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View Full Version : Guitarists: Going beyond the Beginners' Level



happy-and-lost
July 31st, 2007, 12:59 PM
I've been playing my Squier Stratocaster for four years now, and feel that I've pretty much grown out of it. It's a beginners guitar great for learning the basic mechanics of playing. Now I'm a bit more of an intermediate guitarist I want something with better resonance and overall tone, so I can work on my dynamics. I want to go to the next level.

So what would ye of great experience recommend as being a good step up from a cheap Stratocaster?

Tomosaur
July 31st, 2007, 01:17 PM
I've been playing my Squier Stratocaster for four years now, and feel that I've pretty much grown out of it. It's a beginners guitar great for learning the basic mechanics of playing. Now I'm a bit more of an intermediate guitarist I want something with better resonance and overall tone, so I can work on my dynamics. I want to go to the next level.

So what would ye of great experience recommend as being a good step up from a cheap Stratocaster?

That depends entirely on how much you're willing to spend, and what kind of sound you're after :P

The only real way to find a new guitar is to go to some guitar shops and try some out. It's completely subjective, and depends on your playing style and what you want to accomplish.

I personally use a Burns Marquee. It's a very nice guitar - it feels a little heavy the first few times you pick it up, and may sound a little harsh and twangy, but you will get used to the weight (it's not really that heavy to be honest, but it is heavier than a squire), and you can just adjust the pick-ups until you get the sound you want. It has a five-way pickup selector, and you can 'pop' one of the tone knobs to get a more robust 'humbucker-style' sound. The neck is very smooth, it has good sustain, and the whole thing is sturdy as hell. It looks good too - the pick-guard is 'broken up' and the headstock is very unique looking - it is curved in on itself (think of one of those old parchment scrolls).

I think the retail price for this version is 200 - 250, although there is a more expensive Hank Marvin signature edition. The cheaper version is no cheap knock-off though, it's a very, very nice guitar. You'll probably have a hard time finding it in guitar shops - I first found one in Manchester. As soon as I picked it up I knew it'd be something special. I didn't have enough money for it brand new though, so I bought a second-hand one (the only reason the guy was selling it was because someone had given it to him as a gift, then someone else gave him the Hank Marvin signature version at a later date - lucky bugger) for around 150.

It probably isn't the best guitar in the world for say, metal - it's more of a rock and roll guitar, but I've tweaked mine enough now that I can go from a beautiful clean sound to an aggressive fuzz sound using a Big Muff Pi pedal. If you're willing to spend a little time adjusting things so you can get the sound you want, it's a very rewarding guitar.

happy-and-lost
August 1st, 2007, 09:36 AM
That is an interesting looking guitar. Sounds like the kind of thing I'm looking for, I'll keep an eye out for one :)

guitarmaniac
August 1st, 2007, 10:13 AM
As mentioned above hard to pick a guitar that suits your needs unless you give us a bit of background info.
What style of music to you play and whats your price range.
For metal the brands I recommend are Jackson, ESP or Ibanez.
I have an ESP Viper which is sort of similar to a Gibson SG.
I picked it up for just under $500 AU and I'm pretty happy with it.
Its a bit heavy but I don't mind that.

maniacmusician
August 1st, 2007, 10:13 AM
I think the next natural progression would be a steel string acoustic guitar. They are a bit of a different breed, and fun to master in their own right. Classical acoustic guitars are also wonderful.

If you're only going to play electric guitars, then I guess it really depends on your style and the kind of instrument you prefer. For instance, the Fender Mustang is one of my favorite guitars, but I often have to wrestle with it to get the sound I want, and it has a distinct feel that I don't get from a strat or anything else. I love wrestling with it. Frustrating sometimes, but when we're in sync, we make some beautiful sounds.

You could stay within the fender family and go for a tele. They certainly have better resonance and tone (in my opinion) than a squire strat. Beyond that, I can't recommend too much in the way of electrical guitars. I have a Yamaha that I got from one of those "beginner's kits"; it was my first guitar ever, and I still enjoy playing it once in a while. Other than that one, I just have a few Fenders. That's because I've been mostly using my acoustic and classical guitars lately. The electric ones are gathering dust, since my amp broke, and I hate playing on my puny practice amp.

happy-and-lost
August 1st, 2007, 10:25 AM
Steel string acoustic, huh?

Anyway, some background:

I love British indie/rock type music (ie. Coldplay, Doves, Kaiser Chiefs), and like clean, resonant tones with a pinch of delay and a bit of bite (I have an assortment of effects pedals which at the moment simply serve to give the Strat a bost). I'd consider my guitar idol to be Richard McNamara (Embrace (http://myspace.com/embracemusic)), I guess the finest example of his work would be "Feels Like Glue" which is a long, fuzzy meandering melody...

That's what I want to work on, melody and tone. With music being my first and foremost love, I could be persuaded to spend up to about 350 (US$700?). Weight is not an issue, I've been playing bass for 6 years, my current one weighs nearly 10lbs!

bobbocanfly
August 1st, 2007, 11:12 AM
I play the same sort of music as you and currently using an Epiphone Explorer (You know, the big pointy thing). While you might think its designed for heavier music, its is EXTREMELY versatile, i can go from playing some clapton/bluesy piece to an all out Biffy Clyro solo on that thing. Plus the sustain is immense. But it may be a big difference to the Fender/Squier you are currently using, the sound will be very different and it will play differently as well.

Also, check out what guitars your favourite bands use, then go to your local shop and sit in there and play them all. You are bound to find the tone you like by doing that ;)

Edit: If you like all that delay stuff give a Fender Telecaster a go.

ynnhoj
August 1st, 2007, 12:16 PM
thinking sort of along the same lines as an acoustic: you might want to consider a hollow-body electric? epiphone and ibanez both make some pretty nice, affordable guitars. i've never been too crazy about ibanez, but their artcore line of hollow-bodies seem pretty nice.

i've been thinking about picking up an epiphone casino, to tide me over until the time when i can afford the gretsch (country gent, or maybe a white falcon) that i've had my heart set on for so long now..

here's a pic of the epiphone:
http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/9/7/3/461973.jpg

and for the record: i also think picking up an acoustic at some point is a great idea :)

happy-and-lost
August 1st, 2007, 12:20 PM
Ooh, I was thinking about getting that Epiphone, it's a pretty iconic guitar.

Thanks for all the advice everyone :)

hanzomon4
August 1st, 2007, 12:44 PM
That Epiphone looks great, I have a similar guitar, Ibanez artstar. It sounds great but I don't have much experience with different guitars, my first guitar is a no name guitar but I love it.

Hey check out some Feist songs if you like melody - Secret Heart(She plays a guitar similar to the one picture above) (http://youtube.com/watch?v=Dexg87cxVDI) and Gatekeeper (http://youtube.com/watch?v=kgZ8bZ9TuO0) are pretty neat.

jeffc313
August 1st, 2007, 01:59 PM
I play a Mexican Fender Telecaster. I have always been a huge fan of the versatility and tone of the tele. Just try to pick up a used one, because the new ones are expensive.

Tomosaur
August 1st, 2007, 02:57 PM
thinking sort of along the same lines as an acoustic: you might want to consider a hollow-body electric? epiphone and ibanez both make some pretty nice, affordable guitars. i've never been too crazy about ibanez, but their artcore line of hollow-bodies seem pretty nice.

i've been thinking about picking up an epiphone casino, to tide me over until the time when i can afford the gretsch (country gent, or maybe a white falcon) that i've had my heart set on for so long now..

here's a pic of the epiphone:
http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/9/7/3/461973.jpg

and for the record: i also think picking up an acoustic at some point is a great idea :)

Our lead guitarist uses that guitar, it gives a really nice 'indie' sound.

strabes
August 1st, 2007, 10:19 PM
For an intermediate guitar I don't think you can beat the Epiphone Les Pauls for the price. The tone and construction are great. Set neck, mahogony body, alder tops, etc.

swoll1980
August 1st, 2007, 11:05 PM
I love my washburn electric acoustic. I also have a fender strat, a samwick bass, a fender accoustic, a ibonaz telecaster copy, and a harmany 12 string, but nothing sounds as crisp and clean as the washburn.