#1
Hi! I'm new here. Sorry that my english is not very well, it's not my main language.

I'm thinking about upgrading a cheap guitar i have, it's a Yamaha ERG 121 I bought in an starter pack many years ago. I wanted to know if anyone here has done something similar before and if it was worth the investment. I'm thinking on changing the wires, the pickups and the bridge to start with. I hope someone can share his/her experience. I wouldn't like to throw my money. Thanks!
#2
As a general rule it doesn't make sense to upgrade starter guitars. If you have an instrument to use as a solid base then by all means go for it but a £200 starter pack guitar with, say, £100 spent on pickup/bridge upgrades is still going to play like a £200 starter guitar.

Save your money.
#3
I kind of agree with Random3 but then it depends on why you want to do it to begin with. When I started apprenticing with a luthier to learn how to set up, repair and generally customize my own guitars, I started with my daughters Fender Bullet Strat that she never learned to play. I used it to learn about fret dressing, truss rod adjustment, rewiring pickups and pots and other things that did constitute upgrading a basic $100 guitar. Was it worth it? Well I think it was because of what I learned doing it. I made a cheap bottom of the line Bullet play and sound pretty good so for me the exercise was worthwhile.

If you were starting out with a better guitar you'd get better results but if you've never done anything like this before, go for it. I highly recommend it. Set a reasonable budget and buy used parts off on EBay and give it try. Watch a few videos on YouTube about set ups, fret dressing and working with pickups and posts. Look at the whole thing as a learning experience.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#4
I agree that if you want to mess around with something at low cost to experiment with mods/wiring etc then you should do it on as cheap a guitar as possible to avoid wasting your money.

If this is your only guitar however, and you are doing it because you want it to sound/play better, don't waste your time.
#5
It's not worth the "investment" to upgrade a *really* cheap guitar -- you'll never get the money out of it and you probably won't get the playability out of it that you want, either. The reason for tacking things onto a cheap guitar is that it's already a great player (if it, indeed, is) and/or a great looking piece and you know exactly what you want to do with it to "fill in" defects or areas where it might be deficient. You obviously don't (not a bad thing, btw). In short, you'll be throwing that money away.

I *have* upgraded inexpensive guitars. I have an Agile AL2000 Floyd "B Stock" (finish issues), an LP-style guitar. It's got a relatively cheap Floyd Rose, decent tuners and decent ceramic-magnet pickups and a pickup selector that will probably need replacing at some point. I paid to have the frets superglued and PLEK'd, and ignored all the other bits and pieces. The difference in playability (and now the action is right down on the deck) was more than significant. The guitar already has a nearly-Axcess-style neck heel, a 24-fret board, jumbo frets and a 14" radius fretboard, and it's already a Les Paul-ish guitar with the installation and routing done for a Floyd, and it's a solidly done guitar in good wood. Despite the price, that's a pretty decent pedigree. The other bits and pieces have actually done pretty well, and it sounds good. At some point I can swap out what I need to there, and it will be done with considerably higher-quality bits and pieces. But I'll never get my money back from any of that, nor will it make it an essentially "better" guitar in any way.

But that guitar has been earning its keep as one of the "bar guitars." So that PLEK and superglue were worth every penny.
Last edited by dspellman at Aug 19, 2016,
#6
Welcome to the forum, your English is fine.

I have a minority opinion of this. If you like the timber, and there is nothing wrong with it, upgrade the parts you don't like by all means. - But don't upgrade just for the sake of it, - "more" isn't the same as "better". It isn't cost effective in terms of resale value, but you end up with a "custom" guitar that has something of you in it. - Mojo, if you like.
#7
If a guitar feels good in your hands, the neck is straight, and it holds its tune, then it may be worth upgrading, If not, don't start. down that road.
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!
#8
If you like the guitar, it may be worth upgrading. But I would also suggest trying some guitars to figure out if upgrading the Yamaha makes sense. I mean, if you can find a good guitar for the same price as the Yamaha + the parts, I think it makes more sense to just buy a new guitar.

Then again, if you upgrade the pickups, you can of course later take those pickups out of the guitar and put them in a new guitar, so even if you grow out of your guitar, the money you spent on the pickups won't necessarily be wasted. But yeah, I would not upgrade something that I'm not happy with. But if you really like the guitar, yeah, I guess upgrading it makes sense.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#9
[quote="MaggaraMarine

Then again, if you upgrade the pickups, you can of course later take those pickups out of the guitar and put them in a new guitar, so even if you grow out of your guitar, the money you spent on the pickups won't necessarily be wasted. [/QUOTE"]

That IMO is good advice, which I would have included had I thought of it. - Save the old parts for possible re-installation if you want to sell it.
#10
Rickholly74 Thanks for the responses and opinions! During the last weeks i've been playing the electric guitars unplugged and I've noticed that I like a lot the sound of this Yamaha. As Tonydone and dannyalcatraz said, I also feel very comfortable with it and maybe if I upgrade, I can find the sound I'm looking for (mainly for blues, funk, smooth jazz). I also have a Tokai AST-100 and an Ibanez RG-2570, but the problem with those guitars is that I feel they have poor dynamics and I don't think an upgrade can solve that problem.

I'll start doing the changes you suggested to my Yamaha. In some weeks, after I had completed the upgrades, I'll record an audio to see the results.