#1
As you might guess from the title and my post count, I am essentially a complete newbie to guitar who wants to pick it up. I have read the stickied rules posts and the like

Basic info
- I have no gear whatsoever, and so will be shopping for guitar + amp + everything
- My budget is for "everything" (guitar+amp+stuff) to stay under $1,000 (US). Based on the commandments in the rules post regarding good guitars and shitty amps, I figure that means $400ish for the guitar. I am willing to break the budget slightly for meaningful quality improvement. What I don't want to be is That Guy who gets an absurd axe that's way above his ability to appreciate it (the cousin of That Guy who has never golfed and spends $1500 on a set of irons or That Guy who starts biking with a $4500 carbon fiber & titanium setup)
- My #1 priority with the guitar is not replicating a particular sound but instead learning how to play well. A guitar that's good for learning on is what I really want
- I have fairly small hands (I'm 5'6"), so one of my concerns is making sure the neck will accommodate that
- My tastes run the gamut of everything that could be considered rock, from Eagles to Metallica to Rush to Black Keys to AC/DC to Nirvana. My favorites though are Zeppelin/Stones/Clapton/Hendrix classic rock and 90's alt & grunge rock Pumpkins/Soundgarden/Alice in Chains/Foo Fighters. If you forced me to pick a favorite I'd go with the Smashing Pumpkins. I would really, really, love to be able to play "Rocket". My taste for metal extends to Metallica and a handful of Ozzy songs and no further (any metal that requires a subgenre modifier like "Thrash", "Death", or "Nu" doesn't really do it for me. This board seems metal-heavy so sorry to disappoint). My taste for Punk extends to Green Day and no further (and if you are a "GREEN DAY ISN'T PUNK!!! THEY'RE SELLOUTS!!" person then I have very little taste for punk)
- I live in Houston, TX. In addition to several guitar centers there are several other music shops (e.g. http://rockinrobinguitars.com/ http://www.texasmusicemporium.com/ http://evansmusiccity.com/ ) with wide selections and 1997 vintage websites. I assume I'll be able to find what I want. If there happen to be any Texans around with recommendations on where to go I'd appreciate that as well

Given the wide range of styles I'll probably want to try (when I get there), the more versatile the guitar, the better. My rule of thumb on equipment is that I don't want to buy anything I'll move on from inside of a year. On the amp front, sound quality is way, way more important to me than volume. I live in an apartment and so can't really blow out any windows and will not be playing in front of other people until I'm good and ready. I am thinking a small tube-amp fits the bill here.

First, the obvious questions:
1) What guitars should I look at? The advice I've gotten from a friend is one of the Epiphone Les Paul's. I did like the feel of them holding one in the shop
2) What amps & speakers should I look at?

Other newb questions:
3) What are your opinions on Rocksmith as a learning tool? I'm strongly leaning towards using it
4) I'm aware that I'll need to get guitar, amp, speaker, stand for guitar, extra strings, a tuner, and cables to connect all of the above. Any obvious things missing from that list?
5) What are your opinions on if/when to get lessons? My default thinking is to grind through Rocksmith for ~2 months and then do them
6) Between this site, googling, and youtube there seem to be all kinds of instructions available out there. Are there any particular ones you'd recommend? ones that focus heavily on proper technique? (I was for many years a competitive gymnast and one consequence is that I became an extreme stickler for "proper technique" in pretty much any physical activity)

Thanks for any/all help
#2
For the guitar you could look into an Epiphone SG, there's some lower range Ibanez's and also can look into Squier, if you want versatility try a guitar with humbucking pickups, for the amp I'm not so great but I've heard Roland Cubes are good and they're fairly cheap/small, as for the Rocksmith idea, it's a possibility though I'd personally rather just learn songs you like through learning how to read guitar tabs to enhance the more 'theory' side of things, whereas rocksmith would just be following notes onscreen, also it'll limit the songs you'll be able to learn, as for the learning side of things, this website is the right place for the information
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#3
An epiphone guitar could fit you very well. They're good for all kinds of rock and have a tad smaller necks than fender style instruments for example. Just make sure that you get one that costs at least a few hundred bucks, since the cheaper epiphones are pretty bad. For an amp, I think that it's a good idea to start with a modelling amp. Roland Cube, Peavey Vypyr and Fender Mustang are some good modellers, try to avoid Line 6 Spiders and Marshall MG's. Don't worry about speakers just yet

Other newb answers:
3. I wouldn't recommend rocksmith. It's fun, but hardly more useful than normal practice.
4. A pick! Actually, a ton of picks.
5. Get a teacher if you can. Grinding through rocksmith like that is good for a start, but becomes pretty unnecessary after a while. Try to focus equally on technique and theory in your practice sessions, and don't forget ear training. That is the most important part of music. And practice with a metronome whenever you can.
6. Take a look at a book called "creative guitar" by Guthrie Govan. Best self learning material out there in my opinion. Remember, always be super critical about online lessons. Some of them are just crap. You'll develop a skill to spot a good lesson eventually, this site is a good starting point thanks to the rating system. And get a teacher.
Last edited by guitar/bass95 at Jan 10, 2015,
#4
Double post.
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 Jan 10, 2015,
#5
Quote by Plucky11
- I have fairly small hands (I'm 5'6"), so one of my concerns is making sure the neck will accommodate that


I'm 5'7", and my hands are not particularly big, either, but I can play any of the standard scaled guitars out there.

- My tastes run the gamut of everything that could be considered rock, from Eagles to Metallica to Rush to Black Keys to AC/DC to Nirvana. My favorites though are Zeppelin/Stones/Clapton/Hendrix classic rock and 90's alt & grunge rock Pumpkins/Soundgarden/Alice in Chains/Foo Fighters. If you forced me to pick a favorite I'd go with the Smashing Pumpkins. I would really, really, love to be able to play "Rocket". My taste for metal extends to Metallica and a handful of Ozzy songs and no further (any metal that requires a subgenre modifier like "Thrash", "Death", or "Nu" doesn't really do it for me. This board seems metal-heavy so sorry to disappoint). My taste for Punk extends to Green Day and no further (and if you are a "GREEN DAY ISN'T PUNK!!! THEY'RE SELLOUTS!!" person then I have very little taste for punk)


Any guitar styled after one of the classic, mainstream designs- Strat, Tele, LP or SG- will handle most of that stuff pretty well. Those with P90s or humbuckers will handle the heavier stuff a little better. Some Strats & Teles DO come with one or more humbuckers or P90s. Conversely, some HB-equipped guitars can coil-split, which lets them emulate the tones of singlecoil guitars.

1) What guitars should I look at? The advice I've gotten from a friend is one of the Epiphone Les Paul's. I did like the feel of them holding one in the shop


Go for whatever you find is comfortable in your hands and against your body. Comfort will have a lasting impact on your willingness to practice, and thus, your progress. Make sure you get a good, wide strap, too.

Brands I'd look for (new or used): Fender (including higher-end Squiers), Epiphone, G&L Tributes, PRS, Godin, Electra, Reverend.

2) What amps & speakers should I look at?

I think there are 3 main routes:

1) traditional amp: will have 1 or more channels with distinct voicing, but for more radical changes in tones & effects, you need pedals. Among these, I prefer Fender, Vox and Carvin.
2) modeling amp: these have circuitry that allows them to simulate the tonal characteristics of other amps and pedals. They don't work as well with pedals as a result. Most people around here recommend the Peavey Vyper, as I recall.
3) portable digital modelers: devices like Line 6 PODs, Korg Pandoras, Boss Micro BRs, Tascam GT-Rs, and the like do many of the tricks of modeling amps but require use of headphones or plugging into an amp to be heard. Their advantages are that they're small enough to fit in a case or gigbag (so you can practice anywhere, anytime) while providing you with a tuner, metronome, amp & pedal modeling, and usually some kind of recording or computer interface of some kind, all for $99-300. I went with one of these for years before buying an amp, and still use mine all the time.

The other consideration is combo vs amp & cab. Each has its advantages. Amp & cab gives you portability and flexibility over time (want a new sound, you only need change one or the other), but I prefer the simplicity of the combos.
3) What are your opinions on Rocksmith as a learning tool? I'm strongly leaning towards using it

Don't know anything about it.

4) I'm aware that I'll need to get guitar, amp, speaker, stand for guitar, extra strings, a tuner, and cables to connect all of the above. Any obvious things missing from that list?

Metronomes are good.

5) What are your opinions on if/when to get lessons? My default thinking is to grind through Rocksmith for ~2 months and then do them

Lessons from a good teacher will always help. If nothing else, they will help you to avoid developing bad habits you might have to unlearn later.

6) Between this site, googling, and youtube there seem to be all kinds of instructions available out there. Are there any particular ones you'd recommend? ones that focus heavily on proper technique? (I was for many years a competitive gymnast and one consequence is that I became an extreme stickler for "proper technique" in pretty much any physical activity)


I prefer a live teacher you can talk to as opposed to books & videos. They're great, but they generally don't work as well for me.
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!
#6
Don't worry too much about those commandments, they're kinda tongue-in-cheek (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it, it's certainly not that I thought that writing stickies before I had much of a clue about guitar was a sensible idea at the time ).

At the same time with a $1000 budget a decent split between guitar and amp is probably a good idea, at least if you don't have to play at whisper volume when practising.

I don't think you need to worry too much about your hand size (unless they're really small), you're well within the "normal" size and it's more practice than anything else which helps with finger stretching.

just watch a les paul-style guitar isn't too heavy if you're not too big. I'd be more worried about that than your hand size (but then i'm a wuss ).

a fat strat or superstrat (with combination of bridge humbucker and single coil pickups) is a nice versatile guitar (in my opinion) but that's just me. if you prefer the look and feel of an epi les paul then get one, they're fairly versatile as well to be fair.

justinguitar is very good (website) for learning.

a gigbag wouldn't hurt if you're travelling anywhere with your guitar. conversely if you're only playing at home it's not needed at all (if you have a guitar stand, anyway).

pretty much what dannyalcatraz said.

EDIT: oh yeah if you buy a combo amp you won't need separate speakers.
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#7
For 1000 I would get a Boss BR80 it does a lot it is a headphone amp recording studio all in one. Such a great tool and recording ideas is what I like about it also not bothering everyone else in the house. They run about 250$.

Guitars I would probably get another Gretsch Pro Jet or see what I can find used. I just picked up a Ibanez AR 325 very sweet used for 300 dollars they run 600 new so look for some deals. I banez makes some very good guitars I too am not into metal so one of their Artcore or Artist or FR series are great for classic rock kind of stuff.
#8
+1 on Ibanez & Gretsch. Solid brands.
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!
#9
I've bought some starter gear that doesn't get used any more. I'm sure you'd like to avoid wasting money if you can. The amps are the hardest thing to wrap your head around. I'd like to have a Marshall stack and a Fender Twin as well as 10 others, but most of us don't have the time, space or money to get real-deal amplifiers to cover every sound.
You're going to need to make compromises but it's hard to know what you like until you've been playing for a while.

I think that a modeling amp is the best way to introduce yourself to all of the available sounds, but even the best modeling amps can't do all the things that a few of the multi-fx pedals can do.
The Zoom G3 and G3X are multi-effect units that can be bought for less than 200$. The G3X has an expression pedal but they're otherwise almost identical.
You can buy a Zoom G3 instead of an amp and run the output into any powered speaker or PA. It models a bunch of famous amps, it has tons of built-in effects that won't be important to you right now, but will become important in the future. It also has a looper which is a great practice tool and a usb port so you can hook it to your computer.
There are other units that you can buy that have similar feature lists but the Zoom is the only one in this price bracket that has a built-in looper.

Use the pre-made patches at first, and when you're ready to tweak your sound you'll have lots of options available to you.

Guitar - I would definitely look at a PRS SE Custom 24. It's good quality, nice looking, comfortable to play and sounds pretty good.

Rocksmith - only use the 2014 version. The original one has poorly designed menus that wear on you. I think Rocksmith is a great tool to use for the first few months. You're mostly just stretching your muscles and familiarizing yourself with the instrument at that point anyways. Just be aware that it does not teach you to play guitar. It teaches you to play a game. If you rely on Rocksmith too much then you'll be clueless when you need to start keeping time on your own. Rocksmith is like training wheels on a bicycle. Eventually you need to get rid of them.
#10
I got an Epiphone les Paul jr that I got on sale for 89 dollars new from guitar center.
And I got a 10 watt fender front man amp from sweetwater for 60 dollars and a chord.
Total cost was under 200 dollars
Get a Squier Deluxe Strat there good guitars iam geting tis next.
Last edited by Tazz3 at Jan 10, 2015,