#1
My name is CJ and I live near Marquette, MI. I've put a lot of thought recently into buying a new guitar and amp and I was hoping I could bounce some ideas off you guys so I can know if my logic is flawed or my choices are bad.

Budget: Willing to invest $1500-$2000. Buying outright. Absolutely no financing.

Gear in Question:
New Fender American Special guitar and a new 1x12" tube amp, make of which I haven't settled on yet. (right now thinking either the Marshall DSL40CST or maybe some type of Fender)

Current Gear:
Broken Peavy Envoy 110 and a beat up Squier Bullet Strat. Both of which were purchased used locally. Line 6 Echo Park, electroharm BigMuff with Tone Wicker, electroharm stereo pulsar. Might eventually buy more pedals but not just yet.

Rationale for Getting New Gear:
I'm looking to invest in equipment that will last. My current gear isn't cutting it. The Envoy 110 is dead. The strat still works fine, and I am still able to teach myself, but I feel like it'd be better if I could play loud and actually hear myself playing. I want equipment that will help provide a professional sound that's on par with some of my favorite artists listed below.

New or Used: I'm not exactly against buying something used, but honestly I'd rather just pay a couple hundred bucks more and get something I know is brand new and at least has a manufacturer's warranty. I mean, I'm all for saving money, but I'd rather put down $2000 and get the real deal instead of taking a risk just so I can save $200-$300 on eBay.

Rationale for Fender:
I haven't played any other electrics other than my strat and a friends JazzMaster. So I know I can't really say what guitar is right for me without even having tried a Gibson or a PRS or whathaveyou but something tells me if a strat was good enough for SRV and others I could probably use one well enough to effectively express myself.

Rationale for American Special:
If I could I'd buy a Fender Deluxe Roadhouse and save some money but ever since my Dad saw the American Special in surf green he's been insisting that I buy that guitar. I don't want to let him down. Maybe it's a sign from above that the Surf Green could be my guitar just like Clapton's Candy Apple Red? Besides all of that I am a fan of the better pickups in the Special and the (hopefully) better build quality. I have no desire for an HSS configuration.

Rationale for the 1x12 tube amp:
I didn't hate my envoy 110 solid state. I was able to emulate the sounds of Dan Auerbach *somewhat* well. I just want the real deal this time around. I know that tubes are an additional cost and that just the design in general can be expensive for upkeep but if that's what it takes to sound legit I'd do it. Preferably something with great reverb, an effects loop, and a big brand speaker. The Marshall DSL40CST looks decent enough, no?

Where I plan to buy:
Sweetwater. There are roughly 5 halfway legit music stores within 500 miles. Only 3 locally. Nothing big brand like Guitar Center. I haven't even bothered going in and trying to establish a relationship at any one of them but I think I may try before sending my money out of my local community. If they ask for $100-$200 more than I would pay online for the same then they probably won't get my business.

Favorite Guitarists: SRV, Parker Griggs, Dave Gilmour, Freddie King, Jimi, Jack White, Dan Auerbach, Dickie Betts, Santana. Robin Trower a lot recently.
#2
Good choice to pick out a Strat as many of the players you like use them. A 1x12 tube amp is what I gig with mostly these days and suits 90% of the shows I play. A mic thru the PA and now I can cover Madison Square Garden.

For the guitarists you like consider a Fender SuperSonic 22 or used Mesa. They will cover most of the tone you want and are quality tube builds.

Don't rule out used gear yet. New stuff loses 30% of it's value as soon as you unbox it so not the best investment. Careful shopping can result in like new gear at 1/2 price. If you don't like it after a while you can usually resell at the same price. Much better value and where I get most of my stuff. Hit Craigslist instead of Ebay to find the best bang for the buck. A lot of people get excited and overpay on auction sites.

My live rig is usually a USA Std Tele and Mesa F-30 amp bought used in new condition. $1200 for all. You could get almost-as-nice with a MiM Strat and Fender HRD used around $700.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Jul 25, 2015,
#3
F-30 and F-50 are both criminally underrated amps, some of the best ever imo ^^

id also recommend checking out a Traynor YCV series amp. Also some of the best around, and are known for stellar customer service, reliability and all around general greatness.
Quote by yellowfrizbee
What does a girl have to do to get it in the butt thats all I ever wanted from you. Why, Ace? Why? I clean my asshole every night hoping and wishing and it never happens.
Bitches be Crazy.

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Last edited by Acϵ♠ at Jul 25, 2015,
#4
Highly recommend the Fender American Special Strat. A good choice all around, good quality, acceptable used value, and easily modified with new pickups if your tastes change down the road. Unless you happen to fall into economic trouble, I see no reason for any guitarplayer to get rid of a Strat from their collection - it's a model that is as allround as a guitar can be. Works for everything. While you can save money buying used, I have never done so. A brand new, shiny guitar is never wrong if you have the money for it!

(But I doubt manufacturer's warranty as a reason for buying new though... Guitars doesn't instantaneously combust from manufacturing issues, in my experience. It's more about taking bad care of an instrument that kills it, and not even the most generous warranties cover that.)

As for amps, have you considered the Peavey Classic Series? Played a Classic 30 earlier today. Absolutely great amp for any kind of rock, and should be within your budget. (799 USD at Sweetwater.) Also comes with a good spring reverb instead of the digital one on the Marshall. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) Loud enough for band practice, without a doubt, but equally suitable for playing at home.
"Your signature can not be longer than 250 characters."

How you know you have too many guitars...

Apparently once also known as PonyFan #834553.
#5
The feedback is much appreciated guys. I will definitely not rule out buying used just yet. The Supersonic 22, the Traynors, and the Peavey Classics are amps I know little about so I'll make sure to do some research there as well.
#6
slightly different take on this. i'd look for a MIM strat in really nice shape used. for an amp i'd look for a used Peavey Valveking. this will get you where you want to be and leave money for pedals or perhaps new pickups for the guitar or a new speaker for the amp. personally i'm not a big fan of the american special. just a MIM strat put together in the US with 22 fret neck and debatebly better pickups (again personally i hate the stock pups in the AS)
#7
If it were my money, i'd also look for an MIM i could drop a serious pickup or two in, upgrade the tuners and replace the trem block with a heavy steel piece and spend the rest of the 1000 or so on the only amp i'd ever need for the rest of my life.

When you buy a new (new to you) guitar+amp combo, always spend more on the amp. The guitar is nice and all but the amp is what will make you want to keep coming back.

If you do go Peavey, as they are a great amp maker, either the Classic or Delta series is what you'll be after. You mentioned SRV; a nicely upgraded MIM with a Delta 30 or Traynor YCV50 and a tube screamer will blow your mind, i promise, AND you'll be under your budget.
Quote by yellowfrizbee
What does a girl have to do to get it in the butt thats all I ever wanted from you. Why, Ace? Why? I clean my asshole every night hoping and wishing and it never happens.
Bitches be Crazy.

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ஜ۩۩ஜ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
Last edited by Acϵ♠ at Jul 26, 2015,
#8
Surf Green is among my favorite colors for stratocaster-style guitars. And the one you're talking about is a nice piece of axe! Sweetwater is a good place to buy from, decent prices with a good return policy.

(There are other, similar guitars I could recommend- Carvins, G&Ls, etc.- but given your original post, I don't think you'd find them suitable.)

Fender amps- like the HRD are an obvious choice. I own a HRD, and it delivers a great clean tone and it built to take a beating. Solid workhorse amp. It does have one flaw, though- its distortion channel is utter ass.

I'd also look at Vox and Carvins in the same price range. When I was buying my HRD, I was basically making a coin-toss decision between it and a similarly priced Vox.

Carvin amps also deliver great cleans, and are nicely priced.

Given your appreciation for Gilmour, one pedal I'd recommend is the Boss RT-20.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QrXsrPAFIc&sns=em
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jul 26, 2015,
#9
Quote by Acϵ♠
If it were my money, i'd also look for an MIM i could drop a serious pickup or two in, upgrade the tuners and replace the trem block with a heavy steel piece and spend the rest of the 1000 or so on the only amp i'd ever need for the rest of my life.


Why would you need to upgrade the tuners on a MIM? Have a 2014 Standard and it keeps in tune as well as anything after a setup, the tuners turn smoothly and it takes me less time to restring than Schaller or Gotoh locking tuners too (the locking mechanism always seem to get stuck when you least need it to - I have needed to turn it with pliers many time to get the string out).

Generally, tuners are the last thing I'd drop money on unless we're speaking Fender vintage-type ones which I don't like or perhaps those damn locking ones by Gotoh or Schaller that I hate.
"Your signature can not be longer than 250 characters."

How you know you have too many guitars...

Apparently once also known as PonyFan #834553.
#10
Quote by HomerSGR
Why would you need to upgrade the tuners on a MIM? Have a 2014 Standard and it keeps in tune as well as anything after a setup, the tuners turn smoothly and it takes me less time to restring than Schaller or Gotoh locking tuners too (the locking mechanism always seem to get stuck when you least need it to - I have needed to turn it with pliers many time to get the string out).

Generally, tuners are the last thing I'd drop money on unless we're speaking Fender vintage-type ones which I don't like or perhaps those damn locking ones by Gotoh or Schaller that I hate.


The QC is so all over the place with the MIMs that you might end up with one that doesn't hold tune all that well, which yes can be remedied but not cured by a setup. I dont use locking tuners either, and i also don't like the vintage tuners. I use grovers on mine and it's a vast improvement. You may have got one of the better ones but that certainly doesn't go for all new buyers. I personally have not found an MIM that couldn't be made better by some better machine heads.
Quote by yellowfrizbee
What does a girl have to do to get it in the butt thats all I ever wanted from you. Why, Ace? Why? I clean my asshole every night hoping and wishing and it never happens.
Bitches be Crazy.

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ஜ۩۩ஜ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
#11
Quote by Acϵ♠
The QC is so all over the place with the MIMs that you might end up with one that doesn't hold tune all that well, which yes can be remedied but not cured by a setup. I dont use locking tuners either, and i also don't like the vintage tuners. I use grovers on mine and it's a vast improvement. You may have got one of the better ones but that certainly doesn't go for all new buyers. I personally have not found an MIM that couldn't be made better by some better machine heads.


the QC on MIMs is far from bad and i wouldn't describe it as all over the place. the stock tuners aren't bad at all either. could they be better well sure but they do hold tune. at times the nuts may not be cut 100% correctly but that can be said of way more expensive guitars as well.
#12
In my experience of both MIM's and MIA's I would recommend an MIA. They hold their value better and seem to have less set-up issues on delivery.

MIM trem blocks seem to be made of soap and move all over the place when string bending.

Few MIMs have 22 frets.

MIMs are a great starting point if you are looking to experiment with different components but otherwise an MIA is a better guitar if you are leaving it as it comes out of the box.

MIA's seem to have that special mojo that MIM's don't achieve. It may just be that, because they are more expensive, they seem that bit more special.
Please note: The above comments are based on my experience, and may represent my perception of that experience. This may not be accurate and, subject to the style of music you play, may be irrelevant or wrong.
#13
I have owned MIM strats, MIJ strats and now own an American special. The Special wins hands down. I had it delivered to me from fender, it was set up and tuned (Not that arriving tuned matters but it's a nice attention to detail) and basically perfect. I'm not a strat lover to be honest but it is an awesome guitar. Only adjustment was 3/4 turn on the saddles to lower the action to my laziness settings and it's absolutely brilliant.

Highly recommended. I'm busting my ass off with overtime at the moment to buy another.
My gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety.
#14
Quote by John Sims
In my experience of both MIM's and MIA's I would recommend an MIA. They hold their value better and seem to have less set-up issues on delivery.

MIM trem blocks seem to be made of soap and move all over the place when string bending.

Few MIMs have 22 frets.

MIMs are a great starting point if you are looking to experiment with different components but otherwise an MIA is a better guitar if you are leaving it as it comes out of the box.


Lots of experience with both. My USA Std Strat is better than the Mex but subtly better. It is certainly not twice the guitar at twice the price and both required my own personal setup touches. I'd say the Mex is a better bang for the buck and certainly gig quality. I can afford whatever guitar I want to play but I would not hesitate to gig with the Mex Strat right out of the gig bag. A nice axe.

YMMV
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#15
I have had an American Special for a couple of years and really like it. It stays in tune well (I mention this as I often hear that some strats struggle) and I find it pretty versatile due to the pickups.

I see from above that you are getting mixed reviews which is fair enough as it's a personal thing. It suggests to me that you should try a few before you buy and see which you prefer.

Sorry dad, but I think you should buy the exact one you like as you are the one that is going to spend countless hours in its company. My girlfriend hates the colour of my Ibanez