So you want to buy your first guitar?
Buying your first guitar can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be, it’s good to take your time and learn as much as you can about the many guitar brands, different models, and the way they feel and sound, in particular. For example, buying a guitar is like buying a car: there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly! So, if you do a little research up front, and specifically online, before you go out into the big guitar world, you’ll know what to look for, and an idea of how much you want to pay, before falling in love with some $600 beauty that wasn’t what you wanted.
As you probably know, it’s easy to go out in the world and fall in love with the outward appearance, and this is one of the many pitfalls of buying the wrong guitar for you. Especially because guitars ARE so beautiful in general, it can be like a mirage when you’re standing in a guitar store, staring at the most beautiful guitar you’ve ever seen, with a $300 price tag–especially after you compare it to all the $2,000 guitars hanging on the wall next to it.
You must resist! Restrain yourself! Leave your wallet in the car(No, actually, that’s a bad idea, have you seen some of the people hanging outside guitar stores, they are literally waiting for you to leave your wallet in the car.(Hey, they want to buy a guitar too..!)
Let’s keep it simple here, do not plan on buying a guitar the first day you go into a guitar store. This is the research phase, you are only there to “get to know” a few guitars, not buy one. No matter how badly you want to purchase, no matter how much money you’ve in the bank, most stores are way overpriced, and you will need a little ammo before you try to negotiate anywhere with anyone. You need to pick up, hold, and strum as many guitars as you possibly can before the store owner calls the police(or the men in white coats). The idea is to get a feel for comfort. Think of it this way, you will be more likely to pick up and play your guitar more often if it is comfortable to hold. Keep in mind there are also going to be tons of shiny and colorful guitar accessories strategically planted all over the guitar store, which can be very exciting, so put on you guitar accessory blinders and remember to stay focussed.
First of all, you should already know what kind of guitar you want to buy: an electric or an acoustic. If you are unsure, just think about the music you’re most interested in playing, what you like to listen to most, what you appreciate in terms of sound… this should be an easy decision. If you are buying this for a child, go with an acoustic with nylon strings in a size that fits them, that’s a no-brainier. But if you know you want to learn some songs from Metallica’s Ride The lightening album, like Fade To Black(best song ever), for example, then you know you want electric.
But if you are in to Bob Dylan or John Denver(ok, you’ve probably never heard of him, but he’s classic! Pun intended. Smokey Mountain Range anyone? Oh, wait, that’s Ronnie Milsap! Maybe I’m thinking of Rocky Mountain High..?), you will likely want to go with acoustic.
Keep in mind there are far more guitar accessories you will need to purchase over time with an electric, such as amps, effects, guitar strings, and electric guitar cords(which often need to be replaced for some strange reason I can’t seem to figure out…), while acoustics are somewhat low maintenance and portable, without requiring said guitar accessories.
The point is, you know what you like, so just do some research before purchasing. You must read forums, compare pricing, and even consider starting out with a used guitar. Once you have an idea which kind of guitar you want, it’s easy to find people willing to trade or sell some pretty decent guitars at a fair price, as their search for the next best guitar continues. It’s completely addictive! Just don’t plan to spend more than $300 on your first guitar, buy something you can kick around and won’t be afraid to take out of the case. Better yet, display it on a door so it will always be accessible without taking up valuable floor space or getting knocked over, like with a DoorJamz Guitar Hangers, $30. But don’t get me started on all the guitar accessories you will eventually be looking to purchase, you are about to embark on an expensive journey so before you walk into that guitar store…research, research, research!
There are many choices when it comes to beginner guitars, I just recommend you steer clear of any guitars made in China. However, just about any guitars made in Japan are pretty decent.
If you DO have some money to spend, and you want the best, I have one word for you…Rickenbacker(Sorry Fender but I think you know what I’m talking about.)
But seriously, regardless of your budget or the kind of guitar you decide to play(and eventually buy), just find something that feels comfortable and sounds good to you, because the absolute most important factor in all of this, by far, IS THAT YOU PLAY IT!