Presumably, if you’re reading this it’s because you’re on the market for a new guitar. Buying a new guitar is a wonderful experience. There are so many possibilities, so many new things to learn. Nothing is better than laying your hands on a new guitar. But for those reasons, buying a new instrument can seem daunting. It can be nervous. You may not know where to start, where to look, who to trust. Amidst the hurricanes of advertisements and endless online boards, it can seem impossible to get straight answers.
This site is here to guide you, to give you those straight answers. This guide is the portal – introducing you to the basic features of the landscape, and linking you to more detailed guides. Along the way, I’m going to cover, in a very quick, general sense, some of the basics of shopping for a new guitar.
Types of Guitars
Fully acoustic guitars generate their sounds without amplification. They are bold, full, and rich-sounding.
Acoustic-electric guitars are acoustic guitars that are capable of being plugged in to an amplifier or recording interface. Unamplified, they sound similar to fully acoustic guitars (although often times they sound a little less full due to their generally smaller bodies), and their amplified tones are quite distinctive – neither just like an electric instrument nor just like an unamplified acoustic.
Check the best acoustic-electric guitars under $500 here.
Electric guitars are not, in general, meant to be played unamplified, and when they are not plugged in they produce a relatively small amount of sound. Amplified, however, they can scream, moan, whisper, talk, or growl. Electric guitars are incredibly versatile and famously expressive.
Bass guitars are the solid, reliable, stalwart cousins to the electric guitar. While not as flashy, and slightly less expressive, a bass guitar in capable hands can do some amazing things.
Guitar Buying Guide
What you will be looking for an in instrument will depend largely on the kind of instrument you are looking for – if you’re looking for an acoustic guitar, you probably aren’t going to be thinking about the same things you would need to think about if you were looking for a bass. But there are some things that are universally important. These are some things to consider when you’re on the market for a guitar, of any sort.
- Quality construction: One of the most important things about a guitar is what it’s made of. There are certain woods, tonewoods, which are known to sound good. These include mahogany, rosewood, maple, cedar, and alder. You should look for an instrument that is made of the right kind of wood – it affects the way a guitar sounds more than you might think.
- Sound: The sound of a guitar, regardless of its type, should be rich, defined, not too tinny, and not too bassy. You should be able to clearly hear the sound of the note ringing, and that ringing should resonate pleasantly.
- Feel: A guitar shouldn’t fight you. It should feel great in your hands. It should be easy to play, and in general, the action (the distance between the strings and the frets) should be able to be set as low as you want.
Tips for Choosing a Beginner Guitar
If you’re a beginner, it can be hard to know where to start. Buying a first guitar can be confusing, frustrating, and difficult. Here are a few tips that should help.
- Understand the field: For any given kind of guitar, there are going to be a handful of basic options. It isn’t the case that there are hundreds of individual guitars you have to know about; usually it is enough to understand what types of instruments there are on the market. Knowing whether the guitar you’re considering is this kind of thing or that kind of thing will help you understand what’s going on.
- Know what kind of thing you want to do: You don’t have to know right at the beginning exactly how you’re going to be playing two years from now, but you should have some idea, in general, of how you want to play. Knowing what sorts of things you’re interested in playing, and how you would like to sound, can help narrow the field down tremendously.
- Don’t rush the decision: Take some time to peruse this site. See what’s out there, what different manufacturers have to offer. Learn about the kind of guitar that you think you want, and learn about the specific models you are interested in.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player, as with any musical instrument, be it a piano or a violin, a little bit of help couldn’t possibly hurt. Guitar lessons are a great way to get started, to break through a plateau, or just to talk shop with someone who really knows what they’re doing. There isn’t a player in the world who couldn’t benefit from the company of a great guitarist.
This guide was meant to introduce you to the new guitar market in as painless a way as possible. Sans-doublespeak. Sans-advertisement. With, hopefully, some sort of clarity. Once you have some idea of the sort of thing you’re on the market for, click away, look around the site, see what I have to offer. My hope, my expectation, is that I will be able to make buying a new guitar as easy and fruitful as possible for you, regardless of what you’re looking for, and whether you are a first-time shopper or a long-time buyer.