Is it literally possible to make a cheap electric guitar sound better? That’s the obvious question we heard now and then from novice Guitarists. Even I inquired on several occasions when I have started playing guitar. My honest answer will break your heart.
Here is the answer:
“It is never possible to make a cheap electric guitar sound like the Gibson ES-335 Satin.” Did I smash your heart? Don’t just feel broken yet.
Good news is…
Nowadays, lots of brands are making quality guitars and selling them at a sensible cost. You can get the best electric guitar under 300 dollars if you are smart enough.
Yeah, it’s not possible to make a cheap electric guitar one of the greatest, but certain adjustments and customizations can make them sound impressive. In this article, I will share some practical tips so you can improve the sound quality of your cheap electric guitar fantastic. And if your finger can move, you can create magical music with it. The ten fingers of a Guitarist can make a heaven out of hell and a hell out of even!
Some comparatively minor modifications can make your low-end and mid-level guitar sound better than usual. If you know the way, you can make a low-end guitar into your dream guitar, or at least you can get closer.
Every part of a guitar, except the body, can be customized and changed. You can replace the nut, upgrade the bridge, switch to new tuners, and even replace the frets. Those are the major modification points, but some necessary adjustments of the string height and pickups heights can do wonder. Let’s see how we can simply manipulate your guitar to sound like a boss.
Five Basic Tips to Make your Cheap Electric Guitar Sounds Good
1. Strings that can Create Magic
Often we neglect how serious those six strings are on our guitar. They can be the actual game changer if chosen intelligently. They need to be changed after a specific period to sound clear. Don’t worry; they are not costly. Over time, strings can get weaker.
Here is the hack:
Nickel-wound strings commonly make a round vintage-style tone. If you call for a brighter sound with a notable sustain, better look for stainless steel strings. If your strings fade rapidly from excessive use, better look for long-lasting coated strings.
The sound of strings also highly depends on the type of winding. You need to decide the strings based on your playing type. For example- If you are a jazz guitarist or a blues bassist, flat-wound strings will be the right choice for you as they offer sweeter and a more vibrant tone. If you are a country guitarist or a Rock player, round-wound strings will work better for you.
2. Get the Professional Set-Up
A professional guitar ‘set up’ by a luthier or guitar tech will make your guitar sound better, feel pleasant, and stay in tune. A guitar tech will adjust the distance between the strings and fretboard and eliminate the fret buzz, notably. For a new guitarist, tuning a guitar is almost something like rocket science. No matter what you will do, fret buzz will be there to make you measurable.
Now you tell me, what is the benefit of a professional set up for a novice?
Well, if your guitar sounds better, you will feel better and practice more. It will encourage you to play often. On the other hand, if your guitar keeps producing a fret buzz, you perhaps will lose enthusiasm, as many have done before.
To get the professional set up, you might need to spend somewhere between $50 to $70.
3. Pick your ‘Pickups’
Pickups on a guitar play a significant role in bringing an impressive tone. A little height improvement can make a difference in your tune. Before going to change the entire pickups or modify it by a professional, you can try to tune it up a bit with the right screwdriver.
The higher the pickup, the more output it will bring out. And if you move the pickup very close to the strings, nasty interference can be a high possibility.
If you don’t have the necessary knowledge about modification, don’t try it. You will shatter the entire guitar. Better call an expert, but it is a pricey investment compared to other changes I have mentioned in this article. However, the modification will not work if the pickup is of poor quality. In that case, change the entire pickup to get improved sound.
Changing the pickup will cost somewhere between $100 to $140, including the labor cost.
4. Change Electronics
As I have mentioned, pickups before, so let’s check other electronic parts. If you are using a low-end guitar, there is a high chance that the electronics part added on the guitar are cheaply made, and changing them is essential. By electronic parts, I meant the following:
- Pickup Selectors
- Output Jacks
The cost will be somewhere between 30 to 75 dollars depending on the number of parts that need to be changed.
5. Right Amplifier
If it’s an electric guitar, the correct amplifier matters the most. But with low-end electric guitar, we often get weak quality amplifiers that never produce quality sound. If your amp has a little speaker, you cannot do much. Still, you can try to adjust the treble and bass setting to get a bit-perfect tone. But to get quality, you have to switch for a quality amp, no exception.
Let’s assume you have a cheap guitar that sounds worse. Give the guitar to Brad Delson, the lead guitarist of linking park, and see what he can do with it. The sound your guitar will make in the hand of Brad will amaze you! One most powerful point we often ignore is practice. This is an essential idea to create eerie notes, no matter how good or bad the guitar is. The more you will practice, the better your guitar will accept your command.
Now it’s time to say adieu. I hope the above tips will help you out on your way to become a pro. In this blog, we will keep sharing lots of other tips related to guitar playing. Keep an eye on our blog for many more!
Thanks for reading!