Messing around and updates

I’m not sure exactly how I came across this site but they craft beautiful guitars – Wallace Detroit Guitars. I love the idea behind them. These guitars are made from lumber recovered from famous Detroit landmarks. Yeah they are a little pricey but a good quality guitar is going to start at $1000. You can argue with me all you want that you can get comparable quality for a lower price and you’d be wrong. I started playing guitar again roughly 5 months ago with the restoration of my brother’s guitar and my son buying me a telecaster. I have been visiting a lot of stores from the big chains to the locals. One thing has become very clear, there is a big difference in the quality of cheap guitars vs mid priced guitar and a gigantic leap between mid range to custom. One guitar I was leaning on getting was one of the Ibanez Artcore guitars. The price was reasonable, between 250 – 350 but when I finally got my hands on one, I was shocked at how cheap the feel of the guitar body was. It has a very cheap plastic feel to it. There is nothing wrong with the playability of these guitars but they are just cheaply made. I am not a fan of mass produced Chinese items. Wait, don’t you own a Orange amp made in China? Yes I do but its a practice amp and I will not rely on it for live playing if I even do that. You’ve heard it a million times before, you should have an entry level guitar. Really? Why? If you’re going to try something, why not drop some money into to prove you’re committed? If you drop $1000 on a guitar chances are you’re not going to just let it sit around or maybe you have that kind of money to waste but why not start at the top. There is something to be said for having good/great equipment right out of the gate. There is no real point here except this – If you are considering playing music, set yourself up correctly. Find a solid non chinese, indonesian, or korean guitar and a solid amp and unleash the beast! The only thing preventing me from buying a custom Fender? Justifying the cost and can I dedicate enough time to it. I already checked it out, I would order a custom strat from Fender and all of my requirements would cost me roughly $2000. Let’s see where we are in a year. I’ve thought about buying a cheap guitar and modding the crap out of it but after all the costs, it equals nearly the same as a brand new guitar. Lets break it out. Say I buy one of those indonesian Epiphone SGs, those run about $79 used. Here is my breakdown for this guitar:

Epiphone SG: $79
Replace the nut Les paul guitar bone nut pre cut 44mm: $9.99
1/4″ 2-Conductor Guitar Output Jack: $7.99
Gibson Accessories Stop Bar Tailpiece w/Studs & Inserts – Gold: $54.99
DiMarzio Injector Neck Single Coil Pickup – White: $79.99
DiMarzio Super Distortion Humbucker Pickup – Cream: $79.99
Fender Deluxe Locking Machine Heads: $48.49
Music repair shop to reset the neck and frets, install the pickups, the nut, input jack and tailpiece: $120
Total: $480.44

Now, $480 does not get you out of China just yet. For Fender Squire vibes, it gets you Mexican made. The Mexican mades have a veneer finish which looks nice but again, you’ll want something that is a little more road worthy. $480 for a non Gibson SG is not bad and I would consider it but again, if you can save money and afford the real American made, you probably should. Now that being said, I’m not so sure I would be buying anything from Gibson these days. The company is bleeding financially. They are currently $1.5 billion in the red (Moody’s Stock rating for Gibson). Their products are also getting slammed for shoddy workmanship. We’ll see what I end up choosing. More to come.


How old are you again?

The answer, of course, old enough to know! I have a few guitars that have been gathering dust over the last 6 years. I mean that literally. I have not picked up a guitar in a very long time. I vowed to change that this year. I gave up my Joe Pass Emperor to help out a friend. I took out my Epiphone SG and my Washburn acoustic. The SG is the perfect practice guitar, its good for any style music you want to play. I also use an Orange amp Crush 12L practice amp. What makes it a practice amp? Low output. Don’t get me wrong its really loud and versatile. Its good for small clubs but anything larger, you will be drowned out by other louder instruments. For now its what gets me through the day. What does Guitar World have to do with anything? They’re my go to mag for songs written in tablature and for the instructional columns in the back. I haven’t had a subscription to this magazine in over 20 years but now that I’m at least practicing again, I figured why not? Now granted not much has really changed in that time except instead of the regular Randy Rhodes tribute (and that still exists amazingly enough) now its Dimebag Darrell from Pantera. The guitarist who was gunned down 10 years ago on stage. It was a tragic story but I can’t say that this tragedy garners this kind of attention. Either way, its not my call. So I’m three magazines in at this point and the highlights are as expected. The highs are the Jimmy Brown columns on music theory. Dave Davidson’s Thrash Course is also informative for those who still want to play aggressive metal. Lastly the alternating “guest column”, one week it was John Patrucci from Dream Theater, who I am a huge fan of. To Andy Aledort who has been around forever, his columns are still very relevant. You won’t find a better magazine out there for all levels of guitar players.