playing electric blues guitar on the cheap

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playing electric blues guitar on the cheap

Postby sweetness » Sun Mar 05, 2006 3:03 pm

I started a post like this on another forum, and it's really interesting to see the results.

Being in straightened financial circumstances, I can't afford what I really want: pre-cbs buyout fender strat, vintage tube amp... So here's what I'm actually playing:

Squier Affinity Fat Strat
Peavey Envoy Transtube 110 amp
Digitech RP-200 processor

I'm working hard at getting the sounds I want, and it's forcing me to pay attention to things like dynamics, fingering, vibrato, palm muting.. You know, all that technique stuff! So maybe it's a good thing!

Anybody else playing the blues with crap equipment?

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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby allanlummox » Sun Mar 05, 2006 3:44 pm

I ran a Squire Tele through a solid state Peavey for several years when I first started playing.

I was lucky; I found a '72 Tele Deluxe in a Pawn Shop for 225 (this was the eighties) and cobbled together a better amp setup as I went along.

Didn't buy any processors or pedals until I was working in a music store - but I was playing Blues guitar.
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby straightblues » Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:51 pm

This is a really a magic time in history to be a guitar player. There is more cheap gear out there that plays well and sounds good than at any other time. You can definitly do it on the cheap today. Have fun and yes I agree, cheap guitars force you to become a better player. The guitar that taught me the most was my Danelectro U2. It had no natural sustain so you really had to play it to make it sound good.
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby savage » Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:08 pm

I play the same guitar. When I got it it was all I could afford. But I have to tell you, I still play it more than I do any of my other guitars.

And its true, you dont need an expensivo guitar to get the sounds you want.
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby lightninboy » Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:08 pm

Your gear sounds pretty good to me.
To be honest, it doesn't really make all that much difference when your playing live.
I bet SRV would make your rig sound hot.
Most punters wouldn't have a clue if you were playing a Pre-L or a Squier!

I've wasted a lot of money on chasing "THE" sound.
Bought and sold new guitars and amps way too much.

I've also had L series strats, a 54 Goldtop, vintage valve amps, a Soldano, etc. (Oooh, come to think of it, I wish I still had that stuff!), but none of it is going to make you sound better than you are.

I do like nice gear, and I still have some very expensive stuff, but as I get older it seems to be coming less important.
(I'm thinking of selling up a lot of it.
I need a new driveway, and new carpet!)

I believe most of your sound come's from your fingers!
Just play it, I bet you sound great!
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby bighollowtwang » Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:27 pm

>Anybody else playing the blues with crap equipment?

"Crap" and "cheap" are two different things, in my opinion.
Some of my favorite guitars (for instance, my 50s Danelectros and Silvertones) are "cheap" but I would never call them "crap" because they actually sound fantastic.

I would avoid the modern low-end instruments, because unfortunately most of them are crap. Sure, you can upgrade a strat clone, but by the time you're done with it you will have spent more on the upgrades alone than you would have on a good 50s or 60s Kay or Harmony or something along those lines.
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby songdog » Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:41 pm

Yeah when I was 16 years old there were Fenders, Gibsons, Rickenbackers and pretty much everything else was crap. Of course I couldn't afford a real Fender Strat so my first few guitars were crap!

But nowadays there are some really decent inexpensive guitars to mess with and the Squire is one of em. My electric is a Squire - I've upgraded the pickups and controls and have tried several different wiring configurations.... but then I enjoy enhaling solder fumes as much as I doing playing the git.
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby bighollowtwang » Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:14 pm

>Yeah when I was 16 years old there were Fenders, Gibsons,
>Rickenbackers and pretty much everything else was crap.

This is exactly the type of mentality that keeps the musical instrument industry afloat.
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby songdog » Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:40 pm

>
>This is exactly the type of mentality that keeps the musical
>instrument industry afloat.

In the early 70's the clones were generally pretty poor quality. The electric guitars you picked up at Sears, Monkey Wards and other similar stores weren't too good unless you like playing a guitar with poor intonation and with strings a 1/2" above the frets. And these guitars were priced in the $100 range while a Strat or Gibson SG started at $350 or more. The better quality clones didn't start surfacing until the late 70's and even then these guitars were $200 or more.

All I'm saying is for a high school kid, or someone with not a lot of money to spend, the inexpensive korean/Chinese/Taiwan guitars that you can pickup now for a $100 a far better quality than what I considered an option 30 years ago.

Of course, it all eventually comes full circle and if you want to sort the wheat from the chaffe, there are quite a few gems in some of the old inexpensive gear... no argument here.
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby bighollowtwang » Sun Mar 05, 2006 11:08 pm

>The electric guitars you picked up at Sears,
>Monkey Wards and other similar stores weren't too good
>unless you like playing a guitar with poor intonation and
>with strings a 1/2" above the frets.

That's funny, none of my 50s and 60s Silvertones have "poor intonation and string 1/2" above the frets" - in fact I gig with them on a regular basis!
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby trguitar » Mon Mar 06, 2006 12:39 pm

I think you'll find the Silvertones were one of the exceptions, and especially 50's and 60's. I think there's people out there that actually look for those things. I think we are talking a guitar like my first one. Couldn't tell you the name brand but it was Strat shaped, about 1/2" thick and had a neck like a baseball bat. The tuners were those fine ones with open gears in a single connected strip. The action was high and the frets were bruital, but I didn't know any different. Squire and Peavey solid state? Cheap? Hell no! Inexpensive but good quality IMO. I think I play my inexpensive guitars more than I do my expensive ones.
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby blues power » Mon Mar 06, 2006 2:30 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-06-06 AT 09:33 AM (EST)]Albert King once said the tone is in his fingers. EC says its in his tousers.

I always say just play from the heart not from the gear.

I bought a 02 LP 4 years ago and paid about $1850 for it new.
All 4 pots are popping already.

I bet you squires pots are quiet.

most of the great blues masters played with unknown brands and made history with them. they only got the fenders and gibbies after they were famous. and prob got them for next to nothing from the manufacturers.
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby savage » Mon Mar 06, 2006 2:53 pm

>Albert King once said the tone is in his fingers. EC says
>its in his tousers.
>
>I always say just play from the heart not from the gear.

Yes, when its really comin from the inside, it doesnt matter what you're playing.


...Though my squire does pop and whistle from time to time... Kinda like a car thats been pushed to its limits, you catch it at the right time and itll take you wherever you wanna go... other times it just back-fires and leaks oil all over the place... Come to think of it, thats what my car's like. Hasn't started dripping oil yet, but it takes me where I gotta go.
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby bighollowtwang » Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:06 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-06-06 AT 11:06 AM (EST)]>I think you'll find the Silvertones were one of the
>exceptions, and especially 50's and 60's. I think there's
>people out there that actually look for those things.

Yes. I am one of those deviants.
However "Silvertone" were not an exception to anything, they were simply re-branded instruments made by Kay, Harmony, Danelectro, and Regal, and amplifiers made by Danelectro and Valco...
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RE: playing electric blues guitar on the chea

Postby songdog » Mon Mar 06, 2006 5:05 pm

Well possibly in the 50's and early 60's the manufacturers still produced them to be "musical instruments". The explosion of rock and roll in the 60's and early 70's created a huge demand for cheap guitars to fill the "Daddy I want a guitar" era. The big name companies were obviously late in addressing this demand and so the department stores filled the need.

I owned 4 inexpensive electric guitars between 1966 and 1974 and they were all junk.... couldn't even play bar chords on them without your hand screaming bloody murder! In fact now that I look back on them and compare them to what's available these days, what I had back then would be considered toys today.

I'm not saying that the modern cheap Squires, Epis, Ibanez, etc are tone monsters or anything. But at least they are playable and most have adjustable action and intonation. What's wild though, is if you take a $100 Squire - in 1970 dollars the thing would have sold for less than 50 bucks. I would have gladly coughed up $100 for a Squire back then. The only reason I persisted for all of those years was because I had a few acoustic guitars to play that had decent action.
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