How To Buy A Guitar


We get a lot of questions about buying guitars, especially from those buying for the first time.  It can be quite overwhelming walking into a music store and seeing all those guitars on the wall.  And even more overwhelming shopping for a guitar on the internet.  In this article we will cover some guidelines you can follow when buying a guitar.

How Much Should I Spend?

First, we need to determine a budget.  Whether buying your first beginner guitar or adding to your collection, you need to determine your budget. If you are a beginner I would highly suggest a modest budget of somewhere between $150 and $300.  You don’t want to spend too little and end up with a cheaply made guitar that is hard to play and won’t stay in tune.  You also don’t want to spend too much in case you end up not liking guitar and move on to some other activity. Also, don’t be afraid to consider used guitars.  You can really find some great deals and get a bigger bang for your buck.

Picking the Right Style

Second, you need to decide on the style of guitar you are most interested in learning.  This is important because it will determine what kind of guitar you purchase.  For instance, if you like Folk music you would consider an acoustic.  If you like rock, you will want an electric.  If you are not sure or like all styles of music you need to consider the limitations of an acoustic.  While both electric and acoustic are generally played the same way (for example a C chord is played the same way on both), acoustics can be limited when it comes to imitating electric style songs.  On the other hand, an electric can be more easily adaptable to an acoustic tune.

Electric or Acoustic?

Third, now that you have decided on an electric or acoustic, you need to consider makes and models.  For example, if you like the blues, you will want to consider a Fender Strat or Gibson 335.  If you are into country a Fender Telecaster may be better.  I would suggest watching your favorite guitar players and see what they play.

Demo Several Guitars

Fourth, go shopping.  You always want to play several guitars before buying.  Go to your local music store and start playing some guitars that you have considered for your personal style.  Never buy a guitar online without playing it, unless you really know what you are doing.  You want to sit with it and feel it.  Make sure you are comfortable.  If you are a beginner and can’t really play yet, ask the sales clerk to play it for you so you can hear what it sounds like.  If you have a friend that already plays, take them along.  They may hear or see something that you didn’t notice.

Get the Set Up

Fifth, after you narrow it down to the one you are going to buy, ask the sales person for a “set up”. A set up involves adjusting the neck, action, and intonation.  Basically, it makes it play better and tune more precisely.  And buy an electric tuner.  This will save you a ton of headache early on.  As a beginner it is very difficult to tune by ear.

How to buy a ukulele