So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and learn the guitar! Congratulations! Perhaps an early daunting prospect in this venture is actually purchasing your very first guitar. It’s easy to be a little unnerved by the high price tag carried by even seemingly “middle-of-the-road” types of instruments. Many newcomers to the guitar are not quite reassured they will have the perseverance to stick with the instrument and justify the initial sticker shock of their first guitar. I have had many beginner guitar students come through my studio for guitar lessons in Surrey and Langley, and I thought I would share a few bits of advice for those looking to purchase their first instrument.
First things first, we have to ensure that the instrument we purchase is playable. Guitar is a very mechanically challenging instrument, especially when we are getting our start, so we want to make sure the instrument is not going to ‘fight’ us as we train our fingers to create music. Being at one with your instrument is such a liberating feeling, and becomes very difficult to unlock if we are playing an instrument that is not comfortable to play. It’s for this reason, that I generally don’t advocate going extremely cheap on your first guitar. It may be tempting, for example, to purchase an acoustic guitar for $50 from a department store, but this will not aid our learning process.
I would suggest that a beginner avoid purchasing a used instrument, unless they have a very experienced player who can accompany them to check over the guitar before purchasing. There are a lot of finer details that we want to ensure are in check when purchasing a used guitar – they are quite temperamental instruments – and these details are going to be very difficult to spot for someone new to the instrument. If cost is prohibitive or you/your child are not 100% sure guitar is going to be for you, I highly recommend renting your instrument. For example, Long & McQuade ( https://www.long-mcquade.com/ ) has some great monthly rates for very nice instruments available.
Try to shoot for an instrument that is visually appealing to you. It’s likely that there is an artist that inspired you or your child to learn guitar. Wouldn’t it be fun to play an instrument that resembled the guitar that this artist plays? Think of you/your child’s favorite rock, acoustic, blues, or jazz guitarist. Yes, established artists play high-end instruments, but chances are there is an entry level option with an equivalent visual aesthetic crafted for someone just like you! A perfect example would be the Squier ‘strat’ or Fender Stratocaster style guitar. A common beginner package is a complete kit containing an electric guitar, small amplifier, and accessories usually for only a couple hundred dollars! Brands such as Yamaha have great entry-level models of Acoustic guitars as well.
These are my main thoughts for beginners looking to purchase their first guitar, or purchasing their child’s first guitar. If we’re able to purchase or rent a guitar that is playable, in great physical condition, affordable, and one that we can get excited to play, we are already on the fast track to success on learning this great instrument!