#1
Hi All,

I'm a mid-level player and I own a mid-low quality guitar (JTV-89F which the most of the price is about variax hw/sw).
I'm also a biker and I have clear in mind my "WOW" when I upgraded my mid-low aluminium bike to a mid-high carbon one.

My questions are:
Would I have the same "WOW" if I upgrade to a mid-high quality guitar?
What would be a reasonable budget for a "WOW" mid-high quality guitar?

Thanks,
Cabbi
#2
Would I have the same "WOW" if I upgrade to a mid-high quality guitar?

How would we know? This is a question only you can answer.
What would be a reasonable budget for a "WOW" mid-high quality guitar?

Depends on what you define as being reasonable.

Also objectively define what a mid-high quality guitar is. People have different ideas on what exactly that is.
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#3
Would I have the same "WOW" if I upgrade to a mid-high quality guitar?
What would be a reasonable budget for a "WOW" mid-high quality guitar?


Maybe, maybe not. As a for example, a guitar that is 2x the price might not sound or feel 2x better. And sometimes, inexpensive guitars have "the mojo". Until it was lost to the floodwaters of Katrina, there was a guy in NOLA who played in a bar in the French Quarter for decades on a Squier and the amp it came with. He had other, pricier axes, but that Squier was his #1.

Still, it is probable that if you get the right guitar, you will get that "WOW!" experience.

As for budget? Well, these days, you can get a new gig-quality axe starting @$550, and there are pros out there playing on guitars that cost under $900.
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 Jun 3, 2016,
#4
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
How would we know? This is a question only you can answer.

Depends on what you define as being reasonable.

Also objectively define what a mid-high quality guitar is. People have different ideas on what exactly that is.


You are right: the WOW is a personal feeling.

For instance, speaking about bikes, you upgrade passing from aluminium to carbon, and geting better wheels.

I'm not a guitar expert, so I can imagine that good pickups can make the difference, as well as different woods.

I'm thinking I need to visit guitar shops and figure out if any guitar gives me the "WOW" feeling!

Thanks
#5
Quote by CabbiBoy
You are right: the WOW is a personal feeling.

For instance, speaking about bikes, you upgrade passing from aluminium to carbon, and geting better wheels.

I'm not a guitar expert, so I can imagine that good pickups can make the difference, as well as different woods.

I'm thinking I need to visit guitar shops and figure out if any guitar gives me the "WOW" feeling!

Thanks


For sure. There's just too many variables and too many available choices to give you any useful suggestions based on the info you've given. For instance, your budget, the style of music you play and don't forget your amp. Does that need an upgrade too? the amp is at least half the equation when it comes to electric guitar. I'd suggest going to a guitar store, or several if you have that luxury, and tell the sales person what you are looking for, your budget and then try as many as you can until you find the one that feels right. Let the guitar pick you.
#6
Pickups can make a difference but they will only if the amp you are playing through is decent the amp is the heart of your sound, great pickups will not sound great a low quality amp. I'm not sure what you are playing but through something to consider if your guitar is decent but your amp is not then upgrading your amp will give you the WOW factor more than a new guitar.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

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Last edited by Evilnine at Jun 3, 2016,
#7
Is there something you don't like about your current guitar?
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Alvarez: F-200
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Custom: Harley Quinn Bass
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#8
Quote by CabbiBoy
Hi All,

I'm a mid-level player and I own a mid-low quality guitar (JTV-89F which the most of the price is about variax hw/sw).
I'm also a biker and I have clear in mind my "WOW" when I upgraded my mid-low aluminium bike to a mid-high carbon one.

My questions are:
Would I have the same "WOW" if I upgrade to a mid-high quality guitar?
What would be a reasonable budget for a "WOW" mid-high quality guitar?


The JTV 89F also comes in a US-made version. It's about three times what the Korean version runs, comes with hipshot tuners, an extra battery and a G&G hardshell case.

I'm a bit surprised to hear you refer to the 89F as a mid-low quality guitar (I've got two and both are working hard). In the old days of Variax guitars, the joke was that you had $1500 worth of electronics in a $300 guitar. I have one of those, the Variax 500. The 89F is completely the opposite, IMHO.

Both of mine have outstanding playability; action is right down on the deck with no buzzing frets, frets are glassy, trem is outstanding, and I can work right up to the 24th fret with impunity. I think the only thing that would make them better is if they were neck-through and had a smooth neck heel. At some point, if I can talk Jeff Kiesel into stuffing the Variax bits into one of his guitars, I'll do that. I've played the US-made versions and, honestly, didn't find them to be "better." I compared the two when I bought the first Korean I have, and tried the two again a year later when I bought the backup. I live in Los Angeles, so it was trivial to drop by G&G and pick up a hard case, and the batteries are standard video camera batteries, so extras are available on Amazon for a lot less than what Line 6 charges.

I have more expensive guitars. I've had a Gibson Axcess Custom for several years now (around $4K at that time), several Moonstones (custom made by a guy up in California's Gold Country), half a dozen Carvins, a Gibson L5S, a Gibson L6S, L5, Super 400, a Nik Huber, etc. At this point, it's becoming difficult to "WOW" me. There's an "oooh, ahhhh" factor the first few times something expensive comes out of the case, but I honestly believe that I can anticipate almost to the day when the honeymoon phase will wear off.

Hold onto that JTV-89F. It's an extremely capable guitar and you'll find a lot of uses for that Variax stuff moving forward. If it's not playing well, send it to someone like Gary Brawer in San Francisco to have him PLEK it, superglue the frets and make it perfect for you. Otherwise, check out the Carvin/Kiesel semi-customs, talk to Nik Huber, etc. Spending more money doesn't get you quality, necessarily, but it does spur you to THINK you've moved up in quality. Gibsons, even in the $4K range, can be quite variable (and even the $6K historics have cheap junk for hardware). The very best Fenders are very good, but after a while, you begin to wonder why you paid big bucks for a guitar that can be duplicated for less. Suhr does some very nice work. Tom Anderson does some really nice stuff with details that make sense. Trussarts (order one direct, don't pull one off a wall) are really nice and can be customized, and they'll always be something different.

But nothing will compare to going from an all-aluminum bike to a carbon fiber version. That's a performance difference, rather than a cosmetic one, and it's a major difference. Not the same thing with guitars.
Last edited by dspellman at Jun 3, 2016,
#9
Quote by CabbiBoy
You are right: the WOW is a personal feeling.

For instance, speaking about bikes, you upgrade passing from aluminium to carbon, and geting better wheels.

I'm not a guitar expert, so I can imagine that good pickups can make the difference, as well as different woods.

I'm thinking I need to visit guitar shops and figure out if any guitar gives me the "WOW" feeling!

Thanks


I wouldn't pay too much attention to wood type other than personal preference in feel and weight. Pickups certainly make a huge difference but your amp will likely have the biggest impact.

I bike as well; but it's not really a fair comparison. You should focus on finding something that is built well, just like you would with a bike. Once you've found some quality guitars, then you should focus on personal preferences (weight, feel, sound etc.).
#10
I will try to explain everyone's concerns here.

About me
I define myself as an "enthusiastic" guitar player, that does not mean I'm good!
I mainly play rock, hard rock, some old Metallica's songs but also 70's funky music and some soul. That said I need a wide range of sounds (anyone here that does not!?!?). That's one of the reasons I brought the JTV89F

About JTV89F
I'm happy with it!
I'm also not so good and experienced to judge this guitar. No big concerns except for the alternate tunings which I find bit "unusable". Bass strings volume is low, even if I dropped gain of the others with the Workbench HD, still noticing level disequality. Also distorted sound of the Drop D is "terrible"

About Amps
I do not own one!
I mainly play at home with headphones so I took a Line6 POD HD500X, and I'm quite happy with it. I'm not a super player and not a super tone tweaker, so I'm totally fine with the POD. At least for now.


Quote by dspellman
...
But nothing will compare to going from an all-aluminum bike to a carbon fiber version. That's a performance difference, rather than a cosmetic one, and it's a major difference. Not the same thing with guitars.
You exactly pointed out my "WOW", it should be "performance" based!

That said, I was quite happy with my old aluminium bike, but then I tried the new one and... WOW
That's something I wish could happen as well for guitars!

Thanks,
Cabbi
Last edited by CabbiBoy at Jun 3, 2016,
#11
Well, speaking as someone with a lot of guitars, pedals and such- but only one amp- you may find that your lack of an amp is the key to your ennui.

I often practice with my headphones. In fact, I didn't have an amp for the first 3 years I played electric. But- good as THEY are- the devices they're plugged into (usually portable digital modelers or MFX pedals) just don't deliver the same fidelity as my amp. I can detect nuances through my Fender HRD that the modelers aren't transmitting to the headphones.

That's one of the reasons it took me so long to figure out quality differences between various pickups.
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 Jun 3, 2016,
#12
My best recommendation is going to a local store and trying out some stuff. That's all that can really be said, plus there you COULD get a really good cheap amp, a Cube always a solid goto
Les Paul Studio 2014
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Soon to be expanded hopefully
#13
Get a great amp and crank it. You will get your wow.

It's a little strange but I used to do headphones mostly and I played at church all the time, but never really felt right getting a great amp and blasting it. It is different through a monitor/PA system. And never was 'allowed' to get loud. Not bad, but just different. When I finally got an amp I liked, I'll never forget getting that "wow" when I cranked it up and had a little window rattle. Feeling the sound out and about without the headphones was a different experience.

I don't know, maybe I am just crazy, but it just feels more 'awesome' when I can play an amp loud(or just loud enough) even just to run some licks or practice a song. No headphones, just me, the guitar, and amp.

Take your guitar to a shop and see if you can crank an amp and maybe you will find something else that gives you the 'wow'.
#15
Rent or borrow a "real" guitar for a weekend - pick a strat or a gibson or whatever, and see if it yields an improvement. Your POD is a bit of a weak link as far as tone goes, there's only so much a guitar can do running through one of those with headphones, especially if you're using cheap headphones.

Your tone may improve significantly with better headphones as well.
#16
I would at they very least go to a music store and plug into a decent amp and crank it a bit, the feeling of the bass and the speakers moving the air, the overall vibration THAT is the WOW factor IMO!
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#17
I'm pretty satisfied with the sound of the JTV-89F's alternate tunings, and I'm not having the issues you mention with a wide difference in volume between strings. That has a LOT of optional causes, including the kind of headphones you're using or a issue with the individual piezo saddles.

Pick up Meambobbo's Pod HD Tone Guide (Google search).
Are you using the Variax cable from the guitar into the HD500?
#18
Quote by dspellman
I'm pretty satisfied with the sound of the JTV-89F's alternate tunings, and I'm not having the issues you mention with a wide difference in volume between strings. That has a LOT of optional causes, including the kind of headphones you're using or a issue with the individual piezo saddles.

Pick up Meambobbo's Pod HD Tone Guide (Google search).
Are you using the Variax cable from the guitar into the HD500?
Yes, I'm using the Variax cable.
Googling I found a lot a lot of people having the same issues: diferent string volumes and horrible distorted sound on basses.

I'll check the The Guide... Thanks
Fabio
#19
I am a little late to the party here. But I am also a mid-level player (at best). I play only for myself and I play through an HD500X (but through a monitor speaker). And I am a cyclist. My thoughts on the 'WOW factor' that you encountered with a serious bike upgrade.

When you upgraded your bike there were a series of things that happened.

1) You got a frame that was (most likely) going to ride much better than your old aluminum one, although there are some decent riding Al bikes out there from what I know.

2) You probably got new/better wheels, that will also ride better and probably have better aero characteristics

3) I suspect that you got upgraded gearing that would shift much more easily and probably have a more useful range of gears (either in range or spacing)

4) There is a good chance that you got a different bike geometry that you like better

5) The whole thing is probably going to weigh several pounds less. While (bike plus rider) weight changes from (for example) 180 pounds to 175 pounds doesn't sound like a lot. Your body senses the weight of the bike alone, so a change from 20 pounds to 15 pounds is huge.

Now you have a guitar, a pre-amp, a power amp, speakers, cabinet, and effects (although a number of those are 'combined' in your case). You went after 'the whole bike' and got a WOW. I don't think that you are likely to get a 'WOW' out of just a guitar change, at least not one like the bike.

dave

ps. I play a 1975 ES-175D through a HD500x driving a JBL 5 inch active monitor speaker (small room so 5 inches is fine). I ride a 1996 EL/OS steel Bianchi frame with 2014 Campy Chorus components and Bontrager Race-X Lite wheels with Vittoria Open Corsa clincher tires. Unlike most guitar stuff where something decades old and in mint condition is often considered better than the current model, bikes really need some (or all) new stuff. And you could certainly argue that my steel frame has (or should have) seen its last day on the road. But I just like that frame. Plus it does have a 'cool factor' that you don't get in carbon fiber.
#20
Quote by DaveLeeNC
I am a little late to the party here. But I am also a mid-level player (at best). I play only for myself and I play through an HD500X (but through a monitor speaker). And I am a cyclist. My thoughts on the 'WOW factor' that you encountered with a serious bike upgrade.

When you upgraded your bike there were a series of things that happened.

1) You got a frame that was (most likely) going to ride much better than your old aluminum one, although there are some decent riding Al bikes out there from what I know.

2) You probably got new/better wheels, that will also ride better and probably have better aero characteristics

3) I suspect that you got upgraded gearing that would shift much more easily and probably have a more useful range of gears (either in range or spacing)

4) There is a good chance that you got a different bike geometry that you like better

5) The whole thing is probably going to weigh several pounds less. While (bike plus rider) weight changes from (for example) 180 pounds to 175 pounds doesn't sound like a lot. Your body senses the weight of the bike alone, so a change from 20 pounds to 15 pounds is huge.

Now you have a guitar, a pre-amp, a power amp, speakers, cabinet, and effects (although a number of those are 'combined' in your case). You went after 'the whole bike' and got a WOW. I don't think that you are likely to get a 'WOW' out of just a guitar change, at least not one like the bike.

dave

ps. I play a 1975 ES-175D through a HD500x driving a JBL 5 inch active monitor speaker (small room so 5 inches is fine). I ride a 1996 EL/OS steel Bianchi frame with 2014 Campy Chorus components and Bontrager Race-X Lite wheels with Vittoria Open Corsa clincher tires. Unlike most guitar stuff where something decades old and in mint condition is often considered better than the current model, bikes really need some (or all) new stuff. And you could certainly argue that my steel frame has (or should have) seen its last day on the road. But I just like that frame. Plus it does have a 'cool factor' that you don't get in carbon fiber.
Hi,
You are right, bike has many components and, yessss, the "WOW" sensation would not be same. But also guitars have many parts a better one might have improved: body, neck, all the woods, pickups, all the mechanics.

Good to hear you're happy with your light green Bianchi frame... than I'm writing from Italy where your bike was born!
Last edited by CabbiBoy at Jun 13, 2016,