I was hoping I could get some help from you guys with getting my FIRST electric guitar. I've been playing acoustic for about half a year now, non-stop, and am ready to make my songs sound a bit meatier. I've read the sticky which has helped a ton, but I still want some more input for something that I'm going to drop a considerable chunk of change on.
The type of music I'm into playing would be light to mid rock, not much heavy metal at all. RHCP, Seether, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins... Pearl Jam is about as hard as it gets for me!
I have neither an amp nor a guitar (or pedals, etc., but im not going to worry about those right now), and I don't want to drop more than $500 on this since I don't think I'll be able to fully appreciate the extra quality that the additional money spent would bring yet.
I think I'd like a slimmer neck to be able to play fast. So before I venture into the music store or begin to shop around, I would like to know if any of you could point me in the right direction in terms fo brand names, styles, etc.

Feel free to ask any questions that could help narrow down the selection and thanks to anyone who is willing to help!
if your not into heavy stuff, I would say a fender strat is right up your alley. the SC (Single coils) will give you that good light tone you seem to enjoy. not to mention many of the lower end fenders are perfect for beginners cause the necks are so soft and easy to play.
amp at your level wont really matter, i would advise not getting such a good one and put the extra few bucks into your guitar, that way when you step up you can choose the amp that will have the perfect tone for you. as it is, if you went out to buy an amp youd probably get a bad one that you think sounds great (cough marshall MG cough)

my suggestion would be something like this..


I would definatly put more money into the guitar than the amp at the stage your at. look around on musicians friend if you need, they have pretty much everything ever made!

Sunburst ESP Viper-400 with EMG combo
Ibanez Talman Elec-Acoustic
1973 Denver Acoustic
Traynor Custom Valve 20
Classic Cry-Baby
Get a good amp...
I promise you, You'll be discouraged if you get a bad amp.
I could make a squire sound amazing through a mesa boogie with effects.
Point being, Its possible to disguise your guitar sound through the amp and with effects.
So that being said.
I'd look at a used Epiphone les paul.
Im not sure what you could get, and the Epiphone galaxy amp, Its all tube, and you can get a 15-20 watt for like 2-3 hundered. Less used.
A fender would be cool if you want to stick to a thinner more defined sound.
Its more of a jangly, punchy sorta sound instead of humbuckers, as a stereotype being bassy, with a decent amount more volume and output.
How that applies to you.

If you buy that epi Tube amp.
Either type of pickups will sound great, But for a more overdriven and distorted sound, Humbuckers are the better choice. You can distort single coils but they're very prone to serious humming and buzzing and phone noises and stuff.
So for a more acoustic LIKE sound, Single coils.

So my final reccomendation for you.
Epiphone galaxy tube amp.
Fender Fat strat.
Its got a nice maple neck, a humbucker in the bridge, and single coils in the neck and mid position. Unless you really want a twangy sound. You probobaly wont use that bridge single anyway.
Its versatile, reputable and easy to play.
Hope you like whatever you get man.
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dont get a blemished guitar, unless your poor... but i think hes right get a strat (preferibbly a HSS strat), theyre good for everything, but you should get a humbucker..
A high-end Squier or a low-end Fender strat would do just fine for a beginning electric ax-slinger.

Also, if your local guitar store carries Austin guitars, check into them. I've been looking at an Austin Telecaster-copy and I love it. The best part is they're super-cheap.. the Austin I looked at was $130.

Hope I helped.
My gear:

MIJ Squier Stratocaster

Washburn WR150 Quilted Top

Oscar Schmidt Semi-hollow Delta King

Epiphone Hummingbird

Amps: Fender Eighty-Five
Thanks alot guys. I think I'm going to have to go with the fender standard strat hss. thanks again for all the help.
^ Ibanez RG321MH is a better guitar, and costs less.
Jackson SL3 Soloist
89' Ibanez RG570
Vader 4x12 Cabinet
Line 6 HD147 Head
6space HEAD/RACK case
Korg DTR1000 Rack Tuner
Furman Power Conditioner
ISP Decimator
Some advice about the amp: If you're just going to be practicing mostly at home,
don't try and divide that money into too much amp. You can get a lot of nice
sounds out something like a Roland Micro Cube. Or, Line 6 Guitar Port you can
plug into your computer. Or, something like a Korg Pandora portable Multieffects
unit you can plug into a stereo.

That will give you a nice variety of sounds to play around with at home practice
^ I agree with Ed about going into the line in on your computer. Just get some type of multi effects processors, make sure they have left/mono and right outputs.
Jackson SL3 Soloist
89' Ibanez RG570
Vader 4x12 Cabinet
Line 6 HD147 Head
6space HEAD/RACK case
Korg DTR1000 Rack Tuner
Furman Power Conditioner
ISP Decimator