The Electric Guitar
The Electric Guitar – A Basic Overview – We will try to cover enough information about the electric guitar to give you some insight on what’s available. Also an idea of what some of the differences are (Tone, Action, Styles, Costs, etc). This information should give you a better idea of what to look for when you go to purchase your Electric Guitar.
Electric Guitars come in many shapes, colors, sizes, styles, and tones!
Here are some things that beginner players should know, understand, and consider before buying an electric guitar.
There are so many different styles of guitars that have different “sounds” (tone) that you must take the time to listen to several guitars before deciding on buying one. Not all guitars sound the same, but if they did there would only need to be one model (and all you would have to do is select a color).
*Favorite guitars of some famous guitarists: Eric Clapton / Jimi Hendrix – Fender Stratocaster, Jimmy Page / Zakk Wilde – Gibson Les Paul, Angus Young – Gibson SG, Randy Rhoads – Jackson Guitars, BB King – Gibson ES-335, Joe Satriani – Ibanez JS1200, Carlos Santana – PRS, Billy Gibbons / Bo Diddley – Gretsch Thunderbird, James Burton – Fender Telecaster, and the list could go on and on… These guitarists selected these guitars because of their tone (they liked the way they sounded).
Go to a music store and sit there and try out all the guitars that you can. If you are a beginner, have the sales guy (who should be a guitarist) play something on a few guitars to see what the guitars can really sound like. Listen to the guitar sound to make sure the “tone” is what you are looking for.
Play-ability (The Action):
A guitar can look great and even sound great, but if it is extremely hard to play and rough on the fingers it may not be the guitar for you. It is very important that the “action” (how far the strings are from the fret board) is low and adequate for you to handle (without busting up your fingertips). Note: If the action is extremely low, make sure you listen for “buzzing” on the different frets and / or “dead spots” on the fret board. Action Handout Here!
Play the guitar, check the action, and make sure that the “Playability” is smooth and the “Action” is low.
The “Look” (Shape, Style, Color):
Once you have your mind made up on a certain sound it’s time to pick a color (most of the time if you like the sound of a guitar – you may not get a choice of the shape and style). Although the color of the guitar will not affect the “tone” and / or “playability” you still have to pick a color (you’re the one who has to play it, and be seen with it). On some models you may not get a choice of color (or the choices will be very limited), but if you do have an option to pick a color – pick a color that you like, and will feel “good” about. Remember – a guitar can have a great looking shape (design) thats cool and outragious, but also have poor tone and playability…
Plays great, sounds great, looks great = A very happy guitar player.
With today’s technology don’t forget to ask about the “Modeling” guitars that are available. A modeling guitar pretty much has multiple guitar sounds programmed in to them (such as the Les Paul, a Stratocaster, a 12-string guitar, a Sitar, and many more). All you do is flip a switch and you can get over 30+ different guitar sounds. It’s that simple (very easy to use) and they sound incredible.
Here is one of the most popular models currently available:
Line 6 “Variax”
Line 6 is leading the way in modeling technology with their James Tyler Variax US Custom Series models. The has over 30+ classic guitar sounds at the flip of a switch. From Gibson models – Les Pauls / ES, to Fender Stratocasters / Telecaster, and Rickenbacker 12-String, Banjo, Sitar, and many others to choose from. A very versatile guitar – Try one for yourself to see if it’s right for you…
Click on Picture for more Information
When you purchase your new guitar (or any type of music equipment) you must feel “good” about the purchase. Don’t just be all hyped up that you have a new guitar – you really need to feel good about the purchase (no second thoughts, or feel unsure about it, etc). This is important – To walk out of the music store with a great feeling about your new guitar is the final stage of the purchase. If you have a doubt, go eat some lunch, then go back to the music store and keep trying guitars until you find the one you really want. Once you are ready to pay for the guitar don’t forget to ask the salesman to throw in some guitar strings, picks, or Fast Fret in the deal for free. They may or may not do it, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Common Mistakes Made:
a) Purchasing an expensive guitar (on-line) without playing it first (the only exception would be the “Combo Packages” for beginners – those sound good, and are great for beginners). Never buy an expensive guitar that you haven’t played or held in your hands. Don’t take someone else’s word for it – what “sounds good” or “plays good” to someone else does not necessarily mean it will “sound good” or “play good” to you. Don’t take the chance if you are investing a lot of money on an expensive guitar.
b) As a beginner, you should start with a very inexpensive guitar combo package. Don’t go out and buy a $2,300 guitar (see the electric guitar model below left) if you are just starting out – what happens if you decide not to play anymore? – You will never get back the money that you paid for it. Start small (see the Electric Guitar Combo Package below – Around $300) – Then if you decide to stop playing, you should be able to get back at least half of the $300 you put in to the purchase. If you continue to play and your skills improve, then you will be ready to move on to something a little more expensive (sell your combo package and put the money towards your new guitar). Starting with an inexpensive combo package will give you some extra time to save up for your “Dream” guitar…
Remember that selecting a guitar is a “subjective” process, and the final decision should be made by the person who is going to be playing it. Go ahead and invite your musician friends to assist you at the music store – but just make sure that you are the one making the final decision on your guitar purchase (and feel good about the decision you made).