Buying A New Electric Guitar

Hey guys, it's me again. Ever since the last time I dropped into the forums, many people have been asking me how to buy a new guitar. I will now tell you the proper way of buying a guitar on the market.

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Ever since I last dropped into the forums, many people have been asking me how to buy a new guitar. So, I am going to teach you guys how to choose, and buy, a brand-new rockin' axe for your style. Step 1: Be prepared. Never expect a real instrument to cost only up to 100 bucks. Look forward to using at least a budget of: $200-$300 for Beginner guitars, $300-$500 for Casual-playing/Budget-based guitars, $500-$700 for Mid-end guitars, $700-$1000 for Top-notch guitars, and over $1000 for Signature guitars. Also, if this is your first time buying a guitar, have a buddy who is a guitar expert follow you on the trip to your nearest market. If you are a professional, this is no big deal as ou already know which guitar to choose. PS Be prepared to spend at least 1 hour in the store for guitars. Step 2: Look around. Take a moment to look around the store and see if there is a guitar you would like to play. Also, always consider a maximum, and minimum, budget you will use into buying a guitar. If this is your first time, your friend will help choose a guitar for you. Step 3: If required, ask the salesman to help you in choosing a guitar. If you are in trouble trying to select a guitar, ask the salesman for help in choosing the guitar. If you are a professional, this is no big deal as you already know how to choose a guitar. Step 4: Check the guitar for any defects. Price of the guitar NEVER indicates quality. Check the guitar for any obvious defects such as bad fret leveling (the metal shims on the fretboard), stainable finish, unstable neck curvature, abnormally high action (the distance between the strings and the fretboard), poor quality materials, or loose objects on the guitar. If the guitar has any of these defects, then it's not worth buying it. Just reject the guitar and get another one. If the guitar passes the quality test, then move on to the next step. And also, keep in mind that a guitar made in America is not always better than imported guitars. I know from my personal experience that even imported guitars have much better quality control compared to the famous, American guitars. Step 5: Plug the guitar in, and do a simple sound check. If this is your first time, have a buddy or a salesman do a sound check for you. This is done by connecting the guitar to a nearby stock amplifier using a patch cord. Does the sound seem clean? Step 6: Ask the salesman for the specifications of the guitar. If you are unsure of how the guitar would be suitable for the style of rock music you are playing. Are the pickups good enough for you? Guitar body comfortable? Guitar intonates well? High string bends don't fret out? Guitar bridge/neck stable? Step 7: Check the guitar again for any defects. Do a final check on your guitar to confirm if the guitar is right for you. If you are done, move onto the next step. Step 8: Check the store to see if you can get a guitar that is better than your guitar for a much more reasonable price. It's really hard to find your 'perfect' guitar. Always check the store to see if you can get a better guitar than what you want. Step 9: Once you are sure, get the accessories you'll need to get for your guitar. Electric guitars are never complete without any accessories for the guitar. If this is your first time buying a guitar, make sure that when you are buying a guitar, always get the following items along with it: Minimum 10 Guitar Picks Guitar Case (Preferably a hard-cover case) Guitar Amplifier (Any basic amplifier will do.) Allen Wrench (Only applies if you are getting a guitar with a locking tremolo system) Patch Cord (3-ft cord will do) Guitar Strap Guitar Capo (Jim Dunlop Capo is recommended) Guitar Tuner Guitar Strings (Ernie-Ball 9-42 strings are recommended) Guitar Humidifier/De-humidifier And a Guitar Maintenance Toolkit. If you are a professional, this is no big deal as you already have the tools you'll need. Move onto the next step. Step 10: Bring the axe home and shred! You can now bring your favourite guitar home and shred! Just be sure to have the guitar properly maintained and you'll be shredding for life!

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    rv_phoenix
    Thank you, parhelia_0000 , for screaming out loud that the proper place for buying guitars is the music shop, not the Internet. And for making clear that a guitar you buy must be a guitar chosen by yourself, with the help of someone more experienced, if necessary. Maybe the reviewers here, at the UG, will quit advicing people to buy online. I'm not too optimistic about that, I must confess, but maybe your clear statement will be a sort of a 'no trespassing' sign.
    panqba
    And about buying on the net: just think clearly: of course that great ocassions are just counterfeits etc. Don't expect to buy a new gibson for 400$, but you may have one for 1100$ on the net, while the same one in the shop costs 1400$. If the retailer is not a brainless person it is fine to buy a guitar online. They send it to you with mark "fragile" and it comes in 2 days. Tried many times. Saved lots of money.
    panqba
    And that nearly commercial thing "Guitar Strings (Ernie-Ball 9-42 strings are recommended)"... Why EBs? They are expensive, easily breakable, it takes them long to adjust to the guitar, they have problems with intonation and wear really fast. Why do you recommend ANY companies?
    derAlchemist
    i also agree that the type amps beginners choose don't really matter, as they really can't tell the difference between awesome and sucky gear.
    considering guitars: yep considering amp: no! i think a beginner should spend about one half of his budget for the amp.
    trapper11
    The Guy Speaks the truth. Some of the details are personal preference (brands of stuff), but otherwise, a GREAT article.
    panqba
    This is completely... stupid. You say "take a guitar expert friend with you". If you have such friend, why the hell do you need this "guide"? And to ask the salesman for specification? Yeah, if you are a beginner this will give you NOTHING but BRAIN-WASH (beginners don't know much about guitar tech... if they did, they wouldn't need such "guides."). And to the guy saying about "the shop being a proper place to buy a guitar": yeah, great. For the same price you can usually have a better guitar on the Internet because it is CHEAPER bro. I don't like to pay additional 200 bucks in the price just for being served by a salesman. Go to the shop, check out the guitar, if it fits you go home and buy it on the net and save cash. Finally, what do you mean by "always get" accessories? Ones that you mentioned cost nearly the same as the guitar. And why the hell would the one that starts his or her adventure with the guitar need HARD CASE or a CAPO?! If you are just STARTING you need just a guitar and a will to play.
    parhelia_0000
    panqba wrote: This is completely... stupid. You say "take a guitar expert friend with you". If you have such friend, why the hell do you need this "guide"? And to ask the salesman for specification? Yeah, if you are a beginner this will give you NOTHING but BRAIN-WASH (beginners don't know much about guitar tech... if they did, they wouldn't need such "guides."). And to the guy saying about "the shop being a proper place to buy a guitar": yeah, great. For the same price you can usually have a better guitar on the Internet because it is CHEAPER bro. I don't like to pay additional 200 bucks in the price just for being served by a salesman. Go to the shop, check out the guitar, if it fits you go home and buy it on the net and save cash. Finally, what do you mean by "always get" accessories? Ones that you mentioned cost nearly the same as the guitar. And why the hell would the one that starts his or her adventure with the guitar need HARD CASE or a CAPO?! If you are just STARTING you need just a guitar and a will to play.
    panqba wrote: And that nearly commercial thing "Guitar Strings (Ernie-Ball 9-42 strings are recommended)"... Why EBs? They are expensive, easily breakable, it takes them long to adjust to the guitar, they have problems with intonation and wear really fast. Why do you recommend ANY companies?
    panqba wrote: And about buying on the net: just think clearly: of course that great ocassions are just counterfeits etc. Don't expect to buy a new gibson for 400$, but you may have one for 1100$ on the net, while the same one in the shop costs 1400$. If the retailer is not a brainless person it is fine to buy a guitar online. They send it to you with mark "fragile" and it comes in 2 days. Tried many times. Saved lots of money.
    Okay, to answer your questions: First off, I was trying to speak of my own opinions. Either you like them or you don't. All recommendations are what I'd recommend. Others have their own preference. Beginners don't have prior experience as to buying an instrument (unless they have been taught some quick advices.) and should be taught how to choose, buy, and maintain their instruments. Also, the reason why I think people should ask the salesman for specifications is that they would be able to generalize which guitars are better than others (or at least get the feel of it. And again, if you are a professional, this is no big deal as you already know which guitars have what on them.). You never know which guitars are going to have better life than others. Moreover, the internet issue. Some people are prejudiced over buying the instruments brand-new on the online market. Just randomly 'going into the shop, check out the guitar, and buying it online,' I think, never makes the online guitar any better. I know from personal experience that buying guitars on the market could give people a full 100% chance that they'd be able to figure out guitars that have initial defects. You never know which guitar defects that the guitar would, or could, have from the initial view. I think that buying guitars on the market reduces all risks of wasting budgets from nothing. Again, if you are a professional, this is no big deal as you already have experience on buying a guitar. Furthermore, accessories. The brand names are just my personal recommendations. Other people can get other string brands. I just made a simple recommendation, that's all. Also, beginners should have these accessories in hand when they buy a guitar (except if they already bought each for the categories in the first place), and the professionals already have the accessories. That step was just for beginners. Professional people have no big deal to this as they already have what they need. It's just what I want to help for the beginners. Overall, you did give me a lot of help here, but for future reference, please be nicer to others, okay? I think that people should use much more proper language when they talk to others. Inappropriate language, I think, do not belong in this UG website. Please think twice before writing stuff on the posts, please? Other than that, thanks for the help.
    parhelia_0000
    yuvalg wrote: shouldnt you compare other stores and other guitars???
    All stores may vary, but based on what I've been doing, the method of buying a guitar is kind-of similar for every stores (assuming that they use similar policies such as guitar showcasing, etc.).
    panqba
    parhelia_0000 wrote: panqba wrote: This is completely... stupid. You say "take a guitar expert friend with you". If you have such friend, why the hell do you need this "guide"? And to ask the salesman for specification? Yeah, if you are a beginner this will give you NOTHING but BRAIN-WASH (beginners don't know much about guitar tech... if they did, they wouldn't need such "guides."). And to the guy saying about "the shop being a proper place to buy a guitar": yeah, great. For the same price you can usually have a better guitar on the Internet because it is CHEAPER bro. I don't like to pay additional 200 bucks in the price just for being served by a salesman. Go to the shop, check out the guitar, if it fits you go home and buy it on the net and save cash. Finally, what do you mean by "always get" accessories? Ones that you mentioned cost nearly the same as the guitar. And why the hell would the one that starts his or her adventure with the guitar need HARD CASE or a CAPO?! If you are just STARTING you need just a guitar and a will to play. panqba wrote: And that nearly commercial thing "Guitar Strings (Ernie-Ball 9-42 strings are recommended)"... Why EBs? They are expensive, easily breakable, it takes them long to adjust to the guitar, they have problems with intonation and wear really fast. Why do you recommend ANY companies?panqba wrote: And about buying on the net: just think clearly: of course that great ocassions are just counterfeits etc. Don't expect to buy a new gibson for 400$, but you may have one for 1100$ on the net, while the same one in the shop costs 1400$. If the retailer is not a brainless person it is fine to buy a guitar online. They send it to you with mark "fragile" and it comes in 2 days. Tried many times. Saved lots of money. Okay, to answer your questions: First off, I was trying to speak of my own opinions. Either you like them or you don't. All recommendations are what I'd recommend. Others have their own preference. Beginners don't have prior experience as to buying an instrument (unless they have been taught some quick advices.) and should be taught how to choose, buy, and maintain their instruments. Also, the reason why I think people should ask the salesman for specifications is that they would be able to generalize which guitars are better than others (or at least get the feel of it. And again, if you are a professional, this is no big deal as you already know which guitars have what on them.). You never know which guitars are going to have better life than others. Moreover, the internet issue. Some people are prejudiced over buying the instruments brand-new on the online market. Just randomly 'going into the shop, check out the guitar, and buying it online,' I think, never makes the online guitar any better. I know from personal experience that buying guitars on the market could give people a full 100% chance that they'd be able to figure out guitars that have initial defects. You never know which guitar defects that the guitar would, or could, have from the initial view. I think that buying guitars on the market reduces all risks of wasting budgets from nothing. Again, if you are a professional, this is no big deal as you already have experience on buying a guitar. Furthermore, accessories. The brand names are just my personal recommendations. Other people can get other string brands. I just made a simple recommendation, that's all. Also, beginners should have these accessories in hand when they buy a guitar (except if they already bought each for the categories in the first place), and the professionals already have the accessories. That step was just for beginners. Professional people have no big deal to this as they already have what they need. It's just what I want to help for the beginners. Overall, you did give me a lot of help here, but for future reference, please be nicer to others, okay? I think that people should use much more proper language when they talk to others. Inappropriate language, I think, do not belong in this UG website. Please think twice before writing stuff on the posts, please? Other than that, thanks for the help.
    Yeah, I choosed inapropriate words, the matter of writing after a long tiring day. Sorry for that. In my opinion the big list of accessories is just a bit scary for a not-rich-future-guitarist, while some of the points on that list are unnecessary I think. These are just opinions, don't take me to serious ;
    parhelia_0000
    ne14t wrote: rv_phoenix wrote: Thank you, parhelia_0000, for screaming out loud that the proper place for buying guitars is the music shop, not the Internet. And for making clear that a guitar you buy must be a guitar chosen by yourself, with the help of someone more experienced, if necessary. Maybe the reviewers here, at the UG, will quit advicing people to buy online. I'm not too optimistic about that, I must confess, but maybe your clear statement will be a sort of a 'no trespassing' sign. A few of the guys over on the Gibson forum were notorious for buying stuff online, and then they would come onto the forum and post about how there D'addario strings they bought of the internet for $1.50 a set were chinese knockoffs and whine about it. Like c'mon buyer beware with online items, product is generally NOT how it appears!
    Agreed! :cheers:
    matACCADACCA
    Price range in Australia: $500+ for beginner $700+ for casual $1000+ for mid end $2000+ for top-notch $99999+ for signature. Anyone disagree?
    stonedhippos
    idk about all the stuff here on this article, you can still play with a good sound on a $100 squier and an $80 line 6. those were (and still are) my first and current electric guitar and amp. i also agree that the type amps beginners choose don't really matter, as they really can't tell the difference between awesome and sucky gear.
    ne14t
    rv_phoenix wrote: Thank you, parhelia_0000, for screaming out loud that the proper place for buying guitars is the music shop, not the Internet. And for making clear that a guitar you buy must be a guitar chosen by yourself, with the help of someone more experienced, if necessary. Maybe the reviewers here, at the UG, will quit advicing people to buy online. I'm not too optimistic about that, I must confess, but maybe your clear statement will be a sort of a 'no trespassing' sign.
    A few of the guys over on the Gibson forum were notorious for buying stuff online, and then they would come onto the forum and post about how there D'addario strings they bought of the internet for $1.50 a set were chinese knockoffs and whine about it. Like c'mon buyer beware with online items, product is generally NOT how it appears!
    Zeletros
    You forgot to mention a few things: buying off hand guitars and used guitars, which will drastically reduce the price, but perhaps not the quality. Also, shop employers are payed for selling stuff, it's in their interest for you to buy the most expensive item, so it is not always a good idea to ask them. "PS Be prepared to spend at least 1 hour in the store for guitars. " Is incomplete, you should specify that you should spend at least a few days looking for a guitar that you like, not just go in a shop play random guitars for 1h and buy. Also, not all of the accessories mentioned are really required for a beginner, or a professional. And guitar amplifier is not considered an accessory I believe.
    SkittlesR
    I got a hardshell case, a set of ernie ball strings and a pack of medium dunlop picks when I bought my ESP/LTD EC 200 QM.
    parhelia_0000
    Zeletros wrote: You forgot to mention a few things: buying off hand guitars and used guitars, which will drastically reduce the price, but perhaps not the quality. Also, shop employers are payed for selling stuff, it's in their interest for you to buy the most expensive item, so it is not always a good idea to ask them. "PS Be prepared to spend at least 1 hour in the store for guitars. " Is incomplete, you should specify that you should spend at least a few days looking for a guitar that you like, not just go in a shop play random guitars for 1h and buy. Also, not all of the accessories mentioned are really required for a beginner, or a professional. And guitar amplifier is not considered an accessory I believe.
    My apologies for some missing info. Yes, days will matter when buying a guitar. Also, an amplifier would help, but is not considered a requirement. Thanks for the corrections though.
    parhelia_0000
    broken_machines wrote: Guitar Amplifier (Any basic amplifier will do.) Haha. Seriously?
    This is just for beginner guitarists who don't know which amplifier to buy. Any basic amplifier will work for any beginners if used properly.
    XianXiuHong
    The price range you posted isn't always true...it also depends on the brand of guitar you're looking at. I guess this is an ok guide since not much else can be really said about buying a guitar. Maybe you should tell them to try haggle aswell in the buying process? Try to get things thrown in for free?
    Air_Stryker
    I would agree with mostly everything in the guide apart from the price range part at the start. A guitar's price will vary depending on a large number of factors. In fact, I own a second hand Washburn Dime 333 signature, and it didn't cost me over $1000, in fact it was only 200, so about $300. And it's also one of the best guitars I've ever played. Just goes to show price is definitely not an indicator of quality.
    Basti95
    parhelia_0000 wrote: broken_machines wrote: Guitar Amplifier (Any basic amplifier will do.) Haha. Seriously? This is just for beginner guitarists who don't know which amplifier to buy. Any basic amplifier will work for any beginners if used properly.
    Personally i think amplifiers are extremely important, if you're happy with your sound you'll be more eager to play and improve. I would reccommend a Frontman 15 to begin with. Also, i'm sorry to say i bought my second guitar on eBay (PRS SE custom) at a pretty good price, best choice i ever made.
    polly88
    I saw an ESP LTD viper for 2000 rand used, but in mint condition which is about 252 dollars and they are not bad guitars, actually quite good
    stonedhippos
    stonedhippos wrote: idk about all the stuff here on this article, you can still play with a good sound on a $100 squier and an $80 line 6 in a small room . those were (and still are) my first and current electric guitar and amp. i also agree that the type amps beginners choose don't really matter, as they really can't tell the difference between awesome and sucky gear.
    had to fix that