#1
I'm looking to get an electric guitar, so I can attempt to learn to play. I tried as a kid, but just never really got into it. Would still love to learn, so I'd like to try again. Definitely, looking to keep it on the cheap end, so I'm not wasting money if it doesn't happen. Just would like to get something that's not total crap.

Budget: Low (less than $200)
Favorite Artists: Metallica, Godsmack, Motley Crew, etc., basically rock to metal.
Preferences: Body style, seams to be double cutaway, not sure about the other options, plus very limited at this price
Pickups: Again, limited by price range
New or Used: Prefer new, I wouldn't be able to tell if the used was junk or not, as I can't play yet.
Location: Southern New Jersey, closest store is Cherry Hill Guitar Center
Current Gear: None

I've been going back and forth between kits or just getting the guitar. The following is a list of what I've been seeing in my range:

Kits
Rogue Rocketeer Guitar Pack
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Rogue/Rocketeer-Electric-Guitar-Pack.gc
Dean Vendetta Guitar Pack
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Dean/Vendetta-Guitar-Amp-Pack.gc
Squier Affinity Stratocaster Guitar Pack
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Squier/Affinity-Stratocaster-Electric-Guitar-Pack-w-10G-Amplifier.gc

Guitar Only
Dean Vendetta XM
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Dean/Vendetta-XM-Electric-Guitar.gc
Ibanez GRX20
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Ibanez/GRX20-Electric-Guitar.gc
Squier Bullet HSS Stratocaster
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Squier/Bullet-HSS-Stratocaster-Electric-Guitar.gc
Rogue Rocketeer Deluxe
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Rogue/Rocketeer-Deluxe-Electric-Guitar.gc

I don't have an amp, so the kit idea sounds good, but I'm guessing the guitar in the kit will be a little crappier. I wonder if I'd be better off, just getting a little better guitar now and waiting on the amp. I was planing on going to Guitar Center to look at them, but they only have the Squier Kit, Squier Bullet and the Rogue Deluxe in stock. Any thoughts? Can I start with just a guitar for now and get an amp later, or do I really need to start with the amp and guitar?
#2
If you're getting an amp and a guitar at that budget then I'm sorry but for that price you're just not going to get anything worth your time. I've never played a guitar under $200 that wasn't crap.

I would wait until you can expand your budget and go used with everything. It's the only way you'll get anything quarter way decent.

You may want to consider something from Rondomusic at that price. You're not going to get anything better for the money.
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#3
I'd honestly pick up something from Rondo Music (dot com) if I had your budget. Remember that most retail outlets (including some online) are constrained in what they can offer in the way of pricing by their manufacturers. And since the larger brick and mortar places need to maintain a profit, the online stores really can't offer anything much cheaper UNLESS they're selling something other than the usual stuff.

With your budget in particular, I'd look at some of the SX and Hadean guitars offered at Rondo.
#4
I'd go with a Jackson JS32 in whatever shape you like. Then save for a Peavey Vypyr VIP 1.
#5
Being a newbie, the tone won't matter too much until you're good enough to start playing songs you like and maybe playing with others, so id say that any of the starter packs would work, as long as its a guitar then its all you need for now
#6
Thanks for the site, I took a quick look. I never heard of SX or Hadean, I'll have to review a little.
#7
Thats a really tough budget to get into any type of music. Simple fact is quality instruments take time to make, labor is expensive.

I'd suggest you find the cheapest amp you can find on Craigslist or at any store nearby. then spend every other penny on the guitar. Save up then buy a new amp. Out of the list you provided I'd get the Squier.
'16 Gibson LP Standard T, '15 Epi LP Standard with 57/57+ Gibbys
Blackstar S1-45, a few pedals.
#9
Quote by PSimonR
There is one electric guitar under $200 - or under $100 second hand maybe - it is a Yamaha Pacifica.

As a beginner I would suggest that you get one without a tremolo arm (or block it).


I do see that GC lists this one for $180 new and has a few used for around $100. If you don't mine me asking, what makes this one good compared to the others in this range?
#10
Quote by falconut
I do see that GC lists this one for $180 new and has a few used for around $100. If you don't mine me asking, what makes this one good compared to the others in this range?


Its just a really good beginner guitar. The higher end models are actually great guitars all around. Because of the HSS setup its very versatile, and they are usually well made, even with the lower price point. Most other low end guitars are hit and miss, but ive never played a really bad pacifica before for some reason. It may very well be, that they have better quality control than the other makers. Anyway, i agree with PSimonR, get a pacifica.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
#11
Have you checked craigslist? There're some insane deals to be had quite often.

And, I agree with the earlier statement about avoiding a tremolo for now unless you're adamant about having one.
Last edited by chaosinsues5 at Jan 9, 2017,
#12
With your budget in particular, I'd look at some of the SX and Hadean guitars offered at Rondo.

I agree with dpellman, Dollar for dollar its hard to beat the stuff coming out of the Rondo stable, Once you get up to the Agile line they're made by World Musical Instruments S Korea, Same company that's making the mid to higher priced BC Rich, Dean, Schecter, PRS,SE Gretsch and a few others. they just cost a few hundred less, Although the way Kurt has the business structured he gets deliveries every 4 months or so , So what's on the site is what there is, and right now the pickings are pretty slim, Might want to wait for the next shipment, Might find yourself a nice little Douglas HSH neck thru for under $200
Last edited by nastytroll at Jan 9, 2017,
#13
I would prefer not to have a tremolo and if it did come with one (most I see have them), I would probably unscrew it, if it comes off.
#14
With a floating bridge, such as a Floyd Rose, you'd need to block it if you didn't want to use it.
Not a biggie, though. It can be done as simply as sticking a small block of wood in the tremolo cavity.

I don't own or play tremolos.

Again, check out your craigslist and let us know what, if anything, catches your eye. A $6-700 guitar for $300 and less isn't uncommon these days.
#15
I did find a used Ibanez SA160QM for $150 locally. It seems to get good reviews and originally a $400 guitar. Maybe this would be a better option.
#16
Quote by falconut
I did find a used Ibanez SA160QM for $150 locally. It seems to get good reviews and originally a $400 guitar. Maybe this would be a better option.


Used is almost always a better option financially, depending on YOUR ability to tell what's still a good guitar and what's not. Price is often not the best criterion. You need to be able to detect if the guitar has level frets, working (not bent up) tuners, original wiring/pickups, etc. Fixing problems can cost you more than the guitar.
#17
Quote by falconut
Thanks for the site, I took a quick look. I never heard of SX or Hadean, I'll have to review a little.


I've never heard of Rogue, either, until the movie came out . I'd never actually played an SX until a couple of years ago, when I tried out an SJM (now renamed the "Liquid"). I've had a lot of success with Rondo's Agile series (and I'm sure you'll hear about those quite a bit going forward), which are exclusive to Rondo. SX, however, seems to be available worldwide.

Of the SX that I've tried, I could recommend any of the "Furrian" series (tele-style), the Liquid, and the Hawk (strat) styles, particularly those with ash bodies (in the $159 range). Rondo carries the Douglas brand, and those seem to come into their own in the large jazz semi-hollow and rockabilly guitars, some of which are spectacularly good for the money, but well above your budget at the moment and outside your genre requirements. When they DO appear on the Rondo site, they usually get snatched up very quickly.
#18
Quote by gorkyporky
Its just a really good beginner guitar. The higher end models are actually great guitars all around. Because of the HSS setup its very versatile, and they are usually well made, even with the lower price point. Most other low end guitars are hit and miss, but ive never played a really bad pacifica before for some reason. It may very well be, that they have better quality control than the other makers. Anyway, i agree with PSimonR, get a pacifica.


The build quality is consistently good as gorkyporky says. They are usually set up at the factory with a reasonable action. The tuners are reasonable. The pick-ups, although not fantastic, allow a number of different sounds - including a twin coil pick-up as well as two single coils. I have a number of guitars (including a very expensive Ibanez made in Japan by their specialists and a stat) but the Yamaha sits next to my settee and I play it every day. They don't look very special but they are good quality for the price and even when you buy a strat or gibbo the yam will be a good back-up guitar to take gigging.
Last edited by PSimonR at Jan 9, 2017,
#19
Falconut, don't let these guys scare you off.

I've heard the Squier Strats are pretty nice. They have starter kicks for around $200, give or take. I bought myself an Epiphone LP Special II starter kit + Rocksmith 2014 a couple years ago on a lark. I already kinda knew how to play, but I wanted to try electric again. For the record it cost me about $200 for the guitar/amp/accessories and I was very pleased. Yeah...the tuners are pretty "meh" and you'll be tuning it more than the guys who have good tuners. Who gives a shit at this price range, right? Tune it twice a night? Cry me a river of tears...takes a whole damn 10 seconds, lol. The strap pegs come loose all the time, but nothing some airplane glue can't fix, right? Plus, since it's a cheap guitar...I felt no inhibitions whatsoever to putting stickies on the fretboard to help me learn

I recommend trying Rocksmith 2014. It was a lot of fun and kinda brought me back to playing guitar, even though I only play my acoustics now.
#20
TobusRex recommends what I did. Buy a guitar and start with something to work on (Rocksmith). I bought an amp later, but for $200, a guitar and amp is really hard to get something good.

But, on that note, if you run across a Washburn RX10 and some sort of Peavy Vypyr (15W or VIP1), you might be able to pull it off for $200.
Guitar/Bass:
Schecter: Damien 6/Stilletto Extreme 5, Squier: Bullet HSS*, Washburn RX10*/WG-587, Agile Septor 727
*mods

Amps/FX
Peavey: Vypyr 30/Max 112 (200W), ISP: Decimator

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Understood- I waste money on amps*, too.

justinguitar.com is the answer
#21
I stopped by GC tonight and checked out some of their guitars, they had a lot of used ones. I found a few that had that cheese grater neck that I was reading about. But the 2 that really stood out by look & feel were a clearance BC Rich Mockingbird One ($139) & a used Epiphone SG Special ($99). The Mockingbird had definitely taken a fall, it had a descent chip/dent on the bottom of the base, very visible. But it had a really nice feel & liked the look of it more in person. When my daughter found the SG Special, I thought something was wrong. It looked brand new, the feel was great and the price was only $99. We tried both in their amps & both appeared to sound good, can't play, so the random strumming we did sounded good to me. I checked some quick reviews & the SG Special got really great reviews for a budget guitar, so I decided to get that one. Only thing was it just came in & they are required to hold all used items for 24 hours, so i had to wait until tomorrow to pick it up.

I picked up a 10w Blackstar amp to go with it, since it was definitely too low a volume without an amp. Hopefully I'll be happy with it. They did tell me they have a 45 day return policy if I didn't like it.
#22
falconut


SG style guitars are a pretty good starting point, particularly at that price range.

Light, easy to play, musically versatile. For a bill, damn good buy.
#23
One thing to keep in mind is a guitar's balance if you intend to stand while playing. My limited experience with Mockingbirds and SGs is they can be neck heavy when standing.
Just something to consider.
I also avoid a lot of pointy guitar shapes on account of balance issues.
Last edited by chaosinsues5 at Jan 9, 2017,
#24
Definitely noticed they were lighter than some of the others. Mockingbird was lighter than the SG. I'll be sitting for a while, it feels much more comfortable. But if I decide to play standing in the future, I'll keep it in mind.
#25
Is acoustic out of the question? Because you can get a decent one for around 150 and you don't have to worry about some crappy amp. If ya want to build a strong foundation acoustic is a good place to start.
#26
On craigs list there are tons of kits from people that tried and failed. I think they give up because the tiny amp sounds bad and they dont enjoy playing. I'd say a washburn, epiphone or squire and a vip1.
Last edited by geo-rage at Jan 10, 2017,
#27
Geo is 100% right. You can find those Epiphone or Squier starter kits on Craiglist for $100, in total. Plus, they are likely to be better set up than straight out of the box (no guarantee though). Just make sure they don't try to palm a defective one off on you.
#28
I have looked on CL & everything even half way decent was expensive. I'm really not into acoustic and have read it's better to start with what you like. There is a 45 day return period, what should I be really looking at for defective. I see they have 3 other used SG Specials on their website for the same price, so I would assume it right on par.
#29
Oh and the amp is a Core Stereo 10: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Blackstar/IDCore-10W-2x5-Stereo-Guitar-Combo-Amp.gc

He showed me a bigger 20W one, but I wanted a smaller, less powerful one. Keep in mind, they I'll be learning in 1 room of a house with other people, so I didn't want anything that would be too loud. From the reviews, it seems okay. I wasn't even planing on getting an amp at this time, but the electrics were just too quite without one.
#30
Epiphone Sg specials are kinda nice. They have features that are kind of unique in that they have only 2 knobs and a output that comes out the front. The front output jack is nice sitting in a chair while playing and you can set it down while still plugged in.
Last edited by geo-rage at Jan 10, 2017,
#31
Quote by geo-rage
The front output jack is nice sitting in a chair while playing and you can set it down while still plugged in.


Good points. I like my Iceman for that reason.
#32
Picked it up last night and proceeded to connect the amp and try some basic chord practice. First thing I noticed was the out jack nut was loose. I remember reading somebody complaining about theirs falling off in an Amazon review of this guitar. I used the 90 end of the cable in the guitar and it kept wanting to point down and kept making the jack swivel. I carefully used a socket to try and tighten the jack nut, but it appeared to keep spinning. I removed the plate, held the jack while tightening the nut and it pulled in back in. The nut tightened up, but never seemed to completely stop. So, tested the straight end if the chord and it seemed to be fine. I'll just keep an key on it, it's a budget guitar and I guess at worst I can purchase another jack, it's easy access.

Now onto the guitar an amp, the guitar and amp have a nice feel and sound (to me). Lots of different options to adjust too. Seems this will work for my purpose. Thanks everybody for the help.
#33
Quote by falconut
I stopped by GC tonight and checked out some of their guitars, they had a lot of used ones. I found a few that had that cheese grater neck that I was reading about. But the 2 that really stood out by look & feel were a clearance BC Rich Mockingbird One ($139) & a used Epiphone SG Special ($99). The Mockingbird had definitely taken a fall, it had a descent chip/dent on the bottom of the base, very visible. But it had a really nice feel & liked the look of it more in person. When my daughter found the SG Special, I thought something was wrong. It looked brand new, the feel was great and the price was only $99. We tried both in their amps & both appeared to sound good, can't play, so the random strumming we did sounded good to me. I checked some quick reviews & the SG Special got really great reviews for a budget guitar, so I decided to get that one. Only thing was it just came in & they are required to hold all used items for 24 hours, so i had to wait until tomorrow to pick it up.

I picked up a 10w Blackstar amp to go with it, since it was definitely too low a volume without an amp. Hopefully I'll be happy with it. They did tell me they have a 45 day return policy if I didn't like it.


Congrats, that's exactly the guitar I was going to recommend for you. I love the SG and it's a very good guitar to learn on because it's light and the body doesn't get in the way like a Les Paul would.

As far as amps (I may get some grief for this) but check out the line6 spider combo, they're $99 new you could probably snag a used one for about $50. They are modeling amps, so they can produce sounds for a lot of different styles and having so many options it isn't something you'll get bored with. If the Blackstar works for you though, that's great you're all set.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"