What to look for in a Guitar....

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A question I get asked a lot by people is 'how do I find the guitar that's right for me?'

It's a problem many people face, especially with the pressure on e-Bay.

Being a left-handed shred/hard rock/metal player I'm pretty firm set in the instruments I like and what I want (Ibanez, Kramer, Jackson/Charvel - locking trems a must usually. ) but I am also faced with the challenge of FINDING them which is a time consuming process when I'm in the market for an axe. You righties have it a lot easier because of the wide range of guitars available everywhere to suit your style and taste - but just like everyone else not everyon knows exactly what they want and need so I have a system to help people find the right guitar for them

First you go by playing style, I'm very sure that a Death metal guitarist isn't going to buy a jazz guitar or a blues resonator guitar in the same way a Delta-Blues player isn't too interested in playing an all black B.C. Rich Warlock.
SO, a general guide (using the main brands) is...

All-Rounder = Gibson, Fender
Classic Rock = Gibson, Fender
80's Metal [Thrash, Glam, Shred](yeah!) = Kramer, Charvel, Jackson, pre-1993 Ibanez, anything else with a locking tremolo.
Heavy/Death Metal = Jackson, B.C. Rich, Ibanez
Emo = a portion of tin roof
Classical = Nylon Acoustic
Blues = Fender, Gibson,Steel String Acoustic, Resonator
Punk = Refer to emo

So based on that information, which is very general and stereotyped we can narrow it down more by models

All-Rounder = Anything really, mainly Les Pauls and Strats
Classic Rock = Gibson > Les Paul, SG, V, Xplorer  Fender > Strat, Tele
80's Metal [Thrash, Glam, Shred](yeah!) = Kramer > Any. Charvel/ Jackson > Any. pre-1993 Ibanez> Stick to RG's like the RG-550 but pretty much all Ibanez from that era rip it up.  anything else with a locking tremolo.
Heavy/Death Metal = Jackson, B.C. Rich, Ibanez > For Death Metal and such a guitar with a stop tail or fixed bridge is more the 'go' than one with a locking trem system - consider something from the RG Fixed series.
Emo = a portion of tin roof
Classical = Nylon Acoustic > If you are good look at models over $600
Blues = Fender > Tele, Strat Gibson> Les Paul, Steel String Acoustic, Resonator
Punk = Refer to emo

Then work on specific details, it's obvious that if you play soft jazz then don't look at a guitar with high-output pickups.

All-Rounder = Fixed bridge /Stop Tail or Vintage strat Trem, Single Coils or Humbuckers work well depending ont he specific band's you're influenced by - Les Pauls with their humbuckers have a fat, chunky sound whereas Strats with their single coils have a more 'twangy' sound.
Classic Rock = Refer to above
80's Metal [Thrash, Glam, Shred](yeah!) = Locking (double preferably) Tremolo unit's, I prefer Original Floyd Rose systems, High Output pickups from Seymour Duncan or DiMarzio, Pointy headstock, crazy paintjob, thin fast neck, a humbucker in the bridge position is a must.
Heavy/Death Metal = Now if you play heavy/death metal you want a high output pickup in all positions, and your prefered configuration is Humbucker-Humbucker.
Emo = a portion of tin roof, nothing too heavy
Classical = Nylon Acoustic > Something with a full bodied tone and that uses great wood ALL the way through, trust me on acoustics the wood really matters whereas on electrics you can just cover it up with distortion.
Blues = Different blues styles require different sounds and that is a whole different ballpark but in terms of electric guitars you want to either go light and twangy with a Tele or Strat or thick and meaty with a Les Paul, for blues I prefer that unmistakable twang of a Telecaster.
Punk = Refer to emo


Well I hope this has helped you in your quest to find the right guitar for you.


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