An Epiphone ES 339 Pro (NOT the Ultra). They're $400 everywhere (+ $80 for a really nice gig bag). It's as nice or actually better than the Gibson 339 at $2600!!!!!
It's like a 335 (Dot) but with a smaller body and it's also MUCH lighter. The humbuckers also allow for coil tapping so you can get single coil sounds (Fender sounds) too. They are also MUCH easier to set-up and maintain than Strat's & Tele's.
It will instantly get you a classic Chicago Blues sound.
As a matter of fact, Arthur, I'm saving to buy myself one. I think they're the nicest, best looking and best sounding stock guitar being offered today for less that $1000. And.... it'll last a lifetime.
But, like with any other instrument, it has to be a good fit for you.
Epiphone ES 339 Pro looks like a really nice guitar for the blues. I think BB King will approve.
For the sake of conversation: They're amazing for $400. I've compared the Epi & Gibson side by side and, other than the nitro finish & better electronics on the Gibson, the Epi had a MUCH higher build quality and "out of the box" playability. It's overall the better of the two.
I only get 'hot' over a guitar once every 10 years, but the Epi 339 just can't be touched at the $400 street price.
I consider it the "best value" in an electric today. And trust me when I say that I'm very cautious and picky when it comes to auditioning, evaluating and recommending guitars :)
One thing I'd like to add is: unless you're playing through a fairly high quality amp (something bigger than a 10 watt amp with a 6 or 8" speaker), you may not be able to tell a big difference between electric guitars.
There's an old saying (and it's true) that if you play an expensive guitar through a cheesy cheap amp, it will sound like a cheesy cheap guitar. If you play a cheap guitar through a quality amp, it'll sound like a quality guitar. An inexpensive amp just can't capture the nuances that differentiate a great guitar from a so-so guitar.
Later on guys :)
Guitars are very personal items not unlike significant others. You can't choose one based on theory, you have to become acquainted first. They must be attractive and easy to get along with. By that I mean pay attention to the neck.
Go to music stores and play everything in your price range including some whose looks you don't fancy. Play some expensive guitars just for comparison. One will put its hooks into you pretty quickly.
The only way to know guitars is to date a lot of guitars.
" The only way to know guitars is to date a lot of guitars.".
If you don't mind, I'm going to add that to may cache of fun expressions. Love it..and it's oh so true ;)
Thx, man :)
Thanks for the input!
I should have added that while I want to play the blues on electric,
what I also really like is classic rock, (like Led Zeppelin), and,
I cannot solo at all, so mainly rhythm guitar playing, not lead.
I do like my Strat and Tele, but am wondering what else is out
there I may like more, and within my budget also. I don't have much
time to visit guitar stores and play all that I like, so thanks for everyone's
There are several folks advising to upgrade/have setup your guitars, and I concur. What seems really important (to me) is to have the electronics as well configured as possible. In the case of the tele, for me, that means having a 5-way switch installed that allows you to run the pickups out of phase, replacing the tone controls components with midrange control components, and making sure that the output is as evenly balanced as possible as you turn the volume control. Your luthier might know how to do some of these things. (I personally have no use for a normal tone control, it's there so that I can look at it and say "Yep, it's turned all the way up.)
I'm a fan of the kits that Dan Torres sells - http://torresengineering.stores.yahoo.net/ - if they meet your needs, consider them.
I would suggest just having your current guitars well set-up. Those guitars are perfect for what you are doing.
Actually, I think that Tom has given you the best suggestion.
To piggy-back onto what Tom said about your current guitars.....Contrary to popular belief (and since you're a Zep fan), Jimmy page didn't use his Les Paul through a Marshall on Zepplin's first (and best) album. He used a Telecaster through a Supro tube amp. Still sounded great though, eh?
I make electric guitars for a living and its axiomatic that I like selling them.
But, I would say to you at your position on the road to enjoyable and useful musicianship - use the money you have to buy lessons from the best teachers you can afford. Then go and buy a guitar that suits the style, tone and level that you have developed and achieved. Buying guitars is easy, playing them well is hard - do the difficult stuff first.
Secondly, the time you spend on the web getting you head worked over is time you will never get back and time that could be better spent practicing (with the exception of some of the excellent playing tutorials on YouTube).
That what I think anyway.
I agree Nathan. That's why they're only $400. The same, and worse, can be said for the Gibson versions but at 5 times the price. I'll spare everyone my Gibson quality rant. Let's just say that they're NOT getting better.
Arthur is a hobbyist player. These guitars are aimed at hobbyist and casual players like him and a few issues that are unnoticeable to the non-tech average player are to be expected....and can be tolerated or fixed. Their choice. They still offer a tremendous bang for the buck.
On the other hand, I think that Tom & Rusty hit the nail on the head and gave you the BEST advice. Get your current guitars set up well and play the heck out of them. Now, if you're simply in the market for an 'additional' guitar, I stand by my recommendation.
Best of luck guys :-)