Hi all,

I have been playing Guitar for two years, mainly self-taught. I do it as a hobby, and I probably play 5 out of 7 nights a week. I have been playing the same Fender Squire Strat since I began and I really want to get something new. I have no clue as to what good guitar brands are, or what guitars are good for specific styles of playing. And so that is where you guys come in! -- Hopefully

I play a huge range of music, all kinds of rock/metal, from heavy dropped-tuned stuff to classic rock to prog. I am looking for a generally diverse guitar. I don't expect to be playing live shows, or anything. Just something to jam with.

Is there a specific brand that makes guitars like this? Is this a situation where I simply need to hit up the local guitar shop and try things out? Any input as to what I should look out for would be appreciated.

Oh, and pricetag is anything reasonable. I would probably go with $300-$800, seeing as this guitar will likely go for another two years before I look to replace.

Thanks, UG users!

-- Do as I say, not as I do. --
Well, I'm a die hard Ibanez man myself, and a lot of their guitars - especially the S and the RG series - are very versatile guitars, despite often being profiled a little to the metal / shred side of playing. Very comfortable to play, too - thin necks and comfortable bodies, nice weight, overall good designs. However, there are equally many people out there who don't like Ibanez, often for the thin neck or simply the 'vibe'.

Be it Ibanez or not, I'd recommend a guitar with an H/S/H or an H/S/S pickup configuration - I find that a combination of both humbuckers and singlecoils is a very great contributor in the versatility of a guitar.

Perhaps, however, the most important thing is that YOU like the guitar - the way it feels in your hands, the way it feels to play it, the overall vibe and spirit of it - so if possible, just go on a crazy music store spree and try out anything and everything in your price range!

Guitars: Ibanez SV5470F, Ibanez Xpt700, Fender MIM Standard Stratocaster ('04-'05), Jackson Ps-2
Ashton AG200,
Amps: ENGL E530, Bugera 6262-212,
FX: TC Electronics G-major 2, Behringer EQ700, Morley Volume / Wah
That is some really good advice, thank you. I will keep in mind the Ibanez model and pickup combos as I look around. I will definately be making a visit to a few guitar shops this weekend, so I will get a better idea of what feels and sounds right.

-- Do as I say, not as I do. --
Seems like a Tele would work, they can play any style
Running through:

Engl Fireball
Engl Slanted Cab
Ibanez Xiphos
Schecter C-1 FR Black
Ibanez GRG (on its way)

Boss Noise Gate, Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Boss Tuner, Zakk Wylde Wah.
The problem with asking for this type od advise on a board like this is that you'll really never be able to get an honest opinion. Everybody is biased towards a certain type of instrument, and nobody can really say what's best for you except you.

Honestly, you hit the nail on the head in your opening post. Go out and try out a whole bunch of guitars at all of the local music shops, then buy the the one that feels right to you.

Good luck,
Petey D

Ankle Burner & World Class Sauce Jockey

Sparrow Big Daddy Ace

Sparrow Ratrod Boss

Johnson JT50 Mirage
Yes, everyone has opinions and will be inclined to state theirs as a fact. It's not really about what WE like, its about what YOU like. The only thing we can tell you is the price, the general music a certain guitar is suited for and playability. Definitely go to a music store and try the guitars there.

My opinion:
I am a little more open-minded than many people and I don't really care about brand. Like you, I play alot of hard rock(not much metal) and britrock(classic rock?). For genres like that, a guitar with humbuckers will be perfect. If you like the playability and sound of the Squier, go for an MIM strat. I own the SSS configuration but you should go for the HSS: Humbucker-single coil-singlecoil.

Ibanez makes some really good guitars within that price range. The RG series and ART are suited for rock/metal and the RG series is very versatile. Sadly, my ART300 isn't good for anything other than rock.

Epiphone has some good copies(don't kill me for saying this) of Gibson guitars. If you plan to buy used, I would highly recommend a Gibson LP Studio or a PRS singlecut. Both are perfect for your tastes and can be used for many genres.

Of course, there are many other brands out there but I have listed the big ones that might appeal to you. Hopefully, you have a good amp because that can affect your sound just as much as a guitar can.

Like I mentioned, everyone is different. "Avenge the Rage" suggested a telecaster which I hate from the bottom of my heart. Have fun at the music store, and remember to ask an employee for help/advise if you need it. They tend to be very helpful.....occasionally.....
Best advice from me would be to go to a Guitar Center or other guitar shop and play around on the different types of guitars to see what you like. For instance; I'm a Fender man. I love the thinner necks and light weight. I tried a lot of Les Paul's by Epiphone and Gibson, but they just didn't fit me. I still recognize them as great guitars, but it's not what feels right and comfortable for me. It could be opposite for you. Who knows?

So yeah, go to a guitar store, try a bunch of different brands and see what fits best for you.

As for actual recommendations, if I had to pick I'd say a Fender standard strat might be a good thing to look into. Mine was $230, and it'll be a shape and feel you're already used to from your Squier. Ibanez guitars are generally pretty cozy too, but I don't know as much about them.
Matthew 6:33

Uniting the World, One Bridge at a Time.
See if you can find a deal on a good Ibanez S guitar with an H/S/S configuration. I just got one for stupid money and it plays like a beast.
Go play some guitars. We can't choose for you. There are no good or bad brands, only different guitars for different people. If they were really a bad brand, they would be out of business.

But you do need to have a good idea of what features you like. Most importantly being bridges/vibrato systems, necks and pickups. Remember, you want it to look good, but play even better.
Squier Strat
Squier Classic Vibe Duo-Sonic
Jay Turser JT-220
Fender Frontman 65r

What can I say? I like cheap gear.
Like others have said, try out a bunch of stuff before you buy. You can find good & bad in any brand, and price isn't the universal indicator. Some brands give you a lot of bang for your buck on the low end, but are overpriced on the high end. Others start off with lousy cheap guitars, and improve up the price ranges more than their competitors.

The thing is, you have time. Time gives you the advantage of being able to shop around. It also gives you a chance to save up your $$$ so that if you find "The One", you can afford it.

Me? I tried Fenders & LPS, Ibanezes and all sorts of axes. I almost bought an Ibanez Artcore which my teacher examined and found to be a surprisingly good guitar for its price. Eventually, though, the first electrics I bought were both Deans: a Special Select EVO (@$450USD) and a Time Capsule Cadillac (@$2500). Since then, I've been buying a bunch of guitars from Jon Kammerer, a Chicago area luthier (I met him at the Dallas Guitar Show).

But it's not like that's it. I've got a GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome) list that covers a wide variety of makers and a broad range of prices- from $800 Brian May guitars to $1500 Carvins to $2500 Vigiers to guitars that cost more than my car. (Those will have to wait until I win a lottery or something.)

So, take your time, save your money and don't drop a cent until you've found a winner!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Fender Pawnshop, some other MiM's, Higer-end Epiphones, Second-hand Gibsons.
Thank you to everyone for the replies, I will try to keep as much of this info in mind as I can once I begin my search! It helps a lot to have an idea of what other guitarists think would be a good fit for the style I play. I will also do some research into the different pickup configurations to get a better idea of how they affect playing.

If I decide to buy something this weekend I'll post it here, in case anyone is curious.

Thanks again, everyone. I really appreciate the input! Makes a guy proud to belong to a community as helpful as UG!

-- Do as I say, not as I do. --
Another Ibanez man reporting in.

I got my RG570 for $400 from Guitar Center and it was practically unplayed. Great deal. Threw Dimarzio pickups in it and it sounds even better. Overall it cost me $500, and it's an amazing deal.
best bet? go to guitar center and play a few different guitars, but i <3 my ibanez, you should also take a look at LTD's they are very good guitars for their price, could probably pick up a good EC Series for a good price and they play a good variety of music
Ibanez - Art320
Dean - Mustaine VMNT (silver)
BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone
Line6 Spider Valve II 212, Blackstar HT5C