I'm looking to get my first guitar pretty soon and I'm pretty certain I'm going for the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Pro in Honeytburst or Desertburst finish. Most of my favorite players seem to play Les Paul guitars, so it seems like its the rational choice.

My problem is deciding on what amp to get. I live in a duplex so volume is a big restraint. I've read a lot of amps have to be played pretty loud to get the best tone out of them. I was thinking of possibly going the amp modeler route on the computer with headphones/speakers. I have a nice gaming PC that would be more than capable of handling that task. I also have a pair of AKG Q701 headphones that are super nice that should go well with this idea. Only question is, do I need one of those audio interfaces to plug in? I already have a Soundblaster Z sound card, is it possible to plug in via that way?

Also, which is the best modeling software if your opinions? I've read about Guitar Rig, Amplitube, and Bias amps. Any others I should consider?
I've never gone the software route, but the Line 6 PODs are pretty awesome through headphones. Avoid their amps like the plague (have no idea how the can go so right with their stand alone modelers, yet fail so hard with their amps), but the POD series is great. I'm in the same boat as you living in an apartment complex, and use a POD HD500x with a set of Audio Technica ATH-M50X headphones and it sounds amazing (they charged up the headphone out on it and it is loud as hell, and sounds great). It also has a mp3-in to jam along with songs, which is fantastic. If that's a bit out of your price range, I also have a Line 6 Floor POD Plus that I would recomend, that the same features, albeit much less selection and lower quality simulations.

As for the guitar itself, that will be a personal preference. As a new player you really won't know what feels most comfortable to you yet. If your heart is set on a Les Paul clone, Epiphone is a decent way to start and not spend a ton of money (personally don't like the play/feel, but many others swear by them). Ibanez, ESP/LTD, and Jackson, among many others also have some nice LP clones at decent prices that you may want to check out.
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Last edited by tc1072 at Nov 27, 2016,
As Gaming PC's are pretty fast on they're own and the sound cards are usually top of the line, I'd still suggest an interface, Actually had this conversation on another thread here, Seems the kid had a 1000w surround sound system for his PC and a crappy little 10w practice amp, So which of those do you suppose will sound better? Kind of a no brainer right? The reason I say go with the interface is most today come with some type included recording software and plugins designed and tested to work with them. Granted your PC's sound card is most likely plenty capable of handling the job, they're could be some conflict if your not adept at setting everything up to play nice with each other, You could try a simple USB to guitar cable and if not pleased you wont be out a lot of cash, So in this case its a live and learn lesson for you, If you like it that's great, If not you go on to the next option, The reason we use an interface is most PC sound cards are not fast enough, meaning latency issues, an interface resolves that issue, as it is its own sound card and comes with all of the required drivers and such, Plug and play so to say, Me? trying to download a DAW make my SC work with this or the other thing, Dear stuck in the headlights look. You on the other hand, Piece of cake. Me? knowing the difference between a 6L6, EL-34 5885 or 5U4G, sure not a problem, You? most likely have no idea what I'm talking about , Modeling software? Yea they all do pretty good these days, just a matter of trying them and figuring out which you like best
Blackstar HT-1R. BEST low wattage amp on the market.
Some see the glass half full, others see the glass half empty. Me? I see that the glass is refillable.
Go with computer software. You can get started with an inexpensive Instrument to USB cable (like what comes with RockSmith) and then upgrade to an interface later on.

I like Peavey ReValver for the software as the user interface is straight forward and there are a ton of good sounding presets out of the box. You can just pay for what you like so you control the $.

Software like what this website offers or Guitar Pro for playing tabs is also a valuable tool. I'd include it in your budget.
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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. . .