Choosing Your First Guitar

Choosing Your First Guitar

By Marc Ilgen

Where to start looking for a good guitar

When you begin learning to play the guitar, it is imperative that you own one. Finding a good guitar is not a difficult task. Go to a good music store where you live and the people there can give you lots of help in deciding which guitar to buy. If you have a friend who plays a guitar, it is advisable to take the friend along when you are trying out a new guitar for the purpose of purchasing it. Although not absolutely necessary, taking someone along helps to narrow down on the choices available.

Choosing the type of guitar

There are several different types of guitars to choose from, including

* Classical

* Flamenco

* Acoustic

* Electric

Unless you want to play classical or flamenco music, most people will want to select either an acoustic or electric guitar, as these are best suited to playing a wide range of popular music styles. If you wish to play softer, unamplified music then select an acoustic guitar. If you wish to play more rock-oriented amplified music, then select an electric guitar.

If an acoustic guitar is your choice…

An acoustic guitar is less complicated although a little more difficult to learn as compared to an electric guitar. However, it is the first choice for most beginners. If it has been tuned, you need to check out the sound when you pluck the strings. The sound coming from the guitar should be crisp and clear, without any buzzing or other non-musical sounds. Ask your friend to find out in case you cannot differentiate between the sounds. If the guitar has strings that were on it since the time it was made, you could probably ask for a change of strings. You must also check whether you are comfortable holding the guitar and playing it at the same time. Choose an acoustic guitar with great care, as it would be the one that will stay with you for years to come.

You could also go for an electric guitar…

An electric guitar is recommended for young guitar players. Although an electric guitar may not be as simple looking as an acoustic one, it is easier to play because the strings are usually closer to the fretboard and require less pressure to hold down. While choosing an electric guitar also take a good look at the gadgets that accompany it. Amps, cable and picks need to be of good quality too. It is advisable to check them out well before you buy them. Ideally ask the store to let you test the equipment before you buy it. Because the sound from an electric guitar is amplified, it is often easier and less physically demanding for a beginning player to learn to play. But it is important to feel comfortable with the sound quality coming from the guitar – buy the best sounding guitar you can afford because you will lose interest in playing if the sound quality is poor.

Buying your first guitar

If you are just beginning to learn, you could also choose from among the learning or beginner’s guitars, which are reasonably priced. As you better your skills, you could look out for a more expensive one. A good guitar should also look good besides playing in tune. Your guitar should be sturdy and strongly built. So, do not give into salesmanship tactics and end up buying one that is defective. Check out each fret before you decide to select a guitar. Any guitar that produces a non-musical sound should be promptly disqualified. It is also important to spend some good time in the music shop trying out the different guitars. You will not be stepping into the shop again unless you want to purchase new strings. Take your time to choose the guitar that seems just right for you.

Marc Ilgen is a guitar player and a contributing author to