Buying a beginner guitar can be a daunting task especially for someone who doesn’t come from a musical background. Schools often have recommendations for their students but deciphering the terminology and muso jargon can also be difficult.
We’ve put this article together to hopefully make things a little easier for you and also dismiss some misconceptions that float around when you’re looking to make your first guitar purchase.
Guitar Teachers often recommend beginners start on a classical guitar. The reasons behind this are:
The nylon strings are softer on their fingertips so they don’t hurt as much, and therefore you can do more practice!
The body size of a classical is smaller than on an acoustic guitar and for juniors getting their arm around the bowl of the guitar is much easier.
Wider string spacing makes it easier for them to cleanly hold down the desired string
2. Size or Scale of guitar?
Beginner guitars whether Classical, Acoustic or Electric often come in multiple sizes. To match up a student to the correct sized guitar we often use the guide below:
Guitar Size Guide
12 yrs +
Keep in mind this is only a guide, please use your own digression and remember the best way is to try them out!
3. Solid Top or Not? (What does this mean anyway?)
99.9% of entry level classical or acoustic guitars are built using laminate or plywoods (in the case of electric guitars the equivalent would be a plywood body). Laminate guitars are always cheaper and generally for beginners are more than sufficient, in particular for younger students who will be upgrading or moving up a size quite quickly.
If your teacher has recommended a Solid Top guitar they would be doing so for the following advantages:
Better quality tone
Louder sound projection
Keep in mind that unless otherwise stated only premium quality guitars would have solid timber back and sides and a Solid Top guitar is just that, a guitar with a Solid Top but laminate back and sides.
When a guitar says it has a pick-up this means that it has a built in pre-amp and input for plugging the guitar into an amplifier or P.A. System.
A cutaway is referring to a different body shape where the body is tailored in around the fretboard to give a player better access to the higher frets.
These features are always nice to have, but definitely not a necessity for a beginner. Pick-ups can always be added later.
Most guitar manufacturers catering for the beginner market will have a “Starter Pack”. Although you might think you’re saving money by saying no to any extra’s often the value included in this packs are well worth it. If you were to itemize some popular starter pack accessories they would be in the ball park of:
Electric Guitar Tuner – from $19.95
Guitar Bag - from $29.95
Strap – from $12.95
Pitch Pipe – from $9.95
Capo – from $12.95
DVD or Beginner Book - $29.95
This article was published on Tuesday 15 June, 2010.