#1
I started playing exactly 3 months ago. My first purchase was a Squier Strat that came in the starter pack. I don't believe this model sells for more than $99. Last week I upgraded to an Epiphone Les Paul Standard which cost me around $500. The difference in craftsmanship and sound quality is night and day especially because I upgraded to a 60watt amp as well.

Today I was at a local guitar store where I bought my acoustic and spent some one-on-one time with the owner. I told him I bought the Epiphone Les Paul Standard and he put a guitar in my hands and told me to try it while he helped out another customer. It looked similar to mine but was an ESP brand which GC doesn't carry. I guess Sam Ash does but I never went there because GC was closer to me. Anyway, I don't know what exact model he gave me but the price tag was around $700. Right away I could tell a difference. It felt smooth like butter. I could slide, bend, and move around the frets easier than with my new Epiphone.

So, my question is.. what affects playability? Is my guitar's action set high and that one was set low? Were the strings on that guitar thinner and easier to bend than my stock strings? Is the neck made of a different slicker material?

I am asking these questions because 1) I am a begginer and don't know that much and 2) I can return that guitar to GC if I need to

Help is always appreciated!
#2
basically everything, even the strings
pickups can make it sound great or like crap
personally i would go with the ESP brand, most other people on here will to
epiphone is a good brand dont get me wrong but ESP is so much better.
better quality wood, pickups, its put together better, better bridges and tuners and everything
#3
only 3 months and you bought a 500$ guitar? lol dang. i still have my beginner's "First Act" guitar lol.. and have had it for 2 years
#4
If you can return the Epi and can afford the ESP I would, the more you can spend on a guitar the better it will be.
#5
yeah the extra 200 makes a difference...but a set up might change your opinion...also maybe some easy fret polish to put on the strings may make a big difference
'I love her, but I love to fish...I'm gonna miss her"
#6
I'm of the opinion, that it's not the guitar's playability. It's your's. Your personal preferences will affect whether you want a certain guitar over another, no matter what brand, materials or how it's set up. To elaborate: To guys go into a guitar store. They have almost the same taste in music. They play around with all the same stuff. In the end they walk out with two completely different guitars. Why? Because the guitar each walked out with felt "right" for him. I've played alot of different stuff, trying to find what was "good". Ultimately I decided upon what got me that "right" feeling. Even though it had a different bodywood, pickups and neck, I still went with my gut instinct. If that ESP (or LTD as mine was) gives you that feeling and the Gibson doesn't, I'd swap. If this is a it felt/sounded nice because it was made better/whatever, I'd just wait until you find something that does really feel "right" for you. Trust me, you'll know.
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#7
hopefully, in most cases a $700 will be a little nicer than a $500 one. That said i do really like epiphones myself, i think they are manufactured well and generally sound great.

I have less experience with ESP but i find that they are made to be very easily playable, but it depends on your style of music and all. I feel like ESP's don't have quite as deep of a sound and i think that may be because of the thin neck and lighter weight. SO make sure it is what you really want.

And i also hate you for getting a new $500 guitar and 60watt amp after only 3 months. I didn't get a half-decent electric till i'd been playing somewhere around 3-4 years and i just got a Roland 30w cube last year and that was huge for me
"Your just a monkey in a monkey suit, aww yeah!"-Piebald "Long Nights"
#8
The person holding it....

Some (people) like high action, some dont.
Some like thinner strings, some dont.
Some like fat or thin necks, some dont.
Some people like body contours, some dont.
Some like stoptail or trem style bridges, some dont.
Some like maple, rosewood, ebony etc. necks, some dont.

I could go on and on, but it comes down to what you like and what feels good to you. Your Epi. set up exactly like the ESP will probably still not feel the same for all those factors I mentioned above and more.

Ive learned what many here will say, try them out and find the one that "feels" right to you.

BTW, I own an ESP.
#9
What in gods name possessed you to buy a $500 guitar after a few months of playing? =/
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#10
My first guitar was Ibanez ART120 and the list price is 350EUR (today's exchange rate makes that ~440 american money). I bought it for 300EUR (380 american money).
I think it's OK to buy a bit more expensive guitar when you're beginning to play guitar. I'm pretty sure I will play my Ibanez after 5 years or so, even if I have bought a better guitar... or two.
#11
Quote by druggietoad2k5
What in gods name possessed you to buy a $500 guitar after a few months of playing? =/


Thats a good median for a decent guitar even when starting IMO. Beyond that is excessive, and below that ($150-$300 range) could be a waste.

But again it all depends on the particular axe so...
#12
That guitar was probably just set up better than yours, and maybe had lighter strings on it.

How high is your action, how old are your strings and what gauge are they?
Actually called Mark!

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#13
I think set up has quite a bit to do with it. When I was playing my Strat after I bought it, it felt alright, a little bit better than my Squier. I remember trying out my friend's Epi Les Paul Standard Plus and it felt like a much nicer guitar. I later got a professional setup on my Strat and honestly the guitar just feels different now and really good in my hands. It feels better than all the other guitars I played and now I know a bit more about my playing style, I don't even like the Les Paul shape anymore when I hold one.

With the ESP you tried in the shop, not sure what body style it was, but it was possibly lower action and/or newer strings that made you think it was a bit better? Or maybe just it's a better guitar, not too sure because I've never played an ESP so I wouldn't know.
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#14
Thank you for all the great replies. To answer some of your questions:

I didn't expect to upgrade so quickly. I have such an ear for sound quality that my starter strat and 10watt fender starter amp just didn't cut it for me. I could have very easily waited until next year to upgrade but I lost almost half my shifts at work and have so much free time that I want to take advantage of it.

I can justify spending money (that i don't have) on this hobby because it brings a smile to my face which not many things can do nowadays.

I know that the guitar won't sound good unless I play it correctly. I could have bought a $5,000 top of the line whatever and still not be able to play one cool riff on it. However, I feel like the difference between going from the starter Strat to the Les Paul is like going from a wooden tennis racket to a graphite tennis racket and it had to be done. Sure, I can play a decent match with a wooden raquet, but I could play more accurately and hit the ball harder with a graphite raquet.

Over the next day or two i'm going to lower the action and change the strings. I did notice a playability difference in my Strat when I changed from the stock strings (Elixers i think) to DR LT-9's last month. I might even bring it to the guitar store and put it up head to head with the ESP.

Oh, and learn from my mistake - don't buy the first guitar you see... shop around and be patient!
#16
Quote by skeleb
My first guitar was Ibanez ART120 and the list price is 350EUR (today's exchange rate makes that ~440 american money). I bought it for 300EUR (380 american money).
I think it's OK to buy a bit more expensive guitar when you're beginning to play guitar. I'm pretty sure I will play my Ibanez after 5 years or so, even if I have bought a better guitar... or two.

agreed.. my first guitar (and only) was a schecter C-1FR (paid 450 for it). my dad really pushed me to buy better quality.

to me the quality does matter. especially when you have a squire with ****ed up elecrtonics, low quality wood, low quality build. all around if you shell out the extra hundred or two, in the long run i think you would be more pleased.

is your squire gonna last 15 yrs of heavy playing, without replacing basically the whole damn guitar?

I bet my C1 will

EDIT: and believe me, i tried to get a low budget guitar, but my dad threw in the extra money so i could get something better. i know alot of people dont have that luxury, but if you can find a guitar that feels "right" for you, the price shouldnt be worried about (unless were talkin thousands, but there is plenty of nice **** under 1k)
Last edited by xXMetal-HeadXx at Dec 3, 2008,
#17
Quote by Axe Murderer
Thats a good median for a decent guitar even when starting IMO. Beyond that is excessive, and below that ($150-$300 range) could be a waste.

But again it all depends on the particular axe so...


$500 is £340. That's a stupid amount of money to spend on a guitar after a Few months. My first guitar cost me $120ish (7 years back so probably not that now) and my first bass was £110 2nd hand ($160). My brand new bass (Squier P-bass) which is left handed (so more expensive) was only £200 ($290).

$500 is a lot of money for something you might not stick at. And you wouldn't even get all that back if you sold it because you couldn't be bothered with it any more.
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#18
A decent guitar doesn't make you any better, but a crappy guitar can hinder your progress. My first guitar was a pressie, so I don't know the exact price but I'm guessing it was about £250-£300 second hand. She's really nice to play, but the other day I put my stepson's old encore back together and tried playing that band it was HORRID. If I'd started learning on that I know I wouldn't have made half as much progress as I have, or been half as motivated to play it.

Besides, if its his money he can spend it how he likes.

@TS - if you haven't already I'd take the epi back and go try out a few different guitars in your local shop to find what really suits you in your price range. Its not just down to quality but what feels right.
#19
Quote by druggietoad2k5
$500 is £340. That's a stupid amount of money to spend on a guitar after a Few months. My first guitar cost me $120ish (7 years back so probably not that now) and my first bass was £110 2nd hand ($160). My brand new bass (Squier P-bass) which is left handed (so more expensive) was only £200 ($290).

$500 is a lot of money for something you might not stick at. And you wouldn't even get all that back if you sold it because you couldn't be bothered with it any more.


Yeah but you can tell the difference in sound. And it's not stupid. People in this day and age spend thousands of pounds modifying cars that are only worth £200, clothes they don't need....etc.

If he wants to spend that on a guitar good luck to him, if you play a ****ty starter pack guitar it's a lot harder to learn on it.

And if he knows he's gonna stick at it it's a good decision - buy cheap, buy twice.
#20
Quote by druggietoad2k5
$500 is £340. That's a stupid amount of money to spend on a guitar after a Few months. My first guitar cost me $120ish (7 years back so probably not that now) and my first bass was £110 2nd hand ($160). My brand new bass (Squier P-bass) which is left handed (so more expensive) was only £200 ($290).

$500 is a lot of money for something you might not stick at. And you wouldn't even get all that back if you sold it because you couldn't be bothered with it any more.

It's only a stupid amount of money if you're poor.
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#22
Quote by druggietoad2k5
$500 is £340. That's a stupid amount of money to spend on a guitar after a Few months. My first guitar cost me $120ish (7 years back so probably not that now) and my first bass was £110 2nd hand ($160). My brand new bass (Squier P-bass) which is left handed (so more expensive) was only £200 ($290).

$500 is a lot of money for something you might not stick at. And you wouldn't even get all that back if you sold it because you couldn't be bothered with it any more.

Not everyone starts out when they're younger and don't have money (I'm assuming that's the example here). For example, I'm 20, only started a few months ago, I could go out right now and buy a $2000 guitar and $3000 amp if I really wanted to. I'm not going to because that'd be stupid of me, but anyway. I think if you've been playing for like two months or more and you know you're gonna stick to it and have some cash, a $500 guitar would probably be pretty nice. I wouldn't mind a $500 Epiphone either to be honest right about now.

Also TS, playability can also be effected by the type of wood that the fretboard is made of and also the size of the frets (jumbo, medium jumbo, xtra jumbo, medium, etc.).
my MG15DFX has a button that simulates the sound of one of the expensive tube marshall amps


Fender Stratocaster HSS
LTD EC-400AT
Traynor YCV-50 Blue
Peavey Envoy 110

Wishlist: Hamer USA Explorer, Gibson Explorer