Purchasing your first guitar is an exciting time for new players and it’s important that you get a model and size that’s right for you. This is because having the right guitar makes playing so much easier and more enjoyable than having one that does not suit you. If you enjoy playing and practicing you are much more likely to continue playing. Studies suggest that those who continue playing for over six months are very likely to continue learning and playing making it a life long pleasure.
You need a good quality instrument, but this does not mean it needs to be expensive. A guitar with lots of extra features and a leading brand name will not improve your playing. High level guitars are designed for high level players who have reached a level after a few years of playing where they have developed their own style and require a guitar that’s appropriate to achieve their desired sound.
The five mistakes to avoid when buying your guitar are:
1. Buying the wrong sounding guitar
Acoustic Steel String, Nylon String Classical or Electric
Which one? Many people consider that you should start with an Acoustic Guitar, suggesting it’s the best option to start with until you learn the basics, but it really depends on the style of music you like listening to and want to play. If you really like and want to play heavy rock, then you need an electric guitar to get the right sounds, but if you prefer traditional or classical then a nylon string guitar would be more appropriate.
Young people often find that a nylon string guitar is better suited to their hand and finger strength as the strings are much easier to press down, but this will, quickly change as their fingers strengthen.
The best thing is to consider the type of sound you want to make and buy accordingly.
2. The correct size
A lot of people start with a guitar that is not a good size fit for them. Comfort when playing is important because if a person finds it difficult to hold their guitar it can take away a lot of the pleasure in playing and spoil their personal enjoyment. Playing a guitar is meant to be a pleasant experience.
An electric guitar is often smaller that an acoustic, but usually weighs much more, this can be countered with the right fitting shoulder strap, but sometimes they are difficult for young people to handle although they do come in many different sizes and weights.
3. Having the wrong string action
The string action refers to the distance of the gap from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string. This is usually measured at the half way point of the strings or the 12th fret.
When purchasing a guitar ask the shop to set the action to the right size for your hands, they will know how to do this for you. It will make playing the guitar much easier for you. Although the gap is set at the factory where the guitar is made, it can change due to climatic changes such as temperature differences and humidity.
Many entry level acoustic guitars are made using a non-adjustable steel bar to keep the neck straight. In some situations they can lead to the neck bowing or bending so ask about this in the guitars you look at.
4. Tuning pegs
The older style of tuning pegs made with gears in a pressed metal case are often hard to tune and then keep in tune. Look for a guitar with modern die-cast machine tuning pegs.
5. Choosing a name or popular brand thinking it’s a superior product
When buying an entry level guitar often the popular brand name guitars are made from lesser quality materials to keep the costs down and make them competitive. With guitars designed for experienced players the popular brand name guitars are of much better quality as they don’t have the same pressure to keep their costs low.
When buying your first guitar if pays to talk with the sales people in some of your local music shops as they have a lot of experience in helping people choosing a guitar that is the right match for them.