Danger Zone: A Novice's First Impressions (Player Plus)

NeverTooLate

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 9, 2022
Posts
240
Location
AZ
This post is meant to help others in my shoes and perhaps entertain some of those who had the good sense of starting at less than 47 yo :)

Since one of my kids is studying for a math midterm, I cannot practice right now, hence the long impressions post :)

What I mean by novice: started June 15, practiced daily since (missed 5 days), so that's just over 130 days of practicing following the Justin Guitar course where I hope to finish Beginner 2 by Christmas: but note that I do a lot more than needed to "pass" each module. I am also taking his theory course where I am in module 4. I don't care for basic songs where you simply change open cord patterns in the earlier modules (except for Hey Joe) so I am still to finish learning my first full song which happens to be Enter Sandman. Never really a Metallica fan (my wife was a huge one in the 90s) but always loved this song and it came early in Justin's course.

The first riff I learned, thanks to Doug ALdrich's showing it on youtube, was Holy Diver (I am a huge fan of Dio's time in Rainbow and Holy Diver and Last in Line). It took me like 2 weeks and then I realized I had to also mute the strings not used in the power cord (C-D-E-F-C-D-E-F-C-F). LOL. I learned to use the thumb to mute the low E. The only other proper riff I learned is the opening of Wish You Were Here, which also took some time. All the other riffs I have learned so far are simplified versions, working on Seven Nation Army with a 3-note power cord for the sake of exercise. My 11 yo does it with 1-note, 1-finger.

Daily, I practice G major scale at G2 and at G3 off the E2 string, as well as C major as well as E and A minor pentatonic scales to a metronome between 100 and 180 bpm (160 and 180 being mostly aspirational at this time LOL) and go over the riffs and practice getting into F bar cord from C and G cords. Once a week, I go over 25 open cord change pairs at 15 times each. These I do at 80 bpm.

So, I am an enthusiastic first-semester freshman. With that in mind, this may help other novices:

Back in June, I was looking for a sub-500 dollar guitar that my 11 yo and I can share for a while, taking baby steps. I had no idea I would be practicing daily. I had no idea we would stick with it at all. So after a CV Strat being the leader for a while, I eventually chose a Shecter Omen 6 which I got discounted for 375 from 500. I reviewed it elsewhere: in short, gorgeous looks, wonderfully satin neck, but mis-produced two-piece neck with varying radius, (12 than 10, both of which off spec), sub-standard string spacing, and wrong fret spacing (24.75 spacing on 25.5 scale). Of course, I knew nothing so it took me two and a half months to figure all this out, thanks Cort, I get it not every guitar is like this, but I think one and done sounds right for me. That the pickups suck is common opinion on the internet so I should have paid more attention to that.

Playing other guitars in various stores, I was shocked to find the Telecaster comfy. It just spoke to me. I played a dozen different Player ones. One had frets that were a little protruding but all the others were fine. I also like how my hand sits on the body when seated and how easy it is to palm mute. Having realized that pickups are like 4x4 suspension :) I did not worry about them at all, but focused on comfort.

Finally, the Player Plus:
Eventually, I tried a Plus and I was hooked. The next step was to find the best deal available which sure enough came courtesy of Cream City Music. I bought an aged candy apple red that was their store demo. They said mint and boy were they right! Truly great condition, like barely ever touched. Setup, too. All in all, I got it for 2/3 of what a brand new one would have cost me with tax and setup. I did not hope for a deal this good and was ready to pay more.

The Player Plus I got:
--Has all the measurements exactly as they are supposed to be.
--Every detail is flawless, I understand that some have minor issues but not this one, every bolt is perfect, etc.
--Has wonderfully rolled neck edges and perfect fret edges (no knowledge to tell about frets beyond this).
--Has a neck that looks stunning, like it is roasted,
--I love all the sounds from the 4 positions via my Blackstar HT5 Mk II.
--The neck pickup is exactly the warm, jazzy pickup that I wanted as my main practice pickup.
--I am a rock guy, but I am fine with the bridge pickup.
--The series setting gives me all the thickness I need fooling around at home.

Whether I do a clean Wish You Were Here riff or work on the full-version Enter Sandman on the dirty channel or practice licks off the A minor pentatonic scale with the volume at max on the clean channel at the 0.5W setting, I just love the sound. Neck comfort is fantastic. This is exactly what I was thinking of when I first considered getting a guitar back in June. My 11 yo benefits greatly from the smallish Shecter neck, so we will keep that for now.

Conclusion: if you are new and you don't want to upgrade a cheaper guitar but would rather have a stock setup that is simply great, consider a Player Plus. Even with a marginal discount (just enough to offset the tax), it would be a great deal. It has it all.
 
Last edited:

NeverTooLate

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 9, 2022
Posts
240
Location
AZ
Haha, yeah, here it comes from the phone. Yes, I do use headphones but even so the guitar is loud--and I have had 2hr today already, with more to come :)

This is my setup. The Blackstar has a channel and voice pedal. A piece of the Shecter is visible as well.
 

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NeverTooLate

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 9, 2022
Posts
240
Location
AZ
Btw, using headphones with different impedance allows for volume control and attenuation while gunning the Blackstar to the max at 0.5W.

Using the pictured BD DT990 open-end which are 240 ohm, I can max it out and the volume at ear is even a little subdued. Using 64 ohm is about perfect for me.

No need to reduce the voltage :)
 

bgmacaw

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Posts
11,425
Location
Near Athens GA USA
I agree with the idea that if one isn't into learning or doing guitar tech stuff, then buying a guitar that's setup well is important as is getting one that you inspires you to play.

It's good that Cream City Music seems to take the time to make sure that their inventory is setup well. I've encountered Player Teles at Guitar Center that were really bad in that department.
 

NeverTooLate

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 9, 2022
Posts
240
Location
AZ
I followed Sweetwater setup instructions for the Shecter and adjusted truss rod, bridge, etc but I liked the idea of having this one setup correctly at the start, by someone who ain't taking their very first steps into the subject :) Then, I will deal with the rest myself.
 

NeverTooLate

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 9, 2022
Posts
240
Location
AZ
It has been 2 weeks and 4 days and I now have about 40 hours on this Player Plus. I don't have time to maintain this "part time job" level of commitment, but it is a good start :)

With the Blackstar HT5 Mk II, it gives me sounds I love so I have finally learned my first couple of songs (Enter Sandman, Holy Diver, Hey Joe) and I am working on a few others (Highway to Hell, U2's One).
 

Gregorski

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Posts
92
Location
Berkshire, UK
Glad you like your setup. Interested to hear what settings you use on your Blackstar. I have the same amp and to be honest I really don't like it at all but I might just be bad at dialling in the right sounds.

As for the guitar, good to hear. I'm potentially interested in this model. The main thing that puts me off is the neck profile is modern C I think and probably too thin for me.
 

NeverTooLate

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 9, 2022
Posts
240
Location
AZ
Glad you like your setup. Interested to hear what settings you use on your Blackstar. I have the same amp and to be honest I really don't like it at all but I might just be bad at dialling in the right sounds.

As for the guitar, good to hear. I'm potentially interested in this model. The main thing that puts me off is the neck profile is modern C I think and probably too thin for me.

Hey, sorry, I missed your post.

I really like the Blackstar in the following settings at 0.5W via Sennheiser HD280 studio headphones, so stereo:

1/ For Dio Holy Diver and Rainbow in the Dark, I use 2-3 o'clock gain, noon EQ, Voice 2 and British voicing.
2/ For Enter Sandman I use max gain, mids half vs the lows and highs, Voice 1 and American voicing.
3/ For AC/DC, I use 9 o'clock gain, Voice 2 and British voicing.
4/ For U2's One and Hey Joe, I use clean channel.

I cannot get Van Halen, Ain't Talking Bout Love to work on the Blackstar without a pedal. The muted single notes do not ring out right.

Now, when it comes to using the Blackstar via the 12" speaker. I dunno what I really think, yet. I would say good but not great at the moment. I rarely use it. I might have been better off with the HT 1 since I almost always use it with headphones anyway.
 

NeverTooLate

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 9, 2022
Posts
240
Location
AZ
Glad you like your setup. Interested to hear what settings you use on your Blackstar. I have the same amp and to be honest I really don't like it at all but I might just be bad at dialling in the right sounds.

As for the guitar, good to hear. I'm potentially interested in this model. The main thing that puts me off is the neck profile is modern C I think and probably too thin for me.

I will put this in a separate post: I got a Boss Pocket GT on Friday. I thought I would get the Fender Micro Mustang but then decided I want to experiment and learn with as many options as possible. Price does not really matter at this price level but I also got a great deal.

And so the last two nights I have been listening to the presets and experimenting with some of my own. Last night I spent one hour on two presets and I am not done with the second one yet, LOL. On Friday, I programmed a few presets just to hear differences between 5150, 5150 with reverb, with reverb and chorus, with reverb and phaser, with reverb and flanger.

I hope that the amp and effect modelling is in the ballpark of the 'real thing' to where I can decide what pedals if any I might want in the not-so-distant future as well as what amp if I ever get much of anywhere with this.

And so, using the 5150 simulation with tube screamer pedal and with the gain knob between 20 and 40, I am getting Aint Talking Bout Love sound right, which I have not been able to do with the Blackstar. I guess it is the amount of gain in this case that is needed to make all the muted single notes 'pop' despite the muting.

But interestingly enough, I have struggled with AC/DC which is the simplest ballpark approximation there is supposed to be. I am using a Plexi simulation and I had to introduce a tube screamer as well and still does not sound quite as right as on the Blackstar but perhaps this is because at the 0.5W setting one needs very little gain to get crunchy.

Of course, I am not trying to mimic exactly the original sound, but to get close enough to what I associate with that sound. Trying to get "identical" sound is looking for a Holy Grail IMO since ultimately I cannot re-program my fingers, LOL.
 

AndrewG

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 15, 2007
Posts
2,594
Age
70
Location
Exeter, England
This post is meant to help others in my shoes and perhaps entertain some of those who had the good sense of starting at less than 47 yo :)

Since one of my kids is studying for a math midterm, I cannot practice right now, hence the long impressions post :)

What I mean by novice: started June 15, practiced daily since (missed 5 days), so that's just over 130 days of practicing following the Justin Guitar course where I hope to finish Beginner 2 by Christmas: but note that I do a lot more than needed to "pass" each module. I am also taking his theory course where I am in module 4. I don't care for basic songs where you simply change open cord patterns in the earlier modules (except for Hey Joe) so I am still to finish learning my first full song which happens to be Enter Sandman. Never really a Metallica fan (my wife was a huge one in the 90s) but always loved this song and it came early in Justin's course.

The first riff I learned, thanks to Doug ALdrich's showing it on youtube, was Holy Diver (I am a huge fan of Dio's time in Rainbow and Holy Diver and Last in Line). It took me like 2 weeks and then I realized I had to also mute the strings not used in the power cord (C-D-E-F-C-D-E-F-C-F). LOL. I learned to use the thumb to mute the low E. The only other proper riff I learned is the opening of Wish You Were Here, which also took some time. All the other riffs I have learned so far are simplified versions, working on Seven Nation Army with a 3-note power cord for the sake of exercise. My 11 yo does it with 1-note, 1-finger.

Daily, I practice G major scale at G2 and at G3 off the E2 string, as well as C major as well as E and A minor pentatonic scales to a metronome between 100 and 180 bpm (160 and 180 being mostly aspirational at this time LOL) and go over the riffs and practice getting into F bar cord from C and G cords. Once a week, I go over 25 open cord change pairs at 15 times each. These I do at 80 bpm.

So, I am an enthusiastic first-semester freshman. With that in mind, this may help other novices:

Back in June, I was looking for a sub-500 dollar guitar that my 11 yo and I can share for a while, taking baby steps. I had no idea I would be practicing daily. I had no idea we would stick with it at all. So after a CV Strat being the leader for a while, I eventually chose a Shecter Omen 6 which I got discounted for 375 from 500. I reviewed it elsewhere: in short, gorgeous looks, wonderfully satin neck, but mis-produced two-piece neck with varying radius, (12 than 10, both of which off spec), sub-standard string spacing, and wrong fret spacing (24.75 spacing on 25.5 scale). Of course, I knew nothing so it took me two and a half months to figure all this out, thanks Cort, I get it not every guitar is like this, but I think one and done sounds right for me. That the pickups suck is common opinion on the internet so I should have paid more attention to that.

Playing other guitars in various stores, I was shocked to find the Telecaster comfy. It just spoke to me. I played a dozen different Player ones. One had frets that were a little protruding but all the others were fine. I also like how my hand sits on the body when seated and how easy it is to palm mute. Having realized that pickups are like 4x4 suspension :) I did not worry about them at all, but focused on comfort.

Finally, the Player Plus:
Eventually, I tried a Plus and I was hooked. The next step was to find the best deal available which sure enough came courtesy of Cream City Music. I bought an aged candy apple red that was their store demo. They said mint and boy were they right! Truly great condition, like barely ever touched. Setup, too. All in all, I got it for 2/3 of what a brand new one would have cost me with tax and setup. I did not hope for a deal this good and was ready to pay more.

The Player Plus I got:
--Has all the measurements exactly as they are supposed to be.
--Every detail is flawless, I understand that some have minor issues but not this one, every bolt is perfect, etc.
--Has wonderfully rolled neck edges and perfect fret edges (no knowledge to tell about frets beyond this).
--Has a neck that looks stunning, like it is roasted,
--I love all the sounds from the 4 positions via my Blackstar HT5 Mk II.
--The neck pickup is exactly the warm, jazzy pickup that I wanted as my main practice pickup.
--I am a rock guy, but I am fine with the bridge pickup.
--The series setting gives me all the thickness I need fooling around at home.

Whether I do a clean Wish You Were Here riff or work on the full-version Enter Sandman on the dirty channel or practice licks off the A minor pentatonic scale with the volume at max on the clean channel at the 0.5W setting, I just love the sound. Neck comfort is fantastic. This is exactly what I was thinking of when I first considered getting a guitar back in June. My 11 yo benefits greatly from the smallish Shecter neck, so we will keep that for now.

Conclusion: if you are new and you don't want to upgrade a cheaper guitar but would rather have a stock setup that is simply great, consider a Player Plus. Even with a marginal discount (just enough to offset the tax), it would be a great deal. It has it all.
How nice to read of your obvious enthusiasm and commitment to practise. Keep at it, and have fun. Never look on practise as a chore!
 

Swirling Snow

Tele-Holic
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Posts
831
Location
No Dakota
You've been mis-informed. ;) There's nothing "simple" about standing in the soundfield of several Marshall stacks. He's getting tones through feedback, a responsiveness you just can't get from a one-way system. I just don't want you struggling with the impossible.

You know that Sammy Hagar song, "I can't play less than a 4x12"? :cool:
 

Plaid Sabbath

TDPRI Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Posts
23
Location
Munster, IN
Congrats on the PP Tele. Grabbed one for myself not long ago. Really fantastic guitar. The rolled neck edges and slightly wider nut width were the big selling points for me. Very comfortable feel up and down the neck. Quickly became my favorite guitar.

Cheers🍻

2E821205-2E12-489C-BFE9-61C4F46448BF.jpeg
 

NeverTooLate

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 9, 2022
Posts
240
Location
AZ
Congrats on the PP Tele. Grabbed one for myself not long ago. Really fantastic guitar. The rolled neck edges and slightly wider nut width were the big selling points for me. Very comfortable feel up and down the neck. Quickly became my favorite guitar.

Cheers🍻

Thanks, how do you like that Marshall? Lots of conflicting reviews. The Boss Chorus is what I am looking to potentially get but I am staying disciplined and sticking to Boss simulations for now.

You've been mis-informed. ;) There's nothing "simple" about standing in the soundfield of several Marshall stacks. He's getting tones through feedback, a responsiveness you just can't get from a one-way system. I just don't want you struggling with the impossible.

You know that Sammy Hagar song, "I can't play less than a 4x12"? :cool:

Haha, great point, thanks. Yeah, thankfully the Blackstar does have a 4x12 simulation and with headphones sounds a lot better to me than 1x12 mono.
 

NeverTooLate

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 9, 2022
Posts
240
Location
AZ
Hey folks, don't want to start a new thread but have a question:

I changed to 9-38 Hendrix strings and need to intonate the Player Plus with modern 6 saddle bridge as the 12th fret is sharper than the open string, the E2 the most and the E4 the least off the mark.

I understand that I am supposed to rotate each bolt clockwise 1/4 turn at a time, but nothing really seems to change. Notes change but the "distance" between open and 12th fret remains about constant before and after retuning.

Am I also supposed to take the tension off a string before I do a 1/4 turn?
 

NeverTooLate

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 9, 2022
Posts
240
Location
AZ
Neverminded, I got it. So, yes, loosening the string helps move the saddle. The E2 string is a tad off but if I have the open E ring just a tad flat, the fretted notes are fine.
 




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