Alright, so I'm looking at getting a new electric guitar. I currently have an Epiphone Les Paul Ultra and am looking to step things up in overall quality and play ability. In an ideal world, I'd buy a PRS Custom 22 but they are just waaaayyyyy too much money (even used) and I can't warrant spending that amount of money on a guitar at this point in my life. I would get a PRS SE but they just don't feel 'right' to me. SO, I'd like your help in thinking of appropriate alternates.

I play: Rock and punk primarily. I really don't want a guitar that'll just be a one-trick-pony...so I'm willing to sacrifice features for 'purity'.

Features I want:
- 22 Fret (24 is just too much for me)
- Volume knob in easy reach for swells & such.
- Ideally, something that doesn't have as thick as a neck as an LP, but not a super thin Jackson or shredder guitar either. (PRS wide-thin, strat, etc are a good ballpark size).
- I'd prefer for it to have a pickup selector in a different spot than a typical LP since I have a tendency to hit it by accident sometimes. This isn't a deal breaker though.

- I typically like thicker sounds, hence why I originally went with an LP, but am looking for a change. I play mostly rhythm guitar in my current band but also switch between leads occasionally. The other guitarist plays a pieced together Tele with humbuckers, so my guitar would need to be able to blend well with another guitar. I like the sound of a PRS since it lays somewhere between the Fender and LP sounds. For reference, I play through a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier & Traditional cab.

- I'd like to stay around the $800 range. I'm COMPLETELY open to used and am expecting to actually buy used (helps cut the cost typically quite a bit anyways)...but want to be able to try out a guitar before I buy.

I've been looking at the Fender Blacktop Stratocaster HH, but am slightly hesitant about the quality of the parts & all. Again, I'm looking for a step up from my current guitar. The Fender Classic Series '72 has potential but the volume knob looks like it'll be difficult to reach.

I'll be trying to stop by Guitar Center sometime soon to pick some guitars up to try out and play around with, but am hoping some suggestions can help me target any particular guitars to look at.

Thanks in advance!!
Try these brands- all 3 have good quality guitar models in your price range.

Flexible rock machines all around- most will handle anything short of modern high-gain metal...and there are a couple of models designed to go that extra step. Their guitars' bass control does for the low end what tone controls do for treble, so there are a LOT of tonal options on tap. (I own a Flatroc 15th Anniversary edition, and its RevTron miniHBs are awesome for retro-rock, surf, psychobilly, and the like.)

MiJ & MiK
The ergonomics of their guitars are shred-friendly and most tend to have hotter pickups- great for rock & metal- but are also capable of some nice clean tones. Some are solidly aimed at classic rock. (I own a Ravelle Elite, and would like to get a Dragonfly...maybe a SHIN Ravelle.) Check the website, then see if they have what you want in their online direct sales store.

A couple of models aim for metal, but the bulk of ther rep was built on mainstream rock machines that have a lot of bang for the buck. Very good QC on all of their models, which are all made in Canada- I believe in the same factory. The Richmond Belmont and Empire have nice quasi-retro styling and aim for the sweet spot of mainstream classic rock tones. I don't own any Godin products, but every one I have played felt and sounded good.
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 Aug 11, 2013,
Have you checked out the Gretsch Pro Jet? I think the FilterTrons on it sound great for rhythm when you're playing rock and punk. It's got character for lead playing as well. The neck might seem a bit thick though, if that's a massive problem.
I'd say your safest bet is to try to find a used American strat. Its got a thinner tone (especially if you get the single coil version), 22 frets, and covers all the bases you mentioned. They can usually run around 1200$ new but I'm sure if you look hard enough you could find one for around 800$. The American strats tend to be built of higher quality parts and will be a step up from your epiphone. Try one out and see how it feels.
What gives me wood:

Gibson Les Paul Custom
Ibanez S5470F
Ibanez RGD2127fx
Schecter Hellraiser C-7 FR
Mackie HD1221
You want a PRS Cu22? but only have $800, if you can add another $200 you can get a PRS CE22 which is basically a Cu22 with a Bolt-thru maple neck. Everything else is identical. I have one I bought back on '04 and it is one of my favorite guitars I have ever played.

Actually there is a PRS CE24 for $949 on www.guitarcenter.com/usedgear

Your welcome
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate