Choosing Your First Guitar

For new players and parents of new players.

0
As a guitar teacher I often hear the phrase "I'm going to buy my son/daughter an acoustic guitar so they can learn the basics." Parents...you are wrong. It all depends on what your child interests are. If they are 15 and into death metal, an acoustic guitar will not be the right choice. This also applies to 12-year-old AC-DC enthusiasts. Odds are, they have seen school of rock and perceive the guitar as a magical instrument that channel their emotions into pure audio bliss. They are correct. When starting to play guitar the motivation to learn can come from being able to copy the music of your heroes. This magical effect of the guitar can easy be crushed by not learning "fun" music. On the other hand some kids just want to sing at camp or with a worship band. In this situation an acoustic guitar is a great choice. The cost factor. Electric versus acoustic. In a nutshell, electric guitar does cost a little more. You need to purchase an amplifier and possibly some effects pedals. You may think "but I can get a 'First Act' guitar from Costco or Walmart for $50 with an amp" DON'T DO IT! These guitars are nothing but a very cheap...almost thrill. They don't stay in tune and sound horrible. The intonation is always terrible. Beginner electric guitar Brands that I suggest are: Squier: stratocasters or telecasters. They are built well for what you pay (around $150 for a starter pack) They play well and look like the more expensive guitars Epiphone: Les Paul Special, SG. They have the cool Gibson look without paying $5000 NOTE: if your child is still small I suggest the Squier mini-strat. It has most of the same features as the full sized guitars but is built for smaller hands. Beginner Acoustic brands: Denver: These are cheap guitars starting around $80 for 1/2 and 3/4 size. The intonation is decent, and they stay in tune. Yamaha: For around $150 you can get a FG300 which is actually quite a nice guitar. If you're lucky you can find one used for around $100. Overall Yamaha offers a great value for their instruments. I personally own four Yamaha guitars. Epiphone: Prices in every range and is dependable. That's about it for my article. Here are some final tips. 1. Listen to your children regarding what music they like. They are taking lessons, not you. 2.Don't buy more than you need. A simple starter pack should be sufficient. As they improve, then talk about nicer guitars. 3. Music is fun, let it be. p.s. All of you trollers please stay out of this discussion. Yes, you may have a 1959 Les Paul, and play like Steve Vai, but this place is not for you. To all other I invite you to add to the list of brands that are great to start with.

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    ZILtoid_1991
    Almost any kind of guitar good for beginers. You also can buy cheaper guitars, like Vision. One of my friends learned on a really bad guitar, now, he's better than me.
    supersac
    i started on a hannah montana first act i remember after playing it for about three months it just fell apart in my hands(more like exploded) thats when i knew i had out grown that guitar unfortunately i had to wait a while since i was broke at the time
    Shadoefeenicks
    My first guitar was a Behringer something or rather. First of all i didn't even know that Behringer made guitars, I wanted a metallic red Fender Strat for ONLY $3,989[USD]! My behringer looked like a black Strat with a white pickguard(cliche i know), except the lower horn is shorter than the top one and the headstock isnt quite the same shape as a Strat, so it had some level of uniqueness. I started playing the chords i knew from when i started on a classical Ashton, and once i got past the initial coolness of playing an electric guitar, i quickly became unsatisfied with my guitar, especially since i played my friend's Squier Bullet as often as possible, and was so impressed by the jump in quality.(I later learned that Squier was a sub-series of Fender) But still i wanted a new guitar of my own, especially because i was seeing my friends guitars: Ibanez GRG, Metallic Red Squier Strat, Ibanez GART. So i convinced my parents to buy me an Ibanez GRGX20JB off the internet for $350[NZD] including a molded & shaped hardcase, until I had the money to pay them back. I LOVED IT and still do, I am now 100% sold on Ibanez as my favourite brand of guitar, even though I realise that "the best guitar" depends on the style of music you want to play. Anyway, I recommend spending NO LESS than $150 on a starter guitar, and try find some sneaky(or not so sneaky) way to find out what brand of guitar your child/friend/student likes, because the three big brands all have a "budget" range of their most iconic guitars.
    crasherdgrate
    barfrog : crasherdgrate wrote: I am looking for an electric guitar for a beginner. I have 3 options: 1.Yamaha RG-121 (Or something of the sort) 2.A Squier Model (Some basic one), & 3.Cort X-1 Please give me a good deal out of the three. Also, Suggest me something at around $150 if anything not mentioned here. Thanks y'all. You need not look past a Yamaha Pacifica. Amazing beginner guitars, and sound just as good as many that are 3 times the price (and more). With your budget youll be looking at the Pacifica 012... I learnt on a Pacifica, so im speaking from experience :
    But from what I have read and seen, Pacifica has S/S/H pickups, and Yamaha RG-121 (Or ERG-121) has H/S/H. Pacifica = 1 Humbucker ERG-121 = 2 Humbuckers How much difference does a Humbucker pickup actually make? I would most probably be playing Punk or some Alt. Rock stuff, and Metal (Maybe later).
    zakarai
    Why can't people/parents go on UG, go to reviews, search for a starter pack/start guitar and look for good ratings? or perhaps google and look for the best convincing review/site xD Most Starters get stratocasters tbh
    stunt_metal
    My first guitar was an Ibanez that came in a starter kit with a practice amp, picks, cable etc. It was well set up and very well built for the price I would recommend a similar guitar to any beginner. The thin neck and relatively low action promote good left-hand technique, and also make it less effortful to play, which can prevent a beginner from getting frustrated giving up.
    M4RK3H
    My first was a Behring Pack, Behringer V-Tone Pack. Was Quite good for like 139 15 Watt Amp, Built in effects Strap, Wire, Picks, Post Of Standard Chords. I learned about setting up the guitar, innotation & action.
    M4RK3H
    Yamaha Guitars are the bomb, Better than Squier, By Far, actually worth the money
    jetwash69
    illyria, Don't worry about it. I had to wait years after high school to be able to get a guitar at all. 3 years later I have 3 24-fret guitars, and I just got my first tube amp (a half-stack). I'd been using a Marshall MG30DFX and/or a keyboard amp through a multi-effects unit most of the time. And about 6 months of it I was on a long trip and had to play unplugged, or with a micro amp & headphones. So eventually you'll be able to get whatever you want--there's no reason to fret about not ever being able to play metal. In the meantime there's just some songs you won't be able to play. No big deal. Better than not having a guitar at all!
    illyria
    GisleAune wrote: illyria wrote: in holland, in my town dordrecht we have a music store called house of music. they sell nice beginner packs from the brand nuno morris(their own brand) my little brother bought his starterpack(bastard got an whammybar) i got an fender stratocaster from my dad, he got it from a co-worker, who got it from a friend that bought electric guitars, disassembeld them and rebuilt them with different parts. needless to say it needed repair. plays nice. so even second/third handed guitars can rock. just to bad it's not 24 frets but just 21 frets(guy at my school said that if you want to play metal you need a 24 fret guitar and that without a 24 fret guitar it isn't metal. i want to play metal) Oh my god, *palms face*. 21 frets is just as good as 24. I have 24, however, i usually don't play beyond the 17th fret.
    still, he got me doubting and questioning if i ever will be able to play metal(not allowed to buy a new guitar). i'm very insecure about my guitar skills. his remark brought me in great confusion and self-doubt. all you comments aren't helping though unfortunately
    GisleAune
    illyria wrote: in holland, in my town dordrecht we have a music store called house of music. they sell nice beginner packs from the brand nuno morris(their own brand) my little brother bought his starterpack(bastard got an whammybar) i got an fender stratocaster from my dad, he got it from a co-worker, who got it from a friend that bought electric guitars, disassembeld them and rebuilt them with different parts. needless to say it needed repair. plays nice. so even second/third handed guitars can rock. just to bad it's not 24 frets but just 21 frets(guy at my school said that if you want to play metal you need a 24 fret guitar and that without a 24 fret guitar it isn't metal. i want to play metal)
    Oh my god, *palms face*. 21 frets is just as good as 24. I have 24, however, i usually don't play beyond the 17th fret.
    GisleAune
    I began on a Ibanez GRG 170DX. It was like a toy to play on, IMO some of the most amazing electric guitars for 200$
    jetwash69
    Oh yeah, and the Standards cost about double the Affinities and offer a lot less color choices. If the new player wants to play metal, I recommend something with at least a humbucker in the bridge. That will probably be the first part you replace for something more suited to the genre; few starter guitars have hot enough pups for metal. My Squier now has a SD jazz in the neck and a Duncan Design Detonator in the bridge among other mods. So much more fun to play now; I chose it to play a show with it over an MIA Strat, a Schecter Avenger, and 2 Ibanezes including an RG Prestige.
    jetwash69
    If you're getting a Squier, the "Standard" series is a lot closer to an American Strat than the "Affinity"--those are more like MIM strats. The biggest pros are 22 frets, 2-point trem, and standardized pick-guards (for easy replacement when you want to mod it instead selling it to a pawn shop for $20). The con is agathis body instead of alder (not a big deal since the alder is low-quality and is made of many pieces glued together).
    jetwash69
    Sure, you can play a lot of metal on a 21 fret guitar (e.g. Malmsteen, Dethklok, some Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath), but there's a lot you can't. Even Dethklok makes you fret on the neck pickup for a few songs unless you're playing w/24 frets. Bigsby doesn't have much range; can't do much of a dive bomb; great for country & surf guitar, but not metal. I wouldn't necessarily recommend Floyd Rose for a beginner unless you're going to be their guitar tech and you have a lot of patience. You can play a lot more metal songs like they were supposed to be played with 24 frets. The Ibanezes aren't bad and Agile has several options that are an even better value. Line 6 also has a neat 24 fret starter guitar--only problem is it comes with a Spider amp. If the player has a serious personality and can stick with things, I recommend starting with a tube practice amp; you can hear the dynamics a lot better than with most solid state amps and that can help avoid many bad techniques before they become habits.
    kiaba94
    illyria wrote: in holland, in my town dordrecht we have a music store called house of music. they sell nice beginner packs from the brand nuno morris(their own brand) my little brother bought his starterpack(bastard got an whammybar) i got an fender stratocaster from my dad, he got it from a co-worker, who got it from a friend that bought electric guitars, disassembeld them and rebuilt them with different parts. needless to say it needed repair. plays nice. so even second/third handed guitars can rock. just to bad it's not 24 frets but just 21 frets(guy at my school said that if you want to play metal you need a 24 fret guitar and that without a 24 fret guitar it isn't metal. i want to play metal)
    first off whoever said that is a dumbass. i play the heavyist stuff you will ever hear on a vintage colored lime green sg wth 22 frets and a bigsby tremelo. and i picked that up for about 300 at my local music store. i started off on a squire strat and moved up. if u can find something cheap that plays and sounds nice save for it.
    Bubba1095
    I started out on an Epiphone Les Paul Special II. It is a very nice guitar for beginners. I play Rock N' Roll and this guitar is perfect. With a decent amp it sounds awesome.
    illyria
    in holland, in my town dordrecht we have a music store called house of music. they sell nice beginner packs from the brand nuno morris(their own brand) my little brother bought his starterpack(bastard got an whammybar) i got an fender stratocaster from my dad, he got it from a co-worker, who got it from a friend that bought electric guitars, disassembeld them and rebuilt them with different parts. needless to say it needed repair. plays nice. so even second/third handed guitars can rock. just to bad it's not 24 frets but just 21 frets(guy at my school said that if you want to play metal you need a 24 fret guitar and that without a 24 fret guitar it isn't metal. i want to play metal)
    dial-a-death
    The first guitar I had belonged to my grandad. It was an acoustic, and had spent about 50 years in his loft. Massive crack in the body, frets missing, and the strings were so close together, I can't physically fit my fingertips between them to fingerpick. I play rock, metal and death metal. I learnt to play on that acoustic, and I still love the sound of metal on acoustic. It's better for a singalong with your friends or quietly playing in your room. When I saved up, I got myself a BC Rich Mockingbird (bronze) for about 130, with a Marshall MG 15 watt. In other words, my advice is to learn first on what's to hand. Regardless of what you want to play. When you KNOW you enjoy playing and want to push it further, then think about what you want to play. I chose my 'Bird because it's different, awesome for playing metal, and yet there are enough rock guitarists playing them (Slash, Lenny Kravitz etc) for it not to be ut of place there either.
    EFGuitar
    try an Applause by Ovation. like a squire Ovation, but still a decent sounding and playing guitar.
    koneesh
    Crasherdgrate, I agree with barfrog. The Yamaha will be made with better craftsmanship than the other brands.
    barfrog
    crasherdgrate wrote: I am looking for an electric guitar for a beginner. I have 3 options: 1.Yamaha RG-121 (Or something of the sort) 2.A Squier Model (Some basic one), & 3.Cort X-1 Please give me a good deal out of the three. Also, Suggest me something at around $150 if anything not mentioned here. Thanks y'all.
    You need not look past a Yamaha Pacifica. Amazing beginner guitars, and sound just as good as many that are 3 times the price (and more). With your budget youll be looking at the Pacifica 012... I learnt on a Pacifica, so im speaking from experience :
    crasherdgrate
    I am looking for an electric guitar for a beginner. I have 3 options: 1.Yamaha RG-121 (Or something of the sort) 2.A Squier Model (Some basic one), & 3.Cort X-1 Please give me a good deal out of the three. Also, Suggest me something at around $150 if anything not mentioned here. Thanks y'all.
    ChucklesMginty
    ^ I realize that looks like advertising, so I'll add that they're often recommended in the Electric Guitar forum. >.>
    Reaper-Man
    My very first guitar was a Dean EvoXM and I loved it, the action was great, it stayed in tune, beginner packs include the same guitar as mentioned, highly recommended Beginner packs include 10 watt amp, picks, strap and instrument lead.
    Krieger91
    i don't know..i started with an acoustic..and even though i wanted to do some in flames riffs...i couldn't, and i think that learning with an acoustic gives you much more opportunity to better you touch..make more delicate..because you can hear mistakes more.
    NemX162
    I got a Kramer starter pack that seemed like it was really nice to learn on at the time.
    Axler
    I have to agree with Zilt on this one. I had my first acoustic guitar given to me by a friend, which had been at the back of his garage for years. I gave it a polish and put on some new strings and played it religeously for 6 months. I dont even know what type of guitar it is apart from the made in Taiwan sticker on the back. The guitar sounded not bad but the strings were so high off the neck that it was impossible to bar any chord after the 5th fret. However what it did do, is build up the fingers (or ripped them to bits in the beginning) and made me appreciate the difference, once I got a better guitar.
    Wolfyr
    A beginner should ideally practise on whatever he has to hand. The first time I picked up a guitar, the 8 year old headstock was no longer a part of the neck.. I looked at some tutorials, got some superglue, a nail and a hammer, allen key and fixed and strung it myself. I've been playing it for almost 2 years now and even though the action is very high and it killed my fingers every time I played it, I must say electric guitars are wayy easier to play for me now. Ideally, I think a beginner should start on an acoustic and learn the basics before investing in an electric. It'll help finger strength and playing electrics will be easier.