Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Buying a beginner guitar

  1. Oct 1, 2007 #1


    User Avatar

    I want to learn guitar, and I'm assuming the best first step is to have a guitar. What is it that I should look for in a first (cheap) acoustic guitar?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If you can afford a decent one then get it. There is a lot of difference between playing a good guitar and a cheap one. Consider buying a good second hand guitar. However, general advice is to check for any dead notes, and check the action by seeing if you can barre the whole of the first fret. That can be really frustrating when you come to learning barre chords and you can't barre the first fret properly. Make sure theres no string buzz or other noise other than clean tones. See if you can get user reviews of the guitars you are considering and generally do some research.

    Finally and most importantly make sure you like the way it sounds and feels.
  4. Oct 1, 2007 #3
    When you go shopping, take a friend who can play guitar.

    Pick some notes high up the fretboard (near the octave mark) - the strings should sound without buzzing against adjacent frets.


    I think that the above company makes very good beginner/intermediate guitars. They are probably still relatively cheap in the US since they would have been imported before the CA$ shot up.
  5. Oct 1, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    There are some decent-sounding inexpensive acoustic guitars, these days. You need to hook up with somebody who understands the trade-offs that come with cheaper hardware, plywood construction, etc, and can help you choose a guitar that will help you grow and not be so difficult to use that it holds you back. For instance, cheap tuners might have problems with backlash or slippage, and poorly-designed bridges can bind the strings and let them slip unexpectedly, making accurate tuning very difficult.
  6. Oct 1, 2007 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Is one looking for an acoustic or electric guitar?

    If electric, get one with a good neck, solid body, good pickups and good electronics, and a good bridge. Also, a good set of strings is important.
  7. Oct 1, 2007 #6
    Don't get an acoustic that is super cheap, you will regret it if you end up with a cheap guitar with a super high action, it will hurt your fingers and be harder to play. Definitely bring a friend who can play with you if you have such a friend. It might not also be a bad idea to buy a nicer used guitar, you could probably get one for a similar price as a cheap brand new one. I don't play an acoustic but I have heard good things about seagull.
  8. Oct 1, 2007 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I wish you lived near here. I own a Taylor that is tailor-made for fingerpicking, plus a hand-made Augostino dread. Still, my friend's music shop has cheap guitars that are worth a try, and I play them all.
  9. Oct 1, 2007 #8
    The best advice I can give you is to really, really try to get someone who plays to go with you to the store.

    It'll give you a much more realistic idea of how it sounds and what sort of things you need to keep in mind.
  10. Oct 1, 2007 #9
    Nice Turbo! I wouldn't mind a Taylor myself one day but it will be a long time off. I'm playing an Epiphone LP Std right now and it is pretty nice, my amp is probably my favorite....a peavey delta blues 30 w tube amp.....to bad I live in an apartment so I can't use it anywhere near its potential.
  11. Oct 1, 2007 #10
    I just recently got a guitar. I went with an electric guitar as all you need to do is hit a button on the amp and turn a knob on the guitar and it goes from heavy metal to acoustic.

    The other part is that it looks real cool. I don't have the model off the top of my head, but make sure that it has has the ability to switch between two completely different sounds when you buy it just in case acoustic songs get boring and you wanna rock hard.

    Thats all the advice I can give...
  12. Oct 2, 2007 #11
    You'd be surprised what you can currently get with only $200-$300. With China doing a lot of the production work for quite a few manufacturers, it's made the priced drop like a rock... compared to he way prices used to be. The one thing that surprises me is that on most, (ones i've seen, at least) the quality is actually very good. The sound quality is also very close if not exact to that of a new guitar from a major company. Unlike most items that are imported to the US from China, the guitars are actually pretty decent.
  13. Oct 2, 2007 #12
    Just don't buy one in mexico. I got one there a few months ago, and its virtually useless, other than as a paperweight or bedroom decor.
  14. Oct 2, 2007 #13


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Some motivation perhaps -

    Steve Howe - Mood for a Day

    Steve Howe - Lute Concerto in D Major / Mood For A Day

    Steve Howe - Clap

    Steve Howe - Sketches in the Sun (12 string)

    Steve Howe was guitarist with the group Yes, then Asia.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  15. Oct 2, 2007 #14


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    That is not a reliable statement. Maybe you have not checked enough brands or makers. The region definitely has some fine musicical artists who must obtain their instruments inthere. Check my profile for my email; we can briefly discuss this off the forum.
  16. Oct 2, 2007 #15
    Sorry, I didn't mean to say mexico wasn't capable of creating quality guitars. I should have been more precise.

    Don't buy a guitar from a guy standing on the road on the border between the US and tijuana. Even if you talk the guy down from 100 dollars to 20... its still not a good deal.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Buying a beginner guitar
  1. Help with guitar (Replies: 19)

  2. Real Guitar (Replies: 79)

  3. Guitar Songs (Replies: 17)

  4. Buying a pony (Replies: 8)