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Building A Better Sound For Less Money:
A Buyer’s Guide To Budget Guitars
Here’s a project I’ve taken on for those of you that want guitar sounds that are similar to
your favorite artists but don’t have a lot to spend on exotic and expensive guitars.
This is for those of you who are beginners, intermediates or maybe even a bit advanced
and aren’t happy with the instrument you are playing or the sounds coming from your
amp. This is all about choosing an appropriate instrument for your playing style that you
can grow into yet afford.
It can help you decide if the one you have right now is inhibiting your progress or not
capable of delivering the sound you seek. If that is the case I provide information on
finding the most affordable new one.
The philosophy behind this is that by educating yourself about the characteristics of
different instrument types and the nature of guitar effects you will be able to get the
sound you need on a reasonable budget, saving tons of money. This is because when you
know exactly what you need you can hunt for exactly that and spend only for what you
If you understand this idea then read this in it entirety. I know it’s a lot to absorb but you
will take away from it knowledge that will help you make informed buying decisions. In
addition, it will make you better able to utilize the guitars and effects you decide to buy.
Keep in mind I have no endorsements from or connections with the companies of the
products I recommend here. I have chosen these based on their effectiveness and
I actually use similar or even the same instruments and effects to create all of the
matching sounds in my song instruction videos so the sounds you’ll be getting should be
pretty close to those depending on your amp type and settings.
To create a sound close to your favorite artist you’re going to need a guitar that is similar
to theirs to use the effects unit with. I’m assuming that you have one or two favorite
artists you want to sound like so you won’t need to go out and buy all these guitars
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reviewing. It’s good to have a broad knowledge of the many variations on instrument
though so reading about them all will help you make a good choice.
This first section has a brief description of how each guitar sounds with examples of
artists who used it to help you make decisions. After each description is a list of
premium, ideal instruments and their costs. If you’re reading the assumption is that you
may not want to invest thousands of dollars in a premium instrument if you are still
learning or just plain can afford it. I’m going to fill you in on the premium instruments
just a little bit so that you have something to compare the budget suggestions to. The
premium instruments chosen are in the $1000-$2500.00 range for electrics, $2500-
$3500.00 range for acoustics, even though you can spend much more. These are the
average consumer spending ranges for a premium instrument.
After that I’m listing some affordable similar ones to the premium ones. I’m trying to
keep these between $250.00-$400 new or used. I suggest you don’t go much lower on the
price point than that because you’ll just need to upgrade when your playing improves and
you’re not going to get the sound you want.
Take my word for it. You usually don’t “need” the premium modesls to get the sound
you’re looking for. You can come really close with alternatives. I’ve done all the
research for you. All you need to do is absorb it and go into bargain seeking mode.
A good strategy is to shop for like-new used guitars in places other than music stores that
are out to gouge you for every penny. These are places like pawn shops, Craigslist, Ebay
and classified ads. Also you can look into brands that are making great copies of
instruments for a reasonable retail price.
This is the instrument choosing process to use:
• Become educated about premium brand guitar types.
• Decide which type is best for your needs.
• Seek out the best price alternative to save money.
Lets go pick out a guitar!
Option 1: Fender Stratocaster
This is one of the most widely used and versatile guitars. It was originally made popular
pioneers like Buddy Holly, The Ventures, and The Beatles.
In the 70’s and 80’s bluesmen like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robert Cray, and Eric Clapton
made so popular that it has become the standard instrument for that style.
Modern instrumentalist Eric Johnson gets an incredible tone on one. Yngwie Malmsteen
uses it to shred. Hendrix made it wail and then burned it on stage. Pink Floyd’s David
Gilmour created ethereal sounds that we all could trip out to. Mark Knopfler (Dire Sraits)
swings with it. Bob Dylan made it quack.
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If this sounds like the musical direction you want to take then the Strat is for you.
Making that descision was easy enough, right?
OK now the hard part, this is where you need to think about parting with your money.
First we’ll take a look at thr prices of the premium guitars out there.
The best price I’ve found for American Standard Strat starts around $899.00 new.Think
about $1500.00 for the deluxe model. The retails on these are $1399.99 and $1999.99
Now for my choices in an a Stratoaster alternative:
Fender Mexican made Stratocaster: These start around $599.00 (retail $849.99) new on
most sites. Go get a used one for around $200-$300.00 if you are a good bargain hunter.
I just picked a 2002 one up, never played, factory strings still on it, including case, cord,
accessories for $250.00. I just saw one now on Ebay for $199.00
The Mexican Strat comes close to its American counterpart in playability and sound. It’s
not quite the precision instrument that an American is and the electronics aren’t quite the
same but for a beginner or intermediate player the difference is negligible.
In fact, I made the “Pride And Joy” instructional video using the Mexican Strat I picked
up for $250.00 and a $40.00 Zoom pedal and didn’t miss a note.
The Greg Bennet Malibu MB30: Greg Bennet is a well known guitar designer who put
together this great strat copy. It is made by the Samick corporation and features Grover
tuners and Duncan Designed™ pickups which are a cut above those found in the
Mexican strat. These are impossible to find used so you will need to grab a new one.
Most sites sell them for $338.00 ($449 retail).With the enhanced hardware and
workmanship, these give the Mexican Strat a run for its money.
ESP LTD ST203 Distressed 3 Tone Sunburst: Awesomeness. Sells for $349.00 new
online most sites. (Retail $499.00)When I tried one of these out I was pleased.
Everything about it rivaled the Mexican Strat. The pickups were actually a little a little
hotter which was a nice surprise. They are easy to play and easy to make sound great.
Lastly, let’s rule out the alternatives that won’t deliver the results you want. These are
Fender’s Squire line of Stratocasters. Most online sites carry them new at $299.00 (list
$379.99).You also want to rule out The Affinity Stratocasters, new at $179 (list
In my opinion these are for beginners only! If you are ambitious learner you will
outgrow them quickly. They don’t have the precision workmanship to accommodate
playing advanced licks with ease. It can be done but its like riding a tricycle uphill. The
electronics in them won’t deliver a very good tone either.
Option 2: The Ibanez Artist or Gibson Les Paul style:
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The Les Paul style guitar is every bit as popular as the Fender Stratocaster. It has its own
distinct, full tone which I like to describe as being rounder with more sustain.
If you’ve heard the fat crunchy rhythms and smooth leads of Led Zeppelin, Kiss and ZZ
Top you know how a Les Paul sounds. Slash’s (Guns n Roses) rich lead guitar tones
flow from a Les Paul. Pete Townsend (The Who) smashed them. It defines Green Day’s
thick punk-pop rhythm. Eric Clapton played one in his early days on the Fresh Cream
Ibanez makes a formidable Les Paul style copy called the Artist. These two guitars are
very similar so which you choose is up to personal preference. In fact, Gibson sued
Ibanez in the late 70’s for because they were building nearly the same instruments at a
better price. I prefer the Ibanez.
Gibson Les Paul guitars are expensive. The American Les Paul models range anywhere
from $1700 - $2000.00 new, and those are online or big box store sale prices. Retail
range is from $2399.99- $3299.99 depending on the model
If you are a beginner or hobbyist the retail for the premium guitars probably seem like
ridiculous numbers. Even as a professional I would have a hard time parting with
$1899.99 for a new Custom Classic (on sale).
No worries, there is a great affordable alternatives out there.
It’s Epiphone counterparts, the Les Paul Utlra III, Custom, and Standard models can be
found for around $500-$750.00, new, on sale most places. (retail $832-1248.00)
With some bargain hunting you can picked up a used Epiphone Les Paul for around
$350.00, less if you’re really lucky. I just saw one on Ebay for that. I’ve played them a
lot. They lack some of the precision, workmanship and electronics found in the
American but they come pretty close. Close enough for an intermediate player to be
perfectly happy with one. Especially when you consider the price difference.
Try to avoid the Epiphone LP-100 and Epiphone Les Paul junior if you can. The parts
and precision just aren’t there. Playing advanced licks on these is like cutting steak with
a butter knife.
Lets take a look at some Ibanez Artist guitars now. I’m using a Ibanez 1976 Artist 2618
for almost all of my videos that require this style guitar. Its modern equivalent can be
found in the ARZ series. As I implied earlier, I’ll choose an Ibanez artist over the
equivalently priced Epiphone model every time. It has better workmanship, electronics
and 24 frets too. So we’ll take a look at a midline model.
Ibanez artist ARZ 400: Use this instead of the Ibanez 1976 Artist 2618 I’m using. New
ones are $688.88 retail.You can get a used one for $300-$350.00 you shop around
enough or try Ebay.
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There are lesser guitars in the Ibanez Artist category but I would look at the ARZ 400 as
the best place to start. Remember you get what you pay for and you don’t want to just
end up upgrading later.
The ESP LTD Eclipse: Another lesser-known company making affordable quality Les
Paul styles is ESP. Check out the LTD Eclipse. The deluxe model can be found for
$849.99 new (list $1213.00).These are hard to find used in stores and pawnshops so you
need to scour Ebay for them. The regular model ($399.99 sale / $570.00 list) is just fine
if you can’t afford the deluxe.
The Fernandes Monterey Series X: This one is for those of you on a really tight budget.
(Sale price $299.99 / list $399.99) It’s a pretty good guitar for the money. I used to teach
at a store that carried the Fernandez line and my students had good luck with them as far
as playability goes. The other night I saw some random guy playing one in a bar band
through a line 6 pod and the sound was good.
Option 3: The Rock n Roll / Metal Guitar
These are for the rocker that loves to play heavy music and shred. These guitars deliver a
grinding, articulate tone and are perfect for music that has a lot of distorted rhythms and
screaming guitar solos. They come is a variety of shapes and sizes with such names as
the Explorer, Flying V and Gem. Almost all seven string guitars fall into this category.
They accommodate deep sounding drop tunings so they are a must for anyone who seeks
to play that kind of music.
Kirk Hammett ( Metallica) provides us with an aggressive onslaught of rhythm and
scorching leads with an ESP. The Randy Rhodes (original Ozzy Ozbounre guitarist)
popularized the Jackson Flying V. Steve Vai and Joe Satriani both shred on Ibanez
guitars. Dimebag Darrel (Pantera) added a new dimension to Dean guitars with his
innovative signature line.
There’s not as much comparison-shopping to be done here. With these guitars the price
points are fair and competitive among companies. All of the big companies are making
them and there are a lot of smaller specialty companies that are making some really
impressive affordable instruments too. This drives the prices down a bit. The average
price you need to pay to get a really good one is about half that of a Stratocaster or Les
Paul. It’s when you get into the signature models that things get expensive.
As a result, manufacturers are producing lines of guitars in which the premium models
are the benchmark and less expensive guitars in the same product line are scaled down
versions of that model. For example a budget guitar may have lesser pickups,
construction, or materials to reduce the price. Generally the midline models can be a
decent alternative to the premium. It is sensible to think that the closer your model is to
the premium than the better it will be. Keep all this stuff in mind when you choose a
price range for the instrument.
With these guitars the type of pickups in them contribute to the sound you get. You
should consider this when you choose one. To learn about different types of pickups and
their usefulness and my recommendations for good ones see the pickup section.
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There are so many reputable companies with quality instruments at great prices I couldn’t
possibly discuss them all. With that in mind I’m going to introduce you to my favorites
based on availability, (When are a lot of them out there you can find them used more
easily end up paying less.), features and price.
Instead of listing the premium instruments and comparing alternatives from different
companies, here I’m going to present a premium instrument I like in the $1000-$1500.00
range and a less expensive recommended instruments from the same company. The
instruments chosen all have a basic design. You can get ones that come in wild shapes
with similar specifications though just check the companies website and compare the
Jackson “Dinky” Pro Series: My best pick here is the DK2: New ones on most sites go
for $849.00. (list $1149.99 - $1324.99).This is the main rock guitar used in my videos. I
use a DK2S with the built in sustaniac pickup. I love these so much I actually have three
of these each of which I keep in different tunings and one with different pickups for
really heavy music. It’s pretty easy to find used ones. I found my trans-black DK2S at a
store case included for $400. I just saw a used one on Ebay for $375.00. If you can’t get
a used DK2S a less expensive alternative is the DKXT from the X Series ($449.00 online
/ $599.99-$666.65 list) . That’s a great guitar too.
The Ibanez RG series: These guitars are built to shred so if that’s your style them these
are your guitars. My top choice here is the RG870 the “RG Premium” ($899.99 most
sites / $1056.65 list). Used ones are hard to find even on Ebay so if you see a used RG
Premium scoop it up quick. The RG350 (Tremelo) Series ($429.99 / $582.43 list) is a
great alternative if you don’t want to spend as much or can’t find a used premium.
The ESP MH1000 LTD: (849.99 sale / $1213.00 list).The active EMG pickups are a
nice feature that deliver a big tone. Not as “shreddy” as the RG as far as the fingerboard
goes but that’s a good thing if you play other styles too. They can be found used on Ebay
for $400 - $500.00. The LTD M300 is a less expensive alternative ($299.99 sale /
$429.00 list. It plays similarly to the other guitars in the M series but doesn’t have the
Grover tuners and a different bridge.
The Dean Custom 350 F: ($299.00 sale / $487.00 list). First, Dean makes so many
different electrics its hard to choose just one. I’ve chosen this because it’s the most
straightforward rock n roll guitar they make at our price range. If you’re looking for a
guitar with a funky or slick design look at Deans first. There is such a variety I can’t
keep track of them all.
Option 4: Semi Hollow Body Guitars (Gibson ES-335 or 535):
Called the semi hollow because it is neither hollow nor solid; instead, a solid wood block
runs through the center of its body. The side "wings" are hollow, and the top has two
violin-style f-holes over the hollow chambers. This gives it a full tone that I like to
describe as rich and woody. Be sure that the guitar you are looking at is a semi-hollow
body because the hollow body guitars look very similar to the average buyer. They are a
whole different instrument though as far as sound goes.
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The semi hollow body guitar is the one you see old style blues players like BB King,
Chuck Berry who popularized it. Guys like George Harrison (The Beatles) and Roy
Orbison brought it to attention in a pop context.
It has also been adopted by rock players like David Grohl (Foo Fighters) and Alex
Lifeson (Rush). Andy Summers (Police) used it to create spacious soundscapes. It
generates the thick walls of sound of Ted Nugent and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin). In
modern rock it shimmers in mixes by groups ranging from Lifehouse to Angels and
You can also get some really nice and jazz / fusion sounds from it. Modern players like
John McLaughin, Larry Carlton (Steely Dan) and Lee Ritenour create improvisations
with smooth tonal characteristics bring the guitar to a whole other level.
If you play a lot of music that moves from acoustic parts to electric you’ll be interested
in these because through an acoustic simulator they sound nearly like an electric-acoustic
being played through a PA. When you switch they have a very rich electric sound to
complement the acoustic tone. That’s why you see it in most of my videos where the
song switches from acoustic to electric.
Of all the guitars presented so far these have the widest range between the premium
models and the equivalents, with the least variation in functionality and playability. They
are also the most expensive we are looking at. So if you go for an equivalent here it’s
going to seem like a ridiculous bargain.
First we’ll look at the premium guitar brands.
Gibson ES-335 Dot:The models star at $2499.99 new, and those are online or big box
store sale prices. Retail range starts at $3899.99 depending on the model. I must say
these are amazing instruments, but that’s nearly the price some used cars. I bought my
Astrovan for $4000.
Heritage Guitars H535: This is my top choice. It’s the semi-hollow I used in all of my
videos is a 1987. In my opinion these are better than the Gibson Dots in every way.
The company has an interesting history. Heritage started operations in the oldest of five
buildings formerly owned and operated by Gibson Guitar Corporation. Much of the
machinery that Heritage uses today was purchased from Gibson Guitar Corporation.
Most online prices are around $2500 new (retail $2970). In my opinion this is the best
premium instrument out there even though it is a little expensive than the Gibsons.
Now for the affordable alternatives to those premium ones. All of these manufacturers
have midline guitars too around the $800-$1000 sale price range but for the purpose of
keeping things down to earth I’m going with the lower-midrange to keep things
Epiphone Dot ES-339: At $449 sale, new on most sites (list $832) this is an almost
unbelievable deal compared to the premium guitars especially considering that Epiphone
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is a subsidiary of Gibson. Finding a used one of these for almost half the price should be
easy too. Like everything else the workmanship and electronics aren’t as good but that’s
a pretty steep price difference to make up for it. You should be able to get the sound you
want out of it too.
Ibanez AS73B: $379 sale ($506.65 retail) An awesome price for such a playable good
sounding instrument. If you have a little more to spend check out the A103 Artcore too.
If not you’ll find everything you need as far as getting a good sound goes here.
The Greg Bennett (Samick) RL1: A budget guitar, this one sells for $287.30 (list
$338.00).When I was a guitar buyer for a major chain store I used to order a lot of
Samick guitars because for the price the value was good. Its built a little different than
the other semi-hollows and the sustain is impressive. Duncan Designed™ pickups insure
a professional balance of tone, clarity, and power.
Option 5: The Acoustic Guitar:
The acoustic guitar is where all guitar styles find their roots. Blues, rock, country and
folk artists were using the acoustic before the electric guitars were even invented.
Early blues artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, Robert Johnson inspired
generations of players, creating licks that are still standard blues repertoire today. Gene
Autry and Roy Rogers pioneered country songs that probably had lonesome cowboys
crying in their beer way back in the early days.
Folkies ranging from Bob Dylan to Woodie Guthrie to Cat Stevens used the acoustic
guitar to deliver messages of love and peace through poetry. Later acoustic-based
rockers like Jackson Browne, John Mellencamp and Tom Petty developed the sound..
It served as a vehicle for countless 80’s hair metal ballads. Then there were 90’s rootsy
alternative rock bands like The Wallflowers and Counting Crows and jam-band heroes
The Dave Matthews Band. Modern acousti-pop artists like Jason Mraz and reggae
influenced Jack Johnson keep the tradition alive.
Choosing an acoustic guitar is much like choosing the car you want to drive. It needs to
be a purchase decision you know you are pretty much stuck with. If you buy a used one
there’s always the chance you will get a “lemon”. Once you use it for even a week it’s
value depreciates tremendously. So I’m going to recommend going with something new
or buying used from a music dealer, or trustworthy seller on Ebay. Stay away from the
pawnshops and classifieds on this one because you probably don’t have the expertise to
pick out something you know is flawless if you are reading this.
The number of nuances of sound that different guitar types and brands can deliver is
staggering. I would say that choosing the right acoustic guitar for you is by far the more
difficult than choosing electrics.
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Of all the guitars presented the acoustic guitars are the closest in price range for a given
level of quality among companies. Therefore your preference of sound, playability and
design are important when choosing an acoustic.
To put this together I spent hours trying a couple dozen guitars at the Guitar Center and
Sam Ash in Clearwater, FL, taking notes on each. This is what you should do when you
look for my your acoustic because preference is of the utmost importance in this decision.
The staffs at both stores were very kind to let me indulge myself in that activity. (I
appreciate their putting up with me). So I recommend both of those stores to anybody
searching for an instrument.
I liked some $500.00 guitars better than the $1200 ones based on my preference. I prefer
a semi-mellow tone buy with distinct highs and punchy lows so both individual notes and
chords sound good. If you play mostly notes like a classical or bluegrass guy would or
just chords like an acoustic rocker you may prefer different sounds for those applications.
Many people have the same preferences so companies make instruments to accommodate
that. There are tons of bright sounding guitars out there that lots of people love but I just
don’t care for them. For example Fenders is making some really bright sounding guitars
ands selling tons of them. I bought one in my early days because it had great reviews. I
didn’t like the bright sound enough to want another one in the future though. So just
because a guitar is popular or recommended it doesn’t mean it’s the guitar for you.
That said lets look at my top picks for different applications of the instrument based on
music style, price and accessibility. It’s tough to find good ones under $400, even used
but here are a few suggestions.
Lets use some premium brand models as a benchmark:
Martin, Taylor and Gibson are the premier acoustic guitar brands in both reputation and
utility. The average consumer ones start around $2500 (if you catch a sale price)
although those who are acoustic guitar aficionados will drop $4000 or more if they can
Martin:The HD28 ($2599.99 sale / $3449.99 list) is sort of an industry standard guitar in
this price range. They are very consistent guitars with a definitive tone. Not many
guitars can match it. A less expensive one that really shined was the DCPA3 ($1999.00
sale / $2599.99 list) I liked that as much as the higher priced HD28.
The Taylor 613CE is its flagship in this price category ($2949.99 sale / $3948 list). Also
wothry of note were the 214CEG ($999.00 sale / $1398.00 list) for a midline price and
the 110 ($599.00 / $798.00) for something that isn’t a budget guitar, but not out of reach
either. Taylor has developed a reputation to rival Martin over the years and has become
its equal in many ways.
The Gibson Hummingbird is recognized as being one of the company’s benchmark
guitars in our premium price range. It lends itself especially useful for accompaniment to
singers. It competes just fine in price ($2949.00 sale / $3584.00 list) and functionality
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with the Martin and Taylor guitars and its tone is the most consistent of any guitars
mentioned when playing open chords.
Alternatives (guitars under $400):
Takamine: I really liked the TR340S more than some of more expensive guitars. It had a
warm sound that was distinct but not too bright. The lower ranges were boomy but not
muddy. I found one sale price of $299.99, although most were $349.99 (list $500.00).
With a price like that you can’t go wrong with this guitar.
ESP LTD-P Xtone: Had a well rounded tone. Not as boomy as the Takamine but more
distinct midranges and highs with warm lower register. Sale price on this was $349.00
Epiphone PR-5E : ($299.00 sale / list $499.00) This is my favorite Epiphone. Its also
the best overall guitar in this category. In my own experience these are really durable
guitars and are the best for gigging. The preamps in them sound really good too. I have
an Acoustic Electric that has held up for 15 years it sounds good acoustically and great
electrically, the preamp is amazing. I can imagine the modern preamps are even better.
I’ve done literally over 1000 gigs with it and it’s the acoustic use in all my videos. Its
worn out and taken a beating but still plays on.
Fender:The Sonoran SCE (329.99 sale / 479.99 list) seems to be the best buy here and
compares well with the other guitars mentioned. It’s a really popular model. Like I said
earlier these are bright sounding guitars. All of the guitars in the line I tried seemed to
have that “bright Fender sound”.
Ibanez AC300NT: I chose this one for those who have a little less to spend. $279.00 on
sale ($419.00 list). It’s the best priced guitar I found for the sound it produced. It was a
bit on the bright side and lacked some of the definition of the Takamine and ESP but a
very good guitar if you are looking for something a bit less expensive. This guitar was
twice as good as anything else in that price range so I won’t mention any other brands
below $300.00. Ibanez had another one, the AC300EDUS that caught my ear if you have
a bit more to spend ($379.00 sale / 569.00 list).
These are just the ones that I actually tried out and had a good impression of. There are
tons of other brands making budget guitars. Try them all. If you prefer the sound of one
of them then go for it.
Option 6: The Telecaster:
The Telecaster is known for its ability to produce both bright, rich, cutting tone and
mellow, warm, bluesy tone depending on the selected pickup, respectively "bridge"
pickup or "neck" pickup. These design elements allowed musicians to emulate steel
guitar sounds, which makes it particularly useful for country players.
If you aspire to be a country player or roots-rock player then your first guitar choice is the
Telecaster. Waylon Jennings, a country legend, played many 1953 Telecasters and has
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been honored by Fender with a Waylon Jennings Tribute Telecaster. Session guitar
legends Arlen Roth, Albert Lee and Danny Gatton all played Telecasters.
The definitive guitar sounds of Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) Mike Campbell (Tom
Petty and the Heartbreakers) and Bruce Springsteen all find their roots in the design of
the Telecaster. Occasionally you will see it used in other styles. Jeff Beck is known for
executing his signature fusion style on a Tele.
Shopping for a Tele is similar to shopping for a Strat. The delevoper and industry
standard is Fender. The retail price and difference between the premium models and
budget alternatives is similar.
Lets look at the Standard model:
American Standard Telecaster can be aquired for $949.99 on sale ($1399.99 list).The
Deluxe model costs more ($2199.99 list)
Now the alternatives:
Fender also produces budget line Teles under the Squire brand. Three are Classic Vibe
(list 349.99) and Affinity (list 279.99) models available. You don’t want either one of
these. You will outgrow them if you’re not already too good for them. They don’t sound
that good either.
One alternative is the Fender Standard (made in Mexico) Telecaster on sale most places
for $499.99 new (retail $669.99). These are abundant on Ebay for $350-$400.00. I just
search Craiglist and found them ranging from $210-$350.00. All like new. So going for
a used one of these is a good route.
Another is the Formula FA1N or FA2 by Greg Bennett (Samick Corp). Online new they
sell for $297.50 (list $357.00).The FA2 online is $378.00 new ($499.00 list).The FA2
is every bit as good as the Mexican Telecaster in some ways better with features like
Grover tuners and Duncan Design pickups. If you are on a reall y tight budget try the
FA1 (sale $208 new, $299 retail)Both of these can be found used on Ebay too.
Dean Avalanche Model T: Online sale price: $229.99 List Price: $298.75. A nice Tele
stlye guitar made by a company that is making some of the coolest and most innovative
guitars out there. It plays like one, sounds like one and almost looks like one. Be sure to
check out Dean’s other guitars while you are trying this one. Theres some real finds in
their guitar line.
Other Common Guitar Types / Options. A brief Overview:
These are other common guitars that you will come across when you are shopping for
your ideal guitar. I don’t cover them in depth here because they are more specialized
instruments, meaning that they don’t lend themselves to the broad range of styles or uses
that the major types covered do. In most instances they are variations on the other more
widely used types.
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Classical Guitars (Nylon String): Used solely for classical music and Brazilian / Latin
American crossover styles. Famous players include Andres Segovia, Julian Bream and
The premium classical guitars are almost always handcrafted by skillful builders. Think
$4,000.00 and up for something reputable. It’s common for professional instruments (for
career classical guitarists) to be as much as $10,000. For beginners you should spend
about $300.00 - $500.00 to get something that will accommodate the learning curve.
The Mustang, Jaguar and Jazzmaster: These Fender guitar types were originally
designed in the late 50’s and gained popularity mostly for surf music, even though the
Jazzmaster was intended for Jazz players. They regained popularity in the 1990s largely
when they were adopted by alternative rock bands. For example, Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
played a Jaguar and made it a famous guitar again. Prices for these three guitar types
range from $499.00 to $2389.99 made by Fender. Of course there are other companies
building similar guitars to choose from too.
The SG: A Gibson product, this was originally a variation on the Les Paul, designed by
Les Paul with a simpler body construction. Les Paul had his name removed from it
when it was produced though because he wasn’t completely happy with it. It had a
slender neck profile and small heel and was advertised as having the "fastest neck in the
world". Its tone is similar to a Les Paul in some ways but a bit thinner. Angus Young
(AC/DC) has kept this guitar type famous for the past 30 years. Ace Frehley (Kiss) has
brought it visibility too. The price ranges and manufacturers for this one are similar to
those of the Les Paul, with premium models between $2000-$3000.00 and alternatives
starting around $400.00.
The Archtop and Hollow Body Guitars: These are also known as semi-acoustic.
These were the most widely used early jazz guitars and sometimes for blues. It is still
considered to be the most “legitimate” traditional jazz guitar today because its tone
became the norm for jazz. The original acoustic archtop guitars were designed to
enhance volume: for that reason they were constructed for use with relatively heavy
strings. Even after electrification became the norm, jazz guitarists continued to fit strings
of 0.012" gauge or heavier for reasons of tone. Technically the 335 and 535 semi-hollow
guitars discussed earlier are thin archtops.
The Hollow body looks almost like a semi-hollow but lacks the solid block in the center
of the body like the semi-hollow. It’s pretty much a Jazz guitar because of its warm tone
but sometimes for electric blues in the style of BB King and others.
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A popular example of this type is the Gibson L-5 and ES-175. Premium models range
around $3000.00 However you can pick up a budget model by companies like
Ephiphone, Godin, or Ibanez for between $500-$600.00.
The Explorer and The Flying V and various other odd shaped guitars: The Explorer
and Flying V are the foremost in odd shaped guitars. Both look really cool and play
excellently and brought forth the concept that shapes of solid body electric guitars
needn’t be confined to traditional designs. Only drawback is that its hard to play them
sitting down so they are mostly for show when it comes to utility. Shop for these as if
you were buying a Rock n Roll / Metal Guitar. You may need to pay a bit more for the
wild designs. Prices and brands vary greatly, starting at just a couple hundred dollars to
thousands. I would recommend starting around $350-$400.00 Again, you usually get
what you pay for.
That about sums it up for choosing a guitar! If this guide
helped you narrow down your search but your still confused
on what to buy, spend an afternoon at your local guitar shop
and just sit with a bunch of different guitars and see what feels and sounds good to
you. Have Fun! Rock Guitar Power – Free Guitar Lessons – Download Now!!!