Blackstar HT-5 Combo Amp
I love this amp! It's all valve, versatile, small and loud! While some amps will allow you to switch between 2 different amp sounds, Blackstars ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) allows you to sweep between Fender twang and crunch to a gritty Marshall like warmth. So instead of just 2 possible sounds you have countless possibilities. It’s fantastic for recording and playing small venues, and comes with a speaker extension if you really need more volume! Plus it has an effects loop with a level switch, and a speaker emulated output with 2 cabinet options. I cannot stress just how brilliant this amp is. It is by far the best amp you can buy under £500, and the best news is that you will have £200 change!
Squier Vintage Modified Tele Custom II
This was the first electric guitar I bought, and while I have since acquired several higher spec guitars since, I still play my Squier all the time. The Indonesian made Squiers are some of the best beginner’s guitars available, relying heavily on the expertise and legendary designs of Fender, but with prices starting at just under £100. This particular model is based on the 1972 Custom Telecaster, but with Seymour Duncan Designed P90 pickups instead of the more common Fender humbuckers. The P90s give a thick, almost Les Paul like quality to the guitar, instead of the classic twang of the standard telecaster. This guitar looks fantastic, and is a great choice if you want something a little different to the usual beginners black Stratocaster. It sounds great and plays well, and it’s reliable too. As with most telecaster models, the standard “sit in” jack socket can cause problems if you’re not careful with it (see the Articles page) so I have replaced the socket on mine with one that screws directly into the body of the guitar. Asides from that this is a great first guitar with tons of character and style.
Guitar Repairs & Set-ups
Chris the Guitar Tutor now offers repairs and set-ups. Click here for details.
How to Keep Your Guitar out of the Repair Shop
2. Get a good case
3. Look out for the jack plug
Guitars with jack sockets on the side of the body (strat players you’re usually safe from this one) are a nightmare for playing plugged in, while sat on a sofa or a bed, or leaving the guitar sat on a guitar stand. The problem being that your jack plug can often be leaning on something without you realising it, and putting tension on the socket. Eventually the guitar starts cutting out when you wiggle the jack plug, and soon it won’t even work at all.
Obviously there are plenty more things to look out for, but these 3 simple tips can greatly extend the life of your guitar, and so make sure you have spare cash for effects and amps, and more guitars, and some more effects and amps...