You can get easily confused on how to buy a guitar today. There are so many brands and types it can make you crazy.
Buying your first guitar can be a tough decision. If you are a parent buying the guitar for your child he or she will no doubt want one like the musician who got them interested in the first place, an expensive one right.
There are a lot of good inexpensive guitars on the market today for the beginner or anyone who plays and doesn’t need a name brand.
Buying an Acoustic or Electric Guitar?
If you are just starting to play I would suggest an acoustic because you will hear how the guitar sounds naturally. This is what you should learn first to understand the guitar.
Acoustic with Electric
An acoustic guitar may cost less because you don’t need an amp, although many of the manufacturers are making their acoustic guitars with pick-ups built into the bridge.
Although acoustic guitars are used in country and folk they are also popular in rock music. John Lennon composed and recorded many of the Beatles songs with an acoustic guitar.
Eric Clapton writes many of his songs on an acoustic before adding any electric guitar to them. Layla was written on an acoustic before he did the unplugged album.
For most of us it’s how much can we afford that determines this. Although when you use a credit card it doesn’t feel like you’re spending money, until you get your statement.
Don’t spend a lot of money on your first guitar, see if you are going to stick with it first. You may be all enthusiastic now, but when you discover that it can take a lot of work you might put it in the closet till you have more time.
You Want What!
This is especially true if you are a parent buying a guitar for a teenager. They will want the most expensive guitar because the advertisers tell them it’s what they need to be a star.
Buying New Guitar Online
This is a good option because you can cross check prices easy. What you need to do first is see the make and model you want in a local store so you know what you are buying.
If your buying a guitar that has been around like a Telecaster or Stratocaster you have most likely already have seen and played one.
Guitar manufacturers sell look alikes of their top models for less money. If it’s the look you want this can be a way to save money.
I buy strings and other things from SameDay Music and they are a reputable company if you want to check them out. They got their name because they try to ship your order the same day.
Even if your not ready to buy a guitar yet or get a new one you can get an idea of prices for what type of guitar you want.
Second Hand Guitars
This can be a good way to buy a guitar. Think of it as a used car and check it out good.
Shopping locally is best for a used guitar because you may want to go back and forth between stores or guitar owners before deciding.
Buying Used Guitar Online
I used to think buying a used guitar online was a bad idea, but if you stick with places like Ebay you should be OK. I bought a bass guitar from them and everything was fine.
Ebay – Paypal
Most of Ebay sellers use PayPal and they will help straigten things out too. It’s bad for business for Ebay or PayPal to have customers getting ripped.
Just be careful who you are dealing with because there are a lot of crooks out there.
The main problem is not being able to see the guitar in person. Pictures can be doctored up, but the choice is yours.
Check out your local music store for traded in guitars, your local newspaper, also let your friends know you are looking. Sometimes people have a guitar in their closet that they never learned how to play. Craigslist is another way to find guitars for sale near your home.
Visit different music stores to window shop, try them out and compare prices. Find out the average going price of what guitar you want.
Second Hand Saves Money
A second hand guitar is a good way to stretch your guitar buying dollar by getting a better model that you would not have been able to afford buying it new. Just be sure the guitar is in good playing shape
A little wear isn’t a big concern unless you are fussy. The main thing is how it feels to you and the price, also does it have a case. A good hard case will save a lot of wear and tear if you are going to be lugging it around to other peoples houses to jam or practice.
Know the Prices Beforehand
Know how much the particular model costs new so you don’t pay more than it’s worth. There are a lot of guitars out there that mimic the top manufacturers but are of lesser quality.
Do some window shopping before you go to buy. Most music stores will let you try out some guitars providing you don’t make a habit out of it and don’t buy.
Take a guitar player with you if you know one if you are buying your first guitar. Try not to let the sales person you don’t know a lot about guitars if you can.
Don’t get conned into buying a guitar that they can’t get rid of, remember he or she’s trying to make money from selling you a guitar. Don’t buy what you don’t want
Does Everything Work?
If you are buying a used guitar make sure everything works. This is mainly for an electric or acoustic-electric. Ask to plug it in, don’t buy it if they give you a lame excuse why you can’t. This should only happen if you buy from an individual and they already sold the amp or never got one. Find a way to plug it in or forget about it.
Do the volume and tone knobs respond like they are supposed to do. Sometimes people who shouldn’t take things apart do and don’t get everything back together right. Make sure everything works or lower your price if it’s not important to you, a broken or mismatched knob or something.
Buying the Right Guitar
How does it feel to you. Everybody has a different body and a guitar has to fit your body, You can tell by holding the guitar in the playing position. If it doesn’t feel right try some other ones till you find it. In most cases when you find the right one you will feel it right away. A match made in heaven.
Neck Action – How to Buy a Guitar
Don’t judge the guitar only by the neck action alone. Guitar manufacturers make guitars with room for adjustment for any player. You can adjust the action to suit yourself. Just make sure it hasn’t been butchered and can be adjusted.
Listen for good even tone. You should hear both the low and high notes evenly. Every guitar has its own tone, even the same models, its the wood. An acoustic will give off subtle harmonics if you listen closely.
You will learn how to adjust your guitar neck to your liking and style of playing or you can have it done for you at a local guitar shop. Fine tuning your guitar is part of playing.
Electric Guitar Buying Tips
Don’t try out an electric guitar with effect boxes or pedals until you are satisfied with the straight sound and response. These can mask the true sound and also hide fret buzz and other unwanted problems
Straight sound is all you want for checking it out. Remember what you want is good even tone, a good feel and playability.
A good guitar will normally weigh a little more than a cheaper version. The wood can be denser for better sustain on notes. The hardware will normally be a little heavier. It can even be a little thicker without you even noticing. It’s normally a sign of quality construction.
Acoustic Guitar Pickups
There are 2 main types of acoustic guitar pick-ups. The first type sits in the sound hole and works very similar to a microphone but closer to the sound than a microphone can be placed.
The second type are called transducers and usually sit underneath the saddle of the guitar. These do not look like guitar pickups you see on guitars. They are small flat ribbon sensors that reproduce the sound of the guitar. Many acoustic guitars come with this feature factory installed.
Electric Guitar Pickups
There are two main types of electric guitar pickups single coil and dual coil or humbuckers. The humbucker
Single Coil Pickups
The single coil pickup gives a guitar a cleaner sound. Fender guitars used to all come with single coil pickups. Now you can find combinations of single and dual coil pickups. The Beach boys are a perfect example of that sound. Jimi Hendrex used a Stratocaster but who knows what magic was done on that guitar to get his sounds.
Humbuckers patented by Seth Lover from Gibson uses two coils instead of one. This pickup was developed to help stop the hum that came from single coil pickups, that’s where the name comes from. These pickups have a heavier, thicker sound to them.
Most Gibson guitars use these pickups, Les Pauls, SG’s and others. They are good for loud natural distortion so they are used by many rock and blues artist’s. Eric Clapton uses a Gibson SG on many of his blues solo’s. His work with Cream will give you a good idea of the Humbucker pickup sound.
Active or Passive Pickups?
Passive pickups are the ones that have been around since the beginning of electric guitar. The newer active pickups are like a pickup with an advanced tone control or equalizer. They are supposed to produce less noise but I don’t have any experience working with them. Most players use the passive pickups.
It’s Up to You – How to Buy a Guitar
You can learn how to buy a guitar from what I said up above but…
No matter what I suggest you probably have your mind set on what you want. Buying a guitar is an emotional decision, we all do it.
It’s like buying a car. You can read all the stats you want about a vehicle but if you don’t like the way it looks you probably won’t buy it even it is a better deal.
It’s your image right?
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