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NEWBIES: 5 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START BUYING GEAR.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by FluffyDog6, Mar 30, 2021.

  1. FluffyDog6

    FluffyDog6 Tele-Meister

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    1. You can’t buy tone. Tone comes from skill and experience. Skill and experience come from mind-numbing practice. The guy at my church who plays an old 80s Ibanez (that was given to him) through a Zoom G1on sounds as good as the guys rocking the Kemper/Helix/Big-buck$ guitar rigs. For real.

    2. Never buy a guitar, especially an acoustic, you haven’t laid hands on first. Nobody writes a review on the major gear retail sites the day after they buy a guitar that says “I had such high hopes for this guitar, but it is a real dog now that I’ve actually played it.” The reviews during the Honeymoon phase of a new purchase are likely to always be positive. The eventual closet queen guitars don’t get reviews written on them -- unless they arrive damaged.

    3. It is better to buy one “good” guitar than work your way through four or five “almost” or “cheaper” guitars trying to, but not quite reaching your expectation. You will save money in the long run to avoid the temptation to “upgrade”, or “climb the ladder”. If your guitar stays in tune and has a reasonable action, skrimp and save until you can buy the “terminal” guitar – not a closet full of “also rans”. Note: $5000 guitars do not sound or play 3 times better than $1600 ones.

    4. Stores like Musician’s Friend will give a discount on most products of 5-15% if you ask. You have to call them though, because there is an industry policy called MAP, or minimum advertised price, that prevents them from showing anything but list price on the web. (GearTree, Guitar Center, etc. all do this.) Only Sweetwater doesn’t deal – they offer top-notch customer service instead.

    5. Many prominent youtube guitar celebrities receive payola from manufacturers. This is often in free gear. No one wants to kill the Golden Goose, therefore no one is going to say bad things about free toys lest the stream of swag stop. The massive number of youtube reviews on Boss Katana amps are one example of this, but even smaller companies juice their online reviews. Don’t believe all the hype on a hot product. Often times it’s not real or organic.

    BONUS:

    Use automated Craigslist searches.
    I have scored awesome deals over the years simply by having an email alert me that something I've been wanting just showed up. (I have several active at any given time.) The first guy in the door usually gets the under-priced and/or most-coveted gear. (The stuff that gets relisted five times with no reduction in price is the opposite.)
     
  2. DekeDog

    DekeDog Tele-Afflicted

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    All excellent points, especially #s 2 and 3. Unfortunately, you have to play a lot of guitars before you get those points. If you don't really know what you're doing when you're buying a new guitar or trading for one, I would recommend becoming friends with a good, unaffiliated guitar tech. If you're gonna spend big bucks on a guitar, it is best to have someone with experience look it over first, or before the return policy runs out. And get a professional to set your purchase up initially.

    The next point I'd make is that you will eventually develop a feel for what you want in a guitar aside from looks, sound, and image. The guitar you like the most will probably be one that feels, fits, and plays the best. Remember, once you realize that you can modify pickups, pick guards, tuners, strings, etc., you start concentrating on those other aspects that are more important.

    I might also suggest that one of your guitars (a less expensive one) is used to play with modifications of parts and electronics. It is fun and educational, and cheaper than going through a bunch of finished guitars to figure out what you like.
     
  3. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Holic

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    1. You absolutely can buy tone. It won’t make you a better player, but you can buy tone.

    2. I’ve bought several acoustics online and have had great luck. I’ve never gotten one that needed anything other than a setup and a fresh set of strings.

    3. I generally agree with this. OTOH, many players don’t have an exact idea of what they really want to do and are trying different things, so making a significant investment doesn’t make sense.


    My biggest piece of advice is to not buy guitar magazines. Get Mel Bay books, really study up, listen to music, and play along with albums. Save the magazines and whatnot until after you become somewhat proficient.
     
  4. modavis99

    modavis99 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I’m going to disagree a bit on points 1 and 2.

    point 2 - For smaller brands, or for people living in remote areas, you have to buy without trying. Just buy from a retailer with a good return policy. (This is a good rule to have in general).

    Point 1 - If we are strictly talking electric guitars, I agree. The better the player the more control that player has over his or her tone. But, if we are talking amps or speakers, some purchases can radically affect tone. For example, a good tube amp vs a bad solid state amp. Or a closed back 4x12 vs an open back 1x10.
     
  5. d barham

    d barham Tele-Afflicted

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    You can't buy tone, but you can collect a lot of nice guitars looking for it.
     
  6. Lucius Paisley

    Lucius Paisley Tele-Afflicted

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    Re: 5.

    Why don't you just come straight out and say they're all liars?
     
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  7. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ha! This reminds me of the David Lee Roth quote that goes something like this

    “Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it will get you a yacht that you can drive up pretty close to it”
     
  8. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Can't buy me to-hone,
    FluffyDog tells me so,
    Can't buy me to-hone,
    No, no, no... NO!

    I'll buy me a '59 Les Paul if it makes me play alright,
    I'll buy me anything at all if it makes me play real tight,
    Cause I don't care too much for money,
    Money's gonna buy me tone,

    I'll give you all I've got to give, if you say it gets me tone,
    I'll play like Jimmy Page, my friend, if I buy this Marshall clone,
    Cause i don't care too much for money, money's gonna buy me tone,

    Can't buy me to-hone,
    FluffyDog tells me so,
    Can't buy me to-hone,
    No, no, no... NO!
     
  9. cflorez

    cflorez NEW MEMBER!

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    I get discounts from Sweetwater all the time! Definitely establish a relationship with a sales engineer, it goes a long way. At least, it definitely has for me.
     
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  10. FluffyDog6

    FluffyDog6 Tele-Meister

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    You can buy gear that is capable of tone, but no amount of gear replaces actually knowing how to play the guitar well.

    In the worship circles I frequent, I see a lot of Kemper boxes and a lot of expensive Teles, (or lately Gretches.) Ten layers of reverb and delay through a cork-sniffer IR doesn't replace skill.
     
  11. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Don't listen to guitarists who know it all and tell you about "must-have" gear, or who sneer at cheap gear. They're mainly snobs who "learned" all they know from other people who don't know anything.

    Listen to the guitarists who say, "look, I'm absolutely no expert, but . . ."
     
  12. Festofish

    Festofish Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Carry your guitar with the lid facing your leg. That way if the latch fails, you can catch it with your leg. Cant tell you how many people I’ve seen with the “lid” out.
    Buy some sort of strap lock or rubber washers!
    Buying guitars site unseen has worked for me plenty of times but I don’t recommend it for your first.
     
  13. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I agree with most of this, and I have heard a guy rock an Affinity Strat and a Zoom G3n through a mic’d up 10 or 15 watt Marshall Solid state amp with the most amazing tone. But I still love my tube amp and HX Effects :)
     
  14. pinchegil

    pinchegil Tele-Meister Platinum Supporter

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    I think all of those are debatable, the one that always gets me is "learn to play on an accoustic first" this is absolute horsecrap. i will say one thing, don't ever give a newbie a guitar with a floyd rose as a first guitar unless you enjoy looks of frustration :)
     
  15. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's

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    Buy at least one red guitar:cool:. Do what works for you. That's all I've got.
     
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  16. unixfish

    unixfish Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Oh, how I wish I could. All my guitars are burst - and not by choice. I really wanted a CAR AP Tele; it just never happened, and now they are rarely for sale. Not that I actually would have pulled the trigger.
     
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  17. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    You forgot the most important one:


    6. Don't join guitar forums.
     
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  18. CCK1

    CCK1 Tele-Meister

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    Correct! Last item I bought from Sweetwater, I called them and they offered a very generous discount.
     
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  19. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Holic

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    I'll add a couple counterpoints to #2 and 3.

    2. If you know how to do a basic setup and make minor repairs on guitars, buying used online can be a big bargain. Even not being able to, Guitar Center's return policy makes buying a used guitar from them a low risk transaction.

    3. You don't know what you don't know until you know. You need to spend time with different guitars before knowing what works for you. Buying various cheap guitars allows a beginner to learn their preferences before spending big bucks on "the one".
     
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  20. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    Even if they didn’t receive inducements, never trust a YouTube video for gear selection. They’re misleading. The audio is likely mixed. There’s compression of the internet format. You’re likely listening on your computer or a mobile device. There are a myriad of other factors that effect what you hear (reviewer skill, recording space, peripheral gear, etc). Reviews can make an average product sound good or a great product sound crappy.

    That’s a broad generalization. I think I’ve bought all but one of my good acoustics over the internet. Most of the acoustics I’ve wanted weren’t stocked locally or were shop worn. Internet retailers have return policies that favor the buyer. Of course “newbies” are likely to be looking an entry level gear which should probably be purchased locally.
     
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