Recommendation for a 12 year old

So a very good friend of mine's daughter is all into the vinyl scene. I took her to Amoeba Records here in Los Angeles and she picked out some Beatles, some AC/DC(!),and some Nirvana. Guess she's a rock and rolla at heart...gotta love that.

Anyway, she has a turntable that her mom purchased that ran a hundred dollars or so, and as you might imagine it does a fine job of finding it's own way around the records. Groove...what groove?!

So my question is this: What turntable would you recommend to a twelve year old that doesn't completely thrash her records? I am guessing that it should be an automatic or semi-automatic TT to ease with the placement and removal of the tonearm on/off the record. Something used and easy to find. Hopefully loaded with its own cartridge as well.

Any ideas?

I'm not a supporter of starting young listeners with mediocre
equipment, as they are usually able to learn how to use their
gear properly. They will also get more pleasure with decent
gear they can grow with. Treat them with respect, as young
adults, and most will respond responsibly. So, that's my bias.

It would be nice if there were a good quality, inexpensive
automatic or semi-automatic TT, but when you are working with
a limited budget you're talking about a manual version, and
probably used. Many manual TT's today do have a tonearm lift
device which is helpful for young users.

A good place to start looking for entry-level TT's would be
those made by Pro-Ject, Music Hall, Rega, Roksan, and Audio
Technica. Pair any of these TT's with a decent moving magnet
cartridge, such as the lowend Grados, Ortofon, or Shure, which
have models for under $100.

You could start looking for used TT's at US Audio Mart, but
you may have better luck with small used audio stores. There
is a good used audio dealer in Seattle -- Hawthorne Stereo --
that has been in business since the late 1940's and is very
reputable. I'm sure there are other similar stores around the
US, and other A-gon members can probably give you some names.
TW Acoustic Raven AC3
U turn or an older Pioneer pl512, pl514. Rega p1, p2 or Nad or Rotel. Sonograph and Aniston also made good tables. You might even get a Linn Axis or thorens td 150 or 160 series.
I'll second the U-Turn that Raymonda mentioned. Everything included that you need (even a dust cover) starting at $179.
Sony 5520; Pioneer PL560; Pioneer PL41; Yamaha YP201.
Get Shure M97e cartridge and $200...250 gets her to great analogue vintage setup.
Buy her a DJ turntable like Technics SL 1210 mk2 fully manual and then you will see. Technics is hard to beat, it's like a tank! Kids alsway tryin' to "learn" how it works and only with this turntable she could do a backspin and even scratch with dj needles like shure m447. You will be totally safe as this table/needle is hard to broke and parts are cheap.
I started my son on a Technics linear tracker (SP? - not sure of model number) and it has been a 'spoiler' of sorts - fully auto, finds the chosen track automatically, was a freebie(I overhauled it somewhat by adding a new belt and new grease to the worm gear). His next step up will the the U-Turn but he has already mentioned that being fully manual it will take some getting used to.
Denon DP-29F. Needle Doctor $150 with cartridge!
not sure about a 12yr old and a "manual" turntable ... last time I saw a 12yr old who was very careful with anything was, was, hmmmm ... not sure I have ever seen a careful 12yr old! And then you have the "friend factor" ... those obnoxious little ones who pal around with your eh-hem "careful" 12yr old.

Stick with the best "do no harm" $100 semi-auto, fully-auto or linear tracker you can afford from the used market. Maybe a P-mount type so the kid has nothing to fiddle with.

My 2 cents is worth .... 2 cents
BestBuy is blowing out the Denon DP-29F (with cart.) for $67!!

I would go with new. I have had little luck with the reliability of used, older turntables.

In one of my systems, I have an Audio Technica AT-120LP available for $250 with free shipping from a number of eBay sellers. It has a built-in preamp, a decent sounding cartridge, and is built like a tank. She will have this turntable through high school and possibly college. It is a manual turntable, but I don't think that is an issue to a generation of kids that would be accustomed to using iMacs and iPods and iPhones and iEtc.

I am a big believer in starting kids out early with decent equipment that produces decent sound. It is how an appreciation for good sound can start.

Then buy fisherprice, columbia, vestax plastic manual turntable for nothing. Most people grew up with analog of fisherprice turntable for kids in the 70s and played with it even when there were much younger, those decks are manual.

At the age 14-16 some talented kids start DJing with 2 Technics 1210 decks. It's totally safe at this age to use manual turntable and most likely your automatic deck will be broken pretty soon, it's just so boring to play with automatic plastic deck instead of manual.
TW Acustic Black Night w/10.5 tonearm.
Thank you to those who posted reasonable and reasoned responses. I will begin my hunt and am hoping that I have a budding audiophile on my hands. A big responsibility for sure!!Thanks again.
Ebm....3D or SME are better tone arms...if the 12 yr old decides on the SME, he should get it rewired with better cable.
Only you think 3d or SME is better good jump on both now.
It always depends on the kid. I have seen very wise 12 year old kids and very childish 12 year old kids. You need to adjust appropriately to the best of your ability and desire to gift. I can't afford very expensive so I bought a new Denon DP -29f on Ebay for a very low price for my Nephew about 13-4 years old at the time.
04-22-15: Jrinkerptdnet
not sure about a 12yr old and a "manual" turntable ...
When I was 12 I didn't even know that automatic TT existed.
Go outside and play!
Don't worry about your daugher trashing the turntable. She sounds like an intelligent girl who takes care of her things. If you train her in the proper use of the TT, she should be OK. I taught both of my daughters to play their records on my sound system. Granted, it wasn't so high-end at the time ... but they did just fine. No broken cartridges either.

How about the least expensive Rega with a $30.00 Grado?
Perhaps you could take her to some stores that carry turntables and show her how the various ones work (i.e., full manual, auto-stop, automatic starts and cue, play and return), and see if the difference is meaningful to her. If she's fine with fully manual, more of the money can be put into the sound quality of the deck.
U turn orbit a no brainer at <$200...for ease of operation/no worries...older technics linear tracker/ pmount cart...but she has to learn sometime.
..I had a dual 12xx at her age..sansui power, orig advents..loved that system
Rega 1 with cart
Audio Technica
So I ended up picking up a used Pioneer Pl-115D that looks to be in fine shape for its age. Would any of you folks have a recommendation of what cartridge to put on the deck?

Thanks in advance.
A Grado determined by your spending limits perhaps. That would be historically close to correct, I think.
Many of the inexpensive Shure carts feature a stylus/cantilever that easily slides out for replacement at about $10/each. For my collegiate out-of-town beginner, that was a worthwhile feature. Accidents will happen, as Elvis Costello sang. Cheers,
Audio Technica AT95E (about $41)
Grado Black ($75)
Shure M97xE ($79.95)

All three of these have excellent reputations at their price points. If you were to go above that, the next notch would be the Ortofon 2M Red at $99.95.

The flip-down damper brush on the Shure enables it to track warped records better.

Prices from
Sumiko Oyster is the ticket .
Romper Room direct drive.