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Workhorse guitar recommendations
Old 23rd September 2019
  #151
Gear Head
 

There is no 1 ultimate answer.

Judging from the list of guitars you mention it is indicative of an at least heavy metal bend. Might I suggest the ESP LTD EC1000ET with Seymour Duncan pickups. It has the Evertune bridge which keeps the guitar in PERFECT tune even with extra jumbo frets. Considering this is a studio-centric site everyone knows the angst of playing a track with a guitar, and then overlaying another track, and the two tracks clash because of poor tuning.
Les Pauls or any guitar with strings going through the nut and then splaying out deep to the right, and down with for example a 17 degree tilt to the neck are problematic for staying in tune.
Leo Fender in his wisdom followed the Stradivarius violin and kept the strings in a straight line, and avoided deep curves to bind around.
I have the ESP LTD EC-1000ET with the active pickups because at the time I bought it, the option for passive pickups was not available. Active pickups scream in the distorted tones, grabbing pinch harmonics etc. but are lacking in the clean tone arena. The Seymour Duncans give you most of the distorted tone arena, while giving you a really nice clean set of tones as well.
The price on one is in the price range you are looking for, and Guitar Center runs these 15% off sales from time to time.
They come in different colors.
https://www.guitarcenter.com/ESP/LTD...hoCtMMQAvD_BwE
Old 23rd September 2019
  #152
Gear Head
 

Evertune bridge review = Guitar stays in perfect tune

Evertune bridge at work/review. This is the exact guitar that I have in black with actives.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB_mRLo_b_s


Quote:
Originally Posted by BobF View Post
Judging from the list of guitars you mention it is indicative of an at least heavy metal bend. Might I suggest the ESP LTD EC1000ET with Seymour Duncan pickups. It has the Evertune bridge which keeps the guitar in PERFECT tune even with extra jumbo frets. Considering this is a studio-centric site everyone knows the angst of playing a track with a guitar, and then overlaying another track, and the two tracks clash because of poor tuning.
Les Pauls or any guitar with strings going through the nut and then splaying out deep to the right, and down with for example a 17 degree tilt to the neck are problematic for staying in tune.
Leo Fender in his wisdom followed the Stradivarius violin and kept the strings in a straight line, and avoided deep curves to bind around.
I have the ESP LTD EC-1000ET with the active pickups because at the time I bought it, the option for passive pickups was not available. Active pickups scream in the distorted tones, grabbing pinch harmonics etc. but are lacking in the clean tone arena. The Seymour Duncans give you most of the distorted tone arena, while giving you a really nice clean set of tones as well.
The price on one is in the price range you are looking for, and Guitar Center runs these 15% off sales from time to time.
They come in different colors.
https://www.guitarcenter.com/ESP/LTD...hoCtMMQAvD_BwE
Old 23rd September 2019
  #153
Gear Head
 

Another suggestion at a quarter of the price

This is one of my most beloved guitars. A ESP LTD EC-256 in cherry sunburst. The problem with this incredibly low cost model is that the pickups generally are dark. So a pickup swap is in order, but everything else about the guitar is superb. I bought one on sale at Guitar Center, and they just had the sale again in the last two weeks for only $250 normally $399. Then I visited the store a week later and they had a new one on the rack that blew my mind with how good it sounded, and fortunately the store let me swap it out. Trying the guitars side by side it was astonishing how I lucked out on this one that sounded so good. It sounded almost as good as my Les Paul with the Gibson 490 series pickups that are $400 for the pair.
With the right setup and I prefer lighter gauge strings, so I use 9's on this one it is incredible how it stays in tune. A welcome addition on any Les Paul style guitar is the addition of a "String Butler". It really, really works. Check out the review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPpsAGdAHKE

Check out EC-256 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPpsAGdAHKE
Old 23rd September 2019
  #154
Gear Addict
 
David C.'s Avatar
 

I just sold an extremely heavy Les Paul and on a whim, picked up a Squier Bullet butterscotch Tele. I'm flabberghasted, this thing was dirt cheap and plays, sounds and looks unreal. It's quiet too and super light weight. I'd suggest grabbing a Bullet Tele and Strat and you'd have a ton of money left over if you want to upgrade parts. Honestly, the only thing my Tele needs is a Tusq nut. Anything else I'd change on it would be for personal taste reasons, not because it isn't functioning properly.
Old 23rd September 2019
  #155
Lives for gear
 
tymish's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David C. View Post
I just sold an extremely heavy Les Paul and on a whim, picked up a Squier Bullet butterscotch Tele. I'm flabberghasted, this thing was dirt cheap and plays, sounds and looks unreal. It's quiet too and super light weight. I'd suggest grabbing a Bullet Tele and Strat and you'd have a ton of money left over if you want to upgrade parts. Honestly, the only thing my Tele needs is a Tusq nut. Anything else I'd change on it would be for personal taste reasons, not because it isn't functioning properly.
MAin differences I notice are the quality of the metals on the cheaper Fenders. All the hardware is a bit flimsier and less dense. It'll do for a while of lightweight use.
Old 23rd September 2019
  #156
Gear Maniac
 

I'm old, and have played and have been fortunate enough to have owned almost every "holy grail" pre-CBS Fender - from 54, 57 Strats to early 60's slab P and J basses over the years. I also have a bunch of the boutique brands (Lull, Sadowsky, Shur).

The most underrated guitars/basses on the planet are the mid-80's - 90s Japanese Fenders. E, H, N serial numbers.

You can find them for next to nothing because of the ridiculous "Made in Japan" stigma that surrounded them during that time, and lower collector valuations that still follow them to this day.

The Fuj. factory had a section at that time that was trying to prove a point for their new Fender contract - and it was producing instruments that are easily as good as today Americans. They were producing re-issues before re-issues were "a thing". Incredible attention to wood selection (weight/tone), fret detail etc, and even though some of the parts were not the best of the day, they were insanely good sounding and simple steps like tuners and pickups are simple mods.

I don't think I ever paid more than 500 for any one of them unless they were already upgraded and even then we are talking less than current Mexi's. They are starting to get the resale market now, primarily because of the (ridiculous) cost of Mexi's, and even still, are way undervalued.

Very very stable, very consistent instruments. To me, they are the perfect mod platform and something that you will not need to worry too much about bruising. Remember they are now 30+ yrs old, by all accounts vintage - and they have held up and aged incredibly well.

OP ED - I have never played any "modern" non-Fender/non-Gibson style guitar that I liked for more than a few months. The Charvel/Jacksons are fun, the PRSs, ESPs etc are all nice, but not for me. Fender and Gibson experimented relentlessly, and in my very humble opinion, got it right. For a workhorse recording/gig instrument, I personally would never think of anything other than a Tele, Strat, or Les Paul, Precision, J, (or Leo's MusicMan) style bass.

But then again, as I mentioned, I'm old(er)!

To wrap up the thought, I think if you want a real "house" workhorse that you don't mind if the dog knocks it over, then just go try a ton of Squires until you find a good one, then replace the electronics and tuners and get a good fret man to set it up. It will serve you well, sound like a Fender, and you'll pay +/-400. I have two good friends who are studio players that use modded Squires and they swear by them - if it bothers your ego, buy a repro Fender decal and neck plate, then take the wife on a weekend with the money you'll save.

In the next price range I would definitely search out Japanese Fenders of that vintage - I've bought a bunch sight unseen and have yet to be disappointed, kept them all.
Old 23rd September 2019
  #157
Lives for gear
 
tymish's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aa63 View Post
I'm old, and have played and have been fortunate enough to have owned almost every "holy grail" pre-CBS Fender - from 54, 57 Strats to early 60's slab P and J basses over the years. I also have a bunch of the boutique brands (Lull, Sadowsky, Shur).

The most underrated guitars/basses on the planet are the mid-80's - 90s Japanese Fenders. E, H, N serial numbers.

You can find them for next to nothing because of the ridiculous "Made in Japan" stigma that surrounded them during that time, and lower collector valuations that still follow them to this day.

The Fuj. factory had a section at that time that was trying to prove a point for their new Fender contract - and it was producing instruments that are easily as good as today Americans. They were producing re-issues before re-issues were "a thing". Incredible attention to wood selection (weight/tone), fret detail etc, and even though some of the parts were not the best of the day, they were insanely good sounding and simple steps like tuners and pickups are simple mods.

I don't think I ever paid more than 500 for any one of them unless they were already upgraded and even then we are talking less than current Mexi's. They are starting to get the resale market now, primarily because of the (ridiculous) cost of Mexi's, and even still, are way undervalued.

Very very stable, very consistent instruments. To me, they are the perfect mod platform and something that you will not need to worry too much about bruising. Remember they are now 30+ yrs old, by all accounts vintage - and they have held up and aged incredibly well.

OP ED - I have never played any "modern" non-Fender/non-Gibson style guitar that I liked for more than a few months. The Charvel/Jacksons are fun, the PRSs, ESPs etc are all nice, but not for me. Fender and Gibson experimented relentlessly, and in my very humble opinion, got it right. For a workhorse recording/gig instrument, I personally would never think of anything other than a Tele, Strat, or Les Paul, Precision, J, (or Leo's MusicMan) style bass.

But then again, as I mentioned, I'm old(er)!

To wrap up the thought, I think if you want a real "house" workhorse that you don't mind if the dog knocks it over, then just go try a ton of Squires until you find a good one, then replace the electronics and tuners and get a good fret man to set it up. It will serve you well, sound like a Fender, and you'll pay +/-400. I have two good friends who are studio players that use modded Squires and they swear by them - if it bothers your ego, buy a repro Fender decal and neck plate, then take the wife on a weekend with the money you'll save.

In the next price range I would definitely search out Japanese Fenders of that vintage - I've bought a bunch sight unseen and have yet to be disappointed, kept them all.
I was working in music stores in the late 80s. Those japanese Fenders and the ESP 400 series Fender copioes guitars were great. Better than most 'real' fenders at the time. Though by the early 90s they got thier act together. I stall have a'91 Strat Plus Deluxe (I changed out the Lace PUs) that's a great guitar. Those are worth looking for in the used market. I had a fabulous and beautiful bookmatched natural ash ESP 400 Tele I had to sell to pay the rent once. Bummer, that was a great axe. Crazy prices for some of those ESP 400 now.
Old 23rd September 2019
  #158
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tymish View Post
I was working in music stores in the late 80s. Those japanese Fenders and the ESP 400 series Fender copioes guitars were great. Better than most 'real' fenders at the time. Though by the early 90s they got thier act together. I stall have a'91 Strat Plus Deluxe (I changed out the Lace PUs) that's a great guitar. Those are worth looking for in the used market. I had a fabulous and beautiful bookmatched natural ash ESP 400 Tele I had to sell to pay the rent once. Bummer, that was a great axe. Crazy prices for some of those ESP 400 now.
Indeed. Those Plus series were way ahead of their time. I have a few "Plus" Jazz basses from the early 90's that are serious boutique level instruments - and you can still get them at silly low prices. I just found another used one at Guitar Center for 650 that I'm going to snag.

I say ahead of their time because those instruments are very similar to Sadowsky/Lull basses - they are lightweight, undersized J bodies with high mass bridges.. The necks are slightly slimmer and have great fretwork. At the time they were Fender's highest costing instruments - but because of those weird choices, like Lace Sensors, the muted Kubicki preamps, no pick guards, "modern" colours etc. were never popular. I have put Sadowsky electronics in mine and they are by all accounts equal in both tone and playability to the Sadowsky's that I have - and I'm a very big Sadowsky fan/supporter, and am not exaggerating in the least. We are talking a 5-600 bass with about 400 in electronics and a good setup that easily rivals a 5k boutique in all ways. I was amazed and thought that it was a fluke - that I just happened to get a good one until I picked up a couple of others - yet to find a dud (although one that I resold was quite heavy).

Anyway, many sleepers to be had! There were a couple of the pre-lawsuit "off" brands Tokai, Ibanez (at that time), Greco, that made some high quality clones, but the consistency was not there. IMHO those E-N series are probably the most consistently very good instruments I've come across.
Old 26th September 2019
  #159
Gear Nut
Find yourself a Mexican Strat, and a very good luthier to smooth off the rough edges for you. The frets always seem very flat. Have the fretwork corrected, put in some good pickups, potentiometers, wire, etc.., and you'll have a fine instrument.
Old 26th September 2019
  #160
Lives for gear
 
konkon's Avatar
Workhorse

Quote:
Originally Posted by guictr View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm looking for a workhorse because I'm kind of paranoid and don't like to go out with my Music Man Cutlass RS.

So I'd like to know which guitar do you recommend for a $700-$1000 budget. I've been thinking about PRS, LTD or Schecter. I've never played on a PRS though. People use to say their necks are extremely comfortable but kind of chunky.


Cheers!
Really hard to say because it depends what you do and what you need it for.

I will say though, I have all sorts of guitars I use for different purposes, from Gibsons to USA Fenders to 70s Yamahas and even a Bill Lawrence Strat (which as become my go-to strat), however, for general gigging (when it's not my band concept and is just random work gigs), I use a MIM Fender Telecaster Custom.

It's kinda flexible and tough. Even if it gets bashed, it's okay. It's not super expensive. I don't have to worry about it having a neck break like a Gibson.

It has 1 humbucker and 1 single so it's kinda flexible in sound. I can get somewhere in the ballpark of either side tonally (meaning something I would grab a Fender/Strat for versus a Gibson or similar). That one is kinda able to "more or less" fit into most scenarios and sound acceptable and is also is pretty affordable I think.

So whatever random, nonsensical situation I am put in (which is very common surviving as a musician and having to take all sorts of gigs with musical concepts that make zero sense), it can kinda fit in and I know it will sound okay in any scenario, more or less.

They also come with either rosewood or maple fretboards, depending on what you like.

Then again, there are some situations it which it would be thoroughly inappropriate, so depends what you're doing.

Note: I never liked Telecasters actually. This was the only one I ever did like. For some reason it felt and sounded nicer than even the others of the SAME model next to it. Turned out to be my "workhorse" though and quite useful.
Old 27th September 2019
  #161
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
It seems to me there are only two reasons anyone would conclude such a thing.

1) One has already been mentioned which is players who care nothing about a "woody" tone and who simply want extreme compression from high output pups and heavy gain and "clean" is merely a transition intro to where a guitar becomes something akin to a stringed synth controller.

2) The only other possibility I can imagine is a player who has never experienced the difference between even a Tune-A-Matic style bridge and a StopBar bridge/tailpiece.

I suppose #2 could also involve #1 where it has been experienced but has no utility to a compressed, distorted player, but to those who care the difference is astounding and gorgeous.

FWIW the one whammy guitar I own is a Shecter made early Floyd knockoff with low friction, non-locking nut and no fine-tune saddles. It floats and stays in tune and sounds quite good but it still sports less harmonic complexity and sustain than any similar stopbar guitar I own... it's just way better than the more complex, more moving parts "Trems" for someone who plays pretty clean very often and even when overdriven still sounds much like a "real guitar". It is a matter of degree, but it is a degree that matters to some and not to others.

Whatever twirls ur beanie, right?
Here's a link to a post I made some time ago concerning a modified Strat bar that I did for Andrew "Duck" McDonald (Blue Cheer, Bible Black, Shakin' Street) when I was guitar tech for Shakin' Street on the Black and Blue Tour. That bar could do anything a Floyd could do without any of the annoying locking nonsense. It DID require knowing the proper procedure for changing strings so as to not disturb the tension balance. The mod came from reverse engineering the mods done to Duck's main Strat by the late John "Dawk" Stillwell, who was the genius tech used by Sabbath on that tour and originally developed by him for Blackmore during the Rainbow period.

As to any tonal differences between the modded Strat bar and a Floyd I can't say - I never had an opportunity to compare, and I hate Floyds anyway because they're such a royal PITA to deal with for a touring guitar tech.
Old 30th September 2019
  #162
Gear Addict
 
chipss36's Avatar
 

The guitar that has the nickname “workhorse “?
J45.
Old 30th September 2019
  #163
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Mikhael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
[url=https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showpost.php?p=11884845&postcount=18]

As to any tonal differences between the modded Strat bar and a Floyd I can't say - I never had an opportunity to compare, and I hate Floyds anyway because they're such a royal PITA to deal with for a touring guitar tech.
What's so difficult about a Floyd? Other than the string lock, there's not a lot to do that I can see that's more difficult than a Strat vibrato.
Old 30th September 2019
  #164
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tymish's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
What's so difficult about a Floyd? Other than the string lock, there's not a lot to do that I can see that's more difficult than a Strat vibrato.
The whole thing gets so out of whack tune once a string breaks almost forget about it for the rest of the night. When you're live you don't have time to mess with that. It's takes forever to rebalance the thing. Then if you miss it a bit you're out of range of those twiddly fine tuners. Unclamp the nut and things go whacky all over again. You have to fiddle the fine tuners into the right place, tune and tune than adjust the fines again. Sure it's great once everything is perfect with new strings etc. Stays in tune better then anything when you whammy a ton. Just fergodsake don't break a string on a Floyd and not have at least one backup guitar at a gig. And don't lost any little allen wrenches either on a dark stage. I like the locking tuners and graphite saddles solution, a good roller nut isn't bad either. I can replace a string and get in tune during an extended bass/drum jam solo.
Old 30th September 2019
  #165
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microwave's Avatar
Can’t go wrong with this one!
Workhorse guitar recommendations-8c13e548-9fe3-4a39-adcb-df01330bc027.jpeg
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Old 30th September 2019
  #166
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tymish's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by microwave View Post
Can’t go wrong with this one!
Workhorse guitar recommendations-8c13e548-9fe3-4a39-adcb-df01330bc027.jpeg
Neigh, ya can't laddie.
Old 1st October 2019
  #167
Gear Addict
 
dariva's Avatar
That’s the Elite series, right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Howling Terror View Post
This in my humble opinion is the definitive workhorse guitar.

It comes with straplock buttons, belly cut and contoured heel.
Locking tuners with good ratio.
Easy access trussrod adjustment.
Fully adjustable saddles.
Noiseless pups.
S-1 switch in gives a darker humbucker sound.
Satin neck.
Bone nut.

Job Jobbed.
Old 1st October 2019
  #168
It is.

There will be those who say it is a bit too much money for a workhorse guitar and purists will not like the noiseless pickups.

I'd argue that for the gigging musician who wants to turn up at a venue that uses strip-tube lighting or noisey power, it's hot n humid then it's ideal. Similar to the 80s/90s Plus versions it really is built for the stage.

Plenty other guitars will sound better in the right enviroment but I'm guessing majority of the audience want the guitar they may recognise to sound in tune and sound like a Telecaster. The tech will appreciate the fast adjustments and string changing. I also like the compound radius neck profile. The case is robust.


I think Fender got it right with the Elites.
Old 1st October 2019
  #169
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Mikhael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tymish View Post
The whole thing gets so out of whack tune once a string breaks almost forget about it for the rest of the night. When you're live you don't have time to mess with that. It's takes forever to rebalance the thing. Then if you miss it a bit you're out of range of those twiddly fine tuners. Unclamp the nut and things go whacky all over again. You have to fiddle the fine tuners into the right place, tune and tune than adjust the fines again. Sure it's great once everything is perfect with new strings etc. Stays in tune better then anything when you whammy a ton. Just fergodsake don't break a string on a Floyd and not have at least one backup guitar at a gig. And don't lost any little allen wrenches either on a dark stage. I like the locking tuners and graphite saddles solution, a good roller nut isn't bad either. I can replace a string and get in tune during an extended bass/drum jam solo.
If I break a string on ANY floating vibrato, I always have a backup guitar ready. And yes, you're right about most of that. But I can change a broken string on break with no tuning issues (as long as it's the same size and type of string). But yeah, it takes it a little more time to set up, agreed. But once it is, it's rock solid, and I don't have to be concerned about tuning issues at all. I just play.

But I'm not trying to sell anyone on a Floyd (or anything else). It just works for me.
Old 6th October 2019
  #170
Here for the gear
 

I would guess if you're looking for something that's a workhorse and has versatility you'd probably want a Floyd Rose or something on there, but generally I don't use them much these days. My "workhorse" for a while now has been an LTD 401VF that's got a Seymour Duncan Invader in the bridge and SH-10 in the neck, and I've been using it on various sessions and gigs playing everything from pop, blues and oldies rock to alt and metal. Great sustain, isn't too heavy on the shoulder/back and has an easy comfortable neck. Also got a Buzz Feiten compensated nut on mine for better intonation. I really love the LP-style LTD's, served me well so far.
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