Showing posts with label Electric Guitar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Electric Guitar. Show all posts

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cheap ELECTRIC GUITARS

If you are looking for cheap electric guitars there is a lot of choice out there. 

You can buy a cheap electric guitar from as little as £70 and there are a number of brands making cheap guitars.

Don’t spend under £90 on a guitar

PRS Standard 22 Platinum Guitar
PRS Standard 22 Platinum Guitar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are buying your first electric guitar, I wouldn’t recommend spending under £90. Most of these guitars are built with very cheap materials to bring the production costs down, hence the retail price. The guitar’s sound will be compromised with this lower quality and the finish will also look a bit rough. 

You will usually find that the guitar strings are the cheapest ones you can buy, they will sound twangy. 

The other downside of these cheap electric guitars due to the low build quality is the durability. You will be lucky if you can play it for more than 1 year and not have a problem with the guitar parts. You will end up with a cheap electric guitar (cheap meaning the quality this time and not the price). 
Spend £90-£150 on a guitar

My advice is to spend between £90 and £150 on your first electric guitar. You will get some reasonable quality at the lower end and good quality at the upper end. 

Electric guitar brands to look out for

Here is a list of guitar brands that offer beginner electric guitars within the above price range: Stagg, Crafter, Vintage, Encore, Cruiser by Crafter, Gould, Squier, Yamaha, Dean, Peavey, Epiphone, Carlsbro and Ibanez.

The Epiphone, Vintage and Yamaha are the most popular electric guitars from the above list, the Stagg offers the best value for money in my opinion.



Should I Buy My Guitar in a Music Shop or Online? 

It is really up to you, but my advice would be to buy one of the recommended guitar brands above. You can do this easily online, and you won’t get a shop salesman trying to push what’s best for them rather than what’s best for you.



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

How To Choose An ELECTRIC GUITAR

For a music aficionado, the electric guitar is the instrument that offers the greatest thrill. Many classes offering courses in guitar playing have sprung up. Hence purchasing the right electric guitar will help you to enjoy your learning experience. Here are some easy to understand tips that will enable you to make a correct decision in purchasing your electric guitar.

PRS Standard 22 Platinum Guitar
PRS Standard 22 Platinum Guitar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are all the guitars the same?

No. There are many types of electric guitars available in the market. The right guitar depends on the sound that you are interested in. While some guitars can easily switch between jazz, blues and rock without any perceptible difference, the others cater to only one type of sound. Choosing the sound that you want will simplify your purchase decision. Besides, the sound you also need to take into account the location of the neck on the guitar. The two most common types of positions are the "set-neck" and the "bolt-on" necks. The set-neck allows you to keep on playing longer than bolt-on. The meeting point of the neck and guitar is tighter to allow the sound to move freely between the two.

The only disadvantage of set-neck is that it is difficult to repair or replace once it is damaged. The bolt-on style is available with the cheaper versions of guitars. The design is simple, locking the neck in a slot of the guitar body. Musical experts consider that this type of neck style does not give good quality sound and cannot be played longer, but this is more due to type of materials used. If you don’t mind spending money for a superior quality sound but not a durable electric guitar, go for a set-neck.

What are frets?

You can choose the electric guitar based on how wide and long the neck is. 21, 22 and 24 are the number of frets that you can get with the usual guitars. The guitars from Stratocasters have 21 frets. This gives you a shorter neck but opting for large frets will let you play more easily. Jackson guitars have higher frets. The number of frets you should choose will depend on the number of notes you want to play. A higher number lets you play more sounds.







Monday, September 5, 2016

I Use GIBSON PICK-UPS, Why?

For years or decades I’ve played electric guitar in bands at bars, schools, concerts and recording sessions yet I couldn’t tell you what pick-ups (p/u’s) were about. I mean, I didn’t have a clue as to what a pick-up did what to my sound. I grew up in a Gibson family. I mean that my relatives, when they didn’t ridicule me for my participation as a rock and roll guitar player, said if I played a guitar, it had to be a Gibson. So, I only had a clue about humbucker type pick-up’s Gibson used. Oh yeah, it’s little brother the P-90.

English: PAF Humbucker Pickup on a Gibson Les ...
PAF Humbucker Pickup on a Gibson Les Paul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My first electric was a Tiesco Del Ray I got for Christmas in 1967. I did get a Mattel Tiger guitar that was made of plastic and used a contact type pick-up. My brother and I each got one that XMAS so often times we’d use one of the pick-up’s as a vocal mic.

Those days’ electric strings were extremely limited in types and gauges available to young poor city folk like yours truly. I think I only remember Gibson, Fender and Black Diamond strings. This is before the Maestro Fuzz and the Vox Wha-Wha were available to the buying public like me. Back to pick-up’s!

With the limited info as to how the stars were getting “THAT SOUND” we just kept trying to learn guitar without “how to” magazines and poor sounding phonograph players playing 45’s on a tiny speaker. You could say there was no reason to discern between p/u’s.

In the mid 70’s I was already playing full time and knew about vintage Les Pauls and the legendary PAF pick-up’s that were installed in them. Around that time a N.Y. Co. was making a name for them selves as a replacement for your non- Gibson brand type (humbucking) pick-up, DeMarzio. I ended up buying one for my 76 Explorer. Mind you I owned since the mid 60’s, a late 50’s Epiphone symmetric cherry finish Coronet with a, I think someone called it a cobalt pick-up. It is referred to as the “P-90”, or “soap bar” single coil type pick-up. I loved that guitar and its sound. I just thought I should have a “real vintage” sounding guitar with a humbucking p/u installed. I also owned a Les Paul Deluxe with the mini humbuckers. It sounded great, I just thought it should have full sized p/u’s to sound and look right. To quote Ian Hunter in the mid 70,s, “Rock guitarist’s seem to have this Gibson fetish”, and I did! I wanted the “look”.

Chord Progressions

Gil Pini, the other Guitarist playing with me was using the DeMarzio super Distortion humbucking , and I for some reason didn’t feel good about it’s sound and feel, although it was touted as “heaven sent “ sort of thing, especially for Marshall amplifiers back then (no master volume on the pre-amp stage). I eventually purchased a Super 2 p/u, because it had more bite. And to me, meant, it would cut through cleaner and not be as transparent in the mix. I even bought the Alembic ‘Hot Rod Kit” for my 56 Les Paul Jr. (stupid) in 1976 or 77. That was supposed to be a good idea because it was hotter (better sounding) with a ceramic magnet to install, and since it was from Alembic (from California) and not some “upstart p/u manufacturer” it was the right thing to do. I didn’t think about the DeMarzio pick-up’s and I didn’t know that those pick-up’s used the ceramic magnets at the time.

As I started to record in major recording studios I’d learn to discern my sound. I didn’t have those how to magazines to hip me to that elusive vintage “sound”. Yet, I could hear my Gibson Explorer and my Les Paul Jr. distorting at all volume levels as well as attack approach. It just wouldn’t smooth out. I was puzzled. Still trying to connect the look with the sound, I stumbled through the maze for years.

Not having the patience, or the money to buy and compare p/u’s, I just tried to make a sound with what I had. I had all the right Pro equipment. Yet I was looking back, “wagging the dog”.

A good sound starts from the fingers, to the guitar to the P/u’s. If you don’t start there, you’re spinning in circles and you’ll end up with a transparent (fuzzy) sound without body and response. “Your fingers are your tone generators”. Not the amps or pedals. Those are tools to augment your expression. And if you learn anything about trouble shooting on the fly, you go down the line to find the problem with your sound or rig. The same goes for finding your sound. When establishing your sound you start with you, through the pick-up on down to the amp. With trouble shooting on stage, you should start with the amp and go down the line back to you. Which makes sense since you’ve established your rig set up, and you’re trying to fix what was working, you back track. If not, you’re spinning in circles, again!


So, I had a friend who made the point about how some pick-up’s play you and PAF’s don’t. I soon tried two 57 Classic pick-up’s installed on my 92 Les Paul Classic and what do you know? I had a sound that was tight on the bottom ringing on the top and honking clear / dirty mids when I played hard, and subtle soft tones when I backed off the and played lightly. I was in HEAVEN!! And the great thing that went with it was that, this same thing happened regardless of the volume setting on the guitar.

My experience was that the tone I got on full could be bright and tight with honk, and as soon as I backed off the guitar’s volume, the tone would take on a dark or dull shade. This meant I would spend a lot of time tweeking the blend between my rhythms (clean and crunch) and lead tones. Looking for each was a drag, and a waste of time!

I’m no tech. so I can’t and won’t waste your time with my take of their specs. I do know that there’s something about the combination of the enamel coated copper wire and the alnico magnets that give me a sound I can play with and use dynamics. It was soon after I started using the Gibson 57 Classic pick-up, that Gibson came out with their 57 Classic plus. This p/u was designed as a bridge p/u.

In the 50;s the gals at the pick-up dept. would wind these pick-up’s using an egg timer or something like that. Sometimes they’d be distracted and some pick-up’s would end up with more winds. Other times they would end up with less.

The p/u’s with more sounded “hotter” and when people started going for the tone, they’d notice the sound of certain pick-up’s compared to others. It wasn’t rocket science to come up with the idea to put one of those “hot” pick-up’s in the bridge position you would have a bright, tight, and honk’n lead tone where there wasn’t. And a whole new sub market in ‘vinatge' pick-up’s ‘ came about.

Which brings us full circle, “I use Gibson Pick-ups and I’m sure that the other brands quality alnico pick-ups are a good sounding product. I do know what sounds good to me and what I know from “my” experience. I’m a guitarist who’s been around the block and my ears have a sense as to what a pick-up should sound like, that’s what I go for all the time.

Make your self happy and keep the communication’s open!




Saturday, July 9, 2016

How to Restring an ELECTRIC GUITAR

For a newbie, this may seem a little intimidating.  But with the right tools, a little knowledge and some practice, you'll be able to restring an electric guitar like a professional guitar tech.  When I was gigging regularly, I would restring my guitar every week.  My body chemistry is acidic and the sweat and oils from my hands would tend to dull the brightness of the strings as well as make them feel "dirty".  For me, the bright sound and smooth feel of a new set of strings would inspire my playing.  It became a ritual for me the night before the weekend's gigs started.  I would sit in front of the TV and restring my electric guitar; my acoustic was much less frequent.

Music's mistery
Electric Guitar - Photo by angelocesare 

OK, so you've decided you don't want to pay the guys at the music store and you want to know how to restring an electric guitar yourself.  Here is the list of tools and supplies you will need:

· A new set of strings (naturally!) Click here for info on string sizes
· A string winder (not required but very handy)
· A pair of wire cutters
· A guitar tuner (again, not required but helpful)

You will need to set aside about an hour of time to do this correctly, but like I stated earlier, with practice you will know how to restring your electric guitar in about 20-30 minutes.  

First thing to remember, do NOT remove all six strings at the same time.  The guitar neck is designed to withstand the tension of the strings and if all of the tension is removed for any significant amount of time you could damage your guitar.

Also, there are some guitars that are literally held together by the string tension. I remember reading a story about a guy who had recently gotten hired as a guitar tech for the Ramones.  Wanting to make a good impression on Johnny Ramone he decided to restring his guitar for him right before the show.  He removed all six strings and Johnny's Mosrite guitar literally fell apart in his hands.  The string tension held the whole guitar together!  What's worse, the bridge of the guitar bounced across the floor and fell down the air conditioning duct.  

If I remember the story correctly, they spent quite some time using a coat hanger and chewing gum trying to rescue the bridge from the duct.  He retrieved it and managed to keep his job, living to restring the guitar another day.  But not all six strings at once!

But I digress.  Some people work in pairs of strings at a time, I prefer to work on individual strings.  You will quickly decide what works best for you.  Use this article as a guideline to get you up to speed quickly.  

OK, let's get down to it.  I always start with the high E string (personal preference); it helps keep me organized.  

If your guitar has a locking nut tremolo (whammy bar) system you will have to unlock it.  It works best if you remove the clamps completely and work with just the nut until the restringing process is done and the strings are stretched and tuned.  Then replace the locking clamps and fine tune using the tuners on the tremolo bridge.

· Use your string winder and loosen the string until there is enough slack that you can unwind the string from the tuning post by hand. 

· Use your wire cutters to cut off the curled end of the string and discard.  Do this to minimize the chance of scratching the finish of your guitar.  Push/pull the string back through the bridge slowly making sure it does not drag across the body.  You don't want restringing your guitar to result in refinishing your guitar!

· Next, unwrap the appropriate new string.  Insert it through the bridge of the guitar, over the saddle, up the neck, over the nut and into the hole in the tuning post.  Again make sure the trailing end of the string doesn't drag across the guitar body.

· Start turning the tuner by hand making sure the string wraps over the top of the tuning post.  Ideally you want to have 3-4 wraps of the string around the tuner, but this in nothing to stress over. 

· Turn the tuner until the slack is out and the string is properly seated in the nut and over the bridge saddle.  

· Next clip the excess string off close to the tuner and use your string winder to bring the string up to pitch.  

· Use your digital tuner and tune to pitch.

· Next, grab the string with your picking hand halfway between the bridge and the nut and lightly tug the string away from the fretboard.  Do not pull real hard, just hard enough to pull the stretch out of the string and tighten it around the tuner post.

· Tune to pitch and repeat the stretching process until the string stays in tune.


Now repeat the entire process for the remaining five strings.  Know that the pitch of the new strings may fluctuate as you work on the remaining strings.  This is especially true with a Floyd Rose or similar type floating bridge. When you have replaced and stretched the last string make sure all six strings are still in tune.  If you have a locking tremolo system, replace the clamps for the 
locking nut, tighten, and use the bridge fine tuners to get the proper pitch.

The final step is the best one; sit back, crank up your amp and enjoy. Make sure you play something with lots of note bending in it and make sure the stretch is all played.  

Take satisfaction in knowing that you now know how to restring an electric guitar.