I started learning how to play about 2 months ago. My brother in law was kind enough to lend me his MIA Lonestar Strat and an Orange 35 watt amp. It's awesome that I was able to get started with a good guitar but I knew I couldn't keep it forever.
My wife wasn't keen on the idea of spending enough to get a MiM Strat, even a used one, so I was stuck looking at 150-175 dollar guitars. Then on Tuesday I went to the Guitar Center to pick up my daughter's 4th birthday gift - a Yamaha GL-1 Guitalele:

It's a cute little thing. This is technically my first guitar purchase and I'd love to be able to give you an in-depth review but the fact of the matter is I have almost no idea. The tuners felt pretty solid and I was able to tune it pretty easily. There are some areas on the front where the finish isn't all there. "Variable glossiness" - I guess you could say. Still - seems like a cool kid-sized instrument and it only cost 79 dollars.

But while I was there I told a sales rep about my desire to find a cheaper guitar of my own to replace a MIA strat and I asked if he could show me the Squiers. He said - "you're not going to be happy with a Squier if you've been playing a MIA Fender". He eventually found this for me:

Not a strat! He didn't think I'd be interested in it but there wasn't much else in my price range. It's a used Epiphone Les Paul Std. in Iced Tea Burst.
I had tried one of these on a previous visit and I didn't really like it then, but this one felt good in my hands. I was also pretty excited about looking at a guitar that's named after my favorite thing to drink. (Seriously - don't judge me.)

The price was pretty good too. $199. My wife gave the okay and here it is.

I really like the color. I don't know if the top is Maple or a photo of some sort but it looks pretty nice to me. The tuners are Grover brand and they're definitely not as nice as the ones on the strat.
The Epiphone is heavier than the Strat and it's also louder when it's not plugged in. The back isn't contoured and that can be a little painful. I do wish that it had a slightly more people-friendly shape.
The pickups - I don't know yet. They're probably the originals. No branding of any sort as far as I can see. I was used to the Fender's ability to sound good (or at least interesting) on basically any amp setting so I was not expecting to find that my Epiphone sounds a little... 'eh' ...on certain settings. There's plenty of good sounds that you can make, but it's not like the Strat which seems like it's capable of making all of the sounds.
I like the flatter radius neck for chords but I found myself regressing slightly on my (fledgling) finger-picking skills. I'm also having to train myself for a shorter neck. It's helping a little bit with stretching my pinky but I'm used to the 12th fret being in a certain place and it's not there anymore.

But for 200 dollars? I was expecting to have to accept a much bigger step down in quality than this. The Epiphone is pretty good in the areas that count. It's not as versatile but as long as I keep it in the sweet spot it sounds pretty damn good. The neck is pretty good too. In all honesty I had been having a hard time with the lower action on the Fender, and although I've been told that I can feel free to make adjustments I really didn't feel right about messing with someone else's guitar. The Epiphone is set-up a tiny bit higher and it seems to be easier for my iron claw hands to get a nice sound from it.

Well that's all. I am excited. And tomorrow is my daughter's birthday, so she'll finally get her own guitar and I'll get to have show-and-tell with all of the grown-ups. Thanks for reading.

Nice guitar and adorable child. You may want to consider a shotgun in a few more years, hehe.

Congrats on the Les Paul. I think in time you will learn to love it for different reasons than the strat. They are really two different beasts sound wise. I wasn't a Les Paul fan myself until I got one. Dropped new pickups in it recently and now it's my main guitar over my Squier Strat and my Washburn HSH with Floyd Rose.
I must applaud your wife's advice.

She was against buying a high priced strat, and she was right, cause you bought a tonally almost opposite guitar

Nice purchase, and enjoy your guitarplaying life.

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Lots of people have a view whereby there are 2 main types of electric guitar: Strat and Les Paul. A squier strat would fall into the strat category and your epi falls into the les paul category. They are totally different beasts. If you are a "strat man" you may feel disinterested in the more mellow and fatter tone that a les paul offers (it's all about the pickups: single coils vs. humbuckers).

Although, many players learn to love both! And why not? Just one thing I would say to you about your new guitar: don't diss the grovers, they will serve you well.

And I think your sales assistant was mean to squiers. I have played some squier guitars that I was really able to get stuck into. I can dig it. They're a cheap fender, same way your epi is a cheap gibson.
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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.

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Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?
Congrats with your purchase! Enjoy It!
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Congratulations! I think you'll really like your Epi LP Standard. It took a bit for me to get used to mine after playing a MIA Peavey Predator, but as others have said, you will probably grow to love both styles. I hope your daughter enjoys her new instrument as much as Dad enjoys his!
Congratulations on the new Les Paul. If it's not a Standard PRO, then you'll eventually want to replace the pickups. But other than that it should be a great guitar to play!
Thanks for the replies everyone. It made my day.

It was a pretty good day. I've been trying to play it back and forth with the strat to get a better impression of the differences. The Fender does feel better but it's only a little difference. I think the Epiphone could use a set-up and it's definitely a step below in terms of pickup quality but the difference is much smaller than - for example - the difference between the same Fender and a few of the bottom-end Squiers and Yamahas I had been looking at.

I am definitely happy about my choice. I'm not ideological about brands. I'm still looking forward to the day when I get my own Strat. This is my Brother-in-law's guitar:

Texas Specials in the neck and middle, Pearly Gates in the bridge. I guess Fender is also making some MiM versions of this but this is not one of those. I found this on another website when I tried to do some research...
"...it seemed like an immediate jump in quality over the American Standard when I tried both back to back. So while the base is essentially the same, I think they held these to a higher level of QC ( also the roadhouse and big apple), than they did the standards..."

So as you can guess I'm tickled to have had a chance to start learning to play with it.

But he tells me he hasn't even gotten it out of his case much and he asked me if I'd like to buy it. (Yes I would - but there's no chance of that any time soon)
He was left a much nicer guitar when a loved one passed and he's been playing that instead. It's a Martin acoustic from the late 40s if I recall correctly. I strummed it a few times. I was intimidated by it.
it will certainly be different than a USA start, and strats are very versatile. however, i personally believe that fenders have a relatively poor quality : dollar ratio. what i mean by this is that for 1500 or what some high end strats go for, i think another brand can get you a FAR FAR FAR better guitar. thats just me.

i also think that for 500-600, a made in japan strat is almost identical to a USA strat. i have even had store owners honestly tell me i would be better off buying a MIJ strat. however, there is no denying that strats just sound good. its almost impossible to make one sound bad. even a MIJ. great guitars. squiers are not good. pretty simple there.

epihpones can be pretty solid. some vary in quality control. and yes, you picked a tonally opposite guitar.

my advice - play a lot of guitars and take note of the build, tone, and aspects of each and build your own preferences. for example, G&L, was started by leo fender, and IMO makes 2x teh guitar fender does.

Carvin IMO offers a mind blowing guitar for the money. i just bought one. and i customized it to my specs. you start learning that maybe the guitar you think you wanted, really isnt the guitar you want to play at all.

in fact - i literally dont want to own almost any big name guitar brand, except for maybe a few.
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Thanks for the suggestions Ikey.

I haven't been captivated by any G&L guitars yet but there are some Carvins that are awe-inspiring. I really like the DC400W.


If I had to guess, I'd say I'm probably going to find a mid-range Strat for my second guitar and then start saving up for a custom build like that Carvin to purchase as my third guitar.

I keep thinking about how much fun it might be to build my own guitar too. I have to confess - the woodshop at my place of employment allowed me to look through the scraps and I did find a piece of maple that's just about the right size for a bolt-on neck. And I might have spent 6 hours trying to work out the measurements. And I can neither confirm nor deny that there might be a plywood body that I've started to sand.
Not that I'm going to make anything special out of pieces of plywood but I'm having a good time with it.
Quote by ikey_

i also think that for 500-600, a made in japan strat is almost identical to a USA strat. i have even had store owners honestly tell me i would be better off buying a MIJ strat. however, there is no denying that strats just sound good. its almost impossible to make one sound bad. even a MIJ. great guitars. squiers are not good. pretty simple there.


The MIJ JV and SQ series Squiers from '82 to '84 are pretty impressive and very good. The MIK Squier ProTones are also very good. Start reading here: http://www.21frets.com/ http://www.21frets.com/squier_jv/