questionswhere can i find an alternative to the peavey…

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How serious do you want your son to get at guitar? IMHO this electric is junk. Single pickup and cheap build quality. It's a toy.

My advice for a less exciting but better Christmas present?

Check Craiglist for a good guitar/amp combo. You'll probably be able to find a decent guitar with 2 pickups instead of one and a more comfortable fretboard and better build quality. It also will be playable for years to come and won't need to be sold/gotten rid of the instant he actually starts wanting to play better.

(Don't know where you live but can find lower-medium quality guitar and a 15-30watt combo for 150~ in most larger urban areas)

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Nothing kills a budding young spirit than trying to learn from cheap crapola.
On the other hand, buying young kidling an expensive instrument just to be yet another closet denizen also sucks.
Don't buy cheap crap. Make sure the kid is interested and talented. Don't forget you're going to spring for lessons, and embarrass everybody by springing a sudden recital at a family function. It's tradition.

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@coolphilip04: Based on most things he has tried, it will become obvious this is work to learn and I will end up with an abandoned or broken guitar. I would like if he stuck to it but when he gives it up I would not mind tooling around with it, I see youtube videos and tabs as my educators. Perhaps even Rocksmith for the PC. Maybe http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/

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@caffeine_dude: If you're thinking he'll give up on it and you take over it then it's even better to have a medium quality guitar ;)

I'm self taught on guitar, banjo, mandolin, and piano. Ultimate-guitar is good stuff when you want to quickly learn a song. Be sure to not be just a tab-reader if you learn, though. Learn chords, including the movable barre chords, and some theory if you don't know any. This will allow you to pick up songs even quicker. Heck, I'd say buy a couple guitars of Craigslist and start learning along WITH your son. It's easier for both to stay motivated, but what do I know. I'm just a punk with a bad attitude.

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I agree with @coolphilip04. My first electric was a medium quality Schecter and it was SO much better to learn on than these kits that cost $100 or less. They can be decent starter guitars, but as others have said, they really are crap. A better quality guitar will be easier to play, which will help encourage the continued learning of the instrument.

The biggest problem with cheaper guitars is that the neck is very, very stiff. So your hand gets sore playing after only a short while. It tends to be discouraging. Of course you don't want to shell out big money for something that he might lose interest in, but it's a trade. If he gets into the instrument and starts to get good, he's going to want a better guitar. I wouldn't suggest you go out and get him a $1200 guitar, but I'd consider a mid-range around 2-400. Rocksmith looks good, I really want to try it. UG is also a great website, so he can definitely learn the instrument without lessons. It's an investment, though. [cont]

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If he knows he's getting something better, he might appreciate it more and put more time into it. I think it really depends on how serious you think he'll be. Which is something that would be good to discuss with him.

If you are set on one of these kits however, places like target and wal-mart have them all the time. You can get a slightly better kit at a place like Guitar Center for around $100, but it will still be junk. I'd personally get the mid-range guitar alone, and then once he starts to get the swing of things, look at an amp.

Craigslist is actually a really good idea too. I was browsing my local CL the other day and saw a pretty good guitar for a couple hundred. People might also unload this type of kit for less than retail. It's definitely worth looking into

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@coolphilip04: I also agree 100% on what you say about learning. I'm self-taught on guitar as well, and after learning the basic chords, I pretty much just used tabs. And I plateaued after a point. Once I started getting into theory, exercises, and scales, though, I saw those patterns everywhere. UG has some great articles on it, and there's tons of free resources online with regards to theory and scales. Lots of good youtube videos for warm up exercises too

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Craigs list is not good.. I am seeing on creigs list
http://www.amazon.com/Archer-SS10-Electric-Guitar-Rosewood/dp/B004SNUY92 for $70.

http://www.amazon.com/Fender-Starcaster-Electric-Guitar-Accessories/dp/B001943W92/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=miscellaneous&ie=UTF8&qid=1323022702&sr=1-2-catcorr for $90

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-Pacifica-PAC012DLX-Electric-Sunburst/dp/B003NZ06W6/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=miscellaneous&ie=UTF8&qid=1323022828&sr=1-1-catcorr for $170

Better off buying new as 4 hour travel time.
What about eBay? I am worried I could get scammed as I know nothing about this stuff.

FYI we got him a trumpet and hated practicing on the $500 Yamaha just as bad as the $89 trumpet we got for him to use while that one was in for repair due to abuse.

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FYI When I said I would like to add: http://deals.woot.com/deals/search?q=Peavey%20Rockmaster&sort=mostrecent it mocks me so.
It is because they did not expire most of the deals. (that has been fixed).

I still would like to go cheap, as it will most likely get ruined then resold.

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@caffeine_dude: Check Musiciansfriend.com for used gear and/or new gear, they sometimes can have pretty good deals.

A good intermediate guitar that isn't too pricy right now (still might be out of your price range - I don't know) is the Epi Les Paul 100. It's 250 new and 199 used on there. Might be worth a look at. It has a bolt-on neck, but it's a really good playable guitar with the nice Les Paul look.

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@coolphilip04: or anyone else out there, still paying attention to this.
IMHOP this guitar will be at best ignored and resold at worst disposable.
I was looking to buy a guitar with amp for 60 with free shipping, no longer available, but had good feedback from people who said they played on better equipment. Creigs list is not a very good option for me as travel time is aprox 2 hours each way and filled with stuff I could buy new off amazon for the same price.
That being said, what is the lowest price you would recommend for a guitar and amp?

199 still seems steep so if you have alternative suggestion(s) they will be appreciated. I have not given up on the Epi Les Paul 100.

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@caffeine_dude: Hmm... I am way more of an acoustic guitar player. I can't recommend as many electrics, especially entry-level. Not my thing. Just the ones that I've messed around with.

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@thedogma: Do you have any other entry-level packages you've played on?

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I would imagine this would be used for rock/metal.

What about the Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric is around $150 (after shipping on eBay) and there seems to be a few.

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@caffeine_dude: No clue, looks like it's an okay setup.

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@coolphilip04: @thedogma: @gidgaf: I just found this:
http://deals.woot.com/questions/details/a1a34959-e7f9-4472-9bb0-9d1cbb408f06/which-brand-of-electric-guitar-for-my-grandson#7
(that is what I get for taking a week off of woot. I am going to study the links, if anyone else has to add anything please put it there.

(thanks for your help) I am now over the $60 guitar I could have had. I am still reading that link above so if you have anything to add to the link I will read up on it. (the grandson link)

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@coolphilip04: A couple no-name ones, they're about the same quality. My biggest problem with the entry-level stuff is that it feels like you're playing on plastic rather than wood. Just not comfortable

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@caffeine_dude: You notice that they suggest the special ii, which you were already looking at, as well. It might be worth it.

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@caffeine_dude: as @coolphilip04: said, the special ii might be a good one. Reading the specs on the link provided it doesn't seem all that bad. Again, it's far from the best and is an entry level guitar, but it looks like it might be decent.

The best advice I can give is to let him make the choice. Go to a guitar shop and explain to the salesperson what you're looking for and what you're looking to spend. This will keep things in budget, but also allow him to try out which guitar he'd find the most comfortable.

It kills the surprise element a little, but I think it's a fair trade because he'll get something he knows he'll like and can work with. A general rule with guitars is you never want to buy before you try. Also the employee can tune and set up the guitar, which is nice since they're not always good to go out the box