Good Beginner Electric Guitar

28th March


Finding the best beginner electric guitars online

good beginner electric guitarToday, seeking out a really good beginner electric guitar is virtually a breeze.

However, finding beginner electric guitars with great, consistent build and set-up quality at an affordable price can be somewhat more of a challenge.

One brand of guitars we have found which really fits this bill to T is the Agile electric guitars.

I haven’t tested their acoustic line of guitars, but I will assume these are great value for the price also (although they don’t seem to have some better steel string acoustics though – kind of a shame…).

As far as their electrics goes, I haven’t heard anything but really great things. They are well set up, superb looking – and their prices…? Wow!

Their better models have the kind of specs that can put any US built instruments to shame any time, and at a fraction of the price for a Fender or Gibson.

Some comments about the Agile guitars

Here are some of the comments given about the Agile brand of electric guitars from the suppliers web site (rondo.com).

“The problem that I have is my wife would rather play my Agile than her Gibson. She says the Agile plays much better and sounds just as good.”

“I may have played better guitars, but not by much and NEVER at this incredible price!”

“I just wanted to tell you that this has been one of the best guitar purchases I’ve made in the past ten years.”

“(…) I just can’t believe the sound, the look or the price!”

“My personal opinion on this guitar is that it kicks its competitors in their teeth.”

For anyone thinking about buying an Epiphone Les Paul, new or used, I urged you to seriously consider picking up one of these Agile Les Paul guitars – you will not be sorry.

The good, the bad and the ugly?

When you’re looking to purchase a lower end guitar, either online or at a store, you may have to run through (not literally, do you hear! :) a huge number of instruments to “strike gold”. The quality really is up and down. One instrument can be gob-smacking good, while the neck from the same production run couldn’t really be fit for anything but firewood.

The Agile electric guitars seems to be built at a much higher consistent quality. So, any of these guitars have the potential of serving you well for many years to come.

I should in all fairness have to make an exception for the cheapest guitar models though. After all, a $50 guitar will probably never be an instrument fit for the likes of Eddie Van Halen or Eric Clapton.

But dude, seriously – Why in the name of Robert Johnson wasn’t some these instruments around when I first started out! Oh dear, the sad excuses for guitars we had to stick with…

If you have $200-300 or slightly more to spend on an electric guitar, one of these babies will make your goal to learn electric guitar properly and easily so much more achievable, worthwhile and downright fun.

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Guitar Questions and Answers 3

26th December


Your Guitar Questions Answered, Part 3

guitar question and answersYes friends, it’s indeed time for another round of our common guitar questions and answers.

Anyone keen on how to learn electric guitar as stress free as possible should definitely check them out!

As always, please feel free to leave your question in the comment field below or contact me. Remember, there are no stupid questions, just bad answers.

Fasten your seat belts, strap on your guitar and let’s get rocking!

Help choosing an electric guitar

Q: Can you help me pick out a good electric guitar? I’m all new to this…

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A: Any answer to a question like this one is basically down to a matter of personal preference. What might appeal to me doesn’t always go down at all with someone else.

However, if you stick to the better known guitar brands from reputable dealers, you are less likely to run into any major problems or regrets.

The best piece of advice I can give is this: Visit your nearest well equipped music store and try out as many instruments as possible. Also, you may want to ask friends and perhaps other musicians if you can try their guitar … just briefly to get a feel for how it sits, the weight and balance, the overall sound, etc.

Most people you don’t know will probably not let you play their instrument just like that. If so, then politely ask if they would do you a favor and very briefly demonstrate how it plays and sounds. Don’t forget to ask other players why they chose that particular guitar to begin with. Most guitar players are cool and they will try to help you if you just ask.

There are some basic, yet major differences between guitars. You have the guitars with single coil pickups (like the ones you’ll see on most Fenders) and then you have humbuckers (like most Gibson guitars are equipped with).

Then you have all sorts of combinations and add-ons – like scale/vibrating string length (longer, shorter), wood types, neck styles and neck angles, finishes, hardware and controls, vibrato system or hard-tail instruments, fret board wood types … on and on it goes :-)

It somehow boils down to this: Having both, I can assure you some of my cheap guitars plays just as well as very expensive ones. Just changing the pick-ups, hardware and electronics on a lower cost guitar these days, and then having it properly adjusted/set up, will most likely give you a whole lot of guitar for your hard earned cash.

Me, I play mostly my cheaper guitars live – somewhat modded, I should add. If you tried one of my second hand and quite cheap Teles or Strats, you might very well think they were ten times their actual price.

Fresh out of the box, most low-cost guitars may not sound or play like much. As much as anything, this is due to the fact that the better instruments come set up from the factory or shop for great playing comfort!

Can’t really hammer this down – do get some qualified help in a reputable store or by someone who knows what he/she is doing. Then, try out as many guitars as you possibly can.

Tips on how to become better at playing guitar

Q: Any specific tips on how I can become a better guitar player? I’m a little past the absolute beginner guitar level.

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A: One of the keys (pun intended) to mastering the guitar is to get the scales and patterns “under your skin”. You might for instance begin slowly to practice the major and pentatonic scales in all positions.

Gradually work up your speed as long as you can stay relaxed and get an even sound from all notes. If you make mistakes, then just back up and start over.

When you have a basic feel for the neck and how to position your fingers, you might want to learn what notes you are playing in all scales and positions on the fingerboard.

This will build a reference or frame to understand how you can transpose things which are working in one key to another key or to another song all together. Also, knowing the notes, scales, patterns, chords etc. makes it easy to¬† communicate properly with other musicians who don’t play guitar.

I tend to advice beginners at times to use a metronome, click or similar, to better learn timing and flow.

It is considered important (at least I think so) to understand the structure of the songs that you play along to. What key is it in; any intro; how many verses; where’s the chorus; does it have a bridge, is it transposed from one key to another, time signatures etc?

You might want to try to play a song in another key. Why not slow it down or speed it up a little (or a lot). It is quite surprising how the overall feel changes when you change the tempo!

You should definitely learn the chord positions are all over the fretboard. Doing inversions – playing a chord on say the three or four lower strings as opposed to other strings – or playing higher or lower on the neck … how does the same chord or pattern sound and feel?

A capo is something you might want to try. It sure changes the feel and sound of your guitar! If you are adventurous, you might even try to change to an alternate (open) tuning, G or D (or A, E) are the most common ones.

Also try out playing both with your fingers as well as a pick – again, way different sound and feel :-)

Interacting (playing) with others will always be beneficial, in particular if they are better than yourself and the chemistry is good. You’ll quickly begin to pick up new stuff in addition to learn interaction, how to listen to time shifts, how other musicians are playing on and off your own ideas, how to stay in the groove and much more. Important for sure!

Oh, and let us not forget, lots of practice and then practice some more :-)

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Cheap Electric Guitar?

8th December


Buying A Beginner Guitar

When someone is starting out to learn electric guitar, this is a very common question: “Where can I get a cheap electric guitar? I’m about to take this guitar course I’ve been recommended, and now I need a beginners guitar … nothing expensive”.

If you had asked me that question some years ago, I would probably have told you to save up some cash until you could afford something else. Today however, things are way different. It is in fact quite easy to fine great playing – and really nice looking – cheaper electric guitars.

Thanks to modern day production methods, you can pick up a really good beginner electric guitar¬† from China and other places – perfect for your beginner guitar lessons – for as low as a $200. I kid you not, when we started out (many moons ago), we would have gone to great lengths to get hold of guitars of such decent quality! Man … the beat-up things we would play…

Here are just a few of the newer guitars we can recommend

yamaha-pacifica

First of all – do take a look at the almost ridiculous value for money found in the Agile brand! These instruments easily compare to stuff which costs many times as much. I often times prefer to play an Agile over my way more expensive Gibsons guitars. Really, really good stuff!

The Fender Squire Affinity or Standard series. They have both Tele and Strat model guitars – oh and even a Hello Kitty version (in pink, of course).

The Epiphone range of beginner guitars. You have for example a cool Les Paul Special II, which I have seen online for as low as $200. A bargain!

Yamaha has a number of fantastic instruments, played by top notch guitar players. Some of these are more expensive. However, they do have some good, cheaper ones as well, such as the Pacifica series.

Ibanez is another company that caters both to high-end instruments (Joe Satriani is one artist who uses Ibanez guitars) as well as the less expensive models, such as the GRX and GRG models.

A third company that caters for the higher end artist models as well as the cost effective beginner guitars is Dean. Models in the Vendetta series is well worth checking out if you’re on a budget.

Why are some guitars so much more expensive?

Well, there are a number of factors that are determining the cost of a guitar – like where it is build for starters. It goes without saying that it is much more expensive to build an instrument in the US or Europe, as compared to say China.

That said, there are in general better hardware components on the higher end guitars: pickups, tuners, bridge, electronics etc. Also the woods are generally better, and sometimes the finish is much more sophisticated. Furthermore, you will notice that the workmanship – such as the fretwork, finish, bindings, inlay, neck fit etc. is way better on the more expensive guitars.

But here’s the thing…

As a beginner, you really don’t need these somewhat “fancy pants” things – you just need a beginner guitar that stays in tune, sounds OK, looks decent and is not hard to play (the set up is OK). And that is commonly what you get with these beginner guitars!

I will encourage you to make sure that the guitars are properly adjusted (set up) though. A guitar that is hard to play can be a painful experience and may kill your ambitions dead in the tracks.

Personally, I have found some killer deals on eBay. Amongst other things, I recently bought a Les Paul copy that was just amazing to play.

What I tend to look closely at is the seller’s feedback score. I also want to be assured that the guitars are being properly set up before shipping. Some sellers do this really pro – again look at the feedback!

How about used guitars?

Naturally, you may also opt for finding a used guitar as your first (or indeed second) instrument. As long as you know what to look for … or get help from someone who can sort out the fluff, then you’ll be good to go.

Again, you may also have a look for used and second hand guitars at eBay. As with new guitars, I personally only buy from reputable sources with good feedback score across the board. If in any doubt at all, just don’t buy!

If you buy used directly from a person (or from sites such as eBay), do make sure that everything is guaranteed to be working properly – including the neck truss rod! Needing to change the neck or the truss rod is expensive…

Also do make sure that the frets are even and properly installed (no lose frets). Again, if you need to re-fret, or fix the fret work, you’re looking at quite a hefty sum of money.

Hope you’ll find the guitar that is just perfect for you!

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