Quite often when people young and old get inspired to play the guitar they jump straight to purchasing something that might not be suitable for them. Here are some common mistakes made and some useful tips for when buying your first guitar:
#1. Getting the right sound – Classical, Acoustic or Electric?
You have 3 basic choices of sound when you buy a guitar: A Nylon String Classical, Steel String Acoustic and an Electric Guitar.
A lot of people believe that the best choice is to start on an Acoustic Guitar and build up to an Electric Guitar. However, your first guitar should be appropriate to the style of music you enjoy listening to.
If you like AC/DC, Metallica or say the Foo Fighters, you really need an Electric Guitar to get the sound you want. If you like Ed Sheeran, Ben Harper or Taylor Swift, an Acoustic Guitar could be a good choice. Nylon String Guitars sound great for flamenco music, classical music and a lot of traditional folk music.
Having said this, if a child is under 12 a nylon string guitar would be better as it’s easier for them to press the strings down on the fretboard. Some children can have tougher hands than others, so if you have a rough and tumble child, they might be able to handle steel strings earlier than usual.
If you’re not sure what type of guitar is best then just refer to the type of music that you like to listen to the most.
#2. Get the correct size
Electric Guitars are much smaller than Steel-String Acoustic Guitars and Nylon String Classical Guitars, they can basically be used by most people, but you do need to consider the extra weight. An Electric Guitar can weigh 4-6 Kg which can be difficult for some children to handle. Children should be at least 10 years before they try an Electric Guitar, but this is a generalization and some children (sometimes as young as 7-8) have been ok. Every child is different, and some children may be capable at a younger age, so if the child is strong for their age, then, by all means, go for an electric. The correct size is most accurately determined by the player’s height and age.
#3: Only paying for features you need
At the beginner level, you need a good quality instrument that most importantly stays in tune, but having a more expensive instrument generally doesn’t make your playing any easier. Higher level instruments are designed for high-level players who want the ultimate in sound.
As a beginner, most people are not very sure of the sound, style or type of guitar that they would ultimately like to play, but after playing for 6 months or so you will know a lot more about guitars and when it comes time to choose your next guitar it will be an easy choice. The key features a beginner needs is a guitar that is well set-up and easy to play, but you don’t really need to spend too much money on getting a better quality of sound. Higher level guitars will only sound better when your playing has progressed to the level that you can play quite well.
Most beginners find that during the process of learning (after a year or so) they figure out your own sound and will naturally be drawn to music that features guitar in it, and great guitar parts. So what usually happens is that their own musical tastes will change and with this change the type of instrument that suits their sound the best will also change. So when they take the next step, they will have a much better idea of what they really want.
We hope this advice helps you make your guitar purchase decision a little easier, and if not, we recommend going into your local guitar store and trying out some guitars and you might find the one guitar that just says ‘Play Me” 🙂