Hey guys

So I'm going to be getting an electric guitar for my birthday this year. It's a few months off, but I'm planning 'cause I'm really excited.

I'd say right now I'm an advanced beginner, and I've been doing all of my learning on an Eleca acoustic. It was really cheap, but decent quality for what I paid.

I have a budget of $500-ish. That's what my parents are fronting, but I can start saving some money if I want a more expensive guitar, to a certain point. Definitely nothing over $800.

Most of the music I attempt to play is indie/alternative style rock.

So right now I'm kind of torn between the standard Fender Strat (http://www.long-mcquade.com/products/765/Guitars/Electric/Fender_Musical_Instruments/Standard_Stratocaster.htm) and the Epiphone Les Paul Custom. (http://www.long-mcquade.com/products/1223/Guitars/Electric/Epiphone/Les_Paul_Custom_-_White.htm)

I really really really love the Gibson Les Paul Custom, but it's obviously out of my price range. I thought the Epiphone ht the would be a nice compromise, I really like the look and sound of the Les Pauls... The white custom pretty much has me drooling all over my computer.

Is the Epiphone still good quality? This is a higher end Ephiphone vs. a lower end strat, and it costs more than the Strat, but I've heard some people saying the strat'll be better? I dunno, I still have to go try them both out but I don't want to buy anything that's not worth the extra money.

Or... any other suggestions?

Last edited by emilieg at Jun 5, 2010,
Both links are the LP, but quality wise they'll be the same. I'd personally lean for the Fender.
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I'd personally never touch an Epiphone! Feel cheap no matter what model i've found. The fender will be good but try looking at a Telecaster aswell
try buying what you like.

i say dean razorback, but you probably wont like it since your an indie kid

make your own choice or you wont be happy in the end
When I was eleven I broke the patio window and my mother sued me... She's always been a very aggressive litigator.
Issue with Epiphone Les Pauls - I had one and the finish came off easily and it started falling apart/showing serious signs of wear. I expected better from a guitar of its price.

Fender Standard Strat is fine. I owned one and it was fine. Just fine, that's all.

I'd say that they're both OK for the money. If you go used you can pick up either dirt cheap.
both are fine for the price, go for the sound your looking for. LP's are warmer, more bluesy sounding, whereas strats tend to have a more bell-like quality to them.
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Quote by freedoms_stain
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Maybe shagging Mark Knopfler, but that's about it.
Look at LTD's if you like the Les Paul's. Eclipse series. Fender Tele's are cool and just can't recommend a Epi to anyone.

A good indie alternative is the Fender Mustang or Fender Jaguar.
Seeing as its Indie/Alt Rock you're going for, the Strat will be fine for you

However, for a guitar as a whole, I'd say a Les Paul style one, for diversity if you ever decide to try different styles, they're good all-rounders. Seeing all this criticism about Epiphone's though, I would take their advise and steer away from Epiphone and maybe go towards a Vintage V100?

Vintage VS6
Roland Cube 20X
Zoom G1X
a strat will suit pretty nicely, versatile and gives plenty in most areas.

Also its cheaper
meaning amp investment will be a +1

but watch out for them, some can be good, some can be crap.
save some money and get an american standard strat or tele. I have personal experience with fender american standard series, and epiphone guitars. I own an epiphone les paul standard, and my buddy has an american standard tele, and the tele is way better, unless your trying to play metal. If you're going to pay for the epiphone at around $800, then you should just get a used american standard strat.
Also believe it or not the Epiphone Les Paul Standards are much nicer than the Customs imo. The Customs are more expensive for virtually no reason except for the body and headstock binding(which might make it a bit heavier). And they have more cheap plastic parts than necessary. Whereas the Standard is just right imo.

But for liek $400 or $500 you could get some kind of Faded Gibson Les Paul or SG Used. Which imo is the better way to go.

I CAN'T STRESS THIS ENOUGH, if you have $400-500 there is really NO POINT in getting an epiphone, when you could easily get a used Gibson. Look on craigslist, or even look at the used selection at Guitar Center.
Last edited by handbanana at Jun 5, 2010,
I have a Vintage V100. It's rather custom to it's old self, i've added strap lock, locking tuners and active pickups but as an overall package stock they are amazing. Leaves you plenty of money for an amp!

Look at bands like Arctic Monkey's, Kasabian, Kings Of Leon or your favourite bands and see what they play.
I'd go for the Strat, but I tried a Mexican one and wasn't particularly impressed. Try looking for an Asian one, they're a little bit more expensive but the quality is considerably better from what I've used.
Fender Lite Ash Strat MIK
Peavey Bandit 112 Transtube
Vox AD30VT
Little Big Muff
Dunlop Crybaby
Also the mexican strats are kind of cheap imo, whereas the Mexican Tele's are much higher quality.
I have the white Epi Les Paul and it's wonderful, I swapped the gold epi pickups for EMGs a while ago, I've had it about 2-3 years and it's still going strong. I have an epi Les Paul standard at my dads apartment and there is a clear difference between in and the custom; the custom is sooo much better. Not all epi's are the same! But I would go with the LP it's awesome and I've never really liked fenders except for tele's. Maybe my guitar is just an exception, but it plays better than any Gibson I've played. But i've only played new gibsons which are total crap BTW
Last edited by GibsonMan321 at Jun 5, 2010,
Quote by handbanana
Also the mexican strats are kind of cheap imo, whereas the Mexican Tele's are much higher quality.

That's quite paradoxical since they're made through the same process in the same place...

However, I would definitely recommend a Tele also.
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The Strat is much more suited for you.
While Epiphone makes quite decent models. Some models are great while some don't cut it.
While i have a Epi Explorer and Epi Dot and they play incredibly good. 3 of my friends have an Epi Les Paul Custom and i've played each one. And all of them have minor flaws of some type except for one.

It's kinda a 50/50 chance you're going for with the Epi, i'd feel more safe with the strat.
I dunno, I used to own a mexican Tele and it was a fantastic high quality instrument. Now I have a mexican Strat, at it's just okay. It's certainly better than a squier but still of less quality than my Tele was. This much just be a personal experience?
Quote by TK1
both are fine for the price, go for the sound your looking for. LP's are warmer, more bluesy sounding, whereas strats tend to have a more bell-like quality to them.

Les Pauls are for like Led Zepp, if you're looking for blues go with a Tele.
if my parents were forkin over 800 bucks for my guitar i would go with a Dean (not necesserily a Razorback) or you MIGHT find a used PRS for 750-800(low end mind you) but it really is up to you Mark Tremonti from Creed and Alter Bridge plays a PRS and it flows from Alt to Metal to Blues in good hands whatever you do i recomend getting a higher end guitar $200 piece of crap (Like an Epi) might limit youre ability to expand you abilities to learn so get the higher end but in the end its totally your choice
cant go wrong with a strat.

i own that exact epi and LOVE IT. i bought mine used. its from 96. i use the heck out of it. like 2-5 hours a day and ive owned it exactly 1 year. some signs of wear (gold is wearing off on pickups) however with that amount of play anything would wear. defintely sounds good through a quality amp and when setup plays very well. i paid 400 i i honestly think i own the best 400 dollar guitar in the world. i play much more expensive guitars and find mine still plays better (american fenders and gibsons). nothing to do with the quality, its just i baby my guitars and most people dont

a meticulously set up epiphone will beat the average joe "i took my US fender/Gibson off the rack" any day. you have to properly setup a guitar. and epi has enough quality to be set right and play well.

so does the fender.

however i must say money is money. im a broke college kid. thats a lot of money. i love my guitar to death, i would nevr sell it. but i would NOT consider owning one for 600-800 bucks. not even close. there are better guitars for that money.

530 for a japanese fender brand new is a good price for a new guitar. 700-800 for that epiphone is stupid.

for example: i would most likely own this. it sells for around 6, you can easily get them cheaper used. they come in white (harder to find). its thinner and lighter than a les paul, and teh curves and lines are so sleek and sexy. is a beautiful guitar. you cant see it in pictures. however at guitar center it was one of the most beautiful guitars ive ever seen (same for american singlecuts....they look the same its just the quality and a 2000 price difference)
Thanks everyone for the great advice
Now I'm kind of leaning towards the strat, but I'm gonna head down to the store next weekend and try them both out. Looks like there are some really cheap used American strats on craigslits :P
A beter, second hand fender.

American strats on craigslits :P


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Last edited by IYanoplathizoI at Jun 7, 2010,
I had to make the same decision when I went from acoustic to my first electric guitar. I liked the sound of the Les Paul but the feel of the Strat. I bought the Mexican Standard Strat and now I'm such a Strat ***** that nothing else comes close! I've owned a few nice LPs since then too. An Epi Standard made in Korea (that is particularly nice) and a Gibson Studio. I play the LPs but just can't get comfortable. Picking up the Strat is like old worn-out blue jeans. Always feels right to me-ALWAYS. I can't say that about any other style guitar. Your milage may vary and I know that there are guitarists out there that feel exactly the same way about their Les Pauls or Teles or --------. You are doing the right thing by going to the music store and trying a bunch of different guitars to get a feel for what fits you best. For me it has always been the Strat and the Mexican Standard was a great place to start. If you can find a used American Std., Mexican Classic Series, Classic Player, Jimmy Vaughan, Tex Mex, etc. at a reasonable price they are noticably better. But the Mex. Standards are players and usually only need a good setup to bring out thier true potential.
Wow... I'm shocked that no one has asked what amp the threadstarter has, or if that 800 is for amp and guitar.......

No suggestion made to this point is appropriate until we know if your 800 is for a guitar AND amp, or just guitar, and you'll be getting other money for an amp.

So, which is it TS, do you have and amp and if not, is the 800 for an amp and guitar?
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ESP Phoenix
Regarding the Mexican Fenders, the build quality tends to vary over a wide range, going from incredbile value for money to just about worth the price. It's not surprising that some people have had good experiences and some bad with them.

Like others have said, you need to take your money to a shop and just play a whole load of guitars. Sooner or later you'll find a peach.
Ibanez AF105VB
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MIM '92 Fender Strat
Peavey Triumph 60
and that's it. done buying stuff. probably.
i spent hours playing a Fender Jaguar yesterday. i fell in love with it. but its a love hate thing for most people, especially with the 24" scale. maybe look into a Jazzmaster? the strat would be great too. i wouldnt go epi, but thats just me. if you want my opinion go jaguar lol, but i am biased.
I say go for the Strat, because after all, it is pretty much the most versatile guitar ever. But if you really love the dual humbucker sound, maybe spring for a Fender '72 Tele. Or if you don't mind copies, look into the Vintage guitar company. However, I wouldn't recommend Epiphone right now, as you have much better options.
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I own an Epiphone Les Paul Standard and it's a pretty damn good guitar. Only thing with Epiphone/Gibson is that you have to be 'lucky' to find a guitar that's good at every point, so testing is a must. Out of those two I'd go for the Fender though, as it's probably slightly better quality.
Though I'd look into secondhands too, you can really find some gems there at times.
Play the music, not the instrument.