A Beginner's Guide to Buying a Guitar

There are many types of guitars available today. If you want to start playing guitar, and are thinking about buying a guitar, make sure you pick one that's good for you and what you intend to achieve with playing guitar.

Buying your first guitar can be a tough decision if you're not sure what to look for or consider. One of the first questions you consider might be, "Should I get an Acoustic or Electric guitar?"

Acoustic Guitars vs. Electric Guitars

Acoustic and Electric guitars produce a different variety of sounds than one another. Acoustic guitars are lower in volume obviously and do not require an amplifier to be played on their own. Electric guitars are typically louder in volume and need a guitar amp to be heard when played.

Acoustic guitars are a good first choice for folk and country inspired guitarists since they produce a more natural sound.

If you're considering learning how to play the guitar and sing, an acoustic might prove to be a better choice. It will be easier to project your voice and hear yourself over the sound of an acoustic guitar than an electric guitar through an amplifier.

Acoustic guitars tend to have heavier gauge strings compared to an electric guitar, and can be a little more difficult to play for beginners. When learning to play guitar your hands and forearms may experience new movements and positions they weren't used to before. Soon after you start playing you will begin to form calluses on the tips of your fingers. At first this can be very uncomfortable as you learn to play. An electric guitar will still give you calluses on your fingertips, but with less tension and lighter strings, beginners may find learning on an electric guitar more comfortable.

The electric guitar is a good choice if you want to play rock music or any style that requires a heavier and or louder sound.

Electric guitars typically are more expensive than an acoustic guitar considering you will need a guitar amp to hear the guitar. If you plan to use effects processors or pedals, the amount of money you put into an electric guitar can easily outweigh the amount for an acoustic guitar.

The electric guitar is more dynamic than an acoustic guitar in the sense of how much more you can do with the guitar's sound. The strings on an electric guitar are typically lighter gauges and have less tension, making it easier to press the strings down and bend. This will make the learning process and building calluses a little easier.

How much Should I Spend on a Guitar?

The amount you spend on a guitar should fit your financial and playing needs.

Prices of guitars usually vary anywhere from around the low $100's to several $1000's. A beginning guitarist who isn't sure about how much they will practice might consider a less expensive guitar, while a serious guitarist might buy a high quality guitar with a bigger price tag.

Many guitar companies have starter packages available for beginners that typically include a guitar, amp, tuner, guitar picks, and a soft carrying case. These packages are ideal because they come with just about everything you'd need to start playing at an affordable price.

Maintaining Your Guitar

Once you've chosen the right guitar for you, make sure you keep it playing and looking like new. Check out the Basic Guitar Care and Maintenance page for more.

Find the Right Guitar Amp

If you bought an Electric Guitar chances are you'll need a guitar amp. Check out the Buying a Guitar Amp guide.