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Buying Your First Guitar

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Buying Your First Guitar

Acoustic Guitar

Photo Courtesy of Rhonda Parkinson
Buying a guitar can be very exciting, especially if you've done your homework before hitting the stores. Here are some tips to guide you on buying your first guitar.

Acoustic or Electric Guitar

Determine whether you need an acoustic or electric guitar. Note that I mentioned "need" and not "want.' Your decision would be greatly based on what type of music you wish to learn. If you lean towards rock music, an electric guitar is advisable. If your interest is on classical or folk, then an acoustic guitar would be best. Generally, acoustic guitars are more suited for beginners, it is also less expensive and portable than an electric guitar.

New or Used

The answer to this will rely on your budget and the quality of the guitar you wish to purchase. The advantages of buying a new guitar is that you are assured you are the first owner and thus you can expect the instrument to perform well. You are also covered by a warranty which is very reassuring for first time guitar buyers. The downside of buying a new guitar is that it is more expensive. On the other hand, buying a used guitar would certainly be less expensive but be sure to inspect the instrument closely for any damages. Better yet, bring along an expert guitar player to test the instrument. The disadvantage of buying a used guitar is that you may not get any warranty, although I've been told there are stores who do give warranties on second-hand guitars. Also, there is always the fear that the instrument wouldn't last long.

Brands and Models

There are many brands and models of guitars available in the market and you must do your research well before choosing a particular guitar. Again, your budget would be the main determining factor, next would be the age of the player. If you're an adult, certainly a full size guitar is advisable. For children, there are half size and 3/4 size guitars. You can do your research online, check out music stores, ask the store clerk questions or seek the advise of an expert guitar player or music teacher. The keyword here is research. Electric guitars have a variety of body styles, pickups, bridge and neck joint to choose from. Guitars are also made up of different types of wood.

Feel and Performance

Ask the clerk or seller if you can try out the instrument. Often you can tell a lot about the quality of a guitar by its feel and performance. Sense if you are comfortable playing it, if it handles and sounds well. Of course if you're a beginner this would be difficult to perceive that's why I encourage you to bring along someone you know whose been playing the guitar for a while. A low action acoustic guitar is advisable as it would be easier on the hands.

Guitar Accessories

1. Strings - An acoustic guitar may either have a steel string or a nylon string. Steel strings are often played by picking the strings or strumming. It can be used to play various musical styles. Nylon strings are used to play finger-style techniques and such musical styles as jazz, flamenco and classical. For children, nylon strings are advisable as it is easier on their fingers.

2. Case - To place your instrument inside and keep it protected. Very important especially if you have to travel to take lessons.

3. Amplifier - This is needed for electric guitars to generate sound.

4. Guitar Cable - Also for electric guitars, to connect the guitar to the amplifier.

5. Other Accessories- Guitar strap and pick, to make playing the guitar more comfortable.

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