Buying a new guitar is a significant and major purchase and not one to be taken lightly. No matter what type of guitar you plan to buy, following this simple guide will ensure you will end up with a guitar you will love and is right for you. Take this guide with you when you go to buy your next guitar and I guarantee you will not get conned into buying a dud.
01. Play a variety of guitars in the store. Even if some are out of your price range, you will notice subtle differences between the instruments that you like and dislike. Compare the sounds and find one that best suits you. Different guitars will give you new ideas and challenge you in different ways.
02. When testing a guitar, make sure you can get your hand around the neck. It doesn't matter how good the guitar sounds, you need to be able to reach the frets properly and get your thumb over the top to hold the E string. The guitar must be comfortable for you to play.
03. Play a wide variety of pieces. Play your hardest song, your favorite song and your most expressive song. Does the guitar make these songs easier or more difficult to play?
04. Play the guitar with a pick, play with a capo, play fingerstyle and strum chords. Make sure the guitar is sounding good when played in a number of different styles.
05. When you find a guitar you think you might buy, make sure the guitar is in tune, play hard on it (within reason - don't try to break a string) and make sure it stays in tune while you're playing it.
06. Make sure the action is not too high. This means that the strings must not be too far away from the fingerboard, especially high up the neck. This may seem trivial but it is important. Over time, the extra effort needed to push further and harder on the strings to make notes will hurt your hand and will lower the quality of the sound. The action must be low, but most good guitar stores can lower the action for you if you wish. If you have your heart set on the guitar, ask the staff at the store if they can lower the action for you.
07. Compare the harmonic at the 12th fret with the fretted note. The notes should sound the same.
08. Make sure there are no dead notes or strings when you play up the neck.
09. Make sure the guitar can play a variety of sounds. Strum chords from the bridge to the end of the fingerboard. The tones should change significantly.
Once you are satisfied with your new guitar, make sure you have enough cash on you to buy it! Hopefully, this guide has enlightened you on some points you may have overlooked if you plan to buy a new guitar. Feel free to add anything I may have missed in the comments too.