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#1
Hi everyone,

Four months ago, I have taken back my teen Cort guitar (70's or 80's  model ?) and bought a Yamaha THR10 amp. I  am an eternal novice, but my skills improved those last months: I know  my major chords, minor chords, and main 7th chords. I am improving my  barre chords. I play one hour each day for four months. And I have  worked nearly 100 songs (essentially chords).

I bought my Cort (unindentified model, see my profile) to a friend around 1989. It's probably equivalent to a 100 € (or $) guitar. I feel I am improving my skills. So I am thinking about buying a new guitar, for example a Squier or a cheap Fender at around 700 €. 

But I want to take my time. You know, when you are a beginner, sometimes you feel difficulties to progress and you think: "perphaps if I'd have a real guitar, I would play better or learn faster..." Then you watch some videos on YouTube with titles like "cheap guitar vs expensive one". And you think, "ok, those guys who plays very well make also the same fantastic things with a 100 € guitar..." So why buy a new guitar ? Is it worthwhile at my level ? On the other side, when I replaced my old Gorilla amp four months ago for a fantastic Yamaha THR10 amp, the sound was so much better, it made me want to play a lot. So, perhaps a new guitar would have the same effect ?

Finally, my question is: when do you think a beginner should give up its 100 € guitar for a more expensive one ?
#2
Buying a higher quality guitar is always worthwhile regardless of your skill level.

A higher quality guitar will play better, which will help make it easier to learn, sound better and feel nicer to play overall. Which will further encourage you to keep practicing.

This notion of not being 'allowed' to have a better guitar to play on until you reach an arbitrary level of skill is utter nonsense.
Quote by Axelfox
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#3
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
A higher quality guitar will play better, which will help make it easier to learn, sound better and feel nicer to play overall.

Thank you for answering so quickly (Waoo ! There must be a lot of people here !)

Can you please tell me more ? I understand that a more expensive guitar would have a better sound because of the quality of the pickups. But what difference about playing ? (in fact, I have never played on another guitar than mine, so I have difficulties to imagine the difference...).
#4
I disagree with TDB on this. Get a different (not necessarily more expensive!!!!) guitar if it will motivate you the try harder, or you can identify something wrong with what you already have. "More expensive" doesn't necessarily mean "better" in terms of performance*, and most guitars can be set up to play well these days. You have to trust you ears and be able to discriminate between what you like and what you don't without looking too closely at the price tag.

If you have only played that one guitar, it would be a good idea to go and try a few to get a feel for the kind of variety that is available.

*I was happy with my very cheap unmodded Peavey, and I wouldn't want to Gibson LP Standard at any price.

EDIT. I played (then) cheap Japanese acoustics for about 12 years, and was a passable player, before I bought a "name" brand. OTOH, it was good, and not-cheap, guitars that motivated me to take up slide and lap steel.
Last edited by Tony Done at Mar 19, 2017,
#5
Some history to provide perspective on my P.O.V.:

My first guitar...depends on how you look at it, The first one I messed around on was my Mom's acoustic. She was a music teacher and bought herself one for fun. I don't recall the make, but it was very nice. Unfortunately, she gave it away before I expressed an interest in playing guitar. After I did so, she bought me a cheapo Alvarez. I actually played it to irreparability in about a year, and she bought me an Ovation to replace it. At the same time, I purchased a Washburn fretless acoustic electric bass.

Many years later, when I finally started taking lessons, I decided to try going electric. I borrowed a buddy's BC Rich for 6 months before deciding to jump in. After months of shopping. I went into my favorite local music store and special ordered a Dean Special Select EVO...and a Dean Time Capsule Cadillac. IOW, my personally owned first two electric guitars cost @$500 and $3500.

(I still have the Ovation, Washburn and both Deans.)

So if we use "more expensive" as a shorthand way to say "better made" when taking about guitars- which isn't always the case, to be honest- then my opinion is the time for a new player to buy one is when he or she WANTS one...and has the budget to do so.
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.
#6
Quote by 314159
Thank you for answering so quickly (Waoo ! There must be a lot of people here !)

Can you please tell me more ? I understand that a more expensive guitar would have a better sound because of the quality of the pickups. But what difference about playing ? (in fact, I have never played on another guitar than mine, so I have difficulties to imagine the difference...).

It totally depends on what other guitar you're thinking of getting. Everything about whatever you play now could be totally different with this hypothetical new guitar. The neck, the frets, the bridge, the weight, the balance the hardware, the electronics, everything.

You really have to go to a guitar store and try as many different guitars as possible to know what those differences are like.
Quote by Tony Done
I disagree with TDB on this. Get a different (not necessarily more expensive!!!!) guitar if it will motivate you the try harder, or you can identify something wrong with what you already have. "More expensive" doesn't necessarily mean "better" in terms of performance*, and most guitars can be set up to play well these days.

When you're talking about a guitar that only costs 100 euros, you don't have to spend very much more money in such a price bracket to get something that's drastically better. The typical 100 euro guitar will require lots of money to be sunk into it to get it playing good. Which is likely better spent getting a better guitar in the first place.

I try not to be too much of a snob, but you get what you pay for with guitars that cheap.
Quote by Axelfox
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#7
T00DEEPBLUE 

We must agree to disagree. - I don't see much relationship between price and performance, but I admit you need to know what you are looking for. Reliability might be an issue if you are gigging a lot, but i doubt that would worry a beginner. Just to quote a personal example. I have a '95 Gibson LP Special that I think sounds very good, but I rarely play it because of its weight, OTOH, my very cheap Peavey gets a lot of playing time because it only weighs 5 1/4 lb. 
#8
Quote by Tony Done
T00DEEPBLUE

We must agree to disagree. - I don't see much relationship between price and performance, but I admit you need to know what you are looking for. Reliability might be an issue if you are gigging a lot, but i doubt that would worry a beginner. Just to quote a personal example. I have a '95 Gibson LP Special that I think sounds very good, but I rarely play it because of its weight, OTOH, my very cheap Peavey gets a lot of playing time because it only weighs 5 1/4 lb. 

 I see. So if one makes a snap decision, they could wind up with an unsatisfactory instrument. Do some research online, go play them. Some music stores rent instruments. So you may be able to take one home to try it for a few days to see if it's what you like. Gibsons have smaller narrower frets which I don't like. Some folks don't mind it. I play a strat knockoff myself. When I'm ready I'll upgrade, but I'm not going to break the bank doing it. If I was playing for good money, yeah I'd have a Martin acoustic, a Geddy Lee signature bass, and a Telecaster guitar. I have other priorities. Music is a fun hobby for me, not a career.
Last edited by bar2271 at Mar 19, 2017,
#10
When a novice should buy a more expensive guitar ? 


I've been a big believer in buying the best you can from the get-go. My first guitar was/is a Gibson ES-335 ('67) dredged out of a music store's used bin. Still have it. These days you can get an outstanding guitar (in terms of playability) for relatively cheap, so the quality of the setup is really more important than the price of the guitar. I buy expensive PLEK setups, even on cheap guitars. 
#11
there are very few guitars these days that simply cannot be set up though.
get what makes you happy.
buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.
#12
I would suggest not getting tunnel vision on the dream guitar. I always wanted a Les Paul custom and when I finally got one it wasn't as satisfying as I thought it would be. Love the tone of the thing but it matched more in my head that it did in my hand. My go to guitar as of late has been a PRS SE Tremonti that I picked up at a pawn shop for cheap. I put some locking tuning machines on it and I am pretty happy with  it. Its light so its great to travel with and sounds pretty decent. 

The Gibson rarely leaves it case and my house. Find what works for you in actual playing experience. 
#13
The cheap vs. expensive debate is exactly why I buy used instruments.

I know that most any guitar can be set up to play well if the person setting it up is good at doing just that. A novice will not be able to do this and depending on their location may have a hard time finding a reputable tech that can do it.

Depending on how cheap the instrument is it may have bad fretwork and poor electronics which are not so easy or cheap to remedy, sure a good tech can level frets file the sharp edges rewire/replace the electronics etc. but how much work/money should be done to a cheap guitar to make it play well I suppose that would be up to the owner but not a good deal for me.

OTOH some cheaper guitars are decent from the get go and with a little or maybe no tweaking can be great players this category for me often comes from the used market where more expensive guitars can be had for low prices, currently I have 15 guitars all but one were purchased used and none of them cost over $500 all are great players. Some of my used guitars have had pickup upgrades and tremolos have been upgraded on a couple but I don't spend too much on them.

I play mostly metal and have always been partial to MIJ Jackson guitars (I have 7) I just like the way they play and feel and they are readily available here in the U.S. for $250-$400 depending on condition with guitars in great condition generally selling in the $350 range give or take. There are plenty of used guitars from other brands Ibanez, Schecter, Ltd, Fender, etc to fit any bill and on a budget.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

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Last edited by Evilnine at Mar 20, 2017,
#14
My $500 Dean has 1 issue: terribad humbuckers. I'd have replaced them by now, but I can't decide which way to go.
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.
#15
when do you think a beginner should give up its 100 € guitar for a more expensive one

For me, as a beginner, it was simply when I had the extra cash. That combined with just needed something to inspire me to keep playing. I just upgraded last week from my first guitar and it has changed the world of guitar playing for me. I wanted something nice, something I will enjoy playing for a long time instead of recycling through starter guitars. If I had to do it all over again, I think I would have had a better start with something along the lines of what I have now, instead of being scared and settling on something cheap just because its cheap, if it doesn't pan out at least you gave yourself a fair shot.
Flying in a blue dream
#16
Here's my take on this: I played an Ibanez GAX30 (which I still have) for ages! I started playing in 2006 and then got an acoustic as well in 2007. Got a PRS SE 24 in 2008/09 (can't remember) and played that most of the time. I bought a PRS S2 Mira in 2014 due to no longer liking my SE model (tuning was shit but was rare with those guitars apparently) and I also bought a new PRS SE Angelus acoustic to go with my new electric and gave away my old acoustic to a friend. Sold the SE 24 about 2 years ago and now own my original Ibanez, my S2 Mira and my SE Angelus (I like PRS). I'll end up buying a few more over the years I imagine now I've bought my own house. The way I see it is like most; buy a better one whenever the feeling takes you, you can always upgrade your first guitar with better pickups and tuners etc. Don't think you can't spend £1000/$1000 on a new guitar just because you've only been playing a year, hell...get a £3000 PRS custom if you have the money. My advice is upgrade your amp before your guitar, I did that and never looked back. I great amp with an average guitar will ALWAYS sound better than a great guitar and average amp!
#17
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Buying a higher quality guitar is always worthwhile regardless of your skill level.

A higher quality guitar will play better, which will help make it easier to learn, sound better and feel nicer to play overall. Which will further encourage you to keep practicing.

This notion of not being 'allowed' to have a better guitar to play on until you reach an arbitrary level of skill is utter nonsense.


Can't agree enough. Most Ferrari owners aren't professional race car drivers, but the car inspires them to drive. Guitars are no different.

Quote by Tony Done
T00DEEPBLUE 

We must agree to disagree.


I wouldn't, he's right.
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Last edited by JustRooster at Mar 20, 2017,
#19
I think the main reason beginners tend to end up with cheaper guitars in the first place is because there is a chance they might just give up shortly after starting. It's no different to when people buy expensive sports gear and only use it a few times before they sit on their arse while it gathers dust.

 If you're happy playing guitar then buy whatever guitar you want.
It didn't take long to realise
The safest place was not her arms, but her eyes
Where she can't see you
For her gaze, it blisters;
Grey skin to cinders
Last edited by 剣 斧 血 at Mar 20, 2017,
#20
Quote by JustRooster
Can't agree enough.  Most Ferrari owners aren't professional race car drivers, but the car inspires them to drive.  Guitars are no different.


I like the analogy. But between you and me -- Ferraris don't get driven all that much. It's possible (and fairly easy) to find a ten-year-old Ferrari right this very second that has 5000 or fewer miles on it. They get hauled out on weekends or whenever you need to make an impression on someone. I'm not sure that anyone really knows what happens to a Ferrari when it gets 100K miles on it, but Hondas and Toyotas with way more mileage than that are commonplace. They're not as "precious."  That said, I have a '67 Lamborghini that has just 69,000 miles. These days those are "caretaker" cars and due to their rarity, most live in collections or museums. But I spoke to a guy from San Diego who has 250K miles on his, and it looks (and runs) great. And yes, he drives it to the grocery store. 

There are a lot of expensive guitars that rarely see the light of day and are pristine even though they're pretty old. OTOH, the cheapos get rocked. 
#21
JustRooster 

Then we too must agree to disagree. Most of us like to own nice things, but that doesn't mean we should believe that "more" is the same as "better". - The Ferrari wouldn't have been a whole lot of use when I lived in the Kimberleys.
Last edited by Tony Done at Mar 20, 2017,
#22
Quote by dspellman
I like the analogy. But between you and me -- Ferraris don't get driven all that much. It's possible (and fairly easy) to find a ten-year-old Ferrari right this very second that has 5000 or fewer miles on it. They get hauled out on weekends or whenever you need to make an impression on someone. I'm not sure that anyone really knows what happens to a Ferrari when it gets 100K miles on it, but Hondas and Toyotas with way more mileage than that are commonplace. They're not as "precious."  That said, I have a '67 Lamborghini that has just 69,000 miles. These days those are "caretaker" cars and due to their rarity, most live in collections or museums. But I spoke to a guy from San Diego who has 250K miles on his, and it looks (and runs) great. And yes, he drives it to the grocery store. 

There are a lot of expensive guitars that rarely see the light of day and are pristine even though they're pretty old. OTOH, the cheapos get rocked. 



It was a quick metaphor. No need to be pedantic about it. Buy the guitar that makes you want to play it.
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#23
I found this some time ago, and thought it was worth keeping. I think it does a good job of putting the price v value argument in perspective:

  
Guitarist’s choices.
Guitarists tend to hive to their personal gear price point. I've said it before on the Les Paul forums, but;
 

Cheap guitars are built better than guys with expensive guitars will give credit to.
 

Expensive guitars are built better than the guys with cheap guitars will give credit to.
 

The expensive guitars are not built as well as the expensive guitar owners think.
 

The cheap guitars are not built as well as the cheap guitar owners think.
 

A valuable guitar has good level frets and a well cut nut, regardless of price.
 

A cheap guitar with poor design features can be forgiven because it is cheap.
 

A cheap guitar with poor design features can be criticised because it is cheap garbage that clearly was designed by idiots on a tiny budget.
 

An expensive guitar with poor design features can be forgiven because it has character and period charm.
 

An expensive guitar with poor design features can be criticised because it cost so much it should play right and I'm scared to mod it and risk getting flamed by the community that worships the ground said guitar walks on (*cough* Rickenbacker *cough*).
 

Player A, who asserts that their Squier Affinity Strat is as good as any MIA Fender, is a poor, bitter, jealous loser.
 

Player B who asserts that their MIA Fender Strat smokes any Squier Strat is an insecure, elitist bully.
 

Player A calls Player B a 'tone lawyer', and Player B calls Player A a hobo.
 

Player C owns a Squier Strat but modded it with $300 in parts and claims it outplays Player B's Strat because they spent a further $200 to have it Plek'd. They cannot sell it on Craigslist for $150, but always find a way of bringing it into every conversation on any internet forum they are a member of.
 

Player B considers their guitar to be complete already, and ignores the poorly cut nut slots grounding issues and rising ski-jump around the 12th fret because 'its a Strat, man'. Player B dosn't notice these issues, and Player A picks up his guitar at an open mic night and finds it a handful, tells the internet the next day, and gets flamed out as a jealous loser.
 

Player A considers their guitar to be complete already, and ignores the poorly cut nut slots grounding issues and rising ski-jump around the 12th fret because 'its as good as a real Strat, man, I played a real Fender last night and it sucked, lololol'.

I apologise to the original author for having lost the source, and hope he doesn't mind being quoted..
#24
Awful lots of anecdotes and assumptions that add up to nothing of real importance there.

Moral: But whatever makes you want to play it.
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Last edited by JustRooster at Mar 20, 2017,
#25
Thank you all for your interesting and various points of view !
I think I will take my time before buying another guitar (this summer ?). Sure I need to try some models in a guitar shop to understand which kind of guitar would suit me.
At the moment, I am attracted by a Squier (or cheapest Fender) strat, because Strats are said to be polyvalent. And I enjoy playing various types of chords: Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Joy Division, Cure, U2, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Nirvana, Leonard Chohen... 
#26
Sure I need to try some models in a guitar shop to understand which kind of guitar would suit me.


Yep. Like I said, it took me months to figure out what I wanted.

As for "polyvalance"... if you ask any player who is a fan of a particular type of guitar, they may well tell you IT is "polyvalent" as well. That's usually something that says more about the player's skills, preferences and perceptions than the guitar, because if you know what you're doing, dang near any guitar can be used for dang near any genre of music.
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.
#27
Maybe yours is fine. Wait until you find a guitar that you like more. Dont just blow money because someone tells you that expensive stuff is better.
Last edited by geo-rage at Mar 20, 2017,
#28
spend some time playing a bunch of guitars. not just ones you can afford but as many as you can play. before worrying about getting a "better" guitar you need to learn what "better" means to you. while the buy the best you can afford sentiment is on paper a good one it doesn't matter if you don't know what that is. more money doesn't automatically mean "better" guitar. learning what guitars feel good to you and knowing a little more about pickups, tuners etc will help you make a better informed decision. 
#29
Quote by dspellman
I like the analogy. But between you and me -- Ferraris don't get driven all that much. It's possible (and fairly easy) to find a ten-year-old Ferrari right this very second that has 5000 or fewer miles on it. They get hauled out on weekends or whenever you need to make an impression on someone. I'm not sure that anyone really knows what happens to a Ferrari when it gets 100K miles on it, but Hondas and Toyotas with way more mileage than that are commonplace. They're not as "precious."  That said, I have a '67 Lamborghini that has just 69,000 miles. These days those are "caretaker" cars and due to their rarity, most live in collections or museums. But I spoke to a guy from San Diego who has 250K miles on his, and it looks (and runs) great. And yes, he drives it to the grocery store. 

There are a lot of expensive guitars that rarely see the light of day and are pristine even though they're pretty old. OTOH, the cheapos get rocked. 


do you get insured as a collectible. most decade old supercar insurance policies don't even cover more then 5k a year.
buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.
#30
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Yep.  Like I said, it took me months to figure out what I wanted.

As for "polyvalance"... if you ask any player who is a fan of a particular type of guitar, they may well tell you IT is "polyvalent" as well.  That's usually something that says more about the player's skills, preferences and perceptions than the guitar, because if you know what you're doing, dang near any guitar can be used for dang near any genre of music.

That is not, of course, what polyvalent means. It's quite a stretch to distort a specific chemical term like that. 
#31
Quote by AcousticMirror
do you get insured as a collectible. most decade old supercar insurance policies don't even cover more then 5k a year.

Most people who own decade old supercars own more than one or two or three cars. Hagerty has information on valuation of your particular car and on mileage limits, for example. But few folks ever exceed those limits or want to. 
#32
Quote by dspellman
Most people who own decade old supercars own more than one or two or three cars. Hagerty has information on valuation of your particular car and on mileage limits, for example. But few folks ever exceed those limits or want to. 


don't see how you can be inspired to drive when you are on a mileage limitation.
none of the ferraris in my parking complex ever see the sun for more then an hour a week.
buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.
#33
Quote by dspellman
That is not, of course, what polyvalent means. It's quite a stretch to distort a specific chemical term like that. 


Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd definition: Having many different functions, forms, or facets.
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.
#34
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Yep. Like I said, it took me months to figure out what I wanted.

As for "polyvalance"... if you ask any player who is a fan of a particular type of guitar, they may well tell you IT is "polyvalent" as well. That's usually something that says more about the player's skills, preferences and perceptions than the guitar, because if you know what you're doing, dang near any guitar can be used for dang near any genre of music.
I've never heard that word in my life, and I have a slightly-below-average vocabulary, so I refuse to believe your average guitarist is likely to use it.
#35
I feel it really just depends on the situation.
If you have the money to upgrade- go for it, you already have the budget and any guitar will be better than what you have.
If you start to think that you need a new guitar go for it.
Just don't make sure you're specific enough to know what guitar you want.
"ba doo doo ba doo doo ba doo daa"
- earth,wind, and fire
#37
K33nbl4d3

I suspect the original poster is not a native English speaker. I have noticed that some ESL teachers/systems- especially those in non-native English speaking countries- will use unusual synonyms or deeper definitions than native speakers.
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.
#38
OP - I'd say just go out and try some more expensive guitars and see how they feel to you.

I recently decided to experiment with a $500 guitar - a Chinese LTD GH-200. It had quite a few things that were wrong with it, and in comparison my second-hand $300 LTD M-1000 is a marvel. The $500 guitar had horrible fret job, where you'd have to spend about $200 to get a luthier to fix the frets sticking out or you have to file them youself, possibly doing damage to the neck if you're not sure how it needs to be done.

The pickups on that guitar were not good by any means.

The rest of the hardware was also of low quality - tuners, the tremolo, etc.

So, it really depends what you will jump up to and knowing what to look for.

With that in mind, a Squier might not really be that much more of an improvement. I feel the next jump in quality is probably around the $1000 mark, even though I played a flawless Indonesian-made Yamaha Revstar that was priced at $600.
#39
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd definition:  Having many different functions, forms, or facets.

No one uses language with precision, I swear.  It's all body language and winks. 
#40
Quote by AcousticMirror
don't see how you can be inspired to drive when you are on a mileage limitation.
none of the ferraris in my parking complex ever see the sun for more then an hour a week.


Dragging that metaphor back to guitars; I have expensive guitars that just don't get played and others that just don't get played very often. They may be too expensive or rare or historical to risk (okay, I know there are people who play bursts in bars, but...), or I may just be too prissy to put another ding or dent in them. My personal TFE (Too F.......Expensive) limit seems to be around $6K and up. At the very least, they don't go out of the house. 
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