Buying Electric Guitars

G.A.S. Relief - buying electric guitars

So many choices, a person buying an electric guitars can be easily overwhelmed with the choices.

A person shopping for an electric guitar is confronted with an overwhelming array of choices, this may be your first time buying an electric guitar or you may already have so many guitars that you are tripping over them in the middle of the night.

I am one of the latter people that have a common problem called G.A.S. (Also known as Gear Acquisition Syndrome.)

Buying electric guitars was a hobby of mine. Now I have too many.

There are so many guitars that look and sound great at very reasonable prices a person can get carried away.

Finding that perfect guitar can be a challenge. Getting the right electric guitar sound can be an obsession which can be a slow down your progress if not balanced by daily practice.

The problem in the early stages is that if your spending your time buying electric guitars, looking for that perfect guitar that is going to make you sound fantastic instead of practicing, you probably will not sound as good as you could.

What to look for when buying electric guitars

The follow are just some of the things that are important to consider when buying a electric guitar.

Things that effect the sound. What to consider when buying electric guitars

  1. Wood - different woods effect the sound. Some woods are mellow, such as mahogany and others are bright such as maple. Pick the brains of the salesperson at the store and get them to show you, through just one amp, the sounds of the different types of woods. 
  2. Construction - look for a durable, well constructed guitar. Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters are known workhorses that take a ton of abuse. The tilted head-stock on a Gibson Les Paul are know for breaking off if they fall off a stand. These are good guitars, but you must be extra careful.
  3. Hardware - Look for tuners that are easy to use, knobs that look sturdy, vibrato bars that don't mess with the tuning when you use them.
  4. Pickups - There are two basic types, humbuckers and single-coil. Two very different sounds. Listen to quite a few different guitars, through the same amp with the same settings to get a idea of what pickups sound good to you. Pickups vary in quality. They might look the same, but sound miles apart on sound. This is a personal choice that is refined with time. Listen to as many guitars as you can, over a period of time. Your ears will make the some pickup sound different if they are tired. Yes, ears can get tired.
  5. How does it look to you? This is a matter of personal taste. A emotional connection to the guitar you are buying is very important.
  6. Neck Joint - The connection to the body of the guitar. Does it fit snugly? Any looseness? Cracks?
  7. Electronics - Do all the knobs and switches work properly? Any crackling? That would be dirt or a bad component.
  8. Variety of sounds - How many usable sounds can you get from all the knobs and switches. Does the knob or switch make a big, desirable change in sound?
  9. Neck feel - how does the neck feel in your fretting hand. These vary in size and playability. Pick one that is right for you. This is a very personal decision.
  10. Frets - These need to be very smooth, level and durable. Fret ends should be smooth. If its a used guitar, look under the strings for wear. This is a expensive fix. 
  11. Cost - A high quality guitar costs much more than a entry level guitar. This is your decision. A great guitar will encourage you, a cheap one might just encourage you to give up on the guitar. Good guitars and their price will vary with the company building them. 

The following suggestions for buying electric guitars are of time tested combination's of guitars and amps. To take some of the guesswork out of your search so you can get to practice.

Paul McCartney was once asked what type of strings he used for his bass and he answered long shiny ones. He did not analyze too much he was too busy creating music. So what is the solution? I've found that there are classic combination's of guitars and amplifiers for different types of music. Proven combination's for a great sound for the type of guitar music you are playing.

What you really want when buying an electric guitar is your sound, and these pages along with some of the other info on this site can give you a good start or help you find the sound you are looking for.

Electric guitar reviews - Making a choice doesn't have to be guessing game.

These are the classic guitar and amp combination's that get the sound you need for the following styles. Keep these in mind for buying electric guitars to achieve a certain sound.

  1. Rock and Roll - Fender American Standard Stratocaster and a huge Marshall Tube Amp stack, this worked for Jimi Hendrix and is a great choice for 1960's Rock and Roll. If you don't have a large concert hall or auditorium to play at a smaller but not too small Marshall tube amp will give you a great Rock and Roll sound.Fender Stratocaster and a good Fender tube amp such as a Fender Supersonic. Pete Townsend of The Who was and is at last check, using this combination on stage during their concert appearances. More than adequate for a very memorable performance. Economy Rock and Roll guitar- Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Strat Electric Guitar and a Peavey transtube amp - your choice of size but as big as possible for the full effect.The versatility of these amps will provide the sound for 1950's Rock and Roll all the way up to modern rock music. If you want the ultimate practice amp get a Line 6 Spider Jam. For a hard Rock sound, a Gibson Les Paul through a Marshall Tube amp is a great choice for the heavier Rock sound like Led Zeppelin. This was and is the choice of many Rocks greatest guitarists. Economy electric guitar - Hard Rock and Roll - Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar and a Vox Valvetronix amp as large as possible. the Epiphone pro guitars are a great value with very high-quality pickups for a great rock music sound. If you want the ultimate practice amp get a Line 6 Spider Jam.
  2. Rockabilly - Gretsch Hot Rod thru a Fender Supersonic amp. This is the choice of Brian Setzer of the Stray Cats. Who can argue with that? Economy Rockabilly - Gretsch Electromatic through Vox Valvetronix amp as large as possible. A great deal for a rocker on a budget.
  3. Surf music - Fender American Standard Stratocaster with a good clean Fender tube amplifier such as a Fender Supersonic. Don't forget the reverb and slapback echo. I chose the supersonic as my choice for a surf guitar amp because of its versatility. Economy Surf guitar - Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Stratocaster through a Vox Valvetronix as large as you can afford for the presence of a large speaker.
  4. Jazz - A big fat hollow body electric guitar such as a Gibson L-5 and a Roland JC-120.This is a solid state amp that has become legendary. It's also very versatile with stomp box effects for any kind of music there is. Jazz guitar combination economy - S101 EHL 24 - Jazz hollow body guitar (an L5 copy - Laminates used for body but sounds pretty good for a guitar that I picked up on Ebay for $160) with a Roland Cube amp. Get the biggest Roland Cube one you can for presence from the large speaker.
  5. Blues guitar and amp combination - The blues is the basis and roots of rock and roll.Anyone learning guitar should, in my opinion consider learning the blues.Fender American Standard Stratocaster through a Fender Bassman amp.Chicago Blues - Gibson ES - 335 through a Fender '65 Super Reverb. Sweet.Blues Economy choice - Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar Through a Vox Valvetronix amp as large as possible for the presence of a large speaker.Epiphone Dot through a Roland Cube.
  6. Metal - The whole nature of metal is loud, heavy and rude, there really is no one setup that is metal the formula is this - a fast playing guitar with hot humbucking pickups and a high gain amp.I recommend a Dean ML and a krank amplifier. This is more than adequate for a massive sonic assault.Metal economy choice - Dean ML (wide range of prices, generally very good quality across that range) through a VOX Valvetronix XL.Metal guitar solos take firepower and this combination fits the bill perfectly.
  7. Country - Twang and country guitar virtuosity are bought out best with a Fender American Standard Telecaster and a Fender Twin Reverb amp.Country Economy Pick - Fender Standard Telecaster and a Vox Valvetronix. A country telecaster and the Vox Valvetronic amp - now that will put a smile on your face.

Well, those are my recommendations for buying electric guitars based on research of classic rigs from the past modified to what's available in the present.

Buying electric guitars can be confusing, just remember that with the well-known companies, if the price is higher its because the quality is better and its sad but true, you get what you pay for.

Thanks for checking out this page on buying electric guitars.

Be sure to check out the following related webpages on this website.

1. Electric guitar amp - A amp makes a huge difference in your sound. How do you choose the right one for you?

2.Electric guitar tuning - How to tune a guitar with less effort and frustration.

Links to useful websites

Gibson - how to buy an electric guitar

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