#1
I have an eleven year old who has been playing for about 6 months. I know...not long, However......He is very gifted musically and I am ready to spend some money to support his passion. He has been playing keyboard/piano since he was 4 by ear/and reads music, and is playing guitar incredibly. His guitar teacher says he is "a prodigy".

I am looking at buying him a Gibson Special faded SG. I want to add a few other things and need help, as I am clueless.

1. Floor pedal board. Can I get anything good for $300 or so? Is this a natural next step?
2. Recording hardware. I want him to be able to play the keyboard and record. Then play the guitar and overlay it, then drums(keyboard), and vocals, etc. I feel totally overwhelmed on this one. Can I get him something good that will enable this without totally breaking the bank? His keyboard has USB port.
3. Better amp (stack?) He has a Voxx demo 15 amp small amp. I have been told that Marshall has a mini stack that is good for $300 or so. Options?

If I should be looking at something different, please offer your opinions. He plays classic rock primarily and some contemporary Christian.
Thank you in advance. His 11th Birthday is this thursday the 6th.
Last edited by cotterm at Dec 3, 2007,
#2
Well, I can help you out with an amp atleast.
Since he may change his preferences, I would recommend you getting a used peavey classic 30 (around 300 bucks, maybe a bit more), or a fender blues junior. As for a guitar, take him to a music store and have him try out an assortment of guitars. Made in mexico fender strats are affordable, and fun to play. They have a slimmer neck, and an easy action, which would be perfect for small hands.
And the amps that i recommended could handle contemporary christian easily.
But, if he ends up getting into skillet or MxPx or something like that, he may want to get an overdrive or distortion pedal.
Call me Wes.
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Weber MASS Attenuator
#3
it's really great that you're doing all this to support him. just thought i'd begin by saying that.
ok so...
0. (since it's not numbered): i personally have had zero good experiences with the special faded sg. a guitar is a very subjective thing. there are so many great guitars out there, it really comes down to feel. 2 years ago i really wanted to buy an american deluxe fender telecaster, but upon trying it, wound up not liking the neck very much (i should go back and try it again sometime..). for guitar, at least, you should take him into a store and have him try some guitars out that are in the available pricerange. maybe he'll like a strat better, or a tele, perhaps an lp, or maybe he really does like the sg shape and feel.

1. as far as a pedal board goes, i think that this is the most unnecessary equipment (this statement coming from a guy who has a 7-pedal board). effects are great to get a variety of sounds and to experiment, but it really depends on whether or not the guitarist wants to do that. half of the guitarists on this forum are straight plug-into-amp guys. getting a great amp and guitar are far higher priorities. that being said, if he wants effects you can look into a mini multi-effect (such as a boss me-50, digitech rp, etc.). though many people around here prefer a bunch of single effects pedals (myself included), these won't break your bank and will give him a lot of effects to play around with. i had a pod xt live for a while and, though i quickly grew out of the tone and effects it had, it helped me figure out what effects i needed for my tone.

3. a great amp is the #1 piece of equipment for guitarists. 80% of a guitarist's tone comes from his/her amp. this is really important. stay away from stacks, mini or otherwise. stacks with good tone will cost well more than $300. not only that, but the marshall mg series, and the marshall mini-stack, cost well more than they're worth, which is the main problem. perhaps he's a kid and wants a stack because it'd look cool and be fun for him..that's understandable. but if he's serious about music, he'll grow out of it quickly. i'd suggest looking into a miniature tube amp, something small that sounds great. though i still have yet to try it, i have heard countless good things about the crate palomino. epiphone has a miniature stack, the valve junior, which sounds quite good..the main issue is that it doesn't have any equalizer knobs or effects or whatnot for him to play with, so he might not appreciate it as much. it sounds great for classic rock and blues, though, and gets mighty loud. you can also look into a fender blues jr...sounds great, gets really loud if he ever needs it, and can do anything from nice cleans to great classic rock and blues tone, to some slightly heavier gain stuff. used you should be able to find it near your pricerange.
edit: a peavey classic 30 is also a great idea, if you can find one used.

2. this part is hard, recording hardware and software is subjective, there are many possibilities each with its own pros and cons, and recording...it's a bitch to get into. i still feel like a complete n00b about it. though it's far from being the best sounding thing out there, you may want to look into the digidesign mbox2 mini. it's small and comes with protools, which is the industry standard nowadays. though a good protools setup will cost thousands of dollars, it's a good, simple way for him to get started. it only has 2 inputs, which has been a major turn off to me (along with the quality of the cheaper end protools products and price of good protools rigs, which is why i don't have one), but if he's only going to be recording guitar, keyboard, perhaps vocals or bass or whatnot he shouldn't have a problem. an mbox2 mini + a good microphone such as a shure sm57 would be an amazing beginner setup for him, but it'll also cost you about $400 for this recording gear alone. recording equipment gets very expensive. you might want to look into simply getting a little microphone to plug into your computer, and have him record straight into garageband or audacity or any of other various free software. it won't sound great, but it'll do more than enough for an 11 year old. and a computer mic can be found at radioshack for about $10.

hope this helps and good luck! he's a lucky kid.
Last edited by climhazzard at Dec 1, 2007,
#4
i wouldn't buy him that guitar. take him to guitar center, and tell him to play all the guitars he can see. Trust me, it sucks getting a guitar you dont actually liike the feel of. Is there a certain reason for the SG?

some one else will have to help you with the recording

amps: this is tough. how hurt would you feel if in a few years he wants a new one?

pedals: same question as amp
#5
Ok dude, I'm gonna drop you some advice.

amp is > guitar. Your amp gives you 75% (if not more) of your tone. A mediocre guitar played through a great amp will sound good, while a great guitar through a bad amp will still sound bad.

As the guy before me mentioned, the Peavey Classic 30 is a great amp for what your son plays. Also maybe look into a Fender Blues Junior or a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. It's a little more than you said you wanted to pay for an amp, but remember, the amp is 75% of the tone.

Now, the guitar. A Gibson Faded SG is a nice guitar, but could be a little heavy for an 11-year-old. Maybe a Fender? It would better suit his style, and would be easier on his shoulders too. You should take him to a shop before you buy it though, and let him decide which guitar suits him.


As far as recording equipment.....I really couldn't give you any ideas. I've never done any recording yet myself.

Anyways, good luck to your son, and keep him playing! Music is one of the best hobbies a kid can have, and can actually help him make friends and stay out of trouble. (It has for me anyways, I've been playing since 13!)

Good Luck, and Merry Christmas!

Dudetheman
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#6
okay, couple more things...

His current guitar is a Fender Squire Strat. The Gibson special faded SGwas one that he played at GC a couple months ago. He played it, epi 400, in SG and LP. He originally thought he was an LP guy, but decided the SG was his preference. His older cousin works at the GC here and kinda steered him too it a bit, as did a couple of the other workers there. They all literally gathered around to watch him play. I really want him to be surprised, but don't want to buy him crap either. I am getting really confused now.

The MBox 2 mini was the recording hardware I was looking at.
He writes programs and I thought this would be something he would really thrive on.

The MXL 990&991 recording kit was the microphone I have been considering.
#7
Could you put up a vid or a recording of him playing?
I'm not a punk rock hero and you're no fairy princess, just 'cause you're beautiful and I've got a stupid haircut.
#8
Quote by TheAdict310
Could you put up a vid or a recording of him playing?



I have no idea how to do that. I will look into it. His digital camera has video ability I think.
#9
Ok, thanks. If not, it's not a problem, I'm just kinda curious how much he's progressed in such a short time.
I'm not a punk rock hero and you're no fairy princess, just 'cause you're beautiful and I've got a stupid haircut.
#10
You might want to have him try other guitars, the Made in mexico strat is a big step up in playability from the squire, and of course there are other guitar brands he could try.
When I first started I was dead set on a Gibson, I hated every other guitar based on my preconceptions. As I got more experienced I broadened my tastes and tried other guitars, including the one I own, an MIM strat.

I agree with everything that has been said about amps so far.

Good Luck.
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Quote by Jestersage
It's stereo amp, and I don't think it's tube. However, for a stereo amp, it is very good. Don't plug guitar into it; just use it as hi-fi if it works.
#11
As everyone has said the amp means a lot more than the guitar and when you buy him a new amp make sure it is all tube, not a hybrid, and not a solid state. Tube amps sound a lot better and are louder, a 15 watt tube amp is very loud and a stack is way to loud and would probably lead to hearing trouble in the future. So a small tube combo is the way to go.
#12
Quote by cotterm
His older cousin works at the GC here and kinda steered him too it a bit

bad bad bad bad bad.
get him back there, and tell him to play something. leave him alone, dont let an employee near him and let him make a choice based on what is good for him, not what the employee wants to sell. i had a GC employee try to get me to buy a crate palamino v32 or something instead of my blues deluxe cause "thats what i play". i politely told him no, and bought the deluxe. make it his choice

amp id go with a fender blues junior, or peavey classic 30 (i forget the prices, but they are under $400 i believe). they are both good for the long run, until he starts gigging and stuff. maybe a peavey windsor halfstack would be best, but that is a little less than $600, which is pushing it.
#13
Quote by s.r.v.
bad bad bad bad bad.
get him back there, and tell him to play something. leave him alone, dont let an employee near him and let him make a choice based on what is good for him, not what the employee wants to sell. i had a GC employee try to get me to buy a crate palamino v32 or something instead of my blues deluxe cause "thats what i play". i politely told him no, and bought the deluxe. make it his choice

amp id go with a fender blues junior, or peavey classic 30 (i forget the prices, but they are under $400 i believe). they are both good for the long run, until he starts gigging and stuff. maybe a peavey windsor halfstack would be best, but that is a little less than $600, which is pushing it.


Thats great advice, it is often said that "tone is subjective" meaning what some people think sounds good others may not. Your son should play several amps and guitars and pick the ones HE likes best and not what an employee tells him.

Warning: I don't know why but guitarcenter employees try to steer new players into buying spider III line amps DO NOT BUY ONE they are terrible trust me I know I made the mistake of buying one when I was a begginer.
#14
Sounds like you've got most of the right advice so far, but I don't think ANY SG could be considered heavy by any stretch of the imagination. They come in at usually just over 6 lbs; light compared to some(les paul types especially). The only reservation I would have with the SG faded is the neck is on the beefy side. Best thing to do would be take him to the guitar shop and let him play as many in your price range until he find one that feels right to him.
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#15
Quote by climhazzard
. . . an mbox2 mini + a good microphone such as a shure sm57 would be an amazing beginner setup for him, but it'll also cost you about $400 for this recording gear alone. recording equipment gets very expensive.
RECORDING:

There's dozens of $39-$129 USB audio interfaces on the market. The Tascam US-122L is only $129, and does pretty much everything (high-Z, phantom-power, 1/4", XLR, etc.). There are many others from which to choose that also work well.

For miking guitar cabinets, an SM57 would do fine, and is only $100. If you also want a vocal mic, an SM58 is also only $100. Then buy someone's "LE" version DAW software. Cakewalk Guitar Tracks Pro 3 is easy to use and only $100. So, yeah, about $429 (excluding tax and/or shipping) for two mics, a USB audio interface, and some DAW software.

I would HIGHLY discourage you from using your PC's soundcard with some cheap computer mic. Buy at least one decent mic, and an inexpensive USB audio interface, and you'll actually be able to make pretty high-quality home recordings.

By the way, I think Squiers play just fine. I'm probably going to buy a Squier Detonator myself. I would spend the money on a better amp and a decent mic and USB interface before I bought a new guitar.
.
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Last edited by LEVEL4 at Dec 2, 2007,
#16
I think most of the guys here pretty much answered all your questions for you and well.

So i'll just throw in some basic re-statements.

-1) Let him try the guitars and don't have anyone especially an employee try to steer or push him. There are lots of good brands and styles out there, I imagine for they classic rock he plays any sort of SG/strat/LP/tele could be worth trying. SOme of the high end EPiphones form the Standard on up are known to be nice guitars, but you have to play a bunch to find a good one out of duds.
The faded series like the Epiphones can be hit and miss, you need to play these guitars mainly because even if the product is the same, a guitar can differ individually from feel to playability and weight. SO the only real way to find a good one is to just play it and find one you like.
Same goes for the Fenders but their MIM guitars have been quite good and they're definitely worth trying.

2) The pedal board though it's fun isn't needed and for someone who's just starting with guitar it can be a waste of money. The thing here is that, guitarists usually need to have an idea of what effect they want and in some cases a player might not use any, while another could have a 4 foot long board. In you son;s case you can't be sure what effects he would like or need, so spending the money instead on a good amp or guitar will make more of a difference. Then as he progresses he can get more pedals.

As far as effects someone mentioned the multi FX units which are great, they aren't the best quality of effects, but they are a good introduction for the player and gives them an idea of what sort of effect they would want later on.

If you still want single pedals which are pretty good get some simple basic ones. Such as an overdrive/distortion, maybe a chorus/delay type pedal.

3) They have said it before and i'll say it again avoid the Marshall MG, overpriced and you'll want to replace it pretty soon. As much as these amps look good, they are mostly high priced cause of the brand name and looks.

Your son might either like a modeling amp or a small tube amp.
Explaining this could take an essay so i'll just try and sum it up.

Tube amps
are usually considered the best possible route for overall sound quality and I would recommend you get that. They're fairly limited in sound and there's very little versatility but for classic rock, blues and some nice cleans these amps are ideal.
Most guitarist will use a tube amp with pedals like overdrive and delay to get the sounds they want and versatility.
Another good thing is that a tube amp sounds good when turned up and loud, that's how they get overdrive as the amp volume goes up it begins to distort.
They can be loud though even the 5 watt ones.

Modeling amps, these are basically solid state amplifiers which try to emulate various tube amp sounds with preset models. Many also have lots of effects built in. They can be very versatile and in most cases you would just need the amp. However beyond that as they are SS amps, the sound can get harsh and unpleasant when turned up and once your son starts jamming with others and playing loud, he'll probably want to replace the amp.

I'd say go with a good 15 watt tube amp as you could probably get some good use out of it, form practice to jams and pedals can always be added later for effects.
Some good brands like the others mentioned from $100 to $400 are the...
Crate V8 or V16
Epiphone Valve Junior
Fender Pro Junior

If you look used or raise your budget a little more there are...
Peavey Classic 30
Fender Blues Junior
Crate V32

If you do go with modeling some good budget ones are the
Vox Valvetronix series amps. The ad30vt is very good I have one myself.
Or the Roland Cube series though i've never tried one users on here have said it was good.
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Last edited by zeppelinpage4 at Dec 2, 2007,
#17
I just read through and all the advice seems sound. I would just like to make a suggestion as far as a guitar goes. an Ibanez SZ series guitar. slim neck, light weight and pretty versatile.
Guitar
Lyon LI15
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Bass:
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#18
Quote by Guitarplaymetal
I just read through and all the advice seems sound. I would just like to make a suggestion as far as a guitar goes. an Ibanez SZ series guitar. slim neck, light weight and pretty versatile.

I would second that. Either that, or an RG, but "S" body style is pretty thin+light, which is nice for a kid of that age, and the necks are quite thin, which is a definite bonus
Gear:
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ISP Decimator
Krank Kranshaft
Boss BF-2 Flanger
BBE Sonic Maximizer
#19
I bought him the following:

Gibson SG Menace
Fender Blues Jr.
A few boss pedals; distortion/overdrive, acoustic simulator (he loved it in the store), and chromatic tuner.

I appreciate the help that was given to me here. He played many, many guitars over the weekend and just loved the Gibson SG. I was going to get the special faded, but rethought it based upon the opinions of many.

Thanks again. Matt
#20
Great choice of amp, the tuner was a good call, and the other Boss pedals are fine. No opinion on that model of SG, I've never played it.

Just an idea for future reference: there's a HUGE selection of AMAZING pedals outside of the Boss/Digitech ranges. They just take a little looking for, because GC dosn't stock them!