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Author Topic: Great for beginners  (Read 7574 times)

Offline Mick

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Great for beginners
« on: June 22, 2014, 11:14:12 AM »
Over the years, while perusing various guitars, especially the really cheap guitars.  I've come across the words, "Great for beginners", or "a good guitar to get you started", etc.

Now surely the cheaper it is, the harder it is to play, or is this not true any more?  If it's harder to play, and sounds crap, is that going to be a good guitar to start out on, or is it just going to disappoint, and put you off.

What are your thoughts on this?


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Offline Joom

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2014, 02:42:35 PM »
Most of the time when they say "Great for beginners", or "a good guitar to get you started", they just mean cheap.  Very little initial investment.

That's okay for quite young kids who want to bang on some strings and you don't want to invest much till you know they have a real interest, but for anyone (young or old) who really wants to learn it's better to spend a little more money.  Not that you can't make music with the cheap ones, and they can be great for carry around instruments that you might leave in your motel room or drop in a fast running creek.

But for anyone serious about playing, the 'playability' and sound of a better instrument can make learning easier and more enjoyable.  The cheap ones can be a little rough on you, we don't really all want to play till our fingers bleed - that's just a saying. :P

And again, not saying cheap is always bad, and sometimes you can get a great deal.  But overall, I'd say spend a bit more.  Even if you have to look for a used one of some caliber.  Just one old guy's opinion... ;)
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Offline Hinfrance

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2014, 03:49:47 PM »
Cheap guitars now are in a different class to the cheap rubbish from the past. In part it's due to better CNC machinery, but also it is down to competition.

I have bought three cheap starter guitars in the past 18 months, and while it is undoubtedly true that they are not as good as my more expensive instruments, they are nevertheless far from the untunable finger shredders of the bad old days.

In fact, jsut to be contrary, the worst guitar I have bought in the past few years was only this month - an ESP LTD 5 string bass, which cost the same as my Prophesy. I sent it back because it was so bad - no sign of any attempt at quality control.

So the moral is, suck 'em and see. Some will be brilliant, some awful, but more are the former in my experience.

Offline Joom

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2014, 04:12:53 PM »
In fact, jsut to be contrary,

We have to be once in a while, or it wouldn't be a discussion... ;)
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Offline Mick

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2014, 04:20:23 PM »

In fact, jsut to be contrary, the worst guitar I have bought in the past few years was only this month - an ESP LTD 5 string bass, which cost the same as my Prophesy. I sent it back because it was so bad - no sign of any attempt at quality control.


Doesn't sound good H, you'd expect better from the likes of ESP.  I have to say that things appear to have changed dramatically over the last couple of years, like you say, it's probably to the tooling and competition.  Some of the brands have come on in leaps and bounds by the look of it.

Suppose the top end major brand guitars are more of a status symbol / investment rather than a workhorse, unless of course you have really deep pockets and want the best of the best.

My other thread regarding Harley Benton guitars, is just an example of how much these guitars have improved, not only do the look fabulous, they sound, and from what I've read on various forums, they play well too.  All on a really cheap budget.
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Offline Joom

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2014, 05:02:44 PM »
The Harley Benton looks pretty good, Mick.  From the original post, I thought you were talking more like the $48 Walmart special type 'cheap'...
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Offline Mick

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2014, 05:08:08 PM »

From the original post, I thought you were talking more like the $48 Walmart special type 'cheap'...


To be honest Joom, I was.  ;)  That's the kind of guitars which very often carry the label, good for beginners etc.   
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Offline Mick

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2014, 09:01:33 PM »

the worst guitar I have bought in the past few years was only this month - an ESP LTD 5 string bass, which cost the same as my Prophesy. I sent it back because it was so bad - no sign of any attempt at quality control.


Hinfrance  I meant to ask, what was wrong with the ESP ? If you don't mind saying that is.
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Offline Scarebear

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2014, 03:39:36 AM »
I have guitars that range from $27 (new and shipped from China for that cost) to $1500 (not that I paid that much after a good haggle). They are chalk and cheese. But, I have a few that are what I'll call entry level that play and sound better than some of my others that cost more and are better known brands.

Interestingly, I was reading on the weekend that Squier was something Fender did to counter the copies that were coming out of Japan. They then used the same factories to build their Japanese models.
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Offline Hinfrance

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2014, 08:13:56 AM »

the worst guitar I have bought in the past few years was only this month - an ESP LTD 5 string bass, which cost the same as my Prophesy. I sent it back because it was so bad - no sign of any attempt at quality control.


Hinfrance  I meant to ask, what was wrong with the ESP ? If you don't mind saying that is.


Don't mind saying at all Mick. The problem was the electronics. The tone was horrible and the output almost non existent, even after I adjusted the pickup height and put a fresh battery in it. The luthier work was fine, beautiful wood and a lovely thin neck. I wasn't prepared to immediately shell out several hundreds more for new pickups and active circuitry.

HERE is an mp3 of the output volume compared to one of my old Hohners and the Harley Benton HBZ2005. Recorded in Reaper, with the loudest bass, the Hohner, at -6db. The input gain was then left the same for the other two basses.

The guitars are in order the Hohner, the HB, and then the ESP. According to Reaper the maximum output from the ESP was -28db. Yikes!

Offline Hinfrance

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2014, 06:32:27 AM »
Forgot to say that I agree that the "instruments" sold at the very bottom end of the market, like the guitar amplifier kits in toy shops, really are too dreadful to contemplate. One of my friends bought one - it is pretty much unplayable.

Offline Mick

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2014, 06:45:14 AM »

Don't mind saying at all Mick. The problem was the electronics. The tone was horrible and the output almost non existent, even after I adjusted the pickup height and put a fresh battery in it. The luthier work was fine, beautiful wood and a lovely thin neck. I wasn't prepared to immediately shell out several hundreds more for new pickups and active circuitry.

HERE is an mp3 of the output volume compared to one of my old Hohners and the Harley Benton HBZ2005. Recorded in Reaper, with the loudest bass, the Hohner, at -6db. The input gain was then left the same for the other two basses.

The guitars are in order the Hohner, the HB, and then the ESP. According to Reaper the maximum output from the ESP was -28db. Yikes!

There seemed to be quite a difference between the first and second, but the last one is bloody ridiculous.  :D  I can see why you sent it back.  ;)
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Offline Hinfrance

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Re: Great for beginners
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2014, 07:15:02 PM »
There's the difference in quality for you Mick: the Hohners were expensive at the time, and still play and sound excellent even ater all these years and hard use. The Harley Benton doesn't have adjustable height pickups, which TBH would probably fix the 4db difference in output if they coukld be raised a tad.

As you say the output from the ESP was risible.