Guitars, basses and other noisemakers

I stumbled on this. Not guitar-specific, per se, but feels like it should be in this thread.

Two legends goofing around, playing some of their most famous riffs. I saw JF at Radio City in 2017. He put on a powerful show.

 
So kind of a newbie question here, but I don’t know if any of you guys could help me here:

I used to have a Mexican Fender Strat when I was 10 or 11 and very enthusiastic to learn guitar. It was a very decent guitar as I recall, with three or four knobs and a vibrato bar. But, due to some reasons that I don't think are important to talk about, I became disillusioned with playing the guitar. When we had to move to another place for some time, we left the guitar with some members of my family.

The years go by and a couple years ago my brother needs a guitar for music lessons in junior high. It turned out the members of my family we left the Fender with sold the guitar! I was a little upset but I kinda understood, seeing as how I hadn't touched the guitar in years and they are always short on money. So my parents buy my brother a relatively cheap Squier Strat, with only two knobs and nothing more (well except for the strings and all that jazz).

Now, my brother became interested with playing the drums rather than the guitar, and I have gained back my interest for playing the guitar, and maybe even forming a band in the near future.

Of course, I'm still a beginner and I've been mostly slamming power chords into the thing and trying to figure out simple songs I like by ear, but I've been taking care of the thing. I made a much needed string change (we hadn't changed the strings since we bought it), bought a new cable as the one that came with it was screwed up, and even bought a new strap. Most recently, I saved up to buy an Orange amp, which I heard has a dirtier sound than Marshall or Fender amps.

Now, I have always been interested in getting a Les Paul, but a) I'm not a pro musician and b) I ain’t willing to sell my kidney to get one, yet. However, there exists the Epiphone Les Paul. So my real question after so much blabbering is: should I get an Epiphone Les Paul or should I stick to my Squier Strat, or are there any other beginner guitars that you would like to recommend? Is it all just a waste of money and maybe I should wait until this music thingy starts going somewhere to consider getting a new guitar (maybe a real Les Paul)?

Remember, I'm relatively a beginner slamming mostly power chords and two note solos into the thing, looking for a crunchy, garage sound.
Advice will be much appreciated.
 

mjp

Founding member
I've only read good things about Epiphone Les Pauls (the ones with the glued-in necks, not the really inexpensive ones with bolt-on necks). You might know that Epiphone and Gibson are the same company, the guitars are just made in different countries.

For the price of a new Epiphone Les Paul Studio, you can probably buy a used Gibson Les Paul Studio. If the name on the headstock matters to you. If you're in a city with a good music store, you should look at used guitars that you can play a little bit before you buy. Or if you have local classifieds, like Craigslist, you can get even better deals. But again, you have to look them over and play them first. You can get twice the guitar for your money buying used.

There are a lot of differences between Strats and Les Pauls, but the main ones are the fingerboard on a Strat has more of a curve to it, a Les Paul is flatter. And the space between the bridge and the nut is about 3/4 of an inch longer on a Strat. Neither of those things probably matter much unless you're used to playing one over the other.

Inexpensive guitars are better quality than they've ever been, but there can be a lot of differences between guitars that look the same. I've always played Gibsons, but one of my favorite guitars was a Mexican Squier Telecaster I bought in the 80s when I didn't have any money. But I picked that particular one out of about 20 of the same model. They all looked the same, but they all felt different.

Guitar preferences are arbitrary and mostly stupid. When you're just getting started there should only be one rule, if it feels good in your hands, it's a good guitar.
 
For the price of a new Epiphone Les Paul Studio, you can probably buy a used Gibson Les Paul Studio.

Yeah, I've read about that in the internet. Thing is, like you said, that it would require a good music store to do so. Most music stores I visited here sell pretty entry level guitar models, like Epiphones, Squiers and that sort of stuff. However, one of music store employees I encountered while looking for the amp was pretty cool, so maybe I can ask around and see if anyone knows about used guitars. I also haven’t look at options like pawn shops or classifieds.

Guitar preferences are arbitrary and mostly stupid. When you're just getting started there should only be one rule, if it feels good in your hands, it's a good guitar.

That's why I don’t wanna make a rushed purchase. My guitar, while pretty generic-looking, holds up pretty well, and I don’t want to buy a brand new guitar just to make it look better. After all, the important thing is what you’re doing with it (maybe I should just slap a few stickers on the thing to make it more "unique"). I'll keep looking around but who knows? Maybe one day I will find a great guitar that suits me nicely in a trash can or a yard sale hahaha.
 

mjp

Founding member
I've bought a lot of new guitars, but to me an old guitar almost always looks better than a new guitar. (And an older guitar usually feels better, if it hasn't been beaten to shit.) I don't think I've polished a guitar since I was a teenager. I know some people like them to look pristine, but I like the looks of them when they've been played. When they've been out in the fields working. Musical instruments are one of the only things that get better as they get older. Guitars and shoes.

I don't think I've ever put a sticker on an electric guitar. I wired some blasting caps to the headstock of a Les Paul Deluxe, and nailed a metal medallion onto the body. But no stickers. I sold that Deluxe to a Las Vegas guitar shop and saw it later on MTV.

You used to be able to find guitars at yard sales, but now everyone who has an old guitar laying around thinks it's worth ten thousand dollars. Finding a decent guitar for nothing doesn't happen much anymore.
 
I've owned an Epiphone and I found the build quality to be less than fantastic, although not really bad. I'll bet your "cheap Squier" is at least of as good quality as most Epiphones. And as I posted upthread, of all the basses I've owned, my favorite to this day is the one that cost me the least.

A good point was made by mjp; the Epiphone/Gibson style fingerboard radius is quite large, resulting in a fingerboard that is nearly flat. Fenders/Squiers on the other hand, are mostly 9.5" which introduces a pronounced convex shape to the fingerboard. Ultimately, this difference may be a driver for you. I'd also point out that you got tired of guitar once, so perhaps stick with the Squier for a while longer to be sure that your interest sticks this time. In the meantime, play as many guitars as you can; don't jump at anything you think you want. The right one for you is the one where you pick it up and immediately know "this is the one." I've been playing guitar since 1977 and bass since 1980, so I've been through this dilemma before. ?
 
Funny (well actually kinda sad) update: I mentioned that I saved up to buy an amp. So that was what I was on my way to do yesterday, and when I get there, shop's closed. Like... forever kind of closed. There's nothing in there. The funny thing is that I had never seen that store before even though it is on an avenue I frequent sometimes, so when I went in to buy my strap I asked, "Hey, since when are you here?" and they were like, "Oh, we've been here for four years". Cool. That day I saw the amp but decided I should think before I buy it. Couple of weeks later I went there to get my new cable. Couple weeks more and it's now completely gone. Guess I'll have to look for the amp online.
 

mjp

Founding member
The COVID scammers are coming in hot with dozens of "Guitar "Shop" sites that will sell you a $3000 Les Paul for $92. In fact, everything is $92!

(Don't send them any money, of course.)

https://www.srlcmc.com/
 

mjp

Founding member
That's pretty clever.

It reminds me of figuring out ways to play through the living room stereo console when I was a kid. Those things had massive tube amplifiers and 12" speakers in them. You could really make some noise.
 
Hi guys

I've come to realize I really like the sound of telecasters for rock. At least I think so

So for a while I've been playing with the thought of looking at some of them to see if I bond. Before I do so, however, I would like to ask in which direction I should go.

For a good tele ROCK tone, is there anything I should avoid - either for playability or tone etc?
 
I need money to spend on all of these great ideas for guitars I have.. But here's the latest one - a twangy hollow body guitar.

Both guitars gretsch vs epiphone are in about the same price range, and as far as I know they both have reasonably comparable tone. I play indie and post-punk revival sort of stuff, and usually play clean, but when I put on the distortion, I really let it roar. A hollow body could be good for feedback.

My current guitar (which will continue to be my main guitar) is a Fender Tele.

I'm basically just wondering which people prefer. There's a new Casino out, but it's only in a limited run and I doubt I'll have the cash to get the guitar before they're all sold.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
Well, to be fair I've never seen anyone play this song with their eyes open.

Wait, that's not true. There was this open mic night a few years back at Bearly's House of Blues here in town. Sloppy Craig did a version where he made a point of maintain eye contact with the audience. He would pick someone while he was playing and stare at them until they looked away and then he would pick someone else. This went on the entire time he played. I should put played in italics, because he didn't have a guitar, just a big board with some uncooked spaghetti glitter glued to it. It may have been spaghettini, I didn't get a good look.

Anyway, Sloppy Craig rubbed the pasta and sort of opened and closed his mouth, not actually singing, and really if he didn't say "This is 'May This Be Love' by Jimi Hendrix" before he started I would have had no idea what he was on about.

He did his thing for about 45 minutes until he started crying and while he stared at me with tears on his cheeks I put a five dollar bill on the stage and left.

I would have preferred to hear him not play "Hey Joe," but Sloppy Craig gained a new fan that night.
 
I just spent the better part of an hour scrolling through this thread. Good stuff. I may have posted the following elsewhere on this site at some point, but not in this thread and while it's not about noisemakers per se, it's about synched-up noise transmission at large concert events. While there is Grateful Dead content here, it's not about them. Very interesting stuff about Eventide Clockworks:

Eventide Clockworks - Watkins Glen
 
Cool article, Purple Stickpin. Oddly enough, the Grateful Dead is at the root of many live-sound innovations. I'm in the business of live sound and a surprising number of us are former Dead-Heads.

As for the delay: we also have to delay signal going to stage monitors (wedges) for many percussionists because they hear the transient attack on their instrument then hear it over the line array delayed by milliseconds and it throws them off. I have a cool video I took standing behind a drummer at a big show that illustrates this phenomenon. I'll see if I can find it and upload it.

EDIT: re: Watkins Glen. I was having an argument about which living musician has played in front of the most people in their career. I came up with Bob Weir of the Dead as the obvious answer. He performed at Woodstock, Watkins Glen, Englishtown raceway in '77, The US festival, and Altamont. Thats well over a million right there. Then he's been touring constantly since '65, playing to ever-increasing audiences (in size) and larger and larger venues and is still selling out stadiums today. Who has played in front of more bodies than Weir?

Edit 2: Weir was at Altamont but I don't think the Dead performed there that day.
 
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Hannah

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which living musician has played in front of the most people in their career.
I think there are a lot of arena bands from the same era that drew (or still draw) similar-sized audiences and played way more shows than the Grateful Dead. The answer to the question is unknowable, of course, but if there was a list, I'd be surprised if any member of the Dead showed up near the top.

It would probably be someone we'd never even think of. Cab Calloway or REO Speedwagon or something. ;)

Or more realistically it's probably the Rolling Stones. Who else goes out and plays nothing but football stadiums for entire tours every few years?
 
It's living people alive now. So no to Cab Calloway. The Stones would be a contender. But the Stones never played Woodstock etc. Also, as you said, the Stones only tour every few years. Even in the 70's and 80's they'd do a big tour every three or four years. All the other arena bands are playing to decreasing audiences. I think I'd still put money on Weir being in the top five.

If there's a disqualification for Weir it's that he was playing to the same 10,000 people in every arena across the country.
 

Hannah

Your host
Moderator
Founding member
I would think a week of dates on any Stones tour would equal one Woodstock as far as audiences are concerned. So I'm not sure playing a small number of mega-shows gives anyone an advantage over 50 years of playing stadiums (even though, yes, the great oracle of Wikipedia says there have been only 21 Stones tours in those 50 years).

I only bring up the stones because they consistently play to (what seems like) the largest audiences. I know there are a lot of road-warrior bands who've played many times more shows than the Stones, but likely to many times fewer people. I'm sure there's some industry publication (or used to be) that tracks attendance numbers. So maybe your answer isn't unknowable. :)

If there's a disqualification for Weir it's that he was playing to the same 10,000 people in every arena across the country.
ZING! Ha.
 
Yes, Grateful Dead actually didn't play Altamont, despite being part of the organizing body. They were on the bill, but after hearing/seeing what had happened to members of their crew and to Marty Balin, they opted out.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Speaking of the Stones, this statement by Yoko Ono upset a lot of Beatles fans on Facebook. ?
FB_IMG_1607273466846-2.jpg
 
It's hard to argue with an opinion. And I don't necessarily disagree, but in terms of concise output, the Beatles destroyed the Stones. On the other hand, the Stones were certainly more prolific over a long period of time. And at times, I'd rather hear Let it Bleed than Let it Be (actually, almost always). But I'll take the best of the Beatles over the best of the Stones.

But I respect Yoko even more for saying this. Sensitive fans can go pound sand. I can't understand why fans get their knickers in a twist when anyone criticizes a band (or a writer or a snarling wife on the balustrade).
 
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d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
well, now we know why she broke up the beatles - she was secretly working for the stones, and infiltrated the fabs
in order to commit internal sabotage.

she's even worse than we all thought!
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Damn, it´s a rock and roll comedy website! I should have checked but when I saw that bit about Yoko Ono posted on a Facebook page for Beatles fans I took it at face value. How embarrassing. ☹️
 
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