Home† FAQ† 8th February 2012
The most Frequently Asked Question; "What electric guitar do you recommend for a novice guitarist Bob?" (For acoustic guitar see below.) The variety of brands and models on the market can be bewildering. Electric guitars of the same basic type made today have been sold commercially for more than fifty years...so manufacturers have long since discovered and incorporated every easy improvement that is possible. This is a very mature technology. Therefore, when a particular model offers special advantages, you can expect these to be offset by corresponding disadvantages, either in performance, convenience, or price. Choosing the right instrument for your purpose is a matter of choosing where to compromise. I prefer a second hand quality Telecaster with a hard tail six saddle bridge. There are many Telecasters both Fender original brand and similar others. Prices may vary from £80 to above £2,500. A good place to start is: eBay and/or Preloved and enter 'Telecaster' in the search box.
Fender Telecasters are among the most iconic guitars of all time and though they were perceived as nothing short of radical in 1950, in the decades since they've become the very definition of utilitarian dependability. Even in flashy Fender custom colors, Telecasters exude an understated cool that contrasts with the in-your-face, guitar-as-art design philosophy that's grown up in the Tele's wake. If you require to purchase new then article below describes an entry level Telecaster.
In my opinion for those making their first brand new electric guitar purchase I recommend the Fender Telecaster Modern Player Plus (Honey Burst or Charcoal Transparent) from Music Room.com local store with easy parking at Galleria Hatfield which is the closest store to St Albans that I know that stocks this item. I really like the Fender Modern Player series. They fill a great gap in the market and are a fantastic instrument for the price. For those that can afford to, the Modern Player series is well worth investing in. It'll last so much longer than a cheaper guitar such as the Squier and isn't that big a jump price-wise. Everything about the Modern Player is better than the Squier - the pickups, materials, electronics, set-up, all make it sound noticeably better. The Modern Player Telecaster Plus in particular is a very versatile instrument. The tonal range of the three pickups and the build quality is hard to match at that price point. Also, it is a hard tail guitar that will stay in tune better than a guitar with vibrato moving bridge. The photograph opposite is a Fender Telecaster Modern Player Plus Charcoal. I always recommend fitting strap locks for players that stand up.
The idea of getting a new, 'proper' Fender with more than just rudimentary appointments for less than 350 pound notes (or the equivalent amount) is something that previous generations of budding guitar heroes could only dream of. Thanks to Chinese production, Fender's Modern Player guitars bring significant designs to the affordable end of the market. So far, the versatile Telecaster Plus seems to be the people's favourite budget guitar.
The Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus is something of a Frankenstein's monster featuring a HSS configuration with a bridge humbucker single coil middle pickup taken from a Strat but with the classic 'lipstick' Telecaster neck pickup. 5-way Strat style switching and a coil tap mini switch for the humbucker allows huge tonal flexibility not normally possible on a Telecaster which means you can use the Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus as you main axe to cover loads of different sounds. The pine tonewood body is lightweight and confers a balanced tone similar to spruce (acoustically) which is transferred beautifully to the special Modern Player pickups. The maple neck has a fingerboard radius of 9.5" which is typical for modern Fender guitars and a good middle ground for a range of playing styles.
Here's what Fender say of their Telecaster Modern Player Plus: Throughout its history, Fender has always made a special point of welcoming new players to the family by offering entry-level instruments of remarkable style and substance (such as the Duo-Sonic, Mustang and Musicmaster models), with great sound, classic looks, Solid performance and eminent affordability. The Modern Player series continues that great my-first-Fender tradition, with thoroughly modern features and several distinctively unconventional new takes on our most revered instruments-all with outstandingly attainable value.
The Modern Player Telecaster Plus HSS is that rare bird among Telecasters-a triple-pickup model-further distinguished by a pine body and mini-toggle Coil-split switch for the Modern Player humbucking Bridge pickup. Other features include C-shaped Maple Neck, Maple fretboard with 9.5'' radius and 22 jumbo Frets, Modern Player single-coil Telecaster Neck pickup and Modern Player Stratocaster middle pickup, five-way pickup switching, three-ply Pickguard, knurled "chrome-dome'' control knobs, vintage-style Stratocaster string-through-body six-saddle hard-tail Bridge, vintage-style tuners and nickel/chrome hardware. Available in Honey Burst and Charcoal Transparent.
Neck Shape: "C" Shape
Number of Frets: 22
Fret Size: Jumbo
Fingerboard Radius: 9.5" (24.1 cm)
Neck Finish: Gloss Polyester
Nut Width: 1.650'' (42 mm)
Scale Length: 25.5" (64.8 cm)
Pickup Configuration: H/S/S
Bridge Pickup: Modern Player Humbucking Pickup (Bridge)
Middle Pickup: Modern Player Strat Pickup (Middle)
Neck Pickup: Modern Player Tele Pickup (Neck)
Pickup Switching: 5-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup, Position 3. Middle Pickup, Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup, Position 5. Neck Pickup.
Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome
Bridge: Vintage Style 6-Saddle Strings-Thru-Body Hardtail Bridge
String Nut: Synthetic Bone
Auxiliary Switching: Mini-Toggle Rear Coil Selector Switch
Strings: Fender USA, NPS, (.009-.042 Gauges)
Control Knobs: Knurled Chrome Dome
Don't be put off by the 'Crafted in China' logo. I hate using patronising phrases like "good for the price", but at £345 ± £15 you're getting a Tele made in China BUT with a Fender decal - a huge psychological boost.
Hear the Fender Telecaster Modern Plus.
Coda Music Luton/Stevenage say: Fender Modern Telecaster Plus. The old adage "If it ain't broke, dont fix it!" is a phrase often levelled at the humble Telecaster and in fairness it is often true. This particular incarnation however adds a fair few tonal options to this already established workhorse guitar. In addition to the lipstick neck pickup you would find on most Telecasters this guitar also features a strat pickup in the middle position and a humbucker in the bridge, complete with coil tap, to give you almost endless pickup configurations through the use of the Strat-style five way switch. A new Tele classic?...we think it could be! The Modern Player Plus feautures include: HSS pickup system, C-Shaped maple neck, Maple fretboard, 9.5" radius neck with 22 Jumbo Frets and a five-way switching system.
So there you have it. The Fender Telecaster Modern Player Plus. A very versatile and reasonable priced guitar that plays like a dream. My name is Bob Houlston, thanks for visiting my web site. I always appreciate your interest, your comments and of course your business for my Electric guitar lessons St Albans.
For a young lady and gentleman the Pure Tone 3/4 classical guitar (above) may meet their requirements. It is a gorgeous blue guitar probably available at most stores but I have seen it at Music Room.com in the Hatfield Galleria (upstairs near South entrance). It costs somewhere in the region of £75 at the time of writng (2013) and all you need is a carry/gig bag (essential and only about £15 to £25) so they can take it to school and parties.
Whilst on the subject of music shops we are truly blessed in St Albans with many local stores I have listed here on my Links.
One last word: Don't be discouraged if you can't find (or can't afford) perfection. Success in music depends more on attitudes than instruments. This was driven home to me some years ago after I moved into a bedsit in Hall Place Gardens. I landed a job with a Rock 'n' Roll band gigging in pubs. My old Strat seemed hopelessly battered and my combo was mediocre yet the audiences loved us and we were made to feel welcome wherever we performed. So take what you've got and enjoy it.
FAQ - continued:
hello would you please explain what do all of the simbols used in tab mean. thank you! From nikita TAB explained
"All your guitars, even with tremolo, stay in tune!?" They were in tune when I bought them ;)†Tremolo Adjustments
"Do I have to buy something to get that fuzzy sound?" Most amplifiers now have a fuzz distortion effect built in. Look for switch or volume/gain controls. Turn the "master" low and inputs high to overdrive the front end of the circuitry to achieve required amount of distortion.
"How often do you change your strings?"† As soon as they break†!†;)† Depends on many factors; type of gig, reliability required before breaking, even perspiration may corode metal strings.† Generally once a month gigging, 6 months casual playing.† String G
"You call the thickest string which is highest above the floor the bottom string?"† We go by the pitch, thickest string sounds low bottom E note.
"What do you use to clean your guitar Bob?" For the body I use spectacle lens cleaner with soft toilet tissue so as not to scratch the surface of the body of the guitar. For the rosewood fretboard (not maple) I use Lemon Oil with make-up cotton wool wipes. Note: I use Lemon Oil sparingly, it goes a long way. Incidentally I avoid placing my guitar on top of printed paper e.g. in the case. The ink may rub off onto the guitar and be detrimental to the resale value.
Where are you located?
I teach from my home which is situated to the East side of St Albans near Oaklands.
Do you travel to students houses?
What do I need to bring?
Just bring your guitar to the lesson as amplifier, effects and leads are set up in my studio.
Do you charge a cancellation fee?
No. However, as teaching is my employment I would appreciate notice if you wish to cancel a lesson.
Do you teach group lessons?
Do you enter students for exams? No.
I am left handed, should I purchase a left handed guitar?
No. In my opinion it is best to play using a conventional guitar right handed if possible. If you really cannot cope with a right handed guitar then go for a left handed guitar as a last resort. There is a much greater choice of right handed guitars and you will probably not have to invest as much money to obtain a good instrument. There is also the fact that if there is a guitar lying around one day that you want to play or if you attend a jam session and borrow someone's guitar, the instrument is highly likely to be a right handed guitar.
Do you discount for booking a block of lessons?
No. It's pay as you go.
How often should I practise?
Thirty minutes twice a day. It is important that you do not overdo it with regard to sore fingers and achy hand and that the time is spent productively.
Is the ukulele an easy instrument to learn?
How do I become a professional guitarist?
Get a day job. It is generally reckoned that 75% of Musicians' Union members work part time and the majority of the rest have a salary of less than £20k.
I have tried to answer some of the questions that I have been asked about tuition over the years. If you have further questions regarding my guitar tuition, then you can read more and email me via: Lessons.
Are there any conditions for using the content of your web site Bob?
Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favour of fair use.
Why do you teach Bob?
When I do work for the benefit of humanity I feel the pleasure of God.
Below is just for fun:
"How long does it take to learn to play the guitar?" Play 1 hour daily, you will achieve a result in 6 weeks. You won't play quite like me, but you might be glad of that†! ;)
"How good a guitarist are you Bob?"
I'm a mean guitarist, I never buy a round of drinks! ;)
"How does one find your web site Bob?" You don't... it finds you.
"How do I get my son to play quietly Bob?" If it's too loud then YOU'RE TOO CLOSE!
"Have you written any of your own stuff Bob?" Yes, I have assembled one song. It's called Eclipse (below). Some people say that I'm too inexperienced to sing a song like this. But I've lost someone, it was ten years ago... and it was yesterday, so I'll let you be the judge of that.
Eclipse - Play MP3
(Moonstarer - anagram - Astronomer)
Optional guitar solo blues scale fret 12
Chords |: Em D C D :|
When the stars refuse to shine,
And the world we know's no more.
I'll be thinking of you only,
Of that you can be sure.
When the sun lays down his head,
And the angels go to sleep.
I'll be waiting at the end of time,
My promise for to keep.
When the sun kisses the moon,
At the end of time.
I'll be thinking of you only,
And the times that you were mine.
Bob Houlston 1994.
Eclipse performed by Andy drums & Bob rhythm guitar & vocals
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