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How to choose a guitar

4 min. read
Juraj Haruštiak
Picking the right guitar is the first essential step. Your first guitar can bring you heaps of fun, or totally discourage you. Getting to know how to play an instrument is a process of constant trying, making mistakes, trying again... and unfortunately making more mistakes. Therefore, choose right away a guitar that'll keep you motivated to keep playing despite the first difficulties. But how to pick the guitar without any previous experience? Ask yourself a couple of questions that'll help you to navigate through a huge selection of guitars.
How to choose a guitar

What will my guitar be used for?

It is not important, if you are deadly serious about music in the beginning or if you just want to give it a try. To start, you mainly need an iron will and an instrument that “forgives” mistakes. In case of an electric and a classical guitar, the options are endless. Both sound great and are even considerate to your fingers.

What sort of music do I want to play on my guitar?

The unanswerable question of all starting guitar players. If you are on speaking terms with monster loudness and predatory riffs, pick the electric guitar. But if you want to impress people regardless of place and time, you would prefer an acoustic or a classical guitar. The choice is yours. You know best what music can enchant you the most.

It is like this – an instrument with a higher quality is always more comfortable to the touch, sounds better, is easier to play and learn. This does not mean that you should break your piggy bank only after you have earned a four-digit sum through hard work. If you are seriously interested in music, we recommend that you invest at least 300–500 €, if you plan to use your guitar just for fun (which is alright), less than 250 € should be sufficient.

What should I look for in the actual instruments?

In case of acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars, most important are the wood and the processing quality. How the various woods influence the sound can be found here. If you decided on an electric guitar, do not miss our advice on woods and pickups, which we prepared here.

How should I choose a guitar if I still cannot decide?

Think about your favourite songs, artist, or genres and look for instruments that were used to compose your favourites. Rock stars probably use guitars of type LP, ST and T-model, goths should look for guitars with a strong output, sensitive folk players ought to take a look at acoustic guitars and lovers of Latin genres are destined for a classical guitar. Be attentive, in your investigation and even more in choosing.

What are the most famous guitar brands?

If you want to bet on quality right from the start, pick one of the biggest manufacturers. For electric guitars, it is the pair of giants Fender and Gibson, but the Japanese legend Ibanez should also not be forgotten. Acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars are the domain of manufacturers Martin, LAG and Takamine, while in case of the classical guitar, your money is safe with the Yamaha brand.

The difference is usually wide. Expensive instruments are equipped with better woods, with better components and are tuned by experts for the most comfortable play. They also ALWAYS sound great. Cheap instruments have some issues, but as a guitar player-beginner, you may not notice them. However latter on you must consider buying “something better”.

If I am interested in a compromise, what would you recommend?

Every guitar type has an ideal that defines its total existence. If you want to try the absolute classic, we shall not stop you. Among electric guitars, the best balance can be found in the pair of Stratocaster and Les Paul. They were established at the same time and until now, dominate all electric guitars. A Stratocaster offers a sharper, high-pitch sound with a glassy character (think of Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour and John Frusciante). Les Paul is softer, like honey, but with the right handling and energy it can be more aggressive and harder (imagine Jimmy Page, Slash and Zakk Wylde). Among the acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars, the king is a legend called Dreadnought, made famous by the model with the same name from the manufacturer Martin. Close your eyes and imagine an acoustic guitar – right, what is now in your mind’s eye is precisely the Dreadnought. Rich bass, a big and loud sound – you just cannot go wrong.

But, if you consider a classic guitar, you should keep the size in mind, as the shape is usually the same for all of them. These guitars are constructed in several sizes, for adults as well as for children, be cautious and after unwrapping make sure that your fingers fit on the fingerboard. Adult sizes are generally labelled as 4/4. The numbers are the same, so they are easy to remember. From here on, it is just you and your guitar. Stay tuned and in each other's care. It is on you whether the two of you become strangers or world-wide celebrities.

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