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When asked for advice by a friend....


Bluesape

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regarding a guitar purchase, I find it difficult to exclude my own preferences. For example, there are brands I respect and others(mostly off brands) I advise against, regardless of budget. I'm also still wary of way offshore instruments, even though they're all getting better. I can't stop worrying about resale value, appreciation/depreciation; factors that don't and likely shouldn't concern a novice. If asked would I buy a certain instrument, I need to remember that I have long been spoiled with gear Clapton, Gibbons, and Neilson would be proud to own, and put myself in the position of a newbie wanting to make an informed choice within his/her budget. I tend to become impatient when trivia like color and bling factor supercede build integrity and quality of materials, making me wonder if my friend is going to be influenced by things I think he/she should not be. Sometimes a decent guitar is all that's wanted, not something I'd be proud to play at a major event. Does anyone else have these conflicts when trying to help a friend?
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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yes. i hate it when someone at a store walks over to a cheap "Fender" and proclaims " this is good , it is a fender".

i try to educate friends on what makes a good guitar.

it isn't a sticker on the headstock. but it doesn't mean that lower priced guitars are not good either.

i find myself suggesting Godin alot. but that is where my past experiences with bang for the buck lie. i am not into bling factor, so i tend to stray from that, and it shows in my suggestions to friends.

it is hard to separate your beliefs from the desires of the buyer at times. the more info the prospective buyer has offered the better you can direct them.

but if someone offers no info , you will tend to use more of your own ideas to help them decide.

i tend to offer info, direct them to sites of interest and get them to read certain things to get the info first hand.

i sometimes get annoyed by the ignorance in regards to instrument buying, c'mon there is a thing called the internet. it is funny how it gets used for so many things and yet people don't even think of checking stuff out.

i sometimes have to remind people that the salesman is only a salesman and not always an expert.

i had to learn alot of what i know by reading and digging up info where i could. the area i grew up in wasn't a great place for learning anything guitar related. i found info because i looked and questioned things when in doulbt.

there is no excuse for not having the right info now.

i found this forum by looking, and have learned even more.

if one wants to learn they have to look and ask.

if someone wants a Fender (because they are the best) please don't ask. you allready know.

 

:rolleyes:

this isn't a knock at fender, it is that some people ask when they allready have thier mind made up. just personal experience.

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I have trouble acknowledging strats to new players. I've gotten sick of new players always pickin up crappy strats and so i never suggest them, an obvious bias. My bias towards Gibson always comes out in my suggestions. For low priced i always recommend Epiphone. This is because of my great experience with them, hence the bias. I try to keep an open mind, i try to ask what sound theyre going for, and then suggest a guitar for that. But it usually comes down to an LP, SG, or a tele. Not to discount strats, but i just get sick of em.
hot girls, fast cars, and even louder guitars
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Crap is crap, be it a strat, tele, SG, LP, or whatever clone in question. I no longer regard strats as the Holy Grail, but nothing conceptually has come closer to the ideal in terms of versatility, comfort, ergonomics, reliability and affordability, which is why it is the most copied and emulated guitar on the planet.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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But sometimes you can get a low priced guitar that really sounds great, though it might not have the nicest finishing touches. Look at the reviews of the OE-30 in the 5 Way Comparison.

 

I usually look at the reviews on Harmony-Central and Musicians Friend. But even with the best reviews in the world, you still might not like the feel of a certain guitar. My advice is always buy the best you can afford at the lowest price you can. This might mean buying an older model on closeout, a scratch and dent, used, etc. But then if you don't like it, you won't loose your shirt reselling it. If you do like it you've got a great guitar at a great price.

Raise your children and spoil your grandchildren. Spoil your children and raise your grandchildren.
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I favour a Strat myself, and I'm always happy to endorse Rondo Music, based on my own very positive experience with them. On the other hand, half a recommendation is knowing what sort of music the other person is interested in ... I wouldn't say I'd never recommend a Telecaster to a kid who's into nu-metal (I seem to recall there's at least one prominent player on that scene who uses one) but I'd probably suggest something from Ibanez first.
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i have nothing against strats. i love them. and they are quite possibly the "perfect" guitar when loaded with a bridge humbucker. versatility is the Strats key attraction to me. and one hell fo a comfortable instrument.

my beef is when a name on the headstock is assumed to mean a guarantee. there are so many different countries making lesser priced Fenders that it isn't funny. some are good and some are not deserving of the title. the low end ones look alot like the "real" ones and that is why people get stung.

i would almost always suggest a Yamaha pacifica over a low end "fender". just for the reasons of quality control. but those lines are blurring every day. i have seen chinese Epiphones that astounded me on workmanship.

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I agree, 'Zan. I would never advise buying an offshore Fender, unless I spent a lot of time on that particular guitar, and was satisfied with it. The Pacifica is a great alternative. For the lowest price, the Oscar Scmidt line from Washburn is a helluva deal, but for a few bucks more, the Godins you and I are so fond of are the ticket, being pro-grade for the price of an offshore downline from Gibson or Fender. I've never warmed up to Peavey guitars, but I know their better basses are killer. There really are many more viable choices than in the old days.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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I agree, 'Zan. I would never advise buying an offshore Fender, unless I spent a lot of time on that particular guitar, and was satisfied with it. The Pacifica is a great alternative. For the lowest price, the Oscar Scmidt line from Washburn is a helluva deal, but for a few bucks more, the Godins you and I are so fond of are the ticket, being pro-grade for the price of an offshore downline from Gibson or Fender. I've never warmed up to Peavey guitars, but I know their better basses are killer. There really are many more viable choices than in the old days.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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I agree, 'Zan. I would never advise buying an offshore Fender, unless I spent a lot of time on that particular guitar, and was satisfied with it. The Pacifica is a great alternative. For the lowest price, the Oscar Scmidt line from Washburn is a helluva deal, but for a few bucks more, the Godins you and I are so fond of are the ticket, being pro-grade for the price of an offshore downline from Gibson or Fender. I've never warmed up to Peavey guitars, but I know their better basses are killer. There really are many more viable choices than in the old days.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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i have no problem with brand names either ellwood.

but there is more to a guitar than a name.

most every maker has an import line that sells on the name alone. that sometimes allows crappy instruments to leave stores that should have been used as firewood or boat paddles. ;)

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I know I have a very narrow view of buying anything other than name brand instuments... but if Im giving advice I always look at the resale situation... I can have a DOG that is a major american name brand and off it just because it is a Major American brand!.. If I could go personally and play the instuments for someone else I would and could pick out someting for them that for the money would be great..but that still does not satisfy the resale issue! I know one thing I have never played a bad reissue strat.. I allways tell people to get one... I say SAVE for what you want for along time and make a good business decision..name brand..with great playability with great resale. A newbie really NEEDS an experienced player to go with them and find their first instrument for them! let them pick the color and thats ALL!! :D I would play ten strats..line em up and say ok .. pick one of these!! DONE
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Originally posted by Guitarzan:

nice idea. be a professional guitar shopper for newbies. you could even help them sift through the salesman jargon and bull. :thu:

Right! or be one of those Guitar mystery shoppers! Ill pick em ..you buy em ...my motto! then when you get frustrated with playing ..Ill buy them back off ya for a price well below market!!! :eek:
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I pretty much agree with buying a name brand unless you really know what you are doing. A kid just starting out really can't do to bad with a Fender Strat. Thats what I tell people who ask what to buy. There is a certain credibilty factor if you walk into a room with an established instrument. Even though I don't put as much stock on it as others, when I was younger I was skeptical if a player was using something other than a Strat or a Les Paul.

 

An entry level Strat these days costs as much in todays dollars as the cheap pieces of junk that were available when I was first starting. Back in the 70's you could barely get a playable guitar for $200 which is probably $500 today. Of course, having an experienced player go along with to pick a good one is the best advice. There are good alternative guitars/ brands but Ellwood is right about resale value.

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Hehe, I was that way till I built my Carvin kit guitar. I basicly haven't played my Gibson or Fender since. I am not about image really. I think once you get to a certain stage you can determine if an instrument is good regardless of brand. What I was talking about earlier in this thread has more to do with advice for someone who doesn't know enough about instruments to make an informed decision.

 

I am not playing the Carvin to be different, I am not a non-conformist. But it is simply the best playing, best sounding, and most versatile guitar I have owned. Its very hard to find a guitar with all the features I wanted without going to parts or a custom job. I built it just because I had always wanted to try it. I did not actually expect to play it. Before I even plugged it in, as soon as it was assembled, I knew it was going to be good.

 

There are lots of folks like that stick to their guns and only play Gibsons and Fenders. I have seen the bad side of that though with other people with lots of money who can't play that buy vintage intruments and scoff at anyone who doesn't, regardless of ability.

 

I think Fender has always kept a certain quality of working mans instrument at a fair market price. I haven't seen a bad Strat that I can remember. Some don't sound as good because of the particular piece of wood, but they aren't really lemons. Gibson on the other hand has had real quality control issues, at least for the last 25 years. I would not feel confident in buying a new Gibson sight unseen. I don't think that they are run by people that care much about the musicians and are riding their name and have been for a long time. For the prices they charge, Gibson guitars should be perfect everytime. I think they hire to many lawyers (to sue PRS) and don't hire enough luthiers.

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Originally posted by Bluesape:

Does anyone else have these conflicts when trying to help a friend?

Always. I have respect for well-crafted instrumewnts, but so many people shop for guitars like washing machines. If it's cheap and the right color, it's a "good" guitar.

 

I stick to my opinion and if they want to buy something cheap, I tell them that they will be getting a cheap guitar. Imean, that's what they wanted, right? ;)

 

Sooner or later, they get the message that I'm not the guy to ask when it comes to copies and cheap imports. :cool:

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In my case, it took owning several guitars, some expensive and some cheap, to figure out what I liked in a guitar. That is what makes it so hard to recommend something to someone. I don't find myself very brand oriented. I like to look for the right size neck radius and a good balanced feel when it's strapped on. I knew nothing of what my preferences were when I bought my first guitar. How could I possibly know someone elses preferences? I think if you know a good guitar shop and someone knowledgeable and trustworthy that works there, send your friend over there.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Originally posted by ellwood:

I can tell ya this, I have never played a Fender reissue that was bad..moreover, if setup properly more than good, excellant! Im not sure about LP's all mine are so old and play so goo that Im out of touch with new ones..but the ES355 I bought about five years ago is a magnificent instrument.

I was in a music store in Jacksonville, FL on Saturday with my nephew (not Guitar Center) and played several Les Pauls, a couple of ES-335s and a CS-336. All of them were great guitars and all were brand new. So, I think the rumors about new Gibsons not being up to the quality of the older ones might not be quite true.

 

The 335s I played sounded, felt and played just as good as my 21 year old model.

 

They had a flame top LP Custom that I was drooling over (the finish was like glass). My 1977 model has nothing on that guitar. It played like a dream and sounds excellent (sustain for days :D ).

 

For newbies, I try to get them to go with name brands but I realize that many just can't afford USA Fenders or Gibsons.

 

Offering a service to go with newbie guitar buyers (or their parents) sounds like a great idea. What a nice way to give back to the community.

Born on the Bayou

 

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LP awhile back somewhere around the time we had a heated discussion about this anti Gibson stuff ...I did the same thing and everyting I played that was Gibson where great instuments ..not cheap for sure but really quality instruments. Im not sure where or how these quality issues came from but I dont know anyone personally that thinks that and I know alot of players here. So I guess I would like to see a bad one? if anybody is in the Detroit area that reads this ..tell me where you have played a bad one... I would go see it myself.
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I am basing the Gibson comments mostly on my 1983 search for my first real guitar. I had wanted a Les Paul all through High School and College and when I graduated I went looking for one. I went to every music store in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area and every single Les Paul had something wrong with it. Poor intonation, bent tuning keys, necks not aligned right, loose parts and some guitars that had no sound whatsoever plugged in.

 

This was all on new instruments, I didn't want to buy used. Some of the blame could be on the dealers. But for a guitar that cost $750 +- in 1983 dollars, there shouldn't be to many bad instruments. I was dead set on buying a Gibson however and kept searching.

 

I ended up buying my ES-347 after about six months of searching for about $1000. Its a great guitar but since I was a novice when I bought it, I didn't notice that the neck isn't aligned well with the bridge. The strings aren't centered on the neck. This was supposed to be a premiere guitar from the best manufacturer in the world and this is a major flaw. None of the guitars were faultless.

 

Over the years I have picked up Gibsons in stores but have never really been inspired. Again there is usually something wrong with them. I did buy a used Nighthawk at one time. It played well and had lots of sounds, but it didn't have any really great sounds. I ended up selling it. I have played other peoples Gibsons that were great. But I have yet to have the oppurtunity of buying a good Les Paul.

 

I am contemplating building something of a Les Paul concept from Warmoth parts but am still researching at this point. Sorry to hijack this thread, I don't really like Gibson bashing either but for the prices they charge, they should have alot fewer problems.

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