#1
A friend lent me a guitar and I've been playing for just under a month now. Now that I've found it's something I enjoy I'd like to get my own acoustic to practice with.

I've been reading the forums alot and I have a good idea what I want from an instrument perspective. (Solid top etc. etc.) The other thing you always read is "Try out a guitar before buying it".

So how do I try out a guitar with little to no skill? I mean I can't exactly go in there and pull out a riff on an instrument. Also I won't be a very good judge of what's "comfortable" with a neck of a guitar since I've really only played the one instrument. (I could go on with more examples but you get the idea) Admittedly the whole buying your first guitar thing is exciting but a little intimidating at the same time.

So how does one go about "trying out" a guitar when you're a complete newbie?
Last edited by TheMonkxx at Dec 12, 2007,
#2
Bring one of your friend that have more experience playing.
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#3
Well, if you go to a store and ask the guys there, say "Oh, hey, I'm new(At the instrument), what's a good idea for me?" then they should give you a few suggestions, and just go from there, or you could talk to your friend about it, if they're good with guitars and knowledgeable and all, you know you can trust them.
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#4
If you've been playing for a month, is it safe to assume that you know a few chords? Just play the chords or whatever you know and check:

1 - How easy is it for you?
2 - Does it sound nice to you?

#1 is very important. As a raw beginner, it is VERY important for you to find a guitar that is comfortable for you to play. If you don't, you'll quickly become discouraged and the guitar will end up behind your bedroom door!

The comfort issue is also significant if you are buying a 'beginner guitar' which is usually something $200 - $250 or less...

Amongst my herd, I have an Alvarez RD8. Here's the link:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Alvarez-RD8-Regent-Series-Dreadnought-Acoustic-Guitar?sku=518715

Even though I have two other acoustic guitars (Yamaha and Ibanez), I keep the Alvares because for the price, it has surprisingly good playability and tone.

Good luck!
#5
The only guys I know started playing at the same time I did so I'm not sure they'd know much more than I do at this point. lol

I do know some chords etc. (working on chord changes at the moment) so I'll do those. I always have this vision of me strumming a chord looking like a newbie and the whole store just stopping to look at me unapprovingly. ha ha. Like "what the hell was THAT?!"

Thanks for the tips everyone.
#6
Quote by NorfIrIon
Well, if you go to a store and ask the guys there, say "Oh, hey, I'm new(At the instrument), what's a good idea for me?" then they should give you a few suggestions, and just go from there, or you could talk to your friend about it, if they're good with guitars and knowledgeable and all, you know you can trust them.

Needless to say, NorfIrIon's comment is well-intentioned. However, there is often the case that the employee walked into work and was told by the boss that they need to try and get rid of certain stuff. You'd be a mark for that...
#7
Quote by MrWannabe
Needless to say, NorfIrIon's comment is well-intentioned. However, there is often the case that the employee walked into work and was told by the boss that they need to try and get rid of certain stuff. You'd be a mark for that...


That's part of my concern, and also part of the reason I'm trying to do as much reasearch as possible before going in.
#9
If anyone gives you any crap as someone who is new, follow my advice. Pick up the instrument by the neck and hit the guy giving you crap and then turn to the salesman and say something like "nah I don't like the action and the intonation seems a bit iffy, do you have anything with a zero fret?". But seriously you have to relise that probably 90% of sales at retail guitar stores comes from complete newbies and the little bit of embarrassment of trying out is much better than the embarrassment of knowing you got the ****tiest instrument. Know that they will respect you more if you actually try the instrument than just go in and say, yeah I'll take that one. Know that their respect is worthless, your someone with money and you want to buy a guitar and just like any other good you have as much right as anyone to play it. If you want to buy a martin buy a martin even if you know that they probably think you don't "deserve" it, even if you just want to stare at it as a peice of art is none of their buisness. If their giving you hard time, which I would absolutly disgusted if they did, use that anger to try and beat them down in price, whatever you do ask for a discount? they may no give it to you but give it a try and unless you a buying at some special place that has them all at the cheapest price possible they can afford it.

Don't be stupid about it, if you can play a few notes (not even chords), and if you can't sorry, but if you can you have more than enough experience to judge a cheap guitar. Listen to it's sustain and how the harmonics roll, just listen to one note till it disappears and listen to different notes and you will start to hear the difference. Thats important too, try different guitars. Concentrate on the feel, this is crap that you can't tell the difference about playibility, you will notice that one neck is too fat that you can't hold it and another too thin that it feels like your hands are going to snap it in half.

My final advice is if you are really scared. Try going in at like 9am when they open. No-one will be there and should make you a bit more comfortable also depending on the layout for acoustics there is less chance of a shredder being there letting it rip on 11 so you can't even hear yourself play a note.
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#11
Quote by TheMonkxx
The only guys I know started playing at the same time I did so I'm not sure they'd know much more than I do at this point. lol

I do know some chords etc. (working on chord changes at the moment) so I'll do those. I always have this vision of me strumming a chord looking like a newbie and the whole store just stopping to look at me unapprovingly. ha ha. Like "what the hell was THAT?!"

Thanks for the tips everyone.


dont worry about other people judging you. to be honest...very few people will care what you're doing.

anyway, for my first guitar, i used a few criteria, and im sure some people will disagree with me. but this is what suited me best.

In order of importance...

#1. you MUST. ABSOLUTELY MUST LOVE how the guitar LOOKS. if you dont love that guitar, dont buy it. if you aren't attracted to the guitar, dont bother with it. REASON: if you are attracted to the guitar, you will WANT to pick it up and play it. and in doing so, it will help you improve because you play it more often. In a first guitar, looks are very important. this is one of the only reasons i kept playing guitar in the beginning. i would sit at my computer desk as i am now, and look across and find my beautiful guitar. i'd then procede to playing it for quite some time. it REALLY helped me improve.

#2. the guitar must be comfortable to play for long periods of time. once you find a guitar with nice looks, play it for a while. heck, play everything you know. if it feels nice, you've got a winner. if it feels "ok" and just "ok" then you've got a potential cantidate. REASON: if the neck isnt right for you, your hand may cramp. i have really short fingers, so it really effects me. this may not be the case for you as much.

#3. lets be real. this is a beginner guitar... no matter what you do, it's not going to sound THAT great. also, this is a learning guitar... being attracted to playing the guitar and sticking with it is by FAR more important at the moment, which is why looks and comfort are more important for this guitar. REASON: this guitar is meant for you to learn on, not perform on. comfort and looks are much more important than sound.


Well.. that basically sums it up for how i bought my first guitar. and i must say, i'm still satisfied with it. I bought an Art & Lutherie Cedar CW in Sunrise colour.

As for my criteria list. it may not be the same with you, but that's how i did it. if something else works for you, then by all means go for it. whatever floats your boat.
#12
^^ I disagree with the above. Sound should come first. Remember, you're making music here. I'd rather play a beat-up looking Martin or Taylor over a cool looking Ibanez "exotic woods", or whatever they call them. If you only have $100 to spend on a new guitar, yeah, it probably isn't going to sound very good. $200 and above will pretty much guarantee something that will sound decent. If you're uncomfortable trying something out with your limited skills, get the salesperson to play it for you.
#14
Ask a salesman to play it for you - in my experience they're always willing to take a break from the mundane workday of standing behind a counter to show off a bit.
Last edited by Twiggeh at Dec 12, 2007,
#15
Quote by teegee420
^^ I disagree with the above. Sound should come first. Remember, you're making music here. I'd rather play a beat-up looking Martin or Taylor over a cool looking Ibanez "exotic woods", or whatever they call them. If you only have $100 to spend on a new guitar, yeah, it probably isn't going to sound very good. $200 and above will pretty much guarantee something that will sound decent. If you're uncomfortable trying something out with your limited skills, get the salesperson to play it for you.


haha, yea. i knew someone would disagree. but the way i figure it, at such a low price range, they're all about just as bad in sound... for a new guitar anyway. its not until you get to the $300ish range that you get quite some variation on sound. but then again, i only look at electro-acoustics, so the price is higher for me.

the way i figure it... and with the low funding... id rather have a beautiful and comfy guitar as my first guitar to make me really fall in love with learning and just playing the guitar. as a pure learning guitar, that's what i would get. then, if i ever needed a nicer sounding guitar, i could just go buy a new one.

luckily for me, my funding was a bit higher, so i got a beautiful, comfy AND great sounding Art & Lutherie.
#16
You'll know when you find a guitar you like. When I bought my first acoustic, I knew 2 chords, G and D. I was just kind of looking one day and the sales guy showed me a couple Art and Lutherie dreadnoughts in the $200-$250 range. They were alright, but I wasn't sure what I wanted. There was another $350 A&L Cedar GT next to them so I picked it up to try just for fun, not expecting to actually buy it. I strummed a G, said "I want this one." and walked out of the store with it 10 minutes later. I've had it for 2 years now and have gotten to be fairly decent at it. I still have never played a guitar I liked more.
#17
I pretty much agree with salad. Just play as many different ones as you can. You'll eventually find one that just fits.
#18
Cool thanks for the input everyone. I'll definitely get in there and try out some chords.