Beginner guitars.


New member
Hey there all,

I have been doing a lot playing around with midi and synths and digital audio, etc, etc.
I have recently considered the option of getting a guitar setup to add some "real" guitar sounds to my songs. only problem is, I don't know how to play and I don't know naything about guitars. :-)

I really like the acoustic sound and style, but I also have applications for electrics.

I am looking for something that would be affordable (no more than $400?) but would also be worthy of laying to a track. And of course, then there's that whole, I HAFTA LEARN HOW TO PLAY part.

I was flipping around on Carvin and Fender sites, and I saw the "Acoustic/electrics" What's that all about it application? Is it the warmth of acoustic guitar with built in pick-ups? Can I add distortion to make it sound raw, etc? In short, is it the best of both worlds, or is it a specific beast for a specific application?

Any help hear will be great. Thanks!


[This message has been edited by Jeff (edited 11-23-1999).]
The acoustic/electrics are just acoustic guitars that are able to be amplified. They have a piezo pickup in them which is basically like a little mic. This saves the trouble of buying an external pickup or micing an acoustic...but it still sounds acoustic because of its hollow body. The best of both worlds unfortunatily involves buying a guitar from both worlds. In Theory, you can put distortion on an acoustic, but I don't think it is what you are going for.
I would suggest picking up a cheep acoustic guitar and learning on that at first, then you'll know what you want in an electric or an acoustic.
Go to the largest Guitar store near you and spend a couple of hours playing everything they have so you can begin getting a feel for the different makes, styles, and your own preferences.

Ask a lot of questions--not just of the sales person--but of anybody in the acoustic room. Beware that only about a third to 50% of what they tell you will be true (because everybody knows that we guitar players, like sales people, are not only biased but half full of shit). We always try impressing others with our extensive "guitar knowledge"--either real or imagined.

Don't buy anything!

Do some more research, talk to some players you might know, and then in a few days or a week or so, go back and play all the guitars again and start narrowing down your choices.

Don't get into a hurry (easy for me to say) the guitars will be there. Some shops sell used name brand guitars for excellent prices, and they offer you 100% trade-up value at any time (check out This allows you to upgrade your guitar as your skills grow.

Good luck.

[This message has been edited by tdukex (edited 11-23-1999).]

[This message has been edited by tdukex (edited 11-23-1999).]
One word: borrow. I'll bet that you have a friend who's got some old junker guitar that he'd lend you. Crap I have 2!

Remember, you're probably not going to be able to play anything worth recording for a year or so. It can be very frustrating. One guy I used to play with was actually able to jam out pretty well after about 6 months..I'd never seen anything like it...maybe you'll be the same way.

I just really wouldn't recommend buying anything expensive or trying to understand quality just yet. Seriously. I'll give my Les Paul Custom to a guy who's only been playing for a year or so and I'll blow his tone away with my cheapass Ibanez EX180. 80% playing, 20% equipment.

Just get your hands on a guitar. You'll know within a week whether it's something you should persue. And it has nothing to do with how much you can play after that week... I've been playing for 10 years and I still suck... it has to do with how you feel about it. If you end up with a special chair at the dinner table for your guitar then welcome to the club :)

Good luck!

Slackmaster 2000
I agree with Slackmaster. DOn't let anyone tell you you need a $400 dollar guitar. I bought my first guitar, a Yamaha 3/4 acoustic for $150 and I still prefer it's tone and playability over a $400 guitar. I bought my second guitar, an Epiphone Genesis for $100 and a skateboard and the thing plays like a friggin dream. I have also bought a $550 Fender Strat - I love it, but only bought it after I'd been really in to it for a couple of years.

I have played a show using an electric/acoustic with distortion and I'll tell you what - - It sounds mean. The Breeders used distortion on an acoustic on Cannonball.

One thing that is important:I'd make sure it has decent "action" (the distance between the strings and the fret need to be low enough) My uncle tried to learn to play guiater at the same time I did, but he gave up and I didn't. A few years later I tried to play the guitar he had tried to learn on, the poor guy, the strings were about 1/2 an inch off of the fretboard. I know if I had tried on that guitar my future may have been different -

Guitar is a great instrument for learning about music, progressions, harmonies and all that crap. One thing I tell people who are considering learning is: "can you do this?" (I hold my hand up and make the Star Trek symbol) Thay say "yes" and I say "Learnig guitar is like learning the trek symbol - it'll take a few weeks for your muscles to realize what you want them to do.

I friend of mine bought a new Daneolectric form Musicians Freind. They are a good price and play real well. Good luck

[This message has been edited by Lorddiagram (edited 11-24-1999).]
Rock on GoldDust Dudes.

So let's see here. In summary, I should get ahold of an acoustic, either borrowed or inexpensive at the local store, and then fiddle around with it and the "Big Note Song book", and see if I'm even interested it learning to play? Does this sound fair?

And all would agree learning on acoustic is the best way to start?

Any brands in the 150-200 range that would be recommended?

Thanks guys!

My wife wanted a guitar for her birthday. Now this girl has all the heart in the world, but I questioned her longevity with playing so I went out and nabbed her fairly cheap machine. Good ol Musicians friend sold me a Fender DG-7 for $150.00. Honestly.. it kind of pissed me off how good it sounds and plays. I have a wall of guitars over here including some real decent quality acoustics, and to hear the quaility of her fender for the price made me smirk bitterly. Fender makes good stuff, and musicians friend always has that return deal if you are cranky. But thats my call for a decent and cheap acoustic. By the way.. she is doing great with it six months later.
Yep, A girl that I've been giving lessons to bought the same one. She bought the beginner pack that has a tuner, picks, strings, string winder, polish, etc. I think she paid just under $200 for it, and it sounds and plays pretty good. I had to do a setup on it to get to play right, but you'll have to that even with an expensive one.
Yamaha makes a model that's almost identical, I think they're probably made by the same manufacturer. I'm told that Fender doesn't actually build that model themselves, they just have their name put on it.
But, who cares, it's a good guitar for the price.
about a month ago i decided i wanted to play guitar.. i went out and scooped up a new yamaha pacifica down at the local guitar center for 200 bucks... it was highly recomended as a first guitar from members of this bbs... i also bought the POD from line 6 for 300 bucks to avoid buying a head and a cabinet ... and i love it , and everyone swears buy it... everything in total came to under 600 bucks for the guitar , pod , cables , gig bag ,picks , and a stand.. so now all i need to do is learn to play... the first 2 weeks my wrists and finger tips started to burn after 10 mins of playing , but thats gone away.. and now , i can play mary had a little lamb w/o looking !! im on my way babyyy !!

- eddie -
I've got six guitars in my lifetime and none of them is above $350. My point is that you don't need to pay big bucks for a good guitar today !
Heres the run down as far as I see it. Point to fact, great gear is great, sure. We all want to have a top of the line super machine. And yes, it does make a bit of a differance in the end. But certainly not in the introductory stages. Actually it's almost the opposite. If you can play well on a low level piece of gear you will play that much better on a great one when the time comes. The key to it is heart. I play the same 10 chords that everyone else does, but somehow folks get moved when I play them (usually) why? heart. My guitar is like my wife as far as a relationship goes. I love her. I love to hold her and she loves to be held. I do not stare at my guitar awkwardly to play it any more than I methodically hold my wife. If and when I do look at the guitar to play it, it is in admiration of the grace. But it was after years of dedication and heart. and likewise when I touch it the right way I get rewarded. Short of picking up a 70 dollar special, any decent guitar will be a perfect marriage to you to learn and grow.
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Hey take it from a guy who has played and owned about every (well not every) guitar(brand) the cheep one have more life and soul to em, the new fender squires(the standard with the better tunners is like $200 bucks)are cool and sound good and play awsome.
I have had four fenders(Tele, strats)one gibson(lp studio light)Two Ibanez(jem Floral, rg 270)one epiphone(lp special.. hey if you guys see one with a sunburst finish and two huge cracks in the top let me know Ill buyt it back)and a crapy little harmony.
the cheep ones were the coolest.
just a thought.
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Just remember this......and I'm really drunkin right now...yes you get to see slackman in rare form. It's all about feel. Once you understand the guitar enough to know what you're looking'll know what I mean.

This reminds me of the all popular Fender vs. Gibson debates on usenet. This guy over here will swear that the Fender strat is the most versitile guitar in the universe...and this guy over there will swear that he gets so much more tone out of a les paul.

Bullshit. It's all a bunch of crap. Dragon ban me if youw will but I'm at a loss for words. Crap. Shit. Whatever.

It's all about how it feels to you. And you won't have a clue what that means until you've been playing for a while. I tell you what. Every now and then I break out my old Ibanez which is strung with light guage strings.....and i'll think, "wow, this feels SOOOO good"...and it does. But then I start to really play...and suddenly the strings are popping off left and right. So I break out the Les Paul with heavy gauge strings and even though it doesn't feel as limber, it plays so much better.

Drunk guy. Simple point. Don't ask this question. Too many answers and there's a good chance that none of them will apply to you.

I'm a relatively big guy. I like the feel of the les paul. In fact I wish it was heavier. I like it when my fingers hurt. I will not string my guitar with strings lighter than .11.

Holy shit. What's my point? I dunno. Guitar is such a personal any instrument. It's like asking a bunch of guys: "what's the best way to masturbate?" You'll end up with a million answers and none of them will be just right.

Your initial question was something like: "I want to learn. I'm not rich. What kind of guitar should I buy." I'm telling you that nobody can answer that question. Playing guitar is not like programming midi on your computer. What you need to do is get a guitar in your hands and start playing.

Here's some great advice that's already been posted....get a guitar that's easy to play. Screw the sound, look for ease. This will help you get started. That's it. You'll get it or you won't. Another thing to consider is that some people just can't play the guitar...their hands just don't sit right and there's nothing they can do about it. That's why I'd recommend going the cheapest route possible...that is...borrow!

If you must buy, look into Dean acoustics. They go down real cheap and look real pretty. I recently helped my girlfriend buy one for under 200 bucks. Same situation as others have posted.

Eventually you will get to a point where you will understand the difference between a great guitar and an average guitar. But in real life it's indescribable.

Oh man,

I think if I asked a bunch of guys what the best way to masturbate was, I'd end up with one answer and a black eye. :) Wednesday night, Slack? :) Anyway, first, about the "how it sounds" debate ... my first guitar was given to me by my mother when I turned the big 16. I recognized it instantly because it had been around the house as long as I can remember: it had been given to her on her 16th birthday. I never learned to play it before because it was strung the wrong way (she's right, I'm wrong) :) The brand of it is, believe it or not, Suzuki ... yes, it seems that every crap-car manufacturer got their start in violins in the 19th century. Anyway, I tell you boys, this thing, although having terrible intonation (the 12th fret on the low E sounds more like an F) it sounds wonderful. The bridge is glued on, and you can't access the truss rod whatsoever, but it's a beautiful guitar... and I fell in love with it (in particular) and the playing (in general) within a week. I'm approaching my 4th anniversary with her, and I'm also approaching my 1st with my Fender Strat. And the same way you guys were kinda cheesed that the cheapo Fender acoustic sounded so good, my friend (with a LP Custom) is envious that my Fender plays and sounds so good ... and for the record, the Strat is a MUCH more varied sound than the Les Paul. Try quacking with a Gibson... just go ahead and try. :) Anyway, now it's time for me to buy an amp... Anyone have any ideas for a cheap used ~50watt amp? :) Ciao!
Oh crap, here we go. Fenders are toys. Little wobbly lightweight pretty-as-a-little girl guitars. You can get all the twangy tremy high pitched squaking you need out of a Fender, that's for sure.

I'll bet you that I can get just as good of a sissy tone out of my LP as you can out of your fender. Plus I can dive into the deep end with the flip of a switch.

The les paul just sits there staring at me. I think it's saying, "Hey, pussy, you can't play for sh*t" It wants to be abused. Squeezed and knocked and twisted. Do you know why they didn't stick a trem bridge on the Les Paul? Because they're for sissy guitars. You gotta be able to bend the neck until that guitar sounds like a floyd rose equipped child's guitar. "look maw, I can make a stupid noise!"

I don't remember who it was...but the last time I posted a tune to the mixing clinic someone said, "I like the tremelo" and I responded "That's vibrato, silly!" and they said, "oh, cool" or something. It's all about how you play man...

Think back on all of the power rock bands of the past that had the "big sound". Think back to the guitar hero's of the 60's and 70's. The biggest thickest fattest sounds weren't coming out of a fender...except for a few guys who didn't know any better. Poor Hendrix, his sound could have been so much better.


By now you should have learned something very important about playing the guitar. Most of the conversation you'll have with other guitar players will be kind of dumb. In other words, do what feels right for you!


I am just kidding, even though you did strike a nerve. :) I am going to be getting a fender as my next guitar because I WANT that lighter sound sometimes....but I too need a better amp first. Whatever you do, don't get a Peavy solid state. It was my first amp...50 Now I hate myself. It's sitting right here with me...and it knows I don't have the money to replace it. :(

Anyway, nothing better than a good pointless debate. And about Wednesday night....if I don't have to work the following day, then it must be a friday, eh? I haven't had Jack Daniels in such a long it really snuck up on me :)

Slackmaster 2000

I remember who that was. That was me who falsely praised your use of tremolo on your song. However, my response was not "oh cool". I believe it was more to the effect of nice technique. Which brings me to this statement: It takes years to develop good technique on guitar....hell, to get technique period.


To be able to appreciate the difference between a $200.00 Pacifica and a $2K Les Paul, you have to play for a while, you have to develop technique. Some people don't have it. For instance, this guy and I started playing at the same time. After a few years, he still didn't have it. His bends were about 1/8 step low, and his fingers would fly around the fretboard hitting about every third note, but he never heard it. He just didn't have the ear for it. This guy can not appreciate the nuances of a Les Paul or a high-end strat (there are tremendous differences even among the many strat models offered by Fender). I played an $1100 strat that was a completely different animal then a $400 strat I picked up right after it.

My point is, I may be able to look at Jeff Gordon's stock car and think to myself "man, if I could drive the shit out of that car, much better and faster than my Integra". But the fact is without years of practice, beginning with sprint or kart cars, gradually working my way up to that level, I'd eat the wall in turn 3.

I have no advice on any particular brand of guitar, just start off with a cheap one. About 80% of the people I know that started playing guitar end up with that guitar occupying valuable real estate in their closet.

Sheesh. I was just kidding....being totally sarcastic. The whole point was that here are two guys going at it over two of the best guitars available. It's the type of crap you'll see daily on usenet. What I'm getting at is that it doesn't matter and never will. If a fender feels better to you then play a fender. If a gibson feels better than play a gibson. Gizmos, knobs, and trem bars won't help you play better.

The only thing I can recommend to someone wanting to pick up the guitar is to not spend too much money. You'll know when the time is right because you'll pick up that 1980 les paul custom and it'll just feel so right. Took me years and years of complete satisfaction with a 200 dollar ibanez before I realized it.

Oh, and another great reason to start on a cheap guitar is that when you're famous you'll have that "first guitar" story. :) (note smiley face = just kidding)


Slackmaster 2000

Not offended, sometimes I just get the uncontrollable urge to throw in my 2 cents-ask my wife. :) To tell you the truth, I envy you because I would kill for a Les Paul. I have what was an $1100 Ibanez and I would trade it in a minute for even a Les Paul Studio. The weight of the body and the feel of the neck is unequalled in my opinion.
Anyone wanna trade?

It'll be a while before I pick one up though, all resources are being funneled into our impending addition to the human race.
And you are right. The feel of a guitar is much too subjective to ask any guitarist what he/she thinks.


[This message has been edited by dmcsilva (edited 11-27-1999).]
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I don't own the Pignose yet, I'm doing my homework first.. I haven't heard anything bad about it yet, except that it lacks reverb. But who the hell cares, really? :) If I wanted reverb bad enough, I'll get a pedal. My only amp right now (and the amp I used to get all my wonderful, creamy tones on my mp3 songs, hah) is a 12-watt Squier Sidekick. It's actually not a bad little amp :)
I have a Les Paul and A Fender American Standard Strat. I love em both.
I have big hands and like the extra space on the Strat fretboard - to be honest with you I think the Les Paul feels more like a toy - a heavy one yes, I think it is because of the small scale fret board - it makes it too easy to bend the striings for me.
I think it is funny to worry about Hendrix's tone. Some things you just can't change. Honestly, If I ever feel that I need a better "this" or a new "cutting edge" that - I sit back and listen to Hendrix - Crash Landing or Midnight Lightning - I am blown away and feel like a little weeny-

oh yah - I think Yamaha has some nice good priced acoustics.
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