So, after searching these and other forums for a couple of days trying to research and finding endless conflicting information, I figured I'd just start my own thread about it.

Background: In the UK, Bristol to be precise. Been playing about 4 years now, currently playing a Yamaha Pacifica through a Zoom 505 into a Roland Cube 15 amp. Got some money now so I'm looking to overhaul my whole setup.

Budget: About £350 give or take for the guitar alone. Will be buying amp and a couple of pedals too. Amp wise I'd ideally like just a small 5 - 15 watt tube amp as it'll just be played for fun in my dorm room, not going particularly loud. Thinking Harley Benton GA15 (Epi valve standard) or a Fender Champ 600, although open to recommendations. If you don't think it's even worth upgrading from my Roland Cube 15 then say so.

What I play: Hard rock/metal/post rock. Examples such as Opeth, Tool, Isis, Oceansize, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Explosions in the Sky.

Preferably like a guitar that will handle that sort of heavy Tool tone, as well as the warm Explosions in the Sky cleans. Not adverse to changing a pickup or so if that's what it'll take, I realise that they're both pretty extreme opposites in terms of tone.

Also want a guitar that will stay in tune fairly well, and be able to handle downtuning without hassle.

Ideas I've come up with at the moment are:

Les Paul - Epiphone standard/Custom/Black Beauty

Heard they were pretty versatile, pretty good for hard rock/metal (Adam Jones from Tool uses one, Jimmy Page etc). Black Beauty has 3 pickups which could add a bit more customisation, although it'd be another ~£100 to add another pickup.

Telecaster - Fender Mexican Standard/Lite Ash/72 Custom (slightly out of budget)

Also supposed to be versatile, big in the post rock scene, plus of course Johnny Greenwood favours them. Mex std and Lite Ash lack a humbucker though, don't know if that would be a problem in creating a heavy tone, but should handle the cleans very well.

Ibanez S-470

Supposed to be a pretty metal guitar, has 3 pickups too which might add versatility. Supposed to have problems staying in tune however.

Any other thoughts and recommendations? Gonna try all these out and decide, but would like some input before I go in, incase there's something I miss.

Cheers all
Buy the fender mexican strat would be the most versatile. Spear Gladius Xl is about that and is quite cheap and very good ive heard. Or build your own if you take a poor quality body and neck and put decent pickups in it it will sound good. That's what im doing. My Electronics costing me about £175 so about half the fund and then a gibson style body would be easy to customise. Mine will cost me about £275 being ridicoulously extravagant eg using LED filled scratchplates however this excludes the neck which can vary depending how good you want it. However if you do build your own check that everything will work together!
umm i have a S270, its different wood and bridge than the S-470 but i do know that the S-470 has a ZR tremelo which doesnt have trouble staying in tune at all, the problems however with the ZR bridge would be that changing tuning would become very anoying and if you want to do it often i recomend a different guitar even though the s-series are great playability

maybe a Fender HSS stratocaster, that way you get a humbucker with it aswell and depending whether you are willing to buy off the internet you could get a second hand American series, but that is not improtant, i would recomend the HSS fender strat, in what ever model you'd want
I have an Epi LP Custom, and it is a very versatile guitar and has quite a thick tone. I would definitely recommend it, although I'd say go to a shop and try it out first, as a few dodgy ones slip through the net now and then. As for the black beauty, I wouldn't bother with it. It still only has a 3 way pick up selector (I think don't quote me!) so I wouldn't imagine it would be much more versatile than a Custom/Standard.

Personally I don't like Tele's (mainly because they look dreadful imo!) but they have a very bright tone, and I've always been more of a strat person, but Strats are not too good with distortion. (Tele's with single coils would probably be the same.)

I've never played any Ibanez guitars, so can't really comment, other than that they're stereotypically used for metal.

Can't really help with the amp, as I only use Fender solid state amps, but good luck anyway.
The Epi won't give you a good tone at all if you don't change the pickups. It sounds muddy with the slightest bit of distortion and mediocre at best when using the clean channel.
The players you mentioned used Gibsons, not Epiphones, which are far better but cost a lot more as well.
I can only advise buying it if you are going to change the pickups.

The telecasters have the problems (lacking humbucker) you mentioned when it comes to heavy tone, it's going to be a little 'thin'. These guitars provide to much treble and not enough bass for hard rock and metal. The output is pretty low as well, so you will have to turn up the gain a lot. Just try it out and see if you like it though. I think the lead guitarist from lostprophets uses a tele with single coils and his tone is pretty heavy.

The Ibanez S470 does not have any problems when staying in tune. It has an excellent floating tremolo and is by far the most versatile of the three guitars. But as with every guitar with a floating tremolo, changing strings and setting it up properly takes some time and is essentially a pain in the ass. I think it is able to give you the tone you want. The best choice for you out of those you listed.

Additional recommendations:
If you like strat shaped guitars, get a better version of the pacifica. You have the 112 or 012 I believe, right?
See if you like the 612V or 812V. First one has a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge, second one has not only that, but also two Seymour Duncan single coils.

If you want an LP style guitar though, try the Yamaha AES620. Mahogany body with flame maple top and a Seymour duncan JB in the bridge and a Yamaha humbucker in the neck position.

If I was you I'd consider either one of these or the S470. I will edit this post and hook you up with some links in a second.

About the amp: Maybe think about the Ibanez ValBee. It's a 5 watt all tube amp with alot more gain than the two amps you named.

EDIT: Links from Thomann.de, so you can take a look at the prices:


It's all stuff I have tried myself and I am considering buying some of it myself once I got a little more cash. The guitars are available in different colours, too, but I just posted links to those I liked best.
Please tell me what you think.

DOUBLE EDIT: I just noticed the 812V is a little far out of your price range. The AES620 is a little out, too, but only a little. See if you can save up some more and afford it, it is worth every buck and superior to any given Epiphone in that price range.
Last edited by TheQuailman at Apr 23, 2008,
Cheers guys. I'll have a look into the upgraded Pacificas. I'll be honest, I'm sick of the strat look, but that won't put me off buying a particular guitar.

Why is it more hassle to tune the Ibanez down?

Also, what about a Telecaster custom? Aaron from Isis uses one, and he gets some pretty heavy tones out of it, and it has a single coil and a pickup. Slightly over budget, but if it's worth it then I don't mind. I'll give them all a play on friday when I go in.
The Ibanez uses a floating tremolo (often referred to as a double locking tremolo or Floyd Rose), which requires the strings to be locked with three screws at the nut, so if you want to tune down, you'll have to unscrew these. Additionally, you cannot tune down much without adjusting the tremolo, because a lower tuning means less string tension which leads to the tremolo moving towards the neck. This may not be a problem if you only switch between E standard and drop D, but it will become a problem if you downtune all your strings several halfsteps.

If you want a telecaster, you might try to get one with a single sized humbucker in the bridge. I have not seen such a tele in a store yet, so you'd have to customize it yourself or get it done by a tech. This would cost another 70/80 bucks. Don't expect it to sound like a normal humbucker though, it's rather something inbetween a single coil and humbucker. Dimarzio makes some excellent single sized humbuckers, maybe take a look at them. My guitar instructor uses one of thos in his Fender Strat and gets a great sound for hard rock and metal, as well as for softer rock. It is a pretty versatile pickup.
Good exaple of the clean tone I want is at the start of this


It's a very soft, warm tone. He uses a Fender Toronado GT for that.

Also at 1:57 on this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLlYQQrHmh8&feature=related

He uses a Gibson Les Paul. Would an Epiphone Les Paul Standard/Custom be able to do this too (albeit not so well)?

However I'd also like it to be able to handle some distortion without getting too muddy, retaining clarity in the notes, as well as having good lead tones. Am I asking too much?

I was looking at Fender Strats, and there's so damn many of them. What ones should I start looking at?
Cool, so the guitars I have in my list to look at are:

Les Paul
Ibanez S-470
Washburn X50 Pro
Schecter Tempest Custom

And anything else I see that takes my fancy. Cheers guys
Last edited by BCFC at Apr 25, 2008,