If you're buying a guitar as your first instrument – congratulations! This is easily not simply one of the most accessible and engaging instruments to play, but also one of the most expressive that you can choose. Whether it's an electric or an acoustic one, you'll be able to jam your favorite songs and sing along to them with your friends and family. Or, even better, it can be a gateway instrument into the wonderful world of songwriting and arranging. In short, the possibilities with a guitar are almost endless.
However, if you're an absolute beginner, things might not seem that easy and simple to you. The whole process of buying your instrument may be both exciting and a bit stressful at the same time. But don't worry – every single guitar player, even the professional ones, has gone through a more or less similar process.
So in case you're looking to buy your first instrument, we'll help you out through this easy-to-follow guide.
Buying a Guitar: What You Should Know First
One of the first things that you should think of is where to buy a guitar. Of course, you can buy a guitar in your local store, although buying a guitar online is becoming increasingly popular. However, we would first advise you to buy an instrument in a store and have someone at least somewhat experienced with you. Trying it out has its benefits for pretty much any aspect.
No matter your playing skills, one of the main things to consider is the price level. For beginners, it's usually a better idea to go with something cheaper. And here's where it gets interesting – compared to most of the other instruments, guitars can be pretty good even within the budget-friendly limits.
Additionally, you might not want to buy a really expensive guitar and realize that the whole thing is just not for you. It happens more often than you might think, no matter how enthusiastic some beginners might seem. Besides, a beginner won't be able to use an expensive guitar's full potential.
The general idea is to go with some of the cheaper but reliable brands. The price should be no more than $500, preferably in the $150 to $300 for acoustic guitars and $200 to $350 for electric guitars.
Musical Styles That You Want to Play
Your preferred genres should also be a thing to consider when buying a guitar. The most important feature in this sense is the pickups. Humbuckers are usually better for rock, hard rock, blues, jazz, and metal music, whereas single-coils are more common among country, funk, blues, and pop players.
Meanwhile, other important features also include different types of necks and hardware. But for your first guitar, anything that's playable and simple to use will do the trick.
Acoustic or Electric?
You'll find many theories on whether you should go with an acoustic or an electric guitar first. To be fair, there is no "right" or "wrong" way here. Just bear in mind that you'll need a guitar amp if you want to go electric.
Buying a Guitar for Beginners: Best Brands
For many years now, Squier has been making cheaper and fairly stable alternatives to standard Fender models. While mostly covering the cheapest territories, there are some awesome mid-priced instruments as well that come as a great combination of price and qualities.
As far as electric guitars go, you have the classic Strats, Jazzmasters, Telecasters, Mustangs, and other models. These are essentially like stripped-down versions of Fender guitars. Nonetheless, they can work wonders not only for beginners but for more experienced players as well. The same thing could be said about their line of acoustic guitars.
Then we have Epiphone, a company that's been making some great cheap versions of classic Gibson models. We know how expensive Gibson guitars can get, but Epiphone keeps the price levels within reasonable limits, all while keeping some great qualities in there.
Their special series of Les Pauls and SGs are the cheapest alternatives but can serve you pretty well with the stock hardware and the dual-humbucker configuration. There are also more advanced alternatives that include plenty of other features as well. Most of them come with humbuckers, although some have the P90 single-coil pickups.
Epiphone also offers great acoustic guitars that you can't ever go wrong with. Their tone is usually slightly mellower, kind of in the vein of Gibson acoustic guitars.
Yamaha makes anything from the cheapest entry-level stuff, and up to full-on professional guitars. As far as beginners go, their Pacifica series is always a safe bet. In case you want to play an electric guitar but are not sure what styles you'll cover, a model like their Pacifica 112V comes as a great choice.
Their line of cheaper acoustic guitars is also surprisingly good for the price. A great example is the FG800 model.
In case you want to play metal and need a cheap but reliable guitar, Jackson is the way to go. For instance, the JS32 is a guitar that comes with all the features that a metal fan will love, including a two-way tremolo bridge, a slick design, and some useful ergonomic features. Oh, and yes, JS32 is incredibly cheap for its qualities.
While most people remember them for those prestigious products, Gretsch has quite a few acoustic and electric guitars within the lower price range. But using their experience with their "flagship" instruments, these cheaper guitars manage to keep all the necessary qualities that can even serve experienced players well. However, they are slightly more expensive compared to some of these other brands. Therefore, we'd only recommend them to those who are very determined to become good guitar players, especially in genres like blues, jazz, classic rock 'n' roll, and hard rock. The Electromatic Jet series comes with not only great build quality, pickups, and hardware, but also features some pretty unique design traits. After all, looking good with your guitar is part of being a rock star, isn't it?
So, What Now?
You've made it to the end of our guide of buying a guitar, so it's time for you to do more research on your own to see what's the best option for you. If you can ask your teacher for recommendations and help, make sure to do so as they'll guide you in the right direction.