#1
I currently have both a Fender Squier Bullet Strat, and a Epiphone Les Paul Special II--
Both are considered 'beginner' guitars.

I am in the market for a new guitar and have been reading tons of reviews - a lot of people say that their playing ability was noticeably better within hours, days, a few weeks after getting a new better quality guitar.

I know the more money you spend the better quality sound, sustain, features, etc you get.

There is an old saying in golf "Its not new clubs that you need, its a new swing."
I.E - to get better you don't need a new guitar, you need more practice.

Can anyone attest to having a crap guitar like mine, and getting a $500+ guitar and noticing their skill increase just because of the better playability?

Thanks in advance.
#2
Obviously a really bad guitar will hinder your ability, but ponder this: if you can do on a shite guitar you can do it on any guitar. You don't want to be a guitarist who gets handed a bad guitar and can't play anything.


Edit: also, don't trust reviews. Guitar quality is ridiculously subjective, from the amp being played on to the style being played to the ability of the guitarist to the etc. Either try a guitar yourself or learn about components brands and models enough to get the gist.
Last edited by stephen_rettie at Jun 14, 2010,
#3
well i remember when i when from my crappy first act to my ibanez my playing was way cleaner with the ibanez and also the tone was much better than before
it wasn't instantaneous because it took a few hours to get adjusted to it but once i first picked it up i know i had to have it
#4
A really good player would sound good on a stick with strings. However, the playablity factor of a better instrument can have a massive effect on a beginner or intermediate player. Tone aside, better action can really make a difference.

Plus, it is quite common that when someone buy their first really great guitar they want to play it all the time. Practice make perfect, or at least better. So that may be the cause too.
#5
to me it's so much "quality" it's just what feels good to you. a new guitar can be motivating/inspiring though
#6
i learned to play on an 1989 squier hss strat. needless to say, the frets are almost nonexistent at this point. i'm the only one i've seen so far that can play that guitar cleanly, but it takes a lot of effort on my part to do so (or at least it used to). after transferring over to a new guitar, i was immediately able to play "better" because i was so used to having to have perfect technique and having to focus on every little thing i was doing. switching over made me play almost twice as fast, and a million times cleaner on the very first day. but i'm a rare case where the gear actually makes a huge difference.

in general though, it doesnt make that much of a difference besides you liking playing the new guitar more, causing you to enjoy yourself more, causing you to relax and play it better. also putting in more time because you have a fancy new toy to play with, getting in extra practice and skill going up.
#7
I noticed that going to my schecter damien from my starter fender starcastor, my playing was cleaner quite quickly. however, because I had a new guitar that sounded better for the style i played, I actually practiced more, which helped my playing even more. A new guitar can help a beginner get better, but overall, the quality shouldnt completely hinder a player. It may help motivate you to practice more.
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#8
yeah, when i got my new guitar, i got it because it looked, sounded and felt great to play. so i played it more than my old one, so i got better.
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#9
A lot of inspiration comes from how your guitar feels in your hands and how the tone sounds to your ears. A better guitar won't advance your skills by any means, but it will make harder things faster to learn (subjective, however). Also little things like the action and keeping your frets clean can make a world of difference.

I have a Epi LP Special II, its quite an alright guitar. A little on the slower side, but sounds great for a $AUD250 guitar. May be a new amp could be your answer?
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Last edited by MonsterOfRock at Jun 14, 2010,
#10
I started playing on a steel string acoustic with horrible action, so when I got my electric I could play a lot better. Of course my guitar is and Epiphone Les Paul Special II...
#11
Yeah, I think it does, I can't play lead for crap on my Squier, but I picked up a PRS Custom 22 at guitar center, and I was coming up with some of the most awesome leads and rhythm riffs I've ever devised, so I think the quality and the build of the neck mainly will effect your playing. A good neck will make it easier to improve your skill.
#12
Quote by JJ2003
I currently have both a Fender Squier Bullet Strat, and a Epiphone Les Paul Special II--
Both are considered 'beginner' guitars.

I am in the market for a new guitar and have been reading tons of reviews - a lot of people say that their playing ability was noticeably better within hours, days, a few weeks after getting a new better quality guitar.

I know the more money you spend the better quality sound, sustain, features, etc you get.

There is an old saying in golf "Its not new clubs that you need, its a new swing."
I.E - to get better you don't need a new guitar, you need more practice.

Can anyone attest to having a crap guitar like mine, and getting a $500+ guitar and noticing their skill increase just because of the better playability?

Thanks in advance.



The biggest thing to remember is Price doesnt Equal Quality. There are many guitars that are over 1000 that aren't as worth what you are paying. For me when I get a new instrument I look for 3 diff things: Sound, Cost, and Playability.

Now It is true that if you hvae an absolute abomination of a guitar like the first act guitars or the Epoch guitars by Gibson and Baldwin that you will be held back. But never assume just because you get an Yngwie strat that you will be yngwie or sound like him. Its all about feel for me. I've honestly played some guitars that are $300 that felt better then an $800. Now does that mean the guitar is better quality... well not really just feels better.

Perfect example I have a gibson flying V. I really dont like the feel anymore and it just doesnt sound good to me nemore. Im bored with it. But I can pick up my 150 dollar BC Rich warlock bronze that has duncans in it and I love it. Does that mean the build quality and material is better then the gibson. No. It just means it feels better.

But as for the whole question of if you get a better guitar will you play better. Well it will make it easier if it feels better for sure and that will lead you to want to play more making you better in the long run.
#13
when i got my 7-string, It's like someone opened a door.

Not that i was playing any cleaner or better, but i just LIKED the sound and the feel.

Makes you FEEL better about playing. and a NGD is always a good day
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#14
a nicer neck profile for your hands will definatly help your playing ability, playing a guitar u feel comfortable on lets you reach your full potential, thats y when alot of guys get custom guitars some of them pile on all this shit in the electronics (or maybe cuz its ****ing fun), also playing a guitar that sounds good will make u feel good and play better, and that well make u feel better and it becomes a conumdrum that only ends because of friction, and beer
Eh.
#15
the guitar will affect how good your playing sounds more than how well you play. but having a sick guitar might make you feel more confident and inspire to play more which can both affect how well you play because you just feel like a pro
#16
Don't know if this has been said, but I think that a crappy amp holds you back more than a crappy guitar. You can find some good use in your cheap guitar! "Pick a fight with it," says Jack White.
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#17
A lot of it in my opinion has to do with finding the guitar that is right for you. For example:

My first guitar was a First Act. I never took guitar seriously while I had it.

Right after I got into it seriously, and knew that I wanted to play guitar, I bought an Epiphone Goth G400. I loved that guitar to pieces. It was leagues ahead of the First Act.

I then wanted a backup guitar/something to mess with and not worry about. I got a Dean Vendetta XM. Within a month, I wanted to kill it with fire. I sold it.

My next guitar was an Ibanez RG120. And the rest is history, basically. I never play my Epiphone anymore.

In retrospect, I realize now that the problem all along must have been the neck, as well as the scale length. I refuse to touch Epiphone and Gibson guitars, because I absolutely hate the way they feel.


Anyway, coming back from that tangent, yes, a new guitar can make a monumental difference. It may not be a quality or price factor at all that makes you play better, it may just be finding the right specs and shapes that are "right" for you.
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#18
It's all about your guitar comfortability and player's will.

you can try out a lot of guitars with different specs to hone in what you're comfortable with.

EDIT: I hate playability of the Explorer/Kelly bodies ever since I started playing strats because the heavy body and the awkward placing of the upper/lower horns.

But then I got a MIJ Strat then my love of Strat/Superstrat bodies and the thin necks made me wonder why loved Explorers.
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Last edited by dark Mass at Jun 15, 2010,
#19
In terms of playing ability, it's not a only a question of quality and price, but also of shape and ergonomy. I know people who find Les Pauls totally uncomfortable, no matter the quality. Others, like myself, hate those mean looking, pointy guitars (flying Vs included). Even if it's a cool custom one, I can't stand it.

A while ago, I was in the marked for a new acoustic. I played this Blueridge and the neck was so thick that I had the impression they used a whole ****ing tree trunk to make it. Who the hell can play those things? And then I tried a Fender acoustic which was half the price, and everything changed, it felt a whole lot better. Sounded better, too.
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#20
Comfort will increase your playing ability. It's basic logic, if you find the guitar more comfortable you'll play better.

Also if it's more comfortable/better quality/sounds better/feels nicer etc you'll want to play it more and your practicing will probably be more effective as you are relaxed and happy (rather than burdening your mind with the complaints you have about the guitar).

My strat is just perfect, pick it up, play it, know what to expect, incredibly comfortable. I just sit back, chill and play.

That's what you want to be able to do with a guitar. It's all about finding the right one for you.

The same goes for string gauge/strings/picks and of course amps. You need to find the right 'fit'. It just like buying an item of clothing.
#21
your skills won't improve, but the sound you make will be better
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#22
make sure you're guitar feels good for you. it doesn't matter how much it costs ultimately as long as you like how it feels in your hands, how it sounds, how it feels to hold it etc etc. It's a lot harder to find a guitar that has all good things at low low prices but it's doable. It's all about finding a guitar that's right for you.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#23
Your guitar would have to be especially awful for it to really hinder your playing a great deal. That being said, obviously playing on a great guitar makes it easier and more enjoyable to play. Lets face it, you should be enjoying your hobby...
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#24
Both of those are good guitars for the money. I've owned both (and still have the Epi II actually). You can compare those yourself and you can obviously see the huge difference you get from different fretboard radius and neck shape and thickness. And the different bridge height and knob placements affect playability as well.

Assuming your set up and fretwork is all good, you won't really gain anything with a more expensive guitar. Tone is a whole other matter about which you did not ask.
#25
A good player can play on a poor guitar and get the best out of it. A bad player will be bad on any guitar.
But getting better is much easier on a guitar that works properly, feels and sounds good to you. It will inspire you to play more.
My own case it typical. Had a rotten Shaftsbury semi. Bought a pre-CBS Strat and I could play much faster in a few days. Bought a Les Paul Custom and I was flying. I didn't learn any more on these nice guitars and maybe I wouldn't have found them so good if I hadn't put in the years on 'other' sort. Just playing a decent guitar does make a big difference in your attitude.
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#26
Quote by Lurcher

A good player can play on a poor guitar and get the best out of it. A bad player will be bad on any guitar.
But getting better is much easier on a guitar that works properly, feels and sounds good to you. It will inspire you to play more.


agreed. you want the weakest link in your chain to be you, not your gear. if it's your gear which is holding you back, you'll only get demoralised (plus it's a handy excuse to not bother practising).

I consider guitar gear to be analogous to guitar cables/leads/cords. A good one won't make your tone better, but a good one will suck less of your tone, being closer to "perfect". Same thing with gear- good gear won't make you a better player, but it will let you be as good a player as you can be.

Funnily enough, the better you get as a player the more you can make up for poor gear. That's not to say that you won't still want nice gear, but you can compensate for poor or mediocre gear better. Irony of course being that beginners generally start with cheap gear, while experienced players use more expensive gear.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jun 15, 2010,
#27
Don't forget that a lot of people never even hear about or consider setting up their guitar. It is possible to play pretty good with a cheap guitar if its set up well.
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#28
Any experienced guitarist can make basic wood sound great. As long as your guitar is comfortable for your own personal requirements, stick with it until you have and the finance and musical incentive to move on.
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#29
I think Dave had it right in his second paragraph. However, there's also the part where you just enjoy your new gear much more than your older, which will make you play more and with more pleasure, which will obviously improver your playing. You're just practising more, not better per se.

Also, a guitar's looks and sound can have great impact on its 'feel' as well. Not necessarily physical feel, more psychological feel. So if you buy a new guitar to replace your beginner Squire, it probably looks and sounds a lot better (or should, at least), which will again contribute to you 'playing' better. In my experience this can range from the size of the inlays, the colouring/ageing of the maple in the neck, even down to whether or not the pick guard is a 3-ply 'white-black-white', cut and filed so that there are no annoying edges or burrs to be seen.

Jedi's had it right you know, the mind plays tricks on you.
#30
A more expensive and higher quality guitar will be set up better, it will better action, it will sound better and it will make you more motivated to play your shexy new beast. Thats right. I said shexy.

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#31
Quote by Y00p
I think Dave had it right in his second paragraph. However, there's also the part where you just enjoy your new gear much more than your older, which will make you play more and with more pleasure, which will obviously improver your playing. You're just practising more, not better per se.

Also, a guitar's looks and sound can have great impact on its 'feel' as well. Not necessarily physical feel, more psychological feel. So if you buy a new guitar to replace your beginner Squire, it probably looks and sounds a lot better (or should, at least), which will again contribute to you 'playing' better. In my experience this can range from the size of the inlays, the colouring/ageing of the maple in the neck, even down to whether or not the pick guard is a 3-ply 'white-black-white', cut and filed so that there are no annoying edges or burrs to be seen.

Jedi's had it right you know, the mind plays tricks on you.




yep, good point about making you want to play/practice more. I just meant it didn't instantly make you a better player the second you pick it up. But i guess you could argue that making you want to play more will make you a better player, too.

the psychological aspect is pretty important, too- for example, if I'm playing a piece which is meant to be played on a strat, it's much more fun if i'm playing it on a strat (doesn't have to be a fender, a (good) copy also works).
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#32
i think having a good quality guitar doesn't actually make you play better to the extent where you could sound really good with a good guitar and really crap with a crap guitar - but if you have a guitar that you're really satisfied with that makes you want to play and inspires you, you're going to play more, and enjoy playing more, and through that your playing will probably develop and improve a lot faster than if you have a crappy guitar that annoys you.

^also dave mc, that's a good point - i find learning a new song a lot more fun if you've got a similar guitar to what was used on that particular song, as far as learning covers goes. as a result of that, and being an excessive hoarder of guitars from the very beginning, i seem to have developed a bit of a schizophrenic playing style where i sound like a different version of myself depending on what guitar i'm playing
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#33
yeah same here
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#34
Quote by Gargoyle2500
Don't forget that a lot of people never even hear about or consider setting up their guitar. It is possible to play pretty good with a cheap guitar if its set up well.


Don't overlook this... using one of your "beginner" guitars to learn how to adjust a truss rod / bridge height / intonation would be a worthwhile exercise before you sink money into more expensive equipment (IMO). As a beginner myself, I can tell I was pretty amazed at what an eighth of a turn of the truss rod can do. Sure, you can take your guitar to a shop and have them set it up, but to me it makes sense to at least know how to make basic adjustments.