Tips on buying a new guitar!

Video above describes some things to keep in mind when shopping for your first guitar.....

Some things you may not have known about the parts and accessories on an electric guitar.....

So a lot of students ask me about buying a guitar. Theres a couple of things to have in mind when you walk into a shop.


1. ACCESSORIES 

If you’re beginning there’s more than just the guitar you will need. Here are a few important things.

  • TUNER – typically electronic tuners go for around 20 bucks
  • GUITAR PICKS – I recommend selecting various sizes to play with and eventually settle on the most  comfortable thickness
  • AMPLIFIER – If your planning on an electric guitar you can pick up a small practice amp for under a hundred bucks. You ‘ll also need a cord to connect the amp and guitar.
  • There are some beginner “package” deals that include all of this and more from brand names like Fender, Gibson/Epiphone, Ibanez.


2. KNOW YOUR BUDGET

If you are just beginning you maybe don’t want to invest more than $200 bucks until you know you’re going to see some progress. If you’re seeing progress and looking to upgrade then I would suggest spending between 400 and 600 dollars for  a decent middle of the road guitar that will no doubt have better components and style.


3. PLAYABILITY

By this I mean how easy do your fingers move over the fretboard? You will want to inspect each potential new guitars’ “action”. “Action” basically refers to the height of the strings or the distance between the fret board and the strings. High action is when the strings are far away from the fretboard and will make playing the guitar very difficult. Low action is when they are close to the fretboard and will require less hand strength to hold down notes and chords making the  playability great. However if they are too low it may result in a lot of “buzz” while playing as the vibrating strings will rattle off the frets when playing creating a buzzing sound. Now the “action” or playability can be adjusted by an in-house  guitar tech in the event you really love the style of the guitar but it plays like crap. Just ask about getting the action set up for the best playability.


4. CHECK THE COMPONENTS

Make sure everything works! This includes all the knobs (volume, and tone), tuning pegs, input jack, the pick ups. Make sure it isn’t scratched up if its a floor model.

  • The pick ups are the the devices located on the body of a electric guitar underneath the strings and are what turns the vibrating strings (when played or picked) into a electronic signal which is transferred to the amplifier. Usually a electric guitar will have at least two of these and with a selector to switch between them (for tone alternatives) located elsewhere on the body (usually near the knobs).
  • The knobs are the volume knob and usually at least one tone knob. The volume knob is basically your on/off switch. The tone knobs will give you a bass-ee or trebly sound (usually rotated all the way to the highest treble setting)
  • The tuning pegs keep your strings tuned and should turn easily and are located at the end of the neck on the headstock.
  • The input jack is where the cord from your amp goes into your guitar and should give you a clean uninterrupted signal and no static.


5. COMFORT

There are a lot of shapes and styles for sale and you want to be sure that it is not too heavy hanging from your neck or that it is not uncomfortable in your lap. You will potentially be spending hours on this instrument practicing to be a great musician so it better not be a pain to play!!!


GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN SHOPPING AND DON’T LET THE SALES GUYS WORK YOU OVER!!!

Links to inexpensive "starter" guitars and or "starter packages"

   Here is some of the "all inclusive" bundles which is a quick, easy and cheap way to get you going, however these are packaged in stores and you may not get the opportunity to "test drive" or inspect everything as mentioned above. But these are simply an inexpensive alternative that will provide you with essential accessories as well as the instrument if you are just testing the waters and don't want to invest too much until you begin to realize your rockstar potential! 

   Keep in mind that these packages aren't just exclusive to Music stores such as Guitar Center and Sam Ash. Major retailers such as WAL-MART, TARGET, and K-Mart are now selling entry level instruments on their shelves or at their websites. Furthermore BEST BUY has added a musical instruments department in certain locations which are in fact comparable to GUITAR CENTER and/or Sam Ash. Also keep in mind that there are various return policies at music stores and at retailers. I once had a student who put down money for a guitar and wasn't happy with it so he went back and was given another quality instrument to try out. This he did 2 more times over a period of 3 months before settling on a particular guitar. So basically....ASK QUESTIONS!!

This is a brand starter package offerred at K-mart for less than $130


click photo to open the page

This is a highly rated package which does also include everything and from a top brand guitar manufacturer FENDER. Slightly more expensive at around $200 but also slightly higher in quality.


This is a link to Amazon.com