Fun Saturday Trying Out Various Guitars

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 :slight_smile: 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?



whats the question? :thinking:. seems you already have a perfectly good start

Sounds like you’re having a good time with all the gear. Hope your hand issues get sorted soon.
For me, I’ve been ‘lucky’ to have found some pretty great guitars early in my journey, and for not much money.
Great company here Australia, Artist Guitars, makes some great instruments that I’ve both learned on and enjoyed,the last nearly 3 years.
Have an LP and a Telecaster that both sound great, and serve me well in all areas.
All the best.

Cheers, Shane


Hey, Steve. Sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon.

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That I tried my custom Jaguar style guitar for high gain sounds and it worked great and toned down some very light custum explorer/flying V GAS :smiley:

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Nice! I tried a Squire Jaguar and a Mustang and a Jazz Master but all very briefly, just a couple riffs while I was at it. So I don’t have clear recollection, but they all sound interesting, each in a different way. I thought the Jaguar did well with high gain.

must note; my Jag has a custom humbucker in the bridge position so it’s no typical sound from the get go ^^

I got an Epiphone SG Modern about a month ago. The neck is comfortable and not as much difference as I originally thought it would be while researching. I spent most of the afternoon yesterday playing it. I don’t notice the differences in thickness nor do I much notice the fret position changes compared to my longer and much thinner Ibanez SWE761.

It has a very chimey sound to it. I find I turn the treble down a lot. It also has a very strong tendency for sympathetic resonances on other strings. I really need to have a lot of string control to play this and keep the unplayed strings quiet.

I haven’t found a good clean like i have on my PRS Tremonti SE. The brightness is enough to make it sound unbalanced. This will be a little more effort for me to balance it out. I can get an acoustic-like sound on the on the PRS that is very pleasing.

It does sound good for brighter rock, AC/DC as you expect, sounds right. Playing something darker, not so much. I figure this will get better when I find the balance I am looking for with the brightness.

I haven’t fiddled much with the phase or split coil controls. I don’t see a lot of change in the coil split sound which is a bit of a disappointment. I wanted a strong single coil bridge sound because I didn’t have one.

It likes a very light touch as well. If I hit the strings hard, they go pretty far out of tune until they settle down.

I haven’t fiddled with action height yet. I did drop the strings from the original 10-48 that felt like tree trunks to 9-46. That isn’t much change, so I am wondering if it is more brand of string than size.

One thing I was interested in when looking at this is the position of the bridge compared to my other guitars. The bridge is further toward the neck, so it sits over the cutout where you set on your leg when sitting down. It relieves a little shoulder tension, but in turn my picking hand is now the wrong angle for bridge muting, so my wrist needs to bend a little. I am getting used to the bend and location of the right muting location.

The strap button is an annoyance. it pokes into my ribs since it comes straight out the body toward me. I need to rotate the neck a bit out to keep the button off me.

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Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

Palm muting was the trigger to finally gave up on my starter Shecter guitar after 3.5 months of initial practice. So far, I find Fenders a dream for palm muting, my Telecaster has a football field worth of space :slight_smile:

I do fine on Les Pauls but I have not really held an SG since I was a complete novice so I don’t know.

As I wait on hand and blood tests, I wonder if I will need to have 1 short scale guitar which would also serve as main practice guitar when learning new things and also as a travel guitar though that ain’t really important.

Hopefully not because that would be a complication. I figure if I get a Fractal FM 3, I should be able to keep the tuning in Eb and yet get the E standard songs sound right via the pitch shifting function in the software.

As for strings, I have tried 10-46, 9-46 (hated that), 9-42, and 10-38. I think 10-38 are about perfect for my hands because the 9 jumps on me out of the nut when I play Highway to Hell:) and is generally extremely thin. Meanwhile, the thinner lower strings require less pressure.

I guess this is the MAJOR thing I learned about myself:

I like Alnico 2 and 5 but I LOVE quality ceramic pickups. Now my tastes for tone and preferences for say Vai and John 5 over Satriani make more sense to me.

I need to try a Jem with the ALnico 5 pickups to verify my hypothesis :slight_smile:

I do have a Super Distortion in my starter guitar and that thing really “sings” to me :slight_smile:

If you like that sort of thing I would recommend looking at a Zvex Fuzz factory, it’s the basis of the fx that Matt Bellamy has built in to his guitar.
As regards Guitars, have you tried a PRS SE Silversky?