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buying a guitar

I have never bought a guitar before in a situation where i had a lot of options. mostly it's been borrowing friends' stuff, or buying a weird shitty hollow body for $50 that was on the wall of a friend's house for decoration, or that sort of thing.

this is weird i guess because i've been playing guitar since i was in 7th grade and i have strong opinions about loads of other music things.

How do I make decisions about what kind of guitar I want?


  • edited January 2015
    What I did was look at what kind of guitar the people who's music I liked were playing, for MANY YEARS. I wanted a Fender Jaguar, but somehow the only thing I could remotely afford was a Fender Jagstang (cheap because it was a friend's and I got the money from a med student who felt I deserved a nice guitar so she bought a bunch of drawings from me). But Jagstangs are butt ugly and I was not a good enough guitar player to have such a fancy instrument so I left it behind with my old boyfriend in Victoria.

    Then I got a cheap Jaguar look-alike (Harmony brand, Sears basically) for a good price at the Trading Musician in Seattle. It was truly wonderful for many years, but so old and finnicky, with tiny screws rusting off and the pickgard chipping away.

    I started to get really worried about taking it on so many planes, so I eventually bought an actual *new* but fairly priced Fender Jaguar two years ago and have been very pleased since. The fact that it's new makes it not so fucking temperamental and even Fudge likes to borrow it for recording.

    Look at the Trading Musician's website. See if you like any of the stuff they have.
    Avoid eBay.
    Go to small town guitar shops. There is a wonderful one in Tacoma (I know you won't be in the state for a while). Or go to Ireland. Fudge got his amazing electric twelve string in Dublin and the economy had been so bad, the owner of the shop was thrilled to make a sale so he added a bunch of stuff.


  • edited January 2015
    I might go to Ireland in 2 or 3 years! But I can't wait that long. Your post was actually quite helpful though!

    We have a really great used music store just outside of town that gives us good deals because my husband has gone there since high school and they love him. This morning he was there to sell a bass amp and while waiting for the transaction to complete I picked up a "Nashville Telecaster" and sort of immediately felt this weird kind of comfort and ease with it, but I'm not sure how much of that is authentic and how much of it is weird retail therapy feelings and how much of it is that I've been playing shitty guitars for so long that playing an okay guitar feels heavenly.

    I think I want something like what you're describing that will be a reliable durable workhorse that I can have for like 20 years and won't have to worry about being finicky and can have available for people to play in the studio. Intonation is important because I play high up on the neck a lot and with weird tunings. I like a lot of sustain.

    That particular model had 3 pickups, including a "strat-style" pickup in the middle, which is supposed to make it more versatile? That sounds attractive but it also feels like I am totally swallowing a bunch of ad copy uncritically? That setting did sound basically like my brother's strat but easier to play.
  • Personally, because I am not that well versed in what pick-ups and extra knobs do I find that the simpler the guitar, the better it is. My new guitar only has a tone knob, a volume knob, and two pick-ups (with a switch). That's enough for me.
    I think I have four knobs on my other guitar and it just makes it so that sometimes (like at a fancy soundcheck in Paris once) I space out and I'm like "Why is this guitar sounding so horrible?" and we spend half-an-hour trying to figure it out only for me to realize after much fiddling with everything else in the room that one of my extra knobs is turned all the way down.
  • edited January 2015
    Y'all are crazy. EDM is where the money is these days. Sell the guitars and get some CDJs and a flashy head piece.
  • i recommend 80s ibanez strat copies. cheap, well built in japan, strat style 3 pick up, good solid hardware, undervalued, great playable necks. can be found in guitar stores for less than $500. maybe $300 even!

    just go with something that feels good in your hands, speaks to you creatively and romantically and is not going to break.
  • A few years ago I bought an Ibanez bass from the 80s (at the Trading Musician again) for $200 and I LOVE IT. It's a great bass, solid, does the trick, and you wouldn't know it"s an Ibanez.
    My only experience with Ibanez before that was my first guitar, which I bought brand new in December of 1995 (as a fourteen year-old). It looked terrible and played terrible, but I couldn't tell because all I did with it wasplay the same three L7 songs over and over.
  • 80s ibanez = secret guitar store gems

  • I am a guitar failure in about the jr high era because I had a guitar with too high an action. But tech has evolved and I think this is genius:, an auto tuner, including an alternate tuning library.
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