What is the very best electric guitar I can get for under £500 ?

Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member
edited August 2016 in Guitar Chat
"I am a beginner. What is the very best electric guitar I can get for under £500 ?" I wouldn't get one. I'd get two ! - The Vintage V6 Strat £165 - The Vintage V100 Paradise Les Paul at around £250 And have two guitars that compete very well with the ones they imitate and still have money left over.  

Comments

  • manofgresleymanofgresley Posts: 137Member

    I would not buy any till I have tried them all, Vintage Strat, Vintage Les Paul, sounds like a beginner only looking at labels, labels he as seen on his hero's guitars - Clapton, Gilmour on Strat's, Bonnamassa, Jimmy Page on Les Paul's.

     

    Most important to me is IMHO "Can I play it, do is it feel right" not the LABEL. When I can play a bit, is the time to decide in which direction to go.Picking your first guitar is always a bit of a guess, to the beginner, when i started i bought a Tanglewood Les Paul look alike Black Beauty, i could not get on with this at all, eventually I sold it in p/ex for a "Steve Fairclough" acoustic, then I started to move, since then I have progressed on to a better Acoustic,and built my own Strat.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

    But if you had to say one, which would it be ?

     

    In this blind choice the beginner has only this option - for the sake of the exercise. 

     

    The fact is you don't need to go anywhere near £500 for a great guitar.

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator
    Originally Posted by Kevin Peat:

    The fact is you don't need to go anywhere near £500 for a great guitar.

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. I have never tried a Vintage guitar of any type. I have a wonderful Squier Strat (as well as my American Standard) and an Epiphone Les Paul. Both are great guitars but I am not a lover of the Les Paul. I just prefer the feel, balance and sheer playing experience of the Strat. This is purely a personal thing and nothing to do with the quality of the instruments. My mate has a Gibson LP and I am no more enamoured to that.

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member

    I think I'd have to ask what sort of music would the beginner want to play.

     

    But I reckon your choices would be as good as any others Kevin.Two guitars of these types would cover most bases.

     

    Assuming the person got them from a place that set them up properly and didn't hand out the less successfully made ones. Vintage QC and set up is not perfect!

     

    I'd have opted for the Vintage V100 Lemon Drop rather than the Paradise - but only because I was lucky enough to get a good one that suited me. I'd opt for a Strat rather than a Tele but only because I've never managed to find a Tele I liked long term despite wanting to. As it's a self build Strat I use I can't suggest a make of Strat as I've not experienced them enough.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

    I think I phrased the question incorrectly. How about ?

     

    "Which guitar would I buy for under £500 ?"

     

    The answer to which is that I wouldn't buy one but two and still have 20% of the money left over. 

  • Ninja_RebornNinja_Reborn Posts: 124Member

    Based on my own preferences

     

    Probably one of these three

     

    Chapman ML-1  

    Squier CV Strat / Tele depending on preference

    Burny RLG55 

     

    But also would not rule out some of Jackson and Ibanez models in this bracket - just can't remember all the model names.  

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    I agree with Ray.  My first electric was a US Strat (fits within the £500 budget, but it was 30 years ago - around £250 or 270 IIRC).

     

    I had been playing acoustic for a couple of years and wanted to try electric and "thought" I wanted a Strat so that's what I went out and bought.

     

    After a couple of weeks I hated it.

     

    I should have tried a bunch of others.  A year or so later I bought a Gibby  and I still have it and never played the Strat again, and from the Fender stable I now know I'm a Tele fan.  I should have tried others but had this blinkered view that Strats were the be all and end all.

     

    So my advice would be to try a bunch and see what suits (that also gives a nod to Mark's question about style of music to be played).

     

    But I agree with the view that you don't need to spend £500 for a great guitar.  If I was researching on this forum then I'd definitely give strong consideration to Harley Benton based on recent posts - appears to be even better value than Vintage.  However, being mail order you can't really try before you buy.  I guess the lack of a supply chain (and thereby margin stacking) is part of the reason they appear to be such great value.

     

    Cheers, Reg.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

    Ah. The Chappers ML-1

     

    That's the shredder sorted then. 

     

    Reg - If you had no guitar what would you get under £500 from what you know yourself ? Only one chance to get it right !!!

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator

    If I had no guitar I would buy a higher end Squier Strat.

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member
    Originally Posted by Kevin Peat:

    Ah. The Chappers ML-1

     

    That's the shredder sorted then. 

     

    Reg - If you had no guitar what would you get under £500 from what you know yourself ? Only one chance to get it right !!!

    Tough question hence my previous reply.  OK, on the basis of what I know now rather than when I made the mistake buying my US Strat all those years ago and I assuming I'd be buying new....

     

    Don't have time to do the search, but I'd seek something like I built (it's exactly what I wanted - why would I build anything else!). So here's the major specs of what I'd look for:

    • Telecaster (colour/finish to your taste, I went for a fairly exotic quilted maple, but if looking at off the shelf an antique burst would be nice).
    • Classic twangy Tele sound (doesn't have to be used for country!), so that'll be two single coils.  The Tele is available is pretty in much any config, even three pups so again your choice might vary.
    • Neck - my preference is all maple (neck and board), with jumbo frets. But again there's variants to choose from. Importantly for me, being a predominately acoustic player, I'd go for a flatter fretboard than the vintage 7.25/9.5 (if those are the correct radii off the top of my head).  Definitely a minimum of 12".  Mine happens to be 15" and I find it very comfortable to swap between that and my acoustics.
    • I'd be looking ay a good quality clone (or Squier), not Fender.  Absolute max £300 quid, would aim more at £250, and then put the extra to whatever budget I had for an amp.  More amp money doesn't necessarily mean more power, but better quality noise - you can have the best guitar in the world and plug it into a poor amp (or poor cable) and you'll get a poor sound.  The basic geometry of a tele has been pretty much settled for nearly 70 years - amps are still evolving.

     

    So, not a specific model - if I get some time later I might do the search as an intellectual exercise and come up with a specific target.  The beauty of Teles is that Leo designed them as basically modular and they are the easiest guitar ever to modify to get it to exactly your spec.  If the neck and fret work is sound there's absolutely no reason why any tele can't be set-up perfectly (with no complication of whammy bars etc), as long as basic guitar geometry is understood.  My last preference is for head stock truss rod access vis a vis set-up.

     

    Not sure if I've answered your question if you were expecting a specific answer.  But the spec I chose is good for me, but might not be for everyone else - if it was there's only be one guitar.  In some ways kids of today are faced with more of a dilemma in choosing guitars because of the sheer amount of choice available.  In other ways the quality is immeasurably better than the budget end 50 years ago, but you can still end up with a lemon if the guitar doesn't ultimately suit what the individual wants to play.

     

    Cheers, Reg.

  • martinsmith99martinsmith99 Posts: 375Member

    For a beginner, I would suggest looking sub £50 in Cash Converters or evilbay.  To blow £500 on something I might not enjoy a few weeks later is not smart.

     

    My 1st guitar was a Marlin Sidewinder I bought for £40 out of Trade It.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

    Yes Martin

     

    I must rephrase the question. 

     

    If you lost all your guitars and had a limit of £500 what would you buy ?

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

    Reggers - I'd be interested to hear what you come up with. 

     

    I'd forgotten about the Tele option. (Forgive me !)

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member
    Originally Posted by Kevin Peat:

    Yes Martin

     

    I must rephrase the question. 

     

    If you lost all your guitars and had a limit of £500 what would you buy ?

    If I lost all my guitars and had a budget limit of £500 pounds, before I even considered buying another guitar I'd first spend a month  asking every single person I meet to kick me up the arse for being so stupid as to be under-insured.

     

    Serious point - you all do have your guitars and equipment insured especially if you gig rather than relying on house insurance don't you?  If not check the All Risks section of your policy and then decide if that covers the replacement cost.

     

    Cheers, Reg.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

     

    OK. 

     

    Let me rephrase the last question too. 

     

    What if your insurance had paid out on your guitar and you had to replace the washing machine and boiler and -  being a sensible sort - had decided to leave only £500 to buy your new guitar...

     

    ... wot wood u by ?

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member
    Originally Posted by Kevin Peat:

    Reggers - I'd be interested to hear what you come up with. 

     

    I'd forgotten about the Tele option. (Forgive me !)

     

    Originally Posted by Kevin Peat:

     

    OK. 

     

    Let me rephrase the last question too. 

     

    What if your insurance had paid out on your guitar and you had to replace the washing machine and boiler and -  being a sensible sort - had decided to leave only £500 to buy your new guitar...

     

    ... wot wood u by ?

     

    This:  http://www.thomann.de/gb/gl_tr...asat_classic_tsb.htm

     

    And here's the full G&L Spec

     

    9" radius, I'd prefer flatter, but many others prefer this.  And I don't think you could go wrong with a G&L.

     

    Cheers, Reg.

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator

    Never thought of G&L. Always thought of them as being a bit pricier than £500.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,203Member

    Those are lick-able guitars. 

     

    Very well priced. 

Sign In or Register to comment.