Guide To Buying Your First Guitar

Buying your first guitar is a very exciting, but often daunting task. (especially if you’re buying for someone else) Our little guide aims to help you make a decision on your first guitar and will go over everything you need consider before making your purchase.

Guitars come in all shapes and sizes and have countless specifications. It can be easy to get lost in all the technical details and be totally overwhelmed. Instead of getting bogged down with every detail, Let’s focus on what is actually important to consider when first starting out.

  • Do you like the look of the guitar?
  • Do you like the sound of the guitar?
  • Is the neck straight?

The Look

While this may seem superficial, having a cool or nice looking instrument that you are motivated to pick up is extremely important. You want to be inspired by your instrument and feel a connection with it, and that can often come just from looking at it. Of course it needs to pass the play test and be of reasonable
quality but the looks can often be the first step in making a decision.

The Sound

This is perhaps the most important factor to make a decision upon. If you can play guitar, play a few guitars and listen back critically to which one sounds the best. I’d highly recommend you record yourself on your phone and listen back to what sounds best as often you’re focused more on playing than listening. If you can’t yet play guitar ask the attendance at the shop to demonstrate a few things for you. Note that different guitars will have slightly different sounds and there is no right or wrong, simply what you like most. I always recommend sourcing a guitar from your local store rather than online, but if you do purchase online, look at the manufacturers website and google for some play through videos and reviews.

Fixing a warped neck is more costly than buying a new entry level beginner guitar so if there are any signs of warp, consider a different instrument.

The Neck

If you are buying a second hand guitar, you must make sure that the neck isn’t warped. The easiest way to do this is to look at the height of the strings above the 12th fret, above the 1st fret above the last fret. If the string heigh is relatively even across the entire fretboard the neck is straight If the strings are significantly higher at fret 12 than fret 1 then it’s a sign the guitar has a warped neck or at the very least, needs some TLC with a luthier.

Fixing a warped neck is more costly than buying a new entry level beginner guitar so if there are any signs of warp, consider a different instrument.

Electric or Acoustic First?

I find that electric guitars are much better to learn on. They are easier to play, facilitate lead guitar playing more easily and giveyou the ability to play more genres of music when paired with an amplifier. They do cost significantly more than acoustic guitars though and this can present a hurdle to some people.

Acoustic guitars are the budget option and aren’t necessarily better or worse to begin on, they are just generally cheaper.

My advice when asked whether to start on electric or acoustic guitar first? I recommend you reflect upon who your favourite bands and guitar players and what guitars they use. This will help you define the sounds you like and what kind of guitars to look for. It can be as broad as electric or acoustic and can get right down into the specifics of brand and even model.

Other Advice –

Set a budget and get the best you can within that budget.

Second hand guitars are a great way to get quality instruments at a discount rate.

Guitar Stores are always better than pawn shops, eBay and Gumtree.

Brand doesn’t always indicate quality

Anything with a RRP less than $100 is a children’s guitar or a toy.

Where Should I Buy a Guitar?

Now has never been a better time to be a guitarist with thousands of brands being one click away from delivery right to your door.

With this convenience though, it is easy to miss out on the experience of getting to go to a music store, witness a collection of guitars and get to sit down and try them with pedals, quality amps and to have an expert on hand to ask questions. Walking into a shop, seeing a guitar on the wall with the silver lining around it calling to you and leaving with a brand new instrument is an experience that you’ll never get shopping online so do support your local music store.

We have a wonderful relationship with Macron Music located in the suburb of Flemington. The team at Macron Music go the extra mile with their customers which is why we happily recommend all of our students go there for their musical equipment needs.

All of our students receive a discount at Macron Music and we highly recommend you check them out.

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