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Buying a new Guitar

I’ve been a bit lax with my photography over the last few weeks because I’ve been busy with another hobby of mine which is playing the guitar. This came about because my daughter Emma decided that she would like to learn to play so we took a trip to the local music store to buy her a 3/4 size acoustic guitar.

Looking round the shop at the many different guitars I felt a real enthusiasm to get back into playing and almost bought a second hand Epiphone Les Paul standard which was quite a bargain. However I decided that if I wanted to get back into it I should do some more research so I resisted the temptation and we left with just Emma’s guitar.

I have a reasonably good acoustic guitar (a Crafter fx550 eq) which I bought a few years ago (although I don’t often pick it up),  but I got rid of my cheap electric Les Paul copy many years before that, and gave my Carlsbro amplifier to a friend who plays in a band, so if I wanted to get back into electric guitar playing I would need to get both an amplifier and a guitar. So I spent several days over the last few weeks looking at the various models I might like to buy and narrowed my choice down to an Epiphone Les Paul or an Epiphone ES-339.

Once I’d narrowed the choice I paid another visit to the local shop to try both guitars out. I have to say that was a highly embarrassing event! On the morning I decided to go and try these guitars there was already someone there trying a few different models out and he had obviously been playing a long time and could really play well. Consider that I had hardly picked a guitar up for about 6 years and you can imagine how embarrassed and small I felt!

Anyway, when the floor was empty I picked up each of the guitars in turn and tried them with a few chords and riffs I could remember from the last time I played. The real difference I noticed between the two guitars I’d decided to try out was the weight. The Les Paul was quite a bit heavier than the ES-339, which I suppose since the 339 is a semi-acoustic is not completely surprising. I tried all the pickup settings with both an overdriven distorted sound and a clean sound and found that i liked the sound and feel of the ES-339 slightly better than the Les Paul.

Unfortunately the music store didn’t have the guitar in stock in a colour I liked, so in the end I bought it from Gear4Music on-line and as it happens got a excellent deal because they had a ‘VIP Sale’ event which made the guitar complete with bag only £280. The one I bought is in natural colour and having now had it for a couple of weeks I’m really pleased with the way it sounds and plays.

On the amplifier front I always think that valve amplifiers sound better than solid state amplifiers, so I bought myself a Beringer BC15 15W practice amp to plug into. This is certainly loud enough for me to relearn how to play!

So at the moment I’m relearning how to play and finding my way round the fretboard again. Once I get so I can at least play a few chords properly I’ll do a proper review of the guitar.


I’m a software developer by profession but I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old. In that time I’ve owned cameras of all types and sizes from 120 roll film thro’ 35mm to my current Pentax K-5, Ricoh GXR + P10/S10/A12 28mm/A12 50mm, Canon S95 and recently acquired Sony NEX 6.


  1. John B says:

    I seem to be the only camera collecting nerd who is also into guitars. Looks very nice! I’ve been playing for almost 40 years (professionally way back in my late teens), and I still get “all fingers and thumbs” in a music shop, or if one of my guitars has to go to the “tech” for an every-couple-of-years set-up, and I have to play it to check I’m happy with the work. My point is – it’s natural to feel a bit inhibited when there’s an audience you don’t want.

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