#1
Hey guys,

I'm a complete nub to the world of electric guitar. I play acoustic and do a lot of country and pop and fingerpicked music but never any rock.

I love bands like The Cab and Relient K and I would want to be able to get their kind of sound (especially The Cab) with practice.

I'm down to a MIM Fender Stratocaster or Epiphone Les Paul Standard.

I'm confused as to humbuckers and single coil pickups. I know humbuckers have a bassier tone, but does pop-rock bands like The Cab and country have bassy guitar? I feel like I hear a lot of rythym guitar in The Cab's songs which sounds bassy to me.

I'm also afraid that with humbuckers I won't be able to play in a way that cuts through the mix. Maybe this concern is totally unfounded. I just don't know how to match the words that I've read to the sounds that I like.

I've read the stratocaster is much more ergonomically suited to beginners (like me) which would be a big plus.

Total confusion! If someone could help me match what I like sonically with the right type of guitar, I would be very grateful
#2
1) your amp will shape your tone much more than any guitar. If you know what you're doing, you can use virtually any guitar with virtually any genre of music. But some amps simply can't handle certain styles- my Fender HRD Combo amp doesn't do heavier styles of metal well at all, (which is why I am shopping for a second amp).

2) your pedals will shape your tone more than your guitar will as well.

3) all that said, you CAN hear the differences between different guitars plugged into the same rig.

So...operating from that 3rd point, my guess is that you'd want a guitar that either has all singlecoils or P90s, or possibly adds HBs to the mix. Singlecoil equipped guitars have a huge presence in pop, with P90s and HBs providing some guitarists with additional punch they want for certain styles.

But we still need to know what kind of budget you're looking for, your location, etc.- to help us refine your options.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1497696
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!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jun 10, 2013,
#3
To me it sounds like you want a Strat. I agree a lot with what dannyalcatraz said about amps, do you already have one?
Schecter Blackjack SLS C-7
Les Paul Studio with Nailbomb / Black Dog BK pups
Razorback Blades V
Axe-FX Ultra
Mesa Boogie Express 5:50
Ableton Live 8 with Nexus, Komplete 6, Predator, Sylenth
Numark NS7FX
#4
Amps and pedals are def next on my list of things to look into. I understand they make a huge impact on the sound so I will be sure to find one I like.

My budget is up to 400 dollars. I might be able to stretch it a little, but I have to budget for an amp and other electric guitar stuff too. I'm in Cupertino, which is in the south bay area (south of San Francisco). My craigslist has decent options but used would not be my first preference unless I find a real suitable deal.

Sounds like there are guitars with both HBs and single coils? Are those a case of being able to do both okay but not one very well?

Are P90s like a happy medium between HBs and single coils?

Thanks guys
Last edited by Seogege at Jun 10, 2013,
#5
1) P90s are oversized singlecoils, and depending on how they are made, are kind of like singlecoils with a power boost. Like they had their own little megaphones... Some can be very raw and raucous, voiced for an aggressive tone. Others are ultraclean.

2) guitars with mixed HBs and singlecoils are very flexible tonally. The best ones do both tones very well, but at the cost of a couple of particular options. Because pickups sound different in the neck and bridge positions, you are trading those tones for flexibility. So a HSS- Humbucker in the bridge with singlecoils in the middle & neck- will not be able to deliver the neck HB or bridge singlecoil tones.

Personally, I'm working on having guitars with all kinds of pickup arrangements, but recently, I find myself buying more with mixed types. This year, I've already bought a Fret-King Supra 60HB (HSS Strat style guitar), and have a pair of customs from Rock Beach being made- one HSS, one with a HB & a P90.

I'm also converting one of my older guitars from a 2HB design into a HB/P-90 guitar.
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!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jun 10, 2013,
#6
As for the used thing...

I personally don't like eBay or Craigslist- I tend not to buy used from anyone who doesn't have a good return policy or whom I can't find easily if what I bought was a lemon. I'm willing to make exceptions, but only rarely.

So when I shop used, I tend to stick to music retailers. And no, I don't stick to my own state, either.

Used is a great way to go when you're on a tight budget or if you are looking for something very particular or unusual. With a budget of $400, you're just in the wheelhouse for finding good deals on used guitars.
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!
#7
Quote by Seogege
Amps and pedals are def next on my list of things to look into. I understand they make a huge impact on the sound so I will be sure to find one I like.

My budget is up to 400 dollars. I might be able to stretch it a little, but I have to budget for an amp and other electric guitar stuff too. I'm in Cupertino, which is in the south bay area (south of San Francisco). My craigslist has decent options but used would not be my first preference unless I find a real suitable deal.


Since this is your first electric guitar, I would recommend that if you are going to buy a used guitar on Craigslist, bring somebody with you who already plays guitar and can tell you if it is worth the price. Otherwise, buy your used equipment from Guitar Center or Sam Ash, this way you can return it with in 30 days if you find out that it's messed up in some way, shape or form.

Quote by Seogege

Sounds like there are guitars with both HBs and single coils? Are those a case of being able to do both okay but not one very well?


Whether or not a pickup sounds "good" is completely relative... more specifically, relative to your ear, and what you think. That said, you can have a really well made HB setup to be coil/split (option to use it as a single coil by effectively disabling one of the coils), and it will create a better Single Coil sound than a really cheap single coil pickup like the ones you would find on a cheap Squier. And that's regardless of whether those pickups are found on a Strat or a Les Paul.

This also gets into the idea that you can take the same pickup, and it will sound very different in two different types of guitars. A Strat and a Les Paul are tow of the most distant guitar builds available, and the most popular. Now, some people will tell you it's the wood of the body, or the wood of the neck, or the fretboard, or the bridge, or the nut, of the glue, of the position of the sun on a Tuesday when the Aurora Borealis is shining directly on the 30 degree latitude in line with Jupiter. The truth is that all of that makes a difference... (except maybe last part).

With this in mind, it's not that one style guitar is better or worse for single coils vs humbuckers... They just sound a little different from one guitar to the next. Plus, there are electronics in each of these types of guitars that have an effect on the way it sounds. The Tone knobs in a Les Paul have different ratings than the Tone knobs in Strats. Each component of a guitar has some effect on the sound it will produce, and when you change every component to something different, it's going to sound VERY different. But changing just one usually won't have a large impact (nut, saddles, strings, pickups, and electronics have the most affect).

As somebody else had mentioned... a good Amp can go a long way to helping create a "good" tone from your guitar, regardless of the type.

Quote by Seogege

Are P90s like a happy medium between HBs and single coils?


P90's are Single Coil pickups. They are just built differently than what you normally see on a Strat and they have a different sound. a little bit thicker. I wouldn't say it's a happy medium... just a different sound.

Either of your initial choices are decent but they are going to be completely different guitars. All things considered, going for a happy medium between the two... I would recommend that you get a modelling practice amp (Peavey Vypyr 15 would be perfect), and an HSH SuperStrat style guitar (ESP LTD M series guitars are an example of a "superstrat", same basic double-cutaway shape as a strat, but different edge cuts). Ibanez makes a lot of decent guitars with that setup and in your price range.

Just a few ideas...
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/GRG150BKN/
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/GRX70QATRB/
http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-IBANEZ-470-HSH-PURPLE-108016950-i2688506.gc
Guitar Center has a lot of used equipment, best if you have a store near you as well so returns are easier (just in case)

Regarding ergonomics... since you already play acoustic, just about ANY electric guitar is more ergonomic than just about ANY acoustic. But Strats are definitely lighter. hope all of this doesn't create too much confusion, I know that I wish I had done a ton more research before I made my first guitar purchase... and the second... and THIRD, lol.

PS. Nothing, no amount of research, or recommendation... can beat actually going to a guitar shop and playing everything on the wall to hear and feel the differences in the different guitars.
PRS SE Santana - Santana III Bass/Treble
ESP LTD EC400vf - Gibson Zebra 496R/500T
AXL Badwater SRO - GFS OW Liverpool, SD Duckbucker, SD JB
Mitchell Acoustic MD100SCE
Peavey Vypyr 100
Last edited by RedJamaX at Jun 10, 2013,
#8
Wow lots of info! Thanks guys!

I tend to buy Craigslist for things that I understand (lenses, cameras) but for something I have no idea about I wouldn't trust myself to inspect a used guitar. New is fine.

I really like the clean sound of the stratocaster and its ergonomics. I'm probably gonna have to settle for a Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster 50s because of the price of buying new though. It's going for 322 with a sale at Musician's Friend which is about 70 dollars less than a used MIM Fender Strat. What would I mainly be losing out on?

The Vypyr 15 looks really cool but it seems like it isn't sold anymore? Used ones in the area are way too far away to buy Any other modeling amps you'd recommend?

If I understand modeling amps right they can do a ton of sounds because of the software right? What does the "practice" mean in practice modeling amps?

EDIT: Taking a listen to the stratocaster HSS the versatility sounds really really great.

Thank you guys for all the help
Last edited by Seogege at Jun 11, 2013,
#9
MIM Strat, as I understand, would be significantly better in quality construction and electronics as compared to a Squier. I would not recommend the Squier at all.

"Practice", just means that it's small and not meant for gigs, primarily used to practice in your bedroom or living room. Usually a single 8", 10" or 12" speaker.

Yes, modelling amps use software to emulate the sound of several different popular types of amplifiers. So it's not perfect, but it's nice to have a wide range of tonal capabilities.

Peavey has a new Vypyr VIP series that looks cool.
Fender Mustang I is a fairly popular one.
For being on a budget... I like the line 6 spider IV series (Spider IV 15) for the "practice" sized amps, most people here will hate that I even said that... but when you're on a budget, you're on a budget... Although I would definitely buy a USED Vypyr 15 before a new Spider IV. But I would buy a Spider IV 15 before a Mustang I.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-PEAVEY-VYPYR-15W-GUITAR-AMP-109075845-i3177075.gc
http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-LINE-6-SPIDER-IV-15-341-060913-109084894-i3188761.gc
http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-MUSTANG-1-V1-1X8-COMBO--341-060413-109070795-i3179284.gc

Also, if it's in your budget, I would STRONGLY recommend buying a larger used amp... It's about twice the "used" cost to go from 8" to 12", but the difference in sound is HUGE.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-PEAVEY-VYPYR-30-COMBO-109082590-i3187007.gc
http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-LINE-6-SPIDER-IV-30W-109008474-i3123091.gc
http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-FENDER-MUSTANG-II-40W-1X12-GTR-AMP-109078839-i3183477.gc

Same price range, but this is the new Vypyr VIP
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/peavey-vypyr-vip-1-20w-1x8-guitar-modeling-combo-amp
PRS SE Santana - Santana III Bass/Treble
ESP LTD EC400vf - Gibson Zebra 496R/500T
AXL Badwater SRO - GFS OW Liverpool, SD Duckbucker, SD JB
Mitchell Acoustic MD100SCE
Peavey Vypyr 100
#10
Mm I see. A big part of what I'm doing is recording my amp so I'd imagine the better sound from a larger amp would translate to better sounding recordings right?

A used amp for $100 sounds totally doable. I think I'll go for a HSS Stratocaster to go with it.

Are pedals necessray with a modeling amp?
#11
Generally, no.
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!
#12
Awesome thanks for all the help! I look forward to returning with some experience in my hands
#13
Quote by Seogege
Mm I see. A big part of what I'm doing is recording my amp so I'd imagine the better sound from a larger amp would translate to better sounding recordings right?


Depends on how you plan to record from your amp. If you have some sort of external sound card that will accept an output from your amp, then no... That will be dependant on the quality of the signal out of your amp and how good your sound card is in combination with the software on your computer..

If you are going to be using an instrument Mic set directly in front of the speaker, then no, that depends on the quality of the amp and the speaker... even an 8" can sound fantastic coming from a great amp and being recorded with the right mic.

If you are just going to be recording using a video camera, then a bigger amp will typically sound better.

Quote by Seogege

Are pedals necessray with a modeling amp?


Typically, no. Most modelling amps have a decent set of built in effects. Peavey Vypyr has the best selection of built in effects.
PRS SE Santana - Santana III Bass/Treble
ESP LTD EC400vf - Gibson Zebra 496R/500T
AXL Badwater SRO - GFS OW Liverpool, SD Duckbucker, SD JB
Mitchell Acoustic MD100SCE
Peavey Vypyr 100