#1
Hey UG, didn't see this wasn't an acceptable post in the stickies but if I'm wrong or this doesn't belong in this forum please just let me know.

Anyway, I've been semi-casually playing guitar for a while now and I'm thinking it might be time to upgrade my gear in some way. Unfortunately I know very little about equipment and the best way to make things work together (or even how to get good/different sounds out of the stuff I have-- I'll be looking for good resources on learning that kind of stuff too).

Through not really knowing anything about gear, what I was getting into, what I wanted to play, and some other factors, here's what I ended up with as a setup:

  • Schecter S-1 Elite (this guy ) with two Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickups
  • Music Man 112 RD-50 amp (don't know too much about it, seems pretty solid though, real tough finding a good link but it's something like this )
  • Boss ME-70 multi-effects pedal (this one )


I also have a Joe Pass Emperor II I don't play nearly enough, I like it a lot though...

I've got some money to blow and I'd like to sink it into some guitar gear because I really like playing and plan to for the foreseeable future. Plus, my amp is pretty beat to hell and I don't know how long it will last.

For what it's worth I'm in somewhat of a band these days and the music we play is basically what I'd play on my own-- classic rock, blues, some hard rock, not much metal. I also like to try to play some jazz, or at least jazzy bluesy stuff.

I feel like if I wanted to trade up a guitar I'd grab an American strat, that's not really a priority though because I do like my S-1 (although an expert could tell me it sucks and I'd have no idea, haha... opinions?). I'm thinking I'll probably want to snag an amp though, and who knows what else.

Any easy/obvious improvements I could make, or gear suggestions in general?

Edit: I'm not looking to spend a fortune here but I'd be willing to spend some money. Let's keep each piece under 1k, for discussion's sake?
Last edited by bixby snyder at Mar 25, 2011,
#2
If you're happy with that guitar, then your best bet is buy a nice tube amp.

I'd jump on a Mesa Boogie Mark IV combo if you can find one for around $1K (used of course--they don't make them anymore).

MIA Strats are OK, but a tube amp ought to be the priority. Also might want to check out the Fender Mustang amps and save some of that money. Some folks would say those are the next best thing to a tube amp.
#3
For Jazz? A Mark IV?
(facepalm)

If you dont plan on upgrading the guitar, then I suggest getting hold of-
a) Peavey 3120/XXX/JSX/XXX II- First two channels can easily handle jazz, blues and rock, third channel for metal if you ever start playing it.
b) Vox AC15/30 (used)
c) Mesa Boogie Lonestar/Stilletto (used)
d) Some sort of Dr. Z amp?
e) Used Fender Twin/Supersonic/Bassman
f) Used Roland JC-120 + pedals
Last edited by GS LEAD 5 at Mar 25, 2011,
#4
Thanks for the recommendations so far, I'll do some reading. Btw, you both mentioned upgrading the guitar-- is it at least respectable? I mean I like the way it plays, I'd consider something else though. Also, are there pieces of it that it might make sense to upgrade (new bridge, tuners, whatever... also kinda wanted to add a tremolo, but that might be expensive) or is that not really how it works?
#5
Your guitar would be the last thing I'd upgrade.

I'd worry about your amp and effects first, in that order.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
#6
Quote by bubb_tubbs
Your guitar would be the last thing I'd upgrade.

I'd worry about your amp and effects first, in that order.


Cool, appreciate it. As far as the effects-- not a fan of the ME-70, or multi effects pedals in general? Or is there just additional stuff I should be looking for not included as part of that pedal? I didn't really know what I wanted as far as effects so it seemed like a good call, I mean it does pretty much everything...
#7
That's why I said you should upgrade the amp first if you're planning on changing anything.

The ME unit isn't great, but it's not so horrible that you wouldn't benefit more from an amp swap.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
#8
Use the ME as an effects unit with its distortions off. FOr stuff like delays and chorus, the ME is pretty good. Its just that its distortions arent too easy on the ear.

The guitar is secondary. If youre happy with it, get a new amp.
#9
For Jazz? A Mark IV?
(facepalm)

TS said "not much metal", which means some metal. And in my experience, the Mark IV can do anything you dial it in to do. Including jazz. Although some think you need a hollowbody Gibson strung with 13s and a Roland amp for Jazz.

You probably wouldn't think the JVM410H & GNX4 are a good choice for garage rock. You might not approve of my modded Squier w/an SD Jazz in the neck and DD Detonator in the bridge, wired through Fender Stealth switching like a Deluxe Big Apple Strat, but with 2 volume and concentric tone controls, either. But the audience likes it, and my stock MIA Strat, too, so that that's good enough for me.
#10
Actually, THe JVM isnt a bad choice at all for rock, since youve got the 4 channel version. And I use MFX pedals myself.

But no, I dont approve of the guitars.
No pointy shapes=no br00tz
EDIT: Coincidentally, my guitar's currently strung with 13's in D standard
Mind, I dont play jazz. Almost entirely metal.
Last edited by GS LEAD 5 at Mar 25, 2011,
#11
There's a lot of amps out now with built-in effects so maybe look for one that has that? It's the future. You used to have to buy separate units but now you don't! I think you could kill two birds with one stone.

And since you're in a band situation you'll want an amp that gets loud enough to deal with a drummer so I would recommend >25 watt tube or if its hybrid or solid-state >60 watt. Even more if you are going to be gigging in bigger venues or if you will be gigging without micing the amp.

To give a real quick summary of the difference between tube and solid state, I would say:

1. Tube amps are widely considered to have a better overdriven tone however this is entirely subjective and based around a lot of factors.

2. Solid state amps are widely considered to have a better clean tone. Jazz players and chicken-pickin' country players often prefer solid-state amps like the Roland JC-120 and Polytone amps. They also have more headroom. You can turn solid state amps right on up and they remain clean.

Some would argue with this "solid state is better for clean" generalization because the "clean" tone they like is slightly overdriven which in many cases is nicely achieved with tube overdrive.

3. Tube amps cost more to own. They require new tubes periodically which might also mean a trip to a tech to "bias" them properly. They also can overheat easier and have other issues. You also have to let them warm up when you turn them on. There are new things you have to be careful of like only turning them on with the standby switch engaged so the tubes can warm up without power applied. Also a huge thing to remember: you have to have them under the proper load (connected to speakers) with the right impedance at all times.

3. Solid state amps are often derided and considered "pieces of shit" and yadda-yadda-yadda but really solid state technology is generally much more reliable and there's nothing to replace as part of regular maintenance. Solid state amps also weigh less. These days, technologies like the Peavey TransTube and the modelling technologies like Roland COSM have allowed solid-state amplifiers to produce distortion that fools even the most discerning guitarists into thinking they heard a tube amp (like in double-blind listening tests conducted by Peavey).

4. Solid-state amps are rarely ever found with quality parts though. The thinking that "tube is better" has highly influenced manufacturers who have to please their customers into mostly creating tube amps. They do produce solid-state amps for budget-minded customers because it is cheaper in general to produce a solid-state amp. The concept of a "high end solid state amp" is fairly foreign, although some manufacturers like Pearce and Pritchard have gone that route and are trying to convince people that if manufacturers put as much design and production time and quality into their solid-state amps, they could sound just as good as tube. The average tube amp has better speaker(s), cabinet construction, components, and QC. If solid-state amps generally had as much care applied, maybe the "tube is better" assumption would lose some traction.

To top it all off plenty of great songs and guitarists have used and are using solid-state amps.

This is all not to say that solid-state is as good as tube (although maybe it is now), but to point out, in general, that a tube amp might sound "warmer" but IMO we shouldn't carry the generalization too far, especially since what works for one person might not be good for another. Also there are crappy tube amps just as much as there are crappy solid state amps. A good amp is a good amp and IMO the sound it makes should be more important than how it makes it.
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#13
Quote by GS LEAD 5
Actually, THe JVM isnt a bad choice at all for rock, since youve got the 4 channel version. And I use MFX pedals myself.

But no, I dont approve of the guitars.
No pointy shapes=no br00tz
EDIT: Coincidentally, my guitar's currently strung with 13's in D standard
Mind, I dont play jazz. Almost entirely metal.


OK, so you'd probably like my Ibanez Xiphos, although the points aren't sharpened like a BC Rich or somethiing. Great practice guitar--too bad the neck wants to dive so bad when you play it standing up. I don't like having to play with foot proppep up on the monitor wedge the whole time just to keep the neck up.

And the Detonator in the Squier is out of my Schecter--put the real SD Invader in the bridge of that and have a Sustainiac in the neck. It's got the devil horns headstock, so perhaps that's pointy for you. But I wouldn't bring that guitar up on stage since it's a signature model--only bought it 'cause it was so cheap in that pawnshop.

As for the tube vs. solid state issue, that is a great post above, rawkandrowl. There are just a few things I'd piggy-back on it to say:
- Tubes don't just sound warmer--they also bring out more detail and harmonics
- Built in effects on amps have come a long way, but unless you have a comprehensive foot pedal to control them with, then they'll be of limited value. For the Mustangs, you'd have to get a Mustang III or above to get much control, and then you'd also need the optional extra controller, as well. Peavey's Sampara II is pretty decent, but it costs $200. Line 6 has some pretty good foot controllers too, but you'd have to go really high end with them (like Vetta) to get away from their crap and still get the functionality. Even the Spydervalve is still a just a crappy Spyder, but it has a Bogner-designed tube power amp stage. So basically it's a slightly warmer and much louder Spyder. ***flame shields up***