All rock stars have to start somewhere and generally the very first step is learning to play an instrument. Mastering an instrument is no mean feat and although some people are more predisposed to exceptional talent or blessed with impeccable rhythm: practice is the key to truly getting the most out of the experience. If you've decided you like to learn how to play the guitar and emulate such heroes as Slash, Hendrix and Clapton then you have a hard slog ahead of you. To try and make it as straightforward as possible though, it is vital to make sure you invest in the most suitable equipment for your needs, so that all you have to focus on is mastering the fretbaord.
There are an extensive range of low-priced electric guitars available, some of which are great for the beginner and others which are not quite as suitable. There is however no hard and fast rule about which guitar is the best for any given person to choose when attempting to learn how to play the instrument: taste and preference are the major factors. Every guitarist is so unique in their preferences that even after playing for many years and purchasing numerous highly priced, top of the range guitars many guitarists still prefer a cheap or old battered guitar over all of their shiny alternatives and many will use the same justification for it: "it just feels right!"
Taking this into consideration, 'try to find a guitar that just feels right' is the best possible advice to give to anyone looking to buy their first axe. Even with very limited playing ability you will get a real sense of which guitars feel most suitable for you. Go into guitar stores and try out as many as you can that are within your budget, play around on guitars your friends own and have a mess around with any guitar you find in a 2nd hand store. It is inevitable that if you pick up, strum and generally get a sense of enough guitars then at least one (most likely more than one) will grab your attention above the others. Although aesthetics are central to almost all purchases, it is advisable to put them aside when shopping for a guitar: yes the Gothic Black SG may suit your image, but if it doesn't feel right when you have a play around with it then the odds are that you will either give up trying to learn or end up selling it on to someone else at a heavy loss.
Having established which guitar you are most interested in (by a process of elimination based on price, playability and advice) it is time to take that first step towards the rock and roll hall of fame. If the guitar that felt best is second hand then it's advisable to try your hand at bartering and buy it before someone else does. If however it was a new model which grabbed your attention then the internet is a great start when searching for the best available price. Be cautious about purchasing a guitar online that you have not tried out in a shop: make sure to stick to the exact make and model that you tried out and felt comfortable with, just because two guitars look the same doesn't mean that they play the same.
When you're learning to play the instrument an amplifier is important, but a great amplifier is not. Just a small 10-20watt guitar amp with an 8 or 10 inch speaker has more than enough clout to give you an idea of how your riffs would sound in a stadium without bothering the neighbours or denting your bank balance too much. Best of all, most large guitar retailers reduce the price of learner/practice amplifiers when they are bought in conjunction with a guitar.
With your carefully selected guitar and practice amp in hand all that you really need to be getting along with is a guitar strap, guitar lead, plectrum and plug socket. With this simple assembly you can master chords, plan solos and start penning your soon to be anthems!