#1
No matter how many times I see someone do this it still blows my mind. I have two friends who both decided they wanted to play guitar. Each one of them had $1000 to spend for their gear and each one of them spent $900 on a great guitar and then $100 on some cheap, 10 watt, solid-state Crate amp. When they took their gear home, plugged it in and were all ready to rock they were both completely frustrated in the sound and tone they got. Needless to say it took about maybe a month before both of those guitars were sitting in corners of their apartments collecting dust because they were no fun to play and made learning very frustrating for them. I tried tell them, "why don't you spend $500 on a guitar and $500 on an amp and maybe an overdrive opedal but what the hell would I possibly know? They both thought the guitar, because of the price, would all by itself would give them the tone, overdrive etc that would let them run up and down the fret board. Instead they sounded like a wet fart. Don't make the same mistake my friends make. It's much better to play a cheaper guitar through a good amp than to play a great guitar through a shitty, cheap, small solid-state amp.
#2
I made that same mistake for about 30 years, and consequently didn't connect with electric guitars until I got a decent amp. I eventually got the amp, a Peavey Classic 30, through a fairly circuitous route (gig amp for acoustic) and that opened the door part way to electrics. - My first solid electric interest was vintage lap steels, then came modern electrics.

If I had $1000 to spend, and with the benefit of hindsight, it would be something like $300 on the guitar, and $700 on the amp and a couple of pedals. My favourite electric cost Oz$65 from the hock shop, and I have since spent about another $120 on it, plus some time. The amp I have now cost about Oz$1600
#3
I agree, but only to a point.

Getting a good quality guitar to start out with is very important as cheaper guitars tend not to be so hot in terms of ease of play, which is an imperative when you're trying to learn. 95% of people new to guitar tend to quit about 6 months, since so many are hungry for instant gratification, but then when they actually try and play something, they quickly realize that playing guitar takes actual effort and dedication. A guitar that plays poorly makes taking the initial step of actually beginning to practice in a structured way a lot more difficult than it needs to be,
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#4
Totally. I agree with the $300 for guitar and $700 for amp, that seems like it'd get you something solid in both categories. If the budget is smaller, it's often worth putting more money into the guitar to get something nicer, though, and of course sometimes you just really want a particular guitar.
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#5
Tony Donei like the Peavey Classic 30. It reminds me of a Fender Hot Rod Deville. Change the stock tubes and you have a good, solid workhorse of an amp.
#6
T00DEEPBLUEi agree with you. It would be just as stupid to get a $900 amp and a $100 guitar. If you are learning to play with a guitar that's always fighting against you and sounds and plays like shit it won't be long before you will just get frustrated and decide that playing guitar is no fun or it's too hard. Unlike 15-20 years ago these days you can spend $300-$400 and still get a quality starter guitar and have enough left over for a decent amp and maybe a pedal or two.
#7
Better to just avoid "crappy" altogether. You don't have to spend a ton of $$ for a decent gig rig. Just do your homework and step over all the dog crap, lest you get some on your shoes.
"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
#8
This forum really likes amps.
My feeling has always been that the guitar is where the rubber meets the road. Or, rather, where the strings meet the fingers. I'd rather have a better guitar, well set up with NO amp than have a crappy guitar pushing a Marshall.

There's one caveat here. Good guitars can now be had for $300. My first guitar was a Gibson ES-335, and that was a good guitar, but considerably more expensive. A good guitar can be used at any level of musicianship.

By the same token, however, I don't think that "a good amp" means tubes any more. Nor do I believe that a combo amp is necessarily the best way to go, even for a "first" amp. I think that if you're going to do something versatile, the "modeling" portion will probably be a separate piece, and the actual amplification and speaker component can be almost anything that's appropriate for the location.
#9
dspellman I agree. These days a decent guitar can be had for $300. I actually owned a rondo les Paul jr copy that I paid $135 for. I thought I would at least have to change the pickups but I didn't have to do a thing. It outplayed a lot of the more expensive guitars I've owned. Too bad it fell from its stand and the neck broke. I really don't like marshalls. I'm more of a pedal amp guy. Also people are learning you don't need 100 watt amps or sometimes even 50 watt amps. A 15 watt amp played through the right cabinet will get the job done. How many people ever really get to turn those Fender Twins up past 4? I think modeling has its place in recording but playing live I still don't think there is anything better than a good cranked tube amp right as it's starting to break up. It's not just the tone but the way it feels. I think modeling in the preamp with a power output that is tube would be interesting.
#10
For a while I was using my first guitar (Epiphone les paul special II - £130) through an equally priced VOX VT20+ and it was alright, but I upgraded to a Fender Bassbreaker 15 and the sound is a million times better now, Amp is definitely worth the investment
#11
the problem with this kind of thinking is, when you're starting out on the guitar from the very beginning, you won't be able to fully appreciate what makes a better amp better than a trashy one, nor will you have the skill to make it really sound any better either - these are things that come with experience, like with any instrument. But a new player may appreciate that a nicer quality guitar just feels more satisfying in their hands than a cheap, junky one.

I think what makes people quit more often than not is the desire for instant gratification, and that's not something that you'll ever get with a musical instrument that is entirely new and alien to you - it takes a lot of time, dedication and the right sort of hard work to be able to make a nice sound with it. I believe that those who expect to be satisfied with the sound they are able to make straight away are going to be disappointed and frustrated no matter what gear they buy.
Rig Winter 2017:

Fender Jazzmaster/Yamaha SG1000
Boss TU-3, DS-2, CS-3, EHX small stone, Danelectro delay
Laney VC30-112 with G12H30 speaker, or Session Rockette 30 for smaller gigs
Elixir Nanoweb 11-49 strings, Dunlop Jazz III XL picks
Shure SM57 mic in front of the amp
#12
Quote by Blompcube


I think what makes people quit more often than not is the desire for instant gratification, and that's not something that you'll ever get with a musical instrument that is entirely new and alien to you - it takes a lot of time, dedication and the right sort of hard work to be able to make a nice sound with it. I believe that those who expect to be satisfied with the sound they are able to make straight away are going to be disappointed and frustrated no matter what gear they buy.


Shoulda seen me trying to make a tenor sax sound like anything but a dying goose when I first started with that.

I think this is why a lot of players are attracted to metal when they first get a guitar -- you can sound raucous with two fingers (or even just one).
#13
Quote by dspellman
Shoulda seen me trying to make a tenor sax sound like anything but a dying goose when I first started with that.

I think this is why a lot of players are attracted to metal when they first get a guitar -- you can sound raucous with two fingers (or even just one).

I'm currently learning to play the alto sax right and the oboe, so I know all about those dying goose noises I seem to remember attempting to play a violin once and I sounded like a cement mixer.

The guitar is not so bad for this type of thing but to a certain extent it still applies - you WILL get a poor tone to begin with, and that has nothing to do with the gear.
Rig Winter 2017:

Fender Jazzmaster/Yamaha SG1000
Boss TU-3, DS-2, CS-3, EHX small stone, Danelectro delay
Laney VC30-112 with G12H30 speaker, or Session Rockette 30 for smaller gigs
Elixir Nanoweb 11-49 strings, Dunlop Jazz III XL picks
Shure SM57 mic in front of the amp
#14
I have to agree with dspellman on this: You don't need $1000 to start, and you can get a decent guitar and modeling amp or even computer interface for under $500 total for practice and bedroom play. In 1980, I paid $500 for a Gibson Les Paul, and that's the equivalent of nearly $1500 today. That was a lot of $$ for a teen in a small town, and it was my entire budget. I had to spend the summer saving on top of working on our family farm (you do that for room and board, son) and still get some $$ from my mother to get parts from Radio Shack to modify a console TV to become a guitar amp.

For the person starting out, there's never been a better time to buy a decent guitar and a decent amp for practice than now. Your options are unlimited. I actually would agree with someone who wanted a $900 guitar and a $100 amp. If that's they one they want to play, so be it. We are in a time where you can get a modeler used for that kind of $$ and if all you're doing is playing to tracks and music in your bedroom and entertaining (read boring) your friends over drinks, play what you want. Heck, get a multi-effects pedal and run it straight into the home theater or computer. Of course, they could also just spend $500 or less on a decent used guitar and do as well.
Last edited by GoldJim at Feb 27, 2017,
#15
Quote by GoldJim

I actually would agree with someone who wanted a $900 guitar and a $100 amp.


That didn't work for me at all, maybe because I was a already passable acoustic player, and had got picky about tone. But I guess that inexpensive amps have improved a lot since I was trying unsuccessfully to use them.
Last edited by Tony Done at Feb 27, 2017,
#16
Yeah I agree with your opening post- just (and I realise you counteracted this with a later post) it could appear from the title that you were arguing in favour of spending $900 on the amp and $100 on the guitar

I agree wih the posts I liked as well.
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#17
if your just starting out playing music..many think the equipment will make your playing sound better..there is the old adage: "its a poor workman that blames his tools"..I have been playing many years as a pro and in studio recording..yeah a cheap guitar is going to be harder to play than a super set up brand name..but if you can play and know how to get sounds - a cheap guitar set up correctly with even fair electronics will sound good..amps are used in context..if your playing gigs in small clubs/rooms..you don't need a marshall stack..or even a fender twin..(I never set my twin past 5-even then had to keep it down) I have recorded with a $50/6" amp and a multi-FX board..if the producer/engineer know how to work the board they can make you "sound" ..hearing the playback..you could win bets on what equipment was used...you will have to learn through experience .. wish there were an answer that one size fits all..but alas..do homework on equipment...one thing that will help you is recording your own playing..through a clean channel - no FX/distortion..learn to "hear" what you sound like .. at least then you can judge the equipment factor with a bit of objectivity
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#18
That's really is the bottom line. Those who truly want to play guitar and have something to say musically will work around the limitations or even use them to their advantage if they aren't truly passionate about playing guitar. You've got to it like nothing else to still stick without it and even find joy when it seem so like you will never get anywhere and you think you can't play for shit. THe ones that do truly for the love of guitar stick with it. The ones who are just trying to use it a simple a mean sense to get laid end up quitting within the 1st month as soon a second they encounter a little setback or frustration. THAts when you see who is in to for the long haul and who is just a tourist
#19
Haha 1000 dollars! They say get the best thing you can afford. The guitar is a personal choice, it could cost anything. Whats left over; get the best amp possible.
#20
I came up in a different era, And as a general rule most all us kids had crappy guitars and amps by todays standards, but we didn't know it at the time as the crappy stereo phonographs or 8 track tapes we listened to our favorite bands with were not a lot better, If not worse, We thought we sounded great, Today attitudes have changed a lot, Kids buy this crap on brand recognition and what someone on the internet told them was good, Unfortunately that someone didn't know what the hell they were doing either, and now they cant figure out why they don't sound great just like they're idols they hear on they're high end modern sound system, It doesn't work that way, In my opinion a beginner has no business buying a $900 dollar guitar, $300 tops and I don't care how much money you have, Stupid to spend that kind of money only to discover your brains not wired to play guitar, Yes, hate to say it but for some, no matter the amount of money they spend just cannot play guitar, Its not as easy as it looks, Kinda like the reason I have an accountant if you get my drift, Same applies to the amp, $300 bucks tops, All the amp in the world wont help you. Your a newb that knows a few power chords and maybe a scale or 2. How good do you think this is suppose to sound kid? Now perhaps if your brains wired correctly and you do progress to achieve a somewhat decent sound with your currant gear, then and only then start thinking about upgrading your gear, Granted the closet queen or homes for wayward spiders and bust bunnies are a great deal for those of us that do play, but for the dumb kid that thought it was easy and takes the loss on the used market its not so great.
#21
yeah you can rock out on a cheap guitar but you can't get shit out of a crappy amp
Wise man once said, " If you ever get lost in the woods, just start jacking off someone will see you."
#22
The setup has to be good enough to keep the player interested and the player has to have basic setup knowledge.

My first guitar was a pawnshop junker acoustic when I was about 7 or 8. It had 4 strings that were out of tune. I tried...and tried...and tried... but gave up after a couple of months. This was before the internet of course and in my small town there was nobody I knew who could help me.

Then in highschool I received an electric for xmas. It was a dinosaur brand fender knockoff complete with tremolo. It came with a 5 or 15 watt dino amp as well.
Total junk, no guidance, I didn't have internet to help me, couldn't navigate the 'floyd rose' , wouldn't stay in tune, and it sounded like total trash. I saved up from household chores and while in class I heard about a guitar sale at a store 10 miles away. I skipped school and bought the only thing I could afford at that point which was a squire bullet which I swore would open up the heavens. But again, I had no basic knowledge and the same junk amp so the step up was small.

If my children show an interest like I did in music I know to buy decent gear. If they decide it isn't for them I'll have an easier time selling a decent les paul or strat as opposed to a $100 dinky or a dino brand guitar.
Last edited by SpeedSix at Feb 28, 2017,