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Beginners first kit - insanity inside, questions abound!

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msh
 msh
(@msh)
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Joined: 13 years ago
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Topic starter  

Greetings, GN residents!

I've decided that I need a positive creative outlet in my life, and it so happens that "Learn to play electric guitar and make some devil-music!" was on my ToDo list for the next 10 years. So I decided to kill two birds with a single stone (no birds were hurt in the process).

I've done some preliminary reading - picked up some basic terminology and theory - and so far I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to learn at least some basic stuff and enjoy myself in the process. Credit where credit is due, articles on GN are very informative and helped me greatly, more so in the future, when I get my hands on an actual guitar and start practicing.

With that said, we've arrived to the point of this post: I'm putting together a basic kit for myself and I could desperately use a couple of pointers, or prods, or nudges, in the right direction. You get the idea. :D

What I've got on my list so far:

Guitar: Epiphone Les Paul Special II
Positive reviews, and generally regarded as a good all around guitar for beginners from what I've gathered. The price won't force me to become an organ donor, either. I like the look and I don't need anything fancy at this point. So it seems to fit the bill. Is this a good choice? What are the alternatives, and what specific models you'd recommend for a beginner?

Amp: VOX amPlug AC30
This, paired with a set of decent headphones, should spare me the wrath of my neighbors as I practice into the wee hours of the morning. Gets good reviews all around. I've figured that this should be enough to allow me to learn. My question: is it possible to achieve the same effect with a box amp, e.g. guitar -> amp -> headphones, no other output then to headphones? I see that most box amps have an output option to 'phones but does that eliminate the standard output or is it parallel?

Tuner: Ibanez MU40
I figured that I'll need it while I learn to tune my guitar by ear. Comments?

Misc.: Strap, jack-jack cable, set of spare strings, few different picks, stand.

What do you folks think? Should this be enough to get me started or am I going overboard? Bad choices, good choices?

Thanks!

(This came out longer then expected -- I do tend to ramble. My apologies!)


   
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lue42
(@lue42)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 356
 

I had a Special II as my first electric, and liked it a lot. My only issue with it was that it didn't stay in tune very well... I had to tweak it often. But, it wasn't a big deal. I would recommend it. At that level, it is hard to go wrong with any guitar. In my opinion, anything Yamaha would be a good choice too... they make some great beginner guitars.

I also currently own a Vox amplug AC30 and recommend it to anyone that will listen. One thing neat is, if you are being budget conscious, you can plug a pair of computer speakers into the Amplug and actually get some decent sound. Don't expect room filling volume, but it works. Although there are some very good budget amps out there (ie. Fender Frontman 15R (not the G), your choice of a headphone amp is good, in my opinion. I wish I did that first, rather than wasting my money on a cheapo amp that was all I could afford at the time.

Any tuner is good and is definitely required. Tuning well by ear is a long way off.

I would also recommend a guitar stand (floor or wall mounted) as you should never lean a guitar against a wall, and you will need somewhere to put it.

Also, get an extra set of strings... nothing worse that being without a spare set when the stores are closed and you break one. At the very least, but a "single" high E string - most stores sell singles. Actually, you should be able to get the store to throw in a set.

Also, I frequently see the Special II as a kit (gig bag, tuner, etc)... so look for deals on this and other guitars.

A strap is something you can get later, so if you are budget conscious, you can leave that out. A few different thicknesses of picks are good too. The Dunlop Nylon are good... they (and others) have the pattern on the surface that helps you hold them.

A cloth of some kind to wipe down the strings after practice - I use a cheap microfibre one - you don't need a "guitar cloth"... I got mine for $2ish at Walmart

And, finally, get a good "method" guitar book. I highly recommend the Hal Leonard Guitar Method books. They are cheap (<$20 for the set of 3+CD's). It will help you get started.

And, you have found the right web site... there are lots of great lessons and songs to learn on this website.

If you know a current player, then get them to help you find a used guitar (craigslist or kijiji are good places to look). Beginner guitars are a dime a dozen and you can find some great deals out there... but, you realy need to know what you are looking at, and if it is in good shape. If you are "alone", then buying new is probably a good choice.

Good luck... it is sometimes very frustrating, and many times very rewarding. Keep at it. Practice every day, rather than once a week. Go slow and learn the fundamentals. I am 36 years old, and have wanted to learn to play all my life. In the last year I have finally begun to take it seriously. I think I am doing pretty well, am in weekly lessons and have a good collection of guitars (an electric, an acoustic and a classical). I love playing/practicing - with two young kids (one disabled), full time job, and everything that comes along with being "grown up", I finally have my own "thing"... a outlet that is only mine that I can escape to (if only for 20 minutes a day). Playing guitar has saved my sanity lately (and driving me crazy at the same time :) )

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
Ovation CS257
LaPatrie Etude
Washburn Rover RO10


   
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kent_eh
(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
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What I've got on my list so far:

Guitar: Epiphone Les Paul Special II
Good choice. Others to think about near the same price range Squire Telecaster or Strat.
Amp: VOX amPlug AC30
This, paired with a set of decent headphones, should spare me the wrath of my neighbors as I practice into the wee hours of the morning.
Yup. The sound of classic rock in a pocket-size package
I see that most box amps have an output option to 'phones but does that eliminate the standard output or is it parallel?
Plugging in the headphones disables the main speaker in any that I've seen
Tuner: Ibanez MU40
I figured that I'll need it while I learn to tune my guitar by ear. Comments?
That one is a combo tuner and metronome. Both are very usefiul, so why not a combo unit?
Korg has a similar unit
Misc.: Strap, jack-jack cable, set of spare strings, few different picks, stand.
Yup, all good things to have. You'll probably buy more of all of these in the future, so might as well start with one of each.
What do you folks think? Should this be enough to get me started or am I going overboard? Bad choices, good choices?

Your research skills have prepared you well.
Are you planning on getting lessons, or are you going the "books, internet, and muddle along on my own" approach?

If the second option sounds like you, then I started with "Guitar for Dummies", and later I grabbed the aforementioned Hal Leonard Guitar Method books. Both are a good place to start.

And, I don't have to mention the Guitar Noise Lessons, do I? :wink:

Now, get thee to a guitar store, and try not to drool on the instruments too much... :twisted:

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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JoeHempel
(@joehempel)
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I've got to agree on the Epi Les Paul Special II, I've actually been eyeing that one before, it plays good and feels good.

The VOX AC30 Amp is a great choice for a headphone amp, I've got one and use it, and it hasn't let me down yet.

As far as amps and cables and stuff, that I'm not to sure about, the others here are better than me at that sort of thing.

Good luck in your purchase, hope you keep at it for many years to come!

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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msh
 msh
(@msh)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

Thanks for the feedback and encouragement! :D

To answer some questions asked, yes, I plan to take "books, internet, and muddle along on my own" approach. Stubbornness can be a virtue. :lol:

For various reasons, taking lessons is not a feasible option at the moment.

I didn't mention this in my original post, but I'm planning on ordering online at http://www.thomann.de/ as they have far better prices then what I could get locally. Does anyone here have any direct experience with them?


   
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Alan Green
(@alangreen)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

I looked at ordering from Thomann but once the shipping costs had been added it was cheaper to go to my local shop in the UK.

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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RoundI
(@roundi)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 98
 

I have the VOX amPlug AC30 and I can agree with the other posters that it works well. Having said that I would recommend a small practice amp which has a headphones out instead(if your budget allows). I have a Vox DA-5 amp which is a nice little amp. I find headphones a l ittle frustrating at times, the chords get tangled up with your guitar or chair etc etc. and my ears get too warm.

As for books I also started with Guitar for Dummies and it is a good all round reference and not a bad place to start.

Enjoy!!


   
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BmanCV-60
(@bmancv-60)
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I have the VOX amPlug AC30 and I can agree with the other posters that it works well. Having said that I would recommend a small practice amp which has a headphones out instead(if your budget allows). I have a Vox DA-5 amp which is a nice little amp. I find headphones a l ittle frustrating at times, the chords get tangled up with your guitar or chair !

I second both choices here; The Vox was my first amp after picking up the hobby again, and if the budget doesn't allow the amp then the AC30 is something you will enjoy. I keep mine in my guitar case in case I get a chance to play at work. Les Pauls are fairly heavy so I would pair it with a comfortable strap.

This is a great place to learn, both a blessing and a curse :lol: . The best advice I've received:

* Try and play any piece of gear you consider purchasing. If I had I'd not be on my third amp and second guitar in a year - but of course I'm very happy with what I have now.

* GAS is inevitable; if you stick with the hobby you will "suffer" :!:

* HAVE FUN!

"...I don't know - but whasomever I do, its gots ta be FUNKY!"


   
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Nuno
 Nuno
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* Try and play any piece of gear you consider purchasing. If I had I'd not be on my third amp and second guitar in a year - but of course I'm very happy with what I have now.
+1

The Les Paul sound great but the weight is an important issue. I don't know if Epiphone reduced the weight in the Special II model (they did it in some models) but my Standard are 4 Kg and it comes to be uncomfortable when you play some time.

If you can go to a local store, do it. Check out the Special II and two hundred guitars more (if the salesman agrees, of course) and take your own opinions. The reviews are good but everybody loves his/her gear. The YouTube videos are good but you are not listening the guitar and amp directly (perhaps it could be more useful for gear as the Vox amplug).

"+1" on the "have fun", too.

And welcome to GN!


   
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cnev
 cnev
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Yes I would agree with Nuno the LP's can be heavy and that was the main reason I didn't choose one when I started, but check it out and if you can handle it go for it.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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JoeHempel
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They definitely didn't reduce the weight in the Special II's those things a friggin heavy.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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greybeard
(@greybeard)
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Valka, it depends where you live. If you're in Germany, Netherlands or Belgium, you get reasonable postal rates. There is also the "Music Store", which is very similar to Thomann. Both are very reliable and offer a 30 day money-back guarantee. I have used both and have absolutely no complaints about the service from either.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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msh
 msh
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Joined: 13 years ago
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Topic starter  

Thanks for the input, folks! :D

graybeard
I've checked the shipping fees, and, apparently, it's a flat fee of 25 euros, which seems reasonable for me.

Regarding the weight of guitar. I can see how that could be a problem for long sessions. :(
I looked around for alternatives and Cort Z42 really caught my eye. The price is a little higher, but not too much, and reviews seem to be generally positive. Any opinions on it?


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

Valka, the weight of the LP won't be an issue if you sit when you play.

That guitar you posted a link to looks pretty decent, but I've never seen one to be able to comment on.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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