Hi everyone,

This is my first post here so I'll give a bit of backstory to the situation (skip to the 2nd paragraph if you can't be bothered ). I've been thinking of taking up guitar for the last 6 months, my house mate has played guitar for the last few years and this has made me want to take up a new instrument (I can't play the piano at uni). I had a few lessons in guitar at least 7 years ago now when I was young and lost interest which I regret. So here I am about to take the plunge again and buy a new guitar (and conveniently it is my birthday in a week).

However here's the catch 22, from what I have read on these forums you really should try a guitar before you buy it in order to see if you like the feel of the instrumnet? However firstly there are no really decent guitar shops around this neck of the woods and secondly if I have never properly played a guitar before how am I supposed to test the feel of one out? Which leads me to the question of does it really matter as a first time buyer to get a feel for a guitar if I don't know what I'm looking for? If I buy a guitar with soft strings that are easy to push down then that's a win, but if I don't then surely it will just mean that my fingers will get stronger faster, even if it will take slightly longer to learn on?

I've been looking at a Epiphone SG Gothic G-400 which has gotten amazing reviews from what I've seen (Mostly 9/10) and my housemate seems to think there may be one of these in our local guitar shop that I could try out (I am aware that every guitar feels different).

As far as the amp goes I have the option of buying my housemate's old CRATE 15 watt amp for £40 (cost him £85/90 originally) since he has recently bought a new amp.

Any help or alternate choices would be appreciated. My limit is £250 for the guitar, or possibly buying a slightly cheaper guitar and adding some money to the funds for a new amp.

Thanks for the help.
Get a better amp and a cheaper guitar. A good amp makes a huge difference.
Status: Taken.
I went through more or less the same dilema. I wanted to learn but couldn't be arsed. I ended up buying a Tanglewood copy of a strat to get the basics down and upgraded to a BC Rich Warlock platinum 6 months later.

The only thing I'd suggest is start out with something cheap then if you get bored/lose interest/get pissed off and smash it up you won't have lost anything.

You can always upgrade to a better one when you decide you enjoy playing.
Thanks for the advice.

So I should spend £100 on the amp and £200 on the guitar or something like that maybe?

Or just go cheaper all round? (Although I'm pretty sure that I'm going to stick with it this time, bit more mature now).

What about getting a decent guitar for a lower price because it's 2nd hand on something like ebay? Or buying a brand new guitar but getting a decent amp cheaper through ebay?

Sorry for the numerous questions, I just hate it when I have no idea what I'm doing .
buy a fairly expensive first guitar, or else after two months with a cheap one, you'll want a new one but wont have the money.
when im with you, there's nothing I wouldn't do, i just wanna be you're only one. im gasping out of straws, taken aback by what i saw that night before when we were all alone...
regardless of what you get, make sure that it plays well. Have your friend come with you to buy it. Have him play the ones you like, if he says yeah it looks good, but it plays like sh*& i am assuming that you would trust his opinion. I would not say buy a more expensive guitar, but don't go ultra cheap either.
Travelled to the local guitar shop with my guitaring friend earlier on and saw a Epiphone G-400 in cherry red which I just love.

The guy in the shop told me how SG style guitars have a playing position that is more forward than other styles of guitars and that I should have a look at other styles also. I tried some Fenders and Ibinez guitars and could see what he meant but loved the SG playing position.

I tried a chord or two and plucked some of the strings. The strings were really easy to push down and far enough away from the neck and frets to not rattle. My friend played on it and said he was surprised at the quality of the sound (he doesn't like SGs) and couldn't find anything wrong with it (he then went and bought a £500 Martin Accoustic which made me laugh). The bright cherry red colour is better than the all black style of the previous G400 I linked in my opinion, nice and distinctive.

So now that I've actually held one I'm set on getting an SG, it was really comfortable to sit with, guy in the shop said he rated the guitar quite well, especially for a starting guitar and my mate agreed with him.

The only problem is; in the shop the guitar cost £329. Now I don't mind playing the extra £80 on top of the budget I set earlier to get the one in the shop if you people think it's best to buy a guitar I've had a play around with. However looking around the internet it seems that I can pickup the same guitar for about £220 or so. Do you think I should go with the one in the shop or get one from the internet? From your experience is there really much difference between different guitars of the same model? (I understand that the differences on electrics are marginal if any when compared to accoustics? Might have picked up some wrong info though).

Thanks again.
Last edited by anon52 at Feb 27, 2007,
I too am a guitar noob ! I picked up a squier from my bro about 4 months ago and started making horrible sounds with it. Last month i picked up a used jackson dxmg for $299. Its in perfect condition and has dimarzios in the neck and bridge. I am in love with this ax.
My suggestion is to buy a cheap amp, and a good reasonable USED guitar that suits the music that you plan on playing. Here's why: 1)If you pay a fair price for a good used guitar chances are if you find you are not into it again you can sell it for near what you paid. If you buy new it will depreciate as soon as you walk out the store.
2) the guy who posted above saying to buy a good amp and a cheap ax is retarded; as you first learn the guitar you need to learn to play clean. any decent cheap amp will provide you with a clean channel to hone your skills. You dont play an amp you play a guitar. You need a good working relationship with a good guitar that you like , then buy a good amp.

Finally, research the hell out of the guitar you want to buy, Dont buy anything sight unseen. a used guitar could have all kinds of problems that pics wont show and dont be afraid to negotiate!
hope this helps,
Don't feel bad for asking questions You want to get your moneys worth. As one person said, have your friend come with you. Your first guitar will probably (from what I've experienced through my own playing) be part of what style guitar you like having, as far as neck settings and such. I like the SG I've been playing, though it's 40 years old so I'm not sure if they're changed, because of how thin the neck is. That thin neck is really nice when starting out I think too, because it will be easier to move on.

Second: Don't let price judge what you buy. I've played many guitars that were absolute shit that were expensive. This is where your roomy will come in. He can help you decide what's good and what isn't. Be aware that you guys will probably have preference differences over the course of time. You could also ask him if he'd mind letting you use one of his guitars for a while to learn on, and maybe the amp too. Personally, I don't think that you'll need an amp in the beginning. It's not really a necessity at this time, though you could buy it if you wanted to. Whatever you do, make sure you don't play with distortion right now because you will still be developing. The reason that I say this is because distortion hides mistakes from you. You don't want this, because you want to develop as much technique as possible. Once you've got some good technique down, then you could use distortion, but right now, it's not a good idea.

Now I know that the point kind of shifted over the course of my post, but there was reason for it. Now obviously you can do what you want, those are just advisories. Again, don't feel bad for asking questions. If you're going to spend $200+ dollars on something, and you're going to devote your time to it, you want to know as much about it as possible.

I hope that my post has helped you (or anyone reading for that matter), and would like to wish you good luck with guitar playing I've only been playing about a year and a half now and I think it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done.
Got Death Magnetic a day early!

The Low-Cardinal of Zeppelinism - If you're a diehard fan of Zeppelin, join Zeppelinism here

Winner of the "Biggest Led Zeppelin Fuck" award in the CR forum (2 years running!)
Thanks for the advice Fuzz and Page. Much appreciated.

I've been looking at a cheap Line 6 Spider III 15 Watt amp that I can get for £40 instead of my mate's amp. He says this is a model below his new amp (His is the 75 Watt version) and would be a good buy since brand new the 15W costs about £100.
Absolutely take your friend with you when you shop. Even though he may play a bunch of guitars for you make sure that you hold and play each one weather he likes it or not. He will be able to give you his opinion but the bottom line is you still need to feel comfortable with the guitar. Also dont be overly concerned about the "softness" of the strings or the ease of pushing thewm down. A good tech can customize the set-up of your guitar to your liking in about 15 minutes and most guitar shops will provide this service for free when you purchase a guitar. Amps...I could go several ways on that topic. I guess the best advice I could give is dont be overly concerned with wattage. At this point you wont want to play that loudly. If the amp gives a pleasant tone at lower volumes you have a winner. Have your friend play through a number of amps but trust your own ears. You will be the one who listens the most to the amp. Best of luck and dont give up. Somethings will come easy to you and others will take more time. The hardest part of just starting is you are limited to what you can play. As time goes by and you learn more things practice will become much more fun. Again, best of luck...
Oh, I forgot to say this earlier. You won't be able to actually play anything for a few months. It'll be pretty repetitive practice. Another thing is make sure you learn how to sight read sheet music. That's a good thing to know how to do.
Got Death Magnetic a day early!

The Low-Cardinal of Zeppelinism - If you're a diehard fan of Zeppelin, join Zeppelinism here

Winner of the "Biggest Led Zeppelin Fuck" award in the CR forum (2 years running!)
hi & welcome to UG. unfortunately this forum isn't for guitar discussion. we have several forums for that purpose, such as guitar & bass basics. please discuss guitar there in the future.
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