Beginner's electric guitar

For all of the guitar players on the SD, which guitar would be the easiest to learn on? A Stratocaster or Les Paul?

I hope I have this in the right forum.

Probably should be in Cafe Society or IMHO.

I can strum a rhythm, but I’m not much of a player. I don’t know about the Strat, but I have a couple of Telecasters and a Les Paul. The LP is heavier, which may be a factor.

I agree, so I moved the thread.

I think Strats generally have thinner necks, which could be easier on your hands. I’m looking for a cite, but I bet one of our guitar experts will find a better one. Johnny L.A. is right that Les Pauls are rather heavy. Are you looking for a guitar for yourself? Can you tell us a little more about what you want in a guitar?

A Les Paul has a shorter scale than your typical Strat, so chords would be somewhat easier to grab & strings easier to bend.

IMHO, a Strat has a more interesting variety of tones available, so that might make it more fun for a beginner.

A Strat usually has a tremolo tailpiece. This is a lot of fun or a pain in the ass depending on the player.

Strats are fairly light.

LPs are fairly heavy.

If possible, see if one or the other feels better to the student.

I bought a Strat about nine months ago and have been learning to play. I’m very happy with it.

The research I did in advance was a lot like this thread, so far. Everyone said it was a matter of personal taste; nobody else can tell you what will suit your hands, your body, your playing style. The problem was that the first time I picked up a guitar, I didn’t know what suited me, either. So instead of what was easiest, I started trying to figure out what it was that I wanted to be able to do. In my wildest dreams, what sound did I want to make, and what initial steps might someday lead me there. I did some research on favorite songs and players, and found out what guitar could do what I wanted.

I guess I’m hoping to develop a style that suits my guitar, instead of the other way around.

Are you talking about a real Strat or Les Paul or are you talking about a cheap clone? Because both of those are fairly expensive guitars for a beginner.

Your first guitar should be a “cheap”. You will play it for a year or two, then once you develop your own style and preferences, you will sell it and get a good guitar that matches your preferences.

I personally like Ibanez guitars. I don’t think they have the best sound (I think Les Pauls have that) but I really like the necks on them and the way they play. I personally am not fond of Strats. These are just my personal preferences though.

Heavier guitars tend to have better sustain, so the extra weight isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Good advice here. Get something cheap but not shitty to start. No sense paying $800-1000 for something that you may set aside after 6 months. Better to start with a decent $200-300 guitar, then trade up once you decide you like playing enough to make the expense worth it.

Mind you, that’s not what I did. :smiley: I bought a 25 year old Les Paul Custom for about $750 (back in 1990), because that was a motivating factor for me. THEN I started collecting cheap guitars. One of my favorites is my $175 Epiphone SG: it sounds great, and is fun to play. Since I had Pigpen pinstripe it, it looks great too.

That’s so funny, that’s what I came in to mention. My first guitar was really terrible, so I convinced my dad to help me buy a new one, and that’s what I got.

You couldn’t ask for much better for the price (and I got mine on sale for $125). It played well, traveled well and generally sounded good for many years. The only issue I had with it was with the tone selector. It gave me some seriously nasty crackling noise sometimes. But hey, 125 bucks. That’s ridiculous.

I recommend a Telecaster to start out, but love Strats and Les Pauls, too.

Here is an overview of the Major Guitar Food GroupsI wrote up a little while ago…take a read and come back with questions - I am in meetings today and traveling tomorrow but can get back on line occasionally…

You can often get a real good deal on a used guitar on craigslist - people quit playing after a few months so you get a guitar that’s almost new for 50% off. If you buy new Yamaha makes very good low cost guitars.

In my opinion, DON’T EVER BUY A GUITAR YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED. The neck could be warped, the hardware could be falling off, the electronics might not work properly, etc. You have no way of knowing if the guitar is even playable.

Thanks for the replies. Yes it would be a cheaper knock off of these models. Maybe a Squire Strat or an Epiphone LP. Doing research on the net gives a lot of different opinions on these models (along with others). Some say the Squire models are crap while there are some good players on youtube that love them. Same goes for most cheap guitars. My main concern is playability and holding a tune. I just want something to learn on and am not so much interested in the type of sound other than being a decent quality. Is one of these easier to play or any other beginners model I should check out?

I just like the feel of the neck better on a Les Paul or SG model. They are slightly wider so there’s a bit more space between the strings, and as was noted upthread, their also a bit shorter than Strats, so fingering chords is easier, especially starting out.

Plus Strats always feel like lacquer, to me. I like the smooth solid feel of a LP/SG. I also don’t like tremelos. I can bend the strings just fine by myself (yes, even whole chords) and find that a trem is just baggage. YMMV.

An Epi Les Paul or a similarly-priced Made in Mexico (MIM) Tele would be a great choice.

I bought a Squier (yes, it’s really spelled that way) Tele because A) it was cheap; and B) it is a clone of my first Fender Tele and I thought that was cool. It’s in pieces now (more on that in a minute), but before I took it apart it definitely didn’t sound as good as the Fender. Having said that, and given that I’m a beginner, I’d say it’s a perfectly good guitar to start with. As you pointed out, many people – many of them who really know how to play – will totally disagree with that.

Unlike Squier, which was a string-making company that Fender acquired in the '60s, Epiphone was a guitar-maker in its own right before it was bought by Gibson. Where Fender made cheap-ass guitars and put the Squier name on it, Gibson, which acquired Epiphone in the '50s, continued making excellent, though cheaper, guitars under that name. I think it is a positive sign that many professional players have used Epiphones. This difference in quality between Squier and Epiphone is reflected in their prices. A Squier Tele costs about $150, and an Epi Les Paul runs about $500.

I really wanted a Gibson Les Paul, just because I wanted a ‘real’ LP. But did I really want to pay four times as much? What it came down to is this: I’m a strummer. I don’t have the time, nor the social base, to learn how to actually play. My Cherry-Sunburst Epiphone Les Paul looks great and feels great. It’s loads better than the Hondo II I had back in the '80s. The sound is wonderful. It just didn’t make sense to spend two kilobucks I didn’t have, for a ‘real’ LP that I’m not capable of playing well. So I bought the Epi, and I’m glad I did.

So, why is the Squier in pieces? Well, after getting the '93 Fender Tele I had ‘the bug’. I decided to build my own guitar. I bought 2008 Fender parts (burgundy body, blonde neck, bridge, etc.) and some SCN pick-ups a four-way console, some copper shielding, and a bridge cover (for the retro look). It sounds better than the '93 Fender, and I like that I built it. I decided that since the Squier was so cheap, I may as well make some modifications to it as well. I shielded all of the cavities with the copper tape, bought another set of SCN pickups and a four-way console, a Fender bridge, and a Fender three-ply pick-guard and went to work. The problem was that the Squier is a ‘top-loader’ – the strings attach to the bridge and do not go through the body – and the new bridge is a ‘string-through-body’ type. I drilled the string holes in the Squier’s body, but I needed to countersink them for the string ferrules. Just then I had other demands on my time, so I put the project aside – and never got back to it. It’ll get done eventually…

I forgot about that. I learned to play on a Classical guitar, so I’m used to wider spacing.

A good Squier model is the Classic Vibe Tele which I think you can get at Guitar Center for $349. I played one the other day and was thoroughly impressed with it. Pine body like the classic 50’s Teles and the neck didn’t feel too bad either. If I was starting out, this would be the one I’d go with…

If you want a Les Paul style, and Epiphone is the way to go, no doubt…

Inspired by this thread, I decided to get back to work on the Squier mods. I found my drill bits that leave the bottom of the hole flat, drilled one hole, and tried fitting a ferrule. Perfect. Then I ran out of juice. I went to get the other battery, which was in the charger, and it was dead. I put the newly-dead battery in the charger and the light didn’t come on. :rolleyes: Time to find an extension.

I just ran across an ad for a Ibanez As73 Artcore Brown Sunburst here in Guadalajara for approx. $335usd.

Any opinions?

I can’t think of any relationship between these two factors.

There may be many differences between these and other brands/manufacturers, but I don’t think ‘how easy it is to learn on’ is one of them.

Coming at it the other way, how easy or hard you find it to learn to play will depend on many factors, such as your patience and determination, the quality of teaching you have access to, whether you get into good habits from day one, how much of an aptitude you have for the task and so on. But I don’t think the brand name has much to do with it.

All you can do is choose a guitar you think feels right when you hold it and strum a note or two .