Gear that surprised you the most?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Cysquatch, May 25, 2019.

  1. Cysquatch

    Cysquatch Tele-Meister

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    A lot of us tend to find our handful of preferred guitars, amps, stompboxes and what-have-you and stick to it. But, every so often, something way outside that circle can be a really pleasant surprise, I'm curious what experiences you all have like that.

    For me it was an LTD MH-103QM. I picked one up used on a whim for about $160 in great condition and with an SD JB already in the bridge position. I'm not much of an S-type guy, usually don't get along well with "shredder" fiddles, tend away from 3 pickup guitars, and wrote Floyd Roses off a long time ago, so this was kind of my "what am I missing?" buy.

    And you know what? I LOVE that sucker. I upgraded the pots and switch, stuck a Cool Rails in the neck, kept the ESP design middle strat pickup and came to really enjoy the FR. The neck plays amazingly well, it's actually a massive neck and not one of those weenie Ibanez shred-twig carves. I'm still not in love with traditional strats, but I definitely gained a new appreciation (and GAS) for S-types and found myself really enjoying having a 3rd pickup. It's not what I'd want for every guitar, but I'm incredibly surprised by how much I ended up digging something that I figured I'd honestly hate and flip.

    So, what about you all, ever have a piece of gear make you wonder what you've been missing?
     
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  2. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    JTM45, made my strat out again & the fullness of the tone & breakup is just a blast. It with jtm50 & jmp50 have made the days of pre gain shape pretty much gone
     
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  3. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I was surprised how much I loved a danelectro I got in a trade, and how versatile it is.
     
  4. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    A Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster in BSB. High quality in every respect.

    It’s now my guitar for testing pickups and mods, but it needed no pickups, mods, or fretwork to be a first-class player. Easily the best Tele value available, as well.
     
  5. IMadeYouReadThis

    IMadeYouReadThis Tele-Meister

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    I've been pleasantly surprised by Squiers and Epiphones. Good bones, finishes are okay, and some minor upgrades can really make them sing.
     
  6. IMadeYouReadThis

    IMadeYouReadThis Tele-Meister

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    Oh, and Brownface amps. You hear lots about Blackface and Tweed Fenders, but Brownface is a great balance: has cutting highs and mids (not blistering) and tighter bass. Not quite as bright as Tweed or sterile as Blackface.
     
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  7. Deathray

    Deathray Tele-Meister

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    The Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster that I bought a few weeks ago used at Guitar Center. I paid $249 for it, and right now it’s my most played guitar. The tones that I can get out of it are pretty amazing. From nearly acoustic cleans / jazzy, round notes at the neck pickup, to crunchy overdriven rock from the bridge pickup. And everything else in between. Really surprising guitar for the money!
     
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  8. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It was the Epi EL-00 Pro acoustic-electric. I was just looking for an inexpensive replacement for my beach/campfire beater acoustic. It is so awesome, my wife bought one for herself and it is just as sweet. I beat the crap out of it and it just keeps on giving.
     
  9. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    3 things in the past 2 years really took me by surprise:

    Jule Amps Santa Cruz outboard reverb unit (Amazing difference, more punch and sweet reverb to the amp)
    Godin 5th Avenue KingPin II archtop guitar (Really comfortable player and great when plugged in for blues)
    Weber Z-Matcher Unit (Simpe tool, but I bought it online and didn't expect it to be such a tank. Heavy and robust.)
     
  10. kbold

    kbold Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Recently bought a Godin fitted with P90's.
    Never had a guitar with P90's before.
    Really like the clarity and punch P90's have (sort of like the clarity of single coils with the punch of humbuckers).
     
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  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Some of the ebay import pickups are fantastic. I swap out the 'usual suspects' that prior owners 'upgraded to'.

    .
     
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  12. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    The gear that surprised me the most? I have four electrics, two acoustics, and an amp, all of which continue to surprise me. My S&P Showcase Rosewood is a far better guitar than I had a right to expect for the price. My electrics, a Tele, Strat, Gretsch, and Annie? I'm surprised that I'm liking all of them more all the time. I've gone from keeping a guitar out for a day or two, putting it away when I couldn't get the tone I was after, to keeping a guitar out weeks at a time working on technique and tone. I've really learned to appreciate what I can do with each of them, so much more than I thought possible when I first got them. My amp is a Mesa Boogie Express 5:25. After 6 or 7 years, I've learned to set it for each guitar, sometimes for each combination of pickups on a guitar. So everything I have has turned out to be much more than I expected when I got it. I know this won't be the most popular opinion on a gear forum, but the appreciation started growing as I stopped looking for new guitars with that elusive tone and learned to get the most amazing tones out of what I have. And that, folks, has been the biggest surprise of all.
     
  13. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

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    WGS Speakers...took one on trade some years ago, and they still surprise me in value, tone, and reliability...
     
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  14. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I was a friends place recently dropping a few amps off for him to fix, he had a Trio pedal there ..

    he's a good guitarist and he ran it through it's paces.. I was amazed at what it could do by adding bass/drums to your playing... however cheesy, it was quite a step up from the single function/ looper pedals I've tried.. the way it could "think for itself"... a good practice tool to have around... I hear the newer ones are more advanced...

    they've probably been around for ages, just never saw one used before...
     
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  15. bondoman

    bondoman Tele-Meister

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    Years ago I came across First Act's US custom shop and became quite smitten by them. Today I own several US and Asian made models.
     
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  16. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    G&L Tribute ASAT Carvetop. Tele sort of guitar with humbuckers. Under $400. After a good setup and some fretwork, it's one of my favorite guitars. At some point I'll probably replace the pots and switch, but in the meantime, it's a perfectly fine guitar as is.

    For non-guitar gear, I got a DigiTech RP360 modeling pedal. I got it for rehearsing at the computer. I like it so much I'm doing my next two gigs with it and no other amp. Straight into the PA for both. I never expected to be doing that.
     
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  17. Zuzax

    Zuzax Tele-Afflicted

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    This has completely changed my world. From home to gig. I now have everything.

    IMG_6122.JPG
     
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  18. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Meister

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    Best surprises I've bought this year:

    BBE two timer, it isn't as lush of a tone as the AD999, but its easily the best $45 I've spent on a pedal.

    Supro Blues King, just out this year, and its exactly what I was after. I haven't had this opinion of a non-fender amp in awhile.

    What I've played (and should have bought/may end up with eventually)

    Danelectro Dead on 67 from a few years back- for the $$ they sounded decent, felt nice, and looked killer in thier unusual lime greens an bright orange.

    Chinese clone pedals.

    Most recent squire offerings (Mustangs, Jaguars, teles even)
     
  19. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Marshall JCM-1 Combo.

    Amazing. Sounds like a 100w JCM800 through a 412. Full, rich, dynamic, sustain. But at volumes I can easily sing over.

    Love the JMP-1 combo too, but it’s louder. I can use that one live for Lindley style lap steel tones.
     
  20. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Holic

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    Squier Bullet Special. A plain little thinner-bodied hardtail one-humbucker cheapstrat. I borrowed it a few years ago to run something with humbucker-level output through a rig I was messing with and immediately liked it. It was aggressively bright without being shrill and it just snarled. The neck and frets felt pretty good. It stayed in tune. I was raving to my friend about it and he said “just keep it. I picked it up cheap to smash onstage and never did, and I’m never going to play it.”

    (He’s a Les Paul guy.)

    I had to drill/glue/plug/re-drill a stripped jackplate screw hole, and then set it up for heavier strings (D’Addario .011s), and lower the pickup...at which point I realized I really liked the stock humbucker too.

    The neck is flexy but since the tuning is stable I’ve learned to use that as a subtle faux-bigsby effect on certain chords. It sounds great clean.

    When I pick softly near the base of neck I can get clean tones that suggest clean pedal steel tone, and the guitar sustains well enough to pull that off. It’s just fun to play!
     
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