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Buying a New Guitar

Updated on October 2, 2014

One of the many different guitars available on the market.

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Choosing a new guitar

Whether you're a beginner about to purchase your first guitar or an intermediate player needing to upgrade, purchasing a guitar can be a daunting prospect. With many different brands and styles available on the market, you may be feeling quite overwhelmed. This article will hopefully give you some idea of what to look for and help you get started.

First, you will need to decide upon the type of guitar you need. This will largely depend on the styles you are intending to learn or play. Classical guitars have wide necks and nylon strings and are necessary if you want to play any style of classical guitar, including Spanish styles such as Flamenco. Steel-strung acoustic guitars are useful if you want to accompany people singing (or yourself) and are frequently used in folk, pop and singer-songwriter genres. For the potential rockers amongst you, an electric guitar may be needed. These are used in pop, heavy metal and punk genres as well as many others. One thing to bear in mind if you want to purchase an electric guitar is that you will also need an amplifier and lead for the guitar to produce a decent level of sound.

When you have decided the type of guitar you want to buy, you need to come up with a budget before you start looking around music stores. Beginner and intermediate guitars can cost anything from $200 - $500, but you should shop around to find the very best guitar that you can find for the price you decide upon.

A good place to start looking is on the Internet. You can quickly see the sort of guitars you can get for your price range and get an idea of the different brands and models on offer. Ultimately, however, you are going to need to be able to play this guitar. The best way to find a guitar in your price range that is nice to play is by going into different music stores and trying them out. How does it feel when you hold it? Is it too heavy, too light, too big, or too small? You will find guitars that are all of the above, but eventually you will find one that feels just right.

Other important things to look out for are as follows:

  • Are the strings easy to press and hold against the frets? (low action)
  • Is there a clean sound or a nasty buzz when you hold down and play the strings? (fret buzz)
  • How does it sound when played? Does it have a nice tone or sound dull?
  • Does the guitar stay in tune as you move higher up the neck? (good intonation)
  • Are you happy with the look? After all, you could be playing it in public if you get good!
  • Is there any damage such as dents, chips or cracks?

If you are buying your first guitar, it is a good idea to take a guitar-playing friend with you. She will have been through this process and be able to advise you. Most music stores will also have a guitar expert amongst their staff to help you find your perfect guitar.

Although guitar hunting can be daunting at first, follow the above guidance and you will be well on your way. Good luck!


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