#1
Hi guys, I have joined this forum due to the amount of people that use it; there are not that many big guitar forums in the UK, and I wanted to increase my chances of finding someone who knows their stuff!!!

Anyway, a little back story. I used to play the acoustic years ago (when I was about 8/9/10) and found it frustrating that none of the sounds I loved seemed to come out of it! I put this down to several things, childish impatience, cheap instrument (had three nylon strings and an uneven fret), and a poor tutor.

However, now I have finished my degree and feel it is time for me to start again. I now have a different approach due to the fact that I have a much broader musical taste and can pinpoint exactly what turns me on, and I have also discovered my preferred learning style (when learning anything) is to teach myself.

So, to the necessary:

Budget
I would like to stick to around the £500-600 mark SH (not sure what it is in dollars as you guys seem to pay less than the direct exchange rate!), or about £1000 New

Favorite Artists
I listen to loads of different types of music and whilst not all of it is necessarily 'guitar made', the atmosphere and composition of tone is just something that grabs me and takes me into another world. Artists like BB King, Led Zeppelin (all), Arctic Monkeys (especially Humbug), Trentemoller, AFI (early 2000's), RATM, Hooray For Earth, Me and My Drummer, Arcade Fire, Pink Floyd etc.

Preferences
I think I have already got my heart set on a guitar. I have listened to quite a few different types with the help of a patient, proficient player, and I think I'm almost decided on a Gibson SG for the following reasons:
-the tone makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end
-the body is nice and slim and feels less awkward, less like an acoustic (sounds odd I know)
-not heavy (although I'm a strong guy at 6'3", I just prefer the feel compared to a Strat I handled)

Pickups
Now this I where it becomes a little confusing for me as I like the old bluesy sound that the P90s make clean, but I prefer the boiling and deep driven sound of the humbuckers. This might be where I'm told that there is no compromise, and if so would there be a pedal solution?

New or Used
Either

Location
Plymouth, UK

I am also after a practice amp that would compliment my chosen guitar, I'm thinking tube, probably no more than 40W, headphone socket, as few presets and effects as possible (just drive etc), no more than £200.

So in conclusion, am I headed down the right path? Is there anything I haven't thought about?

Cheers guys, thanks for any help!

Tom
#2
Oh another thing, I really do not like lacquered necks (never did when I was a kid either), is this something you get a choice with?
#3
seymour duncan makes p-rails. i haven't tried them but they claim they do p90 and humbucker tones. i suspect there'll be some compromise, though.

SGs are nice, but you don't really get any choice regarding the satin neck thing, gibsons are nitro-finished and that pretty much means there'll be a finish on the neck. there are the cheaper faded models, which aren't as glossy, but they tend to have other corners cut, too.

you might need to up your amp budget a bit. though a laney cub might work (i haven't tried it).
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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?
#4
Ah yes I heard one of the cheaper ones (might have been called a special or something), I didn't rate its sound to be honest; unless it wasn't set up right, but it sounded a little messy. I might have to just see if I can overcome the gloss...

I think customising pickups is a little extravagant for a first electric guitar though, I might have to make a decision on which I want to start with.

What kind of budget would you recommend for a practice amp? I was basing my budget on the Blackstar ID:15 which I've heard is good, but would rather not have the voices and USB crap...

(Thanks for your post btw)
#5
If you really like the feel of an SG in your hands, then there may be no acceptable substitute. In that case, find one that you like and swap out the neck pickup for a HB-sized P90.

OTOH, there may be other options. Reverend Guitars has guitars that are made with korina- a wood with similar tonal properties to mahogany, but is lighter- and come in a variety of body styles, including singlecuts, doublecuts, Vs, etc. The closest they come to the SG bodystyle are the Sensei and the semihollow Manta Rays...and they're more like pointy-horned 355s.

Even though it is not one of those doublecuts, the Double Agent III offers something unusual: a HB in the bridge and a P90 in the neck as its standard design...for a reasonable price- just over $1000.

One of the only similar production guitars I've seen in the sub-$1000 range is the Godin Richmond Empire, but its neck pickup is actually a hot low-noise singlecoil that isn't quite a P90... There is also the Fender Blacktop Jazzmaster.

All the similar guitars like this I've seen come from makers like Duesenberg and Nik Huber. That means they're pricey.
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Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jun 15, 2013,
#6
Ok... I don't want to come off as cliché but maybe a les paul? seems like you got the bankroll for one. I don't want to get into the sustain and tone because im sure you've heard it all before. SG's are great. If it makes the hairs on your neck stand up, I say go for it.

Whatever you choose, im sure you will be happy
#7
If you want both p90s & humbuckers, have a look into the Vox 33 & 55 series guitars. The 33 series have pickups switchable between p90 & humbuckers, and the 55 series can do single coil as well.
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#8
Those Vox 33s & 55s are nice looking axes! Nifty pickups, too!

(...may have to as that to my shopping list...)
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 15, 2013,
#9
Yeah, I'm pretty close to selling my Telecaster & getting the 55 - I hardly ever use single coils and usually only want them for certain parts of a song, so they're very tempting.

I played one in a shop recently as well - they sound pretty good & they're really comfortable to hold.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
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#10
Wow, thanks guys! Reading what you've written shows that I have a lot to learn, I think the idea of purchasing a p90 for the neck in the future is a good one. Might act as a little reward for myself upon (hopefully) regaining some ability! Ha!
I'll have a look around for some hands-on with some of the other brands mentioned (you can never do enough guitar groping!), although Plymouth isn't renowned for its great guitar selection...

Thanks again guys!
#11
If you want some SG shaped guitar, and don't care about it being a Gibson, I would advise you to get yourself a made in japan Tokai.

If you get a good deal, you can have crazy bang for bucks with these. I paid mine £500 as a new old stock (clearance), on which I could even recoup the english VAT, because I live outside EU.

I don't think you can find better specs on any brand, so for less than 500 pounds alltogether, that's really the best sounding/looking guitar I could get as far as SG goes in my opinion (the one on the left, the blue one is a Yamaha, which is sweet to BTW).

Edit:

And tokai makes a P90 version of its SG, or you can swap the neck pickup with a P94 or some other humbucker sized P90...

Yamaha SG 800
Tokai USG 118s
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Last edited by Doogy-Style at Jun 15, 2013,
#12
Nice axes!
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!
#13
^^ Nice Yeah, MIJ tokais are great, but the prices aren't anywhere near as good as they used to be, unfortunately. I got my gibson (2012) SG standard (new) for less than I could get a new MIJ Tokai for, for example. I'm a total MIJ fanboy, and even for me, the gibson was the better choice as prices currently stand.

an other option is godin, maybe. It's not an SG (more like a les paul), but i know red dog music (and maybe some other places) are blowing out some godins for around £500. I haven't tried them, but based on the one godin i've been able to try, it might be worth considering.

http://www.reddogmusic.co.uk/catalog/electric-guitars/solid-body?brand=godin&more=1

the gibson will hold its value better, though, which is always worth bearing in mind.

Quote by a_flea
(a) Ah yes I heard one of the cheaper ones (might have been called a special or something), I didn't rate its sound to be honest; unless it wasn't set up right, but it sounded a little messy. I might have to just see if I can overcome the gloss...

(b) I think customising pickups is a little extravagant for a first electric guitar though, I might have to make a decision on which I want to start with.

(c) What kind of budget would you recommend for a practice amp? I was basing my budget on the Blackstar ID:15 which I've heard is good, but would rather not have the voices and USB crap...

(Thanks for your post btw)


(a) any of the cheaper ones i tried sounded ok, they still have pretty decent pickups in them (though they have alnico II magnets, which might translate to "messy sounding"). But yeah going for a faded (at least the cheaper faded) might mean compromising on other, more important things, too.

admittedly if you hate gloss and can't half play a gloss guitar, that's pretty serious too

(b) no worries, i was just saying it was an option. A couple of guitars come stock with p-rails, i think, but you'd be massively narrowing down your options, really. even if you don't want to change the pickups now, you might well be willing to do it later, so i'd get the guitar you want first and worry about the pickups later. As long as the stock pickups aren't horrible, of course.

(c) it's really up to you, you can spend any amount of money.

FWIW those blackstar IDs aren't tube at all, they're modelling amps. Blackstar have a bit of a rep for slightly shifty advertising (with good cause, if you ask me, but obviously that's just my opinion and if one of their amps is exactly what you want, not buying it because you disagree with how they advertise might be biting off your nose to spite your face ).

I got one of these recently- it's a pretty good deal, I think. It doesn't have masses of clean headroom, but it'll do your vintage blues, classic rock and harder rock tones pretty well (the heavier ones especially with an overdrive/boost pedal).

http://www.andertons.co.uk/combo-amps/pid29013/cid691/hayden-petite-5-hand-wired-uk-made-5w-guitar-amp-combo.asp

Might be worth considering- the stock speaker is pretty poor, but aside from that it's pretty nice. You can upgrade the speaker for like £50 (I think my favourite so far is the eminence gb128, which also pretty handily is one of the cheapest good upgrade speakers you can get ), and it's a pretty easy swap, as the (enclosed, so it shouldn't shock you) entire chassis lifts out when you remove 4 screws, and the speaker is attached by spade connectors, so you don't have to solder or anything like that, it's just a matter of unscrewing a bunch of screws and then rescrewing them.

oh and it doesn't come with a footswitch, so you'd need to buy one i suppose. You can normally get them for less than £20, less than £10 on e.g. thomann (but if that's all you're buying from thomann, the postage cost would be prohibitive).

EDIT: and it's a 12 inch speaker, despite what andertons says
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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, 2013,
#14
I think I might have to suck it up and travel to find a better shop, somewhere where there is the variety and the opportunity to try things properly... The prospect of throwing a load of money at an amp is becoming more daunting the more I watch tests on Youtube and the like. There's just so much variation! I think I'm still sold on valves though (although that blackstar valve 'without valves' does sound quite nice on video...), will have to go on a major road trip! Might see if I can track down somewhere with Laney, Blackstar, Hayden and Vox in one place...

Thanks again guys, this is one of the most helpful and friendly forums I've ever visited!
Last edited by a_flea at Jun 16, 2013,
#15
Quote by Dave_Mc
^^ Nice Yeah, MIJ tokais are great, but the prices aren't anywhere near as good as they used to be, unfortunately. I got my gibson (2012) SG standard (new) for less than I could get a new MIJ Tokai for, for example. I'm a total MIJ fanboy, and even for me, the gibson was the better choice as prices currently stand.



Wow, did Tokais become really so expensive recently ? I bought mine a little less than two years ago and back then, there's no way I could have gotten myself something equivalent for the 500£ I paid.
Then again, I bought it online, and it was a clearance deal, so I guess even then you couldn't necessarly find these kind of deals that easily.

On another topic, I don't know who mentioned the Laney Cub, but I though I would give my impressions on that since I own a Cub10 (even though it's taking the dust since I got my TubeMeister):
It's a pretty damn nice amp, but it isn't suitable for the heavier stuff that the OP listed. Of course you can always go around that problem by adding a nice overdrive pedal, but that's an extra cost. Also as far as the Cub10 goes, the speaker is only 10" so the bass aren't the greatest.
Last but not least, if you want to get some poweramp distortion, even with only 10 watts, this amp is deafening for a bedroom use.

Anyway, good luck in your quest OP .
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#16
Quote by a_flea
Plymouth isn't renowned for its great guitar selection...
As far as I know there is only one small shop near Drake Circus and I don't remember being awe struck when I went there last.

If you go for a guitar with 2 humbuckers, you'll have the option to change out the neck pickup for a humbucker sized P90 such as the Seymour Duncan Phat Cat. Another thing to note is that 40W of tube is a helluva lot louder than 40W of solid state. If you're worried about volumes and don't plan to gig, a modeller like the POD HD or Eleven Rack would be a fine alternative. I'm myself am thinking of getting an Eleven Rack because my Blackstar HT-5 is too loud.

As for guitars, it sounds like you want something versatile. It's always nice to try stuff out and but if you're in a bit of hole for music shops, the internet has some great opportunities if you're careful and look in the right places. I'm a sucker for stalking the Yamahas on ebay...
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#17
Quote by a_flea
I think I might have to suck it up and travel to find a better shop, somewhere where there is the variety and the opportunity to try things properly... The prospect of throwing a load of money at an amp is becoming more daunting the more I watch tests on Youtube and the like. There's just so much variation! I think I'm still sold on valves though (although that blackstar valve 'without valves' does sound quite nice on video...), will have to go on a major road trip! Might see if I can track down somewhere with Laney, Blackstar, Hayden and Vox in one place...

Thanks again guys, this is one of the most helpful and friendly forums I've ever visited!


no problem

you really need to try valves to see what all the fuss is about. it's not just the tone, it's the feel as well. they're awesome

Quote by Doogy-Style
Wow, did Tokais become really so expensive recently ? I bought mine a little less than two years ago and back then, there's no way I could have gotten myself something equivalent for the 500£ I paid.
Then again, I bought it online, and it was a clearance deal, so I guess even then you couldn't necessarly find these kind of deals that easily.

On another topic, I don't know who mentioned the Laney Cub, but I though I would give my impressions on that since I own a Cub10 (even though it's taking the dust since I got my TubeMeister):
It's a pretty damn nice amp, but it isn't suitable for the heavier stuff that the OP listed. Of course you can always go around that problem by adding a nice overdrive pedal, but that's an extra cost. Also as far as the Cub10 goes, the speaker is only 10" so the bass aren't the greatest.
Last but not least, if you want to get some poweramp distortion, even with only 10 watts, this amp is deafening for a bedroom use.

Anyway, good luck in your quest OP .


admittedly i got a pretty good deal on my gibson sg- it was the 2012 model and i got it for £600 new. I think the tokais are £650 new now (and newer, not "new old stock" models might be more).

I think it was me who mentioned the cub. Thanks for the info, good points there that (having not tried it, but knowing what valve amps are like) I don't disagree with. The hayden petite 5 is probably better, then. I think they have the 7/15w cotton club back on their website too, so it might be an option, too (it already has a good speaker in it).

it's probably also worth spelling out, in black and white, that even 5 watts (valve) is LOUD when cranked up. I run my master on 1 with mine, just like i do with my higher wattage amps, lol.

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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 16, 2013,
#18
There have been a lot of good, low wattage tube amps released over the past few years, ranging from the mass-produced & affordable to the custom and PRICEY!
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!
#19
I didn't read much of this thread, but from playing the Vox 55, I can tell you that they are very thin guitars. Like an Ibanez S thin. The neck seemed pretty close to an Ibanez Wizard neck as well, but a touch thicker.

I also chose my PRS SE Cu24 over it, but it was tough. I liked the LP-meets-Strat concept of the SE Cu24. But thats just me.
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#20
Quote by Dr.shred 801
If it makes the hairs on your neck stand up, I say go for it


I agree, sounds like your mind is already made up. A good choice too. And I see no problem in changing out the pickups in your first guitar, considering it doesn't sound like you're about to buy a cheap beginner guitar. I've never played a SG however own a Les Paul and am a fan of Gibsons. Ultimately you'll always struggle if you try find a guitar that can do everything.
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