If you’re looking for a new guitar, finding the one that fits your budget and inspires you to keep practicing and playing can be difficult. There are so many different models available that it can be hard to discern the true basics from the hype. Here, you’ll find some information that can help make your search easier.
Acoustic guitars have hollow bodies and come with either nylon or steel strings. If you’re just learning to play, you might want to look for a model with nylon strings. The nylon strings are softer than steel strings, which makes them easier on your hands when you spend long hours practicing. Nylon-stringed guitars also have wider necks, making it easier to get the hang of correct finger placement. The downside of nylon strings is that their range is somewhat limited compared to steel strings.
Many guitars advertised for beginners are either 1/2 or 3/4 of the size of a full-sized model. The smallest (youngest) players might benefit from a smaller body size, but are likely to outgrow them quickly. Typically, a full size guitar is the best choice for anyone who can comfortably hold it.
Electric guitars come in solid-body or semi-acoustic versions. Both types require an amplifier to produce the best quality sound.
Solid-body versions, as the name implies, are made of solid wood and do not contain a resonating chamber. These are the most popular electric guitars as they are well suited to a variety of music types and are less prone to feedback issues that can be present in semi-acoustic models. The quality of the wood and components that make up a solid-body electric guitar are critical to the sound created, so spending a little more to get high-quality construction may be necessary to get the most out of your investment.
Semi-acoustic guitars are aptly named, too. They combine the more dynamic sound and responsiveness of an acoustic guitar with the amplified sound of an electric. Feedback and distortion can be a problem, but many manufacturers now build semis with solid blocks inside their bodies to help combat this issue.
If you need to shop for an amp, too, finding one with a headphone jack means you can practice without disturbing the rest of the house, something for which they might be thankful if you’re just starting out. Some amps are classified as practice amps or beginner amps. The only difference between these and “regular” amps is that they’re smaller, which makes them easier to carry, and generally produce sound at lower volumes than their full-sized counterparts.
Accessories and other necessities
Once you have decided which type of guitar is the best for you, take a look at a few other things that will help you get the most out of your new instrument.
Most beginners and some seasoned vets prefer to use picks rather than their fingers. Picks come in a variety of thicknesses based mostly on music style and preference. Starting with a medium thickness pick is probably a safe bet for beginners.
Sooner or later, you’re going to need new strings. Having an extra set or two on hand can limit the frustration of a broken string with no backup. Make sure to find strings designed for your guitar.
Until you get good enough at playing to do your tuning by ear, having a tuner is a must. An out-of-tune guitar can lead to frustration and a feeling that your practice isn’t paying off.
Having a stand for your guitar can keep it handy and safer than leaning it up against a wall or furniture.
A shoulder strap certainly isn’t necessary, but can make standing while you practice a little more comfortable.
A capo can be attached to the neck of the guitar if you want to raise a song’s pitch without adjusting the original chord shapes.
When it comes to guitar prices, the cheapest models typically are of the lowest quality. Spend too little and you could end up with an instrument that doesn’t keep your passion stoked. As with all artistic endeavors, plenty of passion and practice are the only magic you really need.