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> How To Improve Sound Of Inexpensive Guitar?, Or budget way to sound pro!
Alex Feather
post Dec 28 2011, 11:03 PM
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This is a few tricks how to improve sound of your guitar! Like most musicians in the beginning of my career I was starting out with budget instruments and had to get the best sound out of them I use to talk to a lot of repair guys and musicians plus making my own mistakes now I wanna share my experience! Before you change anything make sure you know what you are doing or just ask a professional to do it for you!
1) pickups! There are two types of pickups that active and passive
Active pickups have a premp build in and require a battery passive do not need one
You have three magnet choices:
Alnico- will give you a warm and smooth vintage sound
Ceramic - really punchy and glassy sound usually used on the bridge
Nyodime - those are rear and they kinda combining both Alnico and ceramic sound
Active pickups will take away a lot of sound from the wood and make it barely noticable If you have a guitar that made out of plywood or a cheap wood this might be your choice but there is a lot of players that are using them on expensive guitars and still sound great!
Passive pickups more classic option that was used for many years you can install a push pull that will split your humbuckers in to single coil
2) wiring and controls
I've seen a big improvement when people just rewire their guitars on cheap instruments wires are also cheap
So changing them to more expensive will help a lot! Also changing your potentiometers (volume and tone controls) will help a lot! There are two options 250 om and 500 om
3) ground screen this one is usually done by a professional repair guy what he will do is spray special silver liquid inside your guitar this will help you get rid of the noise and hum the procedure is very cheap but it will improve your sound qualitybut a lot!
4) take paint off your guitar!
This is a very tricky improvement and definitely should be done by a professional
Your guitar finish is taking a lot out of the sound because wood is not vibrating the way it could and especially on inexpensive instruments so getting rid of finish completely will amazingly improve sound of your instrument
5) changing nuts, bridge and tuners
This trick will help to keep your guitar in tune
Don't save money on tuners if you will decide to change them! If you can afford expensive tuners just install a lock (like they do on guitars with a Floydrose) it will help you to keep your guitar in tune and will keep cost down
6) get a professional set up its important if you will get your instrument adjusted by a pro! It will help playability and will improve your sound!
Please remember to get a professional advice before you will change anything and do not do any work if you are not sure and don't know what you are doing! You might ruin your instrument!!!
Other than that! Good luck I hope it helps!!!


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Sinisa Cekic
post Dec 28 2011, 11:54 PM
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Great article Alex! But this brings us to the second question: is it pays off at all smile.gif ?!


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Alex Feather
post Dec 29 2011, 04:59 AM
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Or you can get lucky and buy a cheap guitar that sounds great. My friend got a $200 Ibanez jazz guitar that sounds amazing.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Dec 29 2011, 09:21 AM
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I think it mostly depends on what you wish for from your instrument. I have friends who are not pro players, but they invest a lot of money in their instruments just because they are passionate about them, and believe me, some of them know more and play better than a lot of professionals in my country. If you got the cash, you can do whatever you want with it, even if (sadly) it doesn't come back to you most of the times sad.gif


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Alex Feather
post Dec 29 2011, 09:37 AM
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QUOTE (Sinisa Cekic @ Dec 28 2011, 10:54 PM) *
Great article Alex! But this brings us to the second question: is it pays off at all smile.gif ?!

Well the high quality instrument will cost $1500 and up in this case you can do it under $400 and still get the most out of your instrument also you can do it in parts and you dot have to spend a lot of money right away!


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Dec 29 2011, 05:35 PM
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Great tutorial Alex! There is a lot of interesting information there. Thanks! wink.gif


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Sinisa Cekic
post Dec 29 2011, 11:58 PM
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QUOTE (Alex Feather @ Dec 29 2011, 09:37 AM) *
Well the high quality instrument will cost $1500 and up in this case you can do it under $400 and still get the most out of your instrument also you can do it in parts and you dot have to spend a lot of money right away!


Agree partially, but don't forget that the quality of guitar depends on the quality of wood mostly. You can't expect a great improvement no matter how much electronics you gonna put onto.Bad wood is a poor conductor, and I'd rather save some money and bought later a better instrument instead to investing into something that isn't good (conditionally speaking) at the starting point! Of course, if we are talking about cheap guitars (100-150 dollars).
Let's be clear, and why I'm going into discussion :
I have a couple of cheap guitars and I even was shooting some lessons with them. Sounds decent (or just seems to me) - because I know what I want from them, and how to pull out the maximum from them....Newbie doesn't! As we also didn't know nothing about when we started playing smile.gif
Now! Currently I have about 20 kids in my guitar school, most of them have a cheap guitars and generally they don't complain about the quality of guitars.....except- when I give them to play on my guitars!

The following scenario is the same with the most of the kids:
Their fathers starting calling me very next day,for the advices about buying of better and more expensive guitars,or upgrading old one,with a concrete issue - is it necessary ?!? In some cases is and sometimes isn't ..These are things that a teacher recognize - you're ready for the next level and guitar, or you're not !
Call me old fashioned, but that's the way it is, I'm in charge laugh.gif

Will you become a better musician with a more expensive guitar ? ...You won't !
Still want a better guitar? ....Prove me that you are worthy of !

So,play your first beginner guitar, "squeeze her soul" with exercises,and slowly save the money for something better and more comfortable ..when the time comes !!!


PS:

Did I wrote all of this,above ?!? huh.gif ...What the topic was ?!? unsure.gif











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Alex Feather
post Jan 2 2012, 07:03 PM
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QUOTE (Sinisa Cekic @ Dec 29 2011, 10:58 PM) *
Agree partially, but don't forget that the quality of guitar depends on the quality of wood mostly. You can't expect a great improvement no matter how much electronics you gonna put onto.Bad wood is a poor conductor, and I'd rather save some money and bought later a better instrument instead to investing into something that isn't good (conditionally speaking) at the starting point! Of course, if we are talking about cheap guitars (100-150 dollars).
Let's be clear, and why I'm going into discussion :
I have a couple of cheap guitars and I even was shooting some lessons with them. Sounds decent (or just seems to me) - because I know what I want from them, and how to pull out the maximum from them....Newbie doesn't! As we also didn't know nothing about when we started playing smile.gif
Now! Currently I have about 20 kids in my guitar school, most of them have a cheap guitars and generally they don't complain about the quality of guitars.....except- when I give them to play on my guitars!

The following scenario is the same with the most of the kids:
Their fathers starting calling me very next day,for the advices about buying of better and more expensive guitars,or upgrading old one,with a concrete issue - is it necessary ?!? In some cases is and sometimes isn't ..These are things that a teacher recognize - you're ready for the next level and guitar, or you're not !
Call me old fashioned, but that's the way it is, I'm in charge laugh.gif

Will you become a better musician with a more expensive guitar ? ...You won't !
Still want a better guitar? ....Prove me that you are worthy of !

So,play your first beginner guitar, "squeeze her soul" with exercises,and slowly save the money for something better and more comfortable ..when the time comes !!!


PS:

Did I wrote all of this,above ?!? huh.gif ...What the topic was ?!? unsure.gif

I agree with you! I tried to make this post as a help to guys who can't spend a lot of money on a new instrument.
With an electric guitar wood is really important and neck is more important than body but even if you have cheap wood doesn't mean you can get the best out of it!
It's only a budget option that I was using few years back


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Sinisa Cekic
post Jan 2 2012, 10:52 PM
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QUOTE (Alex Feather @ Jan 2 2012, 07:03 PM) *
I agree with you! I tried to make this post as a help to guys who can't spend a lot of money on a new instrument.
With an electric guitar wood is really important and neck is more important than body but even if you have cheap wood doesn't mean you can get the best out of it!
It's only a budget option that I was using few years back



Totally understand and that was quite correct topic ! My intention was that perhaps point out the downside- when you expect something good for the invested money but the expectations failed !


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MonkeyDAthos
post Jan 2 2012, 10:53 PM
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"Will you become a better musician with a more expensive guitar ? ...You won't !"
"Still want a better guitar? ....Prove me that you are worthy of !"



So true!

This post has been edited by MonkeyDAthos: Jan 2 2012, 10:53 PM


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ZakkWylde
post Jan 2 2012, 11:09 PM
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You can't improve bad wood, you can only make a bad guitar sound a bit better but it will never compete with a guitar made out of quality wood


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 2 2012, 11:33 PM
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I always loved to read these advices on the web, I think Alex does great thing with these.

Having said that, guitar is one link in the chain, and there are many more links that are needed for the chain to be strong. If we keep getting such pro advices about all the links, it's safe to say we are on the right track smile.gif


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Daniel Realpe
post Jan 3 2012, 07:23 PM
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I didn't know about taking the apint off the instrument, that it would improve the sound!

Thanks for the tips!


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quadrium
post Jan 4 2012, 05:13 PM
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Thanks a lot for this great article man smile.gif I always enjoy reading your articles, really helpful stuff smile.gif

Cheers,
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Alex Feather
post Jan 4 2012, 05:59 PM
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QUOTE (quadrium @ Jan 4 2012, 04:13 PM) *
Thanks a lot for this great article man smile.gif I always enjoy reading your articles, really helpful stuff smile.gif

Cheers,
Dogukan.

Thanks man!!!


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wish to shred
post Aug 2 2012, 09:58 AM
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i know im sorta bringing this tread back from the dead but only a month ago i found a guitar at the music shop, finish was beat up, pickups and electrics were rusty and the floating trem was a cheap floyd rose style but missing pieces. it is a samick from the late 80's is all i can find out about it.
i replaced the bridge with a floyd rose special, replaced all the electronics and the bridge pickup (for now) shielded the wiring hole with copper sheeting and took a few days to set it up properly (the previous owner learn't how to adjust the truss rod but not properly). now i have the best guitar i have ever played. i took it down to the same shop after i set it up and found this guitar easier and smoother to play compared to all the ones down there including some good ibanez's and the sound is amazing. the owner was amazed at it. i have a little fret buzz that i would like to sort out but my action is so low it was bound to show up.
just goes to show that if you take the time to learn and take care when doing things you can end up with a good result
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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 2 2012, 02:35 PM
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I had the same experience with a very old Romanian acoustic guitar - it was kept in great conditions and it is a model built for export in its time (1975-1976 I think) It already sounds incredibly good, it has a very smooth feel in the neck and fretboard, but I will refurbish it:

- change the keys
- re-fret it
- place a preamp inside so I can amplify it
- change the nut and the bridge

Maybe I will insert the Aria and Voodoo logos in the neck somehow smile.gif it would be great to personalize it to such extent!


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Yash
post Aug 2 2012, 02:42 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Aug 2 2012, 07:05 PM) *
I had the same experience with a very old Romanian acoustic guitar - it was kept in great conditions and it is a model built for export in its time (1975-1976 I think) It already sounds incredibly good, it has a very smooth feel in the neck and fretboard, but I will refurbish it:

- change the keys
- re-fret it
- place a preamp inside so I can amplify it
- change the nut and the bridge

Maybe I will insert the Aria and Voodoo logos in the neck somehow smile.gif it would be great to personalize it to such extent!


Yeah that one's a cool guitar Cosmin smile.gif Sounds awesome biggrin.gif


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Alex Feather
post Aug 2 2012, 05:44 PM
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QUOTE (Yash @ Aug 2 2012, 01:42 PM) *
Yeah that one's a cool guitar Cosmin smile.gif Sounds awesome biggrin.gif

It does sound great!

This post has been edited by Alex Feather: Aug 2 2012, 05:44 PM


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teodorom
post Oct 4 2012, 08:20 PM
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How can one judge the quality of the wood ?
I have a Washburn HB-35 (Made in China) and I'm wondering if changing pickups, the wiring and the passive components can improve (how much ?) the sound quality. I hope that in some future my playing will improve enough to understand the difference.
Thanks
Teodoro Marinucci

This post has been edited by teodorom: Oct 4 2012, 08:21 PM
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