Guitar recommendations for a beginner

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Hi, I started playing piano 3 years ago but always loved the sound of electric guitars. I got some time now and tryna learn a second instrument.

What would you guys suggest me to get started, is a cheap guitar (~100$) enough at the beginning or should I go for a more pricey one.

I've been looking at this one recently :
https://www.thomannmusic.com/harley_ben ... series.htm

If you have some recommendations I would love to hear them.

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Get the best guitar you can afford would be my advice. Not necessarily the most expensive, but something that's a pleasure to play. I tryed learning on cheap secondhand acoustics when I started out, but didn't progress until I bit the bullett and bought a decent quality, new Ibanez acoustic. Same thing with electrics ... some people love their Harley Bentons but chances are that a Fender/ Epiphone/ Ibanez/PRS etc. will play and sound better (imho).

What's your budget?

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Anything under 300$ would be fine.

I will take your advice and look a bit more into it but the choice is so overwhelming and as a beginner it's not easy to grasp all the differences between the models.

I think I'll go with one of these, they seem to sound great (towards the Ibanez) :
- IBANEZ GRG121DX
- LTD MH10
- CORT KX100

what do you think ?

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The Cort looks nice to me, but the other two are a bit "pointy" for my taste. I'm sure they'll be great guitars all the same. I sympathize with you on the overwhelming choice available these days. Guitars were still relatively expensive when I started out. These days they're pretty affordable by comparison. Is there anywhere nearby where you could get hands on with the models you like? The first Telecaster I tried convinced me I needed that guitar, so I part exchanged it for my Ibanez LP Junior. I still love the sound of the Tele, but recently picked up a PRS SE Standard which I'm playing a lot.

Hopefully you'll get some replies tomorrow from folk with more experience with different guitars ... :)

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Cort make some nice guitars these days. I do like the LTD guitars but I only know their more expensive options. I think any of these would be fine so probably the neck shape/width and appearance are the most important things at this stage. It's good that you are staying away from cheap guitars with a tremolo.
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I always buy guitars according to the following two criteria: ergonomics and looks.

If you're a total beginner, it can be hard to judge the ergonomics because your hands and brain can't tell what is comfortable for you. To me, it's the matter of string action (the distance of strings from the frets. The shorter the distance, the easier it is to fret the string. However, too low and you may get fret buzz. Some distance is good because it provides space for dynamic range.), string spacing and nut width so that I have enough space to comfortably fret chords, fretboard radius, and the guitar weight. A good thing to do is to try many guitars, even the very expensive ones that you'd never buy or can't afford, just to get a feel for what fits you.

Then, and I cannot overstate how important this step is, go to a luthier and have him do the setup on the guitar. Even cheap guitars can play amazingly well with proper setup. You can try it yourself too, it's not too hard. Check out Frudua stratocaster setup videos on youtube. The man explains it in great details and you can do most of the stuff with the tools you already have or will get with the guitar. The only tricky part is the nut because the nut files can be so damn expensive and if you shave it off too much, replacing it can be a hassle.

The looks is about feeling sexy when you play it, to be happy holding it and practicing. It can motivate you to pick it up more often that you would otherwise.

I have heard mostly good things about Harley Benton. I've only ever owned their fretless jazz bass, but it played and sounded great, a fantastic instrument! Also, I'll be looking to buy a Harley Benton strat some time in the future as a project guitar which I'll upgrade step by step. They have models with flatter radius, which I like so that's a big plus.

If you think you want to experiment and see if the guitar's an instrument for you, consider getting a guitar that can be easily resold if it turns out you don't like it. It depends on your local market, but I guess Squiers should be easier to resell than Bentons.

In any case, I think the Benton should be a good guitar for a beginner, as is Cort and Ibanez. I had an Ibanez 540S, the best neck I've ever played (if you like them flat and thin, can't beat the Wizard neck). It was a 30y old guitar, but in great shape and I got it for a bargain. There are some older made in Japan guitars by Ibanez and similar brands that can sometimes be had for 500$ or even under, definitely worth checking out. The guitar I mentioned I bought for like 400$, but when it came out in 1991, it cost a grand. Adjusted for inflation, that would be over 2k today, yet you can find it for half the original price. Just a thought :) But in these days of CNC machines, it's hard to go all that wrong buying a new cheap instrument anyways :)

If you do go the second hand market route, there are a videos on yt about what to pay attention to so that you end up being happy with the purchase so I suggest you make a checklist beforehand :)

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The quality of cheaper guitars is so much better these days than when I was starting out, so you'll be unlucky to get something totally awful if you go for the bigger brands.

A lot of good recommendations already. I'll just also throw in Yamaha Pacifica. They sell a f**k of a lot of them, for a reason..

I have a Variax Standard which is just a mid-range Pacifica with a lot of fancy arsed electronics in it. Guitar itself is lovely to play, setting all the modelling stuff aside. :love:

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Great, thanks a lot for your replies, I will try to go to a local store and see if something catch my eye. I wasn't aware about the luthier step and how much you could change the sound with a few modifications, I'll look into it.

Yamaha seems to be a good brand concerning music instruments ;)

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IME you can't go wrong with Yamaha. Harley Benton are another matter - lots of bang for the buck but QC seems to be iffy. You get good ones but others need a bit of fettling.

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We'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

Yamaha always has a thin bland tone to my ear.
I pulled my Yamaha Variax standard out of it's case today because I was missing my strat tones. It didn't save me.
Forget that the variax functions no longer work (good because it sucked) The tone is incredibly thin and the output is low.
Though I will credit yamaha with a nice neck. It's tin and flat yet still more comfortable than an Ibanez wizard. The fretwork is level and the nut is cut correctly though it's common for the nut to become unglued on Yamahas (Yes I've had a few). The trem works okay but the block itself isn't that heavy so you don't get the same sustain as you would... a Fender, Charvel or a moderately priced Ibanez.

If cheap metal tone speaks to you like nothing else and you won't be fulfilled without it then I'd suggest you check out Guitar Max
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mWeDtDtLvo
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GeoMan wrote: Mon Feb 19, 2024 1:54 pm Great, thanks a lot for your replies, I will try to go to a local store and see if something catch my eye. I wasn't aware about the luthier step and how much you could change the sound with a few modifications, I'll look into it.

Yamaha seems to be a good brand concerning music instruments ;)
Luthier will help you with the ergonomics to make the guitar more playable (though if you feel the guitar plays well from the box, you can skip this step. However, my guitars always played better after the setup so best you be the judge.), but not so much for the tone, except for adjusting the pickup height. The pickup height matters to me, it feels like it has a sweet spot where they sound the "best" (to me it means clear, with good note separation), but then, some people argue the height doesn't change the tone, just the gain amount. If you want, take a caliper and write down the pickup height from the pickguard after the setup so that you can go back to that setting if you like the sound. Make sure to measure the height near the top string and the bottom string because pickups are usually slanted since the bass strings are thicker. Then readjust the height and see what sound suits you the best or return to the starting height if you prefer it that way.

I would say the tone mostly comes from the amp, cabs and effects. To me, the pickup sound is like the default EQ curve, but it can be adjusted to a degree, especially with high gain where you add so much harmonics the pickup loses somewhat of its clean character. But that's just my opinion. I don't use hardware stuff - just software paired with a couple of monitor speakers - however, if I can offer you any advice, it'd be to download some free and/or demo rig software like Blue Cat, Helix Native, Amplitube, TH-U, Nembrini, NeuralDSP etc., then go thru the presets and see what sounds you like. Then check the signal chain, EQ and other settings to get a feel for the sound design side of it and try to recreate it with the equipment you have. Maybe other members can help you more with that, I'm not really good with that stuff.

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GeoMan wrote: Sun Feb 18, 2024 12:47 pm I've been looking at this one recently :
https://www.thomannmusic.com/harley_ben ... series.htm

If you have some recommendations I would love to hear them.
I would recommend against that guitar and those in that price range (<100-150-ish). Bought a similar one for my son (https://www.thomann.de/intl/harley_bent ... series.htm) and while it's fine to start out and see if you want to keep on playing, you'll want a better one in a few months.
Sharp frets, dry and unnatural fingerboard, weirdly toyish to hold, bad hardware (that does the job, though).

Not because it's a Harley Benton, but because spending above 200 for a HB Pro or Deluxe series will buy you a guitar you can play for a lifetime, with much better woods, much better refined (I have a deluxe series with a very good fretwork and perfect finish). If after a while you want a great sounding guitar, put in some Duncans, DiMarzio, EMG or whatever you like and you have a guitar better than many others in the 600-800 range.

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If you can..buy used ....buy one of the brands mentioned above that would be 300 to 500 new for 30% less. If/when you go to sell it. You can recoup most if not all of the cost. If it turns out to be a winner ans you continue to play.....You win
We jumped the fence because it was a fence not be cause the grass was greener.
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I'll be the voice in the wilderness to recommend starting off with an acoustic.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

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Bombadil wrote: Sat Feb 24, 2024 1:45 pm I'll be the voice in the wilderness to recommend starting off with an acoustic.
I hated acoustics. Never developed a love for them. But as far as musical journeys go you can't beat an acoustic for the sympathetic vibrations that resonate against your body. The guys I knew who started off on acoustics developed their ears and singing faster than those using electrics. That being said I do play my jazz boxes unplugged from time to time. So there is a lot to be said for the "organic" value of a good acoustic.
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