Buying Your First Guitar
(There are plenty of great buys on used guitars out there, but you have to be cautious, and there’s more to consider. For the purpose of this article, we are dealing only with the purchase of a new guitar.)
Buying Your first guitar
So, you’re thinking about guitar lessons and you need to get your first guitar. There’s a lot of variety out there…so how do you decide what’s right for you? You first have to decide, do you want to go with an acoustic, or an electric guitar? This is really a personal choice, but many teachers, myself included, believe it is better to begin with an acoustic guitar for the following reasons…there are fewer distractions when dealing with an acoustic guitar, and more importantly, you will begin to develop the strength needed in you hands and fingers. Not to mention, the acoustic guitar is what a guitar really is, and the electric is an extension of that.
All that being said, if electric guitar is what really motivates you, than go with it. You can learn on an electric too. Acoustic guitar is a beautiful instrument though, and you may decide to try it out down the road.
There is such a range of prices in guitars that you may want to decide how much you want to spend before going out to make a purchase. With beginners, especially children, you may want to stay at the lower end of the price range, around $150.00-300.00. Going much lower that this may not be a good idea, as you may end up with a guitar that is not playable, and more of a toy than an instrument.
Many stores such as WALMART, Zellers, Toys R Us, and Canadian Tire are now carrying, inexpensive, very low end guitars. As far as a musical instrument goes though, these place would best be avoided. Buy your instrument at a reputable music store. There you will be served by experienced staff, who will assist you in trying the instruments you are interested in, and give you honest feedback. And, when you do finally make a choice, your new guitar will be properly set up by professionals, and should you need any service on your new instrument, they will be there to help you.
Do your research! Check the internet, visit music shops, and talk to someone who has been playing for a while. Guitar players often know gear. They can give you a good idea of what to look for, and what you want to avoid.
When shopping for your guitar it would be a great idea to bring that experienced player with you. An untrained ear may not recognize quality of tone, but your guitar playing friend will. Try a lots of guitars. With each guitar you try, pay special attention to sound, feel and general playability. Your new guitar should feel comfortable when you hold it, and most importantly, neck relief should be correct, and can be adjusted in the shop.
Before you go home…give serious consideration to also purchasing the following three items…
1) A good quality gig bag or hard case – The gig bag offers good protection while being lightweight. It can be worn on the back for long walks, or even bike rides. A hard case offers superior protection, but is a bit bulkier to move around. Whichever you choose, it is essential to protect your new instrument when transporting it to and from lessons, or where ever else it may travel with you.
2) A tuner - you will absolutely need one.
3) A guitar stand – A guitar that is out on a stand is much more likely to be picked up and played on a regular basis, than one that is in a gig bag, stuffed in the closet. Besides, a guitar is a beautiful thing, show it off! Once you’ve found the right guitar for you, you’ll be ready to start learning to play!
Consider private guitar lessons! Books and the internet are fun, but they cannot teach you proper technique the way a one on one lesson, with a professional instructor can!