I have always wanted to play guitar and I will have lots of free time soon. So first i want to know if there is any way to self teach myself i have a lot of time to use for practice so i think i can pick it up pretty quickly. im really interested in acoustic (which is why i posted here mods feel free to move this if im wrong) and i don't have a guitar yet i'll probably go the a local store and look around i've seen the $300 guitar thread but don't know what i'll find locally. What are brands and features to stay away from?
If you have a friend who plays guitar, take him to the shop with you.
Avoid looking for the cheapest guitar. Cheap is all they are.
If your budget allows, a solid front on an acoustic is desirable as it gives better tone than a laminated one.
If you want a recommendation: Cort Earth 70
I pick up my guitar and play
Just like Yesterday

T C Ellis Series 2 LP w/Skatterbrane Quiescence pups
Cort EVL-K6
Yamaha RGX211 modded
H&S Electric 12-string
Shaftsbury Ricki 4001
'84 Fender Yale
Roland Cube 15x

There are plenty of good low-end/beginner brands. As Lurcher already said there is Cort. Takamine and Yamaha make some decent guitar in the cheap end as well. The APX 500 is quite cheap and has electronics from the get-go and people use to say that it's very playable. Some people might claim that onboard/built in electronics are bad, but if you don't plan to install it yourself (which I guess you don't) it's really the easiest way to get an electro-acoustic.

When you buy the acoustic you should make sure that the string height (action) isn't too high because that'll hinder your learning and you probably find yourself resorting to throwing away the guitar. So make sure it's well setup, and tell the seller to do it before your buy it.

As for learning guitar yourself it's all up to your motivation. If you're really motivated you can easily learn to play by using the web, reading theory books and sheet/tab books. Some people might learn better with a teacher, but ultimately it's depends on your motivation on learning. Play an hour or two every day and you'll be amazed over your own progress in just a couple of months
Thanks for the quick replies

I plan on checking out some local shops and i'm guessing the salesmen will be very helpful to talk to on picking guitars.

does anyone who is self taught know a good book or have any advice?
UG has some fantastic lessons, but they're not everyone's preferred method of learning.

I, for instance, learn better by example, which is why I should really start taking lessons again.

As far as guitars, make sure you get a solid top and stay away from brands such as Ibanez, Fender, Dean, and Schecter.
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