buying guideWhen I first became interested in learning the guitar, the first obstacle I encountered was to purchase a guitar. Being a newbie, I had totally no idea about choosing a guitar and I didn’t know of any friends who played the instrument.

At that time, the Internet was at its infancy stage and there was no such thing as using a Google search engine to find information or to do research.

Together with a friend, we headed to a local music shop in town and we were recommended a guitar package set for around $200 by the store assistant.

Considering this was a relatively cheap deal and that we didn’t have any knowledge on choosing a guitar, we decided to go ahead with the purchase.

Soon after I bought the guitar, I realized that the workmanship was extremely poor and there were buzzing sounds being heard when the guitar was played at certain frets. It was a lesson learnt. I guess we should have known better and couldn’t fuss too much for the price we paid.

Before You Embark on Buying a Guitar…

The purpose of this article is to impart some of my knowledge and experience which I had learnt the hard way when it comes to purchasing guitars. Hopefully, you will be able to make an informed decision and avoid unnecessary frustrations when buying a guitar.

Now, the first thing you need to do is to ask yourself the following questions:

1) What is the style of music you want to play?

The style of music you play will help determine the type of guitar you should get. For example, an electric guitar would preferably be used in rock and metal music, a classical guitar for classical music (isn’t this obvious?) and if you like to sing along while strumming the guitar, the acoustic guitar is your best choice.

2) What is your budget you can work with?

Buying a guitar is akin to making an investment in your musical development. It is important to ask yourself what would your budget is and what is the amount you are willing to spend. For a total beginner, somewhere within the range of $200-300 would get you a decent electric guitar whereas a decent acoustic guitar would cost around $150.

Tips to Choosing a Guitar

Once you have answers to these questions, let’s move on to selecting a guitar for your needs.

1) Always TRY the guitar before deciding on any purchase. You should try as many guitars as you want and you shouldn’t be pressured by salespeople into buying a guitar. Also, there is no harm to trying guitars which are outside your budget as this allows you to get a feel of the differences in tones and playability.

2) Inspect the entire guitar carefully for physical defects. Minor wear and scratches are ok as long as there is no interference with playability. You should never purchase guitars with major defects such as cracks along the body.

Another major defect you should beware of is the twisting of the guitar neck. You can perform this check by holding the guitar such that the headstock is pointing towards you. Look along the neck and make sure there is no bowing.

3) Check the condition and the playability of the frets. You can do this by fretting each fret on each string and play the note out loud. If there are buzzing sounds, chances are the action of the guitar isn’t set properly and there is poor workmanship. You should also check that the frets of the guitar are not worn out.

*You can request the music stores to help you setup your guitar for free when you purchase one.

4) If you decide to get buy a guitar online, do read up on product reviews and comments from users who had bought from the website before. Both Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend are trusted sites that are very well established with years of experience and I highly recommend them.

5) Another important factor is that you should be totally comfortable with the guitar and you must like the sound of the guitar. Once you made this purchase, chances are the guitar is going to stick with you for some time. So, make you buy something that you like!

To conclude, you should buy the best instrument you can afford. When it comes to musical instruments, quality is often pegged to the instrument’s price. For beginners, it might be a good idea to consider buying package deals that includes freebies like guitar bags, amplifiers, picks, straps and etc. This would save you a lot of time and money instead of buying them individually.

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