How to Choose the Right Electric Guitar for You

A Gibson Les Paul, one of the most famous guitars in history.
A Gibson Les Paul, one of the most famous guitars in history.

Out of all the instruments ever made on Earth, the electric guitar is the only one that comes in as many different varieties as the people that like to play it. There are hundreds of styles out there, and choosing the right one can be difficult if you don't really know what you want or what you are looking for. This article will help clarify the many confusing details of electric guitars and help you choose which guitar you should get.

The Most Important Things to Look for in an Electric Guitar

There are many things that will be deciding factors in your purchase of an electric guitar, but the most important things that you should look for are listed here. Things like the fret inlays and color won't matter if the guitar is too heavy or light for your preference.

1.) What the Guitar is Made of:

This is important because not all woods are created equal. The wood in the guitar is one of the key factors in deciding what tone the guitar will produce and how much it will weigh. For example; Gibson Explorers are made of Mahogany, a very dense wood that is very heavy and weighs the guitar down tremendously. However, it adds to the sustain of the guitar and makes it easier to hold notes longer. Make sure you study the woods that the guitar is made from. If you would like more info on that, check out this article here.

2.) What the Neck is Made of:

This is also important because a lot of the vibrations from the strings travel through here. Most necks are made from Maple wood, but there are many woods that can be used. On top of the base wood is a fingerboard made of some other wood (most of the time) like rosewood, although ebony is sometimes used because it looks nicer and preforms better. This leads to the next important thing to check...

3.) How the Neck is Attached to the Guitar Body:

There are three ways that a guitar neck can be attached to the body. The first is bolted on, which is the most popular way to do it. The advantage to this is that if you crack the neck or damage it in some way, you can remove it and replace it. The disadvantage is that it doesn't give the same sustain characteristics that the next option does, which is the set-neck method. Many Gibson guitars and other manufactures use this due to it's semi-cheap manufacturing cost and it gives extra sustain, but breaking this neck may mean that you have to buy a whole new guitar. The third option is a neck-through, which gives the best sustain and tone that you can get. This is done by carving the center of the guitar and the neck from the same piece of wood. Most guitars that have this are very expensive, and if you break it, there is absolutely no way you can fix it.

4.) The Hardware on the Guitar:

Hardware, like the tuners and the bridge, are critical components of the guitar, and if they are poorly made, then your guitar may not sound good or go out of tune easily. This is a problem on more expensive guitars as well, so it is a good idea to read reviews of the guitar you like and see what other people have to say about it. Other important things to check hardware wise are the volume and tone knobs (check for loose movement), the tremolo (if it has one), the strap buttons (make sure that they don't wiggle around in place), and the frets on the fingerboard. If there are any frets sticking out of the side, they can cut you when you slide down or up the neck.

This picture show the various parts that make up the guitar.
This picture show the various parts that make up the guitar.
An Epiphone Explorer. A vary unique shape that has a lot of Pros and Cons.
An Epiphone Explorer. A vary unique shape that has a lot of Pros and Cons.

Other Things to Check When Buying a Guitar

There are other less important things to look at when buying an electric guitar. The shape of the guitar effects how balanced and comfortable it will be. You may like the shape of that Explorer, but it is a heavy guitar that is hard to sit and play with. The best way to see if you like that shape is to try playing it at a local guitar store.

Another is the paint on the guitar. Some paints are more durable than others, and some look less brilliant in real life than they do in that picture on the internet. Again, the only way to find out these things is to go and play it at a guitar store and see if you like it.

Final Things to Check Before You Purchase

One of the most important things you can do is play the guitar in real life. Weight, size, and playability are all something that cannot be done on the internet. Look for reviews on the internet to see what people think of the guitar in the long run. What looks good now may not be so good in a couple months.

Good Luck!

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Comments 2 comments

telltale profile image

telltale 6 years ago

Very precise information on selection of guitars. Will be very useful to me when I choose my guitar next. Thanks for the hub!

TheHeavyReview profile image

TheHeavyReview 5 years ago

Great hub! I will definitely keep this stuff in mind when I pick out my next guitar.

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