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  #1  
Old 02-06-2018, 08:29 AM
mikemo6string mikemo6string is offline
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Default Electric guitar after a 25 year hiatus!

Hi folks,

I've recently gone back to playing in an electric trio. I've played acoustic guitar exclusively for the last quarter century. It's a 3 month theater gig, and I'm using borrowed gear. A 1978 Telecaster and a very heavy Music Man amp. It's been pretty fun, and I'm still working on lightening up my claw of a left hand.

Anyway, I'm interested in getting myself an electric and an amp. Yes, it's been a lot of fun, and I'm feeling the love of the band sound again. I've played a few different guitars, which only muddies the waters for me. I don't want anything too heavy (the Tele is a little too heavy, though I do like it). Semi hollow, or even hollow body, perhaps. I play mostly bluesy, funkier stuff... I like the JJ Grey tone. Any thoughts on guitars out there? I'd like to keep the budget between 500-1000.

I know my way around guitars pretty well, but not amps. That Music Man amp that I'm using is way too heavy for me, and I'd like a relatively small amp that I can experiment with.

I've checked out the older posts, and would appreciate any thoughts out there.

Cheers,
Mike in NH
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2018, 08:40 AM
M Sarad M Sarad is offline
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Fender Princeton Reverb reissue or one of the clones such as the Headstrong. I use Tweed Deluxe, both an old Fender and a newer Victoria.

The Collings electrics are not cheap, but the are built like Maseratis and sound magnificent.
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Old 02-06-2018, 10:04 AM
imwjl imwjl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Sarad View Post
Fender Princeton Reverb reissue or one of the clones such as the Headstrong. I use Tweed Deluxe, both an old Fender and a newer Victoria.

The Collings electrics are not cheap, but the are built like Maseratis and sound magnificent.
My PRRI and Telecaster would be toward the OP's budget.

My Collings electric would break the budget and now you have me wondering if Maseratis are as up there with amazing quality as they are with design and tone.

I think about everyone loves Fender black face and tweed whether or not they realize it.

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Old 02-06-2018, 11:19 AM
DukeX DukeX is online now
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It's hard to beat a Tele or Strat through a PR.

Semi-hollow ES335 or clones are great guitars. They are versatile and tuneful. Can be a little big and heavy, but an Epi ES339 might be an option.
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Old 02-07-2018, 10:36 AM
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thinline tele would weigh less since you are gigging and having to stand. but you probably won't get both guitar and amp within your budget. if you can, spend the money and save your back--that is from an experienced bad back person. ha! try the newish princeton reverb and run it thru the house if you can.

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  #6  
Old 02-07-2018, 12:35 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemo6string View Post
Hi folks,

I've recently gone back to playing in an electric trio. I've played acoustic guitar exclusively for the last quarter century. It's a 3 month theater gig, and I'm using borrowed gear. A 1978 Telecaster and a very heavy Music Man amp. It's been pretty fun, and I'm still working on lightening up my claw of a left hand.

Anyway, I'm interested in getting myself an electric and an amp. Yes, it's been a lot of fun, and I'm feeling the love of the band sound again. I've played a few different guitars, which only muddies the waters for me. I don't want anything too heavy (the Tele is a little too heavy, though I do like it). Semi hollow, or even hollow body, perhaps. I play mostly bluesy, funkier stuff... I like the JJ Grey tone. Any thoughts on guitars out there? I'd like to keep the budget between 500-1000.

I know my way around guitars pretty well, but not amps. That Music Man amp that I'm using is way too heavy for me, and I'd like a relatively small amp that I can experiment with.

I've checked out the older posts, and would appreciate any thoughts out there.

Cheers,
Mike in NH
Music Man made some good amps. What about the weight is cramping your style right now? That might help us understand what you're looking for. And the Fender Princeton (already mentioned) and it's clones and re-issues is classic small amp that can sound great. There are a lot of good small tube amps around today too (much wider selection than 20 years ago!).

When you mention light and "experiment with" there's something to be said for the current modeling amps. Opinions about the validity of their sound and playing feel vary, but they are an inexpensive way to "window shop" a lot of different types of sound. But you many mean "experiment" as in easy to carry in one hand so I can see what it's like to play out at various locations.

Not all Telecasters are heavy, many are very light. I have a Tele Thinline that I sometime thinkweighs less than some guitar straps.

Many semi-hollowbodies (ES335 and the like) outweigh typical Telecasters. I like my Epi 339 (smaller body semi-hollowbody), and it's not overly heavy. I have the model with the P90 pickups, which are an interesting sound.

Gretsch Electronmatics are a great deal in your price range. I've not tried any funk on mine--but you know, it just might work. I'm not hip to JJ Grey, so I don't know.
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:39 PM
Revy Revy is offline
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Default Quilter Amps

I have never played one but Quilter amps are supposed to be the bomb and nothing short of outstanding! Pat Quilter is the founder of QSC. He is an audio genius! He actually has a 45 watt 24 volt amplifier (Microblock 45) that fits on a pedal board and feeds directly to a speaker cabinet. There 101 Mini head weighs 2lbs. and puts out 100 watts. As far as a light super nice guitar I think it's hard to beat a G&L ASAT Classic or Legacy. Most all of them had too narrow of a neck for my large hands. Tried for years to find a nice used one with a wider neck but never did. Ended up with an American Telecaster. They are hard to beat as well. Good luck with your quest!

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  #8  
Old 02-07-2018, 02:10 PM
mikemo6string mikemo6string is offline
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Thank you for your replies. This forum is such a helpful resource.

I'm not physically unable to carry the heavy loads. I teach yoga and pilates, and my body feels quite good. I just want to keep it that way, and the biomechanics of guitar playing and gear lugging are a little tough on the spine and major joints. I play out around 100 times a year.

As far as the budget, I'm okay pushing that up a bit. I have 3 months with this Tele, so I'm in no hurry to buy anything. I really like the Music Man amp, but it's also a 3 month loaner. I did try one of the newer Fender amps with the modeling... I liked it.

I played a nice American Tele and an Eastman 386 yesterday. Both through a Princeton Reverb. I was really digging the Eastman, though the pickups didn't seem to sound a whole lot different between bridge and neck. Still, it's my favorite of the few I've tried so far: Strat, Tele, Archtop. The Tele really gets it done, especially when you push the amp a bit. That crisp hot sound, and with a little grit added in there, it's pretty fun. I just feel that the semi-hollow is a little more up my alley in the long run.

Thanks again. I'll keep playing 'em. And checking in here!
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Old 02-07-2018, 04:18 PM
Hotspur Hotspur is offline
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I recently picked up a Vox AV30. I think it's spectacular.

Very flexible. Pretty lightweight (25 lbs or something). Excellent tones - it does edge-of-breakup stuff super well. Thanks to the hybrid design (it's easiest to think of it as a 1-amp tube amp connected to a 29-watt solid state amp) you get a lot of tubey goodness even at low volumes.

It's what's called an "analog modeling" amp - it's not as flexible as some of the digital modelers, but the tones are a lot more organic. And it is still incredibly flexible - everything from cleans to very heavy distortions.

Maybe I'm still in the honeymoon phase, but it seems to me that this thing should dominate the sub-$500 space ... and maybe some of the >$500 space, too.
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Old 02-07-2018, 04:21 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemo6string View Post
...I'm interested in getting myself an electric and an amp...I don't want anything too heavy (the Tele is a little too heavy, though I do like it). Semi hollow, or even hollow body, perhaps. I play mostly bluesy, funkier stuff...Any thoughts on guitars out there? I'd like to keep the budget between 500-1000...

I know my way around guitars pretty well, but not amps. That Music Man amp that I'm using is way too heavy for me, and I'd like a relatively small amp that I can experiment with...
Since you know your way around guitars, I'll offer my suggestions in that light:
  • Plan on upping your budget - possibly substantially, depending on exactly what you're hearing in your head; what the previous posters neglected to mention (perhaps assuming as experienced players) is that your amp is a major (if not the major) determinant of your final tone. Simply put, a great amp can make a mediocre guitar sound better but not vice versa; while the aforementioned modeling rigs make a nice tonal smorgasbord for a beginner, the fact that you zeroed in on that Princeton Reverb tells me that you know what the real deal is - and since you'll probably wind up with something similar in the long run, as an experienced player I'd say think in terms of something in that vein in the immediate. I swear by my Bugera V22 - as do a few other satisfied users here on the Electric forum - but before you settle on a final choice you might want to look at similarly powered/sized offerings from Vox, Marshall (the new updated DSL and Origin combos look interesting), Blackstar, Egnater, et al., as well as Fender's own Blues Junior/Deluxe models; if you're really on a shoestring, a lot of the guys over on TDPRI use these as backup amps and/or mod platforms:

    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_...iABEgKpz_D_BwE

    - and at $179 on sale you almost can't afford not to own one...

  • You're looking for "a crisp hot sound, with a little grit added in there" in a lightweight package, and you're OK with a semi or hollowbody. Frank recommends one of the new Korean-made Gretsch Electromatics (5400/5600-Series), and as a happy owner I'll agree - more versatile than you'd expect, gets the funk thing done, and the full-hollow 5400's often come in under the seven-pound mark; plan on spending $750+ for a new one, though - quality doesn't come cheap, but for what you're getting (QC/playability/tone are on a par with the MIJ Professional Series at three/four times the price, and superior to many of the vintage Brooklyn originals) it's worth every penny, and used ones rarely come up for sale (with good reason). If you want even more dirt and raunch - especially through a tube amp - something with a set of P-90's will get it done; the Loar LH-302 (think George Thorogood's ES-125TDC) and Epiphone Casino come in around the $500-600 range - they have a very different feel, and I'd suggest doing a side-by-side if possible to find the one that's right for you. Finally, if you're OK with blowing the full $1K on the guitar alone (and borrowing an amp for a while) the Godin CW II - a full-hollow twin P-90 archtop in the mold of the early-50's ES-175/Epiphone Zephyr - will deliver the goods for anything short of death metal; they get a lot of love over on the Archtop forum (TMK Tony Bennett's guitarist has been using one on tour for a couple years now), you're not going to get that much tone in as light a package from any other maker - mine scales in at just over five pounds (about the same weight as the comparably-sized Seagull mini-jumbos), and if you've been exclusively an acoustic player for the last 25 years you'll find a lot to like since they handle very much like the Seagull acoustics...
Good luck...
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Last edited by Steve DeRosa; 02-07-2018 at 09:02 PM. Reason: typo
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  #11  
Old 02-07-2018, 06:09 PM
Davis Webb Davis Webb is offline
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Thats an easy one.

Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster.
Boss Katana 50 watt amp.

Both together come in under $800 and I dare you to find any style you cannot play with them. And the Katana has all the effects you will ever need.

Check out all the reviews online for both of these. 5 stars. The Classic Vibe in Butterscotch will simply blow you away. Alnico 5 pickups. Those usually come in $1800 guitars.
Katana blows Fender out of the water for modelling amps. Read the reviews.
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  #12  
Old 02-13-2018, 01:14 PM
mikemo6string mikemo6string is offline
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A little update on the guitar/amp journey.

I'm really liking the Tele more and more. Perhaps it's because I'm playing it every day... I'm pretty adaptable to what's in my hands. And since I put the Beefy Slinkies on it, 11-54, it feels even better. The Tele/Music Man combo is a pretty nice re-introduction to electric playing.

I'm pretty enamored with the Eastman 386 semi-hollow. That's my favorite so far. And I was able to try the Gretsch Electromatic. I'm not sure about the Gretsch, but it might be because I was playing through one of the Orange Amps. I didn't really care for the Orange. Still leaning towards a Princeton Reverb or even a Super Champ, perhaps. I do like that the Music Man has bass, MID and treble controls. The Princeton/Champ amps have only bass/treble. As for the guitars, the Gretsch sounds really good for a couple of tunes, but then I want something a little more diverse. So right now it's Fender Tele vs. Eastman Semi-Hollow.

Still looking, still playing. And still listening.
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:39 PM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemo6string View Post
A little update on the guitar/amp journey.

I'm really liking the Tele more and more. Perhaps it's because I'm playing it every day... I'm pretty adaptable to what's in my hands. And since I put the Beefy Slinkies on it, 11-54, it feels even better. The Tele/Music Man combo is a pretty nice re-introduction to electric playing.

I'm pretty enamored with the Eastman 386 semi-hollow. That's my favorite so far. And I was able to try the Gretsch Electromatic. I'm not sure about the Gretsch, but it might be because I was playing through one of the Orange Amps. I didn't really care for the Orange. Still leaning towards a Princeton Reverb or even a Super Champ, perhaps. I do like that the Music Man has bass, MID and treble controls. The Princeton/Champ amps have only bass/treble. As for the guitars, the Gretsch sounds really good for a couple of tunes, but then I want something a little more diverse. So right now it's Fender Tele vs. Eastman Semi-Hollow.

Still looking, still playing. And still listening.
If you're liking the Tele, and maybe still wanting a little less weight, and would prefer not to exceed your original budget, you might like to check out this G&L -

http://www.guitarcenter.com/GL/Tribu...tric-Guitar.gc
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:40 AM
Johnny K Johnny K is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemo6string View Post
A little update on the guitar/amp journey.

I'm pretty enamored with the Eastman 386 semi-hollow.

Still looking, still playing. And still listening.
I am in your boat too. I am looking for a Fishman Loudbox first and foremost, but I also am looking into a semihollow jazzbox or Tele as well. I've played the T386 thru an Loudbox Artist and it was pretty decent to say the least. I want to go with an amp that can multi-task. Downside is youre not supposed to overdrive the Loudbox. Not sure that is gonna be a worry for me.

But - The Eastman T386 is a nice axe for the money. I liked it better than the Godin Montreal Supreme i was going to buy. The neck and action felt nicer and I think it was screwed together better as well.

Good luck!
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Old 02-26-2018, 02:05 PM
mikemo6string mikemo6string is offline
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Another update: After a couple of months with the borrowed Telecaster, I'm now looking at Teles. I tried a few Semi-Hollows, and do really like the Eastman 386, but that Tele bite and tone is really growing on me. I feel like a Tele can really do a lot.

So... there are a lot of variations. One of you mentioned the Squier Classic Vibe Tele, which I haven't been able to play in person. It's quite affordable, and I like the idea of the Alnicos, though I haven't heard them. I did play a Special Edition Deluxe Ash Tele, which I guess is a lot like the Standard Tele (MIM), with a few style differences. The Deluxe felt quite a bit lighter than my borrowed '76, and the radius must have been wider, 'cause I liked the neck better. The frets were a bit rough along the neck... I'll assume that might be found in these lower priced models, though I suppose I could address that and have them smoothed out if it bugged me (which it does). In general, I did like that Special Edition. Haven't yet tried the Baja, or the American made Teles yet.

Any thoughts on these variations? I probably won't be able to locate all of them, and certainly not in the same place. As far as the amp goes, I'm probably looking at a Princeton, or Super. They just sound great to my ears, though I'd like a midrange control, ideally.

I'd also be interested in buying used. I'm sure there are a lot of Teles sitting around out there, and I don't necessarily need a new one. I'd want a return policy or approval period, but I'm open to suggestions for buying used.

Cheers, folks!
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