I recently began thinking about picking up guitar. Many years ago (40 ish lol) took lessons for piano, flute and guitar (not sure how flute go in there lol). Dropped piano and flute, liked guitar but eventually dropped it because my mom wanted me to stick with acoustic, and I had other ideas. I have loved music all my life (passionately), but I have always been a bystander. Recently I found out I am going to do an 18 month assignment away from home, and thought this might be an opportunity to start learning again when I am not flying home.

I will need to love the guitar I start out with, and it will need to be capable of playing the music I like (currently listening to Halestorm, EV, Lacuna Coil, Cavo), even though it may be some time before I can play anything that I love lol. I was thinking along the lines of the Les Paul shred, but am open to any good ideas. Have about a $1500 budget. I have small hands, not sure if that will complicate things.

Will I be able to practice in an apartment without my neighbors having me evicted? Any thoughts on how I can work thru apartment life with an electric guitar?

Any good Mac software out there that you would recommend to help focus my practice time? I am planning on finding someone I can take lessons from once I get to Atlanta, but anything that can help at home I am game for.

What else do I need? Small amp....

I would normally try a music store with these questions, but afraid I do not know enough to identify a salesman just looking to make some money.

Any advice appreciated!

Last edited by jjn3 at Oct 20, 2012,
Re: your hands- some people with small hands like fat necks, some with big hands like skinny necks. You'll have to try some guitars trout to figure out which you prefer.

Re: practicing- many amps come with headphone jacks and there are portable practice devices* that have tuners, metronomes, and amp & pedal simulators, and sometimes features like removable storage drives or computer connectivity.

Re: your budget- splitting it between your guitar and amp, spend more on a good (preferably) tube amp than your guitar. It will matter more to the quality of your sound. If, as you indicate, you are concerned about disturbing others, don't get anything bigger than 30w, because you'll never crank it. In fact, if you will ALWAYS be playing with headphones, you might not want to get an amp right now at all, and just stick to the options listed in the first footnote. You should be able to score a good used guitar for as little as $450** from one of the major retailers, even less on eBay or Craigslist if you're lucky.

* Line6 PODs, Korg Pandoras and others from Boss, Tascam etc. There are also apps for mobile devices that do the same thing.

** For example, Guitar Center has about 5-6 Godin Velocity guitars on their website under $500. Those were discontinued in 2011, and are HSS style with a tremolo.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Oct 20, 2012,
if you're playing in an appartment, a modelling amp or computer amp software might be the way to do it.

you should be able to get down to a volume where the neighbours don't care. worst case scenario, you can play/practise unplugged, which is very quiet.
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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My personal preference in this situation is to go with something like a POD, Pandora or app for 3 reasons:

1) Portability- practice anywhere, anytime, and when you use them, your guitar's output in your ears still sounds like you are rocking out at Budokan.

2) Features- metronomes, tuners, recording, etc., all in one small device.

3) Price- those devices range from $99-250. Yes, inexpensive practice amps may cost less than some of the higher end gizmos, but they typically don't have the above 2 factors going for them in addition.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Thanks! really appreciate the feedback. The POD looks like a good answer; I thought I read somewhere that there is a way to have the output from Mac (either a song or instruction from computer-based guitar training) mixed with what I play through the headphones; true?

Any recommendations on a POD?
You could also find an audio interface, such as Line 6 Studio UX1 or UX2 and plug that into your Mac. Comes with a PODfarm software and a FXJunkie pack, which has quite a big variety of different amps, effects etc. These things costs around 120-200$ and are great value!
The POD is the king of the market right now, but I've been using Korg Pandoras for years, now. I also own a Tascam GT-R1- that one has a built in stereo mic system so you can record acoustically as well.

Really, it boils down to which unit has the features you want at the price you want.

That includes sound quality. Each of those devices has slightly different takes on their amp & pedal simulators, meaning each delivers slightly different sounds. That's true even within brands: some of the amp/pedal models on my Korg Px4s sound different than those on my Px5.

And of course, ease of using the controls matters as well. The Px4 controls are easy tomwork, at least for me. And my Px4s all had a plastic attachment that let me hook it onto a guitar strap, belt, or even hang out of a pocket- AFAIK, there is no such thing for the Px5.

So, just go into a store and try them out.

These are the ones I know best- decent units all- but there may be others out there just as good from other pedal companies.

Boss Micro-BR 4 track

Pocket POD

Tascam GT-R1

Korg Pandora Mini

Korg Px4

Korg Px5
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Oct 22, 2012,
Thanks for all of your advice, decided to go ahead and dive in. Spent some time on the phone with the folks from Sweetwater; great customer service, and a lot of insights. Its a great help when the person you are talking to plays the guitar and works in the industry

So Friday is NGD for me; Gibson Les Paul Standard w/ burstbucker pro pickups, a POD HD, Sennheiser headphones, and a Roland Cube (in case I am ever able to play w/o the headphones). Working on getting some recommendations from some local guitar players on instruction.

Thanks again for all of your help!
Better get your wide-angle lens out for your NGD- sounds like quite the Les Paul...errrr...haul!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!