Selecting a Guitar

Many beginners often wonder what is the best kind of guitar on which to learn. Should you use an electric guitar? A steel string acoustic guitar? A nylon string acoustic guitar? Get an answer by reading this article.

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Many beginners often wonder what is the best kind of guitar on which to learn.

Should you use an electric guitar? A steel string acoustic guitar? A nylon string acoustic guitar?

My answer to this question is very simple: go to a guitar store and play the different types of guitars and pick one that makes you feel like playing.

That is THE most important factor in picking a guitar, period. Some people will say that you should start with an electric guitar because it is easier to play, some say to start with an acoustic guitar because the heavier strings will help you build up strength and better prepare you for playing. Etc. etc. These points are valid and true. Both of them and any others that you may hear. But notice that they are also conflicting.

Bottom line is that the way that you are going to learn and improve on the guitar is by playing ALOT. If you can't stand to play your guitar because it is too hard to play the heavy strings or you don't feel like going through the trouble of setting up your electric guitar amplifier every time you want to play, then quite simply you are not going to play that guitar and you will not improve. And all of those true and valid points about the advantages of the various guitar types will be for naught.

Try out the various guitar types and pick one that inspires you to play. Which one is that? That's the guitar you played for 20 minutes instead of the ones that you picked up, played for 2 minutes and put back down. That is my suggestion and one that I know will help you in the long run.

Although I assume that the person shopping for the guitar has some very basic rudimentary abilities, maybe that is not always the case. If it is not, then I still suggest at least picking up the instrument, even plucking a string or two. The relationship between a player and the guitar is so personal...you have to like the way it looks, you have to like the way it feels in your hand and on your knee...there is a lot of physical interaction, even beyond the actual playing. So I still say, yes try some different guitars out, ie. pick them up, pluck a couple of strings, put your fingers on the fretboard, hold it on your knee. If it doesn't feel right, if there is something nagging you about it, then put it down and move on.

Like most guitarists I have owned many different guitars over the years. The ones that I eventually got rid of all had something in common...I had a nagging feeling about them the day that I bought them. They were brand name guitars, famous models, nothing really wrong with them. But the minute I picked it up I just knew that it wasn't right for me...but I always wanted to give them a try and I always ended up not playing them that much and getting rid of them.

I recently bought a Gibson Les Paul and I can tell you - I will never get rid of that guitar. The minute I picked it up I just knew for sure that it was right. And when I play that guitar it feels so good. And the day that I bought it I picked up other Les Pauls right beside the one I bought and I played them and I kept coming back to that one that I ended up buying. The day they made that guitar everything lined up right for me.

I also recently bought a Yamaha nylon string acoustic guitar...same deal. It feels very good and natural when I hold and play that guitar.

So, do you need to know how to play...it definitely helps. I would take some time to at least learn how to play one or two chords before buying. That is all you should need. You'll know what I'm talking about when you start trying different guitars.

I can give you some brand names, some price ranges, some models...but I tell you none of that matters at all if the guitar you buy does not inspire you to play...and only you can determine which guitar that is.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    JC Rea
    It's always better to start learning with an acoustic guitar. This allows you to develop finger strenght and callouses, both necessary in order to learn how to play electric guitar later. Gibson Epiphone FAT-210 is great for electric guitar beginners.
    Emenius Sleepus
    hey..i'm juz that kind of beginner but it seems dat most ppl think dat if u go straight to the electric wivout any acoustic experience u r gonna brees poor technique . how true is this ? [POSTED: 12 October 2003 - 05:59]| Well, you don't really need an acoustic if you want to play music that uses electric guitar in 99% of the songs. Besides, they both have 6 strings so if you want to play electric, then that's what you should start with. Don't buy the most expensive instrument, either. A very bad guitar may put you off playing, but if you truly want to learn, and if it's at least tunable, then a bad guitar to start the journey is not so bad. Eventually people tend to graduate to higher-range instruments. One more thing, always try before you buy, ask the store-keepers for advice etc., because there are some instruments that do'nt kill your piggybank, yet deliver a great sound, feel and playability. Hope that helped somewhat
    magpies
    yeah...this is true. but i didn't really bought my guitar for myself. it was my dad's, actually. but i felt like i was compatible with my guitar. though sometimes, it hurts my fingers a lot when i press the strings harder. but it sems like i don't really care if i get hurt coz' i got used to it already...i love my guitar. but i wanna buy a new one. so maybe this article would be a big help for me. but i was thinking of the price. coz' what i know is that if you buy a really expensive guitar, then it's really good. but when you buy a cheaper guitar, it won't last within a year...is it true?
    les zep paul
    i wouldn't really agree with that the last comment, I think if you really want to play guitar then you should look into buying a fairly good guitar for your money. Starting off by playing a crap guitar can make it a horrible time learning. There are lots of good cheap guitars out there for beginners like Peaveys, Yammahas and of course Epiphone and Squires if your after the look. I bought an epiphone les paul 100 for my first guitar, it cost me around 300 with a decent practice amp, its got good action and a sweet sound all the things you want out of an affordable basic guitar.
    ed4123
    hey..i'm juz that kind of beginner but it seems dat most ppl think dat if u go straight to the electric wivout any acoustic experience u r gonna brees poor technique . how true is this ?
    Emenius Sleepus
    Yep, most certainly right. I think also, that it is important to choose the guitar that's featured in your favourite music style, coz there's not much point practicing on a nylon string guitar if all the music that you're going to play has the leanings of System Of A Down, Rancid, Slipknot and Morbid Angel.
    ShaDoweR
    Same thing happened to me when i walked into a guitar store picked an Ibanez SA160 and never put it down
    AngryBen
    I TOTALLY AGREE - if you want to play an electric PLAY electric don't start with acoustic, if anything it will put you off the electric guitar and you won't enjoy learning it... and about buying a guitar, like the article said, buy one which makes you queezy all over haha, no really it's gonna be somehting special to you, so you better like it =) like my ibanez =D
    CK91
    personally, I love music and it's in me to play and play. Feeling it is great, it certainly is important to be comfortable with the instrument your playen. IF it can be tuned and going down all the frets sounds good, I will play it and it may not sound the best but you move to a really good guitar and you will notice how much better you've gotten. Anyway, I'm a newbie and have been playen for 3 years. Just wanted to say to you all and thank GOD for musical instruments. PEace And....METALLICA!!!!! YEAH!!!
    BadAssGuitar
    this is the most obvious thing but hardly any one tries b4 they buy me an example aswel as the people above me
    FretmasterP
    i think you could have just posted that first part "go to a guitar store and play the different types of guitars and pick one that makes you feel like playing". that sums up everything. music is about the feeling.
    stuntg12
    that is probably the best advice on buying a guitar. i wish i would have read this before buying my guitar (which was 6 months ago). I wasn't really looking for the guitar i wanted. i have 250 dollars to spend, and i wanted an electric guitar, so i got the cheapest one, and probably crapiest. but, i play it now, and i get the best of it, next time maybe i will wait. thanx for the advice.
    Alt3Rethos
    yea i got a gibson SG standard a fender stratocaster and a gibson montana acoustic and thier all really great guitars and they were totally worth the money i spent on them