Finding a guitar that is right for you when you don't know what you're looking for is darn near impossible. You could take a guess and get lucky, or research hundreds of options, and still not know what to buy.
When I first got started playing guitar, I had a black Stratocaster style Nova from Sears that I bought from my friend for $50, and boy did it suck. I had no knowledge of guitars other than they had strings, and they made lots of noise. It sounded like crap, wouldn't stay in tune, and it frustrated me to no end. I then began my career raking blueberries and made enough cash to upgrade...slightly. It was a Samick Artist Series, and while it was by no means a Custom Les Paul, it sure felt like it to me. I began to see that there was actually a difference between different guitars, and I was hooked. In the 20+ years since then, I have traded, upgraded, learned, relearned, played, researched, and studied all things music. I hope that I can make your introduction to this world a little easier than mine!
Things To Remember
1. Consider resell value.
2. Don't buy it because it "looks cool."
3. Play a bunch of different ones.
Things to Look for in a Guitar
So there are some basic things you should look for when purchasing a guitar:
- Action (how close the strings are to the fret board). High action causes the strings to feel very stiff and hard to play, which leads to hand fatigue. Low action is much more comfortable and easier to play.
- Size (applies to acoustic mostly). Don't buy a 3/4 size guitar if your 6' 8".
- Price. You don't want to sink $1,000 into something right off the bat.
- Strings. A good set of strings can make a big difference.
I believe every guitar player inherently has something unique about their playing. They just have to identify what makes them different and develop it.
— Jimmy Page
And now for the list. These are some options that I would recommend. Just remember that there are lots of good guitars out there, but these are a few of the models that I have played and feel comfortable recommending.
- Epiphone DR-100 This guitar would be my first selection for the price. For around $200, you can get a pretty good sounding guitar with great action that will stay in tune. A great option for a beginner.
- Yamaha FG 800 Yamaha has been around for a long time and makes some top-quality instruments. The FG 800 is a fantastic starting point for anyone just getting started, and at around $270 it is very affordable. Has a great sound and is super easy to play.
- Takamine G10 Probably the best quality of the three acoustics. Great sound with higher-end tuners, nut (the white thing the strings rest on at the top of the neck), and bridge. You can get one for around $300 and it's worth it.
Electric Options (Prices are for guitar only. You will also need to buy an amp, so keep that in mind.)
- Epiphone Les Paul Special II Good-sounding guitar. The bridge style gives great sustain (how long a note rings when you pick or strum) and with two pickups (like microphones that "pick up" the sound of the strings), you are able to play around with the tone and sound of the guitar a little bit. You can get one of these for around $250, which is good value for your money.
- Squier Affinity Series Telecaster Solid guitar, on par with the Epiphone Les Paul Special II in quality and price. The neck and fretboard are a little nicer in my opinion and the sound is very different. These are priced at around $270 and will get the job done for sure.
- Ibanez Gio For the heavy metal lovers. Just kidding. This guitar for all types of music, except country. You're not allowed to play country on an Ibanez. Good action and these are fine-tuned at the factory, just like the high-end models. This bad boy sells for about $270 and would be a fine choice for a beginner.
Squire Affinity Series Telecaster
Music is for every single person that walks the planet
— Robert Plant
Epiphone DR 100
So there you have it. Hopefully this helps you start your journey into the wild world of music. Feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for reading.
Epiphone DR 100
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