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Poll: The Beginners Guide To Guitars, Other Musical Instruments And Equipment Sticky

Discussion in 'Music, Box Office, TV & Books' started by Big Kev, 13 Nov 2005.

?

Which First Guitar

  1. Yamaha Pacifica 112

    90 vote(s)
    37.7%
  2. Squier Standard Stra

    59 vote(s)
    24.7%
  3. Ibanez GRG170

    11 vote(s)
    4.6%
  4. Epiphone Les Paul Special II

    36 vote(s)
    15.1%
  5. Ibanez RG321

    24 vote(s)
    10.0%
  6. Epiphone G400

    19 vote(s)
    7.9%
  1. Big Kev

    Capodecina

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 17,715

    Location: Ashburton Grove

    Please use this sticky to recommend your guitars, amps, leads, instructional DVD's, cases, tuners etc.

    You can also post links to any relevant retailers, providing no rules are broken, as laid down in the faq.

    Also feel free to ask for any advice, after reading the posts within.

    I'll also start a poll for your choice of a beginners guitar, starting with my newly purchased Yamaha Pacifica 112, which seems to do the job very well, although I still haven't managed to get very far yet. I'll add more guitars to the list as they are mentioned.

    For cheap strings, quickly deliverered, I'd recommend - http://www.stringbusters.com/
     
  2. sjt269

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 11 Dec 2004

    Posts: 1,991

    Erm...there's a bit of a price gap between the two guitars in the poll. Pacifica is about £150, a Fender Strat is £300 minimum.

    I think you mean Squier Standard Strat, about £150ish as well.

    Also maybe add:

    Ibanez GRG170
    Epiphone Les Paul Special II
    Ibanez RG321
    Epiphone G400

    Not saying I recommend them, but they're other popular beginners guitars.
     
  3. Chronos-X

    Banned

    Joined: 3 Mar 2003

    Posts: 5,001

    Location: London ;()!

    Guitar Setup Guide

    For DIY enthusiasts,
    at your own risk although this is all quite safe if you take your time and a little care.

    1) Intonation

    Intonation, is the easiest job. On an SG, Les Paul and others, at the bottom end of the guitar you should have a bridge where the strings go over "saddles" with little screws in them. Turn the screws, it makes the saddle move backwards and forwards which effectively makes the string longer or shorter (seeing as it affects the amount that is let to vibrate). Tune a string (important) then play the same string at the 12th fret. If the 12th note is higher than the tuned open string, make the string "longer" by moving the saddle back. Dont make the mistake of checking it again at this point as the open string will be out of tune. Retune it, play the open note, then the 12th. Adjust as required. If the 12th note is lower in tune than the open one, make the string shorter by doing the reverse of the above procedures. With the strings going out of tune on each intonation adjustment, in can take some time. But it'll last virtually forever, or until you use a different guage of strings. So do it once, and do it proper.

    2) Neck setup

    Myth : Guitar necks have to be straight.
    Fact: strings vibrate in the same way as a taught rope would - i.e. it bounces more in the middle and less at the sides. If you have a neck thats straight as a die its going to bash the fretboard in the middle. Put a capo on your first fret (if you havent got one, buy one). With your right hand (if you're right handed) press down the highest fret on the low E string. What you're looking for now is to get a business card to fit snugly between the E string and the 7th fret. If its too tight you need to bend the neck up. If its roomy, the neck needs to be bent back.

    3) Neck adjust

    You need to get access to the truss rod end. On a Les Paul/SG this is usually underneath a screwed-down plate on the headstock. On some guitars it can be in the body as on my acoustic (inside the soundhole), and on some guitars with removable necks you have to unscrew the neck itself to get to it at the point where the neck joins the body.

    There's a myth that by adjusting this the neck will immediately shatter - I think this is perpetuated by the above repair shops - it wont if you take your time. It will if you attach the truss road to your Black and Decker power drill and set it to full spin. So doing little turns (clockwise to bend back, anticlockwise to bend towards, but this CAN very so adjust a little and check) - tiny turns like 1/4 a revolution at a time. Keep checking with that business card, capo and finger on the 22nd/24th fret. Stop when it feels snug. Might still get a few rattles - next section.

    3) Bridge setup

    Nice and easy, adjust the screws either side of the bridge and the intonation saddles to acheive a hight where strings (particularly when fretted beteen 8-12th fret on the D/G strings) dont make any gargles. Keep raising it until you either dont get any rattling on fretted or open notes or until the rattling cant be heard on the amp, as is your preference. I personally go for a little acoustic rattle because it doesnt come through on the amp - just a tiny bit though.

    4) Pickup height

    Adjust the screws either side of the pickups till they're touching the strings. Then lower them until they dont magnetically pull the strings downwards (you'll either see it or it'll sound strange on a more subtle level). One of the pickups will be louder than the other - lower the loudest one to the level its the same volume as the quieter one. Then use the screws either side of the pickup to tip the balance so that you get an equal volume distribution over each string - you might have individual screws on the pickup under each string to make it easier.

    Done.
     
  4. Chronos-X

    Banned

    Joined: 3 Mar 2003

    Posts: 5,001

    Location: London ;()!

    I'd also like to add "An acoustic", generally, to the poll. It helps the fingers develope strength and also a much better sense of rhythm :)

    For strings there is NO cheaper than www.stringsdirect.co.uk , but they seem to recoup prices on the non-string items so be choosy with retailers.
     
  5. IceBus

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 9,817

    Location: , Washington DC

    Electric vs Acoustic?

    The one biggest point I can make here is simply that if you want to play electric guitar, buy an electric guitar - there's no point starting with an acoustic if you have no desire to play one. The benefits of starting on an acoustic over an electric are negligible and any plus points of finger strength will be eliminated by the fact it'll hurt more, and possibly put you off.

    If you start on electric and like it, chances are you'll eventually want to buy an acoustic too.

    Guide to Restringing

    Normal Restringing
    Locking Restringing
    Choosing Strings
     
    Last edited: 13 Nov 2005
  6. sjt269

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 11 Dec 2004

    Posts: 1,991

    Resources


    http://www.ibanezrules.com/ - Invaluable if you own an Ibanez guitar (thanks to Andelusion for putting me onto this site). Also a retailer, and a very well respected one at that.

    http://www.guitarknowledgenet.com/ - I found this a while ago, good for chords and scales etc. Looks like a pretty well laid out and slick resource.

    http://www.harmony-central.com/ - I mainly use this site for reading up reviews on pieces of equipment.

    www.jemsite.com - great resource site for Ibanez guitars, also has a popular and well known forum.


    www.guitarchat.co.uk - forum for a UK retailer, Regents Guitars.

    http://www.projectguitar.com/ - As the name says, a guide to modding and building from scratch your own guitar.

    http://www.nymphusa.com/tele/ - Click on the 'Build Your Dream Guitar' title, and guess what? You can design your own guitar based around a number of predetermined body shapes. Everything else is customisable.


    Retailers

    http://www.guitars.co.uk/ - Regents Guitars. Allegedly have very good customer service, and recieves glowing testimonies from anyone who buys there.

    http://www.guitars.co.uk/ - GAK. Don't know much about em, haven't bought from em, but they have a well laid out website and reasonable prices.

    http://www.guitarstrings.co.uk/ - Merchant City Music. Seem like a pretty good shop, again with great prices. Located in Glasgow.


    http://www.wdmusicproducts.co.uk/ - Premier component supplier in the UK.

    http://www.wdmusic.com/ - US branch of the above. Same products, cheaper prices and apparently deliver to the UK as well.


    Services

    http://www.simscustom.com/ - Martin Sims Custom Shop. They can do some amazing things to guitars. They're the guys who fitted Steve Vai's own Bad Horsie Jem (christened Mojo) with it's blue fretboard LEDs and headstock laser, as well as outfitting Billy Sheehan's bass.
     
  7. SexyGreyFox

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 29 Mar 2003

    Posts: 50,650

    RECOMMENDED SOFTWARE

    TABS are the preferred choice of most guitarists and there are four wonderful pieces of software that can get you started.

    1 - GOOGLE (if it is software). Just type in the GOOGLE search engine
    eg "Summer of 69" tab and you should find most things you are after.

    Or type
    eg "Summer of 69" chord

    2 - Powertabs at http://www.powertabs.net/

    3 - My personal favourite is www.guitar-pro.com and files can be found at www.mysongbook.com
    This one piece of software as transformed my playing after 35 years.

    4 - One I've recently tried is called Guitarz which can be found here -
    http://www.optekmusic.com/guitarz software.htm

    A good site for MP3 backing tracks to jam to can be found here -
    http://www.guitarbt.com/

    .
     
    Last edited: 13 Nov 2005
  8. Chronos-X

    Banned

    Joined: 3 Mar 2003

    Posts: 5,001

    Location: London ;()!

    Another vote for GuitarPro/Mysongbook here, powertabs when you're desperate, new songs often seen on www.ultimate-guitar.com (has a voting system which takes a lot of the guesswork out of multiple tab interpretations).
     
  9. drmo0

    Gangster

    Joined: 30 Jul 2004

    Posts: 193

    hello!

    First off im looking to start to learn the guitar, ive had a read through various threads and this sticky but i still have a few questions. I would ideally like to start to learn with an acoustic guitar just because i generally prefer the sound and it better represents the type of music id like to start to play.

    Ok so unfortunately ive had no past experience playing an instrument before so im totally starting fresh, i was originally hopeing to teach my self with the aid of various books/dvds etc and see how it goes, has anybody done the same?

    The main thing im gonna need assistance on is what exactly i need to buy, which guitar, and anything else im gonna need. Ideally i dont wanna spend too much on my first guitar to see how it goes and how i progress so im looking up to the £150-200 mark ish for the guitar.

    thanks, i appreciate any help
     
  10. sjt269

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 11 Dec 2004

    Posts: 1,991


    Yup. ;)

    Obviously I can't give an objective view of how good I am, but I don't feel that being self taught has limited me so far. Lessons would be preferable, but I'm confident that if I learn by myself, I'll pick up everything I need sooner or later.
     
  11. Chronos-X

    Banned

    Joined: 3 Mar 2003

    Posts: 5,001

    Location: London ;()!

    I dont believe in lessons personally as I wouldnt want to make it a chore, I've enjoyed making my own mistakes then rectifying them :)
     
  12. Gadge

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 25 Sep 2003

    Posts: 1,620

    Location: Merseyside

    Can someone recomend me an acoustic guitar for a novice, budget is around the £100 mark. Thanks.
     
  13. IceBus

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 9,817

    Location: , Washington DC

    Basically your best bet is to go to a musical instruments shop and try some out in your price range, as there is quite a lot of variation between different budget instruments that are the same model. I'd highly recommend you check out the Yamaha FG range and the Fender DG series :)
     
  14. sjt269

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 11 Dec 2004

    Posts: 1,991

    When I was first starting playing guitar, another forum (totally non guitar related, but lots of guitarists nevertheless) advised me to go for this - http://www.guitarampkeyboard.com/options.php?id=66747


    Just for the record, I totally ignored their advice and went and bought something else, because at the time one accoustic guitar looked the same as all the rest to me. I was always advised to stay away from Fender accoustics, and have seen others similarly advised on guitar forums. I can't confirm how good they are though, you'll really have to test them yourself.
     
  15. Gadge

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 25 Sep 2003

    Posts: 1,620

    Location: Merseyside

    thing is you say test them for myself, i havent got a clue what to test for as i cant play! so im really relying on recommendations of people who can play and know a good guitar for that price range.
     
  16. sjt269

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 11 Dec 2004

    Posts: 1,991


    Neither could anyone when they started. :p


    Go into a shop, speak to the guys, ask them for their advice and to demo some guitars to you, and have a strum yourself, see what it feels like and sounds like. Then come back here, tell us the model and price, and we'll tell you if it's good or not. :p
     
  17. Le Samourai

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 7 Feb 2003

    Posts: 2,137

    Location: B/island, Haggish County

    Last edited: 24 Nov 2005
  18. converse_uprise

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 4 Aug 2005

    Posts: 1,430

    Location: Leeds, Sheffield & LU7

    I have an epiphone les paul special, now i've only had it for a month but I am looking at restringing it. I'm assuming it the strings on it would be pretty low quality, due to keeping the price down as it's a value guitar. Would it be worth restringing, and what sort of strings should I be looking at? I'm definately going to get some straplocks, what else could I modify on the guitar to change make it a better guitar, would the pickup's make alot of difference?
     
  19. Chronos-X

    Banned

    Joined: 3 Mar 2003

    Posts: 5,001

    Location: London ;()!

    Straplocks are something like £1.99 for 2 while you're at Stringsdirect, while you're there get some Ernie Ball Hybrid or Super Slinkies.

    Pickups will make a difference, as will the way you play and very importantly the EQ you use on your amp (and the quality of the amp itself) - I'd say it took me about a year to find my various sweet spots on the amp's EQ for the various applications. Because of this, with a few tweaks of various dials I could also make it sound very crap indeed - you need to explore it.
     
  20. converse_uprise

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 4 Aug 2005

    Posts: 1,430

    Location: Leeds, Sheffield & LU7

    Seen as they are already humbuckers in the guitar, I was thinking about just getting some gold covers for them to make them look a bit nice.

    I am going to get these straplocks (http://www.stringsdirect.co.uk/Catalogue/ViewProduct.aspx?productId=480)

    and still undecided on the strings. I was thinking about either the Power slinkys or Hybrid, I can always change if I don't like them.