This topic has been on my mind for a while now and I'd like to hear what the people of UG have to say. So how important is good gear for a learning guitarist? Now I'm not talking about you guys with over 20 years experience and who are in big bands that you make a living off ( You guys need big fancy 4 digit rigs ) I'm just mainly talking about young learning guitar players like myself. Let me put things into perspective I'm 14 and my parents are obviously not willing to fork out hundreds and hundreds on my music equipment. I own a very nice Mahogony ESP eclipse with Zakk Wylde EMG pickups, a Peavey Vypyr VIP 2 and a wah pedal. Now I suppose my gear isn't the worst and honestly I love my guitar and I couldn't ask for a better one but that doesn't defeat the fact that I own a solid state practice amp. Even though some people would say I should feel blessed with the gear I have, I still feel discouraged when I come on here and see people bragging about their big 100 what boutique tube amps etc. But there's people in worse situations than me with squier strats and Marshall mg amps or possible no amps at all, Do you believe this would stop them from becoming great guitarists? Idk some people may find a discussion like this stupid but what do you think? What kind of gear did you grow up learning with and how did you turn out? Did slash, zakk wylde or Jimmy page grow up learning with big amazing rigs?
Thread was moved to forum: Guitar Gear & Accessories
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
In all honesty, until your ears develop a few years down the line they won't be able to tell an MG from a JVM. And none of those guys learned on anything remarkable. Really as long as your guitar plays well that is all you need to worry about.

And by the way. I'm a professional session musician and I'm recording with a 84 Peavey Studio Pro 40 that cost under three digits and a couple of distortion pedals. Not everyone is using four figure rigs.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Frankly that's a very nice "Learner" rig. Hell of a lot better than what I tried to learn on years and years ago! You could gig for many, many years with that setup.

Don't take what you read on the internet so much to heart and be thankful of what you do have instead of always wanting something else.
Ibanez RG1570 Prestige
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
For learning, decent quality is good. Having a good action on the guitar you have is really important when first learning barre chords, scales, improvisation, etc. I would rate this aspect higher than the absolute quality of your gear. The more I play, the more I understand the truth to the saying that "tone is in your fingertips."
There's absolutely no relation between "skill level" and "good equipment" cos both are extremely relative. Skill level can be knowing how to play rhythm guitar extremely well(which isnt as easy as most believe) and good equipment can be a cheap MIM Standard Strat, cos these are good bang for your buck guitars.

The only argument against buying expensive gear as a beginner guitar player is that if you decide to quit you end up with a lot of wasted money.
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
I'd say as long as you're guitar is half-way decent (such as, say, a Squier Telecaster) and you have a small bedroom amplifier, you're set. Hell, I'm three years in and I'm noticing how much more practise I get done when I have nothing but my Swede plugged straight into a Vox AC4, a metronome, and a plan in mind.

Honestly, Squier makes high-quality instruments for their price range. I used to own a Squier Bullet Telecaster HS, and that beast would roar through a decent amp and some overdrive. Lots of beginners want those big-priced guitars and such, but an expensive guitar with a little, sub par digital practise amp is the equivalent of moving into an old, decrepit house and hanging a beautiful chandelier in the middle. It's nice... but your house is still shit.

Here's my say: A good practise amp is absolutely essential. Getting cheap Squiers, Epiphones, whatever is fine because as long as they work, they will normally sound nice through an amp that you worked your arse to pay for. I worked my arse off for my AC4 and I'm proud to own it because it makes even a shitty, entry level Aria Pro sound pretty good (which is saying something since it has two very cheap EMG clones that are as sterile a fixed dog. Still can bark and bite, but no real action). As long as you have someone to consult, finding a legitimately good practise amp can be a bit easier, but the beginner has to understand that just buying stuff and expecting Zep tones is impossible without asking for help. Guitar's a fun hobby, but like all hobbies, there are several approaches to buying starter gear and getting information beforehand will yield you the best results.

Sounds like I was trying to help you buy an amp, sorry about that. Hope my opinion and advice is of use.
"My dirt pedals are made of Hulk dick! (and Russian tanks and SRV's urine... which is yellow but full of Blues!)"

Unless your gear is objectively bad- hurts your hands, won't stay in tune, breaks a lot, etc.- the main barriers to improvement will be quality practice time and your innate talent ceiling.
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!
I do think good gear is very important for people learning guitar. But good gear doesn't mean expensive. I consider a CV Tele and an AC4 to be a great starting setup. You can go even cheaper and get great results. I think it's important for beginners to develop their ear, learn the interaction between their guitar and amp and how their playing can get different sounds. Simplicity is should be prioritized at this point so they can focus on their playing. I think beginners should learn on a single-channel amp, a single-pickup guitar, and an overdrive pedal. Limitations force you to really explore what you can do with what you have. I find it strange that beginners learn on high-tech gear that they don't understand. I did too and it definitely hindered me. It took me years to learn some things that I could've learned in a few months. And those things would've made me a much better guitarist. The problem I have with most beginner's gear is that they have too many options for their intended audience. Beginner's don't know what those options do. It also causes them to compensate for things within the amp. They don't learn how powerful just their guitar and fingers are for getting the sound you want. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you can become a great guitarist. Too many wait years to discover those interactions.
Quote by RedShred13
but that doesn't defeat the fact that I own a solid state practice amp.

At this point you descended into the hell of forum horseshit. A solid state practice amp is not a deterrent to becoming an outstanding guitar player.
Honestly, the guitar is far more important to developing your skills as a player; it's the interface between brain, hands and music. You can plug a decent guitar into anything from an AM Radio to an arena system. So it sounds like you're good there.

I was already touring (as a keyboard player) when I decided to learn to play guitar. My first guitar was a Gibson ES-335. My first amp was a solid state Vox Super Beatle (I actually already had it for one of my keyboards). At the moment I have 15 tube amps, but I do most of my practicing through a modeler into a pair of KRK Rokit 8 powered studio monitors -- all solid state. I do most of my non-practice playing through modelers and much larger (but still solid state) sound systems. I like tube amps, but don't believe anyone that you need one to sound good. That's just Bolshoi.
I would say it's quite important. But "good gear for a learning guitarist" may not be good gear objectively speaking. An entry level guitar and a practice 20w amp are not objectively good, but they'll get the job done for you, specially if you're a beginner and can't tell the difference between a $50, $500, or $5000 guitar. As long as it's confortable to play, it doesn't get out of tune constantly, hardware is decent quality and you like it, give it a go.
All that matters is you can make it sound how you want it to and you enjoy yourself.

I went through the massive rig, hugely expensive guitars and swapping and changing all the time for some mythical tone that I never found or whisper it... needed.

I have a more basic rig than most now, a POD for quiet time and a HT1 for the rest.

Nobody needs too end gear, they just want it. Don't get lured into the trap of cork sniffing.

1977 Burny FLG70
2004 EBMM JP6
2016 SE Holcolmb
Quote by Tom 1.0

I have a more basic rig than most now, a POD for quiet time and a HT1 for the rest.

Nobody needs too end gear, they just want it. Don't get lured into the trap of cork sniffing.

My first electric "rig" was 2 Deans, a Korg Px4, and headphones.
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!
Just echoing the thoughts of others, your first guitar, be it electric or acoustic, should look and feel nice, and have a good setup, the importance of the amplification chain will develop as do your skills, opinions and interests. IOW, your present rig will do just fine - until you start to think that there is something wrong with it.
As long as it works and is comfortable to play on who gives a shit. Oh invest in a decent cable like a 20 solar monster from guitar center or something with a lifetime warranty so when it dies you can just go bang done when it craps out on you.
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I'd honestly fap to anything with a set of genitals as long as I find it aesthetically appealing.
I am a bit late but I'll throw my 2c.

I started off on horrible gear...bad Strat copy with neck so twisted that it was just plain awful. It took me several years to graduate away from a reel to reel recorder and get a proper solid state 60 watt rehearsal amp. The only thing I miss from those years is the fact that my dad and a friend of his from his el. engineering days reverse engineered a Boss DS-1 and rebuilt it much better and I ended up having a killer distortion box, which sadly I lost by giving it to a fellow musician for a few shows. The Strat copy did some damage as I learned improper posture and handling and got some tendon damage to boot. I had to re-learn a lot of things after this guitar. Luckily, the next one I got was a reverse headstock Charvel which I still have. I played it so much that it needs a new fretjob, tuners and other repairs. It was my main guitar for quite a few years while I was learning and I played a lot! I moved on to a Music Man from there on, although I have quite a few different guitars that I like.

As far as amps, I graduated to Marshall Valvestate VS10 which was a decent earlier amp, similar to the MG series but built much better, in England to boot! I went to the VS8100 head from there which was quite nice hybrid head, which incidentally Chuck Schuldiner from Death used as his main amp and it served me well for quite a few years and I still have. It didn't quite sound right with its 4x12 speakers but an old ratty 1960a cab from the late 70s made it into one of the best metal amps I've had. Since then, I moved to tube amps and decent to good gear and haven't looked back although while tone chasing I lost that golden ratty old 1960a cab which now I regret.

With that in mind, I guess all those trench stories make for some fun reading or whenever more musicians get together and start drinking it is fun to reminisce about the shoddy first amp or guitar.

Now, if I had to do it again, I think one of my rich spoiled buddies at the time was a little better off than I was. He got a Gibson Les Paul Studio and a Peavey 5150 2x12 early combo amp as his starter pack. I am sure he got better resale value for that gear and the Les Paul probably doubled in price since then. He took care of his gear, unlike the guy I am just about to describe.

There was a kid from a band that played in the same circuit as us and his rich lawyer daddy got him a Mesa Triple Rectifier full stack and a custom shop Jackson. The stack blew up before his first gig because he was such a spoiled brat and forgot to connect his speakers...turned it to 11 and then flipped both power and standby switches at the same time while hitting power chords. It made for nice soundcheck fireworks. Noone would lend him their good amps so he ended playing a backup Crate solid state combo to learn the value of being humble. Then a few gigs later his custom Jackson got stolen as well, so he went through $7k like they didn't exist!

So - it really depends on the beginner. If they are a responsible kid, there is value and even a good investment if he were to get good gear. I think that probably there is a happy medium on just a few notches up from pure beginner gear where a budding musician should start at as the beginner level gear is utter junk. When I was teaching I encouraged my students to look at $400-$600 range for guitars, acoustic or electric, as a good starting point. Most of the time these instruments will hold up longer and could usually be resold for half the price, while the beginner stuff could be just used as kindling. Amps could be a bit more forgiving, as usually the 2nd hand section provides good alternatives that will sound better than what one could get for a brand new amp.

The most important stuff is having a good setup so the beginner could learn guitar properly. Some of the beginner to mid level guitars come with awful fret jobs, but I've cut my hand on a few Gibsons as well, so I think it is also important that you take a knowledgeable person with you when guitar shopping.
Better gear can make you a better guitarist insofar that something that sounds and feels more inspiring to play will help motivate you to practice.

It only makes sense to get the best gear you can possibly afford. And to ensure that it's fit for your purposes. A 100watt Marshall Plexi with a 412 cabinet locked away in a pokey little bedroom is silly.

Don't worry about how your gear stacks up to everyone else's. We all have to start somewhere, and many of us had far worse gear than you currently do when we first started. It's perfectly dignified to be constrained to what you have given your current circumstances. Though if you want better gear badly enough, there always exists the option to do small jobs to supply yourself funds for a better setup. I think if you showed that you're interested to do such a thing, your parents will likely fall over themselves to help you achieve that. It shows that you're committed to doing responsible things. I know it seems lame to have to do menial jobs which take up a good portion of your time, but you'll really thank yourself for making that commitment in the long term.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou

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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Oct 11, 2016,
I would think your current setup is more than enough for the moment. Practice is far more important than expensive gear. Having said that, it's important that what you have keeps you interested and motivated. As others have mentioned, so long as the guitar is of reasonable quality and stays in tune, that should be enough in the early stages.
As long as your gear functions properly and allows you to play, practice, and have fun, then it's fine when you're a beginner.

If your guitar stays in tune, has proper intonation, and has no issues with it's electrical components*, you have all you need! When you're starting out, the most important thing is to learn the physical act of playing guitar and the mental aspect of why you're playing the notes you are. While you will pick up knowledge on gear and tone along the way, these aspects should take a backseat to learning how to play the instrument and perhaps even some basic music theory as you're in in the early phase of playing.

Issues of gear and tone are something you can dive into after you've laid a foundation for yourself as a guitar player. Learning to play is essential before either of those topics really start to become of much importance.

And, you should know that basically everyone, including your heroes, starts out with cheap, sometimes pretty damn crappy, gear. You're in a better place than most, actually, in that aspect.
Quote by Zeppelin71
Umm. . .uh. . .your mom touched sjones' dick. YOUR MOM TOUCHED OUR GUITARISTS GENITALS IN A CAMPER AT A BIKER FESTIVAL! truth.
Back in my day we only had a three string classical guitar with the action an inch off the fretboard.If you finger weren't bleeding after ten minutes you were'nt doing it right.

Seriously though it sounds like you're getting early signs of GAS.Your rig sounds great for a beginner.Think about the music rather than the rig for now.
I was lucky we didn't have forums when i was learning.I was the happiest kid alive when i got my first cheapo Hohner electric and fifteen watt solid state amp.That amp actually sounded ok.
The classical guitar story was true btw but it did have all six strings::
Started off with a cheap pawn shop tele copy and no amp. I used an old tube powered stereo until I found a cheap used SS amp. Neither were a deterrent. From the first week of having the guitar, I knew it was going to be a lifelong thing.

That was almost 30 years ago and still have a guitar in my hands for quite a few hours a week. Sure I have a great collection of guitars and gear now, but I have a suspicion I'd still be playing if I only owned that old tele copy, Guess middle age has its advantages, slightly more disposable income than when in high school
Fleet of MiJ Ibanez
Couple of Balls
Peavey & EVH Wolfgangs
Fender HM Strat
Kemper KPA
5150 III 50w & cabs
I started out with an $80 acoustic from a pawn shop. When I went to take lessons on the first day I bought a case and asked the tech to look at the guitar, he gave the truss rod a turn and that was that. About 8 months later my parents bought me a squire bullet and a cheap 20 watt behringer amp and that's what I learned on for the next 2 or 3 years and it was plenty. Later I ended up getting a Boss ME-50 multi effects pedal, which taught me a lot about effects and such. I didn't get an actually decent amp until I joined a band and had been playing with them for a while.
I have always had the view that if it sounds good and feels good then you will be more inclined to practice. If every time you pick up your guitar you have to re-tune it and the intonation is off because of a dodgy neck, and your amp sounds like a swarm of bees, you aren't likely to enjoy playing as much.

There is a line though, because most beginners up to a point wouldn't even notice half the problems with a crap rig.