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Guitar Players.... Need An Opinion

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one of my longtime clients were sitting at lunch the other day talking about things we really want to do but have never had time for and i said i wanted to buy a guitar and learn to play.



today she and her daughter came in and dropped off a Gibson Epiphone electric guitar! my question is... is this a good guitar and is it good for someone who has never picked up a guitar in their life except for when he was drunk and feeling confident?



mods... feel free to move this to whichever forum it belongs.. i just put it here because this section gets the most traffic.

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Gibson's aren't bad, but not my first choice for sure. If you've never played guitar before, I would recomend staring with an acoustic. Maybe a Seagull or Ovation if you have the cash.

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Epiphone is a decent quality brand. They're styled after Gibsons, but manufactured in Korea.


My opinion: play around, literally. Even if you have the most basic skill in guitar playing (playing chords, a bit of soloing) go around to guitar stores, pick up a guitar, and play. Most likely you should play it unplugged, so you can get a true feel for how the thing plays, as well as how it sounds unplugged, which IMO should be a huge consideration if you're buying an electric. If a guitar sounds like shit when its unplugged, you can buy expensive pickups and make it sound okay. But if it sounds extremely nice unplugged, you can buy expensive pickups and make it sounds incredible. Nowadays, I play unplugged on my electric almost exclusively. It pisses off my family less. Sometimes I'll pop my headphones in to my amp and play like that.


But, like I said before, Epiphone is a good brand... but for the price, you can probably do better. I own a Schecter that costs less than a considerable amount of Epiphones, but its quality is no doubt comparable to many guitars made in the U.S. (which cost the most). I'm not kidding, I've played Fender Stratocasters, made in the U.S.A. that had warped bodies and just didn't play or feel as nice as my Schecter does.


Ultimately, if that guitar was given to you for free, hold on to it. A few questions though - what model is it, and what type of woods is it made out of? (i.e. body wood, neck wood, fretboard wood can all be made out of different woods), what kind of neck construction is it (through-neck, set-neck, bolt-on)?


The most likely thing you've got is an Epiphone Les Paul, meaning it would be made out of a mahogany body, mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard, and uses set-neck construction (considered to have a warm sound and medium sustain... not as much as through-neck, but more than bolt-on). It's also probably got either a bone or plastic nut (mine is graphite), and a tune-o-matic bridge, which is what my guitar has. All in all, a nice machine, although it really does depend on what price point your guitar is at. The really cheap Epiphones go for about 200 bucks and I wouldn't touch those things except to pawn for the cash.


So, I guess the big question is - is the top of your guitar arched or flat? If it's arched, hang on to that fucking client. If it's flat... well, thank them for the gesture.

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Ultimately, if that guitar was given to you for free, hold on to it.  A few questions though - what model is it, and what type of woods is it made out of?  (i.e. body wood, neck wood, fretboard wood can all be made out of different woods), what kind of neck construction is it (through-neck, set-neck, bolt-on)? 

its called the "broadway". neck wood is 5 piece maple/rosewood/maple/rosewood/maple. body wood says something about the top being solid spruce the back and sides being aaa flame maple, if that makes any sense. if by fretboard you mean fingerboard then its ebony. neck is set, 14th fret. bridge is ebony as well. it has a bone nut. pickups are 50ST and 50SR usa humbucker.


i feel useless after trying to translate this.



edit.... i did a google search and this is almost identical to the one i have here...


Edited by one_trick_pony
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That, sir, is a jazz guitar. It's definitely not what I'd suggest for someone just picking up the instrument and wanted to play on a simple electric solidbody.


However, it is definitely a fine guitar. The list price is in the range of $1300 US, according to my sources. Keep the clients.

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Depends on what kind of rock and roll you're after. Matt Good has been playing onstage recently with a very similar guitar, a Gibson ES-335. At heart, it's a blues guitar, but with the right equipment it can put out a mean classic rock 'n' roll growl. Given the construction, though, and the fact it likely has a rather thick neck, your guitar is probably best suited to rhythm playing rather than soloing.


It definitely has rock 'n' roll potential. You could always switch out the pickups for a pair of Gibson 57's (a higher quality type used in the ES-335, which I am partial to).


FYI, the guitar Matt is pictured playing with above is not the ES-335.

Edited by ecnarf
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what about my gay?





or was your lack of gramattical prowess a factor in your trying to say "you're gay"



I guess i had a hard time.


Damn those government radiation rays they keep sending my way!!!!


P.S. The Epiphone is a pretty decent guitar.

Edited by screaming roommate
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i have an acoustic... its a takamine super natural... but i rarely every pick it up because i think acoustics are gay. when i said i wanted to play guitar, i meant an electric.


most of your favorite MGB songs were probably written on acoustics. if you think they're gay, you're probbaly not passionate enough about guitar to learn to be a good player.


my advise is, just buy something that is decent enough to stay in tune. When i first started learning, I spent way too much time re-tuning.


But other than that, who gives a fuck. if you really want to learn, you'll learn. if you play an acoustic you'll build calluses faster and your mechanics will be stronger. it's like, if you get used to running barefoot on rocks, when you pick up those nice shoes (guitar) youll be awsome. you'd be surprised at the shit guitars rock stars learned on. just fuckin mash on anything till you're good.


a lot of people would be happy to have an epiphone as a learner.

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my advise is, just buy something that is decent enough to stay in tune. When i first started learning, I spent way too much time re-tuning.

A) He's right about the acoustic


B) in my opinion, the tuning thing is good, because you'll learn your tuning well, and alot about manintnence.

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i know. isnt that funny?





...and today i'm going tom lee music to buy an amp... what should i get?

Could you be a bit more specific?


A few important questions:


1) what's your budget?

2) what are you going to be using this for?

3) what are your current/projected future living conditions?


Any respectable store salesman will have you start out on a beginner amp, usually no more than 15-20 watts, and it'll be solid state. This will do you well for at-home practising and sometimes jamming with other guitarrists with amps of similar power, but it won't get you anywhere if drums are involved. For that, you'll want to move up to about 50 watts solid state, or a 20 watt tube amp. Generally speaking, a practise amp will have a 6-8" speaker, while a proper amp for jamming in a band with drums and that will have one 12" speaker. Gigging amps go even bigger, to 2x12's, or even 4x12's, in some cases (the latter are called stacks).


Some simple amps to consider... hm... I have a tiny Fender practise amp that came with my first guitar in a package. Called a Fender Frontman 15, if my memory serves. It'll give you what you want, and can actually get quite loud. It's got a 3-band EQ and two channels, one distorted and one clean, with seperate volume levels for each, a gain control for the dirty channel, and a button to switch between them. IMO, that's the basic consideration you want for an amp. A lot of amps they might try to sell you will go right down to 10 watts, and although they do have their uses, I'd stay away from them. The tone will be fairly shit, and you won't have an EQ of sorts to fool around with. Starting out and playing on an amp is a very important experience for the electric guitar player.


After a little while, you'll want to consider buying a distortion pedal. This is basically distortion contained in a little box you hook up to your guitar from one end, and hook into your amp from the other. I have a Boss DS-1 Distortion and it sounds considerably better than the distortion from my amp, plus you can switch it with your foot, which is a lot easier than walking up to the amp and pushing the button. Given that you have a blues guitar, you might want to look into an Overdrive. It's similar to distortion, but lacks the hard edge. More of a buttery sound, if you follow. Chances are you can find these pedals used off eBay or second hand stores, or even from stores selling off old rental stock. Boss pedals are built like friggin tanks, and unless they're seriously abused, last decades, so you can probably pick one up on the cheap.


Etc etc. Ask if you want to know anything more. I used to spend a serious amount of time on the subject.

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By my estimation, if you're paying over $150, you're getting ripped off. I got my initial guitar starter pack (guitar + amp + accessories) for 300 bucks, so 150 should be in the absolute upper range of what an amp you're looking for should cost.


The amp I recommended to you has a list price of 140 bucks US. I'd almost certainly expect it to cost less in store. That's the difficulty with buying stuff like this... you never quite know what it's going to cost in store, as music stores aren't in the habit of posting prices on their websites, and online music stores post list prices and then their prices, and you have no clue what to expect.


Anyways, these practise amps are simple little devices, you could easily pick one up used. Sometimes stores will sell off their old rental equipment or what have you, so go in and ask if they have any used practise amps they're trying to sell. The minimum features I'd suggest for you are a 3-band EQ, seperate volume controls for each channel (clean and distortion), a gain knob (to control the distortion), a headphone jack, and possibly a line-in function to let you hook up a CD player or MP3 player to your amp to play along with something (although this can easily be substituted by putting your amp in the same room as your stereo... the sound will be a lot better coming from the stereo as well). 15 watts should be plenty of power for what you'll need, and it won't be overpowering. You really won't need any more power unless you start jamming with other people. I should mention that the tone quality on these amps is definitely lacking. You can compensate for it by buying pedals, but amps with good audio quality usually have larger speaker units and are meant for playing in a band. It's just one of those things we're all stuck with. We want to buy a nice amp, but we'd have no user for it.

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