In music there are two kinds of written language. There's what we usually call sheet music, and there's a guitar tab. Conventional sheet music notation tells us everything we need to know about the piece of music we are looking at. It tells us which notes to play, for how long, at what pitch, and how loud to play. Guitar tab is a very old form of written music which has become very popular among guitar players because it allows them to learn the notes of a piece very quickly without needing to learn the complexities of conventional music notation.
Many electric guitar players only learn guitar tab, but there are also many guitar players who thank their lucky stars that they took the trouble to learn to read music. They have benefited in that they are eligible for a wider range of work as guitarists as well as gaining a fuller understanding of music.
Probably the first thing you need to know as an electric guitar player is the name of each of your six guitar strings. There are only seven notes in an octave, but an accomplished electric guitar player knows where all these notes are at different positions on the guitar fretboard.
You also need to know how to make the music notes sound on your electric guitar. So you will be learning how to make chord shapes, how to insert the correct amount of pressure to produce clean sounds and various picking or plucking techniques used in combination with distortion and other electronic effects to produce a variety of sounds on your guitar.
As a beginner, you probably should not spend a fortune on buying your first guitar. It is not necessary. It would be great if you could borrow one, but failing that, there are many cheap electric guitars available for beginners to learn on. You can choose from the cheaper models available new, or a good guitar bought second hand. Get some advice from a guitar playing friend on buying your first guitar, or get some advice from experienced guitarists who are members of one of the online guitar forums.
Once you have your first electric guitar you will be practicing for the first few weeks, or maybe months, on some basic chords and scales. If you have been able to postpone actually buying a guitar, then knowing a few chords will help you to make your decision.
If you are buying a used guitar through classified ads, make sure you ask the owner about how much he has played it and if there have been any repairs done on the guitar. When buying a second hand guitar you will need to check whether the neck is warped, how well the pickups work, and check the moving parts like the machine heads and the tremolo arm.