I started playing for the first time last June and practiced daily very diligently till developing hand issues in late November when I completed Beginner 2. Over the last 3 months I have been practicing just 30 min/day on the average. Tests are in progress, so I should know something by mid-April. in the meantime…
I took my Boss Pocket GT, Sennheiser studio headphones, and 3 ft guitar cable, 1mm purple Earnie Ball pick, and went to Sam Ash and then Guitar Center to try PRS but ended up trying other things instead.
My guitar is a Player Plus Fender Telecaster with the stacked humbuckers, which I think sounds great, can do it all, and is extremely comfortable to me.
Here are the settings and riffs:
1/ 5150 (not a great Boss sim): Aint Talking Bout Love, Jamie is Cryin’, Little Dreamer, Atomic Punk, You Really Got me
2/ Mesa Boogie (I cannot do anything with the Pocket GT Marshall sim): Hold the Line, Rainbow in the Dark, Holy Diver, Highway to Hell
3/ A clean Twin with boost for various licks and a beginner blues solo
4/ An acoustic setting for U2’s One.
And here are the guitars I tried and what I found for MY TASTES:
1/ Wolfgang Standard is too cheap. It is okay. But, nothing special, and a cheap FR to boot. Cheap versions of specialty guitars should not exist IMO.
2/ Ibanez RG for 600 or so looks like crap but plays great and sounds excellent. I liked the 16" radius. Very distinctive pickups. It is essentially a cheap Jem without the extras.
3/ Epiphone LP that is 650$: sounded excellent and looked excellent. The idea to have heavy lacquer is nuts but aside for the need to sell it along with 1 ton of sandpaper it seems an absolute steal for 650.
4/ Affinity Strat is a nice cheapo guitar and the single coils KILL it on cleaner tones. I did not run the full gamut on this one.
And then it became even more interesting:
5/ JEM7VP: I could not put this thing away. Blew everything and anything out of the water on every setting, every riff or cord progression I tried. From high gain to single coil, this was phenomenal. The 16" radius as with the cheaper RG I liked a lot. I don’t care for the pretentious looks but this guitar is a dream.
6/ Gibson Les Paul Standard &
7/ Gibson Les Paul the Guitar Center version.
After the JEM, the two Gibson Les Pauls were uncompetitive and I really did not like the GC version. They did the Dio/AC-DC stuff really well of course but that was about it. As a beginner, I did not think the actual Les Pauls were any better than the Epiphone and I would rather take sandpaper to the latter I understand that you are supposed to fish for the magical LP that sings to you but honestly that is just a way to perpetuate a myth and I would rather not have to try many of the same to get one to like especially when each costs north of 2,000$. I certainly liked the standard LP over the GC version though I cannot necessarily explain why.
So what then? Well, it depends. I am now doing everything in Eb and I will go back to 10-38 Hendrix strings from the current 9-42. That should be good enough for my hands no matter what happens. And so I would be able to add a Jem (not a PIA, too much extra money for minor differences and MiJ label) or a Wolfgang Special (not paying 4,000+ for a US model) down the road. I need to try a Wolfgang Special but the JEM really set the bar sky high.
I have been listening to Les Paul guitars since 1987 and to Steve Vai since 1989.
If I have to have a short scale, especially if I still want to do standard tuning, then I will take a hard look at the new PRS SE McCarthy and at the Epiphone Les Paul range.
Just my 2c, remember that I am a beginner and me holding a Steve Vai designed guitar is a like a pig driving a Ferrari.
What interesting things have you found out for yourself lately?