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For a guy the coming of age is losing your virginity, driving a car, and having your own place and job. But for me it was finding reverb on my mini amp and the extremely pleasurable discovery of that euphoric rock guitar sound screeching out around the room, down the stairs and onto the street, only to be greeted by my mum with clear instructions 'to turn that bloody row off', which it was, of course. For once I had found another knob to twiddle in my bedroom that I had no intention of closing my door for! The instructions you get with your first amp and guitar don't tell you how to find the sound but once you have, you have found the true essence of guitar playing and you quickly forget about learning scales or reading music, all bout tight jens and posing in the mirror. I managed a C chord once but it was mostly the sound of a cat being strangled with a violin whilst being chainsawed. My hero in Mr Eddie Van Halen would be appalled!
My first and only electric guitar was the 'Fender Squire Standard Fat Strat', a copy of the classic Fender Stratocaster. It's still made today and retails for around £200 to the Fender Stratocasters £600. You should be able to pick up a starter amp in the £200 deal and for me this baby the perfect starter guitar kit. Mini amps are still pretty loud so if you are buying for your kids make sure you get ear plugs for them, and you. --Spec--
1 humbucker and 2 single coil pick ups
The Squire looks and sounds great and some of the models have really good pick ups on them that even add to the value, the pick up the bit at the far end of the guitar that tightens and then tunes the resonation of the strings and keeps the electricity away from your fingers and certain death. You will snap those metal strings quite a lot in the learning process guys, especially the high pitched and strung top 'E' one, a packet of replacement strings costing around £6:00, Ernie Ball the preferred maker.
These Squires are durable and could comfortably club a burglar to death, or concuss your youngest in a head banging accident. Learning to play the thing requires a certain level of patience and methodical intelligence and if you don't have either of those attributes this will be soon on EBay. The other option if you don't follow through and become Jeff Beck is to leave it in your bedroom to impress women. Women love guitars! Just make sure you don't have to play anything though. My brother did go on from his starter guitar set and now owns both the Fender Strat and the stunning Gibson Sunburst, the one Slash from Guns N Roses slings low and plays the beegeebies out of.
If you are serious about guitar its best to learn your chords on an acoustic one first and then go electric. After a while aimless screeches and twangs get boring and the Squire will be increasingly neglected and left in the corner alongside the old cricket bat and squash racket, never to be strapped on again. Me and my little brother started playing at the same time and he is the one that went on and got really good at it.
The guitar looks fabulous and heavier than you think, not at all suited to kids. Mine was blood red with a white body and Maplewood neck and head with silver tension adjustors. I think the main idea of licensed copies by Fender is to get you to upgrade to the classic Stratocaster when you feel confident on a generic. You can buy stands but its best to just lean it up against your amp as it looks way cooler. And yes you can stick your fag in the end like Ronnie Wood used to do.
Cost wise as I said before you are looking at around £200 with a starter amp and they can be purchased in everywhere from Argos to a specialised music store, or the ubiquitous one in the charity shop window for a ludicrously cheap price. Northampton has a couple of good stores if you live in the county and they are always willing to give good advice. You can also trade in second hand gear if you choose to upgrade.
There's not much more I can say guys other than stick with it and learn to play proper, the one that can play always the star attraction at the party with girls. You can't beat a beach party with a few beers, the guitar playing and the sun setting on you with the sand dunes nearby, the musician in the group the one that usually ends up in those dunes with the pretty girls stepping out of small bikini's.. Summary: Lets rock!