Choosing the best guitar for beginners can be a hard task. If you’re on your own, you most likely don’t know what to look for, and you probably don’t know what will best suit your needs. I’m going to explain what you should look for when choosing the best guitar for a beginner player, and by the end of this, you'll hopefully find out what type of guitar will serve you best.
Types of guitars
First you need to decide on whether you want electric, acoustic, or classical guitar. Those are the three main types.
Electric guitars are generally easier to play. They feel softer, strings are usually thinner and easier to bend, holding the chords is easier too. You need an amp to play them (which is an extra cost), but you can practice on them unplugged as well. Whether you want to play lead or rhythm, electric guitar is a great choice for any musical style (except maybe classical).
If you’re on a tight budget there are some great guitars in the lower price range, like Yamaha Pacifica, or Fender Mexican Stratocaster... Epiphone and Ibanez also make some good budget guitars.
As for the amp, there are two main types of amps - valve amps and digital amps. Valve amps are more expensive and harder to maintain, but they will always produce better (sometimes barely noticeable)sound than digital amps - which try to emulate that sound. Digital amps hey are a lot cheaper however, and there are some great ones out there. Anyway if i could choose, i would always go for the valve's. :)
* Important - An amp will have the biggest impact on your sound, and my advice would be to buy the best amp that you can, and avoid the really cheap ones. Some good amps to look for (that are not expensive) would be: Fender Blues Junior (valve), Blackstar amps (valve), Vox Valvetronix (both - hybrid), Roland Cube (digital)... Line 6 Spider amps are digital and they can model a lot of sounds, so they’re good, but only for bedroom practice.
You can also practice on electric guitar without an amp. It still produces sound ;) and it's a good way to practice sometimes.
Steel string acoustic guitars are most often harder to play, especially the really cheap ones. Strings are thicker and harder to press down, but that’s it. What is good is that you can carry them and play them anywhere, and they will always produce that sweet and most unique sound.
You can play any style with them, but they’re most suitable for stuff that have accent on rhythm playing, and for fingerstyle. They’re also best if you want to be popular with girls. (just joking, any guitar is good for that ;))
If you want to go with acoustic guitar, don’t buy really cheap ones. My advice is don’t go below $200. They will almost always be really hard to play because of the bad setup, high action, fret buzz etc. and they will not sound as good as the more expensive ones.
Some good brands to consider would be Maton – absolutely best in my opinion (mid to high-end price range), Taylor, Martin, Takamine, Ashton, Epiphone, Fender, Yamaha, Aria...
The only difference between these and steel string acoustic guitars is that these ones have nylon strings, wider neck, and usually smaller bodies. They are used for classical music style, but you can play anything you want on them with fingers or with pick, even metal, it doesn’t matter.
Nylon strings are much easier to press down, and they too have quite unique sound when strummed. Sometimes I even prefer to play nylon string guitar than the steel string one, just because of their sound and feel.
The only guitar that I can recommend here (from my experience) is Yamaha C30M (on the picture), and Takamine Hirade series (which is high-end). Yamaha i mentioned is a great guitar for beginners and it’s not expensive, it’s quite cheap actually.
How to try out guitars in a music shop
If you don’t know how to play anything, try to pick each string and get the feel for the guitar. Then press down with your finger on first fret, and play every note on every fret, and make sure you don’t hear any fret buzz. Chances are, if there is one, you’ll probably have to pay extra for a good setup later (that's not such a big deal cause you're probably have to do it anyway). Also, check out the action. The action is the distance between strings and the neck.
If the guitar has really high action it will be harder to play. On the opposite, if the action is low it will be easier to play, but setup would have to be really good, otherwise you’ll get fret buzz. You can always ask someone in the shop to help you with this.
Once you get that perfect guitar for you, the only thing that you need to do is practice the right things, and play it as much as possible and you’ll progress really fast. Though keep in mind that you’ll never get far on guitar unless you learn how to overcome obstacles that will come in your way.
If you're still not sure what guitar is for you, and you're on a tight budget, my advice would be to go for the electric. It doesn't matter really as long as you're satisfied with the guitar you bought.
Keep in mind that in the end, guitar is just the instrument, the music is in you. ;)
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