If you walk into any guitar store, the sales rep can give you details on all of the guitars in the store. They can go over the pros and cons of any one you’re considering to buy. What they can’t tell you without being biased is which guitar is going to be best for your personal learning and which guitar is going to help you best reach your personal short term and long term goals. Not knowing what you want in advance can cause you to spend hours in any given music store, trying to figure out which guitar is the one for you – or worse, walking out with the wrong guitar in your hands!
Follow this advice and you will absolutely love your first guitar
First thing’s first. You must keep the following facts in mind:
Guitar players typically own an average of 8 or 9 guitars throughout their lifetime, and buying a guitar is a big decision, but it’s NOT like buying a car – unless you shell out thousands of dollars for your first guitar. So if your musical tastes change as you progress, it’s no big deal because you can always pick up another guitar.
That said, there are several factors to consider when purchasing a guitar, especially the right guitar for you, the first time.
When it comes to most things, cheap is cheap. Guitars are no exception. If you really want to play the guitar, you will avoid the cheapest guitars like the plague! Why? They don’t sound good and they’re difficult for even some of the most advanced players to play – so why subject yourself to a level of frustration that even the most advanced players won’t put up with?
The good thing is you don’t need to spend $3000 on your first guitar. But you should look to spend at least $300 on a new guitar if playing the guitar is really what you want to do. Anything less is going to be frustrating since cheap guitars can actually physically hurt you while you play! Only when you are an intermediate or advanced guitarist will you know how to overcome and compensate for the specific challenges of playing cheap guitars, and most intermediate and advanced guitarists won’t go anywhere near the cheapest guitars anyway. So it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Quality is something that usually goes hand in hand with price, but not always. It’s possible from time to time to find a poorly quality constructed guitar in a higher price range or a well built guitar at a lower price. It is usually the case that the higher the price tag, the better the quality, the better the sound, and the better its playability. The only way to inspect the quality of a guitar to see if it’s the right fit for you is to physically handle it yourself while asking these questions:
Electric vs Acoustic Tips: If its an electric guitar you’re inspecting, ask the sales rep to plug your potential guitar into a cheap practice amplifier. If the guitar still sounds pretty decent to you through that little amplifier, it will certainly be worth the time and money spent to buy. Just imagine how much better it would sound through an expensive amp!! If it’s an acoustic guitar you are considering, ask the rep what kind of strings you need to buy later on that will produce similar, if not the same, sound that you just heard coming through the guitar.
What are you expecting your new guitar to be able to do? What sounds are you expecting to emulate? What band or artist did you hear play that inspired you to walk into the store and purchase a guitar? What kind of guitar work is prevalent in the music that they play? Look for brand, body-style and sound. The sales rep can usually help you with this aspect, although, if you’re okay with spending a little more, your guitar instructor can come out to the store with you to help you track down the right guitar for you.
This essentially breaks down to your favorite bands and artists. In other words, who do you listen to? Who do you want to sound like? You picked up the guitar because someone playing a guitar inspired you to want to learn. So is your favorite artist playing mostly acoustic guitar or electric guitar? What genre of music do they play? Be careful not to pick a guitar based only on genre. Just because an artist plays rock doesn’t mean they’re always using an electric guitar. Take a closer look at your favorite music videos. What kind of guitars do you see the most in those videos? That’s the kind of guitar that you want, even if you’re just getting started. That artist inspired you to pick up the guitar to play it it only makes sense that you use that inspiration that got you wanting to learn the guitar in the first place.
Both electric and acoustic guitars have their equal amount of advantages and disadvantages. Finding the right guitar is NOT about finding the guitar with least amount of challenges. Finding the right guitar IS about YOU finding your personal musical fulfillment in the sound and style that is going to bring joy to your heart every time you pick up, practice and play your brand new guitar.
Once you have that brand, spanking new guitar in your hands, come back and check out my articles on how to get MASSIVE results when practicing the guitar, my favorite smart phone apps to use while I practice guitar, and most importantly, how to find the time to practice every day no matter how busy you are!!
Let me know how these tips work out for you and watch for the next installment!
Written by: Marcus L. Diaz
Owner, Mentor, Trainer, Coach
Master Your Guitar Music Academy
Here’s an extra tip:
The typical, average, logical approach to learning guitar that most instructors follow is NOT the best way to learn to play. My students come to me week after week because they learn faster with me than with any of their previous instructors! Why? Because there is madness in my method and a method to my madness! Learn how to prevent YEARS of frustration when you...
"Our guiding principle in teaching is to help EVERY student fall in love with their instrument – We pride ourselves on making EVERY new player good and EVERY good player great as fast as humanly possible – And seeing that happen during each and every lesson puts a huge smile on my face!" - Marcus Diaz
Great school; Marcus cares about students and their progress. Always easy to understand and answers all questions. Whether a goal is understanding advanced music theory or just playing a few chords, Marcus is very well equipped to help
you reach musical goals. Rates are well worth it. Overall, very solid music academy.
Marcus Diaz, the owner, is a great teacher. He's clear, focused and relaxed with a great knowledge of guitar. He's skillful in combining the teaching of theory with hands on learning. His classes are always fun and the time goes by
Marcus builds a great rapport with everyone, right out of the gate. He is a master of conditioning people who want to play the guitar, to WANT to play the guitar, and is really good at teaching beginners—making the dry and
not-so-engaging basics into engaging lessons.
Marcus is a fantastic teacher! After taking traditional guitar lessons elsewhere that were boring and stunted my growth, the approach taken by Marcus is fresh, progressive and fun! Marcus is always available for help and extremely
dedicated to putting us on the path to guitar masters! Heartily recommended!