Relearning Guitar

Learning how to play guitar…again


I would have loved to go over immediately and picked up my new guitar, but I had to find a time in both my schedule and the seller’s schedule.
The seller sent me his address and I plugged it into my GPS. I left right from work to be at his house at about 6pm. It was close to an hour drive.
When I pulled into his driveway, there was a large dog. I will a bit leary abotu getting out of my car. But the dog didn’t seem to be hostile. So I got out and kept my eye on him. He came over and sniffed my hand. The seller came to the garage entrance and let me in. He took me into a little recording studio. He showed me the guitar and let me plug in. I played a few power chords, and a little bit of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. I didn’t play much as I was embarrassed to play in front of the guy because how bad I suck at playing.
He had put new strings on the guitar, tuned it, set the intonation, and in general set it up. He said he was a guitar teacher and the guitar had belonged to one of his students. He had also thrown in a guitar strap. The case was an actual Gibson case and was very nice.
The guitar felt and sounded great. He had other guitars around the room including at least one actual Gibson Les Paul.
I asked him about the guitar having been previously sold. He said that the guy had come to pick it up, and saw a Les Paul Studio and liked it better than the Epiphone Les Paul Standard. The seller traded the guitars. I am assuming that the Studio was an Epiphone. But the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top is worth more than the Studio version. Though apparently the Studio was in a non-standard color. But maybe I misunderstood and the guy got an actual Gibson Les Paul Studio in which case he probably got a great deal!
Whatever the case, I got an new guitar.

I had been watching eBay auctions and craigslist for SG’s. But I also started watching for Les Pauls to see if I came up with a good deal. I read very good reviews of the Epiphone Les Paul Standards, especially the ones with the non-painted tops. Apparently the ones witht he painted tops, use a different wood and sound differently.
I had been searching ebay for guitars that were close to me so that I could potentially save the shipping costs and could perhaps get a better deal.
I had even been looking at brand new Epiphone Les Paul Standards. I found one site that listed the Epiphone Les Paul Stand Plain Top with a Gator Molded Hardshell Case for $449 and free shipping. I was seriously considering this. But they didn’t have any in stock. When they did get some in stock, the price had suddenly jumped to $499. That kind of pissed me off.
An auction came up for an Epiphone Les Paul Standard with a plus top. The plus top is very nice looking. The seller was local so I emailed him to verify that I could pick it up and save shipping. He said no problem. I kept watching it. I did some research and saw that the seller had sold this same guitar a couple weeks earlier. Same pictures everything. That made me a bit curious. The bid on the auction was still low enough that the reserve hadn’t been met. It had previously sold for about $356. Maybe the sale hadn’t gone through or something, though positive feedbacks had been left. But I guess the reserve for $350. And it came with a nice hard case.
I set up a snipe bid for the guitar at $367 or something like that. I didn’t want to bid too high figuring that I could buy a brand new plain top without a case for around $400.
When the day of the auction came, the snipe bid triggered and I won the auction for the reserve price of $350!
Way cool!

I loved the sound of the Rockman Soloist that I got from my brother years ago. I always regretted selling it back to him. Oh well. But it had distortion, compression/sustain, and chorusing all built in. I liked it especially since it made my crappy playing sound better. LOL!
I started watching ebay auctions for Rockmans. There were other kinds besides the Soloist such as the X100, Guitar Ace, and a bunch of other stuff including rack mount stuff. But I had the Soloist, and I am not sure what the other stuff would sound like.
The Soloists really seem to get bid up quite a bit, especially if they come with the AC adaptor. The AC adaptor is not a basic adaptor but I think it have dual voltages, and is unique. So I couldn’t just buy it at Radio Shack.
I finally got what I thought was a good deal on a Rockman Soloist ($45 including shipping). It arrive quickly, nicely packaged. When I went to install batteries in it, I notice a lot of corrosion in the battery compartment. I carefully opened the unit up. Using a q-tip and alcohol I attempted to clean the corrosion. It was going slowly. I switched to using vinegar, and this worked much better. I also used a tooth brush. Eventually I got allt he corrosion and gunk cleaned up.
I installed batteries and fired it up. I plugged in my guitar and some headphones. But all I got out of it was a constant squealing with a faint guitar sound in the background. There was a possibilty the switches were dirty. They didn’t slide smoothly. Maybe there was a poor connection, or added resistance there. I couldn’t get it to sound any better.
I went to Radio Shack and bought some TV-Tuner/Control Cleaner & Lubricant. I sprayed the tuner cleaner/lub stuff on the switches, and got them to slide smoothly. The screetching went away. There was progress. If I plugged my guitar into the aux input, I got clean guitar sound out the head phones…well on the left ear anyway. The effects did’t seem to work for this input though. But when I plugged the guitar into the guitar input, I got nothing. I took it apart again, and sprayed the cleaner into the jack thinking maybe those contacts were dirty too. After cleaning the jacks it was slighlty cleaner sounding. But I still couldn’t get the guitar input jack to work, so none of the effects worked.
After trying various things, I gave up. I contacted the seller, and after I sent the unit back to him, he refunded my money. He was very nice. I have been hesitant about buying another one. Also, I have started to wonder if I want everything I play to sound like Boston.

I have been learning some AC/DC songs. It’s amazing what Angus Young does using pretty much only very basic chords. G, A, D, E, etc. I have always loved the look of the Gibson SG. I used to be a big fan of Bachman Turner Overdrive, and the guitarist played and SG. Also Tony Iommi the guitarist from Black Sabbath. And as I mentioned, I have kicked myself for passing up the SGs at the pawn shop when I bought Peavey Horizon II…if they were real Gibson SGs.
I have been watching eBay and Craigslist for SGs. The Gibson SGs are expensive. But the Epiphone versions are a little cheaper.
The reviews of the Epiphone SGs though are not good. At least the SG Special’s. It sounds like the cheaper ones are made from plywood or particle board or something. I can’t imagine they would be made out of partical board! Maybe plywood. But hey, I am seen some cool things made from laminated wood. But maybe if I can find one cheap. I bid on a couple of them on ebay, but got outbid.
Maybe instead of spending a $100 on a cheap Epiphone SG Special, I could save my money and buy a $500-$700 Gibson SG?
I don’t know. I will keep watch ebay and craigslist.

Out of curiousity, I had been watching craigslist for guitars just to see what popped. One day an ad for an Epiphone Les Paul Jr showed up. The guy was asking $70. I went out and read reviews, and surprisingly it actually got pretty good reviews for a cheap guitar. It only had the one humbucker in the bridge position. I figured I could buy it, if I didn’t like it, I could turn around and sell it for about $70, or maybe even slightly more. I thought have a cheap guitar that I didn’t have to worry about scratching or dinging could be fun. Maybe I would enjoy playing again.
I emailed the guy and arranged to meet him in the evening at his work. I noticed the ad had been modified to say $80, but when I originally saw it, it said $70. So in my email, I mentioned the $70 price, and he didn’t say anything about it being raised to $80.
I met him at his work at about 7:30, and we went out to his car. I checked out the guitar and it looked to be in very good shape. I checked the neck for warpage, but didn’t see any. The guy had brought a small practice amp. I had told guy I wasn’t any Yngwie Malmsteen. I played a few power chords, and a couple scales. That was about all I actually remembered how to play. EVerything seemed good, so I paid the guy the $70 and took the guitar home.
I plugged the guitar into my Peavey Backstage Plus amp, and goofed around a little bit. I played along with Ween’s Ocean Man which is an incredibly simple song and only has three chords. It was fun. The guitar actually seemed to fit me much better than the Fender Strat. And it had a good sound. It did seem to got out of tune frequently.

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