If you’re going to learn how to play the guitar, you’ll have to start by buying your first guitar.
Buying your first guitar is an important decision that shouldn’t be hastily taken. Before passing by the store, it is convenient to clarify four things in your head. In this way, when the time to make the purchase arrives, you’ll have already narrowed the field to look at.
If you go to a guitar store before thinking about what you’re looking for and you tell them that you need a guitar, you’ll realize the amount of material available to choose. It’ll be overwhelming! Choosing the wrong type of guitar will make things even more difficult and it’ll create unnecessary frustrations.
Nor is it necessary to go back and forth. You should take into account a series of factors to avoid problems caused by a bad choice.
I’ll go into details about every factor that, in my opinion, you should consider when buying your first guitar.
Buying your first guitar according to your favorite music genre
This is, without a doubt, the main factor that will tell you what type of guitar suits you best to start with.
You have to choose a guitar that fits the musical genre that you want to be able to play.
So the first thing you have to do is considering what type of guitars are commonly used in that genre. Take a look at some videos and the instrument profiles used by the musicians of that genre in order to have an idea about the type of guitar you need.
If you have been bitten by the guitar bug because you love an artist and you want to imitate him, you already have an important piece of information. You have to get a guitar of the style that he/she plays. I mean style because famous artists typically buy top range products that are extremely expensive.
If you have been bitten by the guitar bug because you love an artist and you want to imitate him/her, you have already an important piece of information. You have to get a guitar of the genre played by him/her. I say “genre” because famous artists usually buy top range products which are extremely expensive.
- If you want to play rock or heavy metal, you will need to buy an electric guitar.
- If you want to play flamenco, it will be a flamenco guitar.
- If you want to play folk music or to accompany songs while singing, purchasing an acoustic guitar or a classical one will do.
- However, if you’re not sure about which direction you want to take or if you want to play a variety of genres, check the next points to know what type of guitar suits you best.
You can always buy another guitar later so don’t worry if you change style after buying your first guitar.
You can always buy another guitar later, so don’t worry if you change of musical genre after you buy your first guitar.
Buying a guitar according to the ease to play
For a beginner, the easiness of playing the guitar will influence a lot the progress and improvement of the developed activities.
If you start with a steel-strings acoustic guitar, for example, you’ll quickly realize that you have to strain to press the strings. A lot of students will have problems with a steel-strings acoustic guitar, because it requires a good strength on the fingers in order to play.
If you think that it could be a problem for you, maybe you should consider getting a nylon-strings classical guitar. These guitars require less strain on the fingers in order to press the strings. For this reason, most teachers recommend their students to start with nylon strings, so their first months will not be too painful.
Classical guitar’s fingerboard is a bit wider than the two others. This could be beneficial for people with big fingers as well as for beginners to play chords better.
Pros and cons of each type of guitar
Pros of electric guitars
Cons of electric guitars
Pros of acoustic guitars
Cons of acoustic guitars
Pros of classical guitar
Cons of classical guitar
I didn’t directly include the flamenco guitar in this list, but I consider it to be in the same box as the classical one. It has some technical characteristics of construction and woods that make them produce that flamenco typical sound and facilitate the performance of those devilishly fast scales used in this musical genre. If it’s your genre, don’t give it a second thought and get one of those.
Buying An Acoustic/Classic Guitar Or An Electric Guitar?
There’s a big difference between starting with an acoustic/classical guitar vs. with an electric one.
The electric guitar is easier to play than the acoustic and the classical ones. This is good for a lot of people. The problem is that it is more difficult to change to the classical or the acoustic ones later. In this way, it is easier to change from acoustic or classical guitar to the electric one. So if you want to play the electric guitar as well as the acoustic or the classical one, start with the acoustic or classic one first.
If you only want to play the electric guitar, then it’s a simple choice. If you decide later that you want to play the acoustic or the classical one, it might be difficult for you at the beginning, but with practice you’ll master them as well.
Buying A Guitar For The Budget
The budget will also influence your purchase but when you get to this point you’ll have to decide whether you are going to buy an electric, classic, acoustic or flamenco guitar. The price should not lean the scale on what type of guitar are you going to buy. Limit your range in which you are going to move but don’t buy a guitar because it’s cheap. In every type of guitars, you’re going to have a wide variety of prices.
After doing a quick investigation on the prices of the type of guitar you want, you need to fix a maximum amount to spend. You have to try buying a guitar of the highest quality in your budget. Don’t think that only the expensive guitars are the ones of good quality. There are good quality guitars available at low prices.
The best thing to do is bringing a friend or someone in your family who plays the guitar with you to try the guitars that you might like and who helps you only to identify problems like:
Your budget will also influence your purchase, but at this point you have to have already decided whether you’re going to buy an electric, classical, acoustic or flamenco guitar. The price shouldn’t tilt the scales towards what type of guitar you’re going to buy. It will restrict the rage of products you could choose, but don’t buy a guitar because it’s cheap. In every type of guitar you’ll have a wide variety of prices.
After doing a quick prices research in the type of guitar you want, put yourself the maximum amount you are willing to spend. You have to look for buying the best quality guitar that fits in your budget. Don’t’ think that expensive guitars are the only high quality ones. Quality guitars at low prices are available.
The best is taking with you a friend or a relative that plays the guitar, so he/she tries the guitars you might like and helps you to identify the possible problems of the kind:
- Difficulty to be played
- Tuning problems
- Too high strings
- Too low strings
With his/her help and the store seller’s advices, certainly you’ll have an excellent guitar to start enjoying your new hobby.
Not going over the agreed budget it’s really important, because at the stores you’ll find wonderful guitars that you’d like to take home. If you let yourself go, it’s possible that you get out of the store with a fantastic guitar but with a hole in your pocket that any tailor in the world could fix.
Conclusion Of Buying Your First Guitar
You have to keep in mind that it’s mostly about getting a decent guitar. One that you can play with. If it isn’t well made, then even an expert guitarist will have problems to play it. You’re interested in buying the best guitar you can afford and checking it is in perfect conditions. Most of the beginners that quit do so because they tried to learn with a bad guitar. The guitar that suits you best depends mostly on the musical genre you want to play and on your determination to work on the early stage of learning (the hardest one).
The safe option for a lot of beginners is to start with a classical guitar. It’s easier to play and it will be less likely to quit learning because of frustration related to a lack of progress at the beginning. So if after reading this article you’re still scratching your head, it could be a good option to buy a cheap classical guitar in order to learn the basics and then deciding which direction you want to take.
Here you have my guide to buy a classical guitar.
If you take your time to look for your best option and then you look for the best offer, you’ll save money and you’ll take an excellent instrument that could last your whole life.
- Editor's buying guide