Hi everyone, i just bought my first guitar about a month ago for really really cheap (20$). It's a guitar made for people who've never played before and would like to get a feel of what it's like to play one.

It's been great so far, i learned a bunch of simple songs and they sounded great but now i'm trying to learn my chords and no matter how much i practice, no matter how i position my fingers, the chords sound NOTHING like what they should!

I've read that having a cheap guitar can make playing chords more difficult but can a cheap guitar make playing chords completely IMPOSSIBLE?

I used to think i was just too much of a newb at this and that was why i couldn't get a single string to ring correctly in my chords but now im beginning to think its my guitar. What do you guys think? Can a really cheap guitar make your chords sound horrible no matter what you do? Is it time for me to invest in a high quality guitar?

Everything up to this point came so easily to me, playing the guitar felt so natural and right, i could even play songs with my eyes closed only 15 minutes after learning them! So what's the deal with the chords? Is it ME or the guitar?
those chords won't sound awesome on such a cheap ass guitar, but if played right I'm sure they can be easily recognized as such a chord. but yeah, is it tuned right? and what songs have you learned so far?
A hero of war, Yeah that's what I'll be

well, it's either you or the guitar. i guess the guitar.
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I'm scarred for life
Yeah when i play them u can tell which chord is which but they still don't sound anywhere near what they should.

As for some of the songs i know, there's Let It Be, House of the Rising Sun, Wanted Dead or Alive, solos from random songs, etc.
In that case it's probably the guitar, you could go to a guitar store and play on some guitars over there. maybe that sounds better. if so, you now that it's the guitar for sure
A hero of war, Yeah that's what I'll be

Yeah, the easiest way to find out is to go to a guitar store and try some decent acoustics out and see if it sounds better. I played n a shitty £30 Argos guitar and I couldn't play barre chords for shit - bought myself a £200 washburn acostic and they sounded fine!
What my big problem seems to be is the great distance between my strings and my fret board. I have to press really really hard on the fretted strings to make them sound right but im pressing so hard that my fingers have no choice but to touch the open strings. If i put less pressure on the fretted strings, my open strings will sound great but my fretted ones will be out of wack.

If i use high pressure, fretted strings are perfect but open strings are horrible.
If i use low pressure, fretted strings are horrible but open strings are perfect.
If i use medium pressure, all of them sound horrible.
It's definitely your guitar then. A big reason for people giving up guitar because it's "too hard" is because they buy cheap guitars that play MUCH harder than a normal guitar. A proper, well built, and properly set up guitar isn't hard to play at all. If you think you're going to keep playing then I'd suggest buying a good, solid beginner guitar. Yamaha is pretty much the place to look.
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I bought a Cheap acoustic, but mine was £70 so $130 roughly, steel strung.

It too had a high action.

I had a new nut put on it (Bone) cut to fit and the saddle was lowered.

This lowered the action. I also put 10's on it instead of the usual 11/12 strings that are normal on acoustics.

So now it has a lower action, with easier to fret strings.

The reason your chords sound crap, is because your intonation is out.

Each string might be in tune, but they are not in tune, with each other.

The intonation is probably a bit out on the un fretted strings, the high action means, that when you fret the strings, you stretch them a little more, which puts the intonation out further.

Hopefully you have a guitar tuner. If you do, look up intonation on Google and check it out.

You could spend 5 times the cost of your guitar, getting it fixed, so either try it yourself (lowering saddle is just sanding the bottom of it a touch), or get a new guitar.
I'm definitely buying a new guitar then. Until today, i WAS one of those people that captivate talked about, the frustration was so extreme that i was gonna quit but now im glade i decided to ask around on this web site for help before giving up something i've fell so hard in love with. So thanks a million everyone!!! I owe my sanity to you!
Since you've got an el-cheapo guitar now, why not do a little experimenting on it before moving on to a nice one? I'm suggesting that you remove the bridge saddle and lower the action by sanding down the bottom side of it. A lot of bottom end guitar have rediculously high action because the guitar will sound a bit better that way and is a compensation for crap woods used for the guitar. You really won't be out anything by trying it tho, and it's a really easy thing to do. Just place a sheet of 150-250 grit sandpaper on a nice flat surface and scrape the bottom edge of the saddle along it, thus shaving off small amounts of material. Then just slip the saddle back in and retune. For one, the playability of the guitar will be a lot better making chords easier to fret, but it also won't be has hard on your fingers. And it's an excellent learning experience for you.
Here's a link to the site that has all of the answers you could ever have questions to about guitar repair:


Have a good one!