How to choose a guitar for beginners

how to choose a guitar for beginners

How do you choose a guitar for beginners? Most beginner guitar players will choose a guitar based on looks and how cool it is, especially if they are younger kids.

Most parents don’t know what guitar to buy and want to make their kids happy. I’ve unfortunately overheard conversations while visiting the local guitar center from manager to employee regarding new purchases from people who don’t know. Most music stores will take advantage of new customers if they are aware you know nothing.

One conversation went like this, from manager to employee…”up the price on the guitar by 20% then tell the mom if she wants the guitar for her son, you will take 10% off.” Guitar Center, to me, in all the years I have visited them, are used car salesman. Most people who work there are young kids who don’t know much about anything. The ones who do know try and upsell. It’s rare to find someone knowledgeable who is willing to help. Why? They are on commission!

I would steer clear of the retail stores if you have one in your area. You know what I use the retail music stores for? Trying out musical gear. When I find what I like, I will then buy it online. Unless Guitar Center has a huge sale and you know it is truly a sale, your best bet is to shop online for a guitar, whether for beginner or more advanced musical instruments.

How to choose a beginner electric guitar

There is a reason you or your child are looking to start playing guitar. Maybe you saw a YouTube video that inspired you or maybe you always wanted to learn how to play guitar. Congrats for taking that step towards learning a musical instrument. Most people say they want to learn but never try. For whatever reason, you no doubt have a favorite band or two that inspired your decision. Be it Metallica, Jazz artists, classical or blues, there is a guitar for each style. You can, of course, play all styles on one type of guitar, but there are guitars suited for certain styles.

How much should you spend on a beginner guitar?

As with most things, you should only spend what you can afford. You can always spend a little more money on a slightly better guitar if you think you will be into it for the longer haul. If you stick with guitar playing, you will be upgrading to a better guitar and that’s where you can spend more of your money. For starters, get a guitar you can afford and that even looks cool to you. I do mention the cool factor because if it’s ugly, you won’t want to be playing it.

How do I know what guitar is right for me?

If you never played guitar before, you can still pick a guitar that is right for you. Try learning a couple chords by watching YouTube. Learning a couple guitar chords or how to hold a pick will be enough to help you pick the right guitar. Simply strumming or holding different guitars will let you know what feels better in your hands. You don’t need to be a professional baseball player to pick right right bat…you hold a few of them for weight and feel. This is how you also pick a guitar. I have held a $3,000 guitar and then a $400. The $400 guitar felt so much better and was easier to play, so I bought that. It’s still one of my favorite guitars to play. Just because something is more expensive doesn’t mean it’s better. Here is the Ibanez RG470 that cost me $400 used. Mine is black but this one is much cooler looking. Ibanez makes great guitars for beginner to pro.How to choose a beginner guitar

Ibanez RG470. Ibanez makes great guitars for beginner to pro.

What’s the difference between acoustic and electric?

An acoustic guitar is the traditional – looking “cowboy guitar” that is a hollow body and does not need an amp to be used. These are great guitar for learning chords and practicing on. Acoustic guitars are more difficult to play, as the strings are tougher to finger since the string tension is tougher.

acoustic guitar for beginners

An electric guitar is much easier to play and practice on since the strings are much thinner and not as taught. For beginner guitar players, I would recommend a nice electric guitar since they are easier to play and easier to learn on.

electric guitar for beginners

How much is a good beginner guitar?

A good guitar, whether beginner or slightly advanced, can be had for around $150 give or take $50. You can find used guitars on craigslist or online. I do most of my shopping on Amazon. Here are some guitars that would be great for a beginner or ever someone who wants a guitar to practice with when not at home. I bought a cheap electric guitar to take to work. I sometimes practice during my lunch break outside.

beginner guitar ampElectric guitars need to be connected to an amplifier in order to be heard, while an acoustic guitar does not. You can find guitar amps for cheap on Amazon or craigslist. As you advance in guitar playing, you will find your new-found hobby to be expensive. I spent a lot of money on guitars and amps as a teenager and into my twenties. My first guitar was a cort guitar which cost about $100. The amp I got with it was a gorilla amp that had a great sound and that cost about $150. $250 was a lot for me to spend as a 15 year old when I started. As years went by though, I was spending an average of $500 – $2,500 per guitar. I had about 17 guitars and a few guitar amps. I loved guitar so much. I still play, but it gets rough when you have to work all the time.

I have a recording studio out of my home where I record my music and bands. Here’s a blog post I wrote about me starting guitar back in the 1980s. I think you’ll find it interesting.

Check out my first CD, Steve Rotter – Wraith, available on iTunes. You can also listen to it and purchase on Amazon. I was very proud of this accomplishment, back in 1996. Hard rock with classical music overtones.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you have any questions please let me know. If you like the way I write, subscribe to my blog and get alerted each time a new post is up.

Have fun!


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I’m a video editor of 25 years, audio engineer 20 years, photographer 25 years and guitarist 20 years. I post photography and stop motion animation videos, but mainly guitar playing.