I'd suggest you buy him a used US made strat for $800-$900 in the classified adds, if he doesn't get into it , it wont be because you bought him crap. You can resell the guitar for the same money anytime.
What type of music is he into? How much is not too much? And what about an amp. A small portable amp he can use with earphones, run a CD player into so he can play along would be a good idea, Like a Roland microcube, a Vox DA-5, Keep away from the cheap Marshall SS amps.
What ever guitar you get, make sure it is set up properly with a new set of strings
the fender starter kits are a great idea.
just make sure the vendor or his tech. sets up the action.
this is the heigth of the strings above the neck , he is in for a month or two of sore fingers, and a badly set action will only make it worse.
you might also want to install , light guage strings, which are also easer on the fingers.
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