Electric Guitars are very personal items, each having its own tone, shape, feeling, and value, when choosing your own electric guitar it is almost like choosing a lover. There are many ways to become versed with the guitars out there one of the newest is the Guitar Hero or Rock Band franchises with such popular brands as Fender, Gibson, or some of the lesser known brands like Jackson. Some companies like BC Rich have released game controllers so you can get a feel for the instrument right from the get go. So when playing Guitar Hero maybe you should take a closer look at your favorite guitar or browse Guitar Hero’s guitar selection to find that one style for a real guitar that you might want to actually purchase.
After you have discovered the shape of guitar then it is important to take a look at the market, what is out there and what is similar, for example the Fender Stratocaster has become a commonly reproduced shape. Then there’s the BC Rich Assassin, or Ibanez RG or even less known brands like a Kramer Pro Ax. The list goes on and on. The next thing you have to consider is what kind of tone will fit me? This is where your Ipod or CD collection comes in handy, do you like the hard ballads of Guns N’ Roses? or the mellow tones of Pink Floyd? or the twang of Garth Brooks?
Tone is built by three very important factors, the pickups, the amp, and the guitars wood. When all of these combine we can get the distinctive sound of the instrument. However it isn’t going to be the same instrument to instrument, two Epiphone SG may sound completely different and have the same make, model, and color. This is because most guitars are usually mass produced. To get an idea of what may suit you try either going to guitar shops, or other musicians houses to test, play and beat on the guitars to find what fits you. But what if your friend doesn’t have that Flying V or the right Les Paul that Zakk Wylde used this is where the internet can come in handy. Research the stars gear, for example Slash uses Les Paul’s loaded with Seymour Duncan Alnico pickup matched with a Fishman power bridge and other nuances. What you can also do is read on electronics and possibly piece together the perfect guitar online, or you can even search what the companies have for sale that matches what you want. Dean Guitars has made Dimebag Darrel signatures for years now, but BC Rich and Charval have that same style for a lot less and with similar pickups like what Zakk Wylde uses.
Woods are in their own way unpredictable because each wood has different response, feel and snap, so the best way to get an idea of what combination works is to study the tone you like. Guys like Randy Rhodes used alder bodies or mahogany bodies matched to a maple neck and an ebony fret board, this matched with his JMP Marshalls helped him achieve the harshness of Crazy Train. So as a rule of thumb be sure to research and to play what ever is out there, and ask questions, remember the Guitar Center associates are there for you.
So in conclusion, when you are looking for your first guitar you have to remember to question everything about it, this includes pickups, body design and woods. Also remember that you can never be limiting there are many brands and sometimes it’s the weird obscure throw away models that can be the cream of the crop. Remember to bring someone else with you, have them play or listen to the guitar, and even try to get an idea of what you look like with that guitar, who know who might someday see you play.