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beginner guitar
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Learning Playing Guitar: How To Buy An Inexpensive Beginner Guitar Without Buying A Cheap One
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Learning Playing Guitar: How To Buy An Inexpensive Beginner Guitar Without Buying A Cheap One

After weeks and months of listening to dropped hints, whining, begging, and pleading, you've finally decided to buy your child his or her first guitar. Or maybe after years and decades of listening to your inner child wishing, reminiscing, and regretting, you've decided to buy YOURSELF your first guitar!

My first guitar was acoustic and given to me at the age of eight. It was of such low quality that it was painful to play, and I gave it up periodically. Unless you were able to purchase a quality used guitar, however, everyone's first guitar was acoustic in those days. Electric ones were just too expensive, and you certainly didn't want to spend a lot of money on something that you or your child may not remain interested in.

What prevented me from abandoning the guitar altogether was growing old enough to buy proper instructional books and learning about the mechanical parts of the guitar. I realized that my old acoustic's problem was the "action": the strings were too far from the neck, forcing me to press down too hard in order to play the notes cleanly. I filed down the bridge, and suddenly I had a guitar I could at least learn on. So the first two things you should look for on a beginner guitar is a slim neck and "low" action. Once you get past the initial sore fingertip stage (rubbing alcohol helps), a guitar neck ought to feel smooth and comfortable, allowing you to change chords quickly.

Another important factor to look for in a quality beginner guitar is the backing of an established manufacturer – "knock-off" brands don’t cut it in the guitar-making game. It's the major-league companies that have the resources to develop low-priced lines with high standards of quality control: Fender, Gibson, Ovation and Takamine own (and more important, oversee) the Squier, Epiphone, Applause and Jasmine lines respectively.

And now for the two biggest questions: electric or acoustic, and how much? Well, there's good news for aspiring electric guitarists: it is no longer mandatory to start on acoustic guitar if your goal is to end up on an electric one. Technology has allowed for the creation of low-priced beginner electric guitars, and some even come packaged with an amplifier. As for price, there's no reason to go beyond $200 US – unless you will be transporting your guitar regularly, in which case you should also budget for a hardshell case or a well-padded "gig bag."

Whether it is your desire to become the best beginner electric guitarist or the best beginner acoustic guitarist, you can get your education off to the best possible start by picking the right first guitar.


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