#1
Hi all,

Graduating from college in a few weeks and after 2 long years of saving up, I have about $600 set aside for a first electric guitar and amp to congratulate myself for all my hard work and tens of thousands of dollars of debt accumulated..

Naturally, I've been doing my homework to the best of my ability, and have established the basics, such as something with some oomph for the stuff I'd like to slowly learn overtime when I'm not learning the basics (stuff like Rammstein, Godsmack, AC/DC, probably a lot of relatively "simple" chord-based rock) and low action for a noob such as myself. A few old friends who have been playing for many years suggested ESP as the way to go, given my budget and interests, in general.

My dollar limit for the guitar itself is $300 retail, since I'll need some money left over for amp, accessories, and whatnot. I'm firm about that, as I'm a fool for wanting to treat myself despite how broke I am with regards to other aspects of my life. However, I recognize that you definitely "get what you pay for."

So naturally, the main focal point is balancing price and quality. I can't afford something crazy expensive, but I also know that I need to make a fair investment for the sake of my enjoyment and the reliability of my very first guitar. I like the ESP single cutaways, and given my budget, it boils down to:

  • ESP LTD EC-10 for $189
  • ESP EC-50 for $219
  • ESP LTD EC-100QM for $279


They all feature near-identical specs, such as bolt-on maple neck, basswood body, rosewood fretboard, 24 XJ frets, etc. I've read reviews and watched videos, but these are obviously experts who already know what they're doing and could probably make a Best Buy guitar sing if their life depended on it.

Thanks for reading this far...sorry about that. Any advice?

Much appreciated,
-Hack
#2
Your amp is where most of your tone is going to come from, so don't be afraid to put more money into that. I haven't played any of those guitars but the specs are very similar and they would fit your genre so just pick the one you like. If you can live with the looks of the EC-10 that's an extra $100 for your amp.

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#3
I would go for the EC-100QM as that seems like the best quality, I haven't played that specific model but I have played lots of ESP's and they make good instruments, and you can buy the more expensive guitar and still have money for an amplifier, but you can't go wrong with a ESP, at least in my opinion. as for the amplifier I have to recommend the Peavey VIP series, you can get the VIP 2 40 watt or the VIP 3 100 watt , and they are fantastic little amps, all the effects you could ever want and you would still have money left over for other gear. Eventually you can buy the Vypyr Sanpera 2 pedal and that opens up a whole new world with that amp as well.
Also keep your eyes open for sales on different websites, sometimes they have awesome deals and you can get really good gear for cheap.
#4
I would buy a nice guitar and a little interface so you can emulate guitar amps with your computer. It would be a better investment in the long run. If you go for crappy guitar and crappy amp you will have the need to upgrade sooner or later, why not save yourself the trouble (and some money)? My suggestion: 450/500 bucks for a guitar and the rest for an interface or something.
#5
Quote by jhymadesh
I would buy a nice guitar and a little interface so you can emulate guitar amps with your computer. It would be a better investment in the long run. If you go for crappy guitar and crappy amp you will have the need to upgrade sooner or later, why not save yourself the trouble (and some money)? My suggestion: 450/500 bucks for a guitar and the rest for an interface or something.


This is not a bad plan at all. If I were starting out again I'd spend more on the guitar and gotten something like an interface or a modeler with more tonal options and effects to play with than the Peavy Backstage I started with. It will help to keep you interested and give you the opportunity to experiment with different sounds while you are training your ear and finding effects you might like to invest in when you upgrade your amp (if you play for any time at all you'll end up with GAS like everyone else around here). Most around here used to suggest the Roland Micro-Cube as a good starter amp. I have a LTD H-200 that was my first guitar, which is a really good guitar for what it is, but my Epiphone Dot is just a lot better. You may look at going used on the gear, your money will go a LOT further.

apparently UG's only type O-


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Thanks jb_designs.
#6
Quote by jhymadesh
I would buy a nice guitar and a little interface so you can emulate guitar amps with your computer. It would be a better investment in the long run. If you go for crappy guitar and crappy amp you will have the need to upgrade sooner or later, why not save yourself the trouble (and some money)? My suggestion: 450/500 bucks for a guitar and the rest for an interface or something.


Completely agree with this post. The common advice on this forum is to split the budget in half when it comes to buying guitar and amp, but I mostly do not agree. When it comes to $2000 budgets, sure. But on a $600 budget the only thing that will happen is that you will end up with both a bad guitar and a bad amp.

For $450+ you could however end up with a pretty decent guitar. (That is, Ltd EC-400-series and up) and as this guy has said, I would suggest a Line6 UX-1 or similar which is fairly cheap but decent as a practice amp together with a computer and good speakers or headphones.

Go for a used guitar rather than a new one, and you could get a good guitar for that kind of money. There are also good sales now and then (I bought a Schecter V with 50% off a couple of months ago).
"Your signature can not be longer than 250 characters."

How you know you have too many guitars...

Apparently once also known as PonyFan #834553.
#7
I started with a cheap guitar and amp and upgraded them years later... The funny thing is my current gear, which is fairly decent, has cost me the same as my starting gear. Going for a used guitar and using an interface (I can recommend the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, great quality, not too expensive) for amps is the best option to start out imho. It'll make it easy to tell which tone you like the most and thus what expensive amp you want to save for, aswell as letting you use all effects and even allowing you to record. Only thing you need is a decent computer, but most people have one good enough for simple amp modelling.

TLDR: Get used guitar and interface
#8
Unless you have gigs, I would get the best guitar I could afford and a small MG10 or a pignose and practice or jam to my hearts content.
I actually used a pignose on an album in 1975.

If you have gigs lined up, a nice Pro Jr is more than loud enough and can be had used for $175 - 200 which would leave enough for an MIA strat or something of that quality.

Look under the pickup trucks mirror.
There was a crowd of 4,600. More than loud enough, and with the right OD you can have any sound you desire.
#9
Thanks for the feedback everyone, lots of great stuff so far.

I was actually considering the Vypyr VIP 2 simply because I'd be able to toy around with different models to create all sorts of sounds, which seems more intuitive with a physical amp I can touch and feel and mess around with. I obviously am a total beginner, so no gigs or anything of that sort for me.

Can someone maybe explain the advantages of an interface versus a relatively well-liked amp such as the VIP 2 with all its settings and options? I don't have a super high-powered computer or anything, but obviously it'd be worth a shot considering...maybe an example link of a common interface set-up to better understand it?

Thanks again guys.
#10
I have experience with the Line 6 UX1.

Plug in the guitar into the UX1, plug the USB cable from the UX1 into your computer, install and start Pod Farm (amp simulator software) - play guitar through computer-speakers/headphones and mess around with settings in Pod Farm.

Only one option of many, but this is basically how it works.

Pod Farm has virtual amps to choose from, cleverly named after the real amps they are modeled after, complete with virtual knobs to tweak. There are also effect pedals and the option to design your own effects chain and save it.

The advantage?

You can record what you are playing directly into a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) like Cubase. (Some kind of DAW is likely included in the package with the interface.)

The interface option is probably cheaper if you already have headphones/speakers and a computer.

With that said, the Vypyr VIP does look good. It basically has the same functions as an interface via the USB, so the difference is basically the speaker and knobs on the actual amp.
"Your signature can not be longer than 250 characters."

How you know you have too many guitars...

Apparently once also known as PonyFan #834553.
#11
Is there any ever any delay between what you play and what comes out of the laptop speakers? Or does the interface software ensure that isn't an issue?
#12
Depending on the sounds card and the software used etc, there can be significant latency issues.
#13
Quote by AngryHatter
Depending on the sounds card and the software used etc, there can be significant latency issues.


If you use the $0.50 soundcard in the computer you will get a couple of hundred ms of latency, so you have to make sure that the interface is set as the soundcard. Then it depends on if your computer can handle the software.
"Your signature can not be longer than 250 characters."

How you know you have too many guitars...

Apparently once also known as PonyFan #834553.
#14
I can't see my stock laptop being able to handle something that strenuous. Although, I've heard that people have issues with the USB-out recording from the Vypyr amp itself as well...is one option more feasible (or rather, likely to be successful) than the other, dollar amounts aside obviously? I'm willing to give either option a try if they can each work correctly with some settings/set-up adjustments..

(I'm sure my actual "recording" adventures won't be for a while yet but I would like to try it out someday and test my video editing skills as well..)