So you have decided to learn to play the guitar!

Now it is time to choose your instrument, your axe, your baby, your first guitar. You have seen your favourite guitarists playing different makes and models and shapes of guitars, but how do you decide what is the right one for you?

Getting your hands on your first guitar is very exciting, but also a little bit intimidating. The right guitar can be the difference between discouragement, or the start of a life long passion and love for music! There are many things to consider and think about when deciding on your first guitar, here are the common mistakes and how to avoid them when doing so.

 

Acoustic, electric and classical are all very different sounding, and feeling guitars. Not only that, but stylistically they are also extremely different. Just because you learn to play an acoustic guitar doesn’t mean that those skills will translate to an electric or classical guitar.

A common misconception amongst first time guitar buyers is that you have to learn to play on an acoustic guitar before moving on to an electric. The basic theory and chord shapes are the same, however you don’t actually play the guitars in the same way. I

f you listen to a lot of rock, or punk or music with loud distorted guitars, you will need an electric guitar to achieve the sound that you want, where if you listen to folk or indie, you probably want an acoustic guitar. A classical or nylon string guitar is mainly used for more traditional and flamenco music. If you choose a type of guitar that is not suited to the music that you want to be playing, chances are you could get discouraged from learning the instrument.

 

The next area of consideration is the size of the guitar. This is especially important for children learning to play. If you are having difficulty reaching down the neck to the first fret of the guitar, you are over stretching your muscles and will have a much harder time fretting the notes and moving your hand around the fingerboard.

This could be painful and easily frustrate anyone new to the instrument. This goes for reaching over the guitar as well. If you are having a hard time reaching the strings to strum, it may be too big. Most adults will be comfortable with a full sized guitar, but weight is another factor that plays into the equation.

The Gibson Les Paul has been a standard among guitarists for decades, however it is an extremely heavy guitar, some reaching around 40 lbs. Having that kind of weight on your shoulders or even on your leg for an extended period of time can cause serious discomfort, so it is important to find a guitar that feels right, and would be easily playable for any amount of time!

You know a few big brand names of guitars because you have seen your favourite players rocking them on stage and in their videos, however don’t get caught in the trap that the name means that they are automatically a good instrument!

Don’t get me wrong, major brand name guitars are great, when you get into the higher end /professional models, however their entry-level instruments are often quite lacking. Because they are major brands, their entry models tend to suffer due to the use of cheaper materials and parts.

A common corner that is cut on cheaper guitars is the hardware such as bridges and tuners. These cause the guitars to slip out of tune much easier which can be very frustrating and discouraging to a new guitarist while they are trying to learn their favorite songs!

No one wants to get a few chords into a song and have to stop to re-tune. There are many smaller brands that specialize in entry-level guitars with great build quality and bang-for-your-buck. Ask for recommendations at your local shop to see what they have to offer, and try out as many as you can until you find one that feels right for you.

Finally, choose the colour and finish of guitar that IS you! It may seem like a small thing in the grand scheme of choosing an instrument, but it is more important than you may realize.

Your guitar is an expression of yourself, you will be making the music, you will be playing and wearing the instrument, it should reflect who you are! When you find the guitar that feels, sounds and looks just right, it will directly contribute to how much you play and become motivated to practice.

Choosing your first guitar is a fun and exciting experience, have fun with it and enjoy it! It is the first step on your journey to discovering and enjoying the world of music. And don’t forget to buy a tuner with that guitar!

 

10 ways to hold a guitar (for beginners) – YouTube

This hilarious video shows 10 different ways to hold a guitar for beginners. I figure we can all pick out a few shows we’ve been to that have at least a few of these kinds of guitarists! (Beginners… don’t take this too seriously!)
10 ways to hold a guitar (for beginners) – YouTube