Guitar Forum | Forums For Acoustic & Electric Guitars & Gear
Welcome To The Guitar Grounds - The UKs Guitar Forum => Make Your Entrance => Topic started by: Simon.G on December 09, 2014, 09:35:56 AM
Okay, a total newbie here! lol,
A bit about me, I'm 35, live in London, and have been in to my 80s 90s rock/metal since the age of about 10. I absolutely love the sound of the electric guitar in my fav songs. Fav bands include: Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, GNR, with a little bit of Ratt, KIX, Bulletboys, Helix, to name but a few. Also love the sound of Pink Floyd.
As of late my interest in learning to play the electric guitar, and play my favourite songs in particular, is growing! I've been youtube'ing more and more solo guitar covers which I've found to be very inspirational. I feel like I'm catching the bug? :)
However, I have ZERO experience/history of playing any musical instruments. So I don't know anything about musical notes, how they should sound, sheet music, tabs, etc etc.
There's a guitar shop near to where I live, and I was thinking of popping in there this weekend to check out the electric guitars in the flesh and ask a few questions.
Hi everybody. Wondering if anyone has good advice for someone like myself - with regards what to do/what not to do, regarding the basics, if I am to venture and purchase a guitar and get myself started:
Brands/type of electric guitar
Where to learn (youtube tutorials/private tutor/books/etc)
Bearing in mind it's rock & metal that I'd like to focus on playing eventually.
Hi Simon and welcome to the forum. :)
Thanks for the comprehensive list, it makes life so much easier to start giving pointers when we know where you'd like to get to.
Obviously, the place to start is with a guitar, but there is much else that you need to consider as well, so forgive me if I now give you a small list that I'd suggest you google and then youtube.
Guitar. This in many ways depends on what appeals to your eye? Given that Def Leppard is on the list, I would suggest that a Guitar with Single Coils and a Humbucker would be the best starting point? This gives you tremendous flexibility, have a look at what Phil Collen plays.
So, depending on budget, you should find something perfectly serviceable for around ?200/?250. If buying new, ask the shop to set the guitar up with a set of 9's. This is the string gauge that I'd recommend starting with as you have quite enough to contend with when you first start out, so something easy to play helps no end. You can always go up a gauge at a later date.
Maybe have a look at Yamaha Pacificas, or Fender Squiers both of which represent fantastic value for money and will see you well into your journey.
The thing to consider is the size of your hands in general? If you are blessed with Long, Thin fingers and smallish hands, I envy you LOL, however, the trick is to hold any guitar that you like the look of and see how comfortable you find the neck. This is the most important thing of all. You are going to spend many hours holding that neck, so it must suit you and not hinder you.
Now you will want to hear the fruits of your labours, so a small practice amp would be good. Look no further than the Blackstar Fly. It is tiny, packed full of good things and you can also run your MP3 Player through it AND use headphones, so no one else gets disturbed. These are new on the market and are about ?90, again great value for money!
Ask us questions and we will do our best to help. ;) ;D
Thanks v much bud for the feedback :)
I'm just googling now: Passive & Active pickups
And will in general google bits that you've mentioned.
There's loads to take in, and I don't wanna rush in, and then be put off easily.
But yes - many thanks for the info there, I'll do more researching!
Sorry, just to note, my hands are smallish, not really long slim fingers, lol
Will look in to what you have recommended.
OK, the Pacificas "can" have a slightly narrower fingerboard width at the Nut End, not all do, but some are smaller and that "can" feel a bit cramped, so something to bear in mind..
Active Pickups, great because of their silence, i.e., no hums, buzzes etc, but some find them slightly sterile. Personally, I have not met that, but then we can change sounds with whatever amp we use, so again, not a big issue as far as I am concerned.
Passive Pickups: The Industry Standard and deservedly so, but at the end of the day, if you find something you like.... then all is good. :D
One thing to bear in mind though? If you are going to be learning from online resources you will be sitting near a monitor, Active Pickups will not suffer in the same way as Passives "can" . My suggestion is try a few different types and see what you like soundwise.
Great advice Rob.
One guitar brand that is kinda sticking out is the Jackson.
Particularly the Jackson Dinky (unsure which exact one yet)
Jacksons are well made and nicely put together, unless you are buying Top of The Range though, you will have either a Japanese, Korean, or even Chinese factory building it. NOT that this is anything to worry about over much these days, but be aware. ;)
Also, jumping well ahead here I know, but, Pickups can be changed at a later date if you fancy more oomph from whatever you get. This doesn't "have" to cost a fortune any more and there are many choices available to you.
This is just a personal thing with me, but I thought I'd mention it in passing, most Jacksons that I have played have had a slightly flatter radius to the fingerboard than I usually like. This is very much down to the individual of course, but I find a Flatter Board harder work in some respects.
So..... The next discussion point will inevitably be, do you want a Trem? The choices get pretty bewildering once we get into this area, but we can usually talk them through. :angel: ;D :cool:
A trem - is that a whammy bar?
Wow. Lots to take in RE: shape of the neck etc, and personal feel/preference.
Will have to get to my local guitar shop and even a few more to get a feel for some of the guitars on offer...
Trem = Whammy Bar etc :D
Have fun trying Necks, you'll soon find what feels most comfortable to YOU, don't let anyone try and sway you on this, it really is important that it suits YOU. :angel:
Whammy bars = HELL YES!!!
Many thanks for help. Trying to get info from all sources now.
When you are ready, I'll run you through the 3 Basic Options that you'll see most regularly when it comes to Trems. Quite a minefield, BUT, once they are set up properly.... wonderful things.
Tell me when you need info and I will do my best, but be aware, a Trolley Dash is on the cards this afternoon.... Deep Joy!! :'(
Most helpful Rob - thank you!
Welcome to the forum. I see Rob is taking pretty good care of you.
I'll throw in my 2c though, ask for a copy of Guitar for Dummies for Christmas! It a book you will outgrow fairly quickly (like as soon as you feel ready to move past the dummy stage) but worth it simply because its really approachable.
Oh... and guitar stands are totally awesome... so much easier to pick up and play than leaving a guitar in a case.
OK, apologies for the slight delay caused by visit to dentist...... Deep Joy!! :mad:
Right, for these purposes, let's say that there are basically 3 Popular Styles of Trem.
The vintage 6 Screw Style. Commonly found on older models and reissues of same from the Fender Strat Family.
So called because of the 6 screws that hold it on to the Body of the guitar.
The 2 Post Style. Again, can be found on various Strat style Guitars and is popular with other makers as well.
Basically, where on the vintage style trem you have the 6 Screws, with this style you have 2 Posts on which the leading edge of the Trem Plate rests. Many people prefer this system as it can lend itself to some serious whammy action and "can" hold its tuning rather better.
The Floyd Rose Locking style Trem. This is the "go to' device with players such as Satch, Vai, etc. This is a Fully Locking System that basically allows you to be a complete hooligan and have the strings hanging off the fretboard, then return to pitch without any major issues.
What needs to be addressed from the outset is that any trem can be made into quite a versatile tool provided it is set up correctly and I am talking about many factors here, The Nut must be cut correctly so that there is no binding when the string moves.
The Machine heads and string windings. Ideally, try and find a guitar that has some form of Locking Tuners, this really does help with Tuning stability, whilst not essential, they really do help, so if the guitar has them already fitted, BONUS! :) String winds on the Capstan also play their part, always make sure that you have enough winds and that they are neat and tidy, NOT looking like a Ball of wool!!
Lubrication. Yes, it is a guitar forum, you haven't stepped into a parallel universe ;D. Lubricate the nut with some graphite paste, or rub the slots with a Pencil Lead, but the best stuff I have ever found is a lubricant that the Radio Control Car builders use for their Diffs, pop into a decent Model shop and they will sort you out.
Springs and Numbers of same.
The three Trems mentioned all rely upon Tensioned Springs which are found under the backplate of most guitars.
You can alter the tension of the whole assembly, by choosing the correct amount of springs and how they are spaced.
What do I mean?
OK, I like my Trems to be floating, which means that you can dip a note by pushing down on the Bar, OR, raise the note by pulling up. I use 9 Gauge strings because I am an old fart with arthritic fingers, the set up that works well for me, is to have 2 Springs fitted, on the Block of the Trem, I use the outer holes and on the Spring Claw I have the other ends on the centre two prongs. I like a light and responsive trem action and find that the angled springs produce the right amount of pressure. You could use 3 Springs straight, but I find that this gives just a bit too much resistance where the two angled works perfectly for what I personally want. :D
I have both the 6 screw style bridge and the 2 Post style and for what I do, the 2 Post is my favourite, that said, my 6 screw one works almost as well, unless I get heavy handed, at which point the tuning "can" suffer. The 2 Post seems absolutely Rock Solid.
Floyd Roses etc. Now these are considered to be the ultimate trem if you really want to get int the Eddie Van Halen styles. The are a fully locking trem which means that instead of a conventional Nut, you have a Locking one which Clamps the strings in place. You have Fine Tuners down on the tail end of the Trem for...... Fine Tuning. ;D
The disadvantage to this style is that for the inexperienced player, they can be a complete nightmare to set up if anything goes wrong, and restringing takes on a completely different perspective. LOL
However, PANIC NOT!
We can get you through all of this without too many problems.
Along with Daniel's excellent suggestion, I would add this. Buy "Tremolo Bar Techniques" by Michael Casswell on Lick Library, it is the best education you will EVER get for setting up and using a Trem. I regard this as vital watching now and cannot recommend it enough.
Phew.... Coffee and Painkillers please. ;D ;D ;D
Hah hah, Rob, thanks so much for all of that info?
Although I'm gonna have to admit that a lot of that has flown right over me! lol
There's a big guitar store the other side of London: guitar guitar.co.uk
I was thinking to pop along there in the next week or so and have a look at the guitars on offer, in the flesh.
However! Looking at there online store I'm liking the look (if I go ahead and take the plunge) of the
or even the Rhodes:
There is so, so much to take in, after much research?
It seems endless! lol
How you guys remember everything you remember - I don't know?
45 + years of being around guitars tends to sharpen the focus somewhat Simon ;D
guitarguitar will look after you, as would Charlie Chandler's in Kew.
Shame I'm busy, otherwise I'd come along for the ride. ;)
45 yrs! Wow?
I'm 35, so defo a late starter...
Funny enough I had an acoustic for a long time, very long time, although never felt the want to pick it up and learn the guitar. No offence, but as a young lad it looked a bit boring to me, and didn't spark any real interest.
Been listening to rock & metal since the age of 10. More on and off around my 20's. But I've returned back to rock & metal and have done so for a good fews years. Absolutely love Def Lep and all the others I mentioned, so much so that I find the sound of the electric guitar fantastic! Only over the past couple of months of seeing a few guitar cover solos of various songs has it ignited a want to learn and play for myself.
The only thing I'm a bit scared of is the time to dedicate to playing.
I work full-time, and when I'm not working I'm either: weight training, tending to my birds, lol, I'm a keeper, breeder & exhibitor of a small type of Canary. I also have an interest in cigars (Cuban). I have a 7month old Son too. So, squeezing something extra in to my spare time - I'm a little scared that the time element might be an issue?
Also, learning the guitar, more often I'd imagine I'd have my headphones on. Something that the Mrs might find annoying after a while? These are just the only concerns?. lol
Recently saw a guy playing Def Lep tracks on a Jackson Dinky, via Youtube, and really liked the sound. Hence leaning toward Jackson. The Rhodes, after seeing it online, just looks crazy? and if I were to see it in the flesh I'd always wanna pick it up!
...Maybe I should opt for the Rhodes, and at worse, it could always be hung up as a decorative piece!
I just wondered - is it advisable to tune the guitar before every session?
Oh yes. Even with a Locking System such as The Floyd Trem, minor adjustments will be required.
It will become a completely automatic reflex in no time at all I assure you. ;)
My poor guitar has sat unloved for weeks on end throughout the summer, yet was only slightly off when I picked it up again about 5 weeks ago. I re strung it, stretched the strings within an inch of their lives and have been playing it a lot recently, the only stings that ever need a tweak (for me) might be the A or D.
I have spent a great deal of time prevaricating recently as to whether to start a gentle re profiling of the neck as I am now finding it a bit of a handful as the arthritis continues to make its presence felt, or, whether to sell the guitar and start again. THE ideal guitar has now appeared on the radar and I am trying to find a new home for my current axe, which should have been simplicity itself, but alas, the secondhand world is very fickle and I have wasted a great deal of time and effort to no avail...... yet!!
The unbelievable thing is, one of its previous owners, desperately wants it back again, and I do mean desperately, but has to sell his Tyler Studio Elite first, he's having as much fun as I am trying to get a suitable deal.
Ah well, such is life. ;)
So realistically if I were to start, from scratch, am I right in saying 30mins-hour a couple times a week and it'll take possibly 6mths to a year to grasp the basics and become familiar with chords etc, become confident with finger/hand placement?
I'd say that was realistic Simon. However, a word of warning if I may?
Guitars become completely addictive, you'll find yourself wanting to get home and play, you'll find yourself wanting to just look at it, you'll find that you will spend a great deal of time thinking about guitars in general.
The Diagnosis is simple......... "Hopeless Case" ;)
The Prescribed Cure ............. Pick It Up and Play!!
Sadly, we are all afflicted here >:D
Your progress will be charted by how much you find you want to play once you have the guitar in the house.
The trick, is that some kind soul shows you a few things that are not too difficult to play in the genre that you love.
For instance, "Too Late For Love"? The intro is actually quite easy and thanks to Steve Clark being the genius he was, just works so well.
Now, I wonder who that Kind Soul might be? ;)
Hah hah! Good man Rob? mhm? I wonder!
More research - and little and as often is better than what I suggested.
More food for thought.
Many thanks :)
I'd also say not to worry too much about the demands of children and other such things.
I first picked up a guitar aged about thirty and it was probably *because* I had children. My first love was and is computer programming and it was both my job and my hobby (I did code different things when I got home but I still coded). To do that *well* requires the sort of sustained and extremely focused long term concentration that it is very difficult for fathers of young children to find.
So I started fiddling with guitars instead... It was much easier to "pick up and play" a guitar than to try and find a long enough stretch of time to get in the zone for coding.
Then what Rob said might happen happened and I got hooked on guitar. I still code recreationally (which distracts from practice) but its usually on a guitar related project.
Thanks for the feedback Daniel, appreciate it bud.
Yes, I have a few things on the go, in my spare time.
I'm still juggling the idea of whether or not to take the plunge.
I've never felt a need to want to play as I do now? funny.
It's seeing others play songs I like, and just the sound of the electric guitar.
Absolutely love it. I've picked up on it in songs over time, but only now
it's really leaping out at me and grabbing my interest?.
You'll know when the time is right Simon.
One of the advantages to starting as early as I did was that there was endless amounts of time available. I know my Parents never quite understood how I could spend an entire day sitting in my bedroom playing, only appearing for meals etc. It became all encompassing and completely took over my life. Even now, whenever I see a guitar, be it on TV or in a shop, I just have to stop and look. I would be the first to admit, I reached the height of my abilities, such as they were, around the age of 20 through to about 30, then stopped playing, or even owning a guitar for 12 years due to turmoil in my life. I came back to it in about 1995 and practically had to re learn from scratch, but as soon as I started, that was that.
It's a sad time now that arthritis has begun to impact on my playing, but I'm still here making vile noises and enjoying myself.
Don't let this put you off, I know a great many whom have come to guitar far later than you and are enjoying it as much as I did back when I first started.
Very encouraging words.
Appreciate it ;)
Where are you based btw?
Where are you from Rob?
Oringinally, Surrey, spent childhood in Sussex, then moved to London, Eastbourne and finally find ourselves just south of Peterborough on the A1(M).
Total newb question:
On tabs is it always numbered/indicated which finger to place on frets (numbered 1,2,3, and 4)?
It's which fret that is represented by the number Simon.
Would mean, 3rd string fretted at 1st Fret
Forth String fretted at 2nd fret
Fifth string fretted at 2nd Fret
Where you see 0 it means the string is played Open, i.e. no frets pressed down.
As written above means all played together as opposed to one string at a time. ;)
Thanks Rob :D
Just an update, still lurking around and due to personal finances I'm having to wait for the right opportunity to acquire a guitar and amp etc. Meanwhile I'm still researching about the hobby. Happy New YEar btw. Cheers, Si
Defo leaning toward a Jackson. Just deciding 'which', on my budget of around ?230.
My eye is on either a Dinky or a Warrior
Very Happy New Year to you too Simon.
In some ways, the timing could work in your favour. The next few months will see a lot of gear being offered for sale at very low prices, Credit Card bills and wotnot.
Keep your eyes peeled.(http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk207/RStobbs/Shaw_taylor_bw_headshot.jpg) (http://s281.photobucket.com/user/RStobbs/media/Shaw_taylor_bw_headshot.jpg.html)
Hi Simon - sorry, late to the party to welcome you! :)
There's always room in a busy life to play your guitar - like Rob I started when I was a kid and could put plenty of time in. Ironically I think I made more progress later on once I started collecting responsibilities.
The really good thing about playing the guitar is that you can go from complete novice to making a reasonable sound quite quickly. Getting to the "blimey, you're good" stage takes a little longer and if I ever reach it I'll let you know!
Plus one on the advice to keep your guitar handy on a stand somewhere - you are much more likely to pick it up and play in a spare five minutes that way.
My tip would be - play with others as soon and as often as you can. Even if you learn a couple of basic chords and are a bit hesitant about changing from one to the other - it's enough to make a bit of simple music with a couple of mates. You'll start feeling like a guitarist in no time and in fact you will be one!
Ask a million questions ten times over if you need to and no-one will mind, especially not on this forum :)
Thanks David & Rob.
A few newb questions :-[ :)
When looking for a guitar, best to stick to basswood or mahogany?
And pick ups, does it matter how many there are present on a guitar and where they are positioned?
I.e, thinking about either a Jackson, or an Ibanez now?
Musical interests as a recap: Def Lepp, Ratt, Motley C, GNR, Kix, amongst other glam metal rock bands
My budget for a starter elec is gonna be around 240-250 quid I'm guessing?
But not sure if I need to max out ,or not, to get the best for my money?
Thinking to avoid a FR for now too, due to starting and learning the ropes first?
Just wanna get the best for my money within this price bracket. Max out or not.
OK, if the Floyd can go on the back burner, you should get a very nice guitar within that range.
Only yesterday I saw one of these for sale for ?150 !!(http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk207/RStobbs/Vintage_Lemon_drop1_zpsa8e6d38a.jpg) (http://s281.photobucket.com/user/RStobbs/media/Vintage_Lemon_drop1_zpsa8e6d38a.jpg.html)(http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk207/RStobbs/LemonDrop2_zps5033af08.jpeg) (http://s281.photobucket.com/user/RStobbs/media/LemonDrop2_zps5033af08.jpeg.html)
Or there is something very similar to this for sale near me for around ?120 or thereabouts.(http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk207/RStobbs/Strat1_zps75077dd4.jpg) (http://s281.photobucket.com/user/RStobbs/media/Strat1_zps75077dd4.jpg.html)
They DO crop up, so keep a keen eye out and always feel free to ask us what we think. :D :D
That Vintage V100icon lemon drop does it for me, and at that price it's a tone monster bargin .
Just because I'm a Pete Green fanatic has nothing to do with it 🙊
Those Vintage lemon drops are brilliant and have some fantastic revues . Is it still for sale Sir Stobbs 😎
Take it you are on the bonnets list
Bonnet list !!! Bloody prodictive text 😉 should be Honners. List Sir Rob 😀
Yes still for sale and NO, not on my radar at all Sah. ;)
OK I'll have go at the "what sort of guitar to get" question. You should have plenty in the budget for a decent guitar if you shop around and especially if you get a decent second hand one.
Pickups - strat-style guitars usually have three and they are usually "single coil" ie they are skinnier to look at, having only one coil.
Les Paul style guitars usually have two fatter-looking "twin coil" pickups aka Humbuckers .
To give you an idea of sound as a huge generalisation, a Les Paul will tend to have a crunchier more distorted sound and a Strat a more trebly and cleaner (ie less distorted) sound. Les Paul sound say Slash and Strat sound say Mark Knopfler. That said you can get very nice clean sounds from a Les Paul and super heavy distorted sounds from a Strat.
I wouldn't get too hung up about the type of wood in use personally, nor the number of pickups. Rather I'd nip along to a guitar shop and have a tinker with a couple of diffent styles of guitar to get the feel and sound of them.
The main thing to satisfy is your own sense of what sounds good, although if you are just starting you may not have a strong idea of what you looking for yet.
I'm reluctant to steer you down one path or another, but going by your musical likes a guitar with Humbuckers might be more to your taste, but there is no set rule at all ( except if it pleases your ears then it's right!).
Most reasonable quality guitars will be playable and not make learning harder. Those Vintage guitars like the one in Rob's post are by all accounts corkers and superb value. A good Strat style at a reasonable price is a Yamaha Pacifica (they have one Humbuckers and two single coils), excellent quality and very good for the money.
I don't know a huge amount about Jacksons or Ibanez I'm afraid - do you have your eye on a particular model?
Thanks v much David for your input - much appreciated. Good read. Jackson wise I was looking at a Dinky, or even a Warrior. And Ibanez wise, unsure. Overall, the chosen guitar has to be between 150-250 quid.
This kind of Ibanez maybe? http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/electric_guitars_detail.asp?stock=04030217253418
Looks well specced for the money to me. I might have missed this, but do you have an amp in mind?
Anyone else got any experience of the Jacksons or Ibanez models mentioned?
Wow David, it just shows how much guitar you can get for very little outlay.
Wish it was like this when I stated out , it was more of a plank and fencing wire for strings :)
love the look of that one , and its fully loaded :D
Amp wise I have my heart pretty much set on a Blackstar ID Core 10. Retails for 89 quid. Small & compact enough for home use only, decent stereo surround sound and has the effects I'd need to start (going by reviews and youtube vid reviews)
The blackstar sounds like a great choice. That ability to record yourself via USB is a really nice bonus in an amp like that.
I heartily recommend using that feature to record yourself pretty early on your journey. Maybe after three months or so... Its not for you to share with anyone else but I've enjoyed being able to go back a bit and listen to what I used to sound like...
Thinking of the Core 10, but might even go for the 20?
Johnny's right - that Ibanez look like a lot of Axe for the money. So do the Jacksons...
If your amp is for home use then 10 watts is likely to be plenty. Even if you have other musicians with you (see below....).
In my experience the key point when you are likely to think "damn, not enough power" is when there is a real live drummer with a real live kit involved! My son plays a drum kit which is in the spare room and if we jam then I have to grit my teeth, hope the neighbours don't complain and use the same amp I use for gigs. Otherwise a little battery powered Roland Cube (6w maybe?) does the job beautifully. Loud enough for rehearsal in a room with me, a piano and four vocalists to practice.
Great food for thought David!
Id core 10 should be perfect then.
30 quid cheaper too ;)