If you have been playing electric guitar for a while you have probably been asked by an aspiring electric guitar player what gear they should start with. I have been asked this question enough times that I felt it warranted a post.
You aspiring electric players, here is one man’s opinion. For the guitar players who have been around a while let me know what you think and what you would change, add-on or take-away.
Criteria for Selecting Gear
1. Reasonably Priced. Nothing really boutique here. No gear on this post will be $500.00 delay pedals or overdrive pedals with hand-drawn paintings on them.
2. Still Quality. Sometimes ‘reasonably priced’ means cheap and you will want to get rid of it in a year. The gear on this post is meant to be something that would last guitar players at least five years if not the rest of their guitar-playing life.
3. Easy to Find. Some of the best gear is made in some guy’s basement, but it isn’t easy for us to get to. The gear listed can be bought at a Guitar Center or even some Best Buys (I know, weird).
4. No Multi-Effects Here. In choosing gear a player could play for a very long time I decided not to include any multi-effects for the reason they go out of date so fast and need to be upgraded about every two years.
Let it begin, let it begin!
AMP: Epiphone Valve Jr.
Amps play a huge part in your sound. They determine how good of quality your sound really is.
There is one constant truth about amps: No matter how much Axe you spray on it, a solid state amp stinks. They just don’t sound as good as a tube amp.
The one I recommend for beginners and really any player on a budget or otherwise is the Epiphone Valve Jr. I play through a Rivera R-55 and a 1985 Mese Boogie Mark III. I love high-quality boutique amps, which is one of the reasons why this amp shocks and amazes me. It pumps out the volume (I push the volume with my pedals so the amp doesn’t break up) and it sounds great. At around $300.00 it’s a steal.
OVERDRIVE: Ibanez Tube Screamer TS-9
This overdrive pedal has smooth sounds and is as versatile as a Swiss Army Knife. You can use it as your core sounds or as a clean boost with other pedals. No matter how you much you upgrade your pedal board you will find a place and a use for the TS-9.
DELAY: MXR Carbon Copy or Boss DD-7
Delay is a necessary effect for playing worship guitar. There are two different types of delay. For lack of better terms we will call them atmospheric and U2ish (these terms are seriously lacking for sure).
For ‘Atmospheric’ delay the MXR Carbon Copy does a great job with it’s warm analog sound and additional modulation button.
For ‘U2ish’ stuff the Boss DD-7 is a great way to go. Boss has always done a great job with segmentation such as dotted eighth notes and triplets and with the additional controller, tap-tempo can be made easy.
TUNER: Boss TU-2
Pedal tuners are another necessity to a guitar rig. You never know when a string will go out of tune and you need to be on top of it. With a good pedal tuner you can tune up during the song without anyone knowing it.
TU-2 is built like a tank and has a great daisy chain feature for powering pedals so you can use it to help expand your board in the future.
The biggest piece of advice I can give in purchasing your first rig is don’t buy junk. Buy something you can use five or ten years from now.