This is a topic I get asked about all the time from people who have just started, or are thinking of starting to learn guitar. Sometimes people are choosing an instrument for themselves, and sometimes for a child, but whoever it is for, the following steps are the best way to go about selecting that first guitar.
The first thing you will need to do is think about the type of guitar you want. There are 3 main types of guitar – acoustic guitar, classical guitar, and electric guitar.
- Acoustic guitar has steel strings giving quite a strident sound. The neck tends to be a little narrower which can be slightly easier for smaller hands.
- Classical guitar has nylon strings giving a more mellow sound. The neck is quite wide, and this type of instrument is best if you would like to learn to play classical music.
- Electric guitar is the obvious choice if you want to play in a band, and you will need to decide between a single coil pickup which is great for a cleaner sound, or a humbucker pickup which is great for distorted rock playing.
So if you have an idea what style of music you are hoping to play, then this will help you determine the type of guitar you need.
The next step is to try some out and see how they feel. All guitars are slightly different sizes and shapes, regardless of which type they are, and it is important that you can comfortably put your arm over the top to strum or pick the strings.
Once you’ve decided whether you want acoustic, classical or electric try having a listen to some. If you ask the shop assistant to play a few and without looking at the price try and pick out a few you like sound of. This is a matter of taste, and your taste as you will be listening to this guitar more than anyone else with all the practise you are going to be doing.
Finally, if you have narrowed it down to a few within your price bracket then the look of the instrument should be your deciding factor, as it needs to be attractive enough for you to want to pick it up and play it every time you look at it.