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Recommend guitar small venues tour low budget
Old 31st May 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Recommend guitar small venues tour low budget

I welcome recommendations for a guitar to play small venues on a low-key tour with a low budget. Style is rock - think Matthew Sweet, Velvet Underground, Marvin Gaye. I'd be playing in open mic type places away from home, probably borrowed amp with simple effects.

Today I looked quickly at a new Epiphone Casino, nice because it is light, mid-priced, and has some limited acoustic capability. Might fit in overhead compartment of plane as carry-on.

I also looked at acoustic and mini-electric travel guitars, which have some appeal, though the acoustics mostly have piezos. Guitar store guy said the acoustics with mics (like Baggs) have terrible feedback problems in live venues. I don't like piezo sound in general...

The rest of my guitars are

1. Solid-body electrics that are not versatile enough (single coil Fenders)

2. Too nice / have sentimental value, e.g. my Washburn Acoustic Electric similar to EA46. Also the piezo sound is cruddy IMO.

3. Gibson SG, best all-around guitar but neck not sturdy enough IMO


Of course I would love to have another guitar, but should I just take a chance on traveling with the SG?

thanks,

Harry
Old 1st June 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
A durable and reliable guitar for your kind of touring is Taylor. Stable, and always sounds consistent. Feedback problems are minimal.
Old 1st June 2019
  #3
Gear Nut
 

I'd be inclined to get a sturdy flight case for the SG and go.
The Casino is a nice guitar. As I recall it is a hollow body (not a semi-acoustic) so would be more prone to feedback. This is not likely an issue with the volume you would be playing at small venues, but something you should evaluate.
Old 1st June 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I don't know if I would count on a Casino for having some acoustic capability...

If going acoustic...most venues I'm in generally don't want to mic the acoustic unless the performer doesn't have a pickup. YMMV of course, I haven't been to EVERY venue... So with most places its probably all direct sound. And whether internally mounted mics or piezo...all acoustics I have heard sound weird plugged in without any processing applied. There are external processors out there that make piezo acoustics sound palatable...some by Fishman, etc...no specific recommendation but if you were gigging acoustic and hate the piezo sound this is what I would do.

Line 6 Variax also sounds pretty decent (certainly better than a straight piezo acoustic) as a plugged in acoustic...basically any variation made has those acoustic sounds so you could get a solid body or an acoustic looking model second hand for not a lot of money. Couldn't argue that these aren't flexible...though it comes down to your personal tastes...mine gets a ton of use especially for acoustic stuff. You can find an old gen solid body model like a Variax 300 for maybe $150-200. Grab a cheap older generation POD device with Variax input to power it, serve as your tuner, effects...good to go.

Or just get a good case for your preferred axe that you already own... From an audience's perspective I don't really agree that a single coil Fender isn't flexible enough...in the context of an open mic PA I don't think that the nuances of one guitar to another are really obvious to the average person watching. The audience would probably notice if your guitar is out of tune or electric vs acoustic, clean or distorted...but beyond that... I would just bring whatever guitar is most comfortable/least precious to you and make it work.
Old 1st June 2019
  #5
Gear Maniac
Find a nice used Carvin AE-185. I own a lot of guitars and the AE-185 is an amazingly versatile beast and quite the looker if the right options were chosen by the original owner. Also light enough to wear for hours or carry through airports.

Or a Tele. Can never go wrong with that. I put Bill Lawrence noiseless pickups in my G&L ASAT and oh boy what a tone that sucker has... it can do it all... and NO HUM in any position anywhere I play.
Old 1st June 2019
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for all the suggestions... the Tele crossed my mind too, as I've seen various performers (including Frank Black and Jim Babjak/Smithereens) use them in small/medium venues instead of their studio guitars.

I reached my old luthier, who recommended a couple of options, including for the acoustic route:

Martin 00X1AE Guitar with Fishman Sonitone

Any of you perform with that kind of pickup?

BTW he nixed my idea of the Epiphone Casino as a good travel guitar.

thanks,

Harry
Old 2nd June 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by akubot View Post

I also looked at acoustic and mini-electric travel guitars, which have some appeal, though the acoustics mostly have piezos. Guitar store guy said the acoustics with mics (like Baggs) have terrible feedback problems in live venues. I don't like piezo sound in general...


Harry
I detest the sound of piezo pickups with a passion and I will not use them. I play live with external microphones and they work just fine although I probably am often operating at the limit before feedback.

How do you do this? Easy. No foldback. Its performers demanding more and more foldback that really induces feedback with acoustic guitars and microphones. I care more about what the audience hears so its no monitors for me.

You do this and then internal or external mics work just fine with acoustic guitars.
Old 2nd June 2019
  #8
Low budget tour? I'd use a low budget Mexican Fender Telecaster. You won't cry if it's lost or damaged.
Old 2nd June 2019
  #9
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Low budget tour? I'd use a low budget Mexican Fender Telecaster. You won't cry if it's lost or damaged.


And if it does get lost or damaged, your closest music store (or even Craigslist) can set you up with a new one.

Or even better... a G&L ASAT Tribute series.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Here for the gear
 

The G&L ASAT Tribute looks cool, great suggestion!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

I have the guitar I would use- a Vintage brand Telecaster copy.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by akubot View Post
The G&L ASAT Tribute looks cool, great suggestion!
If you are patient, Musician's Friend often has them as their Stupid Deal of the Day and you can quite literally get them for a stupid low price.

I got a brand-new-condition one off Reverb for $350 with a hard case! I put in some Bill Lawrence noiseless pickups and use DA Half Rounds on it and that thing does it all. Plays great and records very very nicely too.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I'd consider a Squier Tele and a cordless drill. They'll both fit in your carry-on.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Addict
 

A decent sound hole magnetic pickup in the acoustic of your choice for travel.

I would be happy if piezos were illegal to put in acoustic guitars. I won't go so far as to say they are a useless technology, but as a quick answer to walking in and playing an acoustic the sound of them, including the very best, makes me want to kill myself. Lazy sound people and engineers. It takes away your guitar's ability to emotionally connect and draw in the listener. It is so far from the sound of a guitar (after all, it's taking the vibrations from under the bridge, which is convenient but there's very little usable information there. There is a consistent plus (you can be heard by just being handed the cord) and a consistent minus (they never sound like a guitar (though people have grown to accept it, which should not be confused with it being OK to do) and usually sound downright depressing and agitating.

I have found the dual systems, which use either a small mounted mic or a magnetic sound hole pickup combined with an under saddle piezo to not be worth the trouble and expense, as I nearly always put the piezo back so far as to not miss it when taken out. My feeling is to get the guitar you're happiest with that leaves $250 still in the budget, and get a sound hole pickup, from $75 to $175 and a small, very simple, tiny acoustic guitar preamp pedal (not a necessity but will make your sound)
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