymour Duncan or Dimarzio pickups. Again, great value.

Epiphone SG 400 (think that?s the model): Good value copy of a Gibson SG.

Agile 3000+/3500+(USA): Seriously good guitar for the cash.

PRS SE (various models): great value guitars, with a large choice of pickup options.

Dean Evo Noir: Jenny came up with this one.

High Gain:


Ibanez S470*: has a good trem (ZR), great neck for shredding, versatile. I?ve heard of poor quality control, though, so you want to try it thoroughly before buying.

Washburn X40 Pro: haven?t tried it, but its spec on paper is so good, that it?s almost worth it for the parts (Duncan pickups, Schaller trem)- in the UK at least.

Schecter C1FR*: has an Original Floyd Rose trem, mahogany body. Versatile.


Washburn X50 Pro/WI (Idol) 66/67: again, I haven?t tried them, but on paper the spec, for the price, is excellent.

Schecter C1* or Blackjack: Similar to the C1FR, but in hard tail. You want to try Schecters, though, because the coated neck is kind of love or hate.

Ibanez SZ320*/520: hardtail mahogany guitar. Nice comfy bridge, and nice neck heel joint.

Ones to avoid: ESP/LTD guitars under the 400 range, anything with a cheap double locking tremolo. Any Ibanez RG that has a locking trem under the 1570 model.

£400-£600 ($700-$1000/580-870 Euro):

In this price range you should get basically a pro guitar- albeit it may not have all the cosmetic features (a workhorse guitar, in other words). May need a little upgrading too, but the actual guitar should be good quality.

Low Gain:


Fender American Stratocaster*: As the Mexican one, but generally all-round better quality. Rolled Fingerboard edges.

G&L Legacy: similar to the Fender. A lot of people prefer them.


Fender American Telecaster: As the Mexican one, but generally all-round better quality. Rolled Fingerboard edges.

G&L ASAT: similar to the Fender. A lot of people prefer them.

Mid Gain:


Fender American Fat (or double fat) Strat: As the Mexican one, but generally all-round better quality. Rolled Fingerboard edges.


ESP/LTD 400 series (various models) with Seymour Duncan pickups (USA): always a good choice.

Lower Gibsons (Studios etc.) or Epiphone Elites: Great value Japanese-made guitars (Epi), slightly overpriced (Gibson) but still good guitars.

High gain:


Ibanez RG1570: poor pickups, fantastic everything else. Built for shred. Basswood.

Jackson pro/MG series (various models): Assuming they?re Japanese-built, they have a really good spec for 2006, but the trem might be iffy (hasn?t been determined yet, lol). If it is, get one of the hard-tail ones instead.


ESP/LTD 400 series, with EMG pickups: great for metal.

Ibanez RG121: poor pickups, fantastic everything else. Built for shred, and mahogany so better for metal than the rg1570.

Jackson Pro/MG Series (various models with hardtails): Have a really good spec for 2006, assuming they?re Japanese-made, should be great.

Over £600 ($1000/870 Euro): You?re on your own. You shouldn?t get a poor guitar at this price, but make sure it suits the style of music you play, and that it has a good spec. Just remember not to buy a guitar for its pickups, as most pickups on high-priced guitars are there to please most of the people, most of the time, and tend to be versatile, rather than the best for the music you may want to play.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
I revised this and took out some of the repeated stuff. Thanks Dave_Mc for the foundation.

Forum Rules

These are in addition to any general forum rules (No porn, links to porn, links to viruses, flaming, overuse of cursing/swearing). Any infraction of the rules of UG and it's forums will either result in a closed/deleted thread, and/or a warning/banning.

1: Multiple threads: Do not start more than one thread on the same subject.

2: Stickies: Read all the stickies before posting a thread, because they will help you by either giving you more information, or answering your question. If we feel that the thread you create is covered by a sticky, your thread will be closed.

3: Versus threads: Threads like, ?Metallica vs. Megadeth?, or ?Gibson vs. Fender? are not allowed.

4: Preference threads: Do not start threads about what you prefer over other brands, or what you feel like advertising about because you think it?s the greatest. If you are asking what other people prefer, that is fine.

6: Search: Use the search button every time you even think about posting a thread.

7: Keep on Topic: For the most part, posts in a thread must have relevance to the question asked by the thread starter.

8: Bumping: Do not bump your threads. This means don't post in your own thread in order to bump it to the top of the forum list. Also, don't bump dead threads from over six months ago.

9: Forum use: As a general rule, every thread concerning electric guitars should go into the Electric Guitar forum, unless it concerns modifying the electric guitar. Every thread concerning amps or effects should go in Guitar Gears & Accessories, and every thread concerning modifying your guitar, amp, effect pedal, rack mounts, etc., should go in Guitar Building & Customizing forum.

11: Musical tastes: The Instrument forums are not for discussing musical preferences or to bash musical tastes.

13: It?s all preference!: What we like may not be what you like! The best route is to always try something before you buy it!

Normal forum rules such as no advertising, no junk/pointless posts, no fighting/flaming/posting of personal information apply.

How to get good advice

1: What to state in your opening thread

Whatever you are buying, you must answer the following questions in your first post

(a) What do you want to buy?

(b) What is your budget?

(c) What type(s) of music do you want to play?

Originally posted by gpderek09 (and expanded by Dave)
It would be helpful to list what gear you currently have. Then we could advise you as to whether the new kit that you're contemplating purchasing would make enough of an improvement to your sound to justify its expense.

Originally posted by gpderek09 (and expanded by Dave)
It would be helpful to tell us your playing ability or skill level. Some pickups and amps-eg. Dimarzio Evolution pickups- are fantastic and super clear at accentuating every note you play. This helps if you can play without mistakes (i.e. if you're good). Trouble is, if you aren't, it'll accentuate your mistakes, and make you sound worse than you are. So this will also help us advise you what to get. By the way, I couldn't think of any amps like this off-hand, but I have heard others mentioning them from time to time!

(f) Originally posted by Danno 13: Tell us if you're willing to buy used- this makes a major difference in what quality of kit you can afford, but of course it's a risk, and you need to know quite a bit about guitars etc. to not be taken advantage of.

2: What not to do
Originally posted by xifr
Don't complain if someone hasn't answered your question in the first couple hours, it's a forum, not a damn chat room.
Thanks for this one, xifr
Also I'll add to this, it may just be that no-one knows. It's annoying, and it's happened to me before, but there's nothing you can do about it. If you're really stuck, you could try e-mailing the company for an answer (that helped me!).

How to give advice

1: Give advice, not what you would do: This is the most important rule. Advice means stepping into someone else's shoes, not telling the threadstarter what you'd do if you were him/her.

2: READ the original post: Don't just post away! Read what the thread starter is asking you!

3: Give sensible advice: If someone says "I'm 12 years old, I have $200 and that's all I'll have for the next 5 years (I have no job)", DON'T advise them to save up for an ENGL amp, or a Gibson Les Paul, it's not going to happen.

4: Don't recommend something you haven't tried: Just because you think something is good, doesn't mean it is. So if you haven't tried it, don't talk about it!

5: Do not be rude: Just because you think the thread starter is stupid, s/he isn't! We all started somewhere, so be nice about it.

6: Give reasons: Don't say "such-and-such a product ROCKS!". Say "i like it because of its bright, shimmering clean channel" or something like that. That's much more helpful, especially if the threadstarter hasn't tried the product in question before.

7: Don't say "It has a good name, it must be good": This is a pretty ubiquitous one. Most brand names made their names from a combination of past glories and top of the range models. It's unlikely a Mesa practice amp (if they had one) would be good just because you happen to appreciate their lone star, for example.

8: Experience with the product: Even if you?ve only played the product once, give us your opinion on it so we know where you?re coming from.

9: Location: Do not recommend things that are not available to the threadstarter or is too pricey because of import taxes.

10: Don?t know? Don?t post.

Originally posted by frigginjerk
another good point about giving advice, and one that has helped me to appear much smarter than i actually am....

speak at length about that which you DO know, and shut your hole when it comes to something you DON'T know.

If you have any questions, just PM a mod of the forum, and we?ll get back to you as soon as we can!

Originally posted by SV300
The list below, consists of members of this forum, who have been consistently helpful, given honest, insightful and more importantly accurate information, and therefore, have earned a spot on this list. In other words, listen to these people.

The current Who To Listen To list is of active members of the forums. The honorary list is of people who rarely pop in, but are time tried veterans on the forums.

The Who to Listen to List
  • jj1565
  • Dave_Mc
  • Tom 1.0
  • Gregs1020
  • Dave_mc
  • ippon
  • 311zosovhjh
  • LP_CL
  • AcousticMirror
  • JustRooster
  • grohl1987
  • Electrik
  • Gpderek09
  • Mexican Shred
  • Erock503
  • Funky P
  • Dirk Gently
  • xxGenocidexx
  • etc.

The Honorary Who to Listen to List

  • sv300
  • dgonz
  • pjd
  • streamline
  • jacob m
  • *def*
  • jaeger
  • scheck006
  • backup guitar
  • mig28
  • jag513
  • mnbaseball91
  • zavorash
  • TGM
  • casualty01
  • Bill43
  • Beatallica_Fan
  • power freak
  • Cmogi10
  • Asomodai
  • jono034
  • D Man
  • Mascot
  • HopePoisoned
  • Seljer
  • Unitedkid
  • Toxicity
  • Joyful Womble
  • Xifr
  • Nic_2090
  • Utsapp89
  • Crunchmeister
  • CyBerAliEn
  • EaRsH0T

The list is NOT closed, and any members who are seen to post regularly with accurate information, and are willing to help out, will be added.

Please keep in mind, the above list of people does NOT mean they are the only people you should take seriously or listen to when they post. it is simply a list of people, given to you to maybe help any confusion you might have as to what might be correct or what might be wrong information..... it's a list of members who are consistently VERY helpful, knowledgeable and thorough in the areas covered by this forum. simple as that.

Feel free to post nominations etc. now!

Chat room:

Nickname: ______________
Room: #Ultimate-Guitar
Server: irc.matrixchat.us
Port: 6667

If you guys are ever online in chat, type: /join #instruments

By: Csquared1001

It is a tremelo that literally Floats by balancing on a pivot point. In order for that to happen
the springs inside the Guitar body have to have equal tension with the Strings of the guitar. For a more Detailed explanation and anatomy of a Floyd rose Go here

The Floyd Rose Bridge is known for it's ability to hold strings in tune. And once you set it up properly, No matter how much you use the whammy it won't go out of tune.

When it comes to setting up I found the following lessons very helpful:

Lesson #1
Lesson #2
Lesson #3
Lesson #4
Lesson #5
Lesson #6
Lesson #7

along with this Quote from the tremelo expert Madpickin03:

now for INTONATION: it is ajusted by moving the saddle up or down. you can check your intonation by comparing the acurracy of your open string note and your octave(or 12th fret) If the 12th fret note is flat you must increase the length of the string by moving the saddle up. If it's flat move the saddle down. I found the best way to remeber the direction to move the saddle is with this saying:

"if it's down go up and if it's up go down."


"if the note is flat, move the saddle up and if the note is sharp, move the saddle down"

NOTE: If you have a crappy tuner, your intonation will be less accurate.

Now a couple of my personal tips:
1. if your trem is sinking downwards use the whammy bar to put it level then place a stick covered in tape (as in the video) and put it at the back to hold it level. that way you can take off all the strings and clean the fretboard and such. When the guitar is back in tune, the stick should simply slide out.

2. ALWAYS consult a guitar tech for serious problems. do not try to do it yourself

3. DON'T **** AROUND! if your guitar is already set don't do something stupid like trying to set it up "EVH" style. you could **** it up and then need a tech. Make sure you know what your doing and DO NOT RUSH!

if your guitar buzzes then send a recording or do your best to describe what type of buzz you have so we have a better idea of what the problem is.

and if all else fails...