playing acoustic guitar

What is the Best Beginner Guitar?

Music Equipment

If you Google the term beginner guitar, thousands upon thousands of results come up with people’s opinions on what a good beginner guitar is. Well, here’s the thing. There’s no such thing as a beginner guitar.

I’ve been playing guitar for decades now and have hear this popular opinion as long as I can remember. I thought that this would be the correct time to address something that is just incorrect. There’s a fallacy in the guitar community created by those who don’t actually play guitar. I think this preconceived notion that if you’ve never played the guitar before, then you need to buy a cheap guitar and an expensive guitar.

This is just wrong and it promotes people actually giving up the instrument. For example, one of the first articles that comes up on Google suggests that a beginner should start out with an acoustic guitar under two hundred fifty dollars with steel strings. That is the worst advice possible.

First of all, inexpensive acoustic guitars in that price range are generally hard to play. So if you’ve never played the guitar, why would you try to play the hardest one possible? Seems a little backwards. And this isn’t to say that you can’t find a good guitar in the $100 to $200 price range, nor should you just completely reject those guitars.

If you are starting out on guitar, there is no reason to target that price range, which is what I am trying to convey. The difference between a $100 guitar and a $400 guitar can be massive. The difference between a $400 guitar and a $1,000 guitar is also substantial. If you can afford to pay more money for a good guitar you will have a much more enjoyable experience learning the guitar.

The 3 P’s of Guitar Buying

Gibson vs Fender
Fender Guitar (left) Gibson Guitar (right)

Now that we’ve learned that there is no such thing as a beginner guitar you can go into buying your first guitar with the proper mindset. You should buy the best guitar you can for the best price to set yourself up for success. Look into brands such as Fender or Gibson guitars, Ibanez, Fernandez, Martin, Taylor, Squire, Epiphone, PRS, G&L, and ESP to name a few.

How To Evaluate a Guitar Before Buying

Choosing a guitar as a first time buying might be a bit intimidating. When I find usually helps me is going back to the three P’s. This is how you can evaluate what guitar to buy, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, advanced or guitar expert.

Everyone can follow the three P’s. It just a matter of learning about them. The three Ps are price, playability and prestige.

Price

When evaluating your first guitar the most important factor you will likely face is price. My recommendation here is to spend more if you can afford it. The difference between a $100 guitar and a $500 guitar has usually been dramatic from my experience. The best guitars i’ve played on were usually in the $1,000 – $1,500 range.

When bargain shopping it usually helps to buy pre-owned guitars. In some cases you can get them cheap. Especially if someone purchased one to learn how to play and ended up quitting.

Playability

No matter how much a guitar costs, if you don’t like the way it feels and sounds it’s not worth buying. The first thing I like to do is put a strap on the guitar and see how it feels against my body. Secondly, I like to sit down with the guitar and get a sense for how it feels when I plays. Are the frets smooth, what is the action like? Lastly, how does it sound? Deep and rich tones? Twangy?

Prestige

This is likely going to be what initially makes you want to pick up the guitar. The cool factor. How does it look and make you feel.

Making Progress – Going From Zero to Guitar Hero

2015 Gibson ES 335
2015 Gibson ES 335

Playing an instrument requires discipline and hard work. You have to have discipline in order to be a good musician. That means sticking to a playing schedule and getting the help you need to ensure that you are practicing the correct techniques and learning how to play in the style you want to do. With a little motivation and a daily practice schedule you will off to playing your first coffee shop gig in no time.

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