On the modern electric guitar

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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 05 Jul 2017, 19:49

I know the topic here is electric guitars, but there were several reasonably priced ($100 or so) acoustic guitars from Japan as early as the 60s, including my first guitar, a Red Label FG-160. It's a tad smaller and lighter than my Martin and still sounds great after all these years.

Having never aspired to join a rock band, I've never been seriously interested in electric guitars, the fact that I own an early 90s American Strat, aside. As a result, I never bothered to learn anything about sound effect pedals and such, without which the Strat sounds, well, flat and uninteresting.

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 05 Jul 2017, 20:31

The issue with the older guitars (70s, 80s, and 90s) that were cheap from Asia (or Mexico) was that the quality was tremendously inconsistent. They were knockoffs of other brands (see Ibanez) and made to look like other guitars, not from any specifications or selection of wood. There had to be some that sounded decent, but mostly they were just bad (like my Harmony guitar that actually had the nut in the wrong place, making it impossible to tune to open strings).

But in the 2000s, Fender, Gibson, and Yamaha primarily got their knock off budget guitars into shape, so getting a Squier or an Epiphone became "A cheaper guitar that sounds good and plays well, if not as well as a Fender or Gibson branded one." That is what I think is a source of the revenue loss. But that doesn't really explain the loss in total sales. That's a demographic thing, as JD said.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Warren » 05 Jul 2017, 23:18

Highway wrote:The issue with the older guitars (70s, 80s, and 90s)...
Just stop right there sonny. Now turn around and get your clodbusters out of my petunias.
THIS SPACE FOR RENT

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 06 Jul 2017, 12:49

Highway wrote:The issue with the older guitars (70s, 80s, and 90s) that were cheap from Asia (or Mexico) was that the quality was tremendously inconsistent. They were knockoffs of other brands (see Ibanez) and made to look like other guitars, not from any specifications or selection of wood. There had to be some that sounded decent, but mostly they were just bad (like my Harmony guitar that actually had the nut in the wrong place, making it impossible to tune to open strings).

But in the 2000s, Fender, Gibson, and Yamaha primarily got their knock off budget guitars into shape, so getting a Squier or an Epiphone became "A cheaper guitar that sounds good and plays well, if not as well as a Fender or Gibson branded one." That is what I think is a source of the revenue loss. But that doesn't really explain the loss in total sales. That's a demographic thing, as JD said.
Yeah, I shouldn't say that there was no such thing as a good East Asian guitar - there were always a few - but now there are so many. As Highway says, Squier and Epiphone are now quite good; in fact, a lot of people think that Squier and Epiphone's higher-end instruments are stealing a lot of business from Fender and Gibson's low end. For example, you can get a Squier Deluxe that's pretty much equivalent quality to Fender's low-end stuff, but it's a couple hundred cheaper and has some features the Fender doesn't. And there are plenty of people out there singing the praises of the Squier Bullet, the absolute cheapest thing that Squier makes! And it's not just the big names, but there are plenty of others like Agile, Xaviere, and Jay Turser, that are making really inexpensive instruments.

It probably doesn't hurt that the market for parts is huge now. There was a time when swapping out parts was strictly for the very adventurous, assuming you could even find parts, but now it's routine. I think that's made people much more comfortable with buying a cheap guitar and then modding it rather than discarding it, or with buying a used one even if it's not 100% what they want.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 07 May 2018, 15:11

The other day I was looking for an Earthquaker Devices Monarch or a Wampler Catapulp, but settled for trying an Earthquaker Devices Acapulco Gold.

My main takeaway is that pedal names are getting increasingly baroque. You used to know what a pedal did, because it had a name like "Distortion Plus" or "Phase 90" or "Octafuzz". But now it's anybody's guess what a "Carcosa" or a "Vapor Trail" does. And those are relatively mainstream! Once you get into smaller pedal manufacturers all bets are truly off: Pork Loin, Assblaster, Blargg-O-Tron-O-Tron...

In other news I was sadly not that impressed with the Acapulco Gold although I have a feeling it might work better at stage volumes.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 07 May 2018, 15:40

Yeah, it's just ridiculous, and there's really no way for anyone who doesn't spend all day at a store, or whose side job is reviewing pedals (who are probably the entirety of the intended market for these things) to come up with any sort of meaningful decision about which one of these multi-hundred dollar pedals to buy. Personally, I've never been that guy searching for whatever perfect tone anyway, tho, so I'll take a multi-effects box for simplicity. We don't even use those anywhere near as much as we should, mostly because one of our guitarists just wants MORE DISTORTION! and then wonders why he can't hear himself when we play, which gets super frustrating. No, The Cars don't use hardly any distortion, much less some tube screamer compressed-to-hell fuzz...
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Andrew » 07 May 2018, 16:02

JD wrote:
07 May 2018, 15:11
The other day I was looking for an Earthquaker Devices Monarch or a Wampler Catapulp, but settled for trying an Earthquaker Devices Acapulco Gold.

My main takeaway is that pedal names are getting increasingly baroque. You used to know what a pedal did, because it had a name like "Distortion Plus" or "Phase 90" or "Octafuzz". But now it's anybody's guess what a "Carcosa" or a "Vapor Trail" does. And those are relatively mainstream! Once you get into smaller pedal manufacturers all bets are truly off: Pork Loin, Assblaster, Blargg-O-Tron-O-Tron...

In other news I was sadly not that impressed with the Acapulco Gold although I have a feeling it might work better at stage volumes.
I'm disappointed if the Carcosa pedal doesn't transport the audience to a ruined city on a dying planet orbiting a dim star.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 22 Aug 2018, 18:17

And now I am the happy owner of an Orange CR120H. I haven't gotten to really crank it yet, but the big surprise so far has been the clean channel. People think of Oranges for their dirt, but this actually has a really, really nice clean sound with singlecoil pickups.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 22 Aug 2018, 18:28

What cabinet are you running it through?
"Sharks do not go around challenging people to games of chance like dojo breakers."

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 23 Aug 2018, 09:56

Highway wrote:
22 Aug 2018, 18:28
What cabinet are you running it through?
A Harley Benton G212 Vintage, which is a 2x12 with Celestion Vintage 30s. It's a stupidly good deal for about €186 (roughly $212) considering that a single Celestion Vintage 30 by itself costs about $145.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Tuco » 30 Aug 2018, 07:30

Glad you got your amp. Hope it blows your hair back.

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Andrew » 30 Aug 2018, 13:29

I was watching a video of Scott Metzger playing with JRAD and couldn't figure out what guitar he was playing. Odd body design, pickups looked weird, and the volume/tone knobs are massive. I'm vaguely aware of many custom types, but still didn't know it. Turns out it's a Ronin Songbird:

http://roninguitars.squarespace.com/song-bird

A $5k custom made from "reclaimed old growth redwood."
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 30 Aug 2018, 13:39

Tuco wrote:
30 Aug 2018, 07:30
Glad you got your amp. Hope it blows your hair back.
Well, the the only hair getting blown back these days is probably on my chest, but thanks for the well-wishes.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 19 Sep 2018, 16:58

It has only taken me 25 or so years of playing the guitar to realize that you could put a boost pedal in the effects loop. I've been struggling for a few years to get an effective boost while soloing. I've tried different pedals and different amp settings, but the main problem is that I like a crunchy, compressed sound, and if you put a boost in front of that, you get, at best, somewhat more distortion and maybe a little more sustain.

Yesterday it occurred to me you could put a boost in the effects loop, I read about it on the internet, and when I got home I spent some time putting every pedal I could get my hands on into the loop to try them out. It's fascinatingly different from putting them in front. Tube screamer-type pedals which are so great into the front don't sound very good in the loop. EQ pedals, which are often kind of boring in front, really shine in the loop. And you can get all the extra volume you'd want.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 19 Sep 2018, 17:13

It works well, except when you get a piece of crap cheapshit Marshall solid state :o amp because you wanna rock out with a Marshall stack, and it's only got a half-wet/dry effects loop. Seriously, that steaming pile of garbage could not silence more than half of the pre-effects loop sound to the output, so a boost pedal didn't do anything worthwhile, EQ didn't do anything worthwhile, cause no matter what it always had half of either weedy 'clean' sound, or half The Darkness.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 19 Sep 2018, 17:34

Yeah, my experience with Marshalls is that you should never cheap out with them. Their high-end stuff is great; their cheap stuff is garbage.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Highway » 19 Sep 2018, 17:43

I mean, it sounded like a Marshall amp... but then every damn thing you play sounds like you're playing through a Marshall amp. And for a cover band trying to use different stompbox effects, that's not really a great sound.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 21 Sep 2018, 08:15

A coworker lent me his Hotone Purple Wind. Maybe I'm getting spoiled and snobbish, because while it is reasonably impressive for something the size of a pedal that costs $100 (it has an effects loop, which many amps costing three times as much don't!), it's still kind of toylike and the sound is rather boxy.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 08 Nov 2018, 15:23

Fulfilling my search for a simple boost pedal to use in the effects loop, I picked up an Earthquaker Devices Arrows. It's got one knob, which is exactly what I wanted: basically a big "more" knob. I got it for stupidly cheap, since it was at an EQD promotional event (a friend of mine works for them) and they were trying to get rid of their last remaining Revision A stock of the pedals. (The only difference between Rev. A and Rev. B of the pedal is where the jacks are placed and a hard-click vs. a soft footswitch.)
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Andrew » 02 Dec 2018, 07:44

A freshly-released video of Dweezil demonstrating some Frank Zappa licks:



The tone he's getting demonstrates why a SG might be my favorite guitar, even though this one appears to have humbuckers and not p90s.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 04 Dec 2018, 15:47

After reading about neck dive on the Thunderbird and how people dealt with it, I modified my doublecut guitar by moving the strap button to the neck plate. Boom, instant neck dive fix. Wish I'd thought of that earlier.

Also, I replaced the barely-adjustable "lightning bolt" wraparound bridge on it with a Gotoh 510UB because I could never get the old one to intonate properly. I liked the bare-bones simplicity of the lightning bolt, but the Gotoh is infinitely more adjustable and if anything actually sits slightly lower than the old bridge.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Andrew » 27 Jan 2019, 17:55

After making a more dedicated effort to practice in rocksmith, I came to two conclusions:

1. Although the '64 Teisco Del Rey I got for super cheap has working electronics, complete original badging, and stays in tune, the intonation is trash. Fixing it would require taking it to someone to adjust the bridge or install a new one. Hardly worth it.

2. Six strings are too many.

I said screw it and went to the local shop and bought this. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but this way I avoided dealing with weirdos on craigslist, pawn shops, or Guitar Center. Jaguar body + full scale + PJ pickups = take my money.

It's been a decade since I practiced bass even close to regularly, and after an hour with this one, so much has already come back. Everything feels more natural and realistically, I'm a cave man who prefers the low octaves. Practice will be less of a chore and more fun.
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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by Tuco » 28 Jan 2019, 06:11

Hell, yeah. Plenty of room there for a Sonic Youth sticker.

Enjoy thumpin'.

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 29 Jan 2019, 13:59

Andrew wrote:
27 Jan 2019, 17:55
I said screw it and went to the local shop and bought this. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but this way I avoided dealing with weirdos on craigslist, pawn shops, or Guitar Center. Jaguar body + full scale + PJ pickups = take my money.
Nice! I've got the short scale version of that, not being as regular of a bassist. There's something to be said for the long scale, though. I'm curious to know if you find the J pickup to be oddly lifeless, or if that weakness is specific to the ss version.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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Re: On the modern electric guitar

Post by JD » 29 Jan 2019, 14:04

I had some store credit at a shop, so I used it to pick up an EHX Screaming Bird treble booster. Unfortunately I am not really liking it all that much. The common complaint is true: it doesn't seem like so much of a treble booster as a bass cutter. That said,
a) I can see how it could actually help a guitar sit in a mix better
b) the schematic is almost identical to that of the LPB-1 full-range boost - they differ only in the values of two capacitors - so it's actually really easy to mod it to be an LPB-1 or even to be switchable between the two.
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston

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