Image source: CreterGuitarShop
We’ve put together a short guitar buying guide, keeping in mind that the first one you buy may not have all the bells and whistles of your dream guitar, so one day you’ll probably buy another one. Here are some things that you may want to look for when buying that second (or third, or fourth!) guitar.
1. Check your budget first.
Is there a guitar you already have in mind? If it’s too expensive, are there cheaper alternatives? Will you be happy with the alternative? If yes, good. If not, keep saving. Keep in mind that the price difference between similar guitars isn’t always justified. Expensive doesn’t always mean better quality and vice versa. Check for second hand instruments. You just may stumble upon a really good deal.
2. What features do you need?
Does it have the right pickup combination? Active or passive? Fixed or floating bridge? Nylon or metal strings? Cutaway or no cutaway? There are so many options to choose from. While instruments can be used for just about any type of music, some types just sound better for certain styles than others. Figure out what you need it for and go from there.
3. Guitars come in different shapes and sizes. How does it feel in your hands?
Neck shapes matter so pick one that you’re comfortable with. How does it feel when you’re sitting down? Let’s take V-shaped guitars as an example. They look really cool, right? But playing them while sitting down isn’t exactly comfy. Most players will find a sitting position that will work for them, but the same might not work for you. How’s the weight? How does it feel when you’re standing? This matters if you plan on using it for extended periods of time. Wrong weight and playing position, whether sitting or standing, can lead to injuries.
4. Is it pleasing to look at from your perspective?
Does it make you want to pick it up and play simply by looking at it? A lot of people might disagree with the importance of this, but an instrument that is pleasing to look at can often inspire you to practice/play on days when you don’t exactly feel like playing. That’s just my opinion though. Imagine walking around the music store with hundreds of guitars to choose from. You will inevitably be drawn to one or a few. If you find a guitar that meets all the requirements listed in 1-3 but is not exactly pleasing to your eyes, don’t worry! It’s not the end of the world. You can always have your guitar customized to your liking later. Some people do it themselves. If you’re not confident in your skills, just take it to a luthier who can perform the modifications for you.
5. Inspect the instrument for any damage.
If you’re not sure what to watch out for, be sure to bring someone along who can inspect the instrument before you buy. Even though this isn’t always the case, some salesmen will conveniently forget any issues an instrument might have. While luthiers can fix most things, any issues will only grow worse over time, so it’s important to start off with a quality instrument.
6. Avoid buying online.
This is directly related to point number 5. Inspect the instrument before buying.
7. Buy a case for your instrument.
Protect your instrument from dust, dirt and corrosion. Store your instrument in the case when not in use.