Looking for advise on a new electric acoustic guitar and an amp for my 11 year old son. First off I have no musical skills at all. My wife knows how to play the piano. That's the extent of our knowledge on guitars, none. He's been taking weekly lessons for the last three years. He's pretty good for his age. We started him off with a cheap First Act guitar cause we weren't sure if he'd stick with it. After his first recital, my wife and I realized that he liked playing so we bought him a Baby Taylor BT1. For his next recital we got him a cheap pickup Cherub WCP-60G. He makes due by plugging into his karaoke machine. He loves the guitar but he wants something bigger, electric and just better. I know I can walk into any Guitar Center and take their advise but I want something that he will love for at least the next five years. Based on my limited knowledge I researched a few items below. Please tell me your opinions based on the fact that this will be for an 11-16 year old boy who loves playing and singing. He'll be using it for his weekly lessons so 95% of his time playing will be in the house. Twice a year he has a recital. He did just preform in a local talent show that was held in a small auditorium. He says he wants to do more of those shows. Again, I have no bias for any brand so long as it keeps my son's interest.


Electric Acoustic Guitar

Instrument cable


Microphone cable

Microphone stand
I think a Peavey Tube Vyper 60 would be a good way to go. Its a quality amp and its got different amp "models" designed to emmulate various iconic amps and built in fx. Its a great place to start with electric guitar cause you can try out a lot of different sounds and fx to discover what you like and what you dont. The regular vyper or vip will do but the tube Vyper will sound better.

The Vox Valvetronix amp series is also excellent for the same reasons. Its also my personal fav amongst low end modelers and solid state amps.

Guitar is simple, let him pick it.

Also, used gear is where its at. Buying new is for suckers! (Jk, but a lot of us prefer used gear for price and principle).

Edit: sorry, shoulda read op closer.
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Last edited by lucky1978 at Apr 21, 2014,
It appears from what you've posted that he will continue playing acoustic, you just want one with a pickup and that you also want to be able to amplify his vocals?

If that is indeed the case, the Vypyr 60 above, while a good amp for many things, is not what you need.

If OTOH he's looking to branch out to electric guitar, that's a completely different question.

If you could clarify your intent and budget I'm sure we can help.
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Does he really need acoustic preamp? I'd guess most of these places will have a PA system already.
Can he double on something, like a Roland Jazz Chorus? Just thinking out loud here...

Modeling amps would be a good way to go, VT or Vyper is fine.
All, thanks for the feed back.
I researched the Peavey Tube Vyper 60 and the Vox Valvetronix. They're both comparatively priced as the Fishman Loudbox Mini.
However, neither one has a microphone input. My son also sings and is taking vocal lessons. Sorry, I didn't make it clear in my op.
Yes, my son wants to stay with acoustic.
Like I said in my op, he'll be using it for his weekly lessons so 95% of his time playing will be in the house. Twice a year recital and hopefully more talent shows.
As far as new vs used, I'm always looking for a good deal on craigslist. I'm hesitant to drop hundred$ on any used electrical equipment that I buy out of the back someone's van. Also, if people didn't buy new then there wouldn't be any good deals on second hand items, right.
I've played acoustically and sang for restaurant gigs, local charity events, church functions, and various other things. I've always ever plugged into a DI box that ran into the sound board, and ran my microphone directly into the sound board. I have yet to hear an amp that doesn't sound sort of bad unless it was something very expensive, at which point, I would much rather have purchased a mighty fine acoustic/electric and saved the extra money for my electric gear.

Speaking of which, there is nothing wrong with buying used electric gear. Most people buy new without prior knowledge and flip it because it wasn't right for them. On the other hand, if you know exactly what you want ($2,000 item) and it can be found in good condition for say $1,400...time to break out the pocket book and save yourself $600. That might not seem feasible right out of the starting gate, but later on, every musician will find himself scouring the used market from one time to another. It's a marvelous thing really.

The Taylor you're looking at is decent, but also have a look at the Yamaha AR3 series. They really surprised me and they are in a comparable price range.
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Last edited by sg4ever at Apr 21, 2014,
Quote by diabolical
Sounds to me in that case like you need to look into a small portable PA system, maybe even something with a few fx.


and i agree with sg4ever about the 'acoustic amps', i am not a big fan of them.

if your son wants to sing and play acoustic then a PA (or recording interface) is what he needs to improve his skills.

do you want this PA to be gig worthy for his recitals and talent shows? if they already have a PA there then i wouldn't really worry about playing it out then.

do you mind him getting loud at home? a PA will be loud, even a small one.

another option is to go for a recording unit of some type. i live in an apartment and i play through my recording setup more often than i do my standard guitar gear. i just have a mic and run a line in for the guitar and use some headphones to listen to myself.

plus with a recording setup he can record himself. this can be a very powerful tool for self improvement.

mind you a recording setup will be a bit more advanced than an average 11 yo may be able to handle, so maybe a small PA will be your best bet.
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On the amp front... My honest recommendation is something made by AER, the Compact 60 is by far the best acoustic amp I've ever used but pricey.

The mic is a good choice, but also check out the AKG D5, very similar quality.

The mic stand is fairly safe unless you go cheap cheap. I'm a fan of Hercules stands though.

And my honest advice on the guitar is if you want something he'll love for years is to have him choose it. The primary factors in a guitar are how it feels and plays, and how it sounds. None of those things are something you can pick out for him.
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+1 on the recording setup

There are also some small mono powered speaker solutions that can take both guitar and vox, maybe look into this:

There are other slightly larger options as well from other manufacturers, but you get teh idea. I think they call them "busking amps".
Although I agree that a small PA (look at Yamaha) is a better solution than an acoustic amp, all of those choices you made are sound ones and you'd do well with them.

As for the guitar, also a good choice, but really, you have to take it guitar by guitar, especially with acoustics. Let him find the one that he likes the feel and sound of. There are lots of good things out there and often seemingly identical individual instruments will feel and sound totally different. He may like one and hate the other of the same brand and model. Sometimes the cheaper guitar will be the better guitar - you have to play them.
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