#1
Hi guys... I bought a Squier affinity strat (lol, I know) at a pawn shop a few weeks ago because I wanted to start playing guitar again but didn't really know whether I was going to have the time/energy, but I've decided that it's something I want to spend time on. The squier sounds like absolute crap though (esp through my computer speakers) so I'd like to upgrade. I probably want to spend around $500-700 together for a guitar and a practice amp. I'm open to used equipment and I'd be comfortable electronically modding whatever I buy.

I think stylistically I'll be playing jazz/rock/fusion type of stuff.

I'm thinking about the Fender (MIM) standard strat ($400 at musiciansfriend) because I hear it's an excellent value. Is this a good choice? What are some other options around that price range?

Is there a practice amp I can get for $100-$200 that's going to sound decent?

I probably won't be playing outside of my bedroom for a while so I just want a small amp with a good tone.
#3
Get a $700 amp and your Squier will sound good.
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#6
For the styles you mentioned, I'd pick something with a humbucker in the neck position, preferably a semi-hollow guitar. A strat is a little unusual for jazz and fusion, but I have seen people do that on strats, too, so I guess you'll just have to try out stuff and see what works. Here are two I recommend checking out, both are nicely crafted and deliver the sounds you asked for:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Epiphone-Dot-Studio-SemiHollow-Electric-Guitar?sku=518706
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Ibanez-Artcore-AS73-Electric-Guitar?sku=519454

That leaves a good bunch of money for the amp.
Check this out if you are going for good cleans mainly:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Fender-Pro-Junior-Combo-Amp?sku=480511
If you want something that can handle overdriven sounds better though, look at this one, but keep in mind that it's not as loud as the other one:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Blackheart-BH5112-5W-1x12-Little-Giant-Tube-Combo-Amp?sku=481675

Maybe you can find a VOX AC15 used though, they are not exactly smooth jazz amps, but will deliver some edgier sounds suitable for rock and fusion.
#7
Thanks for the suggestions guys!

I'm not dead set on playing jazz/fusion, I also want to be able to play rock too. So I think I'm still looking for a solid-body guitar overall.
#8
Quote by mushupork
Thanks for the suggestions guys!

I'm not dead set on playing jazz/fusion, I also want to be able to play rock too. So I think I'm still looking for a solid-body guitar overall.


Lots of rock guitarists use hollow body guitars.

Just about two weeks ago, I went to a Kaiser Chiefs concert and the guy played a Gibson ES-335 during all the set...
#9
MIM HSS Strat and whatever Cube you can afford. I have 2 Cubes - a 30x and a Micro, and I love them both. Honestly though, at lower around-the-house volumes, the Micro is just as pleasant as the 30x. 30x has more bass and presense obviously, but you're going to be playing at mostly lower volumes, the Microcube is great. I usually run my 30x in Power Squeezer mode anyway, so I'm kinda wondering why I didn't just get a Micro in the first place.

The micro's built-in models and effects are quite and nice useable as well. I don't feel any need at all at this point to start spending money on pedals.
#11
Quote by JRC7391
Lots of rock guitarists use hollow body guitars.

Just about two weeks ago, I went to a Kaiser Chiefs concert and the guy played a Gibson ES-335 during all the set...


+1
I would reccimend any hollow body guitars for that.
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#12
so if I'm going to spend $125 on a mini cube, I can spend around $600 on the guitar. is there an archtop that is good for that price?
#15
Look into telecasters with humbuckers in the neck.
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#16
It is a good guitar, especially for jazz and country, but you'll get into trouble with a lot of overdrive. Full hollow electrics just have that problem and nothing can be done about that, except for turning down the volume and gain on your amp.

To be honest... the microcube (and other cubes as well) is best for high gain sounds while the Ibanez is made strictly for low gain applications. So this is not a good combination.
Both are nice pieces of gear, but they just don't fit together well.

Look, I don't want to get on your nerves, but I strongly advise you to take a look at the guitars I linked to earlier as well as the blackheart amp I linked to. They complement each other and the semi-hollow guitars have far less issues with feedback when using a lot of overdrive.

Quote by bean-o
Look into telecasters with humbuckers in the neck.

That's a good suggestion, but there are hardly any in his price range if he wants to buy an amp as well.
#17
thank you Quailman. i don't really know much about how the style of music is affected by the make of the guitar so I really appreciate your help. i think I'm willing to pay a little more for the guitar (around $500); do you have any semihollow suggestions for that price?
#18
Is there any particular reason you want to spend more on the guitar? In terms of tone the amp is a much better investment and you can get guitars that will sound great on a decent amp for ~$200 (Yamaha Pacifica 112).

EDIT: A semilhollow will affect the shape of the tone but it'll still feedback if the distortion's high enough and it will feedback like virtually every other guitar will. The most effective counter to feedback is simply a well-wired guitar and employing humbuckers as opposed to single coils. Stepping away from the amp a little also helps. My point is that semihollow guitars aren't for everyone and I don't think that dodging feedback is the greatest reason to go for one. Play a few if you can and make sure that's what you're looking for.
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Last edited by Me2NiK at Jul 11, 2008,
#19
+1 to the Roland Micro Cube. Best home practice amp in the world. I got one pre-owned for £40. Trust me, get a Micro Cube, you won't regret it. Even after you've got some really sweet valve amp in the future, you'll still keep your Micro Cube and use it a lot. It'll always be your go-to amp at home for practice. It's a professional practice amp, and it rocks.
#20
However for $700 - $750

He can get a MIM Strat for $400 and have $300 for a decent amp with possible funds left over. That is actually the balance (git%amp ) I would go for.

The amps mentioned above and add in a Fender Super Champ or a really kick butt used amp.

Edit: Oh, and I'm knockin' the Rolands whatsoever.

PS: Fender make a very cool semihollow but I bet it is expensive.
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Jul 11, 2008,
#21
Like I said, unless he specifically must have a practice amp I would spend $200 on the guitar and the remainder on the amp. Stuff'll sound good.
People writing songs that voices never shared
No one dared
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#22
i'm mostly going to be playing in my bedroom at low volumes whenever i can steal the time to. i can wait to spring on a large amp some months from now.

i'm okay spending more for a guitar since i have a little money to spend and i'd like to treat myself to something nice.
#23
Don't mean to annoy, but you could easily buy a decent-sized tube amp that will certainly sound better at low volumes (IE volumes that won't bring down the house) than any practice amp you could ever buy. The problem with lavishing on a guitar in the price range you're at is that you're at the tail end of the midrange at $500; you can certainly get a decent guitar for that price but you won't be able to get one that lasts, much less one that will justify the fact that it is double the price of a ca. $250 guitar. I'm only advising against spending $500-$600 on a guitar because there's much cheaper guitars that are better, even if they don't look as hot, whereas the extra money you spend on an amp WILL make a massive difference in terms of the quality of the amp; there's an entire market of cheap, midsize tube amps that sound FANTASTIC. I play a fair bit of Jazz Fusion too (think Weather Report) and if you were interested in going in that direction I could point you to a few.
People writing songs that voices never shared
No one dared
Disturb the Sound of Silence
#24
this isn't annoying at all, though i may seem stubborn it's only because i'm excited. i really appreciate the informed opinions. i would love to hear your amp suggestions as well as any counterpoints that other may have to offer.
#25
Line 6 Spider III $100
If your into having a bunch of effects and getting flamed, you can get a line 6 spider practice amp.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Line-6-Spider-III-15-Guitar-Combo-Amplifier?sku=482276

Roland Cube 20x $175
Alternatively, another decent practice amp is the Roland Cube 20x.
A bunch of effects to choose from and it sounds pretty good. I play it with a broken Fender Starcaster (the only working pickup is the bridge pickup) but with the amp, it still sounded pretty good.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Roland-Cube-20X-Amp-With-COSM?sku=487031

Marshall MG15DFX Combo Amp $179
Also, I found a Marshal in your range. Marshall's are generally, good, reliable, amps. this is a 15 watt. It only has 4 effects, but idk what you're looking for.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Marshall-MG15DFX-Combo-Amp?sku=483187


Hopefully that will help you out at least a little as far as amps
#27
Me2NiK, a lot of people seem to love this roland micro cube and it seems you can't beat the price... are there small tube amps that blow it out of the water and don't cost more than $350?
#28
I would definitely go with an Ibanez Artcore with a Vox Valvetronix. A friend of mine has an Artcore and it plays like a dream. I personally own a Valvetronix and it is a very versatile amp for its price.
Quote by stevenpollock
You can't be successful in Jazz music until you're at least 40. You don't have anything to say.
#32
I recommend, before purchasing a guitar on the internet, to go to your guitar shop to try out the guitar you want... That's what I usually do, and if the guys there pester you, just say that you're only looking, not buying, and then they won't care and walk away =P
#33
why not try a Flextone..sure you can get a nice used one w/ floorboard for like $250-300

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#34
Quote by mushupork
ok, so here's what i have lined up

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Ibanez-Artcore-AS73-Electric-Guitar?sku=519454

(in transparent cherry)

and

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Vox-Valvetronix-AD30VT-30W-Guitar-Combo?sku=481959

Valvetronix 30W amp, def. don't need a larger one, maybe I should go for the 15W model?

That is an excellent setup right there. The amp definitely beats the (already very good) cube or microcube, it is as versatile as it gets and sounds terrific. The 30w sounds a tad better because of it's bigger speaker compared to the 15w, but if volume is not an issue and you're not plannig on jamming with a drummer in the near future, you might as well go for the cheap option and get the 15w.

I recommend, before purchasing a guitar on the internet, to go to your guitar shop to try out the guitar you want... That's what I usually do, and if the guys there pester you, just say that you're only looking, not buying, and then they won't care and walk away =P

+1
#35
Cool. I went with the 30 because it's not that much more

And I went with brown sunburst on the guitar instead
#37
Hell yeah, I'm sure you're gonna love that setup. I've always wanted an Artcore.......
Quote by stevenpollock
You can't be successful in Jazz music until you're at least 40. You don't have anything to say.