Trying to find the best budget guitar

in Music MoneySaving
16 replies 12.9K views
I need help. I've never played a guitar before and i want to start on a electric guitar. I'm really into old school rock. I've heard that i shouldn't start with a guitar which has whammy bar. But what the hell do i know, all i know is by reading online, everyone has a different opinion online, so i have no clue what's true and whats not. All the guitars i listed below are around 200€. What do you think of them and what else do you suggest.

IBANEZ GRG121DX -
Mahogany body
GRG maple neck
Bound rosewood fretboard
Sharktooth inlays
24 jumbo frets
2x IBZ-6 humbuckers
Fixed bridge
Black hardware
Black Finish

IBANEZ GRG170DX -
Basswood Body
GRG1 Maple Neck
24 Medium Frets
Rosewood Fretboard
FAT-10 Bridge
PSND1(H) neck pickup, PSNDS(S) Mid Pickup, PSND2(H) Bridge Pickup

IBANEZ GAX30 -
GAX Neck
Agathis Body
Large Frets
Fixed Bridge
PSND1 Neck and PSND2 Bridge Humbuckers

STAGG G300TCH -
2 x Humbucker w/ nickel covers
22 frets w/ pearloid inlays
fixed bridge

STAGG L400BK -
Pickups: 2 x Humbucker w/ gold-plated nickel cover
Pickup Selector Switch: 3-way
Arch Top w/ B&W binding
Body: Solid Alder - Neck: Hard Maple set neck
Fingerboard: Rosewood
22 frets
Bridge: fixed Tune-O-Matic-style
Machine heads: Diecast, gold-plated nickel

YAMAHA PACIFICA 112RM -
22 frets
S/S/H pickups
Solid Alder Body
Maple Neck
Rosewood Fingerboard
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Replies

  • Hi and welcome, ngomaichi.

    I have consulted OH, who has played guitar for decades. His first advice was, "Find someone to lend you a guitar/give you a few lessons before you spend any money." Very MSE of him, I think. He also said, "Most people have a spare guitar lying around"... well, most people he knows, perhaps! The only ones I know like that are his friends, who are pretty much all musicians/mostly guitar players.

    He has a good point, though. If you buy a guitar and find you cannot get along with it, you have wasted either all the money it cost or whatever you paid for it minus whatever you can sell it for second (third? fourth?) hand.

    His first electric guitar was an Epiphone Gibson Les Paul copy, which he still plays and loves. He did say, if you want to play rock, you do not want a Fender; he is all about the blues.

    He is going to ponder your query and see what floats into his consciousness.

    Good luck and HTH.
  • DigForVictoryDigForVictory Forumite
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    Stop shopping & get onto freecycle/freegle/craigslist/facebook and Ask.

    Not quite wanting to buy, Just Wanting To try.

    Odds on all sorts of guitars will come your way, electric, acoustic, nice, dubious - so long as they can all go back to the right place, give them all a go. Just note down the ones with which you got on with best so you can hunt down others of the family, or agree a price based on having tried it & liked it (& hopefully still being on speaking terms with neighbours)...
  • another_casualtyanother_casualty Forumite
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    Howdy!
    Smodlet kindly put me onto this link.
    I can give you some good advice later . Unfortunately , I work in an awful bldg , with p poor wifi / text etc
    I will give you advise probably tomorrow if that's ok.
    Cheers:)
  • edited 12 October 2016 at 5:09PM
    another_casualtyanother_casualty Forumite
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    edited 12 October 2016 at 5:09PM
    First thoughts : you don't want a heavy piece of firewood . Basswood bodies are light .
    You need something with a low action .
    Second hand is always good .
    Washburn make excellent guitars ( and basses:))
    Epiphone make good guitars also . A lot of folk prefer the les Paul copies to Gibson .
    You need to know , if you want long scale , or short scale .
    Remember to have the guitar in the same position standing up as sitting down .( strap length ) .
    Nothing wrong with a whammy bar( great for metal )
    Dean also make excellent guitars . Don't get anything too pointy.
    You need it to feel comfy on your lap.
    Don't forget to get an amp.oh, and some pedals or multi fx.
    My friend Chris has an eBay shop ( ch guitars ) ask him to advice.
    Not sure if he still sells parts , but an awesome guitarist:)
    You may get a guitar/ amp and effects combined for your budget on eBay .
    If you know any guitar friends , bring them along with you , whether in a shop or someone's house . Make sure the neck is spotless ( no dents / scratches etc)
    Rest of body ok .
    Please pm me for more info . I'm on a bus
    Talk more tomorrow if you wish
    Cheers:)
  • interstellaflyerinterstellaflyer Forumite
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    Guitars are a personal thing, forget online, get to a decent shop and try some and buy the one that feels best to you, the very one that you tried, in a decent shop, the ones on the rack will be set up to a good standard, anything, even high end that's been boxed up and travelled half way round the world will not be spot on out of the box, if you buy blind expect to pay someone to set it up properly for you, that could out weigh any saving.
    I hate football and do wish people wouldn't keep talking about it like it's the most important thing in the world
  • edited 18 October 2016 at 10:35PM
    prowlaprowla Forumite
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    edited 18 October 2016 at 10:35PM
    Consider this - if you buy a decent quality used guitar, you will likely be able to sell it for the same money if/when you decide to move on, or possibly more.

    One way of deciding which guitar to get is to look at what your favourite musicians play.

    A Fender Strat is the most versatile guitar and you should get one with a whammy bar (though you can unscrew it if anybody gets uppity about a beginner doing dive bombers!). Anybody who says you can't play rock on a Strat has cloth ears!

    The "action" of a guitar is critical - that's how high the strings are off the neck; the lower the better, generally, but no strings should buzz. Better guitars tend to allow a lower action, whereas cheaper ones can be like an egg-slicer.

    The other thing to check is whether the neck is straight; a warped neck is a basket case. The neck won't be perfectly straight; it will have a slight "bow", bending with the pull of the strings, but only perhaps a millimetre or two - the way you can see this is to press on the first fret of the top (thinnest) string with the little finger of one hand and the top fret (the one nearest the body of the guitar) with the little finger of the other hand and then test how far the middle of the string moves with your thumb.

    There are other considerations too, like the pickups and stuff, whether the body is solid wood or plywood, but if the guitar sounds OK not even plugged in then it is fundamentally good.

    Overall, I'd recommend a used MIM (Made In Mexico) genuine Fender Stratocaster, around the £300-350 mark. Maybe you could check out what's available in a local guitar shop and get the person there to play it for you, point out the pluses & minuses, etc. You may not get the absolute keenest price, but you will know where it came from!

    If the above suggested price is too rich, then there are bargains to be had under £100, but you can be taking a bit of a punt. I bought a bass last week for £40 and it was a bit dull; I pulled it apart and put it back together and did all the bolts up properly and now it sounds rather good and plays OK too (though it still needs a bit of adjusting).

    I've also got a Chinese Squier Strat, the cheaper "Affinity" range, and it's not a bad guitar; the difference between that and my American Strat Standard is that you can tell that every part of it is cheaper. Nonetheless it is a decent guitar and they can be had for around £50, which is pretty much a giveaway price. Actually, I've just bought a slightly better bridge (whammy bar!) for it on ebay, so I'll be putting that on when it arrives.

    Finally, there is the amplifier to think about - the instrument you play is really the guitar and the amplifier (and any effects pedals you chuck in the mix too!); generally the cheap amps are just not very good. An option for one though is to check out a car boot sale.
  • interstellaflyerinterstellaflyer Forumite
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    prowla wrote: »

    I've also got a Chinese Squier Strat, the cheaper "Affinity" range, and it's not a bad guitar; the difference between that and my American Strat Standard is that you can tell that every part of it is cheaper. Nonetheless it is a decent guitar and they can be had for around £50, which is pretty much a giveaway price. Actually, I've just bought a slightly better bridge (whammy bar!) for it on ebay, so I'll be putting that on when it arrives.

    Finally, there is the amplifier to think about - the instrument you play is really the guitar and the amplifier (and any effects pedals you chuck in the mix too!); generally the cheap amps are just not very good. An option for one though is to check out a car boot sale.

    I've had a Squier Affinity Telecaster for a few years now and in that time I've bought and sold higher end guitars, I just really like the Telecaster, I bought it from Argos of all places and out of the box it wasn't set up at all, the saddles were all over the place, however a little bit of tweaking and it's been a brilliant guitar, fortunately I am reasonably compitant and confident when it comes to doing these little tweeks, a beginner would need to get someone to do this, which is why I suggested the shop route and buying the guitar you try, even high end guitars aren't necessarily well set up after travelling halfway round the world, both Gibson and Fender state in the literature you get with the guitar that they may need setting up.
    I hate football and do wish people wouldn't keep talking about it like it's the most important thing in the world
  • interstellaflyerinterstellaflyer Forumite
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    Out of the list the OP has given, the Yamaha Pacifica has the best reputation.
    I hate football and do wish people wouldn't keep talking about it like it's the most important thing in the world
  • Every websight I have seen that tells you how to select and buy a guitar are directed toward adults with money. I am not even in high school, so none of these help me! I have picked up quite a few tricks of the trade from my grandpa. I will teach you how to find a good deal on a used guitar, and what to look for in any guitar that you might want to buy. I have 5 guitars (on 1-14-12) and I got most of them very cheaply. The acoustic below is a Takamine gs 330s. It sells new for $324, but I got it for $125, plus I got it with a case.

    Acoustic or Electric?

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    FUZ4NH6GXDW9XZU.MEDIUM.jpg?width=614



    Acoustic guitars generally cost more than electric guitars, but it evens out after you buy an amp and a cord (requisite for an electric guitar.) Acoustic guitars are better for people who want to just pull their guitar out and play, or for people who would like to take their guitar places. Electric guitars have amazing effects, and you can distort the sound as much as you want, to accomodate for any style of music. Both of the guitars below are the ones that I have bought myself. The electric is a fender squier affinity series telecaster. The acoustic is once again my Takamine.

    :beer:
  • interstellaflyerinterstellaflyer Forumite
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    Every websight I have seen that tells you how to select and buy a guitar are directed toward adults with money. I am not even in high school, so none of these help me!

    There is a good reason why websites advise buying decent quality instruments, it's mainly because at the real bottom end of the the budget guitar market they are mostly rubbish, some pretty much unplayable out of the box and some with warped necks that can only be fixed by a luthier if at all, even some of the more expensive Epiphones and Squiers have their problems, generally poor electrics and bad set up, which is why it's always advisable to go to a reputable guitar shop, try some guitars and buy the one you like from the rack, as it will have been set up. I like you, have an Affinty Telecaster, I bought it blind and had to do some work to get it set up correctly, that's fine for me as I can do simple set up adjustments, a beginner won't know what they are trying to achieve. Also, I don't buy your "I'm only a poor high school student" thing, if kids can have the latest smartphones and games consules then I'm dammed sure mummy or Daddy can spend £300 - £400 on a half decent electric guitar and Amp.
    I hate football and do wish people wouldn't keep talking about it like it's the most important thing in the world
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