Greetings from Dallas

BuckFlicks

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Hello!

I'm pleased to have found this forum. I'm brand new to playing guitar, unless you count the time I spent in high school trying to teach myself to play bass by ear. I will apologize in advance for my wordiness. This is a longish story and I do tend to be a wordsmith. But I figure this is a place for people who like to talk about guitars, so I'm only a little sorry.

In June, I retired after 20 years with the Arlington Fire Department, 911 dispatch. There were times the last couple years where I thought I wasn't going to be able to make it, I was so burned out, and commuting 100 miles 5 days a week. In order to keep myself motivated, I decided that my retirement gift to myself would be to purchase a nice (but not awesome) guitar and take guitar lessons, something I've always wanted to do but never felt I had the time to devote to do it right.

My guitar heroes are generally in the classic and progressive rock area. The Edge, Steve Howe, Eddie Van Halen, Brian May, David Gilmour... but my all time favorite guitarist is Alex Lifeson. Yes, I'm a hard core Rush fan. My first bass was a Jazz Bass wannabe because of Geddy. My current bass is a Jazz Bass. I just love the sound of a Les Paul with dual humbuckers. So my dream guitar has always been a Les Paul, and I knew that I would eventually own one. But I wanted a real Les Paul, and I felt spending that kind of money on my first guitar was kind of foolish. I knew I would not lack for effort and time spent in learning, but there is a chance that I don't have the ability and despite my time and effort won't be able to get it. In which case, I will have spent potentially thousands of dollars on something I won't use. This is where my thinking started to go off the tracks (but I wouldn't realize it until later.) I did a fair bit (a LOT) of research on the kind of guitar I wanted to get for my starter. My budget was around $600 but I wanted to stay around $300-400 for the guitar so I could get a decent amp. Basically my choices as I saw them were an Epiphone - either an LP or an SG, or a Squier, either a Strat or Tele, or another brand like Ibanez or Yamaha SBG or Pacifica. My thoughts were that if I was going to eventually get a Les Paul, that I should get something ELSE for my starter guitar, for variety's sake. And since a lot of my guitar heroes are Strat guys, that's where I was leaning. Also, it seemed like I got more guitar for my money with $350 with a Squier than for a similarly priced Epi. So I decided on the Squier Contemporary Strat HSS. I liked the idea of all the different sounds I could get from that pickup configuration.

So I ordered one from Guitar Center and while I was waiting for it to be shipped (it took a lot longer than it should have) I started to almost immediately have buyer's concern. Had I made the right choice? Meanwhile, I ordered a Boss Katana 50 for practice and noodling at home, and it arrived several days before my guitar did. Once it did arrive, I went to pick it up and was struck for the second time in a few weeks at how bad the customer service in GC was. The first time, I stood there waiting for someone to help me and after 15 minutes of actively looking for someone who wasn't already with a customer, I just left. The second time, when all I needed to do was pick up an order, it still took me 20 minutes to get in an out. Definitely left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

I get home, unpack, and the Strat is beautiful. Nice metallic blue, and I love the matching blue headstock. I plugged it in to my amp (sounds great, by the by) and started plucking to get the feel for my new axe. The strings seemed dead and I couldn't get it to stay in tune. After several minutes, I started to feel like I had been shipped a well-used floor model that did not get any love from a guitar tech before it was shipped, which was... less than ideal. That night, while cooking dinner, I burned the hell out of my thumb, index, and middle fingers while cooking which put guitar playing on hold for a few days. During that time, I started to feel like I missed the mark with the Strat. I just wasn't happy with my purchase, and I wasn't sure if it was this Strat in particular, or Strat in general. I had about 75% decided to return the Strat and get a new guitar. Even if it wasn't a Les Paul, I wanted a dual humbucker style.

Then a couple days ago, I was out running errands and wandered over to a locally owned guitar shop in the Dallas area to see about lessons, and struck up a conversation with one of the sales guys and instantly felt like I was in the right place. It only took a few seconds to realize this place was everything that Guitar Center was not. Anyway, I told him about my music preferences and such, and it didn't take long for him to tell me that he thought the best guitar for me would be a Les Paul. I had no argument, but still was concerned about finding a Les Paul that I liked in my price range. But the sales associate had a trick up his sleeve. He said "you know, there's nothing wrong with a used guitar." I agreed, as long as it has been well-taken care of and was in a playable condition. Then he said, "I have just the guitar for you" and showed me a 2016 Epi LP Custom Pro, in black. It was in mint condition and looked amazing. I held it and immediately liked the neck 100% better than the Strat neck. I asked him to plug it in an wail on it for a few minutes so I could hear it (remember, I'm a brand new newb) and it sounded outstanding.

In that moment, I realized that my approach from the beginning was flawed. I was using the promise of a new Les Paul down the line as my incentive to learn and keep playing. But I realized that playing and learning is its own reward, and playing on a guitar that feels like it belongs in my hand and sounds like I want it to sound is all the motivation I needed. So... that's how I became a Les Paul owner. I love it. I've been doing the Fender Play app on the free trail until I can book some one-on-one lessons. I've already just about rubbed the skin off my finger pads. I actually find myself having to limit my practice time so I don't tear them up.

Anyway, thanks for letting me babble.
 

BuckFlicks

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OH... forgot to say the Custom Pro was $450, so still within my budget, but a much nicer guitar.
 

Brian16Sg

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Welcome and congrats on the new guitar . I am no expert i have been playing for alittle over a year and a half . I have been just been learning stuff on U tube its amazing how much you can learn by just trying to practice alittle each day. Your fingerd tips will start to hardin and tuffing up over time . Its funny you mention RUSH the Discovery from tha alblum 2112 is what made me finnaly try to learn guitar . He Alex Lifson is an amzing guitar player . I try to practice Flight By Night a little each time . There a lesson from him personaly on U tube for Lime light .
 

El Pablo

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Welcome Buck. Just curious bout your hometown. I grew up about 50 miles outside of Dallas and had a friend that went on to be a Fireman - in Arlington, I believe. Just making sure your not the same youngster I knew.

By the way, thank you for your Life Saving Services and congrats on retirement!
 

Gridlock

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Welcome, good people here. Looking forward to your posts and photos of your gear.
 

BuckFlicks

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Welcome Buck. Just curious bout your hometown. I grew up about 50 miles outside of Dallas and had a friend that went on to be a Fireman - in Arlington, I believe. Just making sure your not the same youngster I knew.

By the way, thank you for your Life Saving Services and congrats on retirement!
Hey here, El Pablo. I actually grew up in Fort Worth and lived in FW or the suburbs all my life until I moved in with my (at-the-time) future wife out here in Lavon in 2012. She already had a house here and her family was all in the area so it made a lot more sense for me to move in here than it did for us to find a new house together. I only made the 55 mile drive for 7 years, but man, it felt like it took years off my life, driving through downtown Dallas on a daily basis.

I wasn't a firefighter, but a fire dispatcher, then for the last 4 years, I was in the training and QA/QI department.
 
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El Pablo

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10-4. Yes. You had a long haul. May you enjoy your new spending time out of traffic!
 

Gtarzan81

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Greetings from East Dallas.

What local shop did you get the Epi from?
 

ehb

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BuckFlicks

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Greetings from East Dallas.

What local shop did you get the Epi from?
Hey Gtarzan - love your screen name.

I went to Tone Shop Guitars in Addison. Had a great experience there. I'm planning to start taking lessons there in the next couple weeks.
 
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Gtarzan81

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He Gtarzan - love your screen name.

I went to Tone Shop Guitars in Addison. Had a great experience there. I'm planning to start taking lessons there in the next couple weeks.
Great shop. I'm in there every now and then. I live really close to a GC and Sam Ash, so I go to those the most.
 

lpfan1980

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Hello!

I'm pleased to have found this forum. I'm brand new to playing guitar, unless you count the time I spent in high school trying to teach myself to play bass by ear. I will apologize in advance for my wordiness. This is a longish story and I do tend to be a wordsmith. But I figure this is a place for people who like to talk about guitars, so I'm only a little sorry.

In June, I retired after 20 years with the Arlington Fire Department, 911 dispatch. There were times the last couple years where I thought I wasn't going to be able to make it, I was so burned out, and commuting 100 miles 5 days a week. In order to keep myself motivated, I decided that my retirement gift to myself would be to purchase a nice (but not awesome) guitar and take guitar lessons, something I've always wanted to do but never felt I had the time to devote to do it right.

My guitar heroes are generally in the classic and progressive rock area. The Edge, Steve Howe, Eddie Van Halen, Brian May, David Gilmour... but my all time favorite guitarist is Alex Lifeson. Yes, I'm a hard core Rush fan. My first bass was a Jazz Bass wannabe because of Geddy. My current bass is a Jazz Bass. I just love the sound of a Les Paul with dual humbuckers. So my dream guitar has always been a Les Paul, and I knew that I would eventually own one. But I wanted a real Les Paul, and I felt spending that kind of money on my first guitar was kind of foolish. I knew I would not lack for effort and time spent in learning, but there is a chance that I don't have the ability and despite my time and effort won't be able to get it. In which case, I will have spent potentially thousands of dollars on something I won't use. This is where my thinking started to go off the tracks (but I wouldn't realize it until later.) I did a fair bit (a LOT) of research on the kind of guitar I wanted to get for my starter. My budget was around $600 but I wanted to stay around $300-400 for the guitar so I could get a decent amp. Basically my choices as I saw them were an Epiphone - either an LP or an SG, or a Squier, either a Strat or Tele, or another brand like Ibanez or Yamaha SBG or Pacifica. My thoughts were that if I was going to eventually get a Les Paul, that I should get something ELSE for my starter guitar, for variety's sake. And since a lot of my guitar heroes are Strat guys, that's where I was leaning. Also, it seemed like I got more guitar for my money with $350 with a Squier than for a similarly priced Epi. So I decided on the Squier Contemporary Strat HSS. I liked the idea of all the different sounds I could get from that pickup configuration.

So I ordered one from Guitar Center and while I was waiting for it to be shipped (it took a lot longer than it should have) I started to almost immediately have buyer's concern. Had I made the right choice? Meanwhile, I ordered a Boss Katana 50 for practice and noodling at home, and it arrived several days before my guitar did. Once it did arrive, I went to pick it up and was struck for the second time in a few weeks at how bad the customer service in GC was. The first time, I stood there waiting for someone to help me and after 15 minutes of actively looking for someone who wasn't already with a customer, I just left. The second time, when all I needed to do was pick up an order, it still took me 20 minutes to get in an out. Definitely left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

I get home, unpack, and the Strat is beautiful. Nice metallic blue, and I love the matching blue headstock. I plugged it in to my amp (sounds great, by the by) and started plucking to get the feel for my new axe. The strings seemed dead and I couldn't get it to stay in tune. After several minutes, I started to feel like I had been shipped a well-used floor model that did not get any love from a guitar tech before it was shipped, which was... less than ideal. That night, while cooking dinner, I burned the hell out of my thumb, index, and middle fingers while cooking which put guitar playing on hold for a few days. During that time, I started to feel like I missed the mark with the Strat. I just wasn't happy with my purchase, and I wasn't sure if it was this Strat in particular, or Strat in general. I had about 75% decided to return the Strat and get a new guitar. Even if it wasn't a Les Paul, I wanted a dual humbucker style.

Then a couple days ago, I was out running errands and wandered over to a locally owned guitar shop in the Dallas area to see about lessons, and struck up a conversation with one of the sales guys and instantly felt like I was in the right place. It only took a few seconds to realize this place was everything that Guitar Center was not. Anyway, I told him about my music preferences and such, and it didn't take long for him to tell me that he thought the best guitar for me would be a Les Paul. I had no argument, but still was concerned about finding a Les Paul that I liked in my price range. But the sales associate had a trick up his sleeve. He said "you know, there's nothing wrong with a used guitar." I agreed, as long as it has been well-taken care of and was in a playable condition. Then he said, "I have just the guitar for you" and showed me a 2016 Epi LP Custom Pro, in black. It was in mint condition and looked amazing. I held it and immediately liked the neck 100% better than the Strat neck. I asked him to plug it in an wail on it for a few minutes so I could hear it (remember, I'm a brand new newb) and it sounded outstanding.

In that moment, I realized that my approach from the beginning was flawed. I was using the promise of a new Les Paul down the line as my incentive to learn and keep playing. But I realized that playing and learning is its own reward, and playing on a guitar that feels like it belongs in my hand and sounds like I want it to sound is all the motivation I needed. So... that's how I became a Les Paul owner. I love it. I've been doing the Fender Play app on the free trail until I can book some one-on-one lessons. I've already just about rubbed the skin off my finger pads. I actually find myself having to limit my practice time so I don't tear them up.

Anyway, thanks for letting me babble.
Love your story babble away and :welcome: !
 

BuckFlicks

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For those following my saga: I went to the Guitar Center a few miles down HW 75 from the store I had the poor experience in today. Was in the area and I find I can't pass a guitar store or pawn shop without going in now to see if anything awesome catches my eye.

I had a completely different experience there. I was looking at basses this time, and Steve (the bass guy) was great. Very helpful, and he said it best, something like, "I don't see myself as a sales associate as much as a conversation starter." He was really great, talked to me about my ideas and what I was looking for, and even though I wasn't buying anything today, he stayed and chatted with me for several minutes. Nice guy, and I have no qualms about shopping there in the future.
 

Gtarzan81

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For those following my saga: I went to the Guitar Center a few miles down HW 75 from the store I had the poor experience in today. Was in the area and I find I can't pass a guitar store or pawn shop without going in now to see if anything awesome catches my eye.

I had a completely different experience there. I was looking at basses this time, and Steve (the bass guy) was great. Very helpful, and he said it best, something like, "I don't see myself as a sales associate as much as a conversation starter." He was really great, talked to me about my ideas and what I was looking for, and even though I wasn't buying anything today, he stayed and chatted with me for several minutes. Nice guy, and I have no qualms about shopping there in the future.
Yep. That's my GC. I know Steve. He ordered my Jimmy Page Dragon Tele for me.
IMG_20190722_145500_335.jpg
 




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