[got into talking about guitars with my brother, he's learning fingerstyle at the moment, talking of buying a semiacoustic - he suggested I blog this stuff]
Lessons learnt so far here are:
* pickups seem to be the bits that cheapo guitars tend to economise on most, spending an extra 50 euro to replace them is worth it (though fiddly)
* valve preamp is a cheap way of getting classic overdrive sounds
* it's worth checking reviews before buying any gear
* buying/tweaking guitars is very addictive
Things getting a bit silly here, got:
Squire Strat (Fender's cheapo brand) - the first guitar in recent years, pickups messed about with a lot - stock ones were crap. Apart from that it's ok, a bit lightweight. Currently strung funny (forget what it's called, lower strings replaced with higher ones, tuned an octave up, sound is slightly 12-string like).
Fender Jazz bass (Mexican) - was Caro's. Just swapped the pickups for "Noiseless" because the stock ones picked up hum like crazy. A workhorse kind of machine.
Vinocaster - the homemade one, main guitar I s'pose. Strat-based (I copied the shape off the Squire), but the body's a lot heavier. Spent a lot of time messing about with pickups etc trying to get a range of
sounds. Now decided that was a bit daft - this one's best customised for 60's garage/jangly sounds. The Les Paul copy can do the bluesy/70's heavy rock sounds if need be.
Epiphone acoustic - sounds ok, but I've not been practising enough to have hard fingerpads
Hofner Shorty - funny little thing, is a real guitar (fretboard is full length) and sounds fine. Bought it for travelling, only took it away once and then didn't wind up playing it.
Gretsch baritone - very odd thing, sold as 6-string bass with Bigsby tremolo arm (all strings an octave below normal), though I've restrung it as a proper baritone, so instead of E it's B. Excellent for twang, low chords don't work too well.
Harley Benton 450 - cheapo Les Paul copy (Thomann's own brand), plastic bits do look plasticky but it feels & plays well, sounds reasonably good (but have already ordered some replacement pickups).
Next on the list is an Epiphone semi-acoustic :)