When considering a budget electric guitar for a beginner, you may be tempted to think that a budget instrument would be of poor quality and something that will be of no use later on.
I would sincerely like to reassure you that in most instances this is not the case. What I have personally discovered for myself is that many of these guitars are in fact very decent sounding and playable instruments.
I cannot say the same for acoustic guitars, but when it comes to budget electric guitars the mere fact that most of the popular brand name guitars, if not all of them, are constructed using hi tech computerised wood working machinery, even in their bottom of the range instruments.
While there are obviously places where some cost cutting is done, for the most part, many of the cheaper electric guitars designated for beginners can later become fine musical instruments with the addition or upgrade of a few fundamental parts.
This isn't to say that there aren't some real stinkers out there, or that some of the well known brands might not put out the occasional electric guitar that isn't all it should be.
It helps to remember that an electric guitar is made out of wood and when a guitar gets shipped around the world changes in temperature and humidity can sometimes cause undesireable effects.
It's a good idea when buying a beginner electric guitar to make sure there's at least a good refund policy or exchange plan to handle any unforseen circumstances.
Here is a list of possible places where some cost reduction may occur on a beginners electric guitar and what can be done later to turn it into a much higher quality instrument.
- The hardware, like the tuning keys or bridge may be made of softer metals or the design may be more basic. These can easily be upgraded later with state of the art replacement parts.
- The electronics may be cheaper. This includes the pickups (converts the vibration of the string into an electrical signal), pickup selector switches and volume and tone potentiometers. More often than not these are actually fine and only one or two items need to be replaced eventually. Pickups are usually easy to replace and the difference in sound quality can be quite dramatic and easily tailored to your personal taste.
- The wood is often used more economically, especially on the body of the guitar where, instead of using one piece of wood there may be three pieces put together to make up the size required. I've yet to hear this having too much of a negative impact on the sound.
Truth be told, the one thing on a guitar that has the biggest impact on the sound is the quality and type of pickups used. Second to that is the construction method and wood.
When I say construction method I'm refering to differences in design rather than how they do their woodworking in the factory.
Most of the cheapest beginner electric guitars will have a neck that is bolted on. This isn't to say that a bolt on neck is a sign of poor quality, as there are many higher end guitars constructed this way.
They're easier to build though and do have some advantages for later on as it's one more thing that can be changed. Budget electric guitars for beginners are often bought by electric guitar enthusiasts simply for the sake of having a good electric guitar to modify to their own liking.
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