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If you're not well versed in something, how do you make a decision?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Sgroh87, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I've been playing bass for several years now, but this year I decided that I wanted to get some guitar under my belt to increase my general knowledge of music and to get a chance to play with lead and chords. I started out with a semihollow Epiphone Sheraton II and I took it pretty seriously for about five months. I ended up selling it to get my dream bass, a six string Pedulla, but my birthday and Christmas are coming up soon and I'm thinking about getting another guitar.

    Here's the problem, though: I listen to and enjoy playing pretty much everything except for country. Classical, jazz, blues, hard rock, metal (both chugga and non-chugga), funk... For me, it's all good. And because I don't know what I'll end up playing, I don't know what kind of guitar I should end up with.

    Part of me wants to get an Ibanez 7 or 8 string, like an RG8 or a 7421. That way I can do some heavier stuff while its distorted or I can learn to play finger style stuff like Charlie Hunter and use the lower strings for bass lines. The other part if me has always wanted a Telecaster, and there's a really nice Classic Vibe Thin line at my local music store. That would satisfy my desire for soul, rock, jazz, and blues quite well.

    The issue is that both instruments feel good but unfamiliar in my hands simply because I'm not used to guitar, and tonally it's difficult to decide because I don't know what I'll end up playing on it. I feel that the 8 string has the most potential to be disappointing because it's so different from the norm, but on the other hand I think it has the most potential for solo play (because really, if you play guitar and bass you're probably going to be gigging the bass). The tele is more conservative, a known quantity if you will. It'll certainly be good, but I think I'll wonder in the back of my mind if I should have been more adventurous.

    Keep in mind that my main bass is a six string, so I don't necessarily buy into the idea that more complex instruments are necessarily harder or worse to learn on.

    So how do you guys make decisions like this? Do you have any advice other than "go with your gut?" Because right now my gut is saying, "I dunno man, don't ask me."
  2. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Buy used. You can spend time using and learning the instrument without the cost depreciation of a new instrument. Sell it for roughly what you purchase it for if you decide you're unhappy later.
  3. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    +1 to buying used. Maybe you can get a nice tele and a 7 or 8 stringer Ibby to suite all genres. I bought a guitar about 8 or 9 years back too to broaden my musical horizons and try my hand and writing ad composing. It def helped my bass playing because I could see song structure in a different light. Anyway, I went with a Squier strat. It may not be able to cover some genres, but it does most. In the end, Im a bass player and a guitar isnt that important to me. Its just for home/practice/writing use anyway.
  4. RxFunk


    Dec 2, 2012
    A Les Paul would probably be able to cop all the tones you're looking for.
  5. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    Let's take the financial aspect out of the equation. I have a good relationship with the guys at the local music store and they work hard to get me a good deal. Oftentimes I can get a new instrument for close to the value of a used one, or close enough that I'd prefer to pay a tiny premium to be the first owner of the instrument.
  6. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    Especially for these budget instruments where the difference between used and new is less than $100 anyway. An RG8 new, for example, retails for $399. There's one on my local CL with a gig bag and strap locks for $375, and one just by itself for $300.
  7. NekoTheWolf


    Feb 20, 2013
    If I'm not well verse in something I close my eyes and flip a coin. Lol 🐌
  8. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    8 strings are trendy right now, so my local scene is littered with cheap, used 8 string guitars. Personally I do not recommend an 8 string guitar, it is fundamentally different than a regular guitar. When you go that low you actually cross into the bass frequency, so in order to use the thing tastefully in a band setting, you would need to be a solid guitarist in my opinion. I would get a six string, but that is just me. I wouldn't worry about the tone for now unless you try something and you find it really off putting. Basically anything will do to meet your needs.
  9. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I live in a fairly large metro area and there are two, maybe three 8s on CL right now. I was actually leaning more towards a 7 because then I'd have a low B just like my bass. Just to poke a little fun at you, though, the bass is only one octave below the guitar, meaning that you could potentially say anything above the bottom two strings on a bass is getting into guitar territory. ;)

    And right now I foresee the guitar being a solo project, something to play around with on my own in the bedroom or in a solo venue. I figure that if I'm with a group I'm probably going to be on the bass.
  10. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
    Many guitars can get different sounds, so why suggest that someone spend that much when they can spend 1/5 of that for a good used guitar? This is a beginner/novice, not a touring pro.
  11. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    Well, an Epi LP probably runs $350-500 new, which is close to the price range we're talking about. That being said, the one thing that I really disliked about the Sheraton was the feel of the painted neck. Although I've heard a lot of people fix that with some steel wool...
  12. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Don't make the mistake of thinking an Epi LP is anything even remotely resembling a genuine set neck chunk of mahogany that is THE Gibson Les Paul guitar.

    About all they share is the basic shape and name, beyond that there is no real comparison, especially when it comes to range of tone(s) the naked (no outboard effects chain) instrument is capable of.

    That said, if this is going to be mostly a toy for solo wanking at home and the occasional other situation, I'd say go for the 8 string. When you are alone and musing, there is no such thing as too much range on the instrument in your hands ATM.
  13. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    Check the Bay. Christmas is bargain time.
  14. TELE!

  15. RED J

    RED J Lol

    Jan 23, 2000
    Yeah, really you are in the exploratory stage, so you are unlikely to make a definitive decision at this point. Why not get one that will covers the bases to start, and see how things evolve. You didn't mention budget, there are so many good buys out there on decent entry level guitars, one of each ? You mentioned the Sheraton, a 335 type guitar covers a lot of territory.
  16. Buzzin_Cousin


    Sep 17, 2013
    How about a classic vibe or MIM strat or tele. You can put a stacked humbucker in the bridge of either one and then it's a pretty versatile instrument.
  17. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Seems to me it's just the same as the advice you'd give to a starting bassist. Try out different guitars in the store and go with what feels right to you, get something affordable and basic to learn on, and expect to sell it and buy something else as you learn more about the instrument and get a clearer sense of what you like. I'd figure a Squier strat or tele or an Epiphone les paul. I started with a Squier tele, then recently sold it and got a used Godin. Happy as a clam with it.
  18. I'd look for a 7-string over an 8-string personally. I played a cheaper Ibanez 8-string, and I found it had much the same issue that a lot of cheap 5-string basses, in that the lowest string had a distinctly different and less articulated tone than the rest of the strings. This meant that it didn't have the same punch, and its added (muddyish) low-end then made the other lower strings sound thin... but only by comparison. Do you see what I mean?

    I think it's the same issue as with 6-string basses, in that they need to be higher quality, more expensive instruments to really shine, because more thought needs to be put into the design to make it work. Plus, better build quality is required, because a more tonally broad instrument requires more solid construction to avoid inconsistent acoustic resonance.

    Better electronics will also be needed, with higher quality pickups and wiring usually having better fidelity (which you need for notes that are in the extreme ranges, relatively-speaking). I found the low F# string on the Ibanez I played to be quite muddy, but the B-string sounded sick.

    That all being said, you can't go wrong with a good Tele, and God knows Squire make plenty of them. I personally prefer Strats though. Les Pauls are great, the as has previously been mentioned, the difference in tone between an Epi and a Gibson is pretty large. Vintage Guitars make good Les Pauls though, largely because they use set necks and pretty heavy bodies. They're better than the Epis, IMO.

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