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  • Need help buying first electric guitar (acoustic guitar player)

    Hi everyone,

    So this forum is really great and has been helpful in the past to me. I am primarily an acoustic guitar player (somewhat semi-serious about music, but not a professional) and play a couple of dreadnaught sized guits.

     

    I am looking to get into electric guiars for a couple of reasons. I have been doing some semi-pro type gigs and some of the music/songs require electric guitar/effects to diversify my playing styles. Also, I really want to improve (which are almost non-existent) my soloing skills. So with those two goals I am currently in market for an electric guitar setup.

     

    After having done some research and a few guitar center visits (ugg... the upsell is going overboard... anyways) I am still a bit uncertain. I am not specializig in any specific genres (metal, jazz..) so lookig for a versatile guit. A Strat seemed like a good choice. PRS SE Custom (SE24 or SE Semi Hollow both) seemed like a good deal. I didn't really think a Les Paul was that versatile especially for doing leads.

     

    I want to stay about $1000 for guitar + amp, as I will also need to buy an effects pedal in addition,

    My questions are :

    a) How do you compare a strat with les paul

    b) does a standard strat vs american standard really make  difference (I don't think I am at a level to earn a Deluxe yet)

    c) I found a used PRS SE Semi Hollow for $600 including a Vox amp. Is this a good deal / good guitar?

     

    Thanks all.


  • #2

    racoustic wrote:

    ...

    My questions are :

    a) How do you compare a strat with les paul

    b) does a standard strat vs american standard really make  difference (I don't think I am at a level to earn a Deluxe yet)

    c) I found a used PRS SE Semi Hollow for $600 including a Vox amp. Is this a good deal / good guitar?


    a - Strats and LP's are pretty different animals. You do have more tonal options from a Strat. I'm being pretty general here, but typically the Strat will have a brighter sound, plus it will have the Strat's signature "quack" sounds in the neck/middle and bridge/middle pickup positions. The Les Paul will be less noisey due to the humbucking pickups. Typically darker sounding they usually have more sustain. Some people really dig Strats with humbuckers in the bridge, felling they get the best of both worlds. In addition, the scales are different, the Strat being longer. As an acoustic player, you are probably used to a shorter scale. Strats are a more sturdy instrument, much harder to break, and on the off chance you do, the parts are easily replaced. If you break an LP neck/headstock, it's an expensive repair, and may permanently effect the sound of the instrument.

    b - I guess it depends on if it makes a difference to YOU. On the American Strat the electronics are probably a bit higher grade. The finish is probably laquer instead of poly. Small details that may add up enough to make a difference to you, or not. I don't think the differences in budget electrics vs. higher-end electrics are as appreciable as they are with acoustics. However, I think more attention goes into the higher end of each line, so instead of a US Standard, I might look at one of the higher end Mexican reissues, or even a Japanese Strat. It really comes down to features, and what you like best. Try as many as possible. Usually one will really speak to you. That's the one you should buy. 

    c - Depends on which Vox. I'm not a fan of the SE's, but that's mostly a matter of taste. Plenty here are. If they sound and play good to you and the Vox works for what you want to do, go for it.

    Comment


    • kayd_mon
      kayd_mon commented
      Editing a comment

      A - Les Pauls have a bigger sound than Strats for the most part. Think deep-bass dreadnaught vs. bright 000 for an acoustic world comparison. Strats are 25.5" scale, vs. a Les Paul's 24.75" scale. I don't know the standard scale for acoustics, but I thought it was 24.75". FWIW, most acoustic players choose a Strat for their electric, probably because it's the archetype that's furthest from an acoustic, and they're probably looking for something different in an electric guitar to begin with.

      B - Honestly, it makes very little difference build-wise. Yes, there are differences and the USA ones are a bit nicer, but with your budget it's not worth it.

      C - The SE Semi should go used for no more than $350. If the amp is an AC15, then it's a good deal. If the amp is a Valvetronix (which it probably is), then it's overpriced for being used. Both nice, but pass or haggle to $500, no more. I am a big fan of PRS SE. Solid instruments. I have a Custom 24, and it's great.  Here's a clip of my Custom 24 and my AC15:


  • #3

    Some great responses already here.  All I'll add is the standard cliche - which always remans true - try as many guitar/amp combos as you can. In the end only you can decide what works best for you.  For $1000 you have quite a lot of choices.

    http://www.surrealisticpenguin.com

    Comment


    • racoustic
      racoustic commented
      Editing a comment

      Thanks all for the great resonses. Given my lack of "niche" genre, the decision is tough and Surrealist pointed out, there are actually quite a bit of options in the sub $1000 range.

       

      I tried a few guits at a shop and was amazed to find that my shoulder started to pain when I was playing a Strat. I think my posture is set for dreadnaught so long that the think body with long neck would be a big adjustment. I did like the sound and neck feel of a strat though and it seems versatile.

       

      I am also becoming keen about Gibson Les Paul Studio (I don't really need the bling of standard). Those seem to be good sturdy guitars. If you have any experiences with those, do let me know.

       

      Also, is it fair to compare a MIM strat standard with Gibson Les Paul Studio. I see MIM strats used on CL for $300 and wondering if that should be my starting point. Thanks.


  • #4

    I'd probably approach the issue the opposite way of how you currently are.  First, think about how much amp you will need for your gigs.  If you are talking about playing with a drummer or in a large room that means getting a fair-sized amp, which will eat up a lot of your budget.  Small room/no drummer, small amp that won't cost as much, which will leave more money for the guitar. 

    You've gotten some pretty good advice on the sounds and differences between strats & LPs, but you should consider to some extent how they sound in combination with various types of amps.  It's a bit of a cliche, but you often see strats or teles teamed with fender amps for a pretty chimey tone, LPs with Marshalls for a more raw, rock and roll sound that has more bottom.  Vox amps tend to be in the middle, with tones that can range from pretty clean to overdriven, with more midrange emphasis than a fender, which are usually scooped.

    Also, I'm a bit confused when you say an effect pedal.  There are probably a dozen basic different types of effects, and most guys running effects are running more than one.  A digital multi-effect unit will run you more than a solo effect pedal, but may run less than getting a few single effects pedals.  It also probably won't sound as good.

    Comment


    • racoustic
      racoustic commented
      Editing a comment

      Thanks again everyone. Very valueable inputs. I checked out some reviews for Agile and they seem to be pretty solid guitars so interesting options.

       

      I should clarify some things about amp/pedal. I want to buy a guitar indepdent of those, given I have been playing some semi-pro gigs and in those auditoriums we use professional sound setup so dont use our own amps etc. That's why I want to buy a guitar that will last me for a while and a multi-digital-effects pedal (although I know I will loose on quality, i will get variety of sounds). I will buy an amp but I can easily see myself changing my amp/upgrading within a year, if needed.

       

      With that in mind, I started off my hunt with a Les Paul or Strat.

       

      Also, I actually sold my Ibanez Artcore AG75 just this Sunday :| . The issue was I am not looking for a fully hollow body as It wasn't the best guitar to be played overdriven by rock type solos so I need something that is fully body or at most a semi-hollow. What's funny is I sold my AG75 for $275 becuase I really wasn't using it and it probably was a good deal for the buyer (it had grover tuners and in excellent shape)

       

      I am being drawn towards the studio les paul to be honest. Will spend some more time trying guitars and keep everyone posted.

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