Based on this, I'm going to recommend a silver Dean Vendetta! But since that's not working for him, and that he likes tortoise, I'm going to guess maybe his tastes may lean more traditional? I just went with a Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar for my 12 year old daughter. It hasn't arrived yet, so no comment on performance, but seems "cool" to me, there are a gazillion choices in the Vintage Modified series, and reviews are pretty positive. And they're cheap.