Are you dreaming of becoming the next Jimi Hendrix? Or do you simply want to strum some chords in your bedroom? Either way, buying your first guitar is a big step. It's the beginning of a beautiful journey of strumming, shredding, and possibly a few smashed strings.
But you can't just head to your nearest music store and pick the first guitar you see. You must know the type of guitar you want. Do you prefer acoustic or electric? Even within these categories, there are numerous choices.
And that's why we are here. We have some expert tips to help you pick the perfect guitar. Let's get to work!
Acoustic or Electric?
An acoustic guitar is an instrument that uses no external power or amplification. It relies solely on its own body and strings to create sound. An electric guitar requires a power source, usually an amp, and strings.
Electric guitars are better suited for specific genres of music, such as rock and metal. These guitars are best if you plan to play in a band or jam with friends. On the other hand, acoustic guitars are quieter and perfect for smaller gatherings or solo performances. Indie, rock, and country music also sound great on acoustic guitars.
If you're unsure which type will work best for you, head to a quality music store like Sloan School of Music for professional help while picking the right instrument.
Nylon or Steel Strings?
Yes, even strings come in different types. Nylon strings are softer, making them ideal for beginners and players with sensitive hands. They create a warm, mellow sound and are usually used on classical or folk guitars.
Steel strings are standard in acoustic and electric guitars. They create a more vibrant tone and are often used for rock, blues, country, and pop music.
Your playing style will help you decide. Steel strings are the way to go if you like strumming or picking hard. But if you're a gentle player, nylon strings are perfect.
Settle for a Shape
Pick what looks the most beautiful to you.
You want a guitar that makes you want to strum those strings all day. Research your favorite guitarists to see if you share their taste in guitars. Maybe you'll discover a new favorite model! If you're feeling extra fancy, peek at some pricier guitars for inspiration.
When it comes to acoustic guitars, you might not have a lot of visual variation. But you can get different sizes.
Dreadnought-style guitars have a classic, bold look and a thick, booming tone perfect for strumming chords. However, they can be too large for smaller players. In that case, you can opt for a parlor-style guitar. It has a more petite body and gives off a mellow, delicate sound.
Size Really Matters
Incorrect size can be the difference between a good and bad playing experience. If the size is too small, it will be challenging to handle. And if it's too big, you may struggle to reach for the frets.
Take a few moments to measure your arm length and torso size. It will help you determine the correct size of guitar for your body.
There are three sizes of guitars that experts recommend according to the player's age:
- Half size is suitable for children between 5-7 years
- Three-quarter size for children between 8-10 years
- Full size for anyone over 11 years
Features to Look For
Now that you've narrowed down the type of guitar you want, it's time to consider the features.
Look for a guitar with good action. It is the distance between the strings and the fretboard. Low action makes pressing down on the strings easier, while high action requires more effort.
Next, look at the guitar neck. Is it straight? Does it have a comfortable shape? Bows and back bows make playing the guitar difficult.
Don't forget to check out the pickup. It is only applicable to electric guitars, and it amplifies the sound. Single coil or humbucker pickups are common choices.
Finally, inspect the bridge. It should be smooth and even. The strings must sit flush in the bridge slot so they don't slip out of tune.
What's Your Budget?
First, consider your budget. Guitars can be priced between a few hundred dollars all the way up to thousands of dollars.
What does the price depend on?
Well, the more expensive guitars usually offer better sound quality and materials. Imagine solid wood bodies and necks! But the cheaper ones aren't all bad. You can also find some quality guitars in the lower price range, so don't write them off!
Think about how much you can realistically spend and look for a guitar within that price range.
Try Before You Buy
The thing with instruments is that no two are alike. One might have a fantastic sound, while another might be a dud. And honestly, at the end of it all, it wouldn't matter how many knobs and switches it has: if the sound isn't right, you won't love playing it.
So, before you purchase, visit your local music store and ask to try out a few guitars. Check out each guitar's sound, feel, and overall look to ensure it's the right one for you.
If you're buying online, look for stores offering a money-back guarantee if you don't like the guitar when it arrives.
New Vs. Used Guitar
New guitars are shiny and exciting. You'll get the latest technology and manufacturer's warranty. But, of course, they come with a hefty price tag.
So, if you're on a tight budget, consider buying a used guitar. You can save a lot of money and might even find some attractive vintage models.
Just make sure to inspect the guitar thoroughly before buying. Check the fretboard and neck for any signs of damage, and make sure everything is working fine.
Also, request the seller to tune the guitar before shipping it to you. That way, when it arrives, you can start playing right away!
What Learning Materials Must You Buy🎸
Learning to play the guitar like you were born to do so requires investment in terms of time, effort, and resources.
Now, if you plan on joining a guitar class, your tutor will (probably) provide all that you need. But if you're on your own, a few helpful tools will make the ride less bumpy. Of course, you have the internet at your disposal, but learning from different resources will give you a more balanced learning experience.
Here's a list of things you must get your hands on:
Flashcards are a blessing in disguise. They contain all the chords, notes, and scales you need to master guitar playing. It's usually better to have physical cards instead of digital ones since they can be held up to your guitar and make learning easier.
The best part about flashcards is that they are cheaper than a book. Plus, you have more control over how you use them.
Guitar Method Books📚
Method books are great for guiding beginners through their guitar journey. They contain step-by-step lessons and exercises to help you progress faster. Look for books designed specifically for your instrument, and ensure they are from a reputable author.
Yes, we all love YouTube for its high resourcefulness. You'll find plenty of tutorials and jamming sessions to learn from. But how many of those lessons are authentic? With the rise of money-minting benefits of uploading content on YouTube, you can never be too sure of the quality.
That's why DVDs remain an excellent source for learning guitar. Although pricey, the lessons are usually from certified professionals. Plus, you have access to support services if you get stuck somewhere.
Benefits of Learning Guitar
We all agree that music has a special place in our lives. But when you actually master an instrument and start playing your favorite songs, it feels like a whole new world is open to you. If you're still on the fence about learning guitar, here are a few benefits that might help you decide:
Playing guitar is like a full-body workout for your brain and fingers! You have to masterfully use your hands, fingers, arms, and even your feet (if you're using pedals) to create music. To get the right notes and chords, you need some serious hand-eye coordination, finger dexterity, and timing skills. You won't even realize when you develop them with time. It's that effortless.
Can you even fathom the amount of information you need to remember while playing guitar? From the notes, chords, fretboard placements, and melodies, you're signing up for a lot of memorizing. It might seem too hard to conquer at first. But with regular practice, everything will flow freely from your fingers to the strings.
Let's face it. Life can be stressful sometimes. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and labor of everyday life. What do we get in return? Burnouts and anxiety. Boredom, too. So, channel everything into playing the guitar instead of letting the stress stockpile. Not only will it make you a better musician, but it'll also help you get your mind off of worrisome things and enjoy life.
Nothing beats the boost of self-assurance you get when you strike the perfect chord and melody and your audience applauds. When you practice regularly, playing guitar becomes second nature to you, and you'll start feeling more confident about yourself. Go for it!
Opportunities and Fun
The best part about mastering an instrument is the whole lot of fun opportunities that come with it. You can start your band, play gigs and perform at open mic nights.
If you're not into the whole performing thing, you can still have a great time jamming with your friends.
Guitar teaching is also a fun way to make extra money.
There's so much you can do with guitars. Connect with people that share your passion, woo your romantic partner on a special night, play for your family on occasions, or simply make yourself feel better. It's magical how much an instrument (and your exceptional skills) can do. So, pick your favorite guitar and start playing.
Enjoy Your Instrument!
Buying a guitar is much more than just paying for your favorite musical instrument. It's an experience. You can explore different makes and models, try new sounds on each one, and eventually find the perfect fit. Did we tell you there'd be a lot of learning along the process? Well, you better get ready! And just remember to have fun while doing it. That's the best part about playing guitar. It takes away your worries and fills you with joy.
When you have your tool, and know how to mesmerize the world with your melodies, go all out and rock the stage! Good luck!