Buying your first guitar is a wonderful thing; an act that will transform your life and open doors onto worlds you may never have known existed, though with so many different shapes, sizes and styles to choose from, buying your first guitar could seem quite a daunting mission.
There are many pitfalls to avoid when buying a guitar and you don’t want to buy the wrong kind of guitar for your musical interests, for instance buying an acoustic when you want to learn Metallica riffs, or find yourself in possession of a poor quality instrument that won’t stay in tune.
Additionally, are you sure you really want to learn a six string guitar rather than a four string bass and what’s your budget like? You might find upon looking at the range of guitars in your local music store that you could afford something satisfactory now, though if you wait another month or two that you could afford something much more to your liking.
The right kind of guitar for your interests
There are essentially two varieties of guitars; acoustic guitars and electric guitars, though there are two types of acoustics, nylon stringed acoustics and steel stringed acoustics, and the first point to consider is your musical interests; do you want to learn John Denver classics or is Slayer more your cup of tea?
If it’s folky tunes you want to learn to play around the campfire then you’re after an acoustic guitar, though if you’re planning to soundproof the garage to belt out the entire first Ramones album in non-stop fashion, you should naturally focus your attentions upon electric guitars, maybe focusing upon the guitars Johnny Ramone used, like Mosrites, of which he had a number, and of course the classic 1970s Fender Stratocaster.
Your budget and research
How much do you have to spend on your first guitar and are you looking at secondhand guitars or do you want something to break in yourself?
This is a very good point to make with regard to your first guitar, because for the same price as a new electric guitar you can probably pick up the same model secondhand with enough left over to pick yourself up an electric amp and maybe even a few effects pedals.
Simplicity, with regard to electric guitars, is important if you’re just getting started because you don’t want the whammy bar, also known as a tremolo arm/bar or vibrato arm/bar, getting in the way, though this mechanical vibrato system is admittedly quite easy to remove; however, electric guitars with ultra-sensitive pickups could prove frustrating for beginners to cut their teeth on, so bear this point in mind also.
It’s important to research the guitars you take into consideration with the budget you have to work with, and that not only entails reading guitar reviews online, but also reading what guitarists have to say about the guitars they favour – “The Mosrites were light, and they were perfect for playing nonstop barre chords,�? said Johnny Ramone – and asking friends and local musicians about their recommendations, an excellent way to get first-hand opinions about guitars and take them for a test drive.
Taking guitars for a test drive
When you’ve decided on a guitar or three that you’re really considering buying it’s time to hit the local music stores and take them for a test drive.
Playability is one of the most important aspects of selecting a guitar and you need to take into account its size, weight and how comfortable you are holding down the strings and moving your hand up and down the fretboard.
After playability, as a beginner guitarist, it can be difficult to judge a guitar’s positive and negative qualities and you’ll find it advantageous to bring an experienced friend with you to help you decide upon a guitar that’s right for your needs.
Theres so much to take into account when buying your first guitar that the process might seem quite daunting; however, by taking into account important factors like your musical interests, your budget, playability and the need to read reviews and thoroughly test drive guitars before buying them, you’re on the right path to buying a guitar you’re comfortable with.