#1
EDIT: Got my guitar (the 170 DX), and am really happy with it, except I think it could be faulty unless I'm doing something wrong. I currently don't have a proper amp, but on pondering on something I could try it with, I remembered I had a little Fiio E5 headphone amp that I used to use to improve the sound quality and volume of my iPod. I didn't know whether this would work, but it actually does - except, sound only comes out of the left ear of my headphones!

I'm gonna be really bummed if I have to take the guitar back as I like the style and it was only £99, so is there any chance it's because I'm doing something wrong or because of the weird setup I'm using? It's headphones -> headphone amp -> minijack lead -> minijack-jack converter -> guitar. I double checked that the amp and minijack lead is working by just plugging it into an MP3 player, and I've tried two different minijack-jack converters. If anyone has any ideas I'd seriously appreciate it!

------------

Hi all,

I've recently decided I'd like to start playing electric guitar, and am looking around for one to buy. I've discovered a great secondhand shop near me in Nottingham, UK where the staff are really helpful and will repair any parts you break on a guitar you buy from them for free if you just buy the part. I just need help choosing which guitar to go with. Quite happy to go with a used one and get a better deal. My budget is around £200 although I could stretch slightly further.

Bear in mind I am a complete beginner, haven't even started playing, and so I know very little. I plan to play rock and metal, as that's the kind of music I like, particularly the latter (including a lot of death metal, power metal etc).

So far I've been very drawn to the Ibanez models they have in stock. I particularly like the GRG 250DX which has an awesome style. I'm just a bit concerned that it'll be too hard to restring, and I've heard mixed reports about the quality of the pickups and trem. They have one in almost mint condition for £199. Other Ibanez options they have include a GRG 170DX for £99 which seems quite cheap, an ART 100 for £199, an AR 250 for £240 and an RG 350 for £199 - but I'm not fond of the plain glossy black finish on this and it has some minor damage hence the price (they also have one for £299 in better cond, a bit above my price range really).

I'm happy to look at other options though if these would be a better choice than Ibanez. Can't remember everything that they had in stock, although they had a decent range so if you can tell me good ones to look out for in my budget then I can see if they have them when I visit again.

I'd really appreciate some help with this as it's driving me mad trying to come to a decision. Thanks a lot guys.
Last edited by kkslider1337 at Jul 17, 2014,
#2
yeah the cheaper ibanez trems aren't so great. i'd probably get a hardtail unless you're sure you need a locking trem (and if you do you should try to get up to the ones which have good trems (prestige) or the older S series with the ZR trem which are a bit cheaper).

ESP/LTD and Jacksons are probably also worth a look. Same warning about the tremolos. A good-quality floyd rose costs about £135 on its own minimum (and an OFR is more like £200), so obviously they're not going to be fitted to £200 guitars.

what amp are you considering?
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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?
#3
Quote by Dave_Mc
yeah the cheaper ibanez trems aren't so great. i'd probably get a hardtail unless you're sure you need a locking trem (and if you do you should try to get up to the ones which have good trems (prestige) or the older S series with the ZR trem which are a bit cheaper).

ESP/LTD and Jacksons are probably also worth a look. Same warning about the tremolos. A good-quality floyd rose costs about £135 on its own minimum (and an OFR is more like £200), so obviously they're not going to be fitted to £200 guitars.

what amp are you considering?


Thanks for the reply that's some good info to bear in mind. As far as the amp goes, I'm not sure yet, haven't even looked. I'm planning to learn partly through Rocksmith to be honest, and most of the time due to neighbours I'd be best playing with headphones.
#4
At this point, pick something that you think looks cool.

Given budget and skill level, most everything else is going to be lost on you. And that's not a knock -- it's something that time and rising skill level will change. But looks will probably be the most inspirational thing that encourages you to pick it up and practice.
#5
Quote by kkslider1337
Thanks for the reply that's some good info to bear in mind. As far as the amp goes, I'm not sure yet, haven't even looked. I'm planning to learn partly through Rocksmith to be honest, and most of the time due to neighbours I'd be best playing with headphones.


yeah.

I've never played rocksmith I can't help with that

if you want to play super-quiet you might not even need/want an amp, there are a variety of options like headphone amps, line 6 pods, laptop software etc. again, i have no experience with that stuff
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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?
#6
Quote by dspellman
At this point, pick something that you think looks cool.

Given budget and skill level, most everything else is going to be lost on you. And that's not a knock -- it's something that time and rising skill level will change. But looks will probably be the most inspirational thing that encourages you to pick it up and practice.


Y'know, usually telling someone to buy something based primarily on looks would be terrible advice. But in this situation it makes a lot of sense Thanks man.
#7
I can help with a few small things.

1. Rocksmith is perfect for a beginner but you need to be aware that you will quickly outgrow it. It holds your hand through some things that would be more difficult if you had to figure them out on your own but it also provides a crutch that could slow your overall development if you don't get away from it. Use rocksmith until you feel competent enough to work on your own (a matter of months maybe) and then try to push yourself in other directions.

2. Play through an amp as much as possible because otherwise you could end up like me. I was amp-less and i wanted to make the guitar ring out so i kept playing harder and harder, and that made me raise the strings and increase tension in the strings to get rid of fret buzz, which encouraged me to play even harder. I screwed up the setup on one of my guitars that way and when i finally got guitar #2 i realized how much easier it was to play a guitar with low action. My fingers are still adjusting months later. Related - I think it's common to some extent for noobs to have a death grip but it's not really conducive to good playing.

3. You really don't have any clue what people are saying. I still only understand half of it and i've been begging for help for more than a year now.
So take the advice of the older forum members who've already helped you. I'll do my best too.

It has to give you a chub every time you look at it. If you don't get excited when you see it then you're not going to play it. If there's a complete piece of crap on the wall that you can't stop looking at then that's the one. Just be ready to admit that it's not a cheap hobby, you'll quickly grow out of that first guitar and have to get a better guitar in a matter of months.
Don't get a tremolo. You want a hardtail bridge.
You most likely want humbucker pickups. They're the fat ones.
Aside from that - don't let yourself get too stressed.

The amp and your playing skill are more responsible for the sounds that the guitar will make than you're probably ready to believe. I've heard it said that you don't play the guitar, you play the amp. Be certain that you budget enough money for an amp and make sure you get good advice about which amp you should start with.
#8
Quote by paul.housley.7
I can help with a few small things.

1. Rocksmith is perfect for a beginner but you need to be aware that you will quickly outgrow it. It holds your hand through some things that would be more difficult if you had to figure them out on your own but it also provides a crutch that could slow your overall development if you don't get away from it. Use rocksmith until you feel competent enough to work on your own (a matter of months maybe) and then try to push yourself in other directions.

2. Play through an amp as much as possible because otherwise you could end up like me. I was amp-less and i wanted to make the guitar ring out so i kept playing harder and harder, and that made me raise the strings and increase tension in the strings to get rid of fret buzz, which encouraged me to play even harder. I screwed up the setup on one of my guitars that way and when i finally got guitar #2 i realized how much easier it was to play a guitar with low action. My fingers are still adjusting months later. Related - I think it's common to some extent for noobs to have a death grip but it's not really conducive to good playing.

3. You really don't have any clue what people are saying. I still only understand half of it and i've been begging for help for more than a year now.
So take the advice of the older forum members who've already helped you. I'll do my best too.

It has to give you a chub every time you look at it. If you don't get excited when you see it then you're not going to play it. If there's a complete piece of crap on the wall that you can't stop looking at then that's the one. Just be ready to admit that it's not a cheap hobby, you'll quickly grow out of that first guitar and have to get a better guitar in a matter of months.
Don't get a tremolo. You want a hardtail bridge.
You most likely want humbucker pickups. They're the fat ones.
Aside from that - don't let yourself get too stressed.

The amp and your playing skill are more responsible for the sounds that the guitar will make than you're probably ready to believe. I've heard it said that you don't play the guitar, you play the amp. Be certain that you budget enough money for an amp and make sure you get good advice about which amp you should start with.


Some great advice there Paul, thanks! Think I need to get looking at amps then (I may actually know someone I could borrow one off). I am actually leaning towards getting a cheap guitar to learn on initially. I think that GRG 170DX could be a great option for 99 quid. If I bought the 250 I reckon I'd still want to replace it after a little while anyway. Until I'm sure that I'm going to enjoy playing guitar, there's no point in me paying hundreds to get a really good one, and I think I'd have to stretch to £3-400 to get something I wouldn't want to upgrade for a few years.
#9
For an amp you could try a roland microcube, vox mini, fender mustang I they all have a spot for headphones and for an mp3 player, and they can be fairly quiet when played without.

Peavy vypers also get recommended a lot, but I've never tried one so I can't comment.

Have fun looking and enjoy playing.
#10
If you're only planning on playing through headphones and/or interfacing with your PC for the forseeable future, consider a portable digital modeling device like one of these (some are discontinued, can still be easily found):

Boss Micro-BR 4 track
http://www.bossus.com/gear/productdetails.php?ProductId=818

Boss Micro-BR 80
http://www.bossus.com/gear/productdetails.php?ProductId=1167

Pocket POD
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Line-6-Pocket-POD-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-104391875-i1173933.gc

Tascam GT-R1
http://tascam.com/product/gt-r1/

Korg Pandora Mini
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-Mini-PXMINI-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-H70754-i1746466.gc

Korg Px4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvaXhaTW-B8&sns=em

Korg Pandora Stomp
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PandoraSTOr/

Korg Px5
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-PX5D-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-104821715-i1387080.gc

Here is a visual comparison of (left to right) Tascam, my PX-5 and one of my Px4s to my old Aiwa cassette player:



Only the Tascam has decent acoustic recording capacity. All DO have features like tuners, metronomes, drum synthesizers, and digital amp & pedal modeling.

So with decent headphones, you can rock out like you were playing Texas Stadium. And yes, they are all about the size of an old Walkman.

The ones I own: the Tascam has the external mics, a phrase trainer (loop & slow down stuff for practicing), and takes SD cards. Both it and the PX5 can connect directly to your computer via a USB port. It is less powerful than the PX5, but, oddly, the PX5 does not have a belt/strap hook.

The ones I don't own: The Line6 PocketPOD is, I believe, the most popular device like this; the Boss might be the most powerful (and priciest); the Pandora Mini is the smallest (its about the size of a stack of business cards), cheapest, and least powerful.
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!
#11
Quote by paul.housley.7

So take the advice of the older forum members who've already helped you.


I'm not that old
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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?
#12
Really appreciate the help guys, thanks. That's a good list of amps and headphone amps to look out for when I go back to the store today. I'm still thinking of going for the cheaper 170 DX, as far as the guitar itself is concerned. Will see how I get on.
#13
Quote by Dave_Mc
I'm not that old


Oh foo. Now lean your walker against the wall and gum your oatmeal before we have to change your Depenz again.
#14
Quote by kkslider1337
Really appreciate the help guys, thanks. That's a good list of amps and headphone amps to look out for when I go back to the store today. I'm still thinking of going for the cheaper 170 DX, as far as the guitar itself is concerned. Will see how I get on.


The headphone amps (I have a pair of the Korgs) are a great suggestion. You can blast your eardrums and you won't wake the baby. It'll also foster a lighter touch (which will enhance your playing). I'm still playing guitar through both Korgs and the various Pods and the Axe-FX on headphones on a daily basis.

The guitar itself, honestly, isn't quite as important as getting a Really Good Setup (if the guitar isn't well done out of the box). It's going to take you a bit before you appreciate what that is, but I actually learned how to properly set up guitars long before I ever bought one. I was a keyboardist in several bands and worked in a music store early on; I assisted our store technician and maintained the guitars in the bands before I was ever interested in owning a guitar.

I've found that a $200 guitar can play easily as well as a $4000 guitar, and that both often need about the same amount of setup love out of the box.
#15
Quote by dspellman
Oh foo. Now lean your walker against the wall and gum your oatmeal before we have to change your Depenz again.


I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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?
#18
I have no real experience with playing guitar through non-guitar kit, but that might well be normal. That sounds like you have stereo headphones and a guitar output is mono. I could well be wrong, though.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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?
#19
Dave I'm pretty sure your right about the mono/stereo issue. It makes logical sense to me.
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
#20
That's what I thought but then I started second-guessing myself and wondering if its being mono would just mean that you should hear the same thing through each headphone

If it is anything wrong, I suspect it's not the guitar's fault, at any rate. Though I could be wrong about that, too.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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?
#21
No not the guitar, possibly the headphones or the phone jack
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
#22
An electric circuit is a loop.
A mono loop would be a neutral wire and a wire carrying the sound signal. A stereo loop would be a separate signal for each ear and a neutral wire that acts as the neutral for both (3 wires in other words)
There is also often another wire called the ground. Don't confuse that. In headphones you don't need a ground wire.
The guitar outputs mono signal. The headphones play stereo. The plugs and jacks have either two or three contact surfaces.
If you're not getting sound through both ears then there could be lots of reasons for that. it's not likely to be the guitar. the simplest way to check would be to plug the guitar into an amp and play. it might be possible to pull the plug halfway out and get your signal to both ears in that way.
#23
Thanks a lot for your responses so far guys. I'm taking it back to the shop for them to look at in a couple of hours. One important thing I forgot to mention is that the jack port is actually loose and wobbles, so this could be the issue. I did wonder if it being mono might have had something to do with it - I presumed this would probably still play mono through both ears but I'm only guessing. Obviously I imagine proper guitar headphone amps as recommended earlier in the thread will play through both ears, but maybe because I'm using something that's not really meant for guitar it might not do that. Will find out soon enough anyway, but regardless the guitar jack needs tightening up really.
#25
Quote by kkslider1337
Thanks a lot for your responses so far guys. I'm taking it back to the shop for them to look at in a couple of hours. One important thing I forgot to mention is that the jack port is actually loose and wobbles, so this could be the issue. I did wonder if it being mono might have had something to do with it - I presumed this would probably still play mono through both ears but I'm only guessing. Obviously I imagine proper guitar headphone amps as recommended earlier in the thread will play through both ears, but maybe because I'm using something that's not really meant for guitar it might not do that. Will find out soon enough anyway, but regardless the guitar jack needs tightening up really.


yeah since you bought it from a shop which has decent aftersales service you might as well make use of that. just in case you do something yourself which duffs it up and voids your warranty.

a lot of these things are pretty easy fixes, but if you have a warranty you want to make sure you don't void it, first and foremost
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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?
#26
Haha, loved the Rick Astley video Paul, that was brilliant! I got the guitar sorted yesterday - so everyone's suspicions were correct, and it was because it was mono that it only came out of one ear. However, the jack port was also pretty loose and needed sorting, so they fixed that for me. Picked up a Roland 20xl amp last night for £50 from someone advertising it nearby, so now I'm all set! May look into getting a proper headphone amp too like the ones suggested, at some point. Thanks all.
#27
Nice

Yeah someone in the chat thread confirmed that, i meant to post back here to tell you but i forgot

odds are that roland will take headphones, too, so you might not need to buy a headphone amp. granted, the roland won't be portable like a headphone amp will.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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?
#28
Quote by Dave_Mc
Nice

Yeah someone in the chat thread confirmed that, i meant to post back here to tell you but i forgot

odds are that roland will take headphones, too, so you might not need to buy a headphone amp. granted, the roland won't be portable like a headphone amp will.


Yup, the amp does have a headphone port I was just contemplating a more portable solution, as you say. Trying to think whether it's worth getting a setup so I can take advantage of my generous 1-hour lunch breaks at the office. The shop I got my Ibanez from also has a cheapo Yamaha for just £39 - tempting to get that just to practice there so I don't have to carry my main guitar there and back on the train, wouldn't matter if it was a bit rubbish

In other news, I received a cable for Rocksmith 2014 today and have been giving it a good go today. Pretty blown away to be honest. Time will tell if it'll teach me skills that'll transfer to playing without the game, but I'm pretty confident it will, even if it won't make me an expert. I've always been an avid gamer, so being able to mix my old hobby with my new one is pretty great
#29
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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?