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What Guitar to Buy First - A Beginner's Guide

Blog | Which Guitar Should You Buy First?
Blog | Which Guitar Should You Buy First?

The best starter guitar? The one that makes you want to play it. The one that sounds like the music you love, that lets you create exactly what you want. And this article is going to help you find that guitar.

Electric Guitars

If you're buying your first guitar, here are the three most important features you should think about.

Comfort: You'll be spending a lot of time with this guitar. So, make sure you feel super comfortable holding it.

Tone: Find a guitar that can make the sound found in the music you want to make. It's that simple.

Build Quality: Your first guitar should stay in tune and be free of buzzes or rattles. You don't want to make learning guitar any harder than it needs to be!

All of this is easy to do with Gear4music. We're not a 'one-size-fits-all' shop, we specialise in music and you can definitely find the right guitar here. We literally have thousands of them. We even got our heads together and made what we think is a pretty great starter guitar.

Can You Tell Me Exactly Which Guitar to Buy?

Yes. But only once you've had a little think about what's important to you.

First job is to decide whether you want an electric, acoustic, or classical guitar. They all do certain things very well.

Set your budget. Guitars do not have to be expensive. As you become a better player you might want to invest in some more professional gear, but when you're starting out there are loads of great options that won't break the bank. If you buy an electric, make sure you budget for an amplifier too (or choose from our great value electric guitar starter packs.

Choose the rights style of your guitar. Does it look the way you want to feel? That's a good start. Make sure it's the right size and weight for you too; you don't want something that's not quite right. Acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars can also have slightly different bodies that make different sound - make sure it's the sound you want.

If in doubt - what does your favourite guitarist/songwriter play? Choose that.

Ask for advice. We have specialist guitar staff who live for guitars. They will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Either visit our showroom in York, UK, or get in touch via our helplines and we'll provide you with some great advice depending on your needs.

Buy your guitar. Because no one regrets learning guitar. It lets you play in any genre and it's deceptively simple. You'll be shocked at how quickly you can get going.

Electric Vs. Acoustic Guitar

People often ask: what should I buy first, an electric or an acoustic guitar? The answer is pretty simple. Which sound do you prefer? Because both are similar to learn on. The acoustic might be slightly harder on the fingers but requires less accessories.

Electric Guitar

Electric Guitars

From calm crystal cleans to Rock 'n' Roll riffs; the electric guitar is perhaps the most versatile guitar of all. As such, it is featured in the widest range of genres.

Coming with steel strings, they're still easy to get started with. This is due to their lower string height, lighter gauge strings, and thinner neck. The key difference though, is an electric guitar needs to be plugged into an amplifier to make its sound.

While you can play without an amplifier for very quiet practice sessions, it would be wise to budget for a guitar amp so you can hear yourself properly. You can then also create the full range of sounds the electric guitar is capable of. And they are capable of a lot, the options that open up to you are quite literally endless.

An electric guitar also lets you learn new techniques that are specific to it. Think of all the guitar solos you've heard with string bends, vibrato, double-stops etc. Or you could just strum or pick it.

Electric guitars are available in shorter-scale sizes for smaller hands/younger players, and we also sell complete bundles with everything you need to create a complete rig.

Shop Now | Electric Guitars

Shop Now | Electric Guitar Starter Packs

Shop Now | Kids Electric Guitars

Shop Now | Electric Guitar Amplifiers

Bass Guitar

Bass Guitars

The bass guitar is a very different instrument. A bassist, paired with a drummer, is the foundation of rhythm in a band. They create a sound with a much bigger bass element, sacrificing treble for a deep grooving sound. Despite (usually) having four strings rather than six, they still present a big challenge. Timing and developing a groove, are super important for a bassist.

Electric Bass guitars are much more common than Acoustic Bass guitars, and they require amplification to be heard. You can play with a pick or with your fingers, which lets you play a style called 'pop and slap'. It gets the name from the sound it makes - listen to the basslines of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers; Flea (their bass player) uses the technique in most of their songs.

For younger students, the bass guitar poses more of a challenge due to its larger size, but Gear4music sells scaled-down instruments for this very purpose.

Both electric guitars and acoustic guitars are super versatile. In most cases, either one will do what you need, but take time to consider if you're going to play slightly more niche music that requires a specific sound. For example, if you want to sound like the Sex Pistols, you might want an electric.

Shop Now | Bass Guitars

Shop Now | Acoustic Bass Guitars

Shop Now | Bass Guitar Starter Packs

Classical Guitars

Classical Guitars

Nylon string guitars - sometimes called Spanish or Classical guitars - can be slightly better for new or younger players. The nylon strings are softer on the fingers and are at a lower tension, making them that much easier to work with. And conveniently, they don't require additional amplification.

The classical guitar gives you a distinct, mellow sound. It's the instrument of choice for traditional classical styles as well as the Spanish Flamenco style. This is the ideal instrument for players wanting to play traditional fingerpicked styles, yet still has plenty more potential (thing Rodrigo y Garbiela's fiery strumming and picking techniques).

Shop Now | Classical Guitars

Steel String Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic Guitars

Steel strings - usually just called Acoustic Guitars - are the instrument of choice for countless artists. From Bob Dylan to Shawn Mendes, the acoustic guitar is instantly recognisable. For beginners, the steel strings and higher tension might be a little tougher on the hands, but the reward is a huge list of possible styles.

There're also electro-acoustic guitars. They feature an on-board pickup that allow them to be plugged into an amplifier. The resulting amplified sound is designed to reflect the un-plugged sound and is perfect for performing on stage.

We sell a huge range of acoustic guitar styles:

Dreadnought: A big, square-shouldered body for a loud, balanced sound. Think Johnny Cash.

Jumbo: A bigger rounded body, for a really big sound. Think Noel Gallagher.

Parlour: A small, more comfortable body with a focussed sound. Think Ed Sheeran.

Concert/Auditorium: A medium sized guitar that gets you a balance between volume and focus. A great all-rounder. Think Eric Clapton.

12-String: Available in all the above shapes and sizes. But with double the amount of strings, they immediately give you a more layered sound. Think David Bowie.

You can get complete bundles from us, that come with everything you need to get started on the acoustic guitar.

Shop Now | Acoustic Guitar Packages

Shop Now | Acoustic Guitars by Type

What Next?

Once you've bought your guitar, you might want a case. A hard case gives you maximum protection, while a gig bag is ideal for mid-level protection and easy transportation. Other important basic accessories:

  • A strap (if you want to stand up when you play)
  • A cable (if you buy an electric instrument)
  • A tuner (it'll make staying in tune much easier)
  • Picks

You won't regret getting these basics sorted. At some point you'll need to get new strings for your guitar - how often you re-string is based on how much you play. We sell a lot of different string brands and types, but that's another guide. For now, go get a guitar and start enjoying it!

All of these accessories can be found at the links below.

Shop Now | Electric Guitar Accessories

Shop Now | Acoustic Guitar Accessories

Shop Now | Bass Guitar Accessories

Read More | See the latest Music Gear News at Gear4music

Posted on 11 Feb 2019 09:51 to category : Instruments News

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