by Eric Bourassa
Many of our beginner guitar students come in for their free introductory guitar lesson without a guitar (which is great- we have extras), and ask, “What kind of guitar should I buy?” Others come in having already purchased a guitar. Sometimes it’s fine, but sometimes we have to tell them they might to get something else to better set them up for success.
So the answer to the question, “What kind of guitar should I buy?” is, “Whichever guitar is going to best equip you to be successful.” There are a few factors at play, depending on who you are, but there are a few things that are universal for a beginner:
1. Get an electric guitar. Many parents prefer that their child learn on an acoustic guitar, and many adults favor it as well. One of the reasons for this is that they prefer the sound of the acoustic, which is just fine. But the other reason is usually because of a well-accepted myth that says that it’s best to learn on an acoustic because it’s harder; therefore, the electric will be easier once you master the acoustic. This is incorrect thinking because:
A) If you find the acoustic to be too hard, you’ll never pick up an electric at all
B) If you prefer the electric guitar, you should learn on it!
Remember, our goal is to best set ourselves up for success, and the electric guitar is usually much easier to play and learn on than the acoustic guitar. And everything you learn on the electric as a beginner transfers to the acoustic. Once you get the basics of the guitar down, switching to an acoustic will be no problem. Then, as your skills become more advanced, you can delve into the nuanced techniques that make the electric and acoustic unique from one another.
If you’re dead set on getting an acoustic as an adult, try the classical guitar first (and no, it doesn’t mean you have to play classical guitar style). The nylon strings are much easier to play than the steel strings of the acoustic. Also, the strings are spaced a little further apart, which is ideal for larger hands.
But if you want to make life easy in the beginning of learning the guitar (and who doesn’t?), stick with the electric. I’ve watched many students give up because of the difficulty of the acoustic, knowing all along that they could have likely prevented such disaster with an electric guitar.
2. Get a dependable guitar. Ok, this seems pretty obvious, but it still begs the question, How does one discern what qualifies as a dependable guitar? First, the good news- you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a dependable guitar. You can usually find something good for around $100!
First, read some reviews online. Is this a popular model? Does it have good reviews? Is it available at a lot of different retailers, or is it a smaller brand only available at one store? The really popular ones that all the major retailers carry tend to be the most dependable, in my experience. Specifically, I like the Fender Squier Stratocaster. There are a number of different models, but for a student under the age of 10, get them a 3/4 size Squier Mini Strat. For students 10 and up, go for the Squier Bullet Strat.
Students between the ages of 8 and 11 sometimes might need the larger or smaller size guitar. That’s something we can help you determine when you schedule your free guitar lesson at Fort Worth Guitar Academy or our sister school, Aledo Guitar Academy.
3. Get a used or a new guitar. There are benefits to getting a used guitar and benefits of getting a new guitar. The benefit of getting a used guitar is that it’s typically about 65% of the cost of a new guitar. And used guitars are almost always in pristine condition because they were purchased by someone who liked the idea of playing guitar but then never actually committed to learning it.
The benefit of a new guitar is that you know for sure that there is nothing wrong with it, and if there is, there’s generally a factory warranty to protect it. Plus, some guitarists just like the idea of having a brand new guitar that only they have owned.
If you have any questions about anything that wasn’t covered here, feel free to email us at email@example.com or call us at (817)420-6462.