How To Buy Your Perfect First Beginner Guitar
If you are like the many other budding guitar players who decide they want to learn guitar the first step is going to Google and typing in ‘best guitars for beginners’.
The only problem is after hitting the enter key you are faced with a HUGE selection to choose from. Do you need metal or plastic strings? A big one or small one? Electric or Acoustic?
The questions and choices are endless which just leaves you feeling like you want to quit, even before you have started.
Well fear not! In this article I will break down the three different types of guitar, help you pick the right one for you and have you strolling out of the guitar shop with your head held high, confident that you chose the perfect guitar for you.
So first things first, let’s talk about the different types of guitar…
The Three Types Of Guitar
There are three main types of guitar, classical acoustic, steel string acoustic and electric.
Classical acoustic guitars are used mainly to play classical music and are characterised by their wide necks and three nylon strings and three metal strings.
Nylon strings can be softer for the fingers which is why I usually recommend classical guitars as a first guitar for children but their wider necks can make them harder to play for beginners.
Due to their nylon strings they are not as loud as their steel string cousins, which might be a consideration when choosing between the two.
Steel String Acoustic
It will probably come as no surprise that the main difference between the steel string acoustic and classical acoustic is the steel string acoustic has all steel strings in contrast to the classical acoustic which, as mentioned above, has half metal and half nylon strings.
Steel strings are a bit harder on the fingers and to start with it will feel like you are holding down cheese wire, but after a while calluses will form and fingers will toughen up.
The benefit of an all metal string guitar is they sound louder and more reminiscent of what you hear in popular music. One other thing to consider when shopping for a steel string acoustic is the body size, as you can get different sizes.
If you can try a few guitars with different body types and see which one feels the most comfortable for you.
Electric guitars are the new kids on the block when compared to their acoustic cousins as they were only invented in 1931 where as the acoustic guitar we know today was created around the end of the 1700s.
The main difference between an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar is an electric guitar needs to be plugged into an amplifier, as it does not have a hollow body to help make it louder.
This means they can benefit from having a smaller body and thinner strings when compared to an acoustic which in turn can make them easier to play.
As I already said because the electric guitar does not have a hollow body you will need more stuff to make it louder, namely an amplifier and a lead to plug your guitar into the amplifier so to start off an Electric guitar is usually the most expensive.
Which Type Should I Buy
So now we have gone through the three different type of guitar the next questions is which one should you buy? This is actually an easy questions to answer because it comes down to what you want to play on the guitar.
If, for instance, you like AC/DC and rock music then an electric is the way to go as that is the guitar AC/DC use. If, however, you are a fan of Ed Sheeran and especially his older acoustic stuff, then an acoustic guitar is the way to go.
It really is as simple as that.
Don’t let people tell you any different and especially if they say that you have to start on an acoustic before you can play electric (something I hear all the time).
The most important thing is to get a guitar you want to pick up and play, that embodies the reason you wanted to start playing in the first place. If you can get that right you are well on your way.
So now we know the different types of guitars on offer and have selected the most appropriate one for the music you want to play the next step is to discuss the most important thing to test when trying out a new guitar, Playability.
Quite simple playability is how playable the guitar is, for instance does it feel comfortable when you hold it? Is it too heavy or too light? Can you comfortably reach over the top to play the strings? Does the neck feel smooth and nice to hold?
Remember you will hopefully be picking this guitar up most days for practice so you want to make sure it feels right and nice to play. If you are buying an electric guitar you also want to check the electronics to make sure they all work so plug it in and check the different controls to make sure they work.
At this point don’t worry if you can’t play a note yet it is just the feel of the guitar you want to be thinking about and don’t be embarrassed if you are trying a guitar in a shop, everybody started in the exact same place you could even get the person in the shop to play/test it for you so you get an idea of the sound.
If you are ordering a guitar online watch some Youtube reviews first to get an idea of how it sounds. Most online retailers have a returns policy as well so it is not a problem if you have not played it before as you can always send it back if it doesn’t feel right.
I am going to recommend two types of guitar, acoustic and electric, I won’t recommend a classical guitar simply because at Beginner Guitar Academy we are focused on Rock & Pop rather than classical.
I have chosen these two because they are solid beginner guitars that are not too expensive but still will provide value for money and be perfect as your first guitar.
For an acoustic guitar I recommend a Fender CD-60-V3, this guitar is a great choice for a first guitar because it sounds, looks and feels great, the price point is what you would expect from a entry level guitar but this guitar definitely overdelivers.
For an electric guitar I recommend a Squier Bullet Stratocaster, this is a great first electric guitar as you get the classic Fender tone at an affordable price. Stratocaster’s are famous for their versatility and the Squier Bullet is no different and will be able to handle playing a range of styles.
When it comes to amps just a small 10 watt practice amp will suffice the last thing you want is to spend all your time working out how to use your new fancy amp when you should be playing guitar.
Well hopefully now you are confidant enough to walk into a music shop or scroll a website and leave with a suitable guitar for your needs.
As always if you have any questions drop them in the comments below.