The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re looking for a new guitar is your own level of interest. Buy the instrument that excites you, even if it’s not the most economical option, because your excitement will keep you practicing and playing. Too many new guitar buyers settle for an inexpensive acoustic model, for example, when they really want an electric. Beyond your interest level, though, there are several considerations that will ensure you choose the right guitar.
Acoustic or Electric
Among the first issues for those deciding how to choose the right guitar to purchase is whether to go acoustic or electric. Conventional advice usually says to start with the acoustic, but there’s no real reason an acoustic is better or worse for beginners. Indeed, though electric guitars are slightly more complex, the decision really boils down, again, to which style excites you.
Buying a guitar is not like buying a home or a car; you shouldn’t need a bank loan to do it. That said, price is still a key factor in most guitar purchases, and there are guitars available to suit almost any budget. The only risks with less-expensive models is that they might be cheaply made. An instrument that goes out of tune too often or that is unreasonably difficult to play will discourage beginners, perhaps to the point they give up. If you’re buying a guitar for someone else or for yourself as a beginner, get something that will hold interest and keep motivation levels high.
Guitars aren’t a one-size-fits-all instrument, but they’re close. Most adults will be comfortable with any adult-sized guitar, but children should use guitars that are designed for them. It’s a good idea to hold the guitar for a few minutes, if possible, before you make a buying decision. The guitar that’s right for you will feel good in your hands.
A lot of guitars come packaged with accessories and are offered at some kind of a discount. Guitar packages can be a great way to get everything you need to get started, but be wary of deals that look too good to be true. Often, the tuners and capos included in package deals, and even the guitars themselves, are of lesser quality than instruments and accessories sold a la carte. Manufacturers tend to use cheap materials and processes to keep the costs of package deals low. Do your research before you spring for a guitar kit, that’s all.
An enormous accessories industry has grown up around guitars. A lot of people will say you need a tuner, a capo, a stand, a custom leather guitar strap, and a guitar humidifier before you can start playing. The truth, though, is that the instrument is almost self-contained. You probably need a tuner, you might want some picks, and if you want to play standing up you’ll have to think about choosing a guitar strap, but the instrument alone is enough to start playing on if your budget is tight.
Get the basics, and get what excites you. A quality instrument with the right accessories should repay you with challenge and enjoyment for years to come.