10 October 2007

Three Simple Steps To Choosing Your Guitar

When you're starting out choosing a guitar can seem like a daunting process because there are so many choices. You could easily spend several lifetimes reading advice, suggestions, learning about wood types, pick-ups, strings and all those other details before you actually get around to buying and playing a guitar.

In the midst of all this seeming complexity here are my simple suggestions for three factors that will help you make your choice in less than a lifetime.

1. Choose a model that makes you feel good

Choose a guitar that you feel good about and you'll want to play it more. If you want to learn then a guitar that gives you the urge to pick it up and play is a great help.

For your first - and later - guitars I think this feel good factor is the most important. Whatever it is that gives you that feeling - the colour, the smell, the feel, the sound, the name - then go with it.

2. Choose a guitar that suits the style of music you want to play

Choose a guitar that suits the style of music you want to play and you'll be happier for longer. If you don't know what style you want to play then do one of these two things:

- Work on your focus. You can't do everything, so pick a style and focus on it. When you've picked a style choose a guitar that suits it.

- Buy an "all round" guitar. I recommend a steel string acoustic (folk) guitar. This can be used to play almost any style, but obviously won't squeal and distort if you want to make that kind of noise.

3. Choose a guitar that suits your budget

This might seem obvious, but decide how much you want to spend and stick to that. Don't be tempted to buy a more expensive guitar when you're at the shop. Remember that you'll probably change your mind within one to two years for your first guitar.

And don't forget that if you're buying an electric guitar you'll need to include an amplifier in the price.

If you apply these three simple factors you will find that choosing among the guitars in your local music shop becomes much easier. By all means learn about the influence of materials and design on the sound, become a leading expert on pick-up technology or whatever else. But remember the bottom line is that you must be able to afford it, play what you want on it and, above all, enjoy playing your guitar.

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