Poll: Great guitar with bad amp, or Great amp with bad guitar
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View poll results: Great guitar with bad amp, or Great amp with bad guitar
Great Guitar, Bad Amp
8 6%
Great Amp, Bad Guitar
124 94%
Voters: 132.
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#1
We all know that the more you spend, the better something is going to be; or atleast that is what we're told.

I was thinking today, what matters most;

A great guitar with amazing pickups, yet playing through a crappy amp powered by batteries,

or,

A great amp, yet playing through a crappy guitar with pickups that have the clarity of mudd.

And this is generally the pit fall that many people fall into.

But surely its better to have the best of both worlds, rarther than having an amazing guitar that costs thousands and then having only enough money left to buy an amp powered by watch batteries, and vice versa.

I was pondering this due to the current economic state and was wondering what guitars/amps/pickups id recomend to someone starting out, or just wanting to upgrade.

So to sum up, please vote and post your recommendations for say under under £500, or say roughly $600 as thats a relatively common budget for someone starting out or wanting to upgrade.
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#2
Everything has to be good. One bad component will make everything sound bad.
I'm currently working on a system to generate MIDI from the motion of a guitar. More info coming soon.
#3
Well, when you say high end, 600 bucks aint going to come even close to high end. So you're looking at mid - low end.

What makes a good guitar amp is an amp that produces exactly what you're playing and not making you sound like something else, boutique amplifiers show your true sound.

If i were you, i'd definitely get a good guitar amp. Pickups do make a difference but definitley not in the league of what a good amp can do.

If you can, i would save more money as if you go the extra and buy a really good [albeit expensive] amp it will serve you better in the long run
#4
It will make more a difference if you plugged a bad guitar in an amazing amp.
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#5
Personally I'd never bother with a really expensive guitar, I think guitars like Gibson are more about heritage and status than getting the best of the best tone. At the end of the day if you get an Epiphone and replace the pickups, you can get pretty much an identical sound from the same amp

I'd much prefer to upgrade the pickups and mod a cheapish guitar and use a really great amp, than blow all my money on an expensive guitar and use a crappy cube or vox solid state amp thats just going to sound worse the better you get
#6
they are equally important, one doesnt work without the other. like a car engine isnt going anywhere without wheels but wheels need the engine also.
if youre going for a great tone you definitely need both.

now, I would look for a good alternative. Im playing a great-sounding washburn guitar with gibson pickups that cost around $250. just an example. that would leave 350 bucks, which should be enough to get a reasonable amp. like a Cube or so
#7
Great amp, bad guitar option, BUT only to a certain point.
The guitar shouldn't be totally uncomfortable and unplayable.

However, I would spend more money on a good amp than on a guitar.
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#8
Quote by ErnestoFidel
they are equally important, one doesnt work without the other. like a car engine isnt going anywhere without wheels but wheels need the engine also.
if youre going for a great tone you definitely need both.

now, I would look for a good alternative. Im playing a great-sounding washburn guitar with gibson pickups that cost around $250. just an example. that would leave 350 bucks, which should be enough to get a reasonable amp. like a Cube or so



You couldn't be more wrong. The majority of your tone comes from your amp. If you have a cheap, crappy guitar but an amazing amp you are still going to have decent tone. However, if you have an amazing guitar but are playing through a crappy amp then your tone is still going to be crappy no matter what you try to do.
#9
Quote by i_am_metalhead
You couldn't be more wrong. The majority of your tone comes from your amp. If you have a cheap, crappy guitar but an amazing amp you are still going to have decent tone. However, if you have an amazing guitar but are playing through a crappy amp then your tone is still going to be crappy no matter what you try to do.
This. A pickup is just a magnet and a coil. An amp has lots of parts which can range from good to bad quality.

While a good pickup can change a lot, it's not going to really affect a lot compared to an amp.
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#10
In my experience, a good amp changes a lot more than a good guitar in terms of sound.

I've played my cheap Ibanez, along with squiers, fernandes, Schecter Omens and a Vintage brand strat copy through a whole bunch of great tube amps, and it sounded pretty awesome.
On the other hand, I've played (and seen people play) Gibson Les Pauls and ESP's through Marshall MG's and Line 6 spiders.

The cases with the good amps all sounded better. You might disagree. That's just my experience.
#12
The person that voted great guitar, seriously:

Because, a high end amp, will still sound phenomenal with a £100 guitar, whereas if you switch them, it will not sound anywhere close as good.
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#14
Definitely amp. The amp is the foundation for your tone - pickups will help to shape it, but they won't make a horrible amp sound like a million bucks (sometimes they might even make it sound worse).
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#15
If you could buy new fingers...

fingers - amp - guitar

anyone who disagrees needs to reconsider guitarship
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#16
^ I disagree.

Plug a decent guitarist into a Plexi and hear him strike an open G chord.

Plug a slightly better guitarist into an MG and hear him strike an open G chord.

Fingers don't make up a difference there.
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#17
Quote by AcousticMirror
If you could buy new fingers...

fingers - amp - guitar

anyone who disagrees needs to reconsider guitarship




Another one of those "your tone is in your fingers" people. Guess what - that's called technique. And even the greatest technique can not make a crap amp sound good.

If you believe your own statement you need to reconsider "guitarship".
#18
Nope, it's called skill and it starts in your fingers. Otherwise anyone with a high end guitar and a dumble would sound like the return of Hendrix. Yet, they don't. I wonder why? Life's full of tuff questions.

not to mention that all of the great blues and jazz originators played on basically blocks of wood connected to tin cans.

Les Paul's original baby was a block of wood glued to tin cans.
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Last edited by AcousticMirror at Jan 6, 2010,
#19
It sounds weird, but a lot of those strat copies have a weirdly good sound to them . If the pickups are not just super mud, and have some clarity to them I'm sure you could get some really good tone with a high end amp. I'd rather have a squire and an overdriven boutique amp than a prs custom 24 and a Marshall ms2.
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Maybe the price tag is clouding your judgment ?
yeah probably. Or the circuits.
#20
Quote by AcousticMirror
Nope, it's called skill and it starts in your fingers. Otherwise anyone with a high end guitar and a dumble would sound like the return of Hendrix. Yet, they don't. I wonder why? Life's full of tuff questions.


Did you really just say that. Skill and technique are interchangeable, genius. And yes, technique will have an affect on your tone depending on whether you have good technique or bad technique, but it won't drastically change your tone. Have a beginner play on a LP through a JCM800 and have a very experienced player play on that same LP through that same JCM800 and both players' tones will still sound like an LP through a JCM800.

I must once again say that you CANNOT make a crap amp sound good with technique. Your tone comes from your amp, every other factor (pickups, effects, technique) simply help fine tune your tone.
#21
Quote by i_am_metalhead
Did you really just say that. Skill and technique are interchangeable, genius. And yes, technique will have an affect on your tone depending on whether you have good technique or bad technique, but it won't drastically change your tone. Have a beginner play on a LP through a JCM800 and have a very experienced player play on that same LP through that same JCM800 and both players' tones will still sound like an LP through a JCM800.

I must once again say that you CANNOT make a crap amp sound good with technique. Your tone comes from your amp, every other factor (pickups, effects, technique) simply help fine tune your tone.


amps sound different. you win.
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#23
Quote by Anthony1991

But surely its better to have the best of both worlds, rarther than having an amazing guitar that costs thousands and then having only enough money left to buy an amp powered by watch batteries, and vice versa.


of course. the "a crap guitar through a kickass amp will sound better than a kickass guitar through a crap amp" is little more than a thought experiment, in my opinion, anyway.
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#24
ya know with equalizing properly most amps and guitars can get pretty decent sounds

and honesty as far as guitars go

I love my VBT 700 more than most "higher end" guitars I've played, i can get pretty much whatever i need from it with the use of the tone knob
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#25
Quote by PussyPunk182
It sounds weird, but a lot of those strat copies have a weirdly good sound to them . If the pickups are not just super mud, and have some clarity to them I'm sure you could get some really good tone with a high end amp. I'd rather have a squire and an overdriven boutique amp than a prs custom 24 and a Marshall ms2.


I agree, i had a strat copy a while back, and it did sound pretty good for what it cost in all honesty, they get alot of flak for reasons i cant see

Quote by Dave_Mc
of course. the "a crap guitar through a kickass amp will sound better than a kickass guitar through a crap amp" is little more than a thought experiment, in my opinion, anyway.


Well this is a forum xD Like i said at the start, it's just something i was thinking about earlier, and im glad to see my initial thoughts backed up by what seems to be 95% on here.
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#26
If pickups/guitar win, I shall laugh.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
#27
Quote by Dave_Mc
of course. the "a crap guitar through a kickass amp will sound better than a kickass guitar through a crap amp" is little more than a thought experiment, in my opinion, anyway.


I beg to differ, Dave. Since pickups and wood have a much smaller affect on your tone than the actual amp, you can get a decent tone from any guitar through a nice amp. However, even the best pickups couldn't make a bad amp sound good especially since crappy amps often tend to be less responsive to pickups.

However tone IS completely subjective so what I think sounds good you may think sounds terrible.
#28
Quote by i_am_metalhead


Another one of those "your tone is in your fingers" people. Guess what - that's called technique. And even the greatest technique can not make a crap amp sound good.

If you believe your own statement you need to reconsider "guitarship".


This -_- i'm sick of all this BS about 'tone is in the fingers'. You're going to change the transistors or tubes in an amp magically by the way you play guitar? Really? No. You arn't.

Your playing can make you sound like you but that's all technique, you ain't gonna get a high gain scooped mid sound from a twin reverb just because 'TEH TONEZ ARE IN TEH FINGURZ1!1111!'

i notice a lot of the people who say this seem to back it up with elitist crap too about how 'insert name' could make anything sound like a marshall stack
#29
amp is hugely more important. play a shitty squire through a vox AC30 and it'll sound pretty good. play a PRS McCarty through a squire practice amp, and itll sound pretty ****in horrible.
#30
Quote by Anthony1991
We all know that the more you spend, the better something is going to be; or atleast that is what we're told.

I was thinking today, what matters most;

A great guitar with amazing pickups, yet playing through a crappy amp powered by batteries,

or,

A great amp, yet playing through a crappy guitar with pickups that have the clarity of mudd.

And this is generally the pit fall that many people fall into.

But surely its better to have the best of both worlds, rarther than having an amazing guitar that costs thousands and then having only enough money left to buy an amp powered by watch batteries, and vice versa.

I was pondering this due to the current economic state and was wondering what guitars/amps/pickups id recomend to someone starting out, or just wanting to upgrade.

So to sum up, please vote and post your recommendations for say under under £500, or say roughly $600 as thats a relatively common budget for someone starting out or wanting to upgrade.


Well you won't get a "GREAT" amp/guitar at that price, but you could get something good but only one of the two though either guitar or amp i.e. if you are out buying brand new, so saving up to about $800 or $1000 is a good idea. For those that play at home only & have a job or source of income to upgrade latter, buying cheap(not as in plastic cheap) stuff only to learn to play isn't a bad idea. But if you really want to start off with good sounding stuff then find a small tube amp, like one of those laney cubs, vox ac4tv, HT-5 etc. alot of options for something small & good sounding in a price range of $450. If you can get those used then lucky for you. Vox valvetronix are good too as a practise amp(infact a lot of cheap SS amps will be fine for using them as practise amps). Take a look at this too https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=986313
For a guitar, well anything that has a good feel to it, one that is comfortable to play with & not made of plywood, will do as your first axe. I recommend taking someone that can play with you to try them out. Also have them plugged into the amp that you will be getting as well. Later on a pick change can be done to make it sound a bit more different.
Anyways, you won't get much recommendations in this thread of yours, cause its warped into a whole different zone lol So better off starting a two new threads related separately first for an amp that suits your music styles & other in the electric guitar forum to get a brief idea of decent quality axes.
Good luck!
#31
Quote by Zoot Allures
This -_- i'm sick of all this BS about 'tone is in the fingers'. You're going to change the transistors or tubes in an amp magically by the way you play guitar? Really? No. You arn't.

Your playing can make you sound like you but that's all technique, you ain't gonna get a high gain scooped mid sound from a twin reverb just because 'TEH TONEZ ARE IN TEH FINGURZ1!1111!'

i notice a lot of the people who say this seem to back it up with elitist crap too about how 'insert name' could make anything sound like a marshall stack


It's easy to win arguments when you make up inane positions to attack huh. Of course the best player evarz couldn't make anything sound like a Marshall half-stack. But if you wanted a Marshall half-stack tone then get one.

All I'm saying is this, someone who has invested time into learning proper technique could make what would otherwise be a crappy amp sound decent. Someone who is really bad could make your ears bleed even if they had the most expensive bestest gear ever.

No need to put words in my mouth. I understand that amps have distinctive sounds but I don't see how you can disagree with the statement I just made above.
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#32
I was not aware that pickups and guitar were the same thing.

The amp lays the solid foundation but everything in your signal chain matters. Nothing is more important than anything else.
#33
Quote by al112987
I was not aware that pickups and guitar were the same thing.

The amp lays the solid foundation but everything in your signal chain matters. Nothing is more important than anything else.


No need to get technical. Normally, when talking about tone, the term guitar is generally understood to be referring to pickups since they are the part of the guitar that affect your tone most (yea, I know that woods and what not affect your tone too).


Also, I'm kinda drunk right now, Andrew. So forgive me if I seem retarded lol.
#35
Again, people really have to differentiate between tone and skill.

Take two players - someone who's been playing for a month and someone who's been shredding his ass off for 20 years. Plug the one-month guy into a PRS and a Dumble, and plug the 20 year guy into a Squier and a Spider III.

Let's examine the one-month player. His single-note rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb will tonally sound good through his rig. Seeing as how this will probably be the only thing he can play, the SKILL will be absent but the TONE will be there. Sure, if he tries to bust out and play Eruption, it'll probably sound like a jumbled mess but at least the tone won't sound digital or processed.

Now let's have a look at Mr. 20 Years. Because he's been practicing and practicing throughout his entire playing career, he can bust out with two handed tapping and sweeps and legato up and down every single fret on that Squier. Because he has SKILL, the notes will at least come across cleanly, but at the end of the day, the TONE will still be digital, processed, bees-in-a-can, whatever the hell you want to call it.

That being said, I still stand by my original opinion - high-end amp.
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#37
Don't forget the Jet City. 500 dollar tube stack, great damn value for all of it's tonal awesomeness. Probably wanna save up to around 800-1000 like the guy up there said. The Jet City would be great, and so then you can buy something like an Agile, Ibanez, Squier, or Epiphone in the decent range they have, depending on how much you have left over. Whatever you do, don't get the Epi LP Special II, that thing is the epitamy of god awfulness.
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#38
Pickups are like chocolate sauce. it's delicious of you put ir on something already tasty, but i you put chocolate sauce on, say, week old limbuger cheese, it doesn't matter if the cocolate sauce osts $100 a bottle.

simplified: Good pickups acentuate good tone, won't do sh*t otherwise.
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#39
Quote by DrNick
sound digital or processed.
digital, processed, bees-in-a-can


Stop using "digital" to describe tone, god damn. Processed is even worse. An analog all-tube amp processes the sound just as much as a digital modeling amp does, just in an analog fashion.

I agree with the rest of your post, though.
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#40
I for one, would rather have a nicer guitar than a nice amp....

I may not get great tone, but I'll have a lovely guitar that will be a pleasure to play.

Theres no point having a £2000 Bogner stack when you have a Squier with sharp frets, a warped neck and a dodgy fretboard which doesnt stay in tune.

However if I had a PRS or Gibson Les Paul Custom with a Peavey Vypyr I'd be happy...cos I could get an okay tone out of it and be able to play well, stay in tune and not injure myself/

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