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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm shopping for a new guitar and was hoping people here could recommend brands/models. Since I started playing I've been using an Epiphone Les Paul Studio. It has pretty smooth sliding action (I believe the frets are relatively low, making slides easy). What I'm looking for is something with a tremelo system and a wide range of tone possibilities. From what I've heard, the ideal thing is to get something either with a combo of humbucker & single coil, or just humbuckers where you can switch them to single coil.

I currently run my Epiphone through a Korg Toneworks AX1000G which goes to my Audigy 2, then out to a receiver/speakers.

I've always had my eyes on Jem guitars. Vai seems to get good clean crips tone i.e. Tender Surrender, twangy fender tone, and raw lead tone. But, I've heard a few things about poor quality given the price.
 

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Ibanez are pretty cool guitars - I have an rg470 and it has been gigged over 600 times and generally beaten to death but it is still going strong 8 years later.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I've been leaning towards Ibanez, but have also heard good things about Carvin and Jackson. Are there any good American-made brands out there?
 

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Hey,

I recently got a new JEM and it is my new favorite guitar. It really plays nice and sounds great. I can also speak highly of PRS guitars, I have a 2000 Custom 24 that is a very nice guitar as well. It is very heavy, like a les paul, with lots of bottom end. They can be a bit spendy though....

Good luck....-dc
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What are the chances I'll be able to find a store that has a Jem I can actually go and try out?
 

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I'm biased but I love Jacksons. If you're looking for a USA model check out a Jackson Soloist / SL-1 (if you prefer neck-through construction) or a Dinky / DK-1 (if you prefer bolt-on construction). I've not personally owned one but I've heard many rave reviews of Jackson's PC-1 as well.

Other USA models I'd check out or at least keep an eye out for: Peavey Wolfgangs, Fender Strat Plus/Ultras from a few years back (lots of tonal variety), for a bit more you could step up to a Fender Custom Shop Contemporary Strat which doesn't have the tonal versatility of the Ultra but does have a very nice Fender/Floyd locking vintage trem, non-import PRS guitars are spendy but very nice - I'll second DrCode's Custom 24 recommendation here, if you run across any USA Hamers while you're shopping be sure to check them out as well as they're typically very nice instruments for the price (particularly used where there're almost always good deals to be had).

On the import side I'd check out the Korean Peavey Wolfgangs & Schecter's C-1 series. Both are excellent guitars for the money.

If you want to dig around for some older used stuff try any 80s Japanese Charvels you might find (a Model 6 is the equivalent of a Jackson Soloist and a damn fine guitar that can normally be had for under $400 these days), also try a Kramer Nightswan if you can find one (one of my all-time favorite guitars), and Peavey's short-lived Vandenbergs are one of the best deals out there in terms of bang-for-the-buck playability.

There's lots of good stuff out there!
 

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if youre looking for tonal versatility, i say go with a humbucker, single, single guitar or a HB, S, HB guitar. i think ibanez and fender have the best line up of those. i believe some of the new fenders have coil split switches in the pots(push-pull pot).
and if youre getting a guitar with floyd rose, make sure its whats you want before you get into it. they are a bit more to deal with than a regular tremolo setup.
 

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I have a lot of guitars....including a LP. Your LP is a great guitar (who can argue with the standard?) for playing clean stuff and heavy riffs....but it's not always comfortable for lead work and I don't like to play it sitting down becasue it is so back heavy.

If you want a guitar with really tall frets (which takes a lot of getting used to) get a Wolfgang......period.

YOA mentioned a Jackson Charvel/Model 6....I actually have one that I bought new. I love that guitar...but have made many mods since the 80's. It is the best balanced guitar I have ever played and the most comfortable....because of the neck thru construction. You will not go wrong with a Jackson.....but the frets are not as high as the Wolf.

I would love to have a Jem....but when I play them in a store the fretboard feels really wide and flat to me.....but with time I am sure I would get used to it. The RG is a good compromise...at a fraction of the price. I actually have a Jackson Dinky (bolt on) with a Vai EVO and a Fernandez sustainer that I like a lot.

My favorite all around guitar is a Wolf...if you have a LP and a Wolf you are ready for anything....but single coil type stuff.

Maybe you can kep your LP, get a Mexi strat and a Wolf import and you should be well covered...without spending a lot of $$.
 

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It's also worth considering whether your gear budget will be best spent on new a new guitar(s) or elsewhere. If you're comfortable playing your LP consider whether the $1k+ you'll drop on a new USA-made axe might be better spend upgrading your amp/effects setup.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the comments guys. Unfortunately, I don't have the room in my current apartment for upgrading to a good amp etc. Also, to clarify, I currently have a Les Paul Studio which has a thin and more rounded body than normal brick-like Les Pauls. I'm really used to the frets on it and found most of the guitars I tried in the past year at shops to have very high and uncomfortable frets. Probably something I'd get used to though :). Do higher frets allow a lighter touch? What about scalloped fretboards? I think the top few frets are scalloped on Jems.
 

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No one else will agree with me but i love my ESP lol.. the main thing is not to be influenced into what you buy.. whatever feels best in your hands and sounds best to your ears is what ya should get.. your the one gonna have to live with it after ya get it:thumb:
 

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If ya want a tremolo guitar, well yeah the JEM is the best, hands down :icon_thum But if you don't wanna fork out 2000 bucks then the RG is the closest thing that comes to it... Just replace the pickups with Evolutions ^_^

I haven't tried Jackson... So I'm biased to Ibanez. Boo-ya!

So, all in all, I say go with the RG if you don't get a JEM.
 

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guitarwizard2003 said:
... the main thing is not to be influenced into what you buy.. whatever feels best in your hands and sounds best to your ears is what ya should get.
Yep. Personally I'd go for the feel of the guitar more than the off-the-shelf sound. At the risk of opening up a huge can of worms: you can always swap in new pickups and add active circuits and thereby totally change the sound of the guitar but if it plays like crap there's only so much you can do with it. And if it just doesn't feel good in your hands there's very little you can do.
 

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Yep the Jem is scalloped on the highest frets, but it's really just for looks. Those frets are so high and close together down there that your fingers would never touch wood anyway. A scalloped fret board is done simply so your fingers never touch any wood and on a Fender strat it will play very different. On a Wolf or any other guitar with really tall frets, you fingers can't hit wood much above the 5th fret so it would be a waste of time/money.

Sounds like you need to make a trip to GC and spend the day testing them all out....just find one that's comfortable. Regardless of which LP you have, it will be much easier for you to play above the 12th fret on any of these guitars. That is becasue the LP has a glued on neck with a big heel where it butts up to the body....many custom shops can take your LP and remove that heel...but it will cost $$.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I went to a local shop and they had a Jackson SL1 for $1399 that I liked. Does that price seem reasonable?
 

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That is most likely about the best deal you can find new....damn those things are getting EXPENSIVE...thanks Fender. I guess they are mad that Gibson can get so much for a LP so they are trying to compete.
 
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