#1
So tomorrow I am going to go out and buy Rocksmith 2014 for my Xbox One, and pick up a guitar and learn how to play. I've read good things about this app/game/program, so I think it will be a good "starting" point. Basically I need a guitar that has an amp hookup to it.


Budget? - Under $500

Favorite Artists? - Van Halen, Sammy Hagar, Counting Crows, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty.

Preferences? - Unsure

Pickups? - Being new at playing, not sure.

New or Used? - New or Used, doesn't matter as it's my first guitar

Location? - Chicago, IL ( In the city )

Current Gear? - None


I appreciate any advice.
Last edited by gizbug at Nov 4, 2014,
#2
For what you're interested in playing, electric makes much more sense.

In my opinion, I would rather get an amp and a few books (basically the good old-fashioned way) to learn with instead of a game.

Go to GC and spend a good few hours playing as many electric guitars you can get your hands on, so that you can find what you actually want from a guitar.
#3
Thanks. I have been told by a few friends that I need start with acoustic to build strength in your left hand (if right handed). Any truth to this?
#4
Quote by gizbug
Thanks. I have been told by a few friends that I need start with acoustic to build strength in your left hand (if right handed). Any truth to this?

Finger strength is important when you're first learning, but you don't need to learn on an acoustic guitar to achieve stronger fingers. Practice gives you strong fingers, not acoustic guitars.
#5
It would be a logical succession, but not the only way. No point getting yourself stuck with an acoustic when what you really want to play is hard rock.
#6
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
For what you're interested in playing, electric makes much more sense.

In my opinion, I would rather get an amp and a few books (basically the good old-fashioned way) to learn with instead of a game.

Go to GC and spend a good few hours playing as many electric guitars you can get your hands on, so that you can find what you actually want from a guitar.

RS has interactive lessons(not really a substitute for a tutor, but easier to get into than a book for some), a variety of customisable amp and effect sims, and, while it's a bit trickier with the console versions, the ability to use custom DLCs - ie fan made transcriptions of songs, in addition to the offical content and DLC.

With decent headphones(or a good soundbar, maybe), the amp sims are a decent rival for most budget practice amps; and the 2014 version of the game has 'session mode', which offers a simulated, customisable backing band to play along with. Granted, it could use more ability to control chord progressions and such, but for the price, it's not bad. Not the full package, but again, it's not awful.
#7
Rocksmith is really cool during your first 3 months and I highly recommend it if you don't have any experience at all, but you have to get rid of it once your hands start to get a little coordinated.
IT DOES NOT TEACH YOU HOW TO PLAY GUITAR!
It's a game that has many of the exact same finger motions, but it holds your hand through some things that you're going to need to learn to do on your own. You'll understand soon enough. It's a game that resembles playing a guitar.

I think you're a good candidate for one of these:

PRS SE Cu24
http://www.prsguitars.com/secustom24/

They usually retail for 7-800$ new but you can easily get a used one within your budget. In my experience they've been more consistently good than equivalent models from Epiphone and Fender. I think that you'll appreciate it for the things it can do. It's a versatile and reliable starter.
#8
For what it's worth - I tried to start with an acoustic and it was too frustrating for me and I gave up on it.
20 years later I bought an electric and I finally started to learn something.
#9
^ That is my big problem with the "start on acoustic first" brigade.

That sucks.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE

Go to GC and spend a good few hours playing as many electric guitars you can get your hands on, so that you can find what you actually want from a guitar.


If he can't play yet, how does he do that?

Quote by gizbug
Thanks. I have been told by a few friends that I need start with acoustic to build strength in your left hand (if right handed). Any truth to this?


A little bit, but I disagree with the logic.

(i) acoustics are harder to play than electrics. it's hard enough at the start without making it hard on yourself unnecessarily, if you ask me. Especially if most of the stuff you want to play is electric anyway- different if you actually want to play acoustic.

(ii) that extra finger strength is only really needed for acoustic, so if you're only going to be playing electric, there's not much point

(iii) playing the actual type of instrument you want means you're more likely to stick with it. again, much like (i), it's hard enough at the start without putting extra (and pointless, IMO) obstacles in your way.

(iv) if you ever do get an acoustic (and you may well do, even if you want to play exclusively electric now), people might say you'll have that finger strength had you started on acoustic. My answer to that would be that you can cross that bridge when you come to it. It took me 13 years to get round to getting an acoustic. Within a few weeks (if even) my fingers were fine.

Am I as good an acoustic player as I'd be had I been playing acoustic all that time? Of course not. But (I think ) I'm a better electric player than someone who'd exclusively been playing acoustic all that time would be, and since electric is my main priority...

Admittedly, I'm biased because I'm mainly an electric player. But so is anyone who says to get an acoustic first. It's up to you, basically. Just don't let anyone sort of strongarm you into starting on acoustic if you just want to play electric. Fair enough if you decide yourself, that's different.
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Nov 4, 2014,
#10
Interesting points here, but I'm going to add my two cents

My advice to most of my friends is usually: start off cheap, save your money for a better instrument down the line. You're gonna suck at first and might even end up deciding playing the guitar is not your thing after all - as many people do, sadly (a lot of folks also decide it's not worth it to learn anything past Wonderwall, because chicks)

If you do end up liking this whole guitar thing, feel free to come back anytime and ask this question again. We'll be glad to give you a few pointers as to what kind of (most likely electric) guitar you might want to buy next. Same thing with amps, effects, etc.

As for your first instrument, you might want to consider these options primarily:

-Classical guitars are a good option. They're popular with beginners primarily for budget reasons: a lot of kids get one of these from their parents after expressing their desire to learn the guitar. My mother of course immediately pictured me playing flamenco or something (most likely in a suit, lol) so she went and bought me this Spanish guitar. I still play it from time to time (took me a couple of years to find out there's more types of music besides the rockz) but a lot of kids will go "lame!" and put their guitar on eBay, which is probably why they're often pretty cheap. A cool thing about these guitars is that nylon strings go a long way which means you won't be spending much money on replacing them

A minor reason for picking one of these guitars is indeed, as you mentioned, the beefier neck size: I find it does help with building strength in your left hand perhaps a wee bit quicker, but do note that developing something of a "grip" is really a beginner's thing. Yes, if you practice a lot your thumb will eventually grow tired since grabbing a neck like that while having your other fingers do all kinds of stretches isn't really something you're used to doing at this stage. But after a few months (tops) you won't be having any trouble with that anymore, so choosing to buy this type of guitar for the sole purpose of strength building does seem a bit trivial imho. The main reason for buying a classical guitar should be musical preference (look up some Paco de Lucia or Julian Bream or whatever: you won't be getting any of those sounds with steel string guitars). Judging from your musical tastes however I think you'd be better off with:

-Steel string acoustics. Make no mistake, these are by no means "easier" for beginners: yes they do have thinner necks (although these aren't usually as thin as the ones you'll find on a lot of electric guitars) but they're also a bit harsher on your fingers. The string tension on these babies is a lot higher, so at first you'll be having quite some trouble w bending notes and such. But once your fingers can handle that, you'll notice these guitars are a lot more suited for this technique in particular, which means they're great for blues-style playing (classicals get all rubber bandy when you try to bend notes, especially on the higher strings)

Another pro of steel-strings: you can play slide guitar (although some instruments have a lower "action" -meaning the strings are really close to the neck- which makes 'em unsuitable for this). However, to me the big advantage of steel string guitars -besides being able to bend notes- is the way they sound when you strum ‘em with a pick. You can play nylon string guitars with a pick perfectly, but the resulting sound just isn't the same. Steel-string guitars just sound a lot "bigger", especially the slightly more expensive models. Those are often “hard top” models, meaning the top wood on the body has been cut out of one single layer of wood (as opposed to the cheaper models which’ll usually sport a laminate top)

When it comes to steel-string acoustics there are many shapes (dreadnoughts, jumbo's...) and manufacturers to choose from. When picking an instrument my main advice would be: don’t pay ANY attention to brands and looks. Listen with your ears, not your eyes. Black or sunburst-finish guitars don’t sound better, Fender or Ibanez guitars aren’t necessarily a good choice just because they’re well known manufacturers of electric guitars. When I bought my last acoustic, finding an instrument that sounded great when you're either playing fingerstyle and also when you're strumming like a lunatic was a main priority, and I ended up buying a Chinese hand-built guitar with a cedar top and no pickguard (cedar is a brown-ish wood usually found on nylon-string guitars, most steel-string guitars are dreadnoughts with spruce tops). It’s the kind of instrument I’d never have dreamt of buying back when I first started playing, but when I tried it back at the guitar store it just sounded amazing to me and that’s all that matters

Don’t be afraid to try second hand instruments. Unless you’re buying a vintage Martin or Gibson or whatever you will end up saving money. Acoustics don’t have a lot of components that can break down, so if they're well built they will last a long time. Think about it this way: if a guitar is several years old but still plays like a dream, that makes it a quality guitar. Steel-string acoustics are a bit more delicate than the nylon type because of the higher tension, and if they’re not handled properly (using an inappropriate string gauge, leaving the thing unstringed for extended periods of time, exposing it to extreme or rapidly varying climates&hellip the neck might start bending which can really affect the playability. As a general rule, don’t buy a guitar unless you hear it first. If it’s an option, bringing a friend along who knows his stuff (or having him/her pick the thing for you) is probably a good idea. I wish I’d thought of it myself back in the day. Keep in mind that it’s easier to learn how to bend notes and stuff if the guitar’s set up with strings that aren’t too heavy. Yes you can buy any guitar you want and restring it with a lighter string gauge, but there’s no telling how well they’ll react to the change so it’s probably best to shy away from the ones with heavier strings at first

There are folks who recommend starting out with a semi-acoustic because they’re more “versatile”. Personally, I don’t really see the point of doing so because there’s no added value to those things unless you get yourself an acoustic amp (or a practice amp with an acoustic setting) as well. If you plan to start gigging right away that's a whole different story, in that case a semi-acoustic might well be a good choice because most clubs do have appropiate amps or sound systems. I don’t really have a strong opinion on acoustics with cutaways (y’know, the horn-thingies that are there to help you reach the higher frets more easily). I mean yeah, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that taking a chunk out of an acoustic guitar will make the whole thing resonate less nicely. On the other hand, being able to go fiddly diddly on the higher notes is nice too, and that’s just really hard to do on a more traditional instrument that doesn’t have a cutaway

…so I guess that’s all I can think about for now. My advice would be to look for a fairly cheap but playable steel-string acoustic guitar and have some fun with that. By the time you’re good enough to get a better instrument you’ll likely have developed a feel for what kind of instrument suits your taste. I for one remember wanting a guitar with a whammy bar -and that was about all I knew for sure- real bad at first. But by the time I got around to buying one I had been around long enough to recognize good tone and playability, so I ended up buying something completely different instead. THAT to me is the major advantage of starting off with a cheap guitar and saving some money: it's just really hard to make an informed decision right off the bat if you don't even know how to play yet

If you’re set on playing the guitar no matter what and you know you’re the type of person who commits to these things it probably won’t hurt to look for a slightly pricier model, say within the $200-500 range. But again, I recommend asking a more experienced player to assist you since you might not know what characteristics to look for in an instrument at this stage (after all, store clerks aren’t there to talk you out of a purchase: their ultimate goal is to sell you their gear). Starting off with an electric guitar right away can be good fun, but there are a lot more things to worry about, it’s more expensive and if you decide it’s not your cup of tea after all you’ll be lucky to make back half of your investment because entry level guitars and amps don’t resell for a lot of money

Oh and perhaps the most important advice of all: after starting out and learning your basic chords and licks and whatnot, try looking for some fellow guitarists to help you out a bit. Being self-taught (like me, and probably most people) is fine, but I find that having someone give you some basic tips and teach you how change strings, etc. can really make the whole experience more enjoyable. And that’s what it’s all about in the end: having fun. Judging from the reactions on this site it seems like the number one reason for people to abandon an instrument isn’t boredom or not having any time to play: it’s the disappointment of not being able to improve. Having someone push you in the right direction every once in a while can go a long way

…and don’t get me started on jamming, that's where the real fun begins
Last edited by shwilly at Nov 4, 2014,
#11
Quote by Dave_Mc

If he can't play yet, how does he do that?

He gets a friend who can play guitar for him, that knows what to look for in a guitar.
Quote by shwilly
Interesting points here, but I'm going to add my two cents

My advice to most of my friends is usually: start off cheap, save your money for a better instrument down the line. You're gonna suck at first and might even end up deciding playing the guitar is not your thing after all - as many people do, sadly (a lot of folks also decide it's not worth it to learn anything past Wonderwall, because chicks)

imo this is a false economy.

When looking at such cheap guitars, relatively small differences in prices can make a big difference in quality. The difference in quality between a $500 guitar and a $100 guitar is obvious. But as the prices of both guitars go up, the law of diminishing returns applies. You have to spend an exponential amount of money to get a guitar of significantly better quality.

Because he only has $500 to spend, getting the best he can possibly afford gives him more bang for the buck, and less impedance of his progress.

If TS is doubtful that it'll get off the ground, TS can ask a friend if he can borrow one of their guitars before buying his own. Plenty of people play guitar out there. Then he can make a more educated guess to whether or not it's the right hobby for him. Buying a cheap guitar out of fear of quitting and wasting money is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. They're cheap because they're poorly made, which makes them frustrating to play, and frustration can easily lead to quitting.
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Nov 4, 2014,
#12
In no particular order:

1) I started on acoustic...but I wanted to. If you're more interested in electric, start that way.

2) I don't know Rocksmith at all, but my personal take on it is that if you want to learn guitar, get a guitar and amp or digital amp modeler, then find a tutor or scour Youtube for tutorials.

3) I don't believe in buying cheap "starter" gear. IMHO, much of it has flaws that actually impede the learning process. Yes, if you decide that guitar isn't your thing, your $$$ exposure is minimized, but you're already handicapping yourself. Invest in decent gear from the start, and at least it won't be holding you back.
#13
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Because he only has $500 to spend, getting the best he can possibly afford gives him more bang for the buck, and less impedance of his progress

True, but you can get a great sounding acoustic for $200-300 (certainly good enough for people with undeveloped ears and a crappy technique) and that's pretty much it really. If he's to get an electric as you suggested he won't be buying just a guitar, he'll have to get an amp and some additional gear as well

Say he gets an Epi SG or an Ibanez Sabre or whatever: unless he gets a really good bargain that'll leave him with enough money to get a Roland Cube... 30 or something plus a decent cable and perhaps a gigbag (I agree with Dannyalcatraz: if you know you're gonna do this the right way, starter packs probably aren't the way to go)

Saving up a bit to shop around the $700 price range however, that's where things start to get interesting: tube amps, Duncans and DiMarzios, etc.: the type of gear you'll still be using many years down the line (and that'll still make you some decent money if you try to resell it). Here's the thing tho: I know that if you'd have given me that amount of money back when I started playing and told me to get some gear, I probably would've ended up buying something purple with a floyd or something among those lines (with a Digitech Metal Zone and shiny-ass Line6 Spider -god the horror-). Even with good guidance there's no telling how your tastes will develop, which is why I usually tell people to wait and save up a bit

Borrowing a guitar, if you can find someone who's willing to do that might indeed be a good idea. However, if you quit guitar after only a month of playing there's likely more going on than just the mediocrity of your guitar
#14
Quote by shwilly
True, but you can get a great sounding acoustic for $200-300 (certainly good enough for people with undeveloped ears and a crappy technique) and that's pretty much it really. If he's to get an electric as you suggested he won't be buying just a guitar, he'll have to get an amp and some additional gear as well

But an electric guitar is going to facilitate his musical interests far, far more than an acoustic guitar will, as the bands he likes are predominantly electric players.

That more than justifies buying an electric over an acoustic in my opinion, even if he has to spend more to get an amp. I just don't think 'because it's cheaper' is the right reason to buy an acoustic guitar. Or any kind of instrument for that matter.
Borrowing a guitar, if you can find someone who's willing to do that might indeed be a good idea. However, if you quit guitar after only a month of playing there's likely more going on than just the mediocrity of your guitar

Sometimes there is, but I don't see how that disagrees with that I've said. Nobody enjoys learning on a guitar that plays like shit.
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Nov 4, 2014,
#15
My micro-cube does an okay acoustic simulation. For me it's good enough for those occasions when I want to sound acoustic-ish.

If I had to try to coax brown sounds (since the TS listed Van Halen as a reference) out of an acoustic guitar I'm not sure what I'd do.
Is there a way to do that? I'm seriously curious about that now.

But if this is a real strategy I wonder if it wouldn't make even more sense to steer every new guitar player toward a bass first, or maybe a ukelele? Heh.
I have to admit that I like my daughters' Guitelele.
Could we try talking every new guitar player into getting a ukelele first? It could be hilarious. Imagine if there's a wave of hawaiian rock 10-15 years down the road and we could all say "i'm responsible for that."
Just - uh - think it over!
#16
The way I look at buying a guitar is that I don't want to be buying another guitar a few months down the road when I could of got the right one the first time by spending a bit more money. When I bought my first guitar, I set my budget at $700, but I ended up getting one for over $1000. Best money I ever spent and I love that guitar. I never have to worry about upgrading to a better one.
#17
Quote by paul.housley.7
If I had to try to coax brown sounds (since the TS listed Van Halen as a reference) out of an acoustic guitar I'm not sure what I'd do.
Is there a way to do that? I'm seriously curious about that now

No, lol (although I'd be really surprised if TS is already chasing the brown sound without even having owned a guitar yet)

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Sometimes there is, but I don't see how that disagrees with that I've said. Nobody enjoys learning on a guitar that plays like shit.
I wasn't disagreeing, or not on that point at least

I too listen to electric guitarists primarily but pick up my acoustic guitars just as often as the electric ones. A lot of people do

gizbug: if you ever buy an electric guitar I'd recommend looking for a model with average-level output pickups and at least one humbucker and one single coil (usually referred to as guitars with HSH or HSS-configurations). They're more versatile than the usual Gibson or Fender-style guitars in terms of tone and a great way to grow accustomed to both types of sounds which are pretty different

What I mean by "average (or vintage-style) output" is that a lot of modern guitar brands (Ibanez, Schecter, etc.) use pickups that are on the louder side. Amps and effects react differently to these instruments which makes 'em great great for hard rock and metal. If you lean more towards classic-y rock and such you might enjoy something that sounds a little "warmer", as they say -> Eddie van Halen used a PAF -which is the type of humbucker you'd typically find in older Gibson-style guitars- and Mikey and Stone from PJ also stick to Fenders and Gibsons most of the time (which doesn't mean you have to emulate these guys but, y'know, just as a general guideline...)

And I agree with the Rocksmith-thing: it's a fun game, but not an ideal way to learn how to play the guitar. Hearing the actual sound coming out of your instrument, looking at your fingers instead of a screen, being able to hear and feel the subtleties of a vibrato, picked or plucked notes, etc. are all essential things which you'll be missing out on if you substitute practice routines with that game (it's a shame they've been marketting it as basically a beginner's course). But yeah, it's a cool game and definitely an improvement over Guitar Hero
Last edited by shwilly at Nov 4, 2014,
#18
Quote by gizbug
Thanks. I have been told by a few friends that I need start with acoustic to build strength in your left hand (if right handed). Any truth to this?


If you want to play electric genres, buy an electric, don't muck about with acoustic. If you want to build hand strength put 13-56 strings on it. - Though I have no idea why you would want to, because finesse is more important than brute strength for modern electric playing. The required strength will come with practice.
#19
Quote by Tony Done
If you want to play electric genres, buy an electric, don't muck about with acoustic
I respect your opinion but you shouldn't assume this is the way most people feel about the matter. I for instance find that owning at least one acoustic and one electric, as literally all of my friends who play electrics do, helps keeping things fresh and exciting. There's nothing like the sound of a sweet acoustic guitar with brand new strings after having played an electric almost exclusively for the last couple of months, and vice-versa (unless of course you're comparing your awesome electric guitar with the crappy acoustic you started out with: I'm talking decent quality instruments here)

Having my guitars laying around the house is also a major reason I keep playing so much because it just tempts you to pick 'em up more frequently (as opposed to keeping them in a case or whatever). I also own a cheap-ass bass I got from a friend which I like to play around with from time to time: you learn some different techniques, song ideas, etc. all the while improving your overall playing (the dumbest thing I've ever heard was someone telling me I'd been wasting my time playing with my fingers because all of that time should have been invested in developing my picking technique. I mean, really... )

The question here is, should TS really invest 500 bucks in an instrument even though it's his first acquisition. I say no: you can find some really decent to great acoustics for about half / two thirds of that money, and when it comes to electrics I'd actually advice to spend a bit more. The reason I'm ultimately a fan of the first option I've already listed, but that doesn't mean it's "bad" to go electric right away
#20
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
(a) He gets a friend who can play guitar for him, that knows what to look for in a guitar.

(b) If TS is doubtful that it'll get off the ground, TS can ask a friend if he can borrow one of their guitars before buying his own. Plenty of people play guitar out there. Then he can make a more educated guess to whether or not it's the right hobby for him. Buying a cheap guitar out of fear of quitting and wasting money is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. They're cheap because they're poorly made, which makes them frustrating to play, and frustration can easily lead to quitting.


(a) yeah i suppose, but then you run the risk of getting the guitar your friend wants. Not saying all guitar players can't do this, but an awful lot seem to struggle to differentiate subjective preferences ("i like a strat better than a tele") from objective quality ("that guitar isn't great, it won't stay in tune" etc.).

(b) that's a good idea, assuming he knows someone who'd be willing to do that.

Quote by dannyalcatraz
In no particular order:

1) I started on acoustic...but I wanted to. If you're more interested in electric, start that way.

2) I don't know Rocksmith at all, but my personal take on it is that if you want to learn guitar, get a guitar and amp or digital amp modeler, then find a tutor or scour Youtube for tutorials.

3) I don't believe in buying cheap "starter" gear. IMHO, much of it has flaws that actually impede the learning process. Yes, if you decide that guitar isn't your thing, your $$$ exposure is minimized, but you're already handicapping yourself. Invest in decent gear from the start, and at least it won't be holding you back.


1)

I have no problem if someone genuinely wants to start on acoustic (even if they want to play electric)- it's people being talked into starting on acoustic when, left to their own devices, they'd start on electric, that I have a problem with.

2) I don't know anything about rocksmith, I have no opinion on it.

justinguitar (online free tutor) is pretty good, though.

3) Agreed. There are pros and cons to each method, and obviously it depends on each person's financial situation, but I'm always a bit wary of starting off on stuff so cheap that it's liable to just make you want to quit.

Quote by paul.housley.7

If I had to try to coax brown sounds (since the TS listed Van Halen as a reference) out of an acoustic guitar I'm not sure what I'd do.
Is there a way to do that? I'm seriously curious about that now.


Not that I'm aware of. At least without spending so much more money that you might as well just buy an electric (you'd still need an amp, need to fit a magnetic pickup to the acoustic, I dunno what you'd do for a tremolo, etc.)

Quote by shwilly
No, lol (although I'd be really surprised if TS is already chasing the brown sound without even having owned a guitar yet)


Of course, but at the same time he probably knows enough, even now, to have a rough idea of how he wants to sound.

When I started playing I wanted to sound like van halen, vai, satriani and guys like that. Did I know I wanted paf-output pickups, a marshall plexi, a variac etc. ? of course not.

but i knew enough to know i wanted to sound like that (at least in the ballpark), and an acoustic won't do that.

you make a decent point that a lot of electric players muck about on acoustic- but a lot don't.

it's also one thing mucking about on an acoustic when you also have an electric right there that you *could* play if you wanted- it's quite another being forced to pick up that acoustic when you want to be playing eruption or whatever.

Quote by Tony Done
If you want to play electric genres, buy an electric, don't muck about with acoustic. If you want to build hand strength put 13-56 strings on it. - Though I have no idea why you would want to, because finesse is more important than brute strength for modern electric playing. The required strength will come with practice.


+1

Quote by shwilly
(a) I respect your opinion but you shouldn't assume this is the way most people feel about the matter. I for instance find that owning at least one acoustic and one electric, as literally all of my friends who play electrics do, helps keeping things fresh and exciting. There's nothing like the sound of a sweet acoustic guitar with brand new strings after having played an electric almost exclusively for the last couple of months, and vice-versa (unless of course you're comparing your awesome electric guitar with the crappy acoustic you started out with: I'm talking decent quality instruments here)

(b) The question here is, should TS really invest 500 bucks in an instrument even though it's his first acquisition. (c) I say no: you can find some really decent to great acoustics for about half / two thirds of that money, and when it comes to electrics I'd actually advice to spend a bit more. The reason I'm ultimately a fan of the first option I've already listed, but that doesn't mean it's "bad" to go electric right away


(a) You own one of each. As do your friends.

That's not what this thread is about. The dude has zero guitars. You're suggesting he not buy an electric (which is what he wants/needs) and buy an acoustic instead.

By all means, if he gets an electric, he can then get an acoustic.

I'm not sure advising him to get the less suitable option, because so many electric players that you know also enjoy playing a bit of acoustic from time to time (if they're electric players they also have electrics, right?) makes any kind of logical sense.

As I said above, it's one thing enjoying acoustic if you're mainly an electric player if you *also* have an electric lying around. it's another enjoying it if you're feeling like you're being forced to play it (i.e. electric isn't an option).

(b) he doesn't have to spend that much.

(c) see (b)
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Nov 4, 2014,
#21
Quote by Dave_Mc
(a) yeah i suppose, but then you run the risk of getting the guitar your friend wants. Not saying all guitar players can't do this, but an awful lot seem to struggle to differentiate subjective preferences ("i like a strat better than a tele") from objective quality ("that guitar isn't great, it won't stay in tune" etc.).

I know it isn't ideal, but in the situation that TS has absolutely no idea how to play guitar, there isn't really an alternative. At least TS can hold the guitar and see if he likes the feel of the neck and the layout of the guitar, and have a friend show various styles of guitar in the store, and to play them in front of him so he can hear what they sound like. That's an awful lot better than nothing.
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Nov 4, 2014,
#23
Quote by shwilly

Having my guitars laying around the house is also a major reason I keep playing so much because it just tempts you to pick 'em up more frequently (as opposed to keeping them in a case or whatever). I also own a cheap-ass bass I got from a friend which I like to play around with from time to time: you learn some different techniques, song ideas, etc. all the while improving your overall playing (the dumbest thing I've ever heard was someone telling me I'd been wasting my time playing with my fingers because all of that time should have been invested in developing my picking technique. I mean, really... )



I've been through this argument at least 30 times in the past 15 years or so on the internet, so I expect adverse reaction, and have so far heard no argument to change my mind. He wants to start learning, not diversify. IMO the best place to start is where your interest lies, because at bottom the incentive should be to play music, not the guitar.

FWIW, I play fingerpicked acoustic. acoustic slide, lapsteel and electric slide but I started learning the single style - fingerpicked acoustic - that interested me most.
#24
Quote by Dave_Mc
You're suggesting he not buy an electric (which is what he wants/needs) and buy an acoustic instead
Na ah

It did seem like he was leaning towards an acoustic because of his friends' advice which is why I went more in-depth about acoustics. I did however find the whole "those bands you like play electric, it makes more sense to play electric"-vibe in this thread a bit lacking. Telling people they HAVE to start off with an acoustic is dumb but telling people it's better to start off electric because they like the PJ, VH, Counting Crows, etc. whilst mostly ignoring the obvious pros of acoustics for beginners (believe me, most people who quit do so because of a lack of interest and/or commitment rather than unsatisfying gear) also doesn't cut it for me

Most people start off playing acoustic, including most of the artists you, TS and I and admire, and most of those artists grew up listening to rock music too. Putting away the guitar for 20 years because you didn't enjoy acoustics as much as electrics sounds pretty exceptional tbh. I still stand by my point: if you're able to have enough fun learning to play on a medium to mediocre quality instrument I say good for you, I can only cheer you on. Save your money and invest in some quality gear once you're actually able to distinguish between a decent and a crappy tone, at least that's what I'd suggest: I for one wouldn't have appreciated a good guitar -electric or acoustic- had I started off with one, but when I did buy one after a year or two of messing around and generally sounding horrible it was just one of those excalibur moments

For those who think otherwise: I really don't think you're "wrong", I'm just saying your experience doesn't necessarily reflect the majority view. If TS buys or borrows a crappy acoustic and REALLY doesn't find the experience of learning to play music enjoyable at least he won't have spent hundreds of bucks on it, and there's always the option of going electric. As most of us seem to agree starter pack electrics aren't the smartest of options by any means, which does mean he'll be spending more money in order to get some quality electric gear. I don't mean to talk anyone out of such a purchase, but that's just the way things are: electrics are more expensive than acoustics because you need an amp, period

I do have a final piece of advice TS: if you value your money, by all means forget about this thread and website altogether. I'm serious, you don't know what you're getting into. If I hadn't picked up the guitar back when I was 12 and discovered the endless joy of playing crappy Clash covers in some friend's garage I would've saved SO MUCH money down the line. I mean, had I invested all of that hard earned payola from my high school jobs more wisely I probably would've owned a Ferrari by now, and probably one of those ultra comfy chairs that hold your beer whilst keeping it cool. I've bought so many pedals I don't even need, yet it's nearly impossible to put any of them on eBay because who knows, perhaps The Mars Volta will reform someday and they'll need a replacement guitarist or something...

Seriously dude, run and don't look back. Thank me later
Last edited by shwilly at Nov 4, 2014,
#25
Acoustic guitars are okay I guess, but let's not treat them as if they're interchangable with an electric.

I could see myself owning an acoustic someday, but only because the skills transfer so neatly from one to the other. When I play acoustic guitars I'm like "oh that sounds nice" but when I play an electric guitar through a good amp I feel chills going down my spine.


Now I know it goes the other way too. My first electric was borrowed from a guy who prefers acoustic. He has a pretty blue MIA Lonestar Strat and a Fender Twin amp but he never touches them. He mostly plays his grandfather's pre-war Martin. Now I have to admit that it's the nicest guitar I've ever had the pleasure of holding but I'd still rather play his Strat personally.
#26
On electric guitars, you do a lot of plugging and unplugging of your cable, and these actions can eventually loosen the output jack, causing a crackling sound through the speaker. This crackling indicates a disconnected ground wire. To fix this problem, you first need to take off the jack plate or pick guard and locate the detached wire causing the problem.

If you’re handy with a soldering iron, attach the broken wire back to its original lug, and you’re done. You may even feel like a real electrician.

If you’re not handy, have a friend who is do the job or take the instrument in to the shop.
#27
Quote by Dave_Mc
/snip

2) I don't know anything about rocksmith, I have no opinion on it.

justinguitar (online free tutor) is pretty good, though.


Just to add this in here, about RS - while I've never had lesson,s I'd expect it to work well in addition to a tutor or other methods, rather than instead of.

As well as some tutorials, it features technique-based arcade-style games, the riff-repeater function on the songs(which breaks songs down into sections and allows you to slow down bits you're having trouble with).

Given that it doesn't cost a lot more than one lesson with a tutor, using it as a way to reinforce what you're learning(or just as a way to spend time playing), it may be worth it.

Though it may also be worth looking into Songs2See, which works a little differently(though I know 2 things about it - jack and shit).
#28
Quote by Tony Done
I've been through this argument at least 30 times in the past 15 years or so on the internet, so I expect adverse reaction, and have so far heard no argument to change my mind. He wants to start learning, not diversify. IMO the best place to start is where your interest lies, because at bottom the incentive should be to play music, not the guitar.


Agreed.

Quote by shwilly
Na ah

(a) It did seem like he was leaning towards an acoustic because of his friends' advice which is why I went more in-depth about acoustics. I did however find the whole "those bands you like play electric, it makes more sense to play electric"-vibe in this thread a bit lacking. Telling people they HAVE to start off with an acoustic is dumb but telling people it's better to start off electric because they like the PJ, VH, Counting Crows, etc. whilst mostly ignoring the obvious pros of acoustics for beginners (believe me, most people who quit do so because of a lack of interest and/or commitment rather than unsatisfying gear) also doesn't cut it for me

(b) Most people start off playing acoustic, including most of the artists you, TS and I and admire, and most of those artists grew up listening to rock music too. Putting away the guitar for 20 years because you didn't enjoy acoustics as much as electrics sounds pretty exceptional tbh. I still stand by my point: if you're able to have enough fun learning to play on a medium to mediocre quality instrument I say good for you, I can only cheer you on. (c) Save your money and invest in some quality gear once you're actually able to distinguish between a decent and a crappy tone, at least that's what I'd suggest: I for one wouldn't have appreciated a good guitar -electric or acoustic- had I started off with one, but when I did buy one after a year or two of messing around and generally sounding horrible it was just one of those excalibur moments

For those who think otherwise: I really don't think you're "wrong", I'm just saying your experience doesn't necessarily reflect the majority view. If TS buys or borrows a crappy acoustic and REALLY doesn't find the experience of learning to play music enjoyable at least he won't have spent hundreds of bucks on it, (d) and there's always the option of going electric. (e) As most of us seem to agree starter pack electrics aren't the smartest of options by any means, which does mean he'll be spending more money in order to get some quality electric gear. I don't mean to talk anyone out of such a purchase, but that's just the way things are: electrics are more expensive than acoustics because you need an amp, period

(f) I do have a final piece of advice TS: if you value your money, by all means forget about this thread and website altogether. I'm serious, you don't know what you're getting into. If I hadn't picked up the guitar back when I was 12 and discovered the endless joy of playing crappy Clash covers in some friend's garage I would've saved SO MUCH money down the line. I mean, had I invested all of that hard earned payola from my high school jobs more wisely I probably would've owned a Ferrari by now, and probably one of those ultra comfy chairs that hold your beer whilst keeping it cool. I've bought so many pedals I don't even need, yet it's nearly impossible to put any of them on eBay because who knows, perhaps The Mars Volta will reform someday and they'll need a replacement guitarist or something...

Seriously dude, run and don't look back. Thank me later


(a) I don't think there are "obvious pros" of acoustics for beginners. There are pros and cons, same for electric, so if you ask me it makes sense to buy the one you want.

I don't see how that's lacking. Or at least any more lacking than "buy something you don't want because everyone does it... there are obvious pros to it, honest."

There are pros to learning piano and drums before guitar (I did), but I'd never suggest doing that to someone who only wants to play guitar. When I played piano and drums I hadn't considered learning guitar.

(b) That's fair enough, but just because most people do it doesn't mean it's right.

A better statistic to get would be what percentage of people who want to play electric quit who start on electric, versus how many quit who start on acoustic.

Even that's not perfect because obviously every individual is different. But as a jumping off point it'd be much better than saying, "most people do it".

I'd be the first to agree that some people who start on electric may well quit too, and plenty of people start on acoustic who don't quit. But there's a group of people in the middle who might quit if talked into starting on acoustic, who may have stuck with it had they started on electric. if you ask me, the "start on acoustic" crowd is doing them a disservice, and then blaming it on those people's own shortcomings for quitting. Unfairly so, if you ask me.

(c) I could certainly tell a good from a crappy guitar when I was just starting.

Granted, I already played music so I wasn't starting from complete scratch.

(d) of course, but the problem is if you couldn't hack acoustic, you might just quit before trying electric. that's the big problem. if it's a teenager who has to talk his/her parents into it, "I really want an electric, mum and dad" will likely be met, at least with a certain type of parent, with, "But you didn't stick with acoustic!" You're sort of starting out from a position of failure, which is pretty disheartening.

(e) of course, but cheap acoustics aren't always all that great either. and i know that the acoustic forum always says to budget for a setup, which adds to the cost. Don't get me wrong, I know electrics cost more (though with laptops etc. you maybe don't necessarily need an amp), but I'm not sure they cost as much more as you're suggesting.

(f) LOL definitely

Quote by paul.housley.7
Acoustic guitars are okay I guess, but let's not treat them as if they're interchangable with an electric.

I could see myself owning an acoustic someday, but only because the skills transfer so neatly from one to the other. When I play acoustic guitars I'm like "oh that sounds nice" but when I play an electric guitar through a good amp I feel chills going down my spine.


Now I know it goes the other way too. My first electric was borrowed from a guy who prefers acoustic. He has a pretty blue MIA Lonestar Strat and a Fender Twin amp but he never touches them. He mostly plays his grandfather's pre-war Martin. Now I have to admit that it's the nicest guitar I've ever had the pleasure of holding but I'd still rather play his Strat personally.


+1

I'd never suggest that someone who wanted to learn acoustic should get an electric, for example. But I'd not have been best pleased had I been forced to start on acoustic (my mum had an old acoustic lying around that i mucked about on, but that's just because it was there, and to tide me over until i got an electric- i'd never have bought an acoustic as the first thing). and certainly once i got the electric i never went near that old acoustic.
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Nov 5, 2014,
#29
I guess i will weigh in here. I do think it is better to start on acoustic guitar. Why? Before you distract yourself with amp modeling and effects and all those cool things you really need to knuckle down and work on technique and fundamentals without all the distractions. When you start you don't have time to just play with the settings on your flanger etc. It takes more discipline to work out those things on acoustic.

After 6 months to a year of due diligence you can make the switch. (or more appropriately the addition of electric) I would recommend a headset type of amp you have a lot of features and it is not loud enough to disturb your roommates neighbors etc.

I would recommend private tutor for the early bit of learning. A tutor can tell you your what is wrong with your technique and help you hold the guitar right.
#30
I'd say start with an electric if that's what you want. When I first started it was on acoustic because a guitar teacher said I have to learn to play it first. I hated it and gave up (I was a kid and the guitar was massive with big strings on it).
When you buy a guitar, don't let your friends or strangers on the internet talk you into what they think is right for you. If you think a B.C Rich Warlock looks bloody awesome then buy one and play the hell out of it. The advice I'd give you is to get something:
With humbuckers (because they will be more suitable for the type of music you want to play)
WITHOUT a Floyd Rose or floating trem (they're a bitch to set up)
Used, particularly if you're in the US where used gear is dirt cheap. I'd look at an Ibanez or something similar. It would be good to get a friend to help you look for dodgy guitars here.

If you don't need to be amplified, I'd suggest not buying an amp and getting a good multi effects unit instead. The Boss ME series or Line 6 POD series would be great here. You can get a heap of cool tones that you'll never get with a crappy 10 watt solid state practice amp. A unit with an expression pedal would be a good option as well. Once again used is better, plus you'll have money left to get a decent set of headphones!
You can also run a lot of multi effect units through PA systems or computer speakers (somehow), so you can bring it to gigs or whatever to play in a group.