Help Purchasing a first Electric Guitar - for an 8 YO

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by pilotError, Nov 17, 2007.

  1. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    Hi all,

    I've searched through the various threads here and didn't see much in the way of guitars for kids starting out.

    I'm here because I know absolutely nothing about musical instruments. I did a little bit of internet research, mainly because my wife saw an Esteban on HSN and being the anal computer guy that I am found out pretty quickly that it sucked...

    I went out today for the purpose of an education, and came back more confused than ever.

    One place did have a couple of racks full of those Estebans (which turned me off right away), but he did recommend the Ibanez IJX40 jumpstart kit which includes everything.

    The second place I went to carried only Washburn and the guy put together a package with an X-series (x10?) guitar and a crate amp, decent bag, etc.

    The Ibanez package was cheaper at $235, the Washburn package around $275.

    What did impress me was the Washburn dealer does a setup on every sale, which made sense to me whereas the other guy was basically handing me a box.

    My son is 8, he started doing Piano, but gave it up, because his teacher really didn't hit it off with him. I didn't realize it until it was too late. He joined band in school and is playing the Cello (sp?) :eek: and asked me for a guitar on more than one occasion. The money isn't the issue, but I would like a reasonable quality for the price. The other thing the Washburn dealer showed me was a 3/4 guitar that might be better suited for his size (x5). He told me that if he's big for his age (he is) he is right on the border line as far as guitar size.

    I'm going to head to a Sam Ash tomorrow and see what else is out there. I've heard good things about the Epiphone line and Squier.

    I'm really lost, but gaining an education quickly.

    Any real advice?

    Any better places to look for anyone else who's on Long Island?

    Am I putting too much effort into researching this? :p


  2. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    If your son is "borderline", don't waste your money on a smaller scale guitar. He's not going to get smaller, and he'll grow into it quickly.

    I think you'll do yourself and your son a favor by doing business with a competent shop which is willing to setup the instrument beforehand. Every instrument will feel slightly different with the factory setup, and in fact some will not be properly setup out of the box. An improperly setup axe can be a real drag to play. Don't underestimate the importance of this!

    I'm a bass guitar player, so I'm not as familiar with guitars as some others. But the brands you mentioned (Ibanez, Epiphone, Squire, Washburn) all build basses as well and in my opinion, they're all pretty good instruments -- even their cheapest offerings. Again, I would stress establishing a relationship with a shop which can setup your son's guitar properly and provide support when needed over choosing a shop with a particular brand you would prefer to buy. Given enough time, your son will break a string or two and will need some guidance from an experienced player to properly install the new string -- which quite often requires a bit of tweaking of the setup.
  3. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Jun 6, 2005
    Very good questions. For the most part, the "strat packs" that come with everything—guitar, amp, tuner, strap, cable—are dicey. Sometimes they're ok, and sometimes they're terrible. I think that's the nature of that price point—quality control just won't be there. Plus, and I think the other responder pointed toward this, you don't know if the dealer has taken care of the instruments.

    Think about it—how many guitars are there in Sam Ash? How long have they been sitting there? How many ******s have manhandled them? How bad is a salesman there going to feel about selling you an instrument that isn't in great shape, knowing that you don't have the experience to know the difference?

    If you want cheap and reliable, buy from If you want the best service, absolutely go with the local dealer. Having them set-up the instrument is a great idea, and I think it shows they have taken care of the instrument up until this point.

    The biggest problem with the strat packs, imo, is that the electronic tuners they include are awful. Borderline unusable, especially for a new player. And tuning is not an easy thing—it won't be something a teacher can show him his first lesson, or even his first few months. And since cheap guitars go out of tune...

    Anyhoo, I teach music privately for a living. I've attached a handout I give all my new students/parents... hope you find something in it of use. (btw, when you buy tuners and metronomes, never buy anything made by quiktime)

    Attached Files:

  4. .JahJahwarrior. macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2007
    My parents bought me a used guitar for $140, and a cheap amp for maybe $60?

    I'd go to a local store for an instrument, I would not buy that online. Buy the tuner, strap, etc, online, but you want to get in good with your store. :) Look at the used guitars. They'll have scratches, but that jsut means that no one cries when he drops it. :) A good one can probably be had for $100-$150, and ask them if they'll put new strings on it (get a lighter gauge, 9s or 10s), intonate it, set the action, etc. They might do it for free, might charge you for an hour of shop time ($10-$30). Get a 10 foot 1/4" cable, an amp (if you are electronically adventerous, you can build your own. I absolutely love my Ruby 1/2watt amp. It's the perfect volume! With a cheap ($40?) distortion pedal, it sounds great. You'll need a speaker, and soldering skills, and about $10 worth of parts. I built a nice wooden enclosure for mine. Cool father-son project, maybe? Google "Ruby" or "Little Gem" and amp to find instructions if it sounds interesting to you)

    Washburn, Epiphone, Squier, pretty much most guitars aren't that bad. I had a Hamer Slammer, but prefer my Palmer (no one has ever heard of a palmer before, apparently :( ) which came from a pawnshop. I also have an old Lotus bass which I love...

    And don't waste money on a 3/4 sized guitar. Dumb idea. He will not get smaller!!

    Make sure you find him a teacherh likes, and see if the teacher can teach him songs that he listens to on the radio or wherever. That's what makes guitar fun, knowing how to play songs.
  5. pilotError thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    Thanks everyone for the great advice!

    Also, Thank You for the essential music tools attachment.

    I ended up getting him an Epiphone. I have a dealer about 2 minutes from my house. I never knew the guy was there before... They have reasonable class rates, so I may enroll him in a few classes and get a feel for the teachers.

    The guy matched the best internet prices I could find(without me asking) and took cash. I spent more than I was planning on, but I'm very happy with the decision. I just hope the wife doesn't see what I paid :eek:

    This guitar was a lot lighter than the Washburn and felt a little nicer than the X-Series Ibanez. I ended up getting a Line 6 spider amp and he threw in the headphones and tuner.

    Thanks again all!

  6. .JahJahwarrior. macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2007

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