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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / My Swan Song on What Makes a Good Electric Guitar

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celius

USA

Ace
Aug 6th, 2017 06:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I am 56 years old and started playing guitar when I was 15 (Bar Band Player). The current band I have been in for the last 3 years is getting ready to "retire" due to health issues with some members and I will thinning out my gear and keeping 2 guitars and an amp for home playing and the occasional jam or guest slot. Want to reflect briefly on my parting thoughts as to what makes a good electric guitar and especially with all of the brands and imports across the board and price ranges we have seen over these 6 decades. Want to also state that this Forum has given me so much joy and inspiration over the years.

The first thing is a well made guitar in terms of the body, neck, and quality hardware (a good guitar is the sum of all of its parts). You know it when you play it but it should have quality well dried-out tone wood, a nice and well jointed neck that is easy to play, and sound great and resonate when played unplugged; long sustain is key. Doesn't matter if it is a $ 500.00 or 3,000.00 guitar but resonance is key along with quality hardware and tuners to help with tuning stability.

After it passes the unplugged resonance test, then you need quality pick-ups (through a quality amp and preferably tube) that are responsive to pressure changes with your playing. You know it when you hear it; the guitar soften ups nicely when picking soft and "bites" when you play harder. This must be through the amp played clean and a good responsive amp will help with this. What quality should the "clean" amp/channel have?; the character and sound of each individual guitar (from single coil to humbucking and solid body to semi-hollow) should be noticeable and come through the amp. If every different guitar sounds the same through the amp, get another amp; transparency is key and tubes pick up the nuances of light versus heavier picking/playing.

I have owned several guitars over the years (with five currently) but my 2 keepers that fit the bill are a 2006 American 60th Anniversary Strat (with the 57/62 pups) and a 3 year old LTD Les Paul style Eclipse (by ESP) with a full thickness mahogany body/neck with maple cap and a set of Dimarzio 36th Anniversary PAFs. Both of these guitars fit the bill in terms of everything I mentioned above and are the ones I will be keeping (giving the other ones away to younger players that I know and started out when they were in their teens).

Will finally note that my greatest regret in all of these years was pawning off my first guitar when I needed some money in the 1980's; an Ibanez Les Paul (lawsuit model) that I gladly paid $ 225.00 for brand new in 1976.

My greatest joy in all these years was getting to see Robin Trower play 2 years ago (right in front of him from the 3rd row). He was my first guitar hero in 76 and I was not dissapointed; that show took me back to 15 and I got his autograph after the show. I came back full circle that night.

Guitar playing has given me a lifetime of joy and good times.......Music is awesome.



stratcowboy
Contributing Member
**********
*

USA/Taos, NM

Aug 6th, 2017 07:47 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Are you moving into a nursing home, now? LOL.

You ain't done yet. Fifty-six is just warming up. I'll be 67 in just a couple of weeks, and even though my "current" band is on hiatus, I have plans/dreams of continuing on. That's how most of my life is--ranching/horses in the summer, skiing all winter, playing music, community involvement, etc. Vocationally, I've mostly withdrawn from the (weird, current) marketplace.

That said, dialing your gear back to fit your circumstances later in life is an act of freedom, in my opinion (YMMV). Being encumbered with too much "stuff" gets in the way of hitting the ground running for enjoying the stuff you do. Focus on the experience of the music and playing, not the gear (again...YMMV...my opinion only).

As an integral part of my career I've been a pro skier. I've had younger guys say to me, "You must have a huge quiver of skis!" No...just 2 pairs...even though I ski every day of the winter (I know cats with 12 to 15 pairs--insane. I understand that, but don't envy it). Once again...for me gear can get in the way. Get your sweet ones dialed and you'll cover all the ground you need to (or all the tunes you need to play).

Just keep jamming and don't rule out the bands that are yet to come.

willie
Contributing Member
********

Too Near Atlanta GA

Amp Tech Emeritus
Aug 6th, 2017 08:06 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Oh to be 56 again.... :)

w

Taildragger
Contributing Member
*********

USA

"toxic masculinity personified"
Aug 6th, 2017 08:18 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


---Dylan Thomas, 1914-1953

celius

USA

Ace
Aug 6th, 2017 08:35 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

No nursing home yet (Lol) but I so much appreciate all these current posts.......I am never going to stop playing until the end and have already told my kids that my cheapest Squire strat (not very playable and in a bag in a closet) is going down in the casket with me along with me wearing a Fender logo shirt (hands crossed over the guitar neck); they are getting the rest of my gear and guitars noted in my post..........Know it sounds "macabre" but my Wife asked me to put it in my will and that is my final wish when the time comes...... :)

(This message was last edited by celius at 10:37 AM, Aug 6th, 2017)

LeftyMeister

Buckeye Country, USA

Motorcycles, Guitars, and Golf
Aug 6th, 2017 08:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I went through a period of scaling back. I'm now back up to 6 electrics, 1 acoustic, two amps, and I may buy a third amp. lol!

The most important things in a guitar for me are the feel of the neck and character. The guitar has to bring something unique that my other guitars can't provide, or provide as well.

tepperson

Look at my hair ...

... LIKE THE DESIGN?!
Aug 6th, 2017 11:13 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

At 56, I still play in two bands; one for 17 years and one for seven ...

My thoughts have always been if ya stop movin', then you stop movin" ...

Keep on truckin', C!

BbendFender
Contributing Member
**********

American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Aug 6th, 2017 11:34 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

At age 68 I'm still buying stuff. 45 guitars and God knows how many amps. I have some kind of disorder that caused me to buy all this stuff. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm gettin' the urge to sell a bunch of stuff.

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

If you need perfection, be perfect...
Aug 6th, 2017 11:47 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I am 56 and after 40 years of goofing around I am just beginning to practice hard and play decent. 4 Teles, few strats and a little tweed amp.

I will buy more Telecasters without a doubt!

professor
Contributing Member
**********
**********
*****

North Gnarlyington

Aug 6th, 2017 12:07 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yeah, "swan song" @ 56? You kids are such drama queens!

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
**********
******

The rain sounds like

a round of applause
Aug 6th, 2017 12:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I am 56 and I'm done with gigging because my back and knees are wrecked, but no way am I done playing. I'm still having too much fun doing jams, etc.

Rock on! You know that they say: if it's too loud, your hearing aid is cranked up too far :o)

Go down reloading...

5Strats
Contributing Member
**********
**********

Edmond/OKC

GospelBilly!
Aug 6th, 2017 02:28 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

What you say makes a lot of sense.

My guitars run from expensive (anything over $2k) and very cheap, but great playing and sounding.

My Agile AL-3000 (bought used for $185) gets a lot of use as my slide guitar. It weighs less than my Gibson LP and sounds great recorded. I used it to record a song off my band's latest album.

Agile AL-3000 Recording

(This message was last edited by 5Strats at 04:31 PM, Aug 6th, 2017)

LeftyMeister

Buckeye Country, USA

Motorcycles, Guitars, and Golf
Aug 6th, 2017 02:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Nice song and slidework, Dave!

I sold an Agile 3000 because the bookmarks weren't matched and it bugged me. How shallow was that? lol! But my $400 Epi LP Custom Pro is a keeper. I defy anyone to do a blind test and compare it to a Gibson.

walshb
Contributing Member
**********
******

Manchester, TN

12,423 Mustangs passed and counting
Aug 6th, 2017 02:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I just turned 64, and can't wait till can I retire so that I can play more music. Not really in a band right now, although I have one sort of in the works, but I still play in church almost every Sunday and still keep buying equipment when I find something that I think will enhance my arsenal.
I agree on the acoustic sustain of an electric guitar, although I have one that sounds pretty dead acoustically but still sounds great plugged in; a Robert Cray that I got recently for $350. I guess there are exceptions to the rule.

stratcowboy
Contributing Member
**********
*

USA/Taos, NM

Aug 6th, 2017 03:25 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

" I have some kind of disorder that caused me to buy all this stuff."

It's called too much money (and probably now as a result, not enough!).

"I am 56 and after 40 years of goofing around I am just beginning to practice hard and play decent."

I came back to it at 49, after a 25 year hiatus, and subsequently play better than I ever did as a kid. Sold all my gear in my mid-twenties to finance the business.

"You kids are such drama queens!"

LOL!! Good one!

"...I have one that sounds pretty dead acoustically but still sounds great plugged in... I guess there are exceptions to the rule.

Indeed. Let's face it--you play these things plugged in. And that's what's important. I agree...it's nice to have an axe that resonates well unplugged. But ultimately the determining factor is how the thing sounds through an amp.



Ayns

UK

England's Sloppiest Guitarist
Aug 6th, 2017 05:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm 57 and have been playing with my current band for about 10 years (although we took nearly a year off recently due to drummer's health issues). We're now back to gigging 3-4 times a month, and could easily get enough bookings to double that

I've also been playing at a local buskers night for about 11 years and have had a couple of side projects, and a lot of "offers" , as a result of that.

As to what makes a great electric guitar, if it hasn't got a great neck I'm not interested, top sounding pups are next, and hopefully not too heavy. Staying in tune also helps ;-)

walshb
Contributing Member
**********
******

Manchester, TN

12,423 Mustangs passed and counting
Aug 6th, 2017 05:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"if it hasn't got a great neck I'm not interested, top sounding pups are next, and hopefully not too heavy. Staying in tune also helps"

That last one really helps a lot! lol

Rob Jai

Calif Cap City

"Jai" pronounced "J"
Aug 6th, 2017 06:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The points about what makes a good guitar are well taken.

The talk of a swan song outlook on being out of a band at 56 are a bit off the mark if you ask me. I just turned 70 and didn't get into a band of any kind until I had just reached 60. Now, after 10 years of gigging I've reached the point where I'm facing the fact of having to give it up due to health conditions. But DUDE- I'm 14 years BEYOND 56.

Assuming that you are still reasonably healthy, it's only over if you want it to be over.


reverendrob
FDP Data Goon
Moderator

We all want

our time in hell
Aug 7th, 2017 12:16 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm a cripple shut-in who can't go out except for very short amounts of time.

Yet I still buy and play guitars like there's no tomorrow, because with my health, there may not be.

If you spend all your time planning to die, you forget how to live.

Been down that road, not revisiting it.

greg1948
Contributing Member
*******

Vero Beach FL

Tbird Greg
Aug 7th, 2017 05:45 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Turning 69 in a few weeks, but I'm practicing more than ever before. Still buying guitars/amps just because I love them. Not in a band at the moment, but I jam several times a week with various groups.

I'm just lucky health-wise and as long as I can hold a guitar and remember what song I'm playing, I'm gonna keep on rockin' out till I'm in a rockin' chair.

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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / My Swan Song on What Makes a Good Electric Guitar




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