Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Guide to Buying your first Guitar - Part 2

So in Part One we talked about guitar types, your preferred genre, budget, flexibility and portability. We will now go into more detail on acoustic and electric recommendations, where to buy, online shopping and everything else you need to know...

Guitar StoresAcoustic: A steel string acoustic is probably the best choice for newbies, especially as your fingers get used to the heavier strings. so once you can play it you can easily switch to other guitars. It is also portable and flexible with the regards to the musical styles that can played on it.

Acoustic Recommendations:

  • Ibanez G Series G100 Classical Acoustic Guitar
  • Yamaha Gigmaker Deluxe Acoustic Guitar Package (standard size)
  • Squier MA-1 ¾-Size Steel-String Acoustic Guitar (¾ size)
  • Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic-Electric Player Pack

Electric: Although we recommended an acoustic for beginners, its actually easier to learn on an electric. However, it is also easier to pick up bad habits because the electronics and amplifier will cover your mistakes. This can hinder your future development and progress if left unchecked. Also worth considering is the space the amp will need and the fact you will need it on hand if you want to practice. We recommend a fixed bridge electric guitar for beginners to remove potential maintenance issues, a floating bridge which is the alternative has several moving parts so that a whammy bar can installed.

Electric Recommendations:

  • Dean Playmate EVO Junior Solid Body Electric Guitar, Classic Black, ¾-Size
  • Ibanez IJX121 Metal Guitar Jumpstart Package
  • Amplifier: 15 - 40 watts is plenty for home use

Where to Buy?

When it comes to buying your treasured first guitar there is no where better than a music store, they are generally the friendliest retail environments you will get. The staff are usually extremely passionate about music and always keen to share their passion. So if you let them know that you are a first time buyer, you’ll more than likely get some expert guidance.

When deciding make sure you get a staff member or a friend to play a selection of guitars for you so can hear if you like the sound. Also make sure that you’re strumming arm can easily reach around the body, check this by handling the guitars and see how it feels how it fits. As its your first guitar don’t stress about the type of wood its made from, however solid wood tends to be better than laminate material though.

So if the sound is good, it is comfortable to play and is within your price range, then this is the one to go for!

Also remember just like many retail environments, products that are on the shop floor on display are used for demo purposes. Guitars that have been used for demo's and played many times by others run the risk of being damaged.

  • Warping is bad, look down the neck and make sure it’s perfectly straight.
  • Make sure there isn't any cracks, imperfections or dings.
  • Make sure the frets (the bars that run across the neck) are flush with the edge of the neck. They should not stick out beyond the neck, nor should they be shorter than the width of the neck.

If the guitar is damaged do not buy it, it is likely to let you down and ultimately need replacement in the future.

Ask your guitar playing friend or staff member to check that the strings are not set too high off the fret board. If they are too high, you will find it difficult to press the strings to the fret board. If it is too low there will be a rattling sound whilst playing. It is important to get this right.

You also need to be sure you get a new set of high quality strings put on it and that the store will tune it. Especially, as mentioned, if the guitar has been played many time in store.

The look of the guitar is also important, you want to get something that makes you feel like a superstar even if you can’t play anything yet.

Buying Online: As long as you know the guitar you want, then this should be relatively simple. However, please be aware that you cannot carry out any of the tests mentioned above and this may mean returning if their turns out to be a problem.

Please remember to support your local guitar store, especially if they offer fantastic service. Even if you can find the guitar cheaper elsewhere, you are more than likely to be able to negotiate and see if they can be competitive. The knowledge and experience these stores offer is invaluable for newbies and experienced players alike.

Please leave your first guitar buying recommendations below or let us know on social media.

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