#1
Hey everyone,

I'm a complete beginner, never even touched a guitar before and looking to learn how. I guess that means I'm in the market for everything that's required to actually play the guitar.

In terms of musical tastes, I don't have any bands that I particularly like but from various youtube videos and such I believe punk rock would be close to what I'm trying to go for.

I recently moved to Hong Kong so certain stores that this site references a lot like Guitar Center aren't really applicable to me. I believe the only real chain here is Tom Lee. My budget for everything is around 8k HKD, somewhere around $1000 USD. I would rather not go above that amount and to be honest I'd rather be well under that but from what I've read it's better to get something halfway decent as a first guitar. If enough good points are given for a particular setup that's over that amount I can push for another few thousand though.

I only have two real requirement for gear. One is the guitar, it has to be left handed. I've heard a lot of people mention before that for beginners they should try to get used to right handed guitars for versatility in gear choices but I'd rather stick with the left hand. The second requirement I have is the amp. I live in an apartment so I can't really play loud music with an amplifier and risk having my neighbors storm in on me with pitchforks. Is there anything I can use like a pair of headphones instead? That or an amplifier that allows for me to plug in headphones. As a more minor thing, it would be great if the amp wasn't huge. I've seem some of the amps that seem to be as big as a small desk, rather not use up that much space given my small living quarters.

Other than that I'm not quite sure what else I need. I'm guessing gig bag, stand, guitar, strap, amp, picks, cables?

Also, I don't know of anyone who plays the guitar so I pretty much on my own if I go in to buy stuff. Any way to make sure I get a good guitar other than just checking the quality of the wood and such? Guessing I can't really check the sound all too well since I won't be able to tell good and bad apart. Indeed, if anyone that plays and lives in Hong Kong want to help me out over the weekend I can at the very least repay you with a meal.

Thanks in advance.

In Summary:

1. Skill Level - 0
2. Budget - $8000~ HKD
3. Gear Needs - Everything to get started
4. Requirements - Headphones for amp, left handed guitar
5. Location - Hong Kong
6. Music Type - Punk Rock
#2
Awesome!...
I would recommend you find a guitar with good intonation. Preferably a fixed bridge guitar. NO floyd Rose or fender type whammy bars. I would also recommend a guitar with a humbucker in both the bridge and neck positions. In my opinion they are more versatile for playing a variety of styles. I think the guitar itself should be your main focus.
Make sure the intonation is good and the action is low.
Go into the guitar store with a tuner and check every fret on every string to see if the guitar is in tune all over the neck. and when you pluck the open strings. This is intonation in a nutshell. With low action, meaning the strings are closer to the fretboard, the guitar is easier to play.

As for an amp, it is hard to say. I would recommend a cheap digital modeling amp like Line6. They sound relatively decent at a cheap price. It has effects already built in that can inspire you to play. However, some might say that the effects will detract from learning the necessary basics.

If you have any more questions just ask them! Good Luck!
MARTY FRIEDMAN--"It’s a lot easier to be technical than it is stylized; it really is... But I think it’s a lot more rare to have someone who’s really got their own sound because that’s something you can’t practice."
#3
Thanks!

Humm ok, so basically a guitar with no whammy bar ( I believe it's that lever like arm on the base? ) and humbucker pickups.

Anything more specific regarding brands? I've read about Fender, Yamaha, Ibanez and Gibson. Don't think I've heard of Line6 before.

Regardless, roughly how much should I be looking at in terms of price for an amp? Probably easier to talk in USD, around $200? $300?
#4
For an amp, I recommend small modeling amps to beginners. They don't cost a lot and they give you a wide variety of sounds to work with.

I really like the Fender super champ XD. Hell, I use one myself and I've been playing for about 14 years now...

edit: and buy used, then if you end up not sticking with it, you can sell your stuff and not take much of a loss.
Last edited by al112987 at Apr 26, 2011,
#5
I'm no expert, or teacher for that matter, but I have taught several, and have tried to teach a few that thought they wanted to learn guitar before they found out the work, yes WORK involved. My advice would be to start with a good low range used acoustic. Fender, Ibanez, Epiphone etc. As WesM said, make sure it has a good clean action and intonation. This can be done for about $200 give this a few months to see if you have the drive required before shelling out the bucks for a decent rig... just my opinion hope it helps
#6
You've got a very big budget for someone starting out. Just because you have that, don't use it. You may waste a lot of money. Instead, get a higher end Squire Strat and a Roland Cube 30 or something. That'll sound good for a beginner.
#7
Thanks for the advice all.

I actually choose my budget due to some comments on other forums regarding the subpar quality of pre-made kits and some of the lower end guitars making students quit before really getting started. I also wasn't sure how all the accompanying gear would cost since the $1000~ is supposed to include everything. Of course if I can use under that that's definitely a good thing.

I'd rather start with an electric mostly because of my own personality, I tend to go at things all out rather then testing the waters. For better or worse.

Does anyone have any advice on headphones though? Since that would be a major requirement since I can't play loud music in the apartments here. Is a small amp ok as al112987 said and I just plug in a pair of headphones?
#8
Quote by Kirbyprime
Thanks for the advice all.

I actually choose my budget due to some comments on other forums regarding the subpar quality of pre-made kits and some of the lower end guitars making students quit before really getting started. I also wasn't sure how all the accompanying gear would cost since the $1000~ is supposed to include everything. Of course if I can use under that that's definitely a good thing.

I'd rather start with an electric mostly because of my own personality, I tend to go at things all out rather then testing the waters. For better or worse.

Does anyone have any advice on headphones though? Since that would be a major requirement since I can't play loud music in the apartments here. Is a small amp ok as al112987 said and I just plug in a pair of headphones?
In a lot of ways you are in luck because there are a lot of good budget options now available (my definition of a budget guitar or amp is anything under $400, which I think is a reasonable number). But finding a good headphone amp is difficult. Your best bet for playing through headphones is playing your guitar through a computer interface. There is a lot of good modeling software on the market. The downside is that if you want to play live or with friends then it can be a pain. Otherwise, there are amps out that allow you to plug in headphones. But they rarely sound very good, and there isn't a specific type of headphone that is best for this because most people don't really go this route.

With regard to what other forums say, they may be talking about things like the Squier strat packs and the like (the guitar and amp bundles). They're... ok values, but its easy to get tired of them. The guitar has a very easy learning curve so you actually progress really quickly and it's easy to outgrow your instrument. I started on a Squier strat pack, and I was interested enough in playing guitar that I used it for about 2 years, but then I made a significant step up. I understand the desire to with an electric first, for a lot of beginners, it's hard for them to really get into playing acoustic guitar. Especially if you mostly listen to rock music.

Also, let me recommend this... buy a right handed guitar. Especially if you are completely new to playing, it won't even make a difference. You will have a ton more options, it will be cheaper and it will make things easier down the line should you stick with it. I'm left handed, I learned guitar left-handed and for about 4 years but when it came time for me to buy a higher end instrument, I found it exceptionally difficult to shop for new guitars (both trying in person and finding the "right" one) so I switched and have regretted not starting right-handed in the first place (in a lot of ways, I found it easier once I got over the initial hump). It will open up your options a ton, trust me on this one.

As far as what guitar to buy, I think the THE BEST value for guitars right now are the Squier Classic Vibe series guitars. They run $350 new and you can find them for ~$250-300 used (they seem to hold their value). They don't have humbuckers though and the stratocasters do have tremolo bridges. I do think they are routed for humbuckers under the pickguard and you can always remove the tremolo arm and block the bridge. They are excellent guitars, I have flirted with buying one several times now and easily compare to instruments several times their price. Take it for what it's worth.
Last edited by al112987 at Apr 26, 2011,
#9
fender mustang I has a headphone jack and sounds quite good, for cheap.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#10
From the looks of it I should try to settle on a Guitar that's under $350. Fair enough. I'll have to go into the store to see the their selection after I get my paycheque.

The Mustang looks quite nice too, I'll go check if they have that when I go in.

Thanks again!
#11
Any low-mid range epiphone will be great. Also a $150 line 6 spider iv would make a great starting rig. That will probably total around $500 USD.
-ltd mh-350fr
-ltd ec-401
-Ibanez RGA42FM
-peavey valveking 112
-line 6 spider iii 30 watt
-pedalz
#12
An update, I ended up spending quite a bit, mostly because to inflated prices of guitars here. For example an American strat is a converted $1100, and that's after a 20% discount.

I ended up buying a Mexican stratocaster. I tried looking for others but left handed really limited my selections, to the point where i can only pick fender. Though I'm still happy with my purchase. Along with that I got a mustang II amp along with a stand and cables.

Thanks everyone for your help!
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Last edited by Kirbyprime at Apr 30, 2011,
#13
you want a left handed guiter? Why? You have never touched one before, so learn right handed, will make buying guitar a lot easier, and probably save you some money IMO