Purchasing a guitar

Taking one step inside a music store can be bewildering if you plan on purchasing a guitar, let alone your first one. There are literally hundreds of brands, with each brand offering hundreds of guitars themselves. And that’s not even taking online sites into consideration. Hopefully this page will help those in the market for a new (or their first) guitar make a more informed decision.

Know the brands

With so many brands out there, the first thing you need to know is which brands have a good reputation. Ask people you know who play guitar what brand guitars they have and which they would recommend. Of course, some brands are known for one type of guitar than another. If you are interested in purchasing a classical guitar, brands like Jackson or B.C. Rich do not really cater to classical guitarists, although they make fine electric guitars (I own a B.C. Rich myself and have friends that are happy with their Jacksons). Of course, price will also affect which brands you look for. Jose Ramirez classical guitars are extremely sought out with a rich history, but the prices for their lowest introductory student guitars will be well beyond the price range of most people, let alone their top-of-the-line models. Plus, if you are a complete beginner to the guitar (or classical guitar), purchasing something high-priced is not the route I would suggest. As a guitar teacher, I can’t begin to tell you how the early enthusiasm of new students is easily shattered when they realize that becoming a good guitarist is not all fun and games. There is serious work to be done to even become somewhat respectable. Now there is nothing wrong with realizing that you can’t put the time into the guitar that you would like. Hey, life happens. But if you become one of these people, you definitely do not want a $1000 guitar staring you in the face from the closet gathering dust. I suggest a good quality cheap guitar. But definitely not a $50 “toy” either. I think with $150-$250 you can buy a very nice classical guitar these days. I personally recommend Alhambra and Yamaha classical guitars to beginners. They have good quality guitars in many price ranges. I own an Alhambra. I love it.

Go with your feeling

Now you have done your homework and know what brands to look for when you get to the store. But there is another problem: you don’t know what to look in terms of quality or playability. What if you see ten guitars in your price range from well-known brands, but they all look and feel the same to you? Well, you are gonna have to play russian roulette, that’s what, although I wouldn’t recommend it if possible. If you are fortunate enough to have a friend who plays classical or acoustic guitar, ask him/her what to look for in terms of playability. By this I mean, how should a guitar feel on my fingers/hands? How should it feel on my lap? What is the best guitar for my bodytype? I always suggest 1/2 or 3/4 sized guitars to parents wanting to buy guitars for their children under ten. Buying a full-size guitar for a seven year old is not very wise (I know firsthand). A small/pettite person would perhaps benefit from a 3/4 guitar. Also, steel-string guitars tend to have thinner necks, making them more ideal for people with small hands; although the body of the guitar can be quite large depending on the brand/type. Have I scared you enough yet? Basically, get as many tips as you can from a friend about what to look for on how a guitar should “feel”. Obviously, writing about this aspect of guitarhunting is difficult because words are a poor substitute for actually having a guitar in your hands and feeling it out. If you don’t have anyone to turn to, ask the salesperson which guitars in your price range they would recommend. Finally, if all else fails, stick to the brand that you researched and, after trying them all out, pick the one your gut tells you to.

Online purchases

Do I recommend purchasing a guitar online if you are completely new to the guitar and have not really even held one in your hands? No. However, if you do the two things above, you have my blessings (although I ain’t guaranteeing that you’ll make the right decision). Basically, purchasing online should only be done by a beginner because of the lack of stores in their area or the savings they would get, and only after exhausting all other possibilities. If there arent any guitar stores in your area, then I suggest you stick to the brands you researched and pick one of those. If you researched well enough, you are likely to get something nice. If the music stores in your area are expensive and you can theoretically purchase the exact same guitar you tried and liked at the expensive shop for $100 less, then that is a pretty powerful reason to do so. Note that in both these scenarios, there is a lot of research that was done to reach the decision of buying online. Happy hunting!

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