#1
Hi!

First thing's first, here's the 6-point info thingo:

Budget: Maximum AU$500 for guitar, amp, cables and a super basic footswitch to change from clean to overdrive/distorted.

Favourite Artists: I play mostly alternative rock/grunge. Breaking Benjamin, Nirvana, Three Days Grace, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Linkin Park and a bit of Tool.

Preferences: I'll be playing a lot in Drop Db and Drop C, but if I want that, all I have to do is slap on a thicker set of strings and I'm good to go right? Baritones are out of my budget.

For the amp, having a line-out to connect to my computer to record would be nice.

Also I love the matte-black look of the Schecter SGR range. Was thinking of getting an SGR 006/Solo-6/C-1 with a Marshall MG15 or Roland M Cube.

Pickups: Not too sure about this. I'm after an alternative/grunge sound but not death metal stuff.

New or Used?: I'd prefer new since I won't have to worry about setup issues, cos I'm newb.

Location: Australia. Yep, we have to pay an additional 50% on-top of whatever you'd pay in the US, hence my higher budget.

Thanks!
#2
Start with something second hand if your looking for nicer, brand name gear but don't want to pay through the nose (unless your lucky, I got my Gibson SG for $750 brand new). if you really want something new, don't aim too high unless you have disposable
income, in which case buy amazing gear.

EDIT: AU$750
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Last edited by Pastafarian96 at Aug 26, 2014,
#3
I've had a look on eBay and stuff, and it seems they're selling for about the same price as brand new.

What about pickups though? The SGR's I'm looking at have standard humbuckers. Would going for a Schecter Omen (which uses a Diamond pickup) or a Piezo pickup be worth it for me?
#4
As far as the amp goes, get a Peavey Vypyr, it'd be perfect for you. Don't get a Marshall MG, they sound awful.
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#6
What about pickups though? The SGR's I'm looking at have standard humbuckers. Would going for a Schecter Omen (which uses a Diamond pickup) or a Piezo pickup be worth it for me?

"Diamond" is just a branding name, it's a normal humbucker. Piezos are used when you want a more acoustic-like sound and are usually just a nice additional option.

What you want, especially as a beginner, is some flexibility when it comes to tone. It's usually a good idea to have a humbucker in the bridge position for driven and a singlecoil in the neck for clean sounds, so something like a Humbucker-Singlecoil-Singlecoil config will give you pretty much all the sounds you will need. I would recommend a Squier Vintage Modified or a Yamaha Pacifica.

Amp-wise, I personally would go with a small modelling combo: Fender Mustang, Line6 Spider or a Peavey Vypyr. Quality of the sound is secondary (they all sound good though, better than most solid state amps in the same price range at least), what we want is, once again, versatility. Once you figured out what tone and effects you like, you can always get a "real" amp.
#7
Quote by jinsu2301
What you want, especially as a beginner, is some flexibility when it comes to tone. It's usually a good idea to have a humbucker in the bridge position for driven and a singlecoil in the neck for clean sounds, so something like a Humbucker-Singlecoil-Singlecoil config will give you pretty much all the sounds you will need. I would recommend a Squier Vintage Modified or a Yamaha Pacifica.

I cannot really agree with this, humbuckers also sound very pleasant (unless it's some murder pickup for uber-high-gain only but not gonna happen in this price tier) and warmer than singles for cleans, single coils simply have a more "vintage" sound. It's also going to be difficult to find a HSS guitar with a fatter tone for heavier stuff which seems to be what he's looking for. And most of the bands he listed use H-H guitars as far as I know.

If you can afford it then Schecter Omens are definitely very reliable guitars for the price. (Not sure about SGRs, never really played one or heard many opinions about them) Not sure about the amp, but I have to agree Marshall MG15 is not particularly great and you may find something better for the price.
#8
I just bought a used micro-cube earlier this week and now that i've had a chance to play around with it i think that is a really good choice for a beginner starting out. It has a line-out/headphone jack and it has an assortment of tones and effects. It's probably not the only amp you'll ever own so you shouldn't worry too much about the things it can't do.

As for guitar - get the one that speaks to you. It needs to be comfortable and it needs to sound good and make you feel good about playing. When you're a beginner, getting caught up in features is a trap. I spent days agonizing over single coils and humbuckers, but then when I finally started comparing them against each other i could barely hear the difference. Now I can hear it, but back then it barely mattered.

There are some practical considerations:
Tremolos can be a big problem for beginners playing cheap guitars. You can buy a guitar with a tremolo if it's the one that makes you excited to play, but you should block it off at first. My opinion. Ask us about blocking tremolos if you need more info.
You should reduce your guitar budget by the price of a professional setup, because you won't know if the guitar is set up properly. Even a new guitar can be screwy, and if you're struggling to make a song sound good you won't be able to tell if it's your fault or the guitar's fault.
#9
Quote by paul.housley.7
I just bought a used micro-cube earlier this week and now that i've had a chance to play around with it i think that is a really good choice for a beginner starting out. It has a line-out/headphone jack and it has an assortment of tones and effects. It's probably not the only amp you'll ever own so you shouldn't worry too much about the things it can't do....[ ].....
Well, I still think any of the modeling amp suggested earlier, particularly the Peayey Vypyr 15, or Vypyr VIP 20, (which also models a couple of their acoustic amps), are much better choices.

Battery powered amp such as the cube, seem to clip from the jump, and so aren't good if you want to play some clean stuff.
#10
Quote by Captaincranky
Well, I still think any of the modeling amp suggested earlier, particularly the Peayey Vypyr 15, or Vypyr VIP 20, (which also models a couple of their acoustic amps), are much better choices.

Battery powered amp such as the cube, seem to clip from the jump, and so aren't good if you want to play some clean stuff.


Your point is a good one, but I don't think there's any point in maximizing the quality of the modeling amp for a beginning player. When I had just started it was hard for me to hear the differences. I suspect that by the time he can tell the difference between cube cleans and vypyr cleans he might have decided that he prefers tube cleans, or fender mustang cleans, or vox cleans.

In that sense it would be a waste to spend extra money on a vypyr right now.

He should keep an eye on the used market and if he finds a good deal on a modeling amp, or even something like a pod, then he should jump on it whatever brand it is. I'd say that even a Line 6 (which i don't like at all) is a good choice for him if the price is low enough. I got my micro-cube for 25 USD. If I had found a vypyr for 25 bucks then i'm sure i'd be recommending that too.

#11
I would go with an Les Paul/SG model (doesn't matter if an Epiphone, at least for me, they are really cool to start with) and maybe one of the small Orange amps.
For the mics I would not worry much now.
Use heavy strings gauge, .11 at least.
#12
Thanks for all your responses. Paul your advice was great for someone starting out like me. I did go to the store and try out a few guitars, and they all sounded the same (obviously cos I've never played electric in my life).

Prices are inflated in Australia, even for used. The Roland MicroCube GX/Vox Mini5 is ~AU$170 and a Schecter SGR will go up around AU$270. It'd be so nice to pick up a decent amp for less than $100 but it's quite difficult where I live.

I have a couple of uber-noob questions though:

1. So if I use heavy-gauge strings I'm good to go on lower tunings. Will the fret scale make a difference for this? The SGRs I'm eyeing have 25.5" scale lengths, and I have larger hands (start of my palm to tip of middle finger: 20cm)

2. Does the amp need to have a designated input for a footswitch in order to use one? The amps in my budget don't appear to support them
Last edited by fezzo at Aug 27, 2014,
#13
1. Longer scale length generally means more string tension, so you'll need thicker strings to get the same tension on a shorter scale guitar. 25.5" is generally a very common scale length and kind of "middle" option, so I think should be just fine, although to be honest drop C is not that extreme so any guitar should handle it. So basically I'd say don't worry about this too much but if you plan to downtune, a longer scale length won't hurt, especially if you find it comfortable.

2. As far I know, yes, but might be wrong.
#14
^ Cool. And yeah Drop C is not too bad I guess. I plan on hitting Drop B and Drop A# as well, but not as often.

From what I've read the SGRs have very similar build qualities to the Omen line, although the SGR line is discontinued.
#15
Quote by fezzo
...[ ]....2. Does the amp need to have a designated input for a footswitch in order to use one? The amps in my budget don't appear to support them
The answer is, both yes and no.

With amps that come with foot switches, the foot switchses are generally specifically tasked. For example, turning the amp's reverb on and off, or perhaps switching from a clean to a "dirty" or gain channel.

With Peavey modeling amplifiers, a multi-function foot controller trade named, "Sanpera", connects to the amp via a special multi-pin cable. Here you get volume, wah-wah, looping, and other effects. And it's proprietary. The guitar itself, would still plug into the standard "input" of their amps

You can still accomplish what you'd like to do with standard, "stomp boxes" which you plug your guitar into, and then send the output to the guitar input of any amp.

Distortion is accomplished via a booster pre-amp, or a dedicated "fuzz tone" or distortion booster pedal. Stomp boxes can be daisy chained with as many effects as you desire.

However, it's anybody's guess whether or not a budget amplifier will sound good with distortion devices, or even survive the demands these pedals would place on the amp's output stages.

So, be warned.
#16
I've been playing professionally and collecting guitars for over 30yrs. Last xmas my sister wanted to buy a guitar and amp for her 14yo son, her budget was 500 dollars, and asked for my help. Well i didn't think I would be able to find anything for that amount but i set out. I checked out the low price epis and squires and was disappointed in their quality. After alot of research I finally ordered a Agile 2000 LP copy. I was very surprised with the quality and playability... Paired with a Peavy Bandit 112 for 130.00 and a Cry Baby Wah and a few cables i came in under budget and he has a rockin set up. I think Agile Guitars are the best value guitar on the market.
#17
Quote by fezzo
^ Cool. And yeah Drop C is not too bad I guess. I plan on hitting Drop B and Drop A# as well, but not as often.


Half of what I play is in NST- a C tuning- and some of the axes I have tuned to it are 24.75" scale. So yeah, you should be fine.
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#18
Thanks for the responses, I ended up getting my rig over the weekend. Schecter SGR with a Cube 20GX and a Boss unlatched foot-switch. Went a little bit over my budget.



With the amp -- holy hell this thing is loud! The volume knob is barely past 1-2 at the moment. Pretty happy with it.

With the guitar -- I have to make a few adjustments. There's fret buzz even with minimal picking force. Strings go out of tune rather quickly (tuners are a bit weak). Distortion sound is pretty muddy (but sounds brilliant for some Nirvana stuff though). I'm going to slap on some 11's, adjust the action and see how that goes.

No problems with the footswitch and I've also recorded a few riffs to the computer. Thanks UG for the help
Last edited by fezzo at Sep 2, 2014,
#19
nice

tuning problems are likely to be the nut more than the tuners

fret buzz might be truss rod needing to be adjusted (but don't touch it if you don't know what you're doing, there should be info in the info sticky here)
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#20
Congratulations!

I would like to add that if you're changing the string size then it's probably a good idea to put those strings on and play the guitar a little before you decide to make any other changes. I think you know this already. The nut slots might need to be widened slightly, the truss rod might need to be adjusted, etc...

You'll get it sorted out soon enough i'm sure. Happy playing.