Stone Guitar Picks

A gemstone guitar pick may seem like a luxury, but tonally stone guitar picks are just as different as nylon and metal picks. Typically semi-precious stones are not exorbitantly priced, compared to more valuable jewels; but they will cost around thirty to fifty times as much as the standard nylon or plastic guitar picks. So is the price worth it?

Stone Guitar Pick

Figure 1 – Agate Stone Plectrum

To many guitarists, the answer is a resounding yes! Not only are they longer-lasting, easy gripping, and better sounding; they are also very appealing items to own.

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Gibson SG Special Electric Guitar, Worn Brown Satin

Gibson Faded Sg Special Electric Guitar Worn Brown
Gibsons are expensive. We all know. So how about this? A fantastic SG, at a great price – the satin finish is not as shiny as a regular finish. But that’s it. it’s still a fantastic sounding SG, with it’s trademark bite. With the full pickguard it’s very much late sixties style. Think Pete Townsend on Live at Leeds, or Carlos Santana at Woodstock.

Gibson Faded Sg Special Electric Guitar Worn Brown

  • Powerful, intense, and affordable 6-string electric guitar with solid mahogany body and ’50s rounded neck profile
  • 490T and 490R pickups–“T” for treble, and “R” for rhythm
  • Swirl acrylic inlays for classic “pearl” look
  • Gibson Tune-O-Matic bridge; 2 volume and 2 tone controls plus 3-way toggle
  • Worn brown finish with chrome hardware; comes with Gibson Deluxe Gig Bag

The Gibson Faded SG Special is an electric guitar that maintains the tradition of looks, functionality, and value for which the SG guitar is known. Under its attractive faded finish, the Faded Special SG is still the traditional SG, with mahogany body and neck, Tune-O-Matic/stopbar bridge, and alnico 490 pickups. The guitar’s faded finish gives it the look of an electric that started its rockin’ days in the ’60s.

The Gibson SG range was first popular in the mid 1960s . Very influential guitarists such as George Harrison of the Beatles, Eric Clapton of Cream, and Robbie Kreiger of the Doors all played Gibson SGs. But this  model, the full-scratchplate Gibson SG Special is most associated with Pete Townsend of the Who around 1969-1970.  

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Guitar Picks

Why A Pick?

A guitar pick, or plectrum is used to pluck, or strum guitar strings; to improve sound, allow faster strumming, and reduce injury on fingers. You can just use your fingers, especially for picking, but a pick gives far more bite to notes, and hurts a lot less. There are many types of guitar picks to choose from: different materials, shapes, as well as sizes and colors. Some guitar picks are even used for special purposes, such as a double-sided pick for “double plucking.” This article explores some of the diffent types.

Different types of Guitar Pick

Guitar picks are commonly made out of plastic, but also wood, bone, amber, rubber, felt, tortoiseshell, stone, metals, and even gemstones. Each of the materials has it’s own unique sound, but also properties such as ease of grip, price, and durability. There is no one type to suit all players – playing style, and desired tone are important when choosing. For instance, metal has a very distinct bright sound when plucked against a guitar string and makes for great piercing solos – but offers little grip. It can also damage a guitars finish if played too aggressively. Wood picks are cheap, with great grip, nice attack, and a full woody sound – great for jazz. Actually woods tonal qualities can vary hugely from species to species, and as they are so cheap, buying a selection of different types is quite affordable. Tortoiseshell was historically one of the best materials in terms of grip and tone, although an international ban on tortoise shell (rightly so) led to the creation of Tortex picks, which are a pretty good all round replacement. Leather picks offer a rather mellow muted sound great for strumming chords, but too flexible when playing individual notes.

Choosing your most suited material is a matter of trying them all out, and deciding on which sound and grip works for your playing style – whether it be metal, blues, or jazz. Many players have a selection of picks, using different ones at different times. If all else fails, weird guitar picks aren’t unheard of – from bone, to an Allen wrench – just about anything can become a useable plectrum!

Fender Guitar Pick A thumb guitar pick.A triangle guitar pick.

Figure 1 – Traditional picks, a thumb pick, and a triangle pick example

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What is Intonation?

What is intonation on a guitar, and is it important? Well, yes, it could be very. If your guitar is poorly intonated it could play horribly out of tune! It may sound fine down low playing open chords, but suddenly, when the solo starts, up at the fifteenth fret… aaaahhhhgg!

electric guitar intonation

Figure 1 – Strings passing over the saddles of  a Fender Jaguar guitar.

I’ve known young guitarists change out tuning keys, and even buy new guitars because their old guitar would never stay in tune. In many instances it was just a matter of a poor setup, with nothing wrong with the guitar or any of it’s components.

But don’t worry, adjusting intonation is really very easy. All you need is a guitar tuner and a screwdriver. This article tells you how.

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Gibson Les Paul 60s Tribute Electric Guitar

Yeah vintage Gibson Les Paul guitars are cool – but who can afford a real one?

Well, with a Gibson Les Paul 60s tribute, you get 60s styling, Gibson quality, and a price point that us non-bankers can afford. A fine looker for sure, based on their 1960s Kalamazoo-built classics. And incredible value for money; an outstanding guitar for any price!

Gibson Les Paul ’60S Tribute Electric Guitar Vintage Sunburst

Gibson Les Paul '60S Tribute Electric Guitar Vintage Sunburst

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Epiphone Thunderbird IV Electric Bass Guitar

Epiphone Thunderbird IV Electric Bass Guitar, Vintage Sunburst

The Thunderbird bass is a staple of rock and heavy metal bands everywhere. Gibson Thunderbirds cost an arm and a leg (well, Gibson’s always do…) but Epiphone Tbirds are very very affordable, and they just happen to sound great! Really great!

A fine looking bass, no mistake, and one that simply screams rock

  • Four string electric bass guitar in vintage sunburst with classic shape and a classic sound
  • Alder body with bolt-on maple neck
  • Rosewood fretboard with dot inlays; 34-inch scale
  • Dual TB Plus Humbucker pickups
  • Black hardware, volume and tone controls

Featuring both a classic shape and a classic sound, the 4-string Epiphone Thunderbird IV bass guitar in vintage sunburst finish has a reverse body styling, carved top and the Thunderbird insignia on the pickguard. The alder wood body and generous bolted maple neck work together to deliver warm bass tone with plenty of attack from the dual TB Plus Humbucker pickups. Other features include a 34-inch scale, rosewood fingerboard with dotted inlay, 1.73-inch nut width, volume and tone controls, and black hardware.
List Price: typically around $400 (check latest prices here)

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Ibanez Soundgear GSR200 Bass Guitar – Black

Ibanez Soundgear GSR200 Bass Guitar – Black

For this months GuitarFact bass guitar review we’re going to have a closer look at this Ibanez bass

Quite a good looking Ibanez bass for sure; black on black underlying it’s rock credentials, but how does it play?

  • PHAT II active bass boost offers additional
  • low-end power on all GSR200 models
  • GSR offers famous Soundgear pro comfort and playability at “entry level” prices
  • The GSR series includes the most affordable 5- and 6-string basses of any major brand
  • Phat II active bass boost adds additional low-end power to the affordable GSR200 models.
  • GSR200’s powerful Powersound pickups deliver full tones and strong low-end.

GSRs offer famous Soundgear sleekness, comfort, tone, and playability. GSR Mikro basses are perfect for anyone who needs a compact axe or the comfort of a smaller neck.

Great for rock, superb for metal, this Ibanez has to be played to be believed!

Typical Price: $200 (Check price here)

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Vintage Guitars as Investments

The Hollywood Vintage room, LA. Most of the guitars on this wall were priced in the range $8,000-$80,000 (Aug 2008)

The Hollywood Vintage room, LA. Most of the guitars on this wall were priced in the range $8,000-$80,000 (Aug 2008)

Why do people collect guitars? They are usually guitarists, of course, but not always. For some, the guitar is art: displayed on walls, or free-standing as scultpure. For others, it is an exercise in preservation, or museum curation. But increasingly, people are buying guitars primarily as a financial investments.

Vintage guitars made by the likes of Martin, Gibson and Fender, can make great investments, with the right guitars gaining in value more than many stocks and bonds. The guitar investment market is subject to very different forces than the stock market, and investment companies are reportedly turning to instruments as part of a balanced portfolio.

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