Buying Your First Electric Guitar

We have all been there, looking to buy our first real electric guitar, but not knowing what, where or how to buy the right one. Well, let me guide you a little further on your quest for your new guitar. Come on, read on, friends!

Ultimate Guitar
I remember getting my first electric guitar, it was an amazing journey. But I also remember the search for it, that wasn't quite as amazing at first.

Without the right guidance you can easily get lost and overwhelmed by all the choices there's to be made. Therefore you'll find that there's a few things to remember and decide, before buying and searching for your guitar.

Here's a list to have in mind:

1. Determine your budget

No matter what your budget looks like, you will be able to find a guitar that fits you, no doubt. There's no point in going above your budget, and especially not when buying your first guitar. Find a decent price range and see how that feels. You can always move up to a different one, at a different price range, when you feel you've improved and need more.

Nowadays you will have a lot of brands to choose from, and of course the quality can vary, but you can find good ones in between. It all really comes down to how the guitar is set up.

2. Research and ask friends

It's always a good idea to do some research, before going to the guitar center. Asking friends or relatives, who knows about music and guitars, can also be a good idea. Often they'll have a few guitars in mind. From there it's your job to remember those and go try them out.

A simple search on Google or on forums can also be very helpful and guiding. A lot of people have created posts about this exact topic.

3. Decide if you're going to play electric or acoustic

Find out if you're into acoustic or electric guitar, because acoustic and electric guitar isn't quite the same thing. The price can vary a lot when we're talking about the difference between acoustic and electric guitar. Different types of music is played on both acoustic and electric. So if you wanna play rock licks and great '80s guitar solos, then grab the electric, and if you wanna play campfire, folk and singer songwriter music, then grab the acoustic. When improving your guitar skills you can always take up the style you didn't choose at first.

4. Shop & Play

After searching a bit on the Internet, asking friends and relatives, it's time to go to your local music center. Now is the time where you look for the brands of guitars you've heard about or seen online.

Asking for help when visiting your local guitar center would indeed help you on your way. The staff would be more than happy to help you, I'm sure. They often have a lot of knowledge when it comes to guitars and especially when it comes to buying a new one.

After looking around and thinking about your options, it's time to sit down and play. Play some chords or what jumps to mind, as long as you get the overall feeling of the guitar.

5. The feeling

While sitting with the guitar it's important that you notice a couple of things. Firstly, how does the guitar feel? Both while playing but also while holding it or sitting with it. Is it comfortable to play, does it suit you and your fingers?

It's important to get the right feeling with the guitar, otherwise it won't be a joy for you to play it later on. Of course "feeling" can be a lot of things, but I'm sure you'll know what I'm talking about when you get the guitar in your hand.

6. Buy used/second hand

Buying a guitar second hand has become more and more popular over the past years, which actually is great. You can easily find a good piece on gear, when searching for used instruments. Such as guitars, effects, amps and basses, all of that good stuff we all need.

When buying second hand it's a good idea to check if the salesman is reliable and can be trusted. It's also a very good idea to arrange a meeting, so that you can try out the guitar. It's very important you feel 100% satisfied before buying.

7. Rate each guitar by sound, feel and look

Even though, as a beginner, when you haven't got a lot of knowledge about guitar and playing one, it's important to stay critical, not just settle with the first and the best thing you see. Try out a few guitars and see, hear and feel the difference. It may be a little hard a first, but it will surely guide you towards the right guitar.

8. Knowing the guitar - private lessons

When the purchase has been made, and you have found the right guitar, it's time to consider if you want to start taking guitar lessons. It might be a good idea, at least for a couple of months. It will give you an idea of what a guitar is, how it works and how the music theory can help you on with your playing.


I have made a little list of alternatives for a good beginner guitar.

(Please be advised - I know that there's a lot of commotion going on when it comes to the Harley Benton Guitars, and probably also on the other brands I have listed below, but, for the sake of God, keep your condescending comments and otherwise negative thoughts to yourself, thanks!

I know there's probably a lot of other guitars to choose from, but these are the ones I've picked out. I'm not here to make you buy low budget and bad guitars, I'm just giving you some selections.

When it comes to the Harley Benton guitars, I happened to have some myself. So, if there's any problems or questions, please let me know. Thanks!)

The Harley Benton Series:

  • JA-60 SB Vintage Series
  • TE-30 BE Standard Series
  • L-400 Gold Top Classic Series
  • L-450 Gold Top P90
  • E-35 CH Vintage Series.

Check out this guy from YouTube reviewing and demoing these guitars

Fender Series:

  • Squier Affinity Telecaster

Epiphone Series:

  • Slash AFD Les Paul

Thanks for stopping by, it means a lot.

22 comments sorted by best / new / date

    What non-musicians just don't understand is that it's anything but a coke-pepsi decision.As this article mentioned, you're picking your sound, style, look, feel...basically it's your lifelong partner. I once debated between an epiphone les paul and a fender strat for over a week. It took me another few days just to decide the color! It's not easy, guys...
    Haha, great way of laying it out, mate! Yeah, it's not just piece of cake all the way!
    As for going in and purchasing / looking at guitars, try bring along a friend who has knowledge of guitars so a sales person doesnt corner you and try sell you something just for the sake of a sale.Back when i got my first electric a few years back, the sales guy knew nothing about guitars and he was just trying to sell and force something at me (Tried selling me a Warlock style... eugh). Got a little lucky as my friend knew a decent amount and another sales guy who had played guitar for 30 years helped me out.
    Hi! Thanks for your comment! Yeah, bringing along a friend could be really helpful! Salesmen can be some tricky bastards!
    I find it funny because it is almost impossible to know what you like if you've never played guitar before :p
    Haha, yeah, of course you can say that! But, trying a few models out will make you a little more sure on what to buy
    My first real electric was a used SE Paul Allender. Quality-built guitars get better with age, and besides changing the battery on the active EMGs I had nothing to do but plug and play.
    well if it has active emgs it might as well be a light pole that is attached to a garbage can that was fired from a howitzer six times, its still going to sound good
    my first electric was a Yamaha. Still have it. A few years ago I wanted to upgrade. I set a budget of $500 max. Played everything in that range I could find. I finally purchased a Godin Session. It's a fantastic North American made guitar. Excellent sound, excellent quality and feel. Feels like I could've paid twice the price.
    Good Article PedalFreak94 I imagine it'll help a few first time buyers A couple things worth mentioning , either from private sellers or seedy merchants... If buying an electric, try it with and without effects...its not hard for someone to set an amp to make a POS guitar sound like a million bucks... Try it unplugged as well as plugged in..that should let you know how its going to play...bringing an experienced player will def save you tons of aggravation and frustration And, remembering back 100yrs or so lol, if you buy a POS because of budget constraints, you may have a guitar thats impossible to learn dont be in too big of a hurry to "just have a guitar". Get something decent...go to a store, look at guitars in your budget range, and look them up...look at forums/ reviews etc..again, itll save a lot of frustration in the end Ps: i still have the first brand new guitar i ever bought.... 30-35 yrs ago.... Epiphone Les Paul.( the cheapy version).all stock and sounds like the day i bought it
    Thanks a lot for your kind words and your pieces of advice! Research, ask around and not be in to big of a hurry, yup! Great that your first guitar still sticks with you! Rock on!
    I would recommend the Epiphone Explorer GT. It's cheap, comfortable, and I think it has more Les Paul in it than the actual Epi Les Paul. And the front pikcup kinda sounds like old Metallica ballads on any practice amp that is worth its weight in shit.
    Great article, but please don't encourage beginners to save up for an AFFINITY tele. They could just save up a bit more and get a better model from squier.
    For Squier, I recommend the Classic Vibe series. They're well made, and although the Tele i had lacked a bit of twang, they are great guitars for the price, even better with 10-46 strings. I sold mine easily after too.
    Hi there. My apologies, of course the Fender Classic Vibe series should have been mentioned on there too. Thanks for saying!
    Really helpful man. Just thought that maybe you should add a few different brands because Ibanez and ESP too have great low end guitars. I am personally not a big fan of Epiphone and Squier pickups.
    Hi there! Thank you a lot, I'm glad that it helped! I'm sorry that I may have missed some of the other guitars. Maybe I'll get in touch with UG and edit this
    In terms of budget, what I should have done contrary to what I was told by the music school I used to attend, is to buy a below average guitar. Most teachers/players advise beginners to get cheap guitars regardless of what the student feels about playing the guitar. If you are sure that you like playing and that you won't quit after a week, don't buy a $200 guitar, buy something more decent.
    Right, just my thinking! After playing for some time you can also make an upgrade or research for something better!