13th Dec 2019

How to choose your first guitar

Choosing good guitar there are two main types of guitar to choose from the electric guitar and the acoustic guitar.

The acoustic guitar is intended for use by itself without any need for amplification whereas the electric guitar is designed for use with an amplifier. An amplifier is a device which will make the guitar sound louder. Amplifiers come in a huge variety from tiny little personal amplifiers, which will just make enough sound to fill a small room to huge professional amplifiers which will fill a stadium or an auditorium. A guitar can be connected to an amplifier very easily by using a guitar lead that connects to the outputs on the guitar and to the input on the amplifier.

Between the electric guitar and the acoustic guitar is an entire spectrum of guitars some of which will lean more towards the acoustic capabilities and others which lean more towards the electric capabilities. Here's a rundown of just some of the guitars that are available. 

The classical or Spanish guitar

This is a full acoustic guitar and as the name suggests it's best suited towards classical or Spanish styles of guitar playing. This style of guitar has a small body for an acoustic guitar with a wide neck and nylon strings. The small body and nylon strings give this guitar a particularly woody tone which is ideally suited towards classical and Spanish guitar playing. The wide neck makes it easier to get your fingers between the strings for finger picking but makes this guitar more difficult for strumming. This isn't a very good choice of guitar then if you want to learn contemporary music.  There's an urban myth or common misconception that nylon string guitars are the best guitar to learn on. If you want to learn classical guitar then a non string is perfect but if you want to learn contemporary music this isn't the best guitar to start on. 

The Steel String, country folk or dreadnought guitar 

This is a full acoustic guitar with a slightly more tinny sound than the classical guitar this guitar can be recognised by the large body long narrow neck steel strings. This configuration makes it the ideal guitar to learn contemporary music in many styles. The narrow neck and steel strings also make it the ideal guitar if you intend to move on later to an electric guitar. The feel of the neck is quite similar to an electric guitar neck but the body is a lot larger. Because of the size of the body some care should be taken when buying one of these guitars, it's a good idea to come into Guitar World and try one on your knee first, just to see how it feels. Some children and small adults have difficulty with the body and find it digs into their arm, if that is the case we recommend going for a small body Steel string guitar. 

The solid bodied electric guitar 

The solid-body electric guitar is probably the most available guitar on the market today. There are literally thousands of variations in the size shape and color in which the solid-body electric guitar is available. The size shape and color of the guitar make very little or no impact at all on the sound of the guitar however the pickup style and configuration makes an audible difference to the way the guitar sounds. Because of this it's worth taking note of the style of guitar that's used in the style of music you'd eventually like to play. The solid-body electric guitar was specifically designed for use with amplification and therefore without amplification they're very very quiet and are only really useful for practicing in a quiet room. In saying that however the volume is usually perfectly adequate for practicing by yourself.  Once you've researched and discovered the style you want it's always a good idea to go to your local music shop and try the guitar you are after. This way you'll be one hundred percent sure that the guitar you're getting is the one you want.

Left-handed guitars 

Unfortunately there aren't quite so many left-handed guitars available as there are right-handed. This can make it challenging to find one to suite your needs. Some people believe its possible to just turn the guitar upside down but because most guitars are not symmetrical this will not work and the instrument will play out of tune. The one exception is a nylon string guitar.