Buying Your First Guitar
Given the fact that there are thousands of inexpensive, beginner level guitars to choose from, buying your first guitar can be an overwhelming task. You really need a blueprint or a checklist that will show you how to choose your first guitar. Fortunately, there are several YouTube videos that provide pretty solid information on how to go about it the right way. Below is a video that was done by Andy Guitar that might help. I’d suggest watching several videos on this topic. By doing so, you will have a much better chance of making a good choice.
How to Choose Your First Guitar – The Process
Hi guys! In this lesson, we’re going to look at how to choose your first guitar. We’re going to look at both the electric and acoustic and what you want to watch out for when you’re buying them. I’m going to give advice to people who are very much on a budget and not wanting to spend a lot of money at all, still trying to figure out whether guitars for you or not. But I’m also going to give some advice to people who maybe have a cheap guitar at the moment and I wanting to, thinking about, upgrading what to look out for.
An Acoustic Guitar – Historically, the First Guitar
I’m going to start off on the acoustic guitar because I primarily do beginners lessons and therefore a lot of people, for one reason or another, tend to start off on acoustic guitar like myself. I started on for an acoustic guitar and kind of had the mentality of maybe I got my acoustic guitar first, when I was like 12 years old, and reward myself with an electric guitar later. And I’ll tell you what I think about towards the end of the lesson because I have a new theory on this now. But on the face of it acoustic guitars kind of all look the same. An acoustic guitar has a hollow, hollowed out body and it has a sound hole somewhere near here. They are sold in all different colors, so you know those sorts of things don’t really matter as such. They do start from about 50 or 60 pounds, so about 80 or 90 dollars and some of those guitars, if you’re still not sure whether guitars for you and you just want to have a go and try it out and that’s all the money that you have, there’s nothing wrong with them. Now it’s it’s kind of like you know cars these days. Even the the absolute cheap budget ones, they’re still gonna go. They’re even going to make a noise. They’ll still be alright for you. You’ve gotta, you should kind of be in the mindset that guitar might not really last more than kind of six months to a year if you really are practicing then you know that you’re going to outgrow that guitar, definitely.
As for size of guitars, they do come in full-size which would be this length and 3/4 sizes about here, and for any child below the age of about 9, I’d probably say maybe get a 3/4 size acoustic guitar, but above nine or ten, just go all out and get them the full size guitar. In my opinion, they will get used to it and there’s no, it just kind of future-proofs it a little bit and I that’s when I started picking up the full size guitar and it was absolutely fine for me. Seeing it be fine for other people as well. With the strings, this is a steel strung guitar so the top couple of strings kind of look like cheese wire and their headstock looks like this. So it doesn’t have holes in it basically and the strings are wound round this way. If you can see that the top has holes in on any videos that you look at online (I should put a picture up really of the type of guitar). I’m on about that. It is a classical style, or a nylon string style of guitar. The pop and rock songs that I teach on on my YouTube channel here aren’t really appropriate for this sort of style of guitar and unless you, to be honest, even if your kids really young or you know you’re an adult kind of wanting to just get started and you’re concerned about your fingers kind of hurting and you’ve maybe think this is the guitar to go for, if you want to do rock and pop music, it’s just not going to sound right on one of those guitars. I highly suggest you get a steel string guitar and the strings basically look bronzy at this side and the top look like cheese wire. Nylon string guitars sound very different and the strings are a little bit more forgiving but personally in my opinion, I don’t recommend them for the type of music that you want to play if you’re here watching this video from me and you like the sound that I get from my guitar.
Budget Acoustic Guitars that I Dig
If you have, you know, next to no money and you don’t want to go all out and you know, blow 200 pounds or or 200 dollars on it on an acoustic guitar, East Coast Guitars are fairly good for next to no money. You know, we’re talking about 60 pounds, 70 pounds, or about 80 or 90 dollars. East Coast guitars are pretty good. The stag ones are all right. I’d try them out first of all if you can, in a music shop somewhere new, but they’re rather good. If you’re always wanting to spend a little bit more than that I’d really recommend that you get something called a solid top acoustic guitar. With the acoustic guitars there’s not a lot else on them that makes the sound other than the actual wood it’s made from and on cheaper less expensive guitars the wood that you see on the front is not the wood that it’s actually made from. They’re basically made from a type of MDF or plywood that gets laminated and it will say on the specification of the guitar whether it’s laminated or not and which part of the guitar is laminated. Now the guitar that I’ve used for all my beginners acoustic videos has a laminated back and sides. They are thus important to the sound but not as important as the top. The top is the one that vibrates more. It’s where the sound comes out of and it’s the first bit that gets upgraded when you spend a little bit more money. So this is a solid top acoustic guitar which means that the wood that you see here with the grain and everything is the wood that it’s actually made from and they start, they go from about 150 up to about 300 pounds or so with these solid top acoustic guitars. Above about 300 pounds 350 dollars, the back and sides start to become solid wood as well. If you’re wanting to keep the cost down, just make sure that you get a solid top and it will sound pretty damn good. The neck and all the other parts of wood in it, don’t worry too much about it. Again to keep the cost down. If you’re an absolute beginner, I would not get an electro-acoustic. An electro-acoustic means that you can plug your acoustic in to either record or play live. But to be honest, when you’re recording you don’t really want to plug in your acoustic because it will sound a lot better with a microphone in front of it and if you’re an absolute beginner probably not going to be playing on stage anytime soon and if you jump that fence when you come to it, you’re probably going to want a new guitar anyway. So keep the cost down, just get an acoustic guitar. Absolutely standard. If you really like your acoustic guitar, like I do, and you want it to be able to plug it in, you can buy a pickup kit. I’ve got an EAR AK13 plus pickup system in this one. They cost about 150 pounds and I got a friend of mine to install it and that means I can now plug this in even though it didn’t come with a pickup system in it, The ones with a pre-installed system are really good, they just wipe the price up a little bit so there’s no need to go for those otherwise. If you want a better sounding acoustic guitar, no matter what the make, make sure you get a solid top, solid back and sides, but you’re going to push the price up a little bit. For the cheaper brands, that kind of offer that, and I’m not endorsed by Yamaha or anything, they’re just, it’s the guitar that I have because it sounds great and I’ve got another more expensive Yamaha guitar that I’ve found really does what I want it to. There are a few of them around, Takamine and things that. Generally, the Japanese made ones will be be highly speced out and they’ll sound really good without paying kind of top dollar for them and save the two thousand pounds Gibson Super Jumbo for a little later on when you’re a rock star, okay. Let the record company pay for it.
Why an Electric Guitar Makes a Great First Guitar
Let’s move on to electric guitars. They tend to come in two styles. This is the one style that I have. This is a Les Paul type guitar. It’s an Epiphone, which is the budget brand of Gibson basically. So I have this Kasai at the moment. I cannot afford a Gibson Les Paul, which would be my dream guitar, but they cost more than my car. So I’m not going to and invest just yet in one of those though it’s on my list. The other style of electric guitar kinda looks like this. It’s a Fender Stratocaster which tends to give a bit more of a cleaner, twangier tone to it, though still does rock guitar absolutely fantastically. The main difference in the sound, the bodies a little bit thicker so these things are quite heavy and the Stratocasters are a little bit thinner, a little bit lighter. The pickups, which is the bit that actually gives you the sound of the guitar more slightly are humbuckers in this one which means there are two strips of these pickups here and on the Stratocaster they’re just single which is why they are slightly twangier, give it a slightly brighter tone than these meaty, rocky, midi kind of pickups. So for one of these type guitars, you’re talking Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and like Slash of Guns and Roses, that sort of rock, heavy rock tones which the Stratocaster will still do if you put it through a big old amplifier, but these tend to sound a little bit sweeter for the cleaner or bluesier tones of your Eric Clapton’s and Jimi Hendrix, for example. In between those two, sort of a bit rockier, but still kind of clean and twangy, is your Telecaster, which is this one. These come with either the two pickups like like this one, the humbuckers or single coil ones of the Stratocaster and they kind of seen if you’re working man’s guitar, I guess you know. Indie bands use them a lot, but Bruce Springsteen plays one of these bad boys, Keith Richards you know, salt-of-the-earth kind of man guitars and the the Les Paul types tend to be for the flashy guys kind of seventies rock people and you Stratocasters tend to be that little bit cleaner and they possibly do a little bit more a bit more of everything whereas the Les Paul tends to be quite specialized for rock guitar. And then there’s a whole host of other guitars that you can get. The guitar states like and X’s and stars Flying Vs, Explorers and there’s there’s, there’s so many on the market. To a certain extent, the electric guitar, the one that you like, it kind of chooses you. I went into a guitar shop when I was approximately 12 years old. Actually, I think I saw a guy play one of these on Top of the Pops and went, that, that’s the one for me. That’s obviously the guitar that I like. It was kind of self-explanatory, only transpired later that it suited my kind of style of music and things like that. Just that you can get a guitar whatever you want. In in my opinion, whichever guitar makes you want to play it, that’s the one to buy. Simple as that.
If you’re buying the guitar is a present for someone else and you’re spending any amount of money on it, I wouldn’t keep it as a surprise. Ask the person first. Let them have some input into what guitar you get because they are kind of personal things and hopefully, it’s something that you’re going to be spending an awful lot of time with. With electric guitars, they do come in packs which can be very handy as your first kind of guitar to get. The amplifier, and cables, and the straps, and a few picks and a tuner, those things all tend to come together. The packs that I recommend are definitely the Squier ones, which is kind of a budget brand of Fender or as the kind of traditional kind of, not the cheapest, but certainly one of the best budget electric guitars is a Yamaha Pacifica and it has been for donkey’s years. They are really good. My brother’s got one of these guitars. It served him well for so many years and they are really fine. If you fancy more of this sort of style, I’ve got myself an Epiphone. If you think your guitar kind of plays pretty, pretty well, but you just it’s not quite getting the sound that you want, then what you can do is upgrade the pick ups, which is exactly what I’ve done on this Epiphone Les Paul which costs, well brand new that about 350 pounds. I got this one secondhand from a friend for 200 pounds, which is an absolute bargain, to be honest with you because he barely played it at all and what I did was upgrade the pickups. These particular ones are Seymour Duncan’s. We’ve got an SH1 and a 59 at the neck and they give me a PAF kind of Jimmy Page type sound is what I was going for through my Orange and Marshall cab. So yes, that’s really where 90 percent or 95 percent of the sound kind of comes from. All the rest of it is play ability which a lot of that can be tweaked or adjusted or kind of perfected with a set up. A guitar setup is where you will get, even I would would not set up my own guitars. I pay for them for a guy to do them for me, a guitar tech and they are just the height of your strings, they’re just the height of your bridge, and even out all your frets, make sure you saddle heights right, and generally just make sure that your guitar has all the right adjustments for it to play as well as it can. Guitars out of the shop, off the shelf, they are put together generally by people who know how to cut a piece of wood and make it, polish it, and make it the best. They’re not always done by players and the set up cannot be perfectly straight out of the shop. So even if you’re spending like two or three thousand pounds on a guitar, actually it might not be set up correctly and you still have to spend about 30 pound or 40 pound on a setup which is something that I highly advise that you do just, just the once. If you’re guitar costs over kind of 150 200 pounds and you can tell that, you know, the strings are a little high and things like that I wouldn’t do it yourself. I just definitely get a get a guy to do it. Find out who you local guitar luthier is.
So yes, that’s kind of my advice on electric guitars and acoustic guitars. If you’re wondering, hmm, kind of like acoustic, but kind of like rock music as well. Which one is for you. Remember that they do kind of make awfully good birthday and Christmas presents, so if you get one for now you can always get the other one a little later on, but you’re going to be kind of focusing more on pop, or folk, or maybe blues music if you get an acoustic guitar for now, though you can do rock stuff as well and you’re probably going to be focused on kind of rock and more band type songs if you get an electric guitar. Beginners tend to sway towards acoustic, probably because like, in my opinion, like from my perspective, you want to get good first before you start playing guitar so you get yourself an acoustic. It’s kind of a simpler instrument. However, electric guitar is probably easier. In fact, quite a lot of people find it an awful lot easier and get an awful lot better much quicker when you get an electric guitar first. It is a bit more of a palaver with having to get an amp as well. But as I say, if you get one of the guitar packs, you can’t really go wrong. The fuzz that you get on an amplifier can make your mistakes less noticeable in the beginning, so that it doesn’t kind of cover up bad playing or anything, but it just makes everything sound a little bit nicer and when you first start playing, you’ve got that as an option, kind of dial it up to the Eddie Van Halen preset and just kind of rock out a little bit, kind of one chord or one a chord on it electric guitar kind of sounds awesome. It still does to me. You’ve got a clean channel on your amplifier and an overdrive channel as well, so you get kind of two sounds for the price of one on electric, whereas when you have acoustic, you’re kind of stuck with the one sound that you have and you’re limited in styles of musically you can do.
So that’s my advice to you. If you are unsure, get an electric guitar. If you have your heart set on an acoustic guitar, and make sure it’s got a solid top and I’d definitely spend a little bit more in the beginning than you may feel kind of 100% too. It can also kind of make you play it and if you spend a little bit more on it. Nonetheless, you don’t have to spend the earth, because I haven’t. I use these two guitars professionally and they are my workhorses and, as I say, I don’t like my guitars to cost more than my car.
Thanks for checking out this video. I hope that you are happy with the electric guitar that you buy. If you can at all, please pick it up and try it before you buy it. Even possibly be cheeky and go into a guitar shop, try out the guitar and then find it somewhere else cheaper online. It’s terrible to do it, but that is the world we live in these days I’m afraid.
I hope see you when you get your new electric guitar or your secondhand electric guitar. There’s nothing wrong with those and I will hopefully see you for some more fun easy beginner songs.