Tell Me About Electric Guitars

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Sam Gamgee

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 24, 2022
262
651
48
DFW, Texas
Lots of opinions and options.

The world of electric guitar is a serious subculture. Over the years I've noticed that many players opt for becoming gear-geeks rather than getting better at actually playing music. You need almost next to nothing to become a great guitarist - just a decent guitar that's set up well and holds tune (a must!). These days you don't even _need_ an amp, as has been stated.

I've been playing for about 30 years, most of that time on acoustic. A while back I decided to get another electric rig (after not having one for a long time). Being an 80s kid and loving Def Leppard (et al), I decided to get a Jackson. The rig I ended up with (to mostly jam at home alone with headphones) was about $500 total. If I'd have went used, I could've cut that down by a third or maybe more. Buying from Guitar Center means you can get your money back or exchange guitars with no questions asked. No risk there at all.

I started playing back in 1992 and am completely blown away by the quality of stuff now and what can be had for the price of an average car payment. This Jackson JS22 holds tune pretty much perfectly (even with heavy trem bar use) and sounds killer. The Katana amp has all sorts of "patches" and software stuff that can be downloaded (unless, like me, you use Apple products...) that can get you an almost limitless array of tones. Since I can't use any of that stuff (thanks, Apple) I just use the amp and it sounds great on its own.

I'm having more fun playing music than I ever have. I know the style of guitar I chose has long-since fallen out of fashion, but heck, I'm a pipe-smoker and am used to being seen as a weirdo.

My advice: get a decent guitar ASAP, get it set up well, and get busy playing the music you love. It's an absolute blast.

IMG_8871.jpg
 

mikethompson

Lifer
Jun 26, 2016
10,132
18,316
Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
@mikethompson is there a certain style/genre of music you like to play or would like to play? Any particular songs or bands you would like to cover etc?
Right now on my acoustic I am learning chords. I can't be too picky about what songs I'd like to play. But if I had to pick one I'd like to get down, maybe Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd.

As for the electric, if I could manage Sweet Home Alabama or some Beatles tracks I'd be happy.
 

mikethompson

Lifer
Jun 26, 2016
10,132
18,316
Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I've been playing for about 30 years, most of that time on acoustic.

I have a Yamaha Eterna EF-31 that I bought second hand through kijiji (kind of like craigslist), put new strings on it, and it's what I've been learning on.

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I'm having more fun playing music than I ever have.

That's the important part!


get a decent guitar ASAP, get it set up well, and get busy playing the music you love

It's the 'setup' part I find daunting I guess. Different string styles and all that.
 
Aug 1, 2012
4,227
4,218
Electric can be fun. They are also easier to set up by yourself. There's also a ton of variety. The best thing I can add to this thread is to stop in at your local Long and McQuade and try out every guitar they have. You will find one that fits your preferences and won't have to buy blind. You also can usually get them to throw in a setup with a purchase, especially if you also get the headphone amp while you're there.
 

Sam Gamgee

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 24, 2022
262
651
48
DFW, Texas
I have a Yamaha Eterna EF-31 that I bought second hand through kijiji (kind of like craigslist), put new strings on it, and it's what I've been learning on.

View attachment 198151




That's the important part!




It's the 'setup' part I find daunting I guess. Different string styles and all that.
One of my good friends used to have an Eterna acoustic. Cool guitar that will get you going and keep you there for a long time. As far as the set up, adjustments go, I suggest finding a shop that does repairs and taking it there. This is not the same thing as finding a shop that sells guitars. Some shops claim to do set up work, etc, but don't really have a competent tech (I have learned this the hard way).
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
13,628
25,597
44
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
Any electric guitar players here?

I've dabbled with acoustic, is electric much different? I've heard they are easier to play than acoustic due to the strings being smaller?
if you play acoustic I'd say the difference between one or the other in terms of how they play... Is about the same as switching from one brand to the other. Biggest thing I've heard of as a problem with switch to electric is that the stringers are smaller and often a bit closer to each other. But how much of a problem? If you're playing a small set go for it if you're playing Madison Square then that isn't the time to make the switch.
I think the thing I like about electric over acoustic the most is just that you have more knobs and effects you can play with. You can get more sounds out of one. And getting the right tones or effects can be as much of an art as how you actually play.
 

Briar Tuck

Lifer
Nov 29, 2022
1,088
5,661
Oregon coast
Not gonna lie, seems like there is a lot more 'kit' required with an electric.

With my acoustic, you just need the guitar.

It is still very tempting though...
You can play an electric unplugged just like an acoustic, and the volume is much lower. This is how I usually practice when I decide to put the drumsticks down and pick up one of my guitars.
 

Briar Tuck

Lifer
Nov 29, 2022
1,088
5,661
Oregon coast
Right now on my acoustic I am learning chords. I can't be too picky about what songs I'd like to play. But if I had to pick one I'd like to get down, maybe Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd.

As for the electric, if I could manage Sweet Home Alabama or some Beatles tracks I'd be happy.
 

Kilgore Trout

Part of the Furniture Now
Nov 5, 2019
607
4,729
Lots of good advise here, but it really boils down to, what is it that you want to do? Acoustic guitar and electric guitar are two completely different tools used to do two completely different jobs. Neither is actually easier to play than the other, they're just different and each has it's pros & cons, again it depends on what you want to do with the instrument. Learning to play the guitar isn't easy no matter what you do. It's not like the piano or the saxophone, both of which I've played at different points. Playing the guitar is going to physically hurt and it doesn't matter if it's electric or acoustic, and it doesn't matter what string gauge you use. When you're starting out it's going to hurt your fingers. The muscles in your fretting hand are going to get sore and your fingertips are going to get raw until you build callous. There's no way around this and you're just going to have to work through it, just be careful of the muscles & tendons in your hand. Your fingertip pain you can ignore & just power through the pain, but if you feel abnormal pain in the muscles/tendons STOP and rest.

Now as far as what you should do? Since your goal seems to be "Wish You Were Here", Beatles songs, and "Sweet Home Alabama" I'd suggest you stick with the guitar you have. You seem to be interested in songs that require nice rhythmically strummed chords, this is where the acoustic excels. Can you rhythmically strum chords on an electric? Sure, but it's not going to sound right. It's going have completely different dynamics and not give you the result you're looking for. As far as Sweet Home Alabama goes, you can play the entire song's rhythm with an acoustic; you're not going to be able to play those solos for a long time anyway so don't even let that enter into the equation at this point.

I've not played that model of Yamaha, but Yamaha generally makes great guitars, I've played many & currently own 2. From what I can find, Eterna seems to be Yamaha's low end line, available at Costco etc., and it's made of laminated woods. There's nothing wrong with that and it's a good way to dip your toe into the pool to see if you want to actually dive in. Since you seem to want to take the plunge you'll probably be better served by buying a better acoustic, something like a Yamaha FG series. Right now Sweetwater has a Yamaha FG800 for $230. It has a solid top, and will come set-up well from the factory. Don't waste money getting a proper set-up done to the Eterna. If it has playability issues now, fixing them with nut/saddle work, leveling/dressing the frets, etc. is going to cost more than you paid for the guitar.

Just out of curiosity, do you know what string gauge your Yamaha currently has? Looks like Yamaha often ships with .012-.053 from the factory. D'Addario makes lighter acoustic sets and you should be able to go down a gauge to their Custom Light .011-.052 without having to adjust anything. It's worth a shot if you're finding the strings to stiff & heavy. BTW, I've been playing both acoustic & electric 6 & 12 string as well as classical since the early '80s. I also dabble in mandolin & piano. Please ask any guitar related questions you have, I'm full of useless guitar info.
 

hawky454

Lifer
Feb 11, 2016
5,162
9,388
Austin, TX
Lots of good advice guys, thanks.

Strange to consider an electric over acoustic as you are wanting to go quiet, but here we are.
Might consider a jamstack. I rarely play electric anymore but when I do I basically use the jamstack, it sounds good at low volumes as well as high. You can use your phone for just about any effect you could dream of and plug headphones or pair them with Bluetooth.