The first step when choosing your first guitar is to decide what kind of guitar you want to play. When you envision yourself rocking out or learning new songs, what do you see yourself holding? Or how do you see yourself as a guitar player? We might have answers to your question.
If you dream of scorching towers of amps stacks and pyrotechnics, start with an electric.
If you see yourself as more of a coffeehouse singer-songwriter, get an acoustic.
Conventional wisdom often points to getting acoustic for starters, but it is equally important to get a guitar that will keep you inspired. Similarly, while there are plenty of extremely budget-friendly options out there, it's worth splurging on a slightly more expensive guitar as the improved playability will do much to keep you playing.
The choice can be quickly narrowed if you already know the genre of music you want to play by matching the guitar to the musical style. The sound will be close to what you are envisioning and make playing more enjoyable and likely lead to earlier success.
To help you out, we've come up with some key tips on what guitar you should buy:
First, ask yourself the question what style of music you want to play?
- (A) Do you want to play rock, blues rock or metal? (U2, Metallica, AC/DC, Van Halen)
- (B) Do you want to play singer-songwriters music? (Beatles, John Mayer, Ed Sheeran)
- (C) Do you want to play classical music? (Andrés Segovia, John Williams, Tommy Emmanuel)
If you choose (A) get yourself an electric guitar.
If you choose (B) get a steel string acoustic guitar.
If you choose (C) buy a classical guitar.
Or, see which category you belong to in this table :
|GET AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR||GET AN ELECTRIC GUITAR||GET A CLASSICAL GUITAR|
Electric Guitar Advantages
Because the strings are generally a lighter gauge (thinner), they are easier on any soreness you might experience in your fingers when you first learn to play. Electric guitars are generally the easiest to play; the strings are thinner, the ‘action' is lower and therefore they are easier to press down. Barre chords on acoustic guitar can be very demanding and require a lot of finger strength. Cheap and poorly made acoustic guitars can be difficult to play higher up on the fretboard.
Electric guitars have a diversity of sounds. Because a lot of your guitar tone is shaped by your amp or pedals, you’re not locked into one type of sound like you would be with an acoustic guitar. The electric guitar is expandable with amps and hundreds of different pedals for creating great sounds. It is fairly easy to play because of the small neck and light gauge strings. You can also play quietly if you unplug the guitar.
With a multi-effects unit and some headphones, you can play as loud as you want without disturbing your neighbors! You can have tons of sound possibilities!
Note that ‘semi-acoustics' are not really acoustic, they are electric guitars with a semi-hollow body, and so are sometimes confusingly referred to as semi-acoustics. However, they play like electrics.
Acoustic Guitar Advantages
Many teaching purists will passionately recommend new players start with an acoustic and with good reason. You learn the connection between attack and tone much more quickly with an acoustic. For players who strive to jump into the world singer-songwriter stylings or cozy up next to a campfire, starting with an acoustic is the natural choice. Potentially cheaper to learn on because you don’t have to worry about a lot of extra equipment.
THEY'RE EXTREMELY PORTABLE! It's easier to carry around and so versatile! For example, you can still play “rock” songs, even though it won’t sound exactly the same, while also having the option to fingerpick the blues or a classical guitar piece. A steel string acoustic guitar or a classical guitar does not need amplification. The body of the guitar serves as an amplifier so you are all set with just the guitar. The steel string guitar sounds great without hassle. Don’t you just love simplicity?
Acoustic with steel strings - our pick as best choice for a first-timer. The portability and flexibility of musical styles that can be played on an acoustic gives it an edge. There’s an added benefit, once you can play the steel-stringed acoustic, you can easily switch to nylon strings or to a electric guitar. Unfortunately, that’s because the acoustic’s steel strings are more difficult on your fingers. Simply, an electro-acoustic guitar looks exactly like an acoustic and really they are.
So what's the added benefit of an electro-acoustic? Electro-acoustic guitars can be played as any acoustic, but will also allow you to plug them into an amplifier, effects pedal and other recording equipment. They're just more versatile - fitted with pickups, a microphone or transducers, it makes them more convenient for live performances. Also note that electro-acoustics are not electric guitars. They are acoustic instruments with electronics fitted so that they can be amplified, but you would not normally need to plug them in to get a good sound out of them.
Classical Guitar Advantages
Beginner nylon-string or classical acoustics are an extremely popular route for first-time players. There are several reasons for this. For one, the smaller bodies of these guitars can be especially inviting for younger players. Nylon string guitars have wider necks with more spacing between each string which can make landing your finger in the right place much easier. Most of all though, the nylon strings themselves are softer and easier to press down, which is one area new guitarists frequently have trouble with. Classical guitars have nylon strings, which are softer than steel strings, and easier to press down. However, the neck is much wider on a classical guitar, which can be a struggle for beginners. The action is likely to be higher, as well. In general, they are softer-toned and don't project as well as a steel string acoustic, which makes for quieter practicing, which could be a consideration.
While nylon string guitaleftre a great choice for beginners, their tone can be a bit limiting when taking the next steps in your progression as a player. For something that covers the sounds of contemporary popular music, a steel string acoustic is far more practical. There may be a slightly longer learning curve to getting your fingering just right, but once mastered, a steel string acoustic can carry you through a wide range of diverse playing styles and musical genres. They are lightweight, small and easier to play, with a mellower sound than traditional acoustic guitars.
They are also available in even smaller sizes (1/2 and 1/4) which are perfect for the little ones, too! They're usually cheaper, so perfect for those who just want a casual instrument to play and are perhaps unsure how seriously they'll dedicate themselves to it. Having said that, the more high-end models can be very expensive and are suited for professional musicians, especially those who indeed play classical music!
We wish you the best of luck on your musical journey!