Poll: What should Homestead's first guitar be?
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View poll results: What should Homestead's first guitar be?
Yamaha PAC112V
7 64%
Squier Deluxe Strat
3 27%
(And now for) Something completely different
1 9%
Voters: 11.
#1
I recently bought my first electric, a used J Mascis Jazzmaster, loved the look and feel of it, then returned it within a week. Darn thing wouldn't stay in tune for more than a few minutes, and none of the local repair guys knew how to fix it. So now I'm looking for suggestions, and since I got so much help on my previous thread I'm betting I'll get some good advice on this one, too.

I'd like a beginner guitar that, assuming I'm still playing a few years down the road, I will still be able to pick up and enjoy. I'd also rather pay for decent stock gear up front than have to mod for stability. I'm thinking somewhere in the $300 range, but could go a bit more for the right piece. Music-wise, alt-rock and grunge is in my blood. I could listen to Pixies or Ween all day long, but also mix in a lot of classic rock and off the wall stuff like STRFKR and TMBG. Also, don't tell anyone, but I dig some classic country and bluegrass. *shhhh* All that said, I'm not looking to shred or get real funky but there is a wide variety of music I'd like to play.

After some research I've found 2 guitars that seem to fit the bill. In preferential order:

Yamaha PAC112v

I like the option of having a humbucker and single pickups to choose from, this guitar seems more versatile
Rosewood fretboard = no need for oiling (right?)

Fender Squier Deluxe Strat

Has good reviews
I slightly prefer the output jack being on the front of the guitar as opposed to the bottom


Which of these two would you suggest, or is there something else you would strongly recommend? Would either stay in tune better than the other? Are either easier to play / learn on? Does one have less fret buzz? Which has higher quality gear? What other specs should I be looking at? These are all things that I'd like to know!

One last thing to note, I looked into Gibson / Epiphone but I don't like the body shape as much, and although it was likely the cause of the tuning issues on my other guitar I like having a whammy bar!
#2
Do you want a humbucker or not?
Guitar/Bass:
Schecter: Damien 6/Stilletto Extreme 5, Squier: Bullet HSS*, Washburn RX10*/WG-587, Agile Septor 727
*mods

Amps/FX
Peavey: Vypyr 30/Max 112 (200W), ISP: Decimator

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Understood- I waste money on amps*, too.

justinguitar.com is the answer
#3
i myself own a pacifica 112j
bought it also as first e-guitar about 2 yrs ago and it still is my only electric one.
i am very pleased with it - the 112j misses the option to split the humbucker, though.

got it used on *beep*bay for 80 eur.

i dont use the trem, it stays i tune for weeks

side hint: you might also check the low Price version of the yamaha revstar - nice one as well
#4
Get the Yamaha out of those 2. If you're doing grunge that humbucker in the bridge may be more useful than a bridge single coil.

When you're looking at guitars of this price range, you're not getting quality components. You're getting basic functionality and not much more.

In regards to the quality of the trems, you get what you pay for. Relatively cheap guitars like these usually skimp on the quality of the bridges and the nut on these guitars tends to be cheap plastic which isn't the best for tuning. Personally I'd block the bridge and not use it whatsoever. I'd suggest replacing the string tree for a roller tree as well. If you want a better bridge, you'll need to expand your budget.

Fret buzz is going to be different from one guitar to the next. Even two guitars of the same model may have differing degrees of fret buzz. Again, you usually get what you pay for. Cheaper guitars like these will benefit from additional fretwork. Rosewood fretboards can be oiled, but it's only to be done sparingly. Maybe once or twice a year and you only need to use a tiny amount of it. Some people don't bother to oil them at all and the guitars are still perfectly fine, so you really don't need to do it if you don't leave the guitar to general neglect.

Have you also had a look at what Rondomusic has to offer for $300?

http://www.rondomusic.com/electricguitar.html
Quote by Axelfox
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Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#5
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE


Have you also had a look at what Rondomusic has to offer for $300?

http://www.rondomusic.com/electricguitar.html


This is what I was going to say. The pacifica is solid, but you can get a great strat for $300 at Rondo, if you're in the states.
Harmony: Stratocaster
Alvarez: F-200
Schecter: Omen 6
Fender: BXR-60
Dean: Metalman Z Bass (Betty)
Egnator: Tweaker 15
Pearl: Maximum
ESP/LTD: EXP-300
Custom: Harley Quinn Bass
Custom: TK-421 Explorer
A steadily growing supply of pedals
#6
Thanks for all the replies.

Schalk, does yours go out of tune if you use the trem?

Too deep, thanks for spelling all that out. I'm not expecting greatness out of a $300 instrument, but I do want stability and a decent sound. Having to stop every five minutes to fix or fiddle with something gets irritating quick, ya know? If there are other instruments that cost a bit more that are mug more reliable, I'd be open to checking them out.

What's the deal with Rondo? I am in the states, but haven't heard of them before.
#7
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
I'd block the bridge and not use it whatsoever.... Cheaper guitars like these will benefit from additional fretwork...


Would you mind explaining these two items a bit more? How would I block a bridge and what does that do? Also, what do you mean by fretwork?
#9
Quote by Homsetead
Would you mind explaining these two items a bit more? How would I block a bridge and what does that do? Also, what do you mean by fretwork?

Blocking the bridge deactivates the vibrato functionality of the bridge so it essentially works like a hardtail. You do it just by wedging something between the block in the back and the trem cavity walls so the block and thus the bridge, physically cannot move. You might need to do this depending on how good the guitar's tuning stability is, which on cheaper guitars isn't usually that great. I know you want a vibrato bridge that stays in tune, but bridges are a 'you get what you pay for' item. No guitar worth $300 is going to have a good quality vibrato bridge. Alternatively you could simply set the bridge up in such a way that the bridge is dive-only. That way the springs in the back of the guitar are helping the bridge to return to the exact position it was before you moved the bar, which is crucial for tuning stability. But doing that won't allow you to pull up on the bar so you lose half the bridge's functionality. Nor is it going to stop the guitar from going out of tune by the strings binding in the nut slots.

Fretwork refers to the how level the frets are to one another. You want the frets to be as level with one another as possible and normally frets are sanded to the same height after they're installed to achieve this. But cheaper guitars are manufactured with this step omitted or not done thoroughly enough so they're cheaper to make. If the frets are not level, the frets will buzz excessively against the strings due to the strings hitting a fret that is sitting proud of its neighbours. To get around the problem, the action is very often raised, but doing this compromises the guitar's ease of play. The better levelled the frets are, the lower the action of the guitar can be set to without buzzing and thus the easier the guitar will be to play.

Related to fretwork is how nicely filed the fret ends are, so that they're buttery smooth and they don't catch your hand as you're sliding up and down the neck. The fret ends on some cheap guitars can be so sharp that they can cut your fingers. Again it takes time to smooth the fret ends of a guitar neck, and this is an area cheaper guitars tend to skimp. They're usually not unbearable unless the guitar is really horrid and nasty, but more expensive guitars are generally better in this regard.

If you're still not sure what I'm talking about, google is your friend.
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I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#10
to be honest i did not use it so far. i just started playing ( Age of 44 ) and the bar was not included when i bought it.

but i found an old test article of the german "Gitarre & Bass" Magazine and the tune was stated to be quite stabil using the whammy bar
#11
I think the Strat is more modifiable, but I don't think you need to if you can get humbuckers anyways.
#12
I prefer the look of the strat, but I decided on the Yamaha for the humbucker. None of my local stores had even a used one for me to test it out, so I ordered it from Amazon. Hope it comes in soon!
#15
Quote by miketar
Toodeep-

Will a roller tree affect tuning stability that much?

Roller string trees do help, yes. And they're cheap. The non-roller type found on many guitars are awful.

You also may need to widen the string nut slots ever so slightly to stop the strings from getting pinched in the nut which causes tuning problems. Writing a pencil in the nut slots also helps as the graphite in the pencil lead has lubricating properties. Ultimately you want to keep friction to an absolute minimum for these kinds of bridges to stay in tune. Anywhere you can reduce friction along the string's path is going to be a benefit.

Or you can buy a nicer string nut made from a self-lubricating material. Some of them are Teflon or graphite impregnated. Google pre-cut Graphtech TUSQ nuts.

Another way you can reduce friction is putting a bit of Vasoline (or similar) on the bridge in the areas where the screws that mount the bridge to the guitar's body go through. Those areas of the bridge's baseplate that make contact with the studs are called the knife edges. Cutting down friction in those areas helps the bridge to return to the exact same position it was before you moved the bar, which is vital for the bridge to stay in tune. It's a bad idea to adjust those screws/studs while the guitar is under string tension because rotating those screws/studs can grind off the sharp knife edges on the baseplate that help to keep the bridge rocking and forth on the studs smoothly. So if you need to adjust those studs for whatever reason, its a good idea to detune all the strings and remove the springs in the back of the guitar before doing so. It's a pain in the arse, but it keeps from the knife edges getting chewed up by adjusting the screws.
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#16
All this talk of inferior fretwork and nuts are making me wonder how I'd fix them if they're an issue. Is there a site that lists and rates guitar technicians? I live in a pretty big city with 2 guitar centers within 30 minutes of me, and plenty of smaller shops, but I've no idea what to look for in a good fret-worker.
#17
Quote by Homsetead
All this talk of inferior fretwork and nuts are making me wonder how I'd fix them if they're an issue. Is there a site that lists and rates guitar technicians? I live in a pretty big city with 2 guitar centers within 30 minutes of me, and plenty of smaller shops, but I've no idea what to look for in a good fret-worker.

No The average person doesn't exactly go on TripAdviser looking for a guitar technician that does neck resets on their pre-war Martin acoustics.

Your guitar tech review website is otherwise known as 'word of mouth.'

Just don't take your guitar to be worked on by Guitar Center. They claim they can do guitar repair, but really they're just salespeople. Not luthiers. Just Google around for people who do that sort of thing in your local area. Since you live in a big city, there's bound to be a couple.
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I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#18
didn't you say you ordered the guitar on Amazon?
what Kind of fretwork are you talking about concernig a new guitar?
or did i miss a Point?
#19
Yep, I ordered it on Amazon. It was supposed to arrive last week but there were a few days of those fake "we tried to deliver but no one was home" messages from USPS, even though no one ever actually attempted to deliver anything and they didn't leave any notes on my door. I think they use those to lie about late deliveries.

Anyway, they finally delivered the guitar Monday and it's a beaut. I dropped it off with a local luthier to do an initial set up. Smoothing the frets, dropping in a new nut, setting string height, and stuff like that. I'm hoping I'll get it back today!