If you or a loved one are considering getting a guitar, it can be so hard to know where to start. From the thousands of models on the market, varying in price so vastly…it’s a headache. But it doesn’t have to be, if you know a few things before you look.
First it must be stated that an acoustic guitar isn’t necessarily the best guitar to start on, depending on your needs. If you live in an apartment and need to keep the volume down, you might actually consider getting an electric – acoustic guitars do not come with headphone jacks and don’t have volume controls. If style is key, electric is definitely where you want to go as acoustics vary in shape, but not as much as electrics do.
However, if you want something you can play on your front porch while sipping a tall, cold glass of sweet tea, acoustic may just be your thing. You can get small sized ones good for travel or hiking, or large ones that ooze tone and playability. As far as shapes go, it all depends on what you like, and what feels best in your hands.
Now here’s something that might put holes in a few reader’s thoughts – cheap isn’t the way to go. If you were to buy a Walmart Special, you’re going to end up with a stringed piece of plywood with little tone. Of course, spending lots on a nice guitar might not be smart either, if you don’t know whether the player can stick with it. A two hundred dollar starter kit might look like a good deal, but you’ll end up with a cheap guitar and a cheaper amp. It’s better to buy them separately, to get better quality.
It’s always better to play a guitar before you buy it. It gives you a chance to sit down and feel for yourself if that particular tone machine right for you. I’ve had decent results buying online, but it can be a gamble whether or not you actually like the guitar once it comes in.
Now, as for recommendations, here’s a couple things I’d like to put out for consideration. A the time of this writing, Fender makes a “Fender Frontman 25r 25w” amplifier for a hundred dollars. It’s light years beyond most starter amps that run sixty or seventy dollars, and can last a player for years if they don’t take on playing as a profession. A Peavy Vyper or Line 6 Spider amplifier would suit just as well, for about the same price.
As for guitars, a classic standby for beginning players is a Squier by Fender Stratocaster. They can range from a hundred dollars to two hundred dollars, and all are good starter guitars. Alternatively, Epiphone by Gibson makes wonderful guitars in the same price range in the SG and Les Paul models.
If you’re looking for quality over resell value, you may consider an ESP LTD or a Schecter guitar. While not as well known as Gibson or Fender, they are known in guitar circles as emerging masterpieces. With designs and sounds that most players appreciate, they are definitely worth consideration. However, due to lack pf public knowledge about them, it may be harder to sell them if one decides playing isn’t for them. Not that they’re bad guitars, it’s due to lack of publicity.
Dean, Laguna, Squier, Epiphone, ESP LTD, and Schecter are all currently respected names in guitar circles. They all make great starter guitars for under two hundred dollars, and most have good resell value. Of course, the more you can afford to spend on a guitar, the more you get for your money, as a general rule. Please, do not skimp when buying guitars, because there are hundreds of First Acts and other unknown brand guitars hiding in closets, under beds, or even in landfills because their quality lacks.
That pretty much covers all the basics of buying a new guitar. While I recommend browsing local shops when buying a guitar, visiting a site like MusiciansFriend.com can help you get a general idea of what to look for. Read the reviews, browse everything, and if you decide to buy, take advantage of sales and bonuses. If you order online, you could even save yourself a chunk of money!