Advice needed | which guitar?

Hi all, I am somewhat stuck or confused or both lol, there seems to be just so much info on the net that my brain can’t cope anymore, I keep looking for my first electric guitar (well almost the first) but just get confused with the you need this and avoid that talk, I am unsure what style I like, as I like a lot of different stuff, my favourite album is Jethro Tull’s Heavy Horses (followed by Minstrel in the gallery) but I also like Tubular Bells 2, Simon and Garfunkel, Rod Stewart, some AC/DC, some Sabbath etc etc, so a varied mix, I have been looking at the Ibanez range not for metal but for the playability (so I have read) this stems from a bad experience I had 10 years ago, I bought a starter pack from Squier, it was the infinity pack (HSS) with frontman 10G amp, now whether it was because it was from a pack I do not know, but it was not enjoyable to play, sound was not that good, strings realy hurt my fingers, due to the pressure needed to press them, I also kept hitting the wrong strings with both hands lol. So thing maybe I should get a guitar with a wider neck to give me and my little hands more room.
Anyway this is turning into a book lol, so any advice would be welcome, I am also thinking about getting the Fender LT25 amp, I will never be gigging or playing in a band, just in my house or outside on the patio (when Istart to be able to play songs) I have a budget of £500 all in,
thanks for reading this Andy


welcome to the community. It’s pretty normal to have sore fingers when you first start out and very normal to hit the wrong strings. A wider neck can be easier, but hang in there for a while first. It’s a challenge when you are starting out, and it just gets better and better over time.

The bad news is that sore fingers are just part of the process. They’ll hurt like hell for a few weeks(ish) and then they won’t any more once the finger ends have toughened up. We all go through it. You might be able to reduce the sensation with lighter strings or whatever but best just accept it’s part of the process.

I will say that from your previous experience that amps in starter packs are generally pretty bad (and were probably worse 10 years ago then now) and are best avoided. Small amps (I’m talking physically small) will often also sound fairly bad (I’m sure there’s exceptions) so with a £500 budget I personally would buy a Boss Katana 50 (around £250) and spend the rest on a guitar. Others will likely disagree but my logic is that you can plug a £3000 guitar into a crappy amp and it will sound bad. The good news is there are decent guitars out there for sub £300.


Hi Andy
Totally agree with mattswain. I have that same amp, perfect for home use
Powerful enough to heard in a pub gig and still sound good at lower outputs when home.
I have a MIM strat and a Les Paul and the amp deals with both easily.
As for guitar I’m no expert but the strat is a very versitle guitar fom most genre,s.
check out second hand ( pre loved ) maybe pick up a higher spec guitar for same as cheapo ones.
Anyway welcome to JG .

I would tend to agree with @mattswain and I’ve been playing around 10 years playing with Justin. Sore fingers is normal. Expect to only be able to play for 15-30 mins per session for first few weeks until you build some calluses on your finger tips.

In terms of playing styles of music that will only come with a decent amount of time learning and playing i.e. months, You start on simple songs and build up.

The tone/sound you get when playing is going to be a combination of the Amp and Guitar. A bad amp will sound bad no matter how good the guitar. Something like Katana is pretty easy for beginners to use and will sound good. There are lots of other amps in this prices range BUT again that can make it difficult to pick which one. The Katana is good and got pretty good resale value if you want to change. Others undoubtedly will suggest other amps which are probably equally as good.

Guitar wise something in the £250 range is good. Often Yamaha Pacifica 112J or V are suggested but there are plenty of others. Certainly the 112V comes with a single coil and humbucker setup which will give you great flexibility on tones. Basically the guitars in the starter packs are not good. If you can try out the guitar I would to see if it feels like you want. At this point you are still just buying a “good” guitar to get started. If you stick with it and get to the stage where you want to sound more like the music you want to play undoubtedly you’ll buy another.

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You already have a Squier HSS - I assume a strat. That guitar is OK, I have one of those. I doubt you need a new guitar at this stage, you just need more practice. Not hitting the right strings is normal at the beginning.

Like others say the fingers will get better and stop being sore.

On amps, yes the Frontman 10G is a super basic amp and the Fender LT25 is a lot better. I started on the LT25, it sounded pretty good. However there is the “next level” of home amps which is Fender Mustang GTX, Boss Katana, Yamaha THR, etc. The bad sound from your current amp is probably being a newbie.

I have a Fender Mustang GTX50 amp. I’d recommend you keep the guitar and just get a better amp for that budget.


Like @jkahn, I suspect that the “bad sound” has more to do with the amp and with you being a beginner than with the guitar. I’m assuming the guitar is a Squire Affinity HSS. That should be okay, although it’s always worthwhile to have a professional setup of the guitar done, just to rule out the possibility of actual guitar issues.

Your fingers will get sore. Your hand muscles might, too, and you’ll struggle with making your hands and fingers do what you want them to. It may seem impossible, sometimes. All that is completely normal. With regular practice, it will pass. But while you’re struggling you’ll wonder all sorts of things: maybe there’s something wrong with my guitar, maybe my hands are too big or too small, maybe my fingers are too short/too crooked, etc., etc. Assuming you’re had a setup on the guitar, 99.9% of the time none of those things will be true and/or relevant.

Anyway, I think your best bet is the following:

  • Go to the guitar store. Tell them you want to upgrade your amp, but first you want to have your guitar set up (which will include a new set of strings), and then you want to try some amps with the freshly set-up guitar.
  • When your guitar is ready, go to the store and plug it into some amps. Give them a shot. Don’t be shy about asking the guitar store employee to help you dial in a tone. Maybe “Hey, how would I dial in a classic rock kind of tone like AC/DC or Sabbath on this amp?” I’d look at amps like the Boss Katana 50 as a starting point. There are multiple choices in that category. If you’re not confident in your abilities, you can also ask the employee to play some riffs with your guitar + whatever amp so that you can get an idea of what is possible with that rig, and what it might sound like once you’ve improved your guitar skills.
  • Practice regularly and consistently. Accept that you’ll struggle, at first.

bring your squier to a local guitar store and tell them your interested in
buying an amp and play thru several, see if it sounds better to you. if it still sounds crap have them check the guitar setup. like others have said, i doubt its the guitar. everyones fingers hurt at first but you could go with lighter gauge strings

Local guitar store? What’s that. When I moved to Warrington there were 3. Now all shut. Where I brought my last guitar 4 years ago in Liverpool now shut. As is their Manchester store and these are big cities. The internet has killed retail.

Unfortunately I don’t have the answer for the OP but luckily I don’t need any gear.

Thanks all, I think I have explained things a bit badly, I no longer have the Squier guitar (sold it) due the the discomfort, the guy who bought it (for his daughter) said, the frets are rough and sharp, the neck needs adjusting and could do with a clean and oil, the intonation is out and the action is very high. So I am now starting from nothing, and need guitar recomendations (I have been looking at the Ibanex gio grg121 or the grgr221) just because I have read they have great playability out of the box, now my problem is also compounded by the fact that I do not drive and there are no stores in the local area, so will have to be an internet sale, now as for which guitar??, that is so difficult, i like mid tones, I hate the Hank Marvin tinny sound (hope that makes sense). I was thinking about HH set up with either coil split or something similar, but to be honest at this point I am just so confused, I just dont know what to do now lol.

If you are buying online, I’d suggest buy from a seller that has a good return policy, as you may get issues with any guitar from any manufacturer at any price. See a picture I posted of a horrible nut in a not so cheap guitar.

I have the Ibanez GRG131DX. I think it is slightly cheaper than the ones you mention. It didn’t have any issues with the frets. But the nut was cut too high. For me that’s not a big deal, as I have the tools to fix it. But I think you should also budget for a setup by a local luthier for any guitar at any price. Also check Justin’s site (and the web) there are resources on how to setup a guitar. If the guitar nut is fine then the rest of the setup (truss rod adjustment, action, intonation) can be done without expensive tools.

Most of the tone will come from the amp settings (and pedals if used). The pickups will play of course a part but (IMHO) you don’t need to buy a guitar with HH configuration only. As far as I know Hank Marvin played a 3 single coil strat, but so did Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen and their tone very different.

Sorry to thread hi-jack.

Peter there are PMT stores in both Manchester and Liverpool. Great stores with very helpful staff.

Thanks for the heads up, PMT is where I got the Squier from years ago, I keep looking on the web site but, the Leeds shop has very little in my price range apart from something called Antiquity??, and Manchester is miles away lol, Liverpool is the other side of the country lol, due to me not driving and having no access to a vehicle, but I will keep checking PMT web site.

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I have been looking at a few web site/shops, Gear 4 music, Gak, Guitar Guitar, Andertons, did look at Thomann, but being outside of the UK I am not sure about it lol.

You’re welcome Andrew. I’d give your local store a call and see if they can get anything you might be interested in from one of their other stores.

For online there is also Thomann who do have a 30 day return, if you’re not happy with what you have bought.

kmgr, how do you find the Ibanez 131? does it play well? can it play other styles apart from metal lol, and does it feel good?, shame it seems to only come in black though.

At the moment it’s my favourite. I even prefer it over my MIM Fender.
It plays very well with low action (but almost any guitar can play well with a good setup). It is also very light for a solid body guitar, just 2.8kg. But note that weight will vary between guitars of the same model, because of wood density variations.
And I play blues/rock mostly and less heavy metal, so it can do anything. I bet it can do even the Hank Marvin tone! :smiley:

Just about any electric guitar can play just about any style. And anything that a guitar you buy now cannot do? Well, you needn’t worry about that until you can play a little :slight_smile:

It kinda sounds to me that you’re overthinking it. Choose a popular guitar in your price range that you like the looks of. Any of them will be fine. Put some light strings on it (i.e. 9’s) and make sure it’s set up decently.

BTW, you should probably figure out some way to access a physical guitar store/guitar tech. Guitars often need set up or maintenance, which can make a massive difference in playability. (Much more than the playability differences among guitar brands and models). Most guitars nowadays play well “out of the box”, but it’s not guaranteed and anyway, you’ll eventually need the help of a guitar tech. Something to think about.

I think you’re in Bradford going off your other thread. When I worked nearby I’ve bought stuff from Reidy’s in Blackburn which ain’t too far from you. They used to be near the market but now trade from an industrial estate. They have a good web presence. If you want to try stuff you might want to check they’ve got it in the store from the warehouse beforehand. They will probably deliver.

It’s 60 miles from me so not local. Don’t know if they have a tech. The tech in PMT Manchester building is a totally different business.

I don’t know if you know but Gear4Music do have a physical showroom in the outskirts of York, so not a million miles away from you. If there was a specific model you wanted to try might be worth ringing them to see if they have one in the showroom