I'm a bit late on thisbut here goes for some pointers.
Let's do away with the hardware first:
The cheapest (and possibly the best sounding route for a beginner) is to get a hold of a old Hi-Fi system. Get a older turntable and a old amp to go with from a flea market or something, those things go for dirt cheap. The up side of this is that older gear (specially if you get a older tube preamp) tend to sound warmer and more pleasent, the new digital gear sometimes is very cold and flat sounding (the cheaper ones, due to soddy cartridges, needles and tonearms etc.).
The downside is that the gear will propably not be in tip top shape and you will have to hunt for a replacemnt needle or a belt. Do some homework on the subject matter.
The fastest way is to get one of them USB capable TT's out there, but try to read up on some reviews before you splash out the money. I would recommend maybe spending a few bucks more to get one with decent sound quality fro the get go.
Don't get me wrong, some of the sabo's crates samples came out of a tiny portable vestax turntable and they don't exactly shred your ears to pieces either
As far as getting a groove going on with the chops, you will need to change your approach a little. Try not to do it with the same mindset as you would with loops. YTou will have to re-think that. Look at the chops more like one hit drum samples. Take a piano note and instead of trying build a pattern with it, play it up and down the scale. Take guitar lick and and for example run it thru a wah wah pedal, or a distortion unit and add some tape delay. Boom there you have a ambient sound...
If you listen to (actually listen to the individual samples) in for example Dillas productions (also this is very prominent with Pete Rock) he very often uses delay on the short chops to fill in the spaces and to soften the transition. Much like Dilla likes to have two versions of a snare drum with different delay/reverb settings to liven up the track.
The point being, you propably need to concentrate looking at the individual sample as a instrument of it's own and how to manipulate that one sound to make the most of it. Where with loops you concentrate more on how to spice up / diversify the the track.