Rockin' on my New Electric Guitar
Just before Christmas, I decided to start learning to play my guitar again, having given up when I couldn't play Jimmy Hendrix Purple Haze after two weeks. I've now started from the absolute basics - Guitar for Dummies and Rocksmith 2014.
Lesson 1 is holding the guitar and attaching the guitar strap, so it really is back to basics!
Rocksmith 2014 teaches you how to play the guitar "Guitar Hero" style, except you plug in and play a real guitar. Instead of plugging into an amp, you plug the RealTone cable into the USB port on the computer or console. You then play the notes or chords as they get closer to the screen.
Whilst playing, it became evident that my guitar was not setup correctly and was not tuned properly. Reading up on the setup and tuning process, I came to the conclusion that the intonation was way out and I needed to get the action lowered. I took my guitar to the local music shop to see what they can do and how much it would cost. I think his exact words were "it's an interesting example" and "probably one of the worst examples".
On closer inspection, the frets were sharp and protruding from the neck, the neck is badly bowed and twisted, the strings were stretched and varying thickness through their length, the pickups are extremely poor quality, the body is made of a cheap plywood, the action is way too high and cannot be adjusted enough without causing buzzing and it's generally a really bad example of a cheap budget guitar. Since I only spent about £70 on the guitar, amp and accessories I decided not to spend any money on this one, it had done its job of allowing me to try out playing the guitar and allowed me to decide that it is something worth pursuing.
I had already seen a guitar in the shop which I was drawn to. It was a second-hand guitar hiding away, covered in dust and looking very unloved. After a quick clean the beautiful wooden body and blue lacquer shone through and I knew it had to be mine. On receiving the news that my guitar was no good, I made the decision right there and then to buy this new guitar.
So, here is my new guitar, a LAG Arkane AF200 in Royal Blue Shadow. It features a mahogany body, Indian rosewood fretboard with a pearl inlay, EMG-HZ pickups and Floyd Rose Vibrato. My accuracy scores on Rocksmith went from 54% to 98% just because the tone from my old guitar was so bad.
If anyone is starting out learning to play the guitar and looking for a first guitar, my advice would be to invest in something with a bit more quality than an "ebay special" even if it is a known manufacturer. You should get to your local guitar shop and try a few out and ask their advice on what would be good for your playing style and musical tastes.