Dean Evo XM Electric Guitar Package Review

Dean Evo XM Electric Guitar Pack Review

Dean is best known for making guitars that are ideally suited for playing heavy metal and other extremely demanding music genres. With the Dean Evo XM electric guitar pack, you get everything you need to play right out of the box, and at under $200, this is one of the least expensive beginner guitar packages that you can buy from a major manufacturer. The package includes pretty much everything you’d expect in a beginner kit like this including a gig bag, shoulder strap, 10-watt Dean amp, and a bunch of picks. There is, of course, the Evo XM guitar at the center of the package. The XM is a decent little electric guitar featuring a solid basswood body, 22-fret bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, sealed tuners, and a pair of humbucker pickups. It also has Dean’s patented angled neck, which makes playing it a bit easier. I reviewed this guitar by itself — you can read my full review of the guitar here — and it is definitely a solid instrument for the price. The aggressive and crazy Dean styling that you see on so many of their guitars is painfully missing on this guitar, but it is also much more versatile than most Deans in terms of genres that you can play with it. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the guitar, but I was pleased with it considering the price, and you can definitely grow with it. You won’t have to upgrade for at least a year or two.

I was disappointed with the rest of the package, however. This package definitely has one of the lower quality starter amps that I’ve encountered, and it did not produce as nice a sound as I have found in other packages from folks like Epiphone and Fender. Also, most other beginner guitar packages include some additional extras like an instructional DVD or booklet, a digital tuner, headphones, or a stand. I’ve seen conflicting information on some websites as to whether this comes with a tuner or not, but the one that I reviewed definitely did NOT. Perhaps they decided to include a tuner in a newer production run, but it is something to be aware of nonetheless.

Dean Evo XM Electric Guitar Pack Verdict

The guitar in this package is definitely a good instrument for the money, but the rest of the package left me underwhelmed. The amp isn’t too great, and it lacks some of the other extras that you typically expect to find in a beginner guitar package. If you have your heart set on a you can get this package, but I would recommend buying the guitar and the extras separately. It will cost a little more money, but it is definitely worth the extra cost in my opinion. If the amp were better, I’d be happy to recommend buying it, but it isn’t so I’m not.

Buy The Dean Evo XM Electric Guitar Package

Guitar Center: Buy for $189
Amazon: Buy for $185

Squier Affinity Strat Pack Review

Squier Affinity Strat Pack Review

As I have mentioned in many other reviews, the best way to get started with the electric guitar is to buy a beginner package that has everything you need to get started and the Squier Affinity Strat Pack is one such package. All the top manufacturers offer numerous beginner packages that pair their guitars with the peripherals that you need. This package by Squier — a brand made by Fender — combines one of their less expensive strats with a bunch of nice extras. The guitar in this package is the Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster and it is a pretty good cheap electric guitar. It has 3 single coil pickups, which gives you plenty of different tonal options. It has the classic stratocaster look, a whammy bar, and features a solid agathis body with a bolt-on maple neck that has a 21-fret rosewood fingerboard. Like almost every Fender/Squier guitar that I’ve tested, the build quality on this was very good and I really had no complaints about it. The guitar is a solid guitar through-and-through, but it is not something that is going to knock you off your feet and wow you. You’re not going to be disappointed with the sound, look, quality, or durability of the guitar, but you aren’t going to be blown away.

The rest of the package, however, is absolutely amazing. The most amazing thing about this package is definitely the amp. You’re getting a 15-watt Fender Frontman amp. This is probably the best amp that you are going to get in any starter package offered by any manufacturer. Not only are 15-watt amps uncommon in beginner guitar packages, but you are getting a top-notch 15-watt amp as opposed to a mediocre one. Long after you upgrade to a better guitar, you will still be using this amp. The rest of the package includes the standard cable, instructional dvd, digital tuner, guitar strap, headphones, and, of course, a gig bag in which to carry your guitar.

Squier Affinity Special Strat Pack Verdict

The guitar in this package is a good, solid electric guitar that is a solid B+ across the board. It isn’t spectacular in any one area, but it doesn’t really have any drawbacks either. The amp in this package, however, is hands down the best amp you’re going to find in any guitar package offered by anyone and everything else is better than most. For $250, you are getting a lot of value for your money, and the Stratocaster is a classic guitar that anyone will love. You can’t go wrong with this.

Buy The Squier Affinity Special Strat Guitar Pack

Guitar Center: Buy for $249
Amazon: Buy For $249

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Starter Pack Review

Buy The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Player Pack

Guitar Center: Buy for $649

My Review Of The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Beginner Set

The Epiphone Les Paul Standard is one of the more expensive Epiphone LPs and it is one of the best guitars under $1000 without question. This guitar is definitely the star of the package, and it is what makes up the bulk of the price (the guitar itself will set you back about $550). I have done a review of this guitar in the past, which you can read here. In short, there are really no downsides to this guitar. It is absolutely stunning to look at, and the construction is top notch. The mahogany body creates a beautiful resonance and the mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard feel phenomenal. The guitar has alnico humbucker pickups which give you that classic Les Paul sound and what a sound it is!

The rest of the package is definitely very good for the additional $100, but it is basically the same extras that you get with the less expensive starter sets from Epiphone. It comes with a 15-watt amp, digital tuner, cable, and headphones; all of which are good. With that said, I almost feel like the rest of the package just does not do the guitar justice because it is that good. That is not to say that the extras that come with the package are not good and aren’t worth the money — they definitely are — but the instrument in this beginner set really outshines everything else.

The Verdict

If you’re in the market for a beginner electric guitar pack that is in the $600 to $800 range, you will not be able to find a better choice than this. The guitar is simply outstanding, and the rest of the package is very good as well. If there is a downside to this package, it is the fact that the guitar is so phenomenal that it outclasses the rest of the set.

Best Beginner Electric Guitars

Buy The Best Beginner Electric Guitars

Fender SE Special Strat Starter Pack
Guitar Center:Buy For $199
Amazon:Buy For $199

Epiphone Les Paul Special II Player Pack
Guitar Center: Buy for $269 Lefty for $284
Amazon: Buy for $259

Epiphone LP-100 Starter Pack
Guitar Center: Buy for $399 Buy Lefty for $414

Reviews Of The Best Beginner Electric Guitars

With the electric guitar, the best way for beginners to start learning is to purchase a package that has all of the pieces you need to get started. The electric guitar requires a lot of extras in addition to the guitar so getting everything together is perfect. In addition to the guitar, you also need an amp, a cable to connect the guitar to the amp, extra strings, a tuner, and a case to carry your guitar, accessories, and to protect the instrument from damage. Each guitar package is the best package in its respective price range: under $200, under $300, and under $500. There are many other good options available, but these are the packages that I consider the best based on my experience and knowledge. Without further ado, I give you the best beginner electric guitars.

Fender SE Special Stratocaster Starter Pack

The under $200 price point is the most entry-level guitar point but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get something that is very good. Guitars and guitar starter packages in this price range won’t have all the bells and whistles that you would find with a higher priced instrument, but it is a great way to get started, and it doesn’t break the bank. The best package that you are going to find under $200 is, without a doubt, the Squier by Fender SE Special Stratocaster Starter Pack (Squier is a brand that is made by Fender). This starter pack has a great deal going for it in addition to the price. Included is a Squier SE Special Strat with a tremolo bar — a nice bonus in this price range — as well as a 10-watt Squier amp, gig bag(soft carrying case), a guitar stand, picks, digital tuner, cable, shoulder strap, and an instructional DVD. Each component of this package is very good, and you won’t be disappointed with this. My full review of this package is here.

Epiphone Les Paul Special II Player Pack

This specific electric guitar package clocks in at $269 and it is absolutely amazing. The guitar that comes with this package is the best electric guitar that you can buy under $200, and it is definitely one of the best beginner electric guitars you can buy. If you buy the guitar by itself, it will set you back $169, so the rest of the package tacks on an addition $100. The best thing about this package is the fact that you get the truly phenomenal Les Paul Special II as the guitar. This is a guitar that will grow with you as you get better, and it is an absolutely gem. You can read my full review of the guitar here but, suffice to say, I love this guitar. Included with the amazing guitar is a very solid 15-watt amp — you typically get a 10-watt so this was a nice plus — as well as a gig bag, digital tuner, 20 foot cable, shoulder strap, and headphones. The headphones are great because they allow you to play with your amp without disturbing anyone else, which is great for those late night jam sessions when you get the itch to play. Maybe it’s just me, but I do a lot of my best playing late at night, so I am always listening to myself play through headphones. I do this with my piano too! The one thing I wish this package had that it doesn’t is a guitar stand, but you can buy one for $10, so it is a very negligible problem.

Epiphone LP-100 All Access Pack

Another Epiphone Les Paul? Yes. I have been quite impressed with the Epiphone Les Paul guitars — they have a wide range of them — and I actually own one of them myself. I’ve been a Les Paul fan since I was a boy, and I used to go sleep at night and dream of the day when I would have my very own Gibson Les Paul, and I am now fortunate enough to own a few. Back to the guitar! This guitar is definitely a solid step up from the the Les Paul Special II, and the guitar itself will set you back $299. This whole package is going to cost you $399, and the rest of the package is more-or-less the same as the LP Special II pack. Once again, this package doesn’t include a stand, but that is not a big deal. The extra $100 over the other package definitely brings everything to a whole new level, as the guitar is just a better instrument. You can read my review of the guitar here.

The Verdict

Whatever price range you are looking at when buying your first electric guitar, you can find something excellent that will get you started the right way. Most of the cost of these packages is tied up in the instrument, so the more you spend, the better the guitar you are going to get. With that said, when friends come to me and ask about getting started, or buying a guitar for their kid to learn to play, I typically recommend with staying under $300 unless you really know that you’re going to want to continue playing. These three packages are the best beginner electric guitars that you can buy in each price range, and you’ll be happy no matter which route you take. Happy Jamming!

Squier SE Special Strat Pack Review

Buy The Squier SE Special Stratocaster Start Playing Set

Guitar Center:Buy For $200
Amazon:Buy For $200

My Review Of The Squier by Fender Stop Dreaming, Start Playing Set: SE Special w/ Squier by Fender SP10 Amp

Fender has always been one of my first choices when it comes to electric guitar manufacturers, and the guitar package offered by Squier — which is made by Fender — here reaffirms why I love them so much. The guitar package in question is the Fender SE Special Strat With Squier SP 10 AMP Value Pack. The guitar itself has a bolt on maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard, and an agathis body. It has a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard which boasts dot inlays. One of the things I really like about this package is the fact that you can get the guitar in either white, black, or the classic brown sunburst. All three look great, but my favorite is the sunburst. So, what is it that makes me think that this is such a good package? The first thing is the price. This package is under 200 dollars, and it is tough to find a decent guitar for under $200, let alone an entire starter package.

Packages like this are not hard to come by, but in my experience they can often be expensive. However, the sound alone from the Fender SE Special Strat included in this back With Squier SP 10 AMP definitely makes this guitar package worth it. The great thing about this guitar is that the sound is incredibly versatile. For example, if you want a clean sound then it is not hard to achieve, and the same can be said about getting a muddy, distorted sound. This is something that can be difficult to find in guitars that are around this price range. Most guitars are going to be good at one thing or another, but this is very versatile. One thing that did slightly disappoint me was the amp. It isn’t a bad amp buy any means, but typically, Squier amps are awesome and this one fell a bit short. One other thing to mention is that the guitar needs to be retuned more often than others, but this isn’t a big deal with a tuner handy.

The Verdict

This package contains everything that you will need to get started playing guitar. Overall, it is a very good package that offers great value for money, and though it has some faults, it’s definitely one of the best options you’re going to find as a starter pack in this price range.

Other Relevant Reviews

Complete Guitar Package Reviews
Ibanez IJX25 Guitar Package Review
Squier Reviews

Ibanez IJX25 Jumpstart Package Review

Buy The Ibanez IJX25 Jumpstart Package

Guitar Center: Buy for $229

My Review Of The Ibanez IJX25 Jumpstart Package

Ibanez IJX25 Jumpstart Package is a very good choice for someone who is looking to get started playing the guitar the right way. The first thing that appealed to me about this package is that the entire package is $229, which is less than you would be paying for almost any electric guitar by itself. You get the Ibanez electric guitar which boasts a basswood body, and a rosewood neck with pearl dot inlays. Additionally, you get everything else that you need to get started including an amp, gig bag, shoulder strap, tuner, and more.

I will say that I was slightly disappointed with the overall sound quality of the guitar, as it is not as nice as some of the other guitars that are in this range like the Les Paul Special II, but it isn’t bad by any means. I have found that it is difficult to get a clean sound from the guitar, but there are many music genres for which this is a benefit and not a hindrance including metal, and hard rock. If you are not a beginner then you are probably not going to be very impressed with this package, or rather the guitar itself, but for a beginner, this package has a lot to offer.

The Verdict

Despite having a few faults, I would still recommend the Ibanez IJX25 Jumpstart Package as a decent option for beginners. The guitar is not good enough to impress people who have been playing regularly for more than a year — and those who only need the guitar — but it is definitely good enough for someone new to the instrument. The extras that come with this package are pretty good too and definitely help to push this package from “overlook it” to “consider it.” It isn’t perfect, but getting a full package for $229 is not a bad deal.

Other Relevant Reviews

Yamaha Gig Maker Start Pack
Epiphone Les Paul Special II Review
Guitars under 300 dollars

Yamaha GigMaker EG Beginner Pack Review

Buy The Yamaha GigMaker EG Beginner Pack

Guitar Center: Buy for $259
Amazon: Buy for $259

My Review Of The Yamaha GigMaker Electric Guitar Starter Hit

If you are new to playing the guitar, it makes perfect sense to start off at the very beginning. Most guitarists, especially those that have begun to play in the past 20 years, will have owned a guitar starter pack at some point in their lives, and they can be incredibly beneficial starting out. There are many different guitar starter kits out there and they tend to be on the cheaper side. (You can read my other reviews of beginner guitar packages.) As such, it is important to do your research before buying one. In addition to this review, I have many guitar starter package reviews that you can browse through in your search. Today, I’ll be talking about the Yamaha GigMaker EG Electric Guitar Pack. First, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages.

The contents of the Yamaha GigMaker EG Electric Guitar Pack contain everything that you could possibly need to get started when it comes to learning how to play the guitar. Not only does it contain a Yamaha guitar, a brand that is known for making quality instruments, but it also has a 15-watt amp, gig bag, guitar cable, tuner, spare strings, picks, and am excellent introductory DVD. This guitar sounds good and has a nice dual humbucker setup. Finding a beginner electric guitar kit that has a quality guitar is the biggest challenge as these packages are targeted for beginners who do not know a great deal about guitars. Fortunately, sound quality is not an issue with the Yamaha GigMaker EG Electric Guitar Pack. The sound is very good for the price range, the build quality of the guitar is good, and it is definitely a guitar that can grow with you as you learn how to play.

The Verdict

Overall, I was really pleased with this starter kit. The guitar is good and you get a nice 15-watt amp to jam with (most starter packs have a 10-watt amp). If I have one complaint, it is that the gig bag isn’t great but that is really a small complaint when compared to the overall package you’re getting. This may not be the greatest beginner package that I’ve ever tested, but considering the fact you can buy it for $259 puts it safely near the top in the under $300 category and a solid choice any way you slice it.

Other Relevant Reviews

Guitar Packages
Yamaha Guitar Reviews
Ibanez IJX25 Beginner Guitar Package

Guitar Starter Packs

There are a lot of different package deals out there at the moment for the beginner guitarist, but the one that you should really be looking into is the guitar starter pack. Again, there are different ones available, but most of them will have the same sort of contents. The price range that you can expect with a starter pack will vary greatly depending on the brand of the guitar and what is included in the box. Let’s take a look at some of the items that are usually included in a guitar starter pack.


Obviously, a guitar starter pack wouldn’t really be much use without the guitar itself. Now, there are a range of different types of guitar starter packs. Yamaha do some very good starter packs when it comes to acoustic guitars, but if you are looking for an electric starter pack then it may be worth seeing what Fender have to offer as they usually have some very good deals. One important thing to remember is that guitars come in different sizes, so be sure to purchase one that is actually suitable for you personally.


The vast majority of guitar starter packs include a small amp. If you are getting an electric guitar, it is good to have an amp to go with it. Amps can range in price from $50 to $50,000 so there is a wide range of prices and qualities when it comes to amps. In most guitar starter packages, the amp will be small with around ten watts of power.

Gig Bag

A gig bag is a soft guitar case, which holds your guitar, spare strings, picks, and other miscellaneous stuff. A soft case is great because it is not large and it does not weigh a lot, but a soft case does not offer the protection that you will get from a hard case. Regardless, you need a bag to carry around your guitar and a soft case is great is most cases.

Chord Chart

All starter packs will contain some sort of chord chart. These are usually in huge poster form so that you can pin them up wherever is convenient for you to memorize them. This will definitely help you in the long run when it comes to learning how to play guitar because you will need to know all of these chords as you progress with your playing. They usually come with a small image of the fret board and colored dots over the strings. These dots represent where you need to put your fingers when you are playing the chord.


The vast majority of guitar starter packs will contain a DVD of some description. Although a lot of people don’t use them, these DVDs can actually be incredibly helpful. They are usually films of a professional teacher showing you how to do certain things with the guitar. Typically they will talk about rhythm, strumming patterns, chords, and they will also explain the different parts of the guitar. At some point in the DVD they will probably get you to practice little melodies and chord progressions. Whilst this may be boring, it is very good practice for the future.

Spare Strings

Spare strings are essential, especially for the beginner. It is so easy to break a string, particularly the high E, and if you are in the middle of practicing the last thing you want to have to do is go out and buy new strings. Usually there will be instructions within the starter pack that will tell you how to change the strings yourself, but if there isn’t then there are plenty of tutorials on the internet that you can take a look at.

Who Should Buy A Guitar Starter Pack?

If you have never picked up a guitar in your life, a starter pack is definitely the place to start. It will contain everything that you need to get started on learning to play the guitar. If you buy a guitar on its own, you are not going to have the advantage of all of the help contained in a starter pack.

Beginner Guitars: How to Choose

Getting your first instrument is always the hardest one to choose. With lack of experience and knowledge for what you should be looking for, how much you want to spend, and how long you will be playing the instrument, it can be hard to know exactly what you want to do. That is why it is so important to do research before you get your first instrument. This is true for people looking for beginner guitars. I will show you a few easy tips and questions to try and answer as well as a few great choices for beginner guitars that include everything you need to get started right away.

The first question you should ask yourself is how much you want to spend. I normally recommend to people that they should plan to spend less than $300 for their first electric guitar and amp combo. $300 is a good baseline and it is not too incredibly expensive but you can still get a really good guitar and amp combination for this price without having to worry about what you are going to get. You can get decent beginner guitars with amps and other extras for under $150 on occasion but I have found that many of these are not very good.

The next question you should ask yourself is what type of guitar you are looking for. There are many different types of electric guitars and many different styles of guitars to choose from. Typically, good beginner guitars are solid body electric guitars that are durable, easy to play, and provide a good general electric guitar sounds. Some people who have more specific needs could look at buying an electric-acoustic, a hollow body, or some other variation but I usually recommend a basic solid body as it covers all of the bases really well. They are also really durable.

There are many good choices for a beginner electric guitar set but I have included some of the best with a little information on each to help make the decision easier on you.

Epiphone Les Paul Special II Player Pack, Vintage SunburstEpiphone Les Paul Special II Player Pack, Vintage Sunburst

I’m going to be honest, this is more expensive than the $300 limit that I suggested but I include this because the Epiphone Les Paul is one of the BEST guitars that you can find for under $1000 and it is an excellent imitation of my favorite electric guitar. I own an Epiphone Les Pual as well as a Gibson and it is a great instrument and if you have a little extra money to spend, you cannot go wrong with this guitar.

Yamaha Gigmaker EG – Black Electric Guitar PackageYamaha Gigmaker

The Yamaha Gigmaker is an amazing choice that definitely get’s in under the $300 basic top end that I suggest most people to stick to. Yamaha has been making great instruments for decades and it is as true for their electric guitars as it is for their pianos. For the $200-$300 range, the Yamaha Gigmaker package is top of the line. It has everything you need from Amp to gigbag to get you jamming in no time.

Fender Starcaster Electric Guitar Pack with Amp and Accessories, Candy Apple RedFender-Stratocaster

The Fender Stratocaster is a great solid body electric guitar and the standard for people just learning to play the instrument. It has been popular for decades and will continue to be a mainstay for people learning to and continuing to play the electric guitar. For someone who is on a budget, this guitar pack is an amazing option and definitely my biggest recommendation for an electric guitar pack under $200.

Austin Bazaar Black Electric Guitar Package with 10 Watt Amp – Beginner KitAustin Bazaar Beginner Package

For those of you who are really on a budget or are not sure whether or not you actually want to play the guitar, the Austin Bazaar beginner guitar package is a great choice. At a little over $100, you will not be breaking the bank and will get everything you need to play. You won’t be getting the same level of quality as you would buying the Les Paul package but for $100, you really cannot go wrong here. This guitar package will keep you going until you decide to either pick up a new instrument when you want to take guitar more seriously or, if you decide it isn’t for you, you haven’t dropped many hundreds of dollars on an instrument you won’t use.