#1
Having decided to try and learn to play, I bought a relatively economical (cheap) acoustic guitar. I have been practicing the four starter chords with a simple strum for about a week and have my share of user errors, fingers deadening side strings, ect. My question is would the quality of the guitar have an effect on my progression? If I bought a better guitar is it any easier to learn on or will I have the same problems I have now that only practice will solve? Thanks in advance for any thoughts....
#2
The main roadblocks cheap guitars place in the paths of players' growth are:

1) Comfort- sometimes, cheap guitars are simply not very ergonomic, or have poorly finished fret ends or fingerboards that can shred fingers. More pain = less practice = less improvement.

2) Tuning instability- cheap guitars often come with bad tuners and other hardware, making it difficult to stay in tune. If it sounds bad, you'll get frustrated and practice less.

3) Shoddy materials and/or quality control- this can lead to the guitar requiring repairs that cost more than the guitar is worth (that happened to me).

The first 2 can seriously impact your growth as a player. The third one is just frustrating and potentially expensive.

By and large, though, only the first one will DIRECTLY impact things like your fingering. The bulk of issues with learning the guitar are merely eased- not eliminated- by having better gear.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#3
if you can get 4 chords in a week.. even on a good guitar, that's impressive !
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#4
Quote by indianriver
....[ ].... and have my share of user errors, fingers deadening side strings...[ ]...
This is a huge problem, and it will dog you throughout the tenure of your playing, if you don't develop the correct technique .....RIGHT NOW!

Your wrist is NOT far enough under the neck. Your fingers are NOT at a right angle to the fret board. When your fingers are at a angle less than 90 degrees to the board, they can't help but mute adjacent strings.

Playing the guitar is a series of unnatural actions, but of necessary ones. Gripping a guitar neck is unlike any other gripping motion that you've encountered thus far. Golf club, tennis racquet, baseball bat, broom, pipe wrench, none of these things or actions prepare you to play the guitar, they prepare you to fail at it, period.

Quote by indianriver
My question is would the quality of the guitar have an effect on my progression? If I bought a better guitar is it any easier to learn on or will I have the same problems I have now that only practice will solve? Thanks in advance for any thoughts....
Danny covered this quite well. However, I'd like to add something. A cheap guitar, properly adjusted, ("set up"), can actually be easier to play than a $2000.00 instrument that isn't.

The errors you describe above are YOUR mistakes, don't try and scapegoat the guitar for them.

I agree that a nicer instrument provides a lot more incentive. But, unless you guitar can't be setup properly, you can learn just as well with it.

Since "ergonomics" have come up in the discussion, the primary factor is size and shape. You should be trying various different body sizes and styles, until you find one that affords you comfort enough to play for extended periods of time. Neck width is another. 1 11/16" (44.5mm (?)) is ubiquitous, but other players enjoy a wider fretboard. All of the other issues would be taken up under the "setup" umbrella.
#6
Well, had a chance to talk with a fella at work that plays. Showed him my guitar and his advice to me was to go to a music store and buy a real one if I am serious about learning to play. Went there today and spent about 90 minutes asking questions and feeling out guitars. Walked out with a nice acoustic, G series made by Takamine. I kinda had to trust what the fella told me and when it comes to a beginners guitar he said it was the right tool for the job. Have to admit it sounds good and is alot easier to hit chords. My problem of muting adjacent strings has been eliminated about 80%. Better if I adhere to the right posture. I am learning chords and with practice am getting faster at switching between although I admit I have a way to go. I am thinking about taking lessons from this fella for although I am learning chords I am having a problem putting it all together. As for the quality of the guitar, does anyone think he is leading me in the right direction? Would hate to put good money after bad if I am being taken for a ride.
#7
That should be perfectly fine! Takamine makes good guitars.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#8
your doing well. the Tak G's are not bad at all.... nice to find an honest saleman. lessons would be a great idea...it'll help to not learn bad mistakes and habits in the first place.
and you've only been playing for a week. i've been showing " The Blonde" the basics for months and your probably right around where she is.
don't rush it.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#9
+1 on lessons as a preventative.

I started off on guitar after playing cello for many years, so I didn't think I needed any lessons. When my skills plateaued, I finally found a teacher...and spent a good long time unlearning bad habits.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!