With a growing number of options on the market today, choosing your very first electric guitar may seem a bit overwhelming. However, by asking yourself a few questions and understanding the different types of guitars that are available, you will easily be able to choose the guitar that is right for you or your child. By the end of this article, you will know exactly what kind of guitar will best support your learning, and exactly what you will need to purchase.
What To Think About When You Choose Your First Electric Guitar
In order to determine which first electric guitar is right for your needs, let’s first ask ourselves a few questions:
- Who am I buying this for? A complete beginner who is just discovering how to play? Or someone transitioning from another instrument, such as the acoustic guitar?
- What style(s) of music do you intend to play?
- What is my budget?
Who Is It For?
Complete beginners purchasing their first electric guitar should consider a starter package. This will include everything you need to begin taking lessons and practice at home. The bundled items vary by manufacturer, but look for one that includes at least an amplifier, tuner, instrument cable, and pick. I recommend one of the Squier or Epiphone starter packs, which carry a street price of around $200. Only those on a shoestring budget should opt for a cheaper alternative (trust me, they will give you a headache and you won’t be saving much money).
Guitars come in different sizes – the two most common types you will encounter are full size and ¾ size. As a general rule of thumb, ¾ size guitars are great for small hands and children under 10 years of age. Full size instruments are suitable for adults and children 10 years and up. This varies based on how tall your child is, hand size, and arm length. That means it is always important to try before you buy. If buying for a child, make sure that they can reach all of the tuning keys with the guitar in playing position. Ask a store employee to help you find the correct size if you are unsure.
Different Types of Guitars
There are many different configurations, or styles, for electric guitars. Each has its own set of unique features. Although this is less important for beginners purchasing their first electric guitar, you’ll want to look for one that is suitable for the style of music you are going to be playing.
The two most common electric guitars on the market are the Les Paul and Stratocaster. Both cover a wide array of sounds, but are styled very differently from each other. They feel different too, so make sure to get your hands on one so that you could determine which one feels right. Choosing your first electric guitar should be fun! Buy an instrument you are going to be excited to play. This will help keep you or your child motivated.
Making the Purchase
A few tips on purchasing in-store: Before making the trip, be sure to call the store and ask whether they have the guitars you are looking for in stock. If you plan on visiting one of the larger chain stores, you’ll want to go during a time that is less crowded. Don’t let the sales associates pressure you. Instead, tell them that you would like to try out a few different guitars on your own and you’ll let them know if you have any questions.
One last consideration: Have a store associate or local luthier “set up” the instrument for you. After purchasing your first electric guitar, having a professional perform some necessary adjustments will improve its playability. Almost all new instruments will require adjustments, some more than others. A guitar with poor playability can make learning dull and frustrating, so do yourself a favor and have it adjusted at the time of purchase if possible.
I hope this article was helpful to you! Although there are many options on the market today, choosing your first electric guitar isn’t as difficult as you may think.