#1
Hi all-

It's my first post here on UG, but I have been browsing for a while now. I've been playing acoustic for a few months now; I'm taking the slow but steady route, self-teaching myself scales, chords, theory, and what-not. I am in this to be a great guitarist down the road, and I love music, so taking it slow does not bother me. I played saxophone for about 10 years when I was younger, and can remember my music teacher at the time making me play whole notes at 40bpm until I could change notes fluently. That's the route I'm taking for my guitar learning at this point.

But that's just the background to set up the question. For Christmas I am going to be getting some money that I plan to use towards a guitar and an amp. I've always wanted to learn electric (although I enjoy acoustic just as much) and figure now that I have a few months under my belt I can start learning on electric as well as acoustic (seeing as how theory, scales, etc... will all work just the same on an electric haha). So I've never owned an electric or an amp before, but that's where most of my time on this forum has been spent, searching for threads on good starter guitars and amps. I want to get something that will last me for a WHILE, I have a decent disposable income and coupled with my Christmas money I am looking to get a guitar and amp that are high-quality, competitively priced, and will last me until I am truly good enough to warrant the need for higher-end equipment. I live in an apartment, and probably will be for a few more years, so amp-wise I need to be able to keep it somewhat quiet (but I still want good tone, playing saxophone and being in band for a long time I have a decent ear for tone).

So that's where I'm at. Here is what I have narrowed it down to so far guitar and amp-wise:

Guitar ----

Agile 3000/3100

Epiphone Les Paul (shoddy QC frightens me though, as I won't really be able to play anything at guitar stores since I live in Podunk, USA and the closest place carries Taylors and Fenders haha)

ESP LTD EC-1000

Price-wise, I can make any of these work, however cheaper is obviously better. I am a fan of modding, and incrementally improving something as I go along. So if I go the Agile route, I think I would enjoy upgrading the electronics/pups/tuners/whatever else as I go along. On the flip side though, I would by all means enjoy purchasing something like the ESP that has very good hardware from the get-go, and decent pups (looking at Amber Sunburst, comes w/ the SDs).

Amps ----

Vox Valvetronic AD30VT

Fender Super Champ XD

Epiphone Valve Jr

Once again, I enjoy modding, and this seems like the area that the EVJ would win hands down. I kind of like the idea of building a pedal collection as I go along, figuring out what sound I like and acquiring the right pedal, plus I've read there are a ton of easy mods to do to the EVJ to make it sound even better. However I am worried at its volume, and I've read on here that you need to get this puppy pretty loud before it starts to sound good. I've read about attenuators, however the ones recommended in various threads seem to be a couple hundred dollars. I'm not looking to do a mod that expensive right after I get the amp just so I can play it in my bedroom. With the Vox and Fender, I like the idea that they have a better sound than other SS amps, and also the modeling effects seem like they would allow me to get a good idea of what sound I like, and then perhaps when I upgrade in the next 3-5 years go w/ a tube and already know which pedals I would need.


So there's where I'm at UG. What would you recommend for a newbie to electrics/amps? Keep in mind I'm not going for dirt-cheap starters; I already know I love playing guitar and I know this will be a lifelong hobby. Otherwise I'd be the guy printing out tabs to Stairway to Heaven and MoP and learning that route (No offense to anyone who learned that way!!!!)
#2
Guitars are such a personal thing, I would say play as many as you can in your price range and pick the one that feels/sounds the best. For a first amp definately get a Peavey Vypyr. Great sounding amp and learning tool.
#5
welcome aboard!
For the price of the ESP, you can get a good amp. Your first GG&A lesson: your amp plays a much bigger part in your tone then your guitar. Those are all pretty good amps but you can do better. It seems like you play classic rock, blues, etc. So some good amps would be, Crate V18, Palomino V16, Peavey Classic 30, Peavey Delta Blues, Vox AC15, Traynor YCV50. I say always look used for those. As for guitar, Agiles are pretty nice.
#6
My first proper electric guitar setup was an Epiphone Les Paul Custom, a Fender Squier and a Vox Valvetronix AD30VT. Never looked back. Two or three years later and I still use them all the time - except I don't play the Squier 'cause it's busted.
#7
get the VJ then you can mod it to sound like the other two amps you said or even mod it to sound like a marshall.
And i say the ESP, cause it looks cooler and everythings good from the word go...
#8
Ok guys, thanks so much for the replies so far!

To get a little further in-depth, I do/will (haha) play mainly classic rock, blues, jazz, stuff like that....the hardest metal I'll go will probably be stuff like MegaDeth, Metallica, AC/DC, maybe Pantera, but nothing nu-metalish.

I am good with modding things, and good with a soldering iron. I like the idea of going with the EVJ, but at the same time the volume still worries me and I have a gut feeling that I have no idea what sound I want right now so a modeling amp will allow me to play around with that.

Felix, those amps you listed, are most of them tubes? Do they have onboard EQ settings that will allow me to mess with my tone at least a little without the need for a pedal? Used is not a problem for me, I've been an eBay and Craigslist advocate before most people knew either one existed haha.
#9
All of them are tube, yes, and all have eqs. My favorite of those is the Classic 30. It can do Light blues and classic rock up to maybe like Iron Maiden. I think you may be right though about not knowing what kind of sound you want though tbh, at first you won't really hear a huge difference unless there are effects or drastic eq changes. But you should definetly play as many amps as you can to get a feel for what you are looking for.
A lot of people say you should start off with a modelling amp to get an idea of all the different effects and sounds but I don't really think that's nessecary. Most only sound mediocre and you find yourself wanting a good sounding amp. Those amps I listed are versitile enough to do smost genres short of metal. If you need effects, get a cheap multieffects.
#10
I'm going to say the super champ xd. Best modeling amp specializing in the blues/classic rock kind of sound (while still allowing convincing tones of jazz and metal) at a reasonable volume at a reasonable price, in my opinion.

There are a few available mods for it as well, such as creating an effects loop and bypassing the modeling section if you would want to do so.
#11
Thanks a lot! I've been browsing eBay, and I've found all of them for pretty good prices. My line of thinking right now is I can get an Agile (~$400) and one of the good amps you listed (anywhere from $250-500 used on eBay is what I'm seeing) and be right at about the price for an ESP. Then I can mod the Agile as I go along and get some pedals/effects as I go along too. How's this sound for an idea? I really wish I could get out there and try some stuff out, but like I said I live in Podunk and my access to music stores, much less dedicated guitar stores, is very very limited.
#12
That's a good idea.

EDIT: although, as you may have learned if you browsed GG&A, most mods to guitars don't make much of a difference to SS amps.
#13
Yeah, I've definitely learned that through browsing, which is why I was leaning more towards a tube in the first place.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Crate-Palomino-V16-Class-A-Tube-Amp-new-Greenback_W0QQitemZ170284004214QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item170284004214&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50

How's that for an amp? It's one of the ones you listed, I like the price, and since it's all-tube any modifications I do to my guitar will have a more noticeable difference, right? That amp plus the Agile would put me below what a brand new ESP alone would cost.

EDIT*** Seems as though I put the eBay link in wrong, any guidelines for how to properly post links?
Last edited by afman916 at Dec 4, 2008,
#14
PICK THAT AMP UP NAO

275 for it with the GB and it's made in the USA.
Those are fine, fine amps. A little lower gain then the others though. But excellent amp. For those prices you could get some new pups. Maybe a wah, or a delay.

But I highly recommend jumping on that deal
#16
Ok guys I have it in my watch list on eBay, is this one of those "sh!t I'll kick myself if I don't jump on this" deals? I know how those deals are in other areas, like electronics and stuff, but since I don't have a vast knowledge of guitar gear I don't know if this is just a good deal, or one of "those" types of deals haha.
#17
Quote by afman916

So that's where I'm at. Here is what I have narrowed it down to so far guitar and amp-wise:

Guitar ----

Agile 3000/3100

Epiphone Les Paul (shoddy QC frightens me though, as I won't really be able to play anything at guitar stores since I live in Podunk, USA and the closest place carries Taylors and Fenders haha)

ESP LTD EC-1000

Price-wise, I can make any of these work, however cheaper is obviously better. I am a fan of modding, and incrementally improving something as I go along. So if I go the Agile route, I think I would enjoy upgrading the electronics/pups/tuners/whatever else as I go along. On the flip side though, I would by all means enjoy purchasing something like the ESP that has very good hardware from the get-go, and decent pups (looking at Amber Sunburst, comes w/ the SDs).

Amps ----

Vox Valvetronic AD30VT

Peavey Vypyr 30

Fender Super Champ XD

Epiphone Valve Jr



Bolded are my choices. Try out all the amps in your price range, until you find one you like.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#18
Quote by afman916
Ok guys I have it in my watch list on eBay, is this one of those "sh!t I'll kick myself if I don't jump on this" deals? I know how those deals are in other areas, like electronics and stuff, but since I don't have a vast knowledge of guitar gear I don't know if this is just a good deal, or one of "those" types of deals haha.

No, it's a good deal. That would be a good stock price for them. That's how muych the vietnamese ones went new at GC during sales. USA, in good condition, with a greenback? Very nice deal indeed.
#19
The palominos are supposed to be excellent, I'm still kicking myself for not buying one off CL, but I didn't have the chance to try it (too busy) and I ended up with a BJr anyways. That seems like a great price considering the 100 dollar speaker in it. The one I was looking at was 200 with a stock speaker and since things are usually cheaper on CL that's a great deal.

I hope you get along well with electric guitar. Things were so simple when I started and I was playing a 100 dollar acoustic, then I got a 100 dollar squier and a 100 dollar frontman POS and I learned about GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) the hard way. 1500 dollar later here I am with a modified Blues Jr. (by me) an awesome modified (again by me) strat and a great attenuator.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#20
Not to mention your wonderful overdrive. I actually got it pretty easy as far as gas goes cause I started with A Pro Junior, a 1968 Gibson Melody Maker and a Bad Monkey

But I still have lots of GAS. The Palomino wouldn't have really suited you though. More british voiced.
#21
Quote by mcrfobtai
Not to mention your wonderful overdrive. I actually got it pretty easy as far as gas goes cause I started with A Pro Junior, a 1968 Gibson Melody Maker and a Bad Monkey

But I still have lots of GAS. The Palomino wouldn't have really suited you though. More british voiced.



That actually cost more than the attenuator.

I used to be so for all your money towards the amp when you're on a tight budget, but BJr plus pedal works so good for me, it's really opened my eyes. Not to mention I got the BJr for 275 so I was like, well, I'll splurge with the extra cash. I should've used the extra bucks and got the palo and had an awesome stereo rig for less than 500 bucks.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#22
Thanks for the advice! Yeah, I've read all about GAS which is why I want to start out with some decently-good equipment. That way I can hopefully stall the GAS for at least a few years haha! I'm basically looking to start with a darn good guitar and amp that will last me until I start getting really good, have a better knowledge/foundation of guitars and their related equipments, and a REASON to upgrade. If I get a Squier strat and a $100 amp, I'm going to want to upgrade, probably a month later haha....that's what I'm trying to avoid.

On another note, can anyone (pref. someone with experience w/ one or both guitars) give me some good reasons, aside from lack of a middleman, for the $400 diff. between an Agile and an ESP EC-1000? Just wondering, as I have never seen/played either in person....maybe I need to move haha.
#23
yeah. If I get my Bandmaster off the ground, I will have an exceptional rig for less then 500. It's true though, with the great, cheaper, tube amps going around, it can actually be fine to spend more on your guitar then amp.


Quote by afman916
Thanks for the advice! Yeah, I've read all about GAS which is why I want to start out with some decently-good equipment. That way I can hopefully stall the GAS for at least a few years haha! I'm basically looking to start with a darn good guitar and amp that will last me until I start getting really good, have a better knowledge/foundation of guitars and their related equipments, and a REASON to upgrade. If I get a Squier strat and a $100 amp, I'm going to want to upgrade, probably a month later haha....that's what I'm trying to avoid.

On another note, can anyone (pref. someone with experience w/ one or both guitars) give me some good reasons, aside from lack of a middleman, for the $400 diff. between an Agile and an ESP EC-1000? Just wondering, as I have never seen/played either in person....maybe I need to move haha.


If you stay away form imgooly, matrixclaw and riffhog, you're gas should be ok. But even if you have a good rig, you'll still have gas. But you seem to some more common sense about gear then any noob I've met on this forum.

as for the guitars, really, it all comes down to how comfortabe it is to play, the pickups, the build quality and the look. you really won't notice a huge difference between two LP guitars. The EG forum preaches about good wood and wood types but really, I've found it's not a reallly big factor. You will notice a difference between hmbuckers and SC's but tha's where the majority of the sound difference will come from. And as long as it doesn't fall apart in your hands, you're ok. The ESP will sound better, but with a pup change, the agile will sound just as good through a nice amp.
Last edited by mcrfobtai at Dec 4, 2008,
#24
afman: No experience with either, sorry.

Felix: I agree, this is one of those exceptions that I'd splurge on the guitar and hold back on the amp. I actually bought my JMS (jimmie vaughan strat) when I had a 150 dollar crate gt65 (still wish I had it, awesome amp for heavier stuff), but I loved the guitar and had no idea about amps.

afman again: Since you've been playing a few months you should be able to recognize a good playing guitar, knowing good tone will come later.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#25
Off topic, but how do you like the JV strat? I've been thinking of getting a MIM strat but the JV looks really nice, and it's only like 150 more
#26
Ok, so I think I have a good idea of how I want to go. I'd like to get a little more input on my situation (not that I don't value the advice so far, quite the contrary) only for the fact that I would like to possibly hear from some people who own these guitars/amps. Should I start a new thread and title it differently? Or what? I'd just like to get some feedback from people who have experience with the stuff I'm looking at purchasing.
#27
Totally bitch. I love everything about mine and I loved it stock as well. It plays great, the only serious adjustment I'd do is setting the trem flush to the body to increase sustain and help tuning stability (I actually block mine, but this way you can still use the trem). The pups are top notch for an MIM (even the bridge is usable, that's actually the only pup I've replaced which is saying a lot for a strat) and the neck is just heaven. Play it first though, it has a very thick neck which is v shaped and will probably be love hate.

The vintage trem is miles ahead of any other MIM IMO. I love bent saddles on a strat, that's probably why I hated older MIAs (had the solid steel ones)

In short, the neck alone is worth the 150 to me, not to mention the pups which blow away standard MIMs.

edit: Afman, just use this thread, multiple threads for essentially the same thing is frowned upon. Youtube vids and the like are a good route for people who can't test gear first.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#28
Quote by afman916
Ok, so I think I have a good idea of how I want to go. I'd like to get a little more input on my situation (not that I don't value the advice so far, quite the contrary) only for the fact that I would like to possibly hear from some people who own these guitars/amps. Should I start a new thread and title it differently? Or what? I'd just like to get some feedback from people who have experience with the stuff I'm looking at purchasing.


This would probably be faster
http://reviews.harmony-central.com/

Or check the reviews on the UG site and message the reviewer and see if their feelings changed since they wrote the review
#29
Ok Kevin, I'll keep it to this thread. I think I'm going to go browse YouTube and seach these forums a little more to see what others say. So right now I'm leaning towards an Agile 3000 paired with either a Palomino V16 or Crate V8. Any other words of wisdom or advice? I may just go ahead and jump on that Palomino in the next day or two haha....
#30
Quote by Kevin Saale
Totally bitch. I love everything about mine and I loved it stock as well. It plays great, the only serious adjustment I'd do is setting the trem flush to the body to increase sustain and help tuning stability (I actually block mine, but this way you can still use the trem). The pups are top notch for an MIM (even the bridge is usable, that's actually the only pup I've replaced which is saying a lot for a strat) and the neck is just heaven. Play it first though, it has a very thick neck which is v shaped and will probably be love hate.

The vintage trem is miles ahead of any other MIM IMO. I love bent saddles on a strat, that's probably why I hated older MIAs (had the solid steel ones)

In short, the neck alone is worth the 150 to me, not to mention the pups which blow away standard MIMs.

edit: Afman, just use this thread, multiple threads for essentially the same thing is frowned upon. Youtube vids and the like are a good route for people who can't test gear first.

Ah, that's sounds like all the things I wanted to upgrade in a strat
better tremolo is great, although I don't really use it. And the neck and middle pups are by far the most important things to me in a strat. As for the neck, I love Gibson style necks, which are generally pretty thick. My Lp fits me perfectly so this looks absolutly amazing. I will try it out though.
Ah, thanks Kev, you're the man.


EDIT:
Quote by afman916
Ok Kevin, I'll keep it to this thread. I think I'm going to go browse YouTube and seach these forums a little more to see what others say. So right now I'm leaning towards an Agile 3000 paired with either a Palomino V16 or Crate V8. Any other words of wisdom or advice? I may just go ahead and jump on that Palomino in the next day or two haha....


I would definetly go with the V16. First off, it's loud enough to jam with and use in smaller gigs, plus you'll like the 3 band eq and reverb. When I first started playing, haveing just the volume and tone knob of my PJ was frustrating. Of course, now I love the simplicity but it is nice to have versitility as a noob.
Last edited by mcrfobtai at Dec 4, 2008,
#31
Quote by mcrfobtai
Ah, that's sounds like all the things I wanted to upgrade in a strat
better tremolo is great, although I don't really use it. And the neck and middle pups are by far the most important things to me in a strat. As for the neck, I love Gibson style necks, which are generally pretty thick. My Lp fits me perfectly so this looks absolutly amazing. I will try it out though.
Ah, thanks Kev, you're the man.


EDIT:

I would definetly go with the V16. First off, it's loud enough to jam with and use in smaller gigs, plus you'll like the 3 band eq and reverb. When I first started playing, haveing just the volume and tone knob of my PJ was frustrating. Of course, now I love the simplicity but it is nice to have versitility as a noob.


I'll take this to your profile felix so we don't spam this thread.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#33
Ok, so in my searching I've been looking over the reviews at HarmonyCentral, and I've come up w/ a question; if I were to buy an Agile, sight unseen obviously, what are some of the more lesser-known aspects of the guitar I should be looking at when it arrives? For example, there was a reviewer who said that "pickups were set low and not balanced in terms of volume (bridge P/U vs. neck P/U). A couple of turns of the screwdriver fixed that. " How can I tell if the pups are balanced correctly? Also, how can I check intonation? Someone else said that the intonation was off a little, but nothing that a chromatic tuner couldn't fix. How will I know if the intonation is off? I understand about being in tune, but I have the feeling that having your high E string in tune is a little different from the overall intonation of the guitar.

So basically, from you who are more experienced, what are some things I need to look for upon opening the box, aside from the usual fit-n-finish type items?
#34
You check intonation by checking the note at the twelfth fret verse the harmonic at the twelfth fret, read up on guitar setup to learn more. With a standard electric bridge it's very easy to adjust and nothing to really worry about.

Balancing the pups mean the output is the same. If the neck is louder than the bridge you'd either raise the bridge or lower the neck so they would be the same. It's really simple stuff.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#35
Thanks a lot man, I really appreciate it. Anything else I should be on the lookout for when I get the guitar?
#36
Make sure the neck is straight, you can do that by sighting along the neck like this:



I usually set it in the playing position, but this guy is checking the angle or something. You can also depress the string at the first and last fret and use the string as a straight edge and check the relief at the 8th or 9th fret, it shouldn't be much more than a business cards' thickness away from the fret.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#37
Quote by afman916
Ok Kevin, I'll keep it to this thread. I think I'm going to go browse YouTube and seach these forums a little more to see what others say. So right now I'm leaning towards an Agile 3000 paired with either a Palomino V16 or Crate V8. Any other words of wisdom or advice? I may just go ahead and jump on that Palomino in the next day or two haha....


The V16 is amazing. I've never had any experience with Agile, but I've always been a little skeptical as to why such apparently good guitars are so cheap... but again, I don't have any experience with them. But you should definitely go with the Palomino.
2007 American Deluxe Strat
Crate Palomino V32 - 1x12
Boss DS-1
Crybaby Wah
Maxon OD-808
#38
ok, so I've been doing some research and I pretty much have it narrowed down to either the Crate V18, Palomino V8 or Palomino V16...what are some thoughts between these three amps? Keep in mind my living conditions, rather smallish apartment for at least a year, then probably a townhome for a year or two....so I'm going to have to be thinking of neighbors/volume for the next couple years. I'm really looking for something all-tube (obviously), master volume so I can play quieter w/out sacrificing too much tone, decent EQ controls off the bat, and not breaking the bank (which all 3 of these used on eBay are not bad at all price-wise).

Thoughts?