Electric Guitars - How to Purchase
Electric Guitars | Learn what to look for in the purchase of these great guitars. We examine Gibson Guitars, Gretsch Guitars , Paul Reed Smith Guitars, Epiphone Guitars, and many more.
Electric Guitar Part 1
Electric Guitar Part 2
- Electric Guitar Recommendations
Electric Guitar purchasing is our subject here, but first, a bit of history. Electric-guitars were initially invented in the 1930's by a gentleman by the name of Adolph Rickenbacher. Sound familiar? It should because there are very popular guitars named after this man - the Rickenbacher Guitar line.
Many people are under the misconception that Les Paul invented the electric guitar and this is not true. Les Paul DID invent the solid body electric guitar, which first appeared in 1941 and is still one of the most popular models made buy Gibson Guitar.
His first electric guitar was a 4" x 4" timber with a fretboard and pickups bolted to it. Also for aesthetic reasons, he bolted 1/2 of an old guitar body on either side of the 4" x 4". It was nick-named the "Log".
My first music teacher had an original 1956 Gibson Goldtop Les Paul Guitar and now that guitar is worth between $40,000 and $80,000, depending on condition. Wow! Do I wish I had that guitar now!
Before you Buy a Guitar you should know that they fall into 3 main categories. Solid body, semi-hollow body and acoustic electric.
Solid body guitars are a solid slab of wood, very artfully designed in most cases and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These guitars rely completely on amplification as they produce little or no sound without it. Usually string action can be very low on a good solid body guitar and playing "up the neck" can be very easy.
Many musicians use extra light or super extra light strings which takes little effort to press the strings to the fretboard. That is one way they can play those lightening fast licks.
If you wish to tackle some of the guitar repair jobs yourself, look within the pages of my website for tips on Guitar Repair and Guitar Construction. Some of the initial items you may want to tackle are:
Checking Your Guitar Neck Relief
Adjusting your Guitar Neck Truss Rod
Adjusting Your Guitar Nut
Replacing Your Guitar Nut
Fret Repair - Replace a Few Frets
Fret Repair - Do a Complete Fret Job
Acoustic guitars can be played either with or without amplification. Certain electric guitar manufacturers permanently install the electronics in the the side of the guitar. Personally, I prefer to take a great sounding acoustic guitar and add the electronic capability
Fishman Matrix Infinity and LR Baggs Active Element produce excellent quality acoustic pickups. The pickup can go in the saddle slot, with the sound and volume control nested neatly on one side of the sound hole. This will not compromise the sound quality too much and gives you great natural tone.
As for what type of electric guitar should you pick? That depends what type of music you want to play. If you are into rock or country, select a solid body guitar with a very edgy sound.
The semi-solid body guitars lend themselves to blues, country, fingerstyle playing and soft rock. If you are looking just to amplify your acoustic guitar investigate the Fishman or LR Baggs pickups.
Installation of these pickups includes complete removal of the strings. Then remove the saddle and drill a small hole down through the bridge and top at the end of the saddle slot. Ensure the saddle slot if perfectly level and lay the saddle pickup in the bottom of the saddle.
You then have to drill a hold in your end peg on the bottom of the guitar to install the special phone plug connections. Thread the electronics through the holes, install the soundhole controller, but on your strings and you are all set.
I will be covering this installation in detail in the section Major Guitar Repairs Section.
Guitars can also be outfitted with a Fishman SBT classic guitar pickup, but the non-destructive types available do not give very good tone reproduction and they come off with too much bass and sounds unnatural. You will be much better off with a good acoustic guitar microphone.