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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all:

Long story short: looking for a good (probably used) guitar for my 13-year-old son to play in rock band at school.

Would like to keep the price at $250 or under if doable. My first thought is buy used.

Number one importance is going to be play-ability and little to no intonation issues. So a guitar that can be set up by your average dad without having to spend an extra $100 at the local music store to have it setup.

I think a 24.7" scale is better. I say that because right now, he has a Squier Bullet (25.5" scale) and he picked up my AS-93 and he said, "Wow! Your guitar is so much easier to play than mine!"

And he's right. His Squier Bullet isn't really that great. And getting it setup is frustrating. So now of course I feel guilty about buying him a $120 guitar.

Of course, I don't know if it is the slightly shorter scale or the better action of the neck width or ??? that makes him think my AS-93 is so much better to play than his Squier Bullet.

So playability for a 13-year-old boy who is slightly smaller in stature is most important. I would just give him my AS-93 but they are kind of big body wise and it's not a really cool looking guitar for teenagers. Maybe there is something with a thinner neck, too? He struggles with Barre Chords no matter which guitar he plays.

Next on the list would probably be looks. He isn't into a specific music style yet. He is learning Seven Nation Army and Summer of 69, so that kind of tells you what his musical tastes are. He is also learning Cars, by Gary Numan, and astute observers will note that their isn't actually a guitar part in Cars. So a guitar with flexibility would be better than a guitar that excels at one thing.

Probably last would be "tone" really because we can always upgrade pickups later. We will likely get a used Boss Katana so just any guitar that sounds pretty good through a Boss Katana is fine.

Anyway, thanks in advance for suggestions. I've looked at some other brands but Ibanez does have a reputation for having good playability for their lower-level / mid-level guitars. Maybe there are a few great deals out there on overlooked guitars???
 

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I’m surprised that you’re having issues with the Bullet Strat. They are well known for being excellent bang for buck guitars for probably at least 15 years now. I have a 2008 model that is absolutely brilliant. All they really need is a tuner, nut and string tree upgrade, and you’re left with an excellent playing guitar for little money. In fact I went the whole hog, and switched out the bridge for a full size steel block Wilkinson bridge that I had in my parts drawer, and even upgraded the pickups. It’s a bit of a giant killer now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm surprised that you're having issues with the Bullet Strat. They are well known for being excellent bang for buck guitars for probably at least 15 years now. I have a 2008 model that is absolutely brilliant. All they really need is a tuner, but and string tree upgrade, and you're left with an excellent playing guitar for little money. In fact I went the whole hog, and switched out the bridge for a full size steel block Wilkinson bridge that I had in my parts drawer, and even upgraded the pickups. It's a bit of a giant killer now.
Glad it's working out for you.

Plan B was to upgrade the Bullet. I just don't know if it is worth it.

I saw some videos on upgrades to the bullet, but even the tuning machines were more than the cost of the Bullet itself.

I do believe that new tuning machines would help the setup process. Right now there is so much slop and binding that it is hard to get the intonation right because it takes three times as long to tune it.

How did you fit a full size bridge in there? Does it stick out the back of the guitar? Aren't they thinner than most strats???
 

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If he's comfortable with a 25.5" scale you can't go wrong with an RG421. I'd recommend a fixed bridge RG to new players all day - every day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Reverb.com is a good place to find used guitars/amps/everything/etc. I would recommend something like this:

A guitar like this should be pretty solid regarding playability/intonation and he will spend more time "growing into it rather than out of it," which is a good thing. Just a suggestion. Good luck! ;)
Thanks for the suggestion.

is there any reason why this particular model would be good?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
If he's comfortable with a 25.5" scale you can't go wrong with an RG421. I'd recommend a fixed bridge RG to new players all day - every day.
Thank you for the suggestion.

Is there a reason that you suggest the RG421 over other guitars?

I read the description and it says something like "made for metal" so is that going to be a drawback to playing other styles of music?

He would be playing everything from classic rock to pop. Is the RG series a one-trick pony?

And how does the RG series compare to the SA series?
 

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Thank you for the suggestion.

Is there a reason that you suggest the RG421 over other guitars?

I read the description and it says something like "made for metal" so is that going to be a drawback to playing other styles of music?

He would be playing everything from classic rock to pop. Is the RG series a one-trick pony?

And how does the RG series compare to the SA series?
RG's are pitched for metal but I think they're good for anything. For the money I think the RG421 offers the best value. The Gotoh style tailpiece is easy to adjust and intonate. I like floating bridges but I don't suggest them for new players as they require much more maintenance. They don't remain in tune as reliably as a fixed bridge and that tuning instability might put a new player off on playing in general.
I'm not sure how they measure up to the SA.
 

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A PRS SE245 might be a good choice... Shorter scale, 24.5", and pretty versatile. May be a little over your $250 price range though.

https://reverb.com/marketplace?query=prs 245

The Ibanez SZ320's have a shorter scale, like 25"? Good playing guitars, but meatier neck on them... They have Duncan/Ibanez pickups equivalent to a Distortion bridge and Jazz neck.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Ibanez-SZ3...602130?hash=item3d93bc63d2:g:wWEAAOSwidpdes0k

If you don't mind a floating bridge, here's a Jackson Fusion EX from the 90's... 24.75" scale, 24 fret, HSS pickups, awesome neck.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Jackson-Fusion-Ex/401882577205?hash=item5d92117935:g:1HsAAOSwTrpdext0
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A PRS SE245 might be a good choice... Shorter scale, 24.5", and pretty versatile. May be a little over your $250 price range though.

The Ibanez SZ320's have a shorter scale, like 25"? Good playing guitars, but meatier neck on them... They have Duncan/Ibanez pickups equivalent to a Distortion bridge and Jazz neck.

If you don't mind a floating bridge, here's a Jackson Fusion EX from the 90's... 24.75" scale, 24 fret, HSS pickups, awesome neck.

Thanks for the reply!

When you say that the SZ320's have a meatier neck, do you think it would be similar to my Artcore AS93 neck?
 

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I'm presuming that this is a fairly new-ish model Bullet? They are totally worth doing a little work to, and there are plenty of cost effective options for tuners, etc. Got any pictures?

The slightly thinner body, and nice neck profile are particularly good for younger people. Hell, I'm 6f and I play mine all the time. I use it on stage, and it hasn't let me down.

I can point you towards tuners, etc that won't break the bank, and will significantly increase the ability of the guitar. Just depends on much or little work you want to do to install/upgrade. All stuff that you can do at home easily of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm presuming that this is a fairly new-ish model Bullet? They are totally worth doing a little work to, and there are plenty of cost effective options for tuners, etc. Got any pictures?

The slightly thinner body, and nice neck profile are particularly good for younger people. Hell, I'm 6f and I play mine all the time. I use it on stage, and it hasn't let me down.

I can point you towards tuners, etc that won't break the bank, and will significantly increase the ability of the guitar. Just depends on much or little work you want to do to install/upgrade. All stuff that you can do at home easily of course.
Yes, it is about two years old and is made in Indonesia.

Setting it up is kind of a pain because I don't have the right tools and the tuners are kind of wonky. So just getting the intonation correct takes four times as long because the tuners are so inconsistent.

So I might KEEP the bullet, but if I do, I would probably sell my AS93 and then get something that is similar to the AS93 but smaller / more teenage oriented.
 

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Yes, it is about two years old and is made in Indonesia.

Setting it up is kind of a pain because I don't have the right tools and the tuners are kind of wonky. So just getting the intonation correct takes four times as long because the tuners are so inconsistent.

So I might KEEP the bullet, but if I do, I would probably sell my AS93 and then get something that is similar to the AS93 but smaller / more teenage oriented.
The guitar's bones should be pretty good then. To set the intonation you only need a phillips head screw driver, and metric allen keys to adjust the saddle heights. They're pretty standard tools for working on most electric guitars, so if you don't have them already then it's definitely worth purchasing some decent ones.

https://www.guitarfetish.com/Wilkin...rs-Six-fits-Stratsreg-and-Telesreg_p_891.html

I'm pretty certain that these would be a direct fit for the stock tuner holes, and they are easily installed with a basic hand drill, drill bit marked with tape, so as to not drill too deeply, and a straighedge to line up the tuners on the headstock. Just that will make a significant change to the tuning stability. A bit of lead pencil in the string slots on the nut, and that will serve you well for the time being.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
The guitar's bones should be pretty good then. To set the intonation you only need a phillips head screw driver, and metric allen keys to adjust the saddle heights. They're pretty standard tools for working on most electric guitars, so if you don't have them already then it's definitely worth purchasing some decent ones.

https://www.guitarfetish.com/Wilkin...rs-Six-fits-Stratsreg-and-Telesreg_p_891.html

I'm pretty certain that these would be a direct fit for the stock tuner holes, and they are easily installed with a basic hand drill, drill bit marked with tape, so as to not drill too deeply, and a straighedge to line up the tuners on the headstock. Just that will make a significant change to the tuning stability. A bit of lead pencil in the string slots on the nut, and that will serve you well for the time being.
Yeah, the nut is... ummm... driving me nuts...

The BIG problem with the bullet for ME is that the 2nd and 3rd frets are pitched sharp on the g and d strings.

Most of the other strings the frets are in tune but d and g strings go sharp on the first through 7th frets, 2nd and 3rd being the worst

As for my son, I guess he doesn't like the action on the bullet, since he just plays my AS93.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Have you check the neck angle, and added a shin if needed? Also the saddle heights, etc.
Still working on that... trying to get intonation at 12th fret right.

But even if I do keep the Bullet, then I would probably sell my AS93 and get something else for my son.

He likes playing my AS93, but it really is kind of big (wide) for him and I think he might play more if he had a cooler looking guitar.

So plan B would be, sell AS93, buy a more teenage-friendly Ibanez (or other guitar) for my son with playability similar to my as93, and then I would keep the bullet for myself and just do some basic mods.
 

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Few things.

First you are keep saying that your son likes to play AS93, but you want to sell it. If he likes to play it shouldn't you just keep it?

second, if we go to first post,
you said that you want simple guitar, because of tech cost.
Believe me , if you can hear intonation issues on couple frets,
with Mr.Rich's help,

IBANEZ RULES!! tech - setup

you can maintain your guitar without tech.

If I can recomend, check used Ibanez S Series with Edge-Zero II tremolo,
play it before buying to avoid lemon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Few things.

First you are keep saying that your son likes to play AS93, but you want to sell it. If he likes to play it shouldn't you just keep it?

second, if we go to first post,
you said that you want simple guitar, because of tech cost.
Believe me , if you can hear intonation issues on couple frets,
with Mr.Rich's help,

IBANEZ RULES!! tech - setup

you can maintain your guitar without tech.

If I can recomend, check used Ibanez S Series with Edge-Zero II tremolo,
play it before buying to avoid lemon.
Thank you for the reply.

First you are keep saying that your son likes to play AS93, but you want to sell it. If he likes to play it shouldn't you just keep it?

You make a good point. I just think there are two or three small "problems" with the AS93 for him:

1) It is a little bit big (body wise) and heavy for him. He hasn't complained but he sits down and plays it on a chair. I think if he has to stand and play it he might get kind of tired of it.

2) Because it is semi-hollow body, it might be a bit fragile for him. He is only 13 so I am worried he might break it.

3) It looks kind of... uncool (at least for a 13-year-old boy). He hasn't said anything, but I just think (hope) he will love it more if we have a cooler looking guitar.

Thank you for the link. I will look into the setup.
 
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