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Electric Guitar: advice on purchase and headphone use please


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Hi All

 

Please excuse what might very well be a rather daft question, but never having purchased an electric guitar before, I have no idea what I should be looking for.

 

My son wants to learn electric guitar, he's soon to be finding his own home and wants to dabble in the learning process however... how does he practice on it to himself and not through an amp? I appreciate you need to buy an amp too (I am guessing he needs to buy one of those too, yes?) but what if he finds himself in the mood for a practice but doesn't want to have everyone in the house or wherever he is - listening to him. Is there a way he can plug in a set of headphones to the guitar and hear what he's playing or does this have to be through an external amp with a separate headphone output?

 

Thanks.

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Vox also makes something called the 'Amplug' which is very cool for practicing with headphones (and relatively cheap). Its a small amp modeller that plugs into the guitar and lets you play with a set of headphones. Not something you're going to get a great tone out of, but pretty cool as a light weight practice gizmo.
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I think it might be a good idea to get an amp with a headphone socket. This way you could use it to perform live as well (if your son gets to that stage), while at home you don't disturb anyone. I have a 60 watt laney solid state amp that has seen me through loads of gigs. Its just got a 3/4 inch jack plug for the headphone socket and you can just unplug the speaker inputs.
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Does he have a computer or an iPad? There are all sorts of software amps he could use on his Mac or iPad. Does he have Logic?

 

Are you also looking for advice on the guitar itself? Do you have a budget range? What style of music does he like?

 

So cool that you're buying your son a guitar! :D

I also bought Shannon one too, David - for her 16th. Shannon is my daughters life-long best friend and my pseudo adopted daughter she's here so much!

 

I might also add that sorry, it;s not me who's paying for the guitar, Lloyd is 22m working full time and is capable of buying this for himself though I am sure he'd have me pay! I am encouraging him to get one though - I can have a play then can't I :)

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You can't just plug a set of headphones in the guitar and expect it to sound like an electric guitar. You need some sort of interface, be it a tiny little headphone amp like the box that is mentioned above, or an iPhone or iPad app (which also requires an interface cable - this is often what you end up paying for and the app is free), or a guitar amp with a headphone jack, which as mentioned before, almost all of them have. You can still play the electric guitar without plugging it into anything and hear it without disturbing anyone, just won't sound like an electric guitar. Or an acoustic for that matter.

 

My 2 cents - take a look at something like the Fender GDEC - it has lots of modeled amp sounds (like the iPad apps), it also has an accessible library of backing tracks to practice with, it has a headphone jack, and it has a speaker, so if your son should ever want to lug his gear over to a buddies to have a jam, he's good to go.

 

The fender is by no means the only option - all major amp makers have something like that these days - its just the only one i know for sure offers backing tracks. :)

 

Oh, and you may be able to find a package deal with the holidays approaching :lol:

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Here's my 2 cents about the guitar: I suggest a guitar *without* a vibrato mechanism ("trem," "tremolo," "whammy bar") since those make tuning considerably more complicated. A guitar like a Telecaster or Les Paul style with a hard-tail bridge is much more manageable for a beginner to tune.

 

(I wish someone had told me and my parents that when I was 16.)

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The Vox Amplug is actually pretty nice. A Gibson stall at a music festival recently had their guitars set up with Amplugs and KRK headphones to try guitars out, and I quite liked the setup - you can get very neat tones for that price.

 

Also most solid state and digital amps have headphone outs, so you could consider that too.

 

Here's my 2 cents about the guitar: I suggest a guitar *without* a vibrato mechanism ("trem," "tremolo," "whammy bar") since those make tuning considerably more complicated. A guitar like a Telecaster or Les Paul style with a hard-tail bridge is much more manageable for a beginner to tune.

 

(I wish someone had told me and my parents that when I was 16.)

 

+1

Also, it's best to start off with one of the classics: a Strat, Les Paul or something like that. I have a cheap HH Ibby which is the worst purchase I've made.

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