How to Choose a Guitar for Beginners

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Learn everything you need to know on how to choose a guitar for beginners in this detailed guide. As a guitar player, you know how difficult it can be to purchase your first instrument.

Because guitars are priced more than many other musical instruments, the purchasing process can feel daunting. — That’s why we’ve put together this post all about how to choose a guitar for beginners. In this guide we will focus on choosing the perfect electric guitar. Don’t worry we will have a follow-up guide on how to choose an acoustic guitar.

The right guitar will help you express yourself, and make a lasting impression on everyone who hears it. This guide will help you choose the perfect guitar for you.

Have you ever wondered how some guitar players can make such great music with their instruments? The answer is that every guitar player needs a good guitar. Not just any old guitar will do. You need one with the right characteristics. For example, you want to choose a guitar that fits you personal playing style.

What You Should Know Before You Buy Your First Guitar

Budget

Budget is extremely important and should be used as our starting point before you buy your first guitar. If you are on a tight budget, you may be tempted to buy a guitar that is not as good as others would suggest. You want to choose something that works for your style but does not break the bank.

By first setting our budget, it allows us to focus on a much smaller number of guitars. Trust me the options are near limited and can get overwhelming even for experienced guitarists quickly. The sweet spot for beginner electric guitars are in the $300 to $500 price range. Models in this range typically give you great performance and durability and are perfect for learning guitar.

If you want to jump ahead, we have a full guide of our Best Electric Guitars Under $500 that will help you find some of the best sounding guitars at a budget friendly price.

What makes a great beginner electric guitar?

Our beginners guide on how to choose the best guitars for beginners takes you through a lot of information. The goal is to help you to find a guitar that is extremely versatile and can be used for other styles (or something you will stick with).

You need to think about the type of music that you want to play. You can write your own music, but even if you do not, developing the skills of reading music will help in many ways. When you are learning to play, it is essential to understand the notes and chords, which is where a guitar comes in.

The list below will help you determine what to look for and what might be more important than others:

Sound Quality

Is it important for you that your first guitar has a high-quality sound? As mentioned before, if you are an absolute beginner in the guitar world, it may be difficult to tell if a guitar sounds good or not at the beginning. You want to choose a guitar that is not too expensive and provides you with a good sound.

Looking for an amp, see the Best Low-Watt Tube Amps

Stability

As you will probably be using this for years, you need to look for a guitar that does not fall apart easily over time. Stability can be difficult to determine when shopping online because most guitars are designed to look great on the outside. That said, there are some ways to tell if a guitar is unstable and what kind of stability is important for your needs.

Playability

A guitar is not just a piece of wood. You will be using it every day and so you need to look for one that feels comfortable and natural when you use it. You will know if any of your fingers or the fretboard is uncomfortable.

Electric guitar frets have the power to make or destroy a bargain-basement instrument. Even though most guitar manufacturers will not ship a guitar with a substandard fret job, it’s always a good idea to double-check. Yes, they’re a little rough around the edges. Do they extend past the fingerboard’s edge? If that’s the case, we’d go to a guitar repair shop to fix it. Sharp frets will deter you from playing the guitar, which is exactly what we don’t want to see.

The section of the guitar you hold in your hands while playing, the neck, must be comfortable. The neck should also be stable with no wobbling around, which usually indicates a poor fit.

If you’re shopping for a guitar online, there are a few things to keep in mind. While going to a guitar store is the ideal option, this isn’t always the case. A lot of the time, online guitar companies will specify in their product descriptions whether a guitar has a slim or fat neck or if it has a gloss or satin finish. However, if you want to double-check, most guitar businesses will take your phone call.

Hardware

The quality of the guitar’s hardware is another important component in determining its value. With proper care and maintenance, any of the guitars in this book can last for the majority or even all of your guitar-playing career. There will be problems with tuning and intonation if your guitar hardware isn’t up to par. Because of this, we recommend paying a little more money to acquire a well-made guitar with high-quality hardware.

Durability

Your first instrument has to last for years. As a beginner, you cannot go wrong with buying a solid wooden guitar that is well-made. Most often, acoustic guitars are made from wood and they can be extremely durable if they are built correctly. But, in this case we are referring to how to choose a guitar for beginners for electric guitars. There are some differences when it comes to electric guitars, although many models still use wood that has been laminated or solid wood. A guitar’s body is one of the most important parts when it comes to durability because you will be banging on it and hitting strings against it over time.

The point is that you want to choose a guitar that will last for years. And not just one with great features; you want a guitar that has been well-made and it is made to withstand the rigors of an active musician.

Features

Many guitars are designed to sound awesome, but don’t need any extra features that you don’t use. There are also some guitars that come with unnecessary extras and other bells and whistles that take away from the overall product value. You should choose a guitar that has a great sound and fits your personal playing style.

How to Choose the right guitar for you

When looking at how to choose a guitar for beginners – or a guitar at any price point – you want the greatest instrument for your needs so you need to remember a few things.

The sound is the first to come to mind. Now, this may seem self-evident, but it bears repeating. Some brands and models of electric guitars are more suited to certain musical genres than others. Then check out these deadly shred licks for some serious fretboard destruction. Brands like Ibanez, Jackson, and LTD tend to make quick, thin-necked guitars with high power humbuckers that are ideal for melting faces.

Squier Classic Vibe 50's Stratocaster

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Do you prefer the blues? The hollowbody option may be a good fit for you. Hollowbody guitars from brands like Epiphone, Gretsch, and Harley Benton can be had for a very reasonable price. One guitar comes to mind when you think of Mayer, Hendrix, Beck or Frusciante’s brilliant, expressive sound: the Strat. So whether you go for the genuine deal and get a Fender, or instead go for Yamaha’s rendition of this classic design, you can’t go wrong with this instrument.

Next, let’s speak about how much fun the game is to play. Having a good relationship with your new instrument is essential. So take a moment to consider the instrument’s neck contour, fret height, and weight before making a decision. Make sure you do your homework on each brand and model before making a purchase. Keep in mind that there is no right or incorrect answer; what matters is what makes sense to you.

By taking our advise and first setting your budget, then making sure the guitar has the desired qualities and finally choosing one that is right for your personal playing style, you will know how to choose a guitar for beginners. We hope this guide has helped you to make the best choice for your first guitar.

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Hi, I am Dan your host here at Sound Check Music Blog. I have been a guitar player for the last 35 years. Although I no longer get to play live shows I am still active in the recording industry. I look forward to sharing with you some great gear reviews.