In this video, I talk about things to consider when buying a guitar- be it for the first time, or as an upgrade.
See the full list of guitars and accessories that I use and recommend here
If you’re new to guitar and you’re looking at buying one, it’s important to understand the 3 main types.
Steel string acoustic guitar
Acoustic guitar means that it is self-amplifying due to the sound hole. This also means it doesn’t need an amplifier. These sound great for acoustic pop music or folk. However, they can be a little difficult to play when you get a budget instrument because the strings can be a little far from the fret board, and you have to press much harder than you would like to. Therefore, some people opt for a nylon stringed acoustic guitar.
Nylon string ‘Classical’ acoustic guitar
The Nylon strings have a softer sound and are much easier on the fingers. A lot of people start on these, especially kids.
However, what I really recommend and what I think is the best option if you’re just going out to buy your first guitar, is getting yourself an electric guitar.
Electric guitars also have steel strings, but they tend to be much closer to the fingerboard. This makes it much easier to press down the strings when you are doing your first chords. Even though its an electric guitar, it makes plenty of sound for you to play by yourself. It’s quiet, but that can be a good thing so you don’t upset your neighbors or even people in your own house! If later on you find you enjoy guitar and you want to play with other people, then you can get an amplifier. Either way, I recommend getting an electric guitar as your first instrument.
Now lets get a bit more in depth to brands and budget options.
If you want to play rock, pop, folk or blues, then I definitely recommend a steel string guitar, like mine in the video. Entry level acoustics start from £60 ($90) and can sound a little bad be quite hard to play. However, if this is what your budget allows, go for a Stagg or an East Coast branded guitar. These guitar are not great but they are better than nothing.
As a BIG step up, I'd spend around the £180 ($250) mark and buy a Solid top Yamaha or Takamine guitar. These will sound way better and be much easier to play so you get better faster, which makes it well worth the money!
Again there are 3 main types; the Fender Stratocaster, and my favorite- the Gibson Les Paul!
Fender Stratocaster (aka 'Strat')
The best are made by Fender. Affordable copies are made by Squire and vintage
Thin body and neck, easy to play.
Single Coil Pickups give a clean sound that is suited best to pop, blues, classic rock, pretty much anything!
Think Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Mark Knopfler, Stevie Ray Vaughn
Fender telecaster (aka 'tele')
Again the original and best are made by Fender. Affordable copies are made by Squire and vintage
Less flash than the strat with a much less tailored body (kind of like a flat block of wood). Seen as more of a 'working mans' guitar.
Pickups give a 'twang' that is suited best to indie, blues, classic rock
Single coil or humbucker pickups available
Think Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, Status Quo, modern 'Indie' bands like Block Party
Gibson Les Paul
Originals made by Gibson. Affordable copies made by Epiphone and Vintage. Similar models made my PRS.
More flash than this others, and more 'meaty' sounding humbucker pickups,
Great for all rock and metal, though originally a jazz and blues guitar
Think Jimmy Page, Slash, Joe Perry, Thin Lizzy, The Darkness