Need Electric Guitar buying advice

Discussion in 'Musicians and Instruments' started by purr1n, May 15, 2019.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Kid is starting electric guitar lessons. He is 11, but small for his age.

    Any recommendations? A Mexican Strat seems nice, but a bit too big and more than I want to pay at $600 or so.

    Teacher recommended a 3/4, but all they had at the local Guitar Center were these pieces of shit at $129 which I would not even consider musical instruments. I also don't like the random setup quality at Guitar Center. It's all over the place. Honestly I feel better about buying from Sweetwater where they have techs check the shit out before shipping.

    So that leaves something with a short neck. Also smaller or thinner body would be nice.

    I know and have my preferences with electric basses, but not much about guitars.
     
  2. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    3/4 sized guitars are almost always junk, but look for something with a 24.75 Gibson sized scale rather than the 25.5 Fender scale if he has small hands. What style of music does he want to learn to play?
     
  3. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    One of my musician friends, who also deals in guitars suggested a Squier Bullet for your criteria. He says cheap and good. Short scale as well.
     
  4. Overkill Red

    Overkill Red Friend

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    I can vouch for this; back when I was younger and played electric guitar I started off on Squiers. Tried tons of them, both MIMexico and MIAmerica, and they've all been at least above decent compared to my friends' similarly priced non-Squier guitars. If I'm not wrong a well set up Made in America Squier wouldn't be too expensive and will be relevant for ages.

    P.s. Switched to bass and am rocking a Fender American Std Jazz Bass, so use that to decide whether to trust my opinion or not I guess! :oops:
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
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  5. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Also started on a Squire, even came with a little amp and VHS! Eventually moved to an Epiphone cuz they looked cooler
     
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  6. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    The cheapest of the Squires, the Affinity, normally come with poor quality tuners. The rest of the Squire line is normally pretty decent.
     
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  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    He seems to like the power chords overdriven / distortion thing. Deep Purple, Sabbath, throw in Weezer, etc.

    LOL. One day when I can practice consistently and develop enough strength, I'd like to get an American P bass just for that sound. I'm not a big guy so the Fender basses seem like they weigh 500 lbs, although I did play upright for a time. My last two were Ibanez because of their light weight, small necks, and easy playability. Currently have an Ibanez fretless, and if I had the money and time to be really good, I'd probably get a Zon.

    One thing that did strike me is how good the Mexican Fenders are today. I could swear that when growing up, all guitars had some kind of screwiness with the neck unless it was a primo made in America.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
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  8. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    He can have mine. I'll take pics tomorrow to see if you want it. I have a beginner amp as well I'll ditch for cheap. Both are practically new and unused.
     
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  9. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Seems like a question for @The Alchemist. What happened to him anyway?
     
  10. bboris77

    bboris77 Acquaintance

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    If he likes playing power chords, it sounds to me like he may need something with humbuckers rather than single coil pickups. I would get a guitar that has a humbucking pickup in the bridge position and two single coils (one in the middle, and one in the neck). This way he gets the best of all worlds. Sqiuers are great as everyone mentioned, just don't get the cheapest ones. Yamaha Pacificas are also great beginner guitars.
     
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  11. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    I have an Epiphone (double cutaway with humbuckers) and a 50s style Fender (made in Mexico) Tele. My Tele looks just like this one except I also removed the black scratchplate to show the wood.

    I couldn't choose a favourite, but they are different animals: the humbuckers are loud and bassy; the Tele is much cleaner and leaner (think ZMF vs HD580 with all the foam removed). Especially the Tele bridge pickup was too hillbilly for me. I replaced one (maybe both?) sets of pickups for a more full-bodied sound.

    https://www.andertons.co.uk/childs-first-guitar-guide
    "From ages 9-13 you are looking at ¾ size and for anyone over 13 a full-sized guitar should be no problem."

    It sounds like a full size might make more sense for an 11-year old. I mean, he can always play it sitting on the bed for the first few years.

    In your position, I would probably look for a nice used Mex Tele/Strat or an Epiphone, not sure about prices - maybe $300? Also don't discount hollow body versions which are a bit lighter and can have lovely resonances.

    WIth any cheap guitar the action tends to be too high, which affects playability and can be off-putting as a beginner; the first thing I would do is find a good local guitar tech and have them set it up properly with a lower action.
     
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  12. bixby

    bixby Friend

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  13. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    You can get a Mexican made Fender 24" scale Duo-Sonic HS for about $500 from Guitar Center. Why not take a drive and see if the neck works for your son? If you are concerned about setup you could buy from Elderly Instruments rather than Guitar Center, every guitar or mandolin I have bought from Elderly has been set up properly by a tech before shipping.
     
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  14. skank

    skank Friend

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    Fender J-Bass for us small handed peeps. Not light but definitely not as heavy as a Rick or some Peavey's that will put your leg asleep in minutes. Doesn't have the sound of a P-Bass but...

    My son was small and played a Jr Squire ($100) for about a year.

    It gave him confidence to get around the neck with ease.

    He quickly adjusted to full sized guitars after he grew a little.

    Some Boss tone pedals will give him the sustain and grunge he's looking for for cheap.

    **EDIT**

    I setup my own guitars and basses so I can get most cheap guitars to play fairly well which is something that they all don't always do when they come out of the box.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  15. westermac

    westermac Friend

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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Thanks for the tip. I didn't know Fender had a lineup with 24". I almost went with a Squier Bullet, but decided to move up because sometimes I might want to play. I've found myself teaching my daughter on the acoustic even though I wouldn't call myself a guitar player. When this happens, I might find myself learning and practicing something for an hour afterward.

    The Squier Jaguar, another 24", looked interesting and I felt the body shape might have been easier for my kid, but too many buttons and knobs.

    I have a guy that I work with at Sweetwater who gets me deals. Their site was acting odd for me this morning so I called him. Turns out they had a MiM Duo-Sonic demo with a bump on the back (which in my experience with Sweetwater is like nothing I can see or nothing I won't eventually do), and he reduced the price even further than the advertised discount.

    Ahh. No time anymore. Not with RL job, family, and SBAF.
     
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  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I paid a bit more at Sweetwater. I just don't trust Adorama with these kinds of things. My bass was set up perfectly out of the box from SW, so I'm going with them. Besides, I have someone I can yell at with SW if I am not happy.
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Anyway, this is kind of cool. Surprised at the number of musicians here. Then again, not really. We do need more Stradivari; you know, just lying around the house or at the nearby park, just enough so we need to worry about tripping over them.
     
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  19. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Non Voting Friend

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    Fixed bridge will stay in tune better. Unless you want to block a cheap strat Clapton style avoid floating for beginners. Guitar center won’t send back dud, unsellable to anyone who even knows how to make a power chord, bullets and squires so avoid buying from them. They also won’t stock stuff like easy to play cheap ibanezes and Jackson RR copies.

    1. Cheap hard tail or blocked strat (bullet or squire or used score)with aftermarket less noisy bridge pickup (save yourself when he plays). Play before you buy it to make sure you don’t get a dud with the frets or totally messed up intonation. Buy it from a good shop (not guitar center) and pay the 50-75 bucks for them to set it up. Stick a hot rail on it if he wants high gain crunch and he can use it until the frets wear out. With the hot rail pickup, you may want to play yourself.

    2. Cheap Fixed bridge Ibanez rg. 421 has a “not legally mahogany” (they were finally forced to stop calling it that) Filipino red meranti body that will ring like a Les paul so it sounds nicer than the cheaper basswood ones but it’s your money. All the electronics are fine and the neck is thin. You will want to play this yourself.

    3. Adrian Smith and Dave Murray signature model strats, Jacksons, and pick guards if you don’t like fixed bridge and love distortion. You will like to play their stuff if you like strats and crunch. Maybe too expensive.

    For ballers: Charvel 24 fret made in Japan or USA super strats. The 2016 made in Mexico style ones are sick too but the earlier mim are spotty. The hard tail humbuckler one is amazing to play but not the same as a hot railed strat.

    For cheap bastards: Some of the Yamaha Pacifica stuff is shockingly good if you don’t don’t care about looks and can change some of the electronics.

    Avoid Gibson guitars. Some of the special edition Epiphones not made by them are consistently good but avoid.
     
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  20. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    @purr1n :

    IMG_20190516_130912.jpg IMG_20190516_130904.jpg IMG_20190516_130857.jpg IMG_20190516_130933.jpg IMG_20190516_131630.jpg


    Pardon the dust.

    Reading what you posted earlier, you probably aren't interested. That's ok. Figured this would be better in someone's hands than just sitting around my house collecting dust.

    Purchased with advice from a friend who has played rock and metal for a few decades. He went with me to guitar center and helped pick it as a "first axe" for a noob (me). I have a little padded stand it sits in too.

    Pay shipping. Maybe throw in a steak dinner if you're feeling charitable.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019

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