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How did you choose your guitar?

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  • How did you choose your guitar?

    Some people choose their guitars because their heroes played them. Some people forge their own path. Some people start by copying their heroes, then figure out what they like and veer off on their own. There is no right answer here, just hopefully interesting stories.

    For me, I started with a Strat. While I grew up liking Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zep, only Blackmore played a Strat, but mine didn't sound like his (and his Strat sound wasn't my favorite- it was his ES 335 that got me). My evolution in instrument choice started with a Strat, then evolved into ergonomic shapes and electronics that got me closer to the sound I heard in my head.

    Personally, I never modeled what I liked or did after my heroes, but plenty of my guitarist friends did. I am curious how you got where you are.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

  • #2
    I chose them when they play like this...

    Honestly I could'nt care less about guitar woods, types, specs, brands, hardware, price (ok, maybe the cheaper the better long as they meet my criteria ) etc. Do they play like butter and sound friggin' sweet?? That's all I care about

    "Less is less, more is can less be more?" ~Yngwie J Malmsteen

    I did it my way ~ Frank Sinatra

    Originally posted by Rodney Gene
    If you let your tone speak for itself you'll find alot less people join the conversation.



    • #3
      My first guitar was a really cheap classical handed down from my sister so that set the stage as it was 1) not an electric and 2) absolutely horrible to play.

      I was listening to Metallica, Maiden, Def Leppard and Suicidal Tendencies so it was not even close to appropriate for the music I wanted to play - that didn't stop me naturally.

      I honestly don't think I had the slightest idea of what gear any of those bands were using at the time.
      My folks bought me my first electric for my birthday and I was lucky enough to have a friend of my brother go with me to the music shop to help me decide.

      I ended up with a second hand hss hohner strat copy as it was what I could afford/was available in the shop.

      I also got a laney linebacker 30r new as he advised me to spend more on the amp then the guitar, not bad advice.

      Still have both.


      • #4
        I was a fourteen-year-old kid in a poor rural area where the nearest guitar store was a half hour away and had mostly cheap Strat copies, which were usually the only guitars I ever saw in person. (I knew a kid with a cheap Series 10 Les Paul copy, and I thought he must be rich.)

        The players I saw on MTV had sweet guitars. Slash had Les Pauls; James and Kirk had ESP; Dave and Marty had Jacksons; Steve had Ibanez. I wanted a Jackson, mostly because I loved the body shapes and those sharkfin inlays, not to mention the sounds they got.

        My brother and I had a friend in college a few towns over who was upgrading from his Squier II HSS Strat to a Washburn with a Floyd copy and EMG Select pickups. He sold me his Squier for what he had paid and let me pay over time as I earned money bailing hay for a farmer down the way.

        I played the hell out of that guitar, but I also spent a lot of time wishing it was an Epiphone Les Paul or a Jackson Performer or at least a cheap Ibanez with the crappy trem.

        Now imagine the same clueless idiot, but in the city, with a little bit of money. That's me for the next thirty years. It seems a foregone conclusion that my main guitar now would be a TV yellow Les Paul Special with P-90s.
        Last edited by Little Pigbacon; 07-30-2021, 03:51 AM.
        Tone is in the hands, but it helps to have gear that doesn't totally blow ass.


        • #5
          I started out with one of the Aria Pro II strat copies and a 10w Crate amp that came together as a package. Just finished high school and always wanted to learn to play, so one day I went and got it.

          Over time, Indeveloped a love for the look of the Iceman, I am a KISS fan, so seeing Paul Stanley play one is what got me going .

          Over time, Ive tried other brands and learned what I do and dont like. Usually when buying a guitar, the last thing I do is plug it in. Im more interested in how does it sound acousrically anx how does it feel in my hands. If those meet my mark (and dont have an ugly headstock) then Ill plug it

          I hate to say it but headstock shape is probably one of my bigger peeves about guitars. I know its stupid its a criteria for picking a guitar, but headstock shape plays more into than body shapd.
          1994 Ibanez IC500 Iceman reissue
          Jackson Soloist 7 string
          ESP LTD M-400
          Original Marshall Silver Jubilee 2553


          • #6
            Started down the Hero route. Had one Les Paul Standard for like 20 years. Stayed there for quite a while.

            Then I went to feel / varierty (Strat, Tele, Shred, etc). Then I narrowed it down again. When I joined here I think I had like 4 or 5 Les Pauls and a Cadillac.

            Then I spread out a little. Then after Hollywood I got a lot of Caddies and Deans. Now I might get something for any reason:

            - Feel
            - Variety
            - Bargain factor
            - Mod - potential
            - Color


            Originally posted by Bad City
            He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...


            • #7
              I was 16 and knew a local guy, Rus who was like 20 and used to idolize Alex Lifeson. This was like around the time of Moving Pictures. I used to go to his house and watch him play his black Strat thru a JCM 800, thru a homemade 1x12" Celestion cab. Man let me tell you, I was in awe. He could play everything by Rush to that point.

              He taught me my and probably everyone here's first chord, the two finger power chord. He let me play his Strat every now and then. I bugged him so much that he told me I needed to buy my own. After begging and pleading, my mom agreed. We didn't have much money, but she scraped up enough for me to buy a guitar.

              Russ took me to a pawn shop in Winter Haven, and we looked around. All the really cool guitars were out of my range, I only had like $110 dollars. The guy that owned the store must have felt bad for me, so he said he might be able to find something decent. He went in the back and brought out a case. I was big and plastic, it said Peavey.

              He opened it and low and behold, there was this big natural wood guitar. It had a black pick guard, mini toggles, two blade double coils. A Peavey T-60. I wasn't impressed at first, but Russ said it was a steal. It didn't look as cool as the other guitars, but he knew more than me. I took it to his house and plugged it in, and was happy. I didn't know about coil tapping/splitting, volume, tone. I just knew it was mine and I loved it

              A couple months later my cousin in NY sent me my first amp, a 60s all tube Les Paul amp. It had a polarity switch that if the amp buzzed, you switched it. I learned quick not to do it with bare feet. It would shock the hell out of you. My mom bought me a Boss Heavy Metal pedal for my Birthday. It was now complete, my first rig.

              A year later my Grandfather bought me my first cool guitar, a new Kramer Stryker from Thorobreds Music in Tampa. It was their yearly sale. You had to wait on line just to get in, I waited like an hour. I got one of the last ones, it was blue. I didn't even get to pick the color. I didn't care. It had NFT Floyd Rose, two singles and a double. I gave my Peavey to a friend Manny who couldn't afford a guitar. Case and all. My mom was a little miffed at first, but understood. I was moving back North and never gave it to him myself, she did. I hope he appreciated it. I'm sure he did. So there's my origin story. Probably not very interesting, but that's how I got my first guitar. You can't always get what you want, but if you try some times, you just might find, you get what you need.
              Last edited by Azzogthoth; 07-18-2021, 11:27 AM.


              • #8
                My first electric guitar was a strat.
                I liked all the sweet looking guitars in the shop and the les Paul’s and everything, but somehow I started with a strat and that’s basically all that feels good to me 20 years later.
                ISO - Fender Highway One Stratocaster - black
                2004 Chevy Silveraro - 6.6 Liter Duramax Turbo Diesel
                Pickup Booster - Lava Box - Tweak Fuzz - Vapor Trail


                • #9
                  Started going to concerts around 1974 pretty regular using my paper route money. Began reading CIRCUS and CREEM about then too. Became a big fan of Explorers then too thanks to Cub Coda and Rick Derringer. Began to notice Les Paul's and Strats were the big dogs. Took me until August of '77 to get my first guitar an Ibanez LP copy. Learned my first chords a little earlier than that thanks to a good friend and his '67 335. Didn't get my first "Explorer" until I bought a Hamer Standard in Oct. 1982. Been a living room noodler ever since. Wish I still had the Ibanez but I do still have the Hamer.

                  Aint no pro but I know what I like....
                  Guitar to sound output:
                  Hamer, Dean, or Various, Levy's straps, Dunlop straplock/picks, Daddarrio strings 10-46, Duncan, Dimarzio, Mogami, Monster, MojoDrive pedal on occasion, Marshall, Crate, Vox, Mesa Boogie, Black Shadow Celestions, Eminence,..


                  • #10
                    The first guitars I really lusted after were a Fender Mustang (Kurt), a Tele (don’t remember why), and a PRS CE24. Loads of guys were playing those, and I played one in a store and loved how it felt and looked.

                    The first one that was actually mine was a late 60’s Competition Mustang. I loved it, but as time went on, it became apparent it wasn’t what I wanted.

                    Fast forward almost 30 years, and my keepers are a Tele Plus v2, and two PRS guitars.
                    "Patience is key. Hard work is obligatory. And itís the decisions you make right now, not the habits of the past, that will shape your success in the future." - Janek Gwizdala


                    • #11
                      The first time I saw a Les Paul I thought it was the most beautiful guitar. It was a wine red custom with gold hardware. The shape and proportions just looked right to me. When I first played one everything clicked. How they balance and where the weight is concentrated, the scale length, the sound. They just fit me well and I'm more comfortable playing them than anything else I've tried.
                      My first guitar was a strat copy, then a couple Ibanez, but nothing ever felt perfect until I played a Les Paul. That's why my #1 and #2 guitars are Les Pauls
                      I do have a strat and some other guitars that I really like, but when learning something new or traveling, etc I always reach for a LP.
                      "If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough" -Mario Andretti

                      '07 Epiphone Les Paul plus top: Custom, APH2N(Slash)
                      '03 Jackson RR5: Super Distortion ,Jazz
                      '03 Warmoth Explorer build: Distortion, 59/A2
                      '07 Squier Affinity Strat: JB/A2, stock middle, DP401 neck
                      '05 Epiphone '58 Korina Explorer: Custom, Jazz
                      '16 Epiphone ES-339 P90 Pro: stock
                      '17 Epiphone Les Paul plus top Pro: Slash set


                      • #12
                        My dad got me a plastic toy guitar when i was little. Then would bring bar musicians by the house to give me drunken lessons at 2 am on Sunday morning
                        one was kinda famous
                        When i was 16 i got a strat-o-lyn acoustic
                        A buddy of mine went with his dad and picked out one at the music store for me . I didnt go, i had to work.
                        it was nice got pawned

                        Had a red strat copy for a bit
                        it got pawned

                        Got a Yamaha classical acoustic
                        it was awesome
                        It got pawned

                        in my late twenties i had a Sears brand cort with the effect built in , it never worked right
                        It got took back

                        then i got a Fender Acoustic
                        i kept it for a while

                        Then got a squire strat at some guitar store outside of St Louis
                        I had it for years as well

                        I broke the acoustic in a freak doorknob accident
                        And replaced with a Martin which is still my most expensive guitar

                        Then my nephew borrowed my strat and sold it
                        so i went to get an Epiphone Ultra LP
                        Ended up with the Ibanez RG2 which i just loved the neck on
                        Modded that and then started rolling thru guitars

                        trying to find the perfect shape and neck and weight
                        the Ibanez Wizard II is my favorite neck shape. It fits my hand so well.

                        the Epiphone Florentine has a similar skinny 60s C
                        with the shorter scale that i like
                        The Gibson 60s D is a bit thicker and wider
                        My custom guitars have the thinner neck and short scale

                        This is what i choose them by
                        Neck first
                        Cool shape

                        Woods arent important on an electric
                        Acoustic it is but not electric

                        Manufacturer isnt important
                        I like headstocks that are well designed
                        Gibson's are not

                        Last edited by ehdwuld; 07-18-2021, 10:47 AM.
                        Just here surfing Guitar Pron
                        RG2EX1 w/ SD hot-rodded pickups / RG4EXFM1 w/ Carvin S22j/b + FVN middle
                        SR500 / Martin 000CE-1/Epiphone Hummingbird
                        Epiphone Florentine with OEM Probuckers
                        Ehdwuld branded Blue semi hollow custom with JB/Jazz
                        Reptile Green Gibson Custom Studio / Aqua Dean Shire semi hollow with piezo
                        Carvin Belair / Laney GC80A Acoustic Amp (a gift from Guitar Player Mag)
                        GNX3000 (yea I'm a modeler)


                        • #13
                          I think the thread title needs to be updated: How did you choose your guitars

                          My first guitar was a Sears strat, because that's all I could afford on paper route money and my parents weren't going to help me. (In fact, they were pretty hostile to my music, despite both of them being musicians.). The guitar was terrible. Didn't quite play in tune, didn't make the sounds of the records I was copying. (Didn't have a 'real' amp at the time either.). But I went with it because I was learning. It was more important to figure out how to play songs at the time.

                          After a few years, I landed a spot in an orchestra supporting a live stage play that was touring. Then my parents bought me a G&L F100 and a Randall RG-80. That worked, but while out on the road I met some session musicians and they let me play their rigs and they played mine. They pointed out the issues, like single notes on the plain strings weren't nearly as thick as the wound strings, etc. I kept that in mind, but no way had the money to get the rigs they were proposing (ES335 through a Fender Twin with a Tube Screamer, etc.)

                          Next guitar I bought was a Yamaha shred stick. I had already figured out a Strat body was the most comfortable/ergonomic, I just needed one that made all the sounds I wanted. I went Yamaha because Alex Lifeson was getting sounds I wanted at the time with a similar configuration guitar, and I set a limit of $300, I would never buy anything more than $300. At the time I thought I don't need $1000+ guitars because I believed I could find something that could make the sound I wanted at the price I could afford. The one I bought had active electronics (which was a thing at the time) and it was clean, and did all the music I needed to do at the time.

                          After getting some studio work, and talking with engineers, they pointed out additional issues with the rig I was using, demonstrating the difference when it's mic'd up, run through a board, played back from a track. (You don't really hear yourself until you hear yourself played back while passively listening.). They were right in that last 10% of difference is in almost half the cost of getting the right tool for the job.

                          I determined I needed to find a way to get the right guitar and right amp for the sounds I really wanted to make, which turns out was a Gibson Les Paul into a Marshall 100w 4x12 situation. LIke the engineers pointed out to me, a lot of records were made with that combo - more than you realize, even country hits. In 1994 I went out and bought a Gibson Les Paul Standard, and shortly thereafter a Marshall SL-X half stack with Tesla EL-34s (still have them and play them to this day - see my avatar. With the Teslas, man it sounded exactly like Angus). It took me 3 years to pay off the guitar.

                          I almost bought a Gibson Explorer, black/white guard with uncovered pickups. It was hands down THE best sounding Gibson on the wall, but it had a loud 60hz ground buzz, which at the time I did not know anything about how to fix in a guitar and didn't want to pay that much on a new guitar to have to have it repaired just to play it. That drove me back to the Les Pauls, and all the ones on the wall were bright pink or blue or purple quilted, which wasn't my style I couldn't be seen holding at the time, but there was just one on that wall that was just a sedate normal dark honeyburst. The guy helping me pointed out that the 'exact' same original honeyburst model from 1959 was hanging up over on the other wall, priced at $120,000, which was the price of a house at the time. He noted while the value goes down for the first 5-10 years as used, after 20 years or so the value starts going back up, so if you hold onto it, you won't lose your money. So that's still my #1; one owner, original owner guitar.


                          • #14
                            Click image for larger version  Name:	92903664-421C-43E0-A4ED-C552724EBBB8.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	78.5 KB ID:	6097247

                            My current #1 is pictured.

                            It started with me owning a standard strat. I liked the shape and feel of the body but that was pretty much it… didn’t like the single coils, the 6-screw trem, the small frets, etc.

                            I liked the humbuckers and the mahogany body of Les pauls, but not the shape.

                            I liked locking tremolos like the Floyd and they’re important for my style, but I played a Kahler and preferred the feel so went for that.

                            I went with active Blackouts because this guitars aim was to be my ‘metal’ guitar and I didn’t want any compromise in that aim. But actually, they’re really versatile.

                            I went for the Wenge neck because I wanted an unfinished neck. I just liked the feel after playing another guitar with an unfinished neck. The Wenge was a bit of a gamble because I hadn’t played one before… just liked the colour… and for unfinished it seemed it was either that or maple (this was before the roasted maple craze, too). Went with Macassar Ebony on the fretboard because I like super smooth grain on the fretboard (so don’t like rosewood).

                            Went for the clear satin finish because I really like the idea of guitars being basic utilitarian tools rather than colourful decorative pieces.


                            • #15
                              My dad bought me an Epi 335 when I was starting to play guitar. I had kinda had my heart set on a strat but didn't want him to feel bad, so ended up playing that guitar exclusively for about eight years until the frets were unplayably worn. Then I got a Charvel So Cal for 600$ . . . which played pretty amazingly well, but couldn't get along with the high output 'buckers so I swapped them for single coils. Eventually I realized that the lower horn on the strat was annoying and in the way when playing up high on the neck . . . so I built myself a neon pink SSS jazzmaster with a floyd. It pretty much checks all the boxes of what I thought playing a strat would be like waaay back in the day and has been my number 1 guitar since finishing it.
                              Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

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