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Bring Them On Back

What Kind of Guitar For a Beginner?

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Those Strat pack guitars are decent for the money. I wouldn't do more than restring it and play it, modding it would be tossing out good money since you'd never get it back on resale. When it's time to upgrade you can buy another guitar, these days you can buy a pretty nice axe off the rack for $300 USD. I checked out the Squier Classic Vibe stuff a few times and it's pretty good for the coin. However I think used gear is where it's at, as long as used stuff like the DeArmond M-75 can be bought for $200-400 I think that's the way to go. Craigslist is where I pick my stuff up, a few months ago I bought a killer Japanese Fender Strat '67 reissue for $270 and I alos snagged a CIJ Fender Jazzmaster for $375. I just sold that one for $600 and used the money to buy a Les Paul for $700.

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As long as the neck is straight and the frets are level, the most important thing you can do is to have a good setup. Your local shop can probably do that for you. I can take a $100 guitar and make it play just like a $1500 guitar, you need a good setup for ease of playing and learning without having the strings way too high. They can set your compensation/intonation, sadle radius to match the fingerboard, string/nut depth and string height. Nothing worse than trying to learn on a badly setup guitar.

John and the crew

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On another note, the left handed guitar player, if you haven't learned to play yet, learn right handed. That is what I did. It is the only thing I can do right handed. It will give you a better selection of instruments down the road.

John and the crew

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As long as the neck is straight and the frets are level, the most important thing you can do is to have a good setup. Your local shop can probably do that for you. I can take a $100 guitar and make it play just like a $1500 guitar, you need a good setup for ease of playing and learning without having the strings way too high. They can set your compensation/intonation, sadle radius to match the fingerboard, string/nut depth and string height. Nothing worse than trying to learn on a badly setup guitar.

John and the crew

Hmm.. I don't even know what half of that stuff is...

... how much would it cost to do that?

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Hmm.. I don't even know what half of that stuff is...

... how much would it cost to do that?

Probably in the $60 area. Call some shops in your area.

John and the crew

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I've been reading up about configuring a guitar, and most every article advises against taking it to a shop on the basis that it'd be sort of like asking your mechanic to adjust the seat in your auto for you...

I've found some pretty detailed articles outlining every little step, and am I'm in the process of setting it up myself.

Things I've Done

I've already set intonation, which was easy with an electronic tuner. I was surprised to see it wasn't far off at all from the factory.

Setting the pickups gave me the most notable results. I initially thought the guitar was a P.O.S. because I was getting horrible sound, but setting the heights and balancing the pickup-to-pickup outputs made a world of difference, and was relatively straight forward. I doubt the factory even set these up as some of them were so far from the strings they were barely picking up anything.

I've also adjusted the saddle heights. Again, it was easy and the factory had these pretty decent, but I was able to eliminate some string buzz on a few strings without getting them too high.

Things That Scare Me

I have yet to mess with the truss rod, mainly because (correct me if I'm wrong) I could possibly crack the neck... It has to be done though, as I've still got some noticeable buzz, and can visually see a couple strings hitting the frets near the middle of the neck.

I've heard only make really small adjustments (obviously), and it's best to wait a few days after each adjustment to let the neck settle into position... Does anyone have any other helpful tips on correctly adjusting the truss rod?

Finally, if at all possible, I'm going to leave the frets and the nut alone... I can see shaving the nut myself going horribly wrong. If it needs to be done, I will take it to a shop for these.

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I say screw the guitar and switch to bass! ok, soooo that may not be helping.

try to see if you can find some MIJ fenders or Tokai's or Orvilles, my tokai love rock even beats some Gibson custom shop models, and it was only $1000.... it rocks!

Hey! Miller-Clarke-Lesh! I know it's an old post, but I couldn't help but reply. I love the title track to Shakedown Street album! I play that on my acoustic. Would one day love to hear your bass version of it! heh heh

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