Questions on electric guitars from a beginner

Hi everybody,

I’ve started my guitar journey in January after a very good friend of mine gave me an acoustic guitar (Fender CD-60S) simply because she thought I might like it and she’s got two. Me, not being a very musical person (or so I thought) now went completely down the rabbit hole and after four months I’ve got to say: I’ve fallen in love with learning how to play. I’m currently on module 4 of grade 1 of Justin’s course. To be honest, I have no idea if it’s a fast or slow progress, as I’m a bit concerned to progress too quickly. (Two of my other hobbies are dancing and martial arts and from that experience I really know how important it is to get the basics drilled into my brain.)

Anyway: My progress, no matter if it’s slow or fast or something in between, doesn’t keep me from looking at other guitars. If (and that’s a big if at the moment with some big life changes in my future) I buy a second guitar, I’d love for it to be an electric guitar. And as I’m still mostly clueless about a lot of things (even after having watches Justin’s videos), I hope you might be able to help!

First off maybe some information about

**the things I like **

To be honest, at the moment I don’t even know if you could say that I have a preference regarding the music: I listen to tons of Coldplay and Pink Floyd (and other stuff, mostly rock or pop) and I’ve noticed that these bands often use Fender guitars.

From Justin’s videos I think a guitar with single coils and a humbucker sounds interesting (due to COVID I haven’t found the opportunity to go to a store and listen to the different guitars live). Especially as this “mix” of pickups seems like a good way to explore different directions.

When I looked online, this one caught my eye:

[type or paste code here](https://www.zoundhouse.de/squier/fsr-bullet-stratocaster-ht-hss,-laurel-fingerboard,-sea-foam-green)

In the description (sorry, German) they say that it’s good for beginners who don’t yet know what they like to play, but maybe you have different thoughts?

Question time

I live in a rented apartment with lots of people around and very little space, so my biggest concern is the amp. I read something about the possibility to have an amp for your headphones, which would be ideal for now, but lots of the explanations seem to include quite the difficult setup with lots of software and stuff I have no idea about. Is there a way to simplify this? Do I really need an amp and all these cables? Could I simply plug in some headphones (or something to make it wireless) to play so I can play at all hours? (At the moment, I try not to play after 8 p.m. or before 8 a.m. so as not to start a fight with my neighbors.)

At this moment in my guitar journey, I’m not playing for anyone but myself. I’ve recorded myself one or two times when I’ve played along to Justin’s app (took my phone and used the audio recording app - nothing fancy there :sweat_smile: ), but that was it. Maybe at a later stage I’d like to play for my family or friends, but not yet. So it’s not that important that anyone else but me can hear me playing.

If I do have to get an amp, can you recommend one that doesn’t take up too much space? I’m an avid book reader and most of my apartment consists of shelves or book stacks, so … yeah, space is a bit of an issue. As are allergies, so the amp needs some way or another to be covered when not in use so that it doesn’t get too dusty.

Is there anything else you’d recommend me having a look at as a complete noob when it comes to guitars that I absolutely need to know?

Thanks a lot in advance!

And maybe one more thing: I’m on a budget here, so please don’t recommend the high end stuff :sweat_smile:

The guitar looks cool. I don’t have an HSS but as far as I understand they are quite versatile. So if the guitar is within your budget, go for it. Bear in mind though that later down the line you might need to upgrade the pickups.
Have a look in Thomann as well if you haven’t already, perhaps you can find there something as well.

As for the amp, you can practise without, I do that fairly often. But generally you do need one, especially if you want to play with overdrive.
In your situation, an amp with an 8" speaker would be good. But judging from mine, even those small solid state amps, sound a lot better when loud.
Your neighbours sound like they need to chill a bit. 8pm is still way too early to not play the guitar because of them. Teach those… uhm… neighbours a lesson :guitar::smiling_imp:

Alternatively, you could hook up the guitar with an audio interface, download some amp/speakers plug ins for your DAW (where you record the music) and record yourself directly on the pc using your headphones as monitors. I’m not sure though the guitar will sound very exciting before you apply the effects (e.g. the amp model from the plug in).

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Get yourself a mighty plug from NUX. It s a headphone amp for guitar and you can feed though your phone mp3.

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People seem to like the Fender Mustang Micro - Mustang™ Micro | Guitar Amplifiers - Just plugin your headphones and play.

For a small amp, personally, I’ve found the Yamaha THR10 II to be a great solution. Small, lots of presets and options, including an app (not required to use) and it also doubles as an audio interface.

For an HSS setup, include Yamaha Pacifica in your browsing. I started out with a Pacifica 112V and it’s been a solid performer. It was only $300 and the build quality is outstanding.

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There are guitars with built in (modeling) amps now, you can plug headphones straight in

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For what they want for those headphone amps, you could buy a decent amp. For under $200 you can get a Positive Grid Mini Spark modeling amp. You can plug in earphones, it will work as a bluetooth speaker and it has a built in battery so you can take it outside or to the park. And since it a modeling amp you can dial up about any tone you want. There are others too. For $100 or so you could get a small traditional amp and most amps come equipped with a headphone jack. Either way, best of both worlds.

I’ve got the Yamaha Pacifia 112J. Solid guitar, great sound, easy to play and it’s beautiful. The 112J can be had for about $220. A base Squire is about the same price and their supposed to be good guitars too. In any case you can’t go wrong with a S-style for versatility, whether SSS or HSS configurations.

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Hello @Estel and welcome to JustinGuitar community.
A few quick responses.

What overall budget do you think you may have for an electric guitar plus other items to go with it?

Where in the world are you located?

Squier Bullet is the bottom price point and there are several, better alternatives at that price, and a little above of course.

In general avoid any guitar described as ideal for beginners. It is mostly marketing nonsense for items that often make learning more difficult due to poor construction.

You can fet some very reasinable sounding, small amps with all you need including headphone out.

I use a Fender Champion 20. I don’t even know what it sounds like through its own speaker. I always use headphones to avoid annoying my wife any more than I do just by being here :laughing:.

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First of all: I am so, so sorry for not answering earlier to all your very valuable replies!

I’ve been busy with life in general (in this case: leaving a toxic work environment) and the few precious minutes that were free in my day went by - you guessed it - with me playing my guitar (or what you call playing at this point in my journey).

All in all: Life changed so much now, that looking for an electric guitar sounds almost weird to me as I don’t yet know where I’ll be working in the future.

Nevertheless: The guitar is the next big thing I’d like to give myself even if it is months or years in the future.

I’ll now go over your replies and answer your follow-up questions. Again: So, so sorry for the delay and thank you all for helping me!

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Hi @Richard_close2u - sorry for the delayed response. If you’re still willing to help me, here’s what I’m working with:

I’ve recently quit my job that made me depressed thanks to bullying, so I don’t quite know my budget right now. Before quitting I thought about 300€ (I live in Germany) for guitar and the amp, maybe 350€ if my family chips in (Christmas gifts). If “THE” guitar, meaning the one I’ll fall in love with, is not within that budget, I think I could go as high as 500€ in total. Hopefully no one shows me guitars way over my price range…

I learned my lesson with the “beginner guitars” with my Fender CD-60S. I got that from my best friend and she bought it as a beginner guitar. Needless to say, it stood in her room unused for a long time… I’ll need new strings soon and hopefully I’ll be able to afford some adjustments as the first fret is pure hell for my fingers. (I’ll see what can be done next week)

I’ll definitely try out guitars next time :slight_smile: (Still grateful for my guitar though, wouldn’t’ve started otherwise)

Again: Thanks a lot!

@danmcmartin First of all: Thats a beautiful guitar! The colour will be a hard choice, I love green/blue in general, but there’s just something about a red guitar…

Thanks a lot for the recommendation. Modeling amp - now thats something new I need to look up and try to find out what it means in German. (That’s the problem with learning in English: All the terminology is really hard to translate if I talk to someone outside this community.) But versatility is very much appreciated, I think that could be something nice. That or the plug in amp @Burnspot or @RickCast recommended.

Would you know if there are big differences between these types of amps? (Sorry, as I said, total beginner here.)

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Hi Sarah,
I sincerely hope that you find peace and love in your surroundings and that here and at home with your guitar can help with that…studying and making music has helped many in one way or another…never give up on, I wish you a lot of fun, :bouquet:
Greetings,Rogier

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It’s an amplifier that can model or mimic many other amps and pedal combinations. It’s all electronic though. Nice option if you like many types of music. Modeling amps can pretty much do it all and most sound great.

Ohhh that sounds brilliant! And perfect for my small budget! (Haha, look at me, the future is wide open but I keep making plans for my guitar journey :joy:)

Do you happen to know if the guitar needs specific “outlets” or anything to be compatible?

Electric guitars use universal ports that use a universal cable that pretty much fit any amp, modeling included. I don’t know the conversion rate but the Boss Katana usually comes highly recommended for the price and it has a port for head phones as well. I personally have one and love it!

My wife particularly like the headphone jack :smile:

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Generally any amp you can plug any guitar into.

You can get modeling software on computer also (but you need an audio interface to use it) - I have Bias FX2

Plenty of decent modeling amps/software out there and its fun just being able to set or download ‘that sound’

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Well, all amplifiers are electronic.

I think you might mean “solid-state” or even “digital”.

Most modelling amps use digital modelling to simulate various analog amp circuits or characteristics.

Cheers,

Keith

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Thank you everyone! That really helps and I’ve got a lot more to research now - that should keep me occupied while I’m waiting for a new job and money for the guitar :wink:

If I have more questions (which I sure will have), I’ll keep asking here, yes? :smiley: Thanks a lot!

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Hi. I’m in a similar situation as I can’t use an amp most of the time. I mainly use amp simulators. My favourite is the Behringer V amp 3 (unfortunately discontinued) which is a stand alone amp modeler and effects unit. All you need is a good set of headphones (I use Sennheiser HD 202 which you can find at reasonable cost) - no need for a PC or anything. The V amp is easy to use. I’ve also got a similar unit by Zoom (G1xon) which I put to one side for a while as iI found it was more difficult to use than the Behringer and most of the preset sounds are poor. However, I’ve recently discovered a free computer based program that links with the zoom (Tonelib) and it makes changing settings a breeze - I now know what I was missing. I mention the Zoom unit as it is cheaper than the behringer, the sounds are actually quite good and it has a built in rhythm/drum machine. A VOX SL1G 1G is a similar unit and I’m sure sounds as good if not better than the Zoom. Honestly these units sound so good I don’t miss the amp that much.

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Hi again. I would also second the Yamaha Pacifica as a great guitar for beginners and beyond. If you can afford it go for the 112V. The 112J is also a solid choice but I think the 112V is worth the small amount extra. I have played for many years and I’m thinking about getting one despite them being a “beginners” guitar. The Yamaha appear to have a consistently high build quality. It is a guitar that wont hold you back. In Germany you are well placed for Harley Benton guitars. I have an HB Les Paul copy and it is great. Despite this I don’t think their build quality is as consistent as the Yamaha. You can get a great one or a so-so one. I am tempted by one of their strat copies instead of the Yamaha but the big difference for me is I can try out the Yamaha locally before I buy over here, surprisingly enough, being a left handed player I have not had this option easily available and I’ve usually bought over the internet. I do have a quite a good strat copy but I’ve recently realized that I will need to spend money (around £100) on it to be a really decent guitar (more than a basic set up which I can do myself).

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@Swill631 Thanks a lot for your detailed advice!

As for the amp, a “non amp”-amp (if that makes sense) is very tempting. Especially as I plan on living in this flat for a while longer :wink:

As for the guitars… I’m kind of in a weird place. Finances aside (I’m not able to afford a guitar and the gear right now), my heart somehow beats faster when it’s a Fender. I don’t know why, especially as I do know that there are good guitars out there that probably even cost less than one with the “big” name on it (or even a Squire), but yeah.

I keep dreaming about that red Fender strat I saw on my last visit to the guitar store… That one really didn’t help with deciding. But, as I keep reminding myself, I haven’t heard or held it yet (and that one’s not affordable for me anyways), so I’ll try to keep an open mind. And those guitars you mentioned are now on my - growing - list to try out once I’m able to go to a store with the possibility of buying stuff. :sweat_smile: