Article by Michael Gumley, 28/01/23
What to Consider When Buying Your First Guitar in Australia
Buying your first guitar can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure what to look for.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced player looking for a new instrument, there are many factors to consider.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 5 best guitar brands for beginners in Australia for 2023, and give you some tips on what to look for when buying your first guitar.
Buying Your First Guitar As A Beginner
When buying your first guitar, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, consider your budget. Guitars can range in price from a few hundred dollars to thousands, so it’s important to set a budget before you start shopping. Try to avoid getting the cheapest guitar you can because quality is usually reflective of price and a $50 Kmart guitar is likely to be more of a toy than a musical instrument.
Next, think about the type of music you want to play. Different types of guitars are better suited to different genres of music, so make sure you choose one that will help you achieve your musical goals. This means that if you prefer music that is played on an electric guitar, then it is perfectly fine to buy an electric guitar as your first instrument.
Finally, consider the features you want in a guitar. Things like the number of strings, the type of wood, and the size of the body can all affect the sound and playability of the guitar. Generally, most guitarists should start on a 6 string guitar.
What to Look for in a First Guitar
When looking for a first guitar, there are a few key features to consider.
One important feature is the number of strings. Guitars can have 6 or 12 strings, but for beginners, it’s recommended to start with a 6-string guitar as it’s easier to play and learn on.
Another important feature is the size of the body as it can affect the playability of the guitar. Smaller body size is generally more comfortable for children and most beginners to play while having a guitar that is too big makes it hard to reach and difficult to play.
Many guitar gurus will place a lot of importance on the type of wood used. While different types of wood can affect the sound and tone of the guitar, you’re probably not going to notice any difference when you’re a total beginner. This means you can avoid getting upsold into a premium wood guitar by the sales rep at your local guitar shop.
The Best Guitar Brands For Beginners
There are many great guitar brands out there, but just like cars some of the better brands come with a hefty price tag.
Some guitar brands are known for their great beginner guitar models while some of the more prestigious brands will release more affordable versions of their popular guitars under a different moniker.
Brands like Valencia and Ashton are Australian guitar companies that target the beginner guitar market. Yahama is another brand with a reputation for high-quality instruments at both the beginner and pro levels.
Leading guitar brands like Fender and Gibson manufacture professional-level instruments with big price tags on them but also have more affordable brands that are targeted at beginners and hobby musicians. Fender’s cheaper brand is Squier while Gibson owns the sub-brand Epiphone, both of which make great guitars for beginners looking to buy their first guitar.
Let’s take a look at these brands in more detail.
Valencia Guitars – Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners
Valencia guitars are a popular choice for beginner guitarists in Australia.
They offer a wide range of models at affordable prices, making them a great option for those on a budget. Valencia guitars are known for their good quality and durability, and they come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit different playing styles.
They are made with a combination of wood such as spruce, mahogany, and rosewood but only make acoustic guitars.
Valencia makes quality guitars in quarter, half, and three-quarter sizes making them ideal first guitars for kids and teen learners. For this reason, they are our #1 recommended guitar brand for children.
Ashton Guitars – The Best Budget Guitars For Beginners
Ashton guitars are another popular choice for beginner guitarists in Australia.
They offer a wide range of models at affordable prices and are known for their good quality and durability.
Ashton guitars come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit different playing styles and unlike Valencia, makes electric guitar models and starter packs to target students who like rock music and want to go down the electric guitar pathway.
If you’re looking for an affordable electric guitar and want to support an Australian business then Ashton Guitars are the way to go.
Yamaha Guitars – The Best Guitars For Beginners
Yamaha guitars are one of the most well-known and respected guitar brands in the world.
They offer a wide range of models for beginner guitarists, including acoustic and electric options.
Yamaha guitars are known for their good quality and durability, and they come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit different playing styles.
While Yamaha guitars are slightly more expensive than both Valencia and Ashton guitars, there is a noticeable jump in quality making them a favoured recommendation by guitar teachers in both classical guitar and contemporary styles.
Whether you’re looking for a nylon string classical guitar, steel string acoustic or electric guitar starter pack Yamaha Guitars have high-quality, wallet-friendly options for first-time guitar buyers of all ages.
Fender Squier Guitars – Best Value Beginner Guitars
Most beginner guitarists aspire to one day own a Fender guitar.
Whether it’s the famous Fender Stratocaster popularised by Jimi Hendrix or the iconic Telecaster used by Keith Richards, most aspiring guitar players dream of one day owning a real Fender guitar.
Getting a real Fender guitar brand new is likely to set you back at least $1200 (not including an amp) which is way out of the price range for most beginners who are unsure of the longevity of their new hobby.
Fortunately, Fender launched it’s own sub-brand called Squier Guitars to release classic models at a more affordable price range.
While mostly made in China, these guitars are a great option for beginner guitarists looking for a high-quality instrument at a lower price point.
They are more affordable versions of the famous Fender brand and are known for their good quality and durability. They come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit different playing styles. They also come in several beginner guitar combo packs allowing you to get started with an amplifier, guitar and everything you need in a convenient all-in-one package.
Epiphone Guitars – The Best Electric Guitars For Beginners
Just like Fender has Squire, Gibson Guitars has Epiphone.
Epiphone guitars are another popular choice for beginner guitarists in Australia. They offer a wide range of models like the classic Les Paul (made famous by Slash, and Jimi Page) and the Gibson SG (the favourite guitar of Angus Young from AC/DC) at affordable prices.
You can get standalone guitars or buy a beginner guitar pack in sizes for both adults and kids without the $2000+ price tag that a low-end real Gibson guitar will set you back.
If you’re seeking that classic rock vibe and want to look like a real rock star, then a guitar starter pack from Epiphone is the way to go.
Beginner Guitar Lessons From A Real Guitar Teacher
While it is possible to learn to play the guitar on your own, having a guitar teacher can greatly accelerate your progress.
A good guitar teacher can help you learn the basics, correct any bad habits, and give you guidance on what to practice.
They will also be happy to recommend a great first guitar to purchase and may even have connections at a local store where you can get a discount.
When looking for a guitar teacher, it’s easy to google guitar teacher near me and go with the first option out of convenience.
My recommendation is that you research at least three teachers in your area and consider their qualifications, experience, and teaching style. Ask if you can book a trial lesson, read their testimonials and watch videos of their lessons before committing to a teacher.
When it comes to buying your first guitar, there are many options available. Companies including; Valencia, Ashton, Yamaha, Fender Squier, and Epiphone are all great options for beginner guitarists and are readily available in most music shops and guitar stores in Australia.
Consider your budget, the type of music you want to play, and the features you want in a guitar when making your decision and don’t be afraid to spend a little more for a quality guitar.
Remember to also take into consideration the number of strings, the type of wood used, the size of the body, and the overall sound and playability of the guitar.
Lastly, don’t forget to find a good guitar teacher to help you on your journey. With the right guitar and the right teacher, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled and confident guitarist.
With these factors in mind, you’ll be able to find the best guitar brand for you as a beginner guitarist in Australia.
About The Author
Meet Michael Gumley, the guitar-slingin’, riff-ripping, shreddin’ sensation from the land down under (Melbourne, Australia to be exact). With over 15 years of experience under his belt, he’s been teaching guitar to Melbourne’s masses and turning them into black belt-level guitar ninjas at his studio Melbourne Guitar Academy.
Don’t just take our word for it, Michael is considered by many (and by many we mean not just Michael and his dear mother) to be the best guitar teacher in Melbourne. He’s written 12 books on guitar, made over 1000 videos for his online guitar school, and even developed his own curriculum which is taught in over 20 guitar schools all around the world.
But Michael isn’t content with just being a guitar master himself. He’s dedicated to training the next generation of guitar teachers through his teacher development programs so they can have a bigger impact on their own students. He’s on a mission to make sure the world is filled with guitar-playing, riff-making rockstars.
When he’s not teaching, you can find Michael shredding on stage, writing the next guitar anthem or chugging down a cold one (or two) with his mates. With Michael, you’ll not only become a guitar master, but you’ll also have a great time doing it.