I have a good friend that is in the market for a guitar. He's been talking to me about purchasing an acoustic and we've talked about a lot of different brands and models but as we have done this, it's become apparent that he would probably be happier with an electric. I am an acoustic guy and in spite of an electronic background, I have a VERY limited knowledge of what is good and what is not good in that market.

 He's talking about something in the $600.00 to $800.00 range. He is primarily interested in cording with some lead stuff as he improves his skills.  He's primarily a bass player now and getting pretty good but he has played guitar for several year so he not a beginner.  Any recommendation?

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American made Fender or Gibson.  (Used)  From my experience they re-sell better than other guitars made outside of USA.  Other than that, it's what feels best and sounds best to your friend.


Greg Hites

PLEASE, NOT A GIBSON.  Have him try an Epiphone Sheraton II.  It's way better quality than a Gibson and about 1/4 the the price.  You can pick-up a high quality used Korean made Sheraton in near mint condition with HS case for about $650 used.  They look, sound & play like a $3500 instrument.  For what he's going to use it for, a semi-hollow electric will give him a better opportunity to practice without plugging in.

Also have him check out the Samick Royale series & the used DeArmond semi-hollow Guild copies form the 90's.  They're great "upgrade platforms".

If it's not an issue, don't worry about resale value.  Don't pay attention to the brand name.  It means nothing nowadays.  Just go for the best instrument he can find.  Part of Gibson's biggest problems is that they've been living off their reputation for the past decade and are producing HORRIBLE instruments at crazy high street prices..and they don't seem to care as long as they get their $$$$ up front.

Best of luck with your search(-:

Paul is right about the quality of Gibsons.  And they are TOO EXPENSIVE.  Although I do have a Les Paul, and an Advanced Jumbo acoustic.  It took me years of searching for the right Les Paul.  Having said that, I have two Fenders and two custom electrics that I built. (I usually use my guitars on gigs).

By the way I used to have a Sheraton which was a good guitar, but the neck was a bit too skinny for my liking, so after a few years I sold it. And I do not have large hands.

Ned, you'll get tons of opinions on this question.  My advice to your buddy. Be patient, and test drive a buch of guitars.

Thanks for the input, guys. I'm not that concerned about having too many recommendations.

 My friend is completely on board with the idea of playing and testing before he pays for a guitar. What neither of us are too sure of is where to look for guitars that will set up well, and have decent electronics. I just don't know who is using decent pickups and seems to know how to solder. I would hate to steer him toward a maker only to find that the electronics are troublesome a year from now.  

BTW, I already warned him about the quality of Gibson instruments under the assumption that what I've seen and heard about the acoustics carries over to their electrics. 

I don't know if the question of hollow body or solid body will make any difference to him. I agree with you, Paul, that a hollow body may be more to his liking.   

Hi Ned.

I forgot to mention what I personally consider the best value on the market right now:  The Epiphone 339 Pro.  It's about $400 street price everywhere.  It looks like a 335 but is the size of a LP.  It's very light and it "cuddles into the player".

There are 2 versions in that line.  The ULTRA with a piezo bridge & fancy-schmancy coil tapping etc.  It's around $800 street.   The PRO version ($400 street) dispenses with the snake oil tricks and delivers a 2HB standard setup. It's crafted better than it's $2300 (street) Gibson counterpart.

Anyway, that's my updated recommendation.

Best of luck(-:

Thanks again, Paul. I've been looking into the recommendations and came across this model. I though it might be decent but then again, I don't trust my ability to judge it.  I've got to get together with my friend soon and talk about where he see his playing going. He's got a medical emergency in his family right now so it's all suddenly on hold but that just gives me so time to get a bit more educated.

Actually, this is making me thing that it may be time to get an electric for my collection. 

Though I don't have a particular maker or model to recommend, my suggestion is how to audition the prospective instruments. Play them without an amp. If a guitar doesn't sustain well acoustically, no amout of amplification will improve things. You'll also be able to "hear" the quality of the fretwork.

I agree with the 335 concept (the most versatile guitar Gibson ever built) and the 339 size is very attractive. Also, sticking with a "standard" model (LP/335/Strat/Tele-style) will allow you more options if a particular component is lacking.


I am no electric man myself but have heard from a master Luthier that his choice is the ParkerFly..probably out of that range.......

Hello Ned,

One guitar line I would recommend looking into would be PRS SE line... I have been dealing with these guitars for quite a few years now, and I believe they are putting out one of the best guitars in that price range.. The fret work is among the best, and that goes a long way for me.

Thanks guys. I've heard others talk about PRS guitars. The Parker Fly is new to me but it looks to be pretty well beyond his price range.  I'm going mention everything to him. It doesn't hurt to look at them even in they are out of the price range and you never know where you may find that "one" guitar that really does it for you.

Hello Ned.

The PRS SE series giutars are superb.  I'm glad Justin chimed-in with those.  As a player, I find very little difference between them and the USA models.  GREAT guitars.

The Parker Fly is a "love 'em or hate 'em" instrument. Their biggest selling point is their incredibly light weight (like 4 lbs.!!)  The "not so good" parts (why they fall into the hate 'em category for me) is their glued on (not 'in') stainless steel frets, a wonky proprietary bridge, their piezo saddles and poor sounding custom DiMarzio pups (that have been replaced over the past few years by custom Duncan's....for a tremendous improvement in sound). Oh ya, and their $3K+ price tag.

They're ONLY truly beneficial to and designed for performing guitarists who "need" these features.  Now, that being said, if they used conventional frets and had a simple hard-tail bridge, and were priced in the $1K range, my review would be glowing. 

All my pro player associates who purchased Parkers over the last 10 years sold them within a year.  They just didn't want to deal with the specialized/unique upkeep and non-essential features.  They ain't your daddy's Oldsmobile, for sure. 

Oh ya, and for $3K, you customer can have an extremely sweet custom guitar made to her/his spec's.

Just my 2 cents as usual(:

I'd recommend the Bunker / Treker "classic '57" series of strat-like guitars. You can pick them from $600 (and up to $900) by buying them direct to their factory.

For that price, you get a brand-new USA-made workhorse with OUTSTANDING craftmanship, top-notch hardware, select woods and their Tension-Free neck with lifetime warranty. With a 10-day money-back warranty, it's difficult to find something better for the money.


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