Buying a beginner guitar

The key to buying a guitar for a beginner is to get one that the player enjoys and is excited about. If the player does not enjoy playing their guitar then it will be more difficult to continue. They will get frustrated easier and give up easier. Getting a guitar that the player will not be frustrated with will help naturally encourage or allow the player to be the best they can be. A guitar that doesn't get played is not worth the price.


  Acoustic or Electric?

Let the player decide since if they don't enjoy the guitar it will be less likely that they will play. For rock music an electric would be most appropriate.

An electric will typically be better for a beginner because it is easier to play (meaning that the strings are easier to push down and pluck), so feelings of success will come much sooner and frustration will be less likely. These things are important for a beginner.

If the player is excited about an acoustic guitar and feels they can overcome the more significant learning curve(compared to an electric) then they will find in the future that playing an electric guitar will come much easier. On the other hand the more signifcant learning curve on the acoustic may be enough to frustrate the player and cause them to lose interest.

  Where to buy the guitar    
Guitars are sold by many vendors. Choosing where to buy the guitar is very important. Buy a guitar from these places:
  • A trusted friend or relative who had a beginner guitar but has since upgraded.
  • A local trusted guitar or music store.
  • Search 'musical instrument retail' in online or offline Yellow Pages.
  • Online guitar superstores or mail-order guitars.
  • Pawn shops and eBay are options, but know what you are buying before you bid.
  What else will you need?    
Once you've chosen the guitar there are accessories the dealer will want to sell you. You will probably need:
  • Guitar strap to enable the player to play standing up
  • Some picks (5 standard (most common size is .46 mm)) -- though not necessary for fingerpicking.
  • A guitar stand for storage when not being played (or a guitar hanger for the wall).
  • A guitar tuner - preferably electronic with a built-in microphone and guitar cable plug.
  • Several sets of strings. Recommend changing every three months (with average use).
  • A case or guitar bag for protection during transport. Cases should be hardshell suitable for airline travel.
  Future purchases include    
  • Guitar polish.
  • Humidifier (if your guitar is acoustic and quite valuable).
  • String winder .
  Other things to think about    

Virtually all guitar dealers mark up the price of their products but will negotiate either with a lower price or free accessories.

For a beginner in a practice setting, an electric guitar does not explicitly require an amplifier.

Electrics can be heard audibly, if not very loudly, without an amplifier, but the player will not be able to get anything like the sound he wants to achieve, as any electric guitar sounds on music CD's is very different than simply the acoustic sound of the strings. It might be fruitful to buy an electric guitar with no amplifier and then consider the amplifier a reward for achieving some learning milestone or for playing regularly until the holidays. Buying an electric guitar with no amplifier can be a way to get a player a good guitar of the type they want without spending too much at first. A mediocre substitute for an amplifier can be playing the guitar through a mixer or computer's sound card, and there is some decent guitar effect software available.

All guitars eventually require maintenance since wood changes with pressures and humidity.

  What makes someone NOT a guitar lover  

A guitar is an excellent instrument for almost anyone. A difficult guitar is not a good choice for a beginner since it takes dedication to learn and if the guitar is difficult for the player then it will be difficult to learn.

  • The player's hand may be too small for the guitar neck.
  • A guitar that is difficult to play is often a poor choice for a beginner.
  First, do research online to get an idea of the make/model you are looking for at the following sites; Then visit your local guitar store and play as many guitars as you can to learn what best fits you.

After choosing the make/model, do more online research for the best buying options.

Check the guitars:
  • Appearance: Visible scratches and dents.
  • Intonation: The guitar's ability to get in tune.
  • Inputs: Good condition
  Electric Guitar Pick-ups    
    For electric guitars there are different styles of pickups, including:
  • Passive Single Coil (best for clean sounds, or slight overdrive)
  • Passive Humbuckers (For rich, thick, natural distortion with short sustain)
  • Active Humbuckers (For rich, thick distortion with long sustain)
  Guitar Lessons    
  It is wise to take basic guitar lessons to learn the fundamentals to avoid learning improper play.

Finding a good guitar teacher:
  • Ask your local guitar store and/or check their bulletin board.
  • Use Google Local Search to find guitar teachers in your area.
  • Join an online guitar forum and ask for recommendations in their bulletin board area.
  • Use your local Yellow Pages.
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