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Are higher quality guitars easier to play?


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I'm using a cheap Peavey guitar to learn on and I noticed it just seems as if actually using the guitar could be easier. The strings have to be pressed fairly hard in order to get a clean sound and the higher notes on the bottom strings need to be plucked really hard to get anything.  

Is that kind of standard? Thanks!

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A properly setup guitar should be easy to play. Higher quality guitars tend to have a good setup out of the box, but cheap guitars can usually be improved. And I've always seen good reviews about Peavey guitars.

 

Your best bet is to bring the guitar to a tech for a full setup -- sounds like the truss rod needs adjusting, at the least. You can ask for lighter strings, they'll be easier to play as well.

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It seems that you might need a proper guitar set up. String action should be changed.

 

As I understand Peavey guitars at least old ones are american made and they are more than respectable guitars. 

 

Usually yes, higher quality instruments can be easier to play, you enjoy more your guitar time.

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A properly setup guitar should be easy to play. Higher quality guitars tend to have a good setup out of the box, but cheap guitars can usually be improved. And I've always seen good reviews about Peavey guitars.

 

Your best bet is to bring the guitar to a tech for a full setup -- sounds like the truss rod needs adjusting, at the least. You can ask for lighter strings, they'll be easier to play as well.

You replied while I was writing my post and you pretty much wrote the same as I did haha

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I have a Shelter Nashville, in the beginning it was hard to play. After some adjustments to the frets (change), and full setup she became a great guitar.I played LTD,Gibson and Fender's, and it is clear for me that LTD's are very easy guitars to play, i imagine ESP's and Ibanez.Usually yes, top guitars are easier to play, but you can turn a cheap guitar into a great guitar, just with few adjustments, if the wood and bridge are good, you can make a fun guitar to play

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I have the same guitar, but in sunburst instead. From my experience, as well as others, it is a great guitar to learn how to play on because it is a very low price for the quality that you get. When I received my guitar, my action was ridiculously higher than I thought it should have been and I didn't do anything about it for months and it was a big pain to play. When I got it lowered, everything seemed to be played with ease. I could finally bar the frets and everything just sounded better. I would highly recommend this guitar if you aren't looking for something expensive, but just make sure it is set up correctly.

Steam   |   Last.fm

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Don't be afraid to adjust the bridge.  Learning to setup and repair your own guitars is like learning to air up your own car tires.

 

Check out youtube videos of doing setups for similar guitars to yours.  Trust me, turning a few screws here and there won't destroy your guitar.  At the end of the day it's just wood, metal and some fancy screws.

 

Every guitar play should own these 2 things:

 

http://www.harborfreight.com/6-inch-stainless-steel-pocket-ruler-93684.html

http://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Player-Repair-Guide-3rd/dp/0879309210/ref=la_B001KIQIES_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396464107&sr=1-1

 

 

However, if your guitar is REALLY bad,  Take it to a tech for a setup and ask if you can watch.  Its usually nothing more than 40$ and though it seems like a lot of money it's worth it.

 

I grew up learning guitar not knowing any better but high action and badly setup guitars will do more harm than good.  Even now as a full blown guitar builder I still catch myself pushing down the strings way to hard just from muscle memory.

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Every price grade you jump (sub-700, 700-1000, 1000-1500, 1500+) will play better.

I bought a sub-700 Chinese guitar, hotrodded it, shimmed the nut, put in an awesome bridge, awesome pickups, sanded down the neck...

It's still no match for a genuine Ibanez Prestige.

 

I presume that if I took it to a luthier to get the neck straightened, re-studded the bridge, and completely re-fretted, it might get closer to the level... but at that point I might as well have bought another Prestige!

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set up is all important, but a more espensive guitar should or could -me made to better tolerances - better materials ie wood and quality or parts - bridge machine heads etc and also the fresh from factory set up . Many years ago fender strats that were USA made always seemed a giant leap from a made in mexico versions and that was down to set up .

 

Personally spending upwards of £600 will get a quality product

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Well yes and no, every guitar has his own "soul".

 

I Personally had one very cheap guitar for 100 € but never had any big problems with it. Clean sound , no buzzing/creaking or anything like that. Even on the high notes no problem. Only problem since few month is one of the singlecoil doesnt work very well anymore at neck and neck/mid position for high notes on high e string. But this is the first problem since 6 years.

 

My second guitar i had since 3 Years, mid range price class 300 Euro. Of course there is a diffrent in playing little bit softer to pull down the strings and so on. Importan for Hammer ons. Since yet never had a problem with those baby.

 

Also i had the opportunity ,at on of my guitar stors that i like, to played a much more expansive guitar. For example the Dean Guitars Amott Tyrant Bloodstorm for 1000 €, ok i just played some chords and a little riff on those one but, much better on those one.

 

Same Riff same Chords played on the Gibson Les Paul Supreme TE for 2400 €. Chords no problem but the Riff didn't feel right so it was "harder" to play.

 

All in all, i Would say it is the sound of a guitar that give u the illusion that u play easier/better on it. I personally think it's all about the feeling while playing the guitar, the sound and those things. That makes the diffrent for a guitar.That means even if u had a low budget guitar, it could be easie to play and so on. Expensive doesnt always means it is better.

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For me the neck is paramount, I like fat necks, I have big hands and they cramp up playing on skinny necks. Steve Vai, on the other hand, loves skinney necks, but he's weird! So find a neck your hands feel comfy with. Also, I like heavy guitars, they sustain for ages, Angus Young, on the other hand, likes light guitars, but he's only 3'4" tall :) So find a weight and a neck you're happy with. Expensive guitars are expensive because they use expensive woods and expensive components, but mostly they are expensive because of the name written on the headstock! Any, well almost any, guitar can be set up by a semi competant luthier to play well, true the components might break, like the person above with the dodgy pick up. But for learning get a cheap and cheerful guitar that feels good in your hand, if you enjoy playing you will pretty quickly know what you want and can start saving your pennies to get one. But if guitar is not the thing for you then a cheap guitar with a good setup won't bankrupt you :)

Sex is like spreading butter on toast. Sure you can do it with a credit card, but its so much easier with a knife :shock:

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  • 2 weeks later...

The most common problem with cheaper guitars is poor intonation and action.  A more rare problem, but one to be wary of is incorrect fret placement.  The action is easily judged with the eye and fingers.  If you can see that the action is way too high, you should know that the notes will be sharp as you progress from the nut to the bridge because you're actually bending the strings in order to reach the frets.  If you can see that the action is 1/2" too high but the 15th fret is perfectly in tune, walk away.  :)

 

 

Here are some tips on how to analyze the setup and quality of a guitar:

 

Tune it to the nut, then press on each fret (on each string) and determine if the notes go sharp or flat.  Could you adjust the action and truss rod a little bit (if the cheap guitar has one) to correct it?

 

When I'm considering buying a guitar, whether it be cheap or expensive, I sit down at an amp that has a built in tuner and get it precisely in tune from the nut.  Then, I'll bar the 12th fret and see how the tuner shows its accuracy.  Check the 5th and 7th frets as well.  

 

If it passes the above fret test, the intonation test comes next, in the form of harmonic tuning.  Natural Harmonic (NH) tones are the same at E5 & A7, A5 & D7, D5 & G7, G12 & (not NH) B8, and B5 & e7.  I typically don't use the tuner for the latter test because you can tell by ear if they are the same.  The tuner can help you confirm the notes aren't both sharp or flat, but that is rare because of the math involved in natural harmonics.  This test takes string action out of the mix except for the G12.  If the tones differ, or are consistently sharp or flat, BUT the fret tuning test passed, you'll probably want to put it down and walk away because this would mean that the frets are not measured correctly between the bridge and the nut.

 

Let me clarify that last statement:  If you put a tuner on a guitar and measure accurate notes at the nut, 5th, 7th, and 12th frets, but a NH tuning test finds the notes are off, then the measure between the bridge and the nut is not accurate.  If the harmonics are perfect but and the frets are too, then it is likely a setup issue.  Movement of the bridge saddle (used to adjust intonation) toward or away from the nut will cause the harmonics to quickly go sharp/flat (respectively) but the fretted notes will change more slowly.

 

Using the above method, you may find that you've just picked up an $100 guitar that has amazing playing potential, or a $1000 used guitar that is never going to make you happy.

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Sometimes I use big words that I don't completely understand, just to make myself seem more photosynthesis.

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Sounds like you'd benefit from a setup as others have said. It's very easy to do as long as you don't have a floating bridge, there are plenty of videos on YouTube showing you how to do it but if you're not confident enough to do it yourself it's pretty cheap (around £40) to get it done by a professional.

 

A lot of guitarists are real slobs when it comes to cheap guitars, it's almost as if they've completely forgotten how serviceable their cheap guitars were before they bought their expensive one.

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  • 1 month later...

If you want to try a bargain yet decent guitar, you could try one of these Chinese Fender knock-off's from Monoprice:

 

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?p_id=610102

 

I bought one just to give it a try and it's been a real gem.  Setup wasn't bad out of the box, but it was great after a professional setup.  Have someone who plays (friend or a guitar tech/luthier) look it over for you and send it back if you don't like it.  Impossible to beat for $70 + ship.  A friend who gigs insists on playing this guitar now over my Epi Les Paul Pro when he comes over for RS.

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A lot of guitarists are real slobs when it comes to cheap guitars, it's almost as if they've completely forgotten how serviceable their cheap guitars were before they bought their expensive one.

 

Guilty as charged, sir!

 

For a beginner, of course, there's no point in buying a brand name, unless they've got the bucks to shell out. And even then... But once you get onstage, the brand becomes important. It's a part of the show, after all. The musician's choice of gear says something about their commitment, their taste and their attitude.

 

Which is not to mean that everyone has to play a Gibson or whatever. There's a reason Jack White played on Airline guitars. It wasn't for their "awesome" sound. It was part of his whole schtick.

 

I don't buy expensive guitars personally. I prefer digging around until I find a good deal. I had a great MIJ Strat for a while, paid next to nothing for it. And I like the Chinese-built versions of name-brand guitars. I have a Hofner Verythin CT that's absolutely flawless. The real Verythin is way out of my price league (and I'm hardly good enough to merit that anyway).

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Guilty as charged, sir!

But once you get onstage, the brand becomes important. It's a part of the show, after all. The musician's choice of gear says something about their commitment, their taste and their attitude. 

 

Of course the musician's choice their own gear, but  i would say that it is not all about personal taste. Of course the choice of the brand and the guitar etc. but if they have a contract with those Brand. They only use those once as long the contract run. So it not mean automaticly it's all about their taste and attitude. Yeah i talk about the Major bands.

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You signed with a brand if you at least like one of their gear and know that you will use it anyway so getting paid (directly or indirectly) for it is in your interest anyway.

I don't think that well known band signed with a brand because they need the gear and don't have enough money to pay for it but because they already like the gear and it's a win-win for the band and the brand.

 

To stay in the topic, higher end guitar usually have better setup and some little thing that make them a little bit easier to play but we all start with cheap guitar and still play decently so it's more a comfort to buy a higher quality guitar than something we need to play correctly in the end. And i like the fact that with my cheap guitar i have learn to adjust it to my need because i don't really care if i'll broke it, it was cheap enough.

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Guilty as charged, sir!

But once you get onstage, the brand becomes important. It's a part of the show, after all. The musician's choice of gear says something about their commitment, their taste and their attitude. 

 

Of course the musician's choice their own gear, but  i would say that it is not all about personal taste. Of course the choice of the brand and the guitar etc. but if they have a contract with those Brand. They only use those once as long the contract run. So it not mean automaticly it's all about their taste and attitude. Yeah i talk about the Major bands.

 

 

Oh I wasn't even thinking about that part! Once you get to the level of corporate sponsorship, that's something else entirely.

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So back at Topic like firekorn said, also i can't sleep for no reason :-|

I think a little bit more about that than usual and that's the result of it.

***Spoiler*** This one is based more in the building of a guitar!


But don't forget what i already said. Expensive doesn't mean automaticly better!


So what is it that makes the diffrents of the feeling to play easier on a guitar?
Well let me answer it like that, it's all about the comfortable while playing.
Why? Well let me explain it like that way with some pictures and stuff like that.

First comfortable component: Neck Shape

http://proguitarshop.com/media/cms/blog/neckshape.jpg

Why is it important? Well it depends on how your finger work is. Like you see the Soft V Shape has a rounder top then the D or C Shape. So your finger goes further on the Soft V than on the C or D sharp the lower String.

Second comfortable component : Neck Width  (Nut width)

Yeah it is also important. Short fingers and a massive big Neck ,not works very well everytime. Of course u can play on it , but like the shape its more stretching.

Third component : Distance between Neck and string

Ok thats tricky. Because it depends on 4 guitar parts which i will not explain in detail now.

 

Strings, Bridge , neck curvature and pick ups.

But the main question why is it important? Well it depends on the way you play.

 

Short distance means less pressure needed to pull the string down.

 

More distance means more pressure.

But like I said it's a tricky one.

Short distance/More distance means everytime to learn how much is needed. To weak it's sounds shitty and to much it change the sound also.

 

But short distance for Higher strings makes it easier to hammer on and pull off (for me).

 

But too short it has to effects that you have to think about:

It can creaking if it is to much. So it means it's all about playing around how low you can go.

 

Also it means the string is closer to the pick ups. so it will sounds diffrent and louder.

 

Same works in the opposite side with to high. Only diffrent the as higher as quieter it sounds.

 

Fourth Component : Weight

 

Yeah the weight is everytime important and explain for himself. But their is one other thing. Is the guitare body-heavy or head-heavy.

 

Fifth Component: Body Shapes

 

Especially thickness at accustic guitars (the sound doesn't care right now). Also if you only play while sitting it changes they way of how You hold the guitar and the angle how you play.

 

 

So let's overview it! Is their any component that makes a big diffrent if you buy a low budget or high budget guitar? No their is no component! All those things are basics that can be diffrent, no question about it, but all of them dont depends clearly on the Prize.

 

The only diffrent between high and low budget is that: Quality ,durability and sound of the materials.

Those 3 diffrents only works for the Tunning pegs, Knobs , Wood , String, pick ups and output Jack. But they have nothing to do how comfortable it is to play the guitar. More comfortable means easier to play because it works hand in hand with the way you play.

Sry for bad english but thx if u read it since here.

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