Good grunge guitars?

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Calum13Calum13 Frets: 28
I'm looking for a good affordable grunge guitar. I'm thinking of an HSS start or SSS start. What ones would be better for grunge?
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  • randellarandella Frets: 2212
    ‘Grunge’ was really a term invented by the press to lump together a lot of really quite diverse music whose only real connection was the city it came from.

    Look at the bands involved, and the variation in the guitar tones. There’s no one ‘grunge’ guitar, there were Teles, Strats, Les Pauls, ‘student’ Fenders, basically anything without a Floyd Rose which was partly what drove the scene - a reaction against the previous decade’s cock-rock excess. 

    Pick one one and go for it. :)
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  • randellarandella Frets: 2212
    edited May 2018
    Welcome, by the way! 

    I’m not trying to sound clever with the above, maybe if you let us know whose sound you like we’d have a more specific angle. 

    I geeked out quite a lot on the players and their equipment back in the day
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  • KeefyKeefy Frets: 491
    I thought part of the point of grunge was to move away from the whole posh guitars / virtuoso players thing, and bash out the songs on any cheap plank. Don't forget though: quiet bit, LOUD BIT!
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  • Calum13Calum13 Frets: 28
    I'm looking for more of a nirvana tone. I started quite recently and have a Squier VM jaguar. I also have a Boss DS-1 pedal. I'm just thinking of a good next guitar that's quite versatile. I think kurt cobain had an HSS pickup configuration on his strat  
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  • randellarandella Frets: 2212
    Calum13 said:
    I'm looking for more of a nirvana tone. I started quite recently and have a Squier VM jaguar. I also have a Boss DS-1 pedal. I'm just thinking of a good next guitar that's quite versatile. I think kurt cobain had an HSS pickup configuration on his strat  
    A Strat with a humbucker in the bridge would be a good starting point, for sure. A Duncan Hot Rails is nice and brash.

    One of Cobain’s stylistic tricks, alluded to by @Keefy, was the quiet/loud dynamic - jump on a drive for the loud bits. Have the drive set quite hot (drive knob up!) and the amp set a bit cleaner.

    You should be able to approximate the feel with your Jag.  Maybe have a look at a nastier pedal, more of a fuzz type than your DS-1 - which is a good drive, but maybe a touch too polite if you know what I mean.

    Cobain famously used the EH Big Muff, but nowadays there are all sorts of different options. EH themselves make quite a few variants. 

    What’s your amp?
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  • stonevibestonevibe Frets: 3532
    Any Fender guitar really, Offset or Stratocaster being the most common ones, usually add a hot bridge humbucker and tune to taste.
    How much does it weigh? & Does it play like butter?

    You can now read my insane guitar ramblings daily here http://www.gearnews.com

    https://www.instagram.com/jefstone/
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 198
    I'd actually say pick something unexpected or whatever fits you best.  I'd even then go for vintage lower wound pickups to get the loud quiet thing going on without pedal dancing may be a cool thing to have you need more gain then surely a pedal can do it and compression if you need it.  Easy to get rid of the dynamics but impossible to bring em back if pickup too hot 
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 3766
    Jaguar or Jazzmaster HH but an SSH strat will do
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  • brooombrooom Frets: 402
    There are no grunge guitars... grunge is a made up thing. If you like rock bands from the 80s and 90s, predominantly the ones coming out of seatte you'll find that they all used whatever they could afford to begin with and whatever they liked after they became bigger acts.

    Whatever you like is going to be the best "anything" guitar you can get.
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  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 1024
    edited May 2018
    I hate the term grunge. So did everyone lumped together in that ‘movement’. Was a record company way to try and homogenise a ton of acts they didn’t have heir normal levels of control over. 

    Jerry Cantrell used a G&L superstrat. Kim Thayil used a Guild SG. Gossard and McCready used LPs and Strats. J Mascis used Jazzmasters. Billy Corgan used a strat with hot rails pickup. 
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
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  • Calum13Calum13 Frets: 28
    @randella  I have a big muff pedal. It's the red black and white one. My amp is an old Marshall one 
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  • stonevibestonevibe Frets: 3532
    It was called 'Post Punk' when I was in Rough Trade at the Nirvana signing for Bleach.
    How much does it weigh? & Does it play like butter?

    You can now read my insane guitar ramblings daily here http://www.gearnews.com

    https://www.instagram.com/jefstone/
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  • randellarandella Frets: 2212
    When I saw them at Reading in ‘92, he was (from memory) using a Fender offset of some sort, and I would guess his Big Muff. 

    I did amble to the stage when his crew were soundchecking early in the day and seem to remember his amp was a newer (for the time!) Marshall of some sort, a head and two 4x12s. If I had to bet money I’d say a JCM800. 

    So basically you’ve got all the ingredients. What is it you feel is missing from your sound, if anything?
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  • Calum13Calum13 Frets: 28
    edited May 2018
    I'm just thinking of a good guitar to get next as I can't really stick with a squier and I think kurt used some sort of chorus pedal. Also my jag doesn't have humbuckers
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  • brooombrooom Frets: 402
    edited May 2018
    @Calum13 - I could be wrong but a fender clean amp as a base for pedals will be a better bet to get nirvana type sounds. A ds-1 pedal is also good. I think live Kurt used mostly a mesa boogie pre amp and a crown power amp. So his sound base was quite clean. Other then that the other amp I associate with him is the ultralinear 135w silverface twin reverb, again a very clean sound base.

    So yeah, a good fender maybe with an humbucker on the bridge. A gainy distortion pedal (ds-1, rat, maxon 830) and a decent clean amp.

    I also think a lot of their electric sound, came from the volumes they were playing it. If you're a bedroom player (nothing wrong with that), then you minght find it hard to get those tones.
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  • Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 82
    How about a Mustang! I’m Sure the Kurt Cobain signature model is a bit pricey but i’m sure there’s a whole array of options with the current Fendef “Offsets” range and Squier Vintage Modern offerings.

    But yes, a Fenderesque guitar with a humbucker in the bridge and a Big Muff will get you there.
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  • Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 82
    This is more “Grunge” than anything you’ll be able to buy off the shelf:

    http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/90174/fs-fender-cyclone-modded-back-up-for-sale-finally#latest

    This would suit suit you perfectly for what your looking to achieve. Looks the part too!
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  • camfcamf Frets: 853
    edited May 2018
    Well, unable to resist the chance to play one-up... 
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  • camfcamf Frets: 853
    edited May 2018
    Ha! I wrote a big long message on my phone and then it all disappeared. An act of God or possibly of Kurt. 
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  • camfcamf Frets: 853
    brooom said:
    @Calum13 - I could be wrong but a fender clean amp as a base for pedals will be a better bet to get nirvana type sounds. A ds-1 pedal is also good. I think live Kurt used mostly a mesa boogie pre amp and a crown power amp. So his sound base was quite clean. Other then that the other amp I associate with him is the ultralinear 135w silverface twin reverb, again a very clean sound base.

    So yeah, a good fender maybe with an humbucker on the bridge. A gainy distortion pedal (ds-1, rat, maxon 830) and a decent clean amp.

    I also think a lot of their electric sound, came from the volumes they were playing it. If you're a bedroom player (nothing wrong with that), then you minght find it hard to get those tones.
    I played with Nirvana a few times and this is pretty much how I remembered it. Fender Twins and Marshalls I think (but clean Marshall) and stomping on a DS-1. I think he might have borrowed mine for one show, or at least a sound check. Honestly, if we could ouija board him up, I'm pretty sure he'd just laugh and tell you to plug in, twiddle a few knobs until it sounds good and them thrash the crap out of it until you felt something. :)
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  • grungebobgrungebob Frets: 1313
    edited May 2018
    Finally a topic I might know the answer to!

    what Nirvana sound are you after, bleach is different from nervermind, as is in utero. 

    Most of kurts guitars had a JB humbucker in the bridge. I’ve owned mustangs and jaguars and jagstangs etc and the best of the bunch is a good hss Strat with a JB in the bridge with a nice clean fender amp coupled with a RAT or a good multi stage overdrive pedal, the Marshall jackhammer is a good cheap pedal for the sounds you’re after and can be set to overdrive or distraction with a good eq range. 

    oh and the chorus pedal is an ehx small clone. 
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  • Calum13Calum13 Frets: 28
    edited May 2018
    @duppy03 Is there much difference between the cyclone and the mustang? A cyclone seems like it's hard to find in the UK as I don't want to pay like £100 shipping for one from the states
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  • flying_pieflying_pie Frets: 460
    @Calum13 the type of guitar, amp or pedal doesn't really matter. It's down to the music and the way it's played. Kurt still sounded like Kurt with an acoustic. 

    The quirks of his technique shaped the sound more than the gear. Two classic examples:

    About A Girl - it looks like he plays Em to G for the main riff but it's actually E5 as he damps the G string with this middle finger. The next section sounds and looks lily is C#m but it's actually major again due to the way the ring finger catches the B string. People play that song wrong because they go with what sounds and feels more musically correct. 

    Teen Spirit - the intro riff is often played wrongly. You can probaly guess why... That's right... It's the "wrong" notes from the fingering. The first chord sounds like F barre child but it's actually more of a stud 4 from the way it's fretted. 

    Kurt played all stories of stuff "wrongly" but it worked. That's why he did it and that's what his sound is about. 
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  • SchnozzSchnozz Frets: 945
    edited May 2018
    Get a G&L Tribute Fallout

    https://www.premierguitar.com/ext/resources/images/content/2014_03/LNU/Mar14_LNU_FCS_GL-Fallout-Exclusive_WEB.jpg
    Both Jane's Addiction and Alice in Chains used G&L...Not that it really matters, but the Fallout will nail Grunge.
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  • BloodEagleBloodEagle Frets: 4416
    Listen to @camf
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  • ModellistaModellista Frets: 1290
    edited May 2018
    @Calum13 the type of guitar, amp or pedal doesn't really matter. It's down to the music and the way it's played. Kurt still sounded like Kurt with an acoustic. 

    The quirks of his technique shaped the sound more than the gear. Two classic examples:

    About A Girl - it looks like he plays Em to G for the main riff but it's actually E5 as he damps the G string with this middle finger. The next section sounds and looks lily is C#m but it's actually major again due to the way the ring finger catches the B string. People play that song wrong because they go with what sounds and feels more musically correct. 

    Teen Spirit - the intro riff is often played wrongly. You can probaly guess why... That's right... It's the "wrong" notes from the fingering. The first chord sounds like F barre child but it's actually more of a stud 4 from the way it's fretted. 

    Kurt played all stories of stuff "wrongly" but it worked. That's why he did it and that's what his sound is about. 
    Stud 4? Sus 4? You mean 1333xx?

    Since we're on the topic, would you play the Bb with bass on the A string like x1333x? Would be the sensible move from the F. 

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  • camfcamf Frets: 853
     Listen to @BloodEagle. ;)
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  • StrangefanStrangefan Frets: 3210
    New person you have been given a fair bit good info here and a welcome, a "thanks for your help guys etc wouldn't go a miss. 
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  • Calum13Calum13 Frets: 28
    @dindude I like the look of that. A black one with a red tortoiseshell pickguard would look cool. One of my dads friend has a mustang from 1965 I think which plays quite good.
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