I should’ve known that I wanted to be a guitarist. I used to use my tennis racket more as a pretend guitar, than ever using it to play the game. I remember a classmate in elementary school bringing in his guitar to show and tell and being so jealous that I didn’t have a guitar myself. I didn’t buy my first until I was a teenager. Why did I wait so long to go get one on my own? Because, I didn’t know what was involved. Let us help you make the right decision.
We can help you find the instrument to get you started. We’ll compare the top acoustic guitar models in this price range, give ratings, and links to extended reviews to find out some more. After that we’ll give you some good tips and tricks to finding the instrument that is right for you.
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And so it Begins…
This is a beginner’s instrument so do not expect too much from it. This is not a guitar that will stay with you, because of its sound and playability. It will stay with you more for nostalgia, or because it has no value in the secondary market.
There is no reason to spend a thousand dollars on your first guitar. Will an expensive guitar be easier to play and look nicer? Of course, but if playing guitar isn’t for you, then you just bought a nice piece of wall art. You will lose more on your investment in an expensive instrument, then you will buying a beginners model, if you do not continue to play.
This will either be your first guitar or your last. If it is your first, then you will learn what you like about this instrument and it will inform your next purchase. If it is you last, then you aren’t out too much money and will have a better idea where your muse is leading you. If you have realistic expectations that your first guitar is a stepping stone you will be much happier in the long run.
What You Need
Have your guitar set up properly before taking it home. A poor set up on a guitar at this price range will make it unplayable. Before you buy see if the set-up is included in the price, or how much it will cost.
The next most important thing you should buy is a tuner. Clip-on tuners are easy to use, and will make learning a much more enjoyable experience for you, and those that have to listen. The nice part about buying an acoustic is that you don’t need an amp to get started. Even the cheapest amps will double the amount you have to spend to get started. Consider that a bullet dodged.
One way to get more out of your new guitar is put a new set of strings on it. If you have no idea what kind to buy talk to the salesperson at the music store, and get their help. The thinner the gauge the easier it will be to play, but you lose some in sound quality. It is a fair trade-off to make. A good set of strings will go a long way to make your playing experience even better.
A music stand is good for holding lesson books open, and putting them in your sight line. Practicing will be made easier without having to struggle to find a place set your lesson book so you can see it. A guitar stand will give you a place to set your instrument when you’re not playing. It works much better than leaning it against the wall.
Buy a plethora of picks, it only will cost you a couple bucks. Try different sizes, materials, and thicknesses, to find what feels best for you. You might even find that a pick isn’t for you, and become a fingerpicker.
The Price You Pay
If you invest a little more into your first guitar (acoustic guitars around the $300 mark)you will get a nicer instrument that will take you farther into your musical journey. You could get a solid top instrument which will go a long way in improving the sound. Playability will be much better. Just remember in the bigger scheme of things those instruments are also very good beginner/entry-level guitars as well.
Guitars are like anything else, you will get what you pay for. A Kia isn’t going to drive like a Cadillac, but if you are just trying to get from point A to point B the less expensive option might be the best choice. Do you need an expensive guitar to start out with? No. It doesn’t hurt to spend more, if you have the money.
What matters most is your passion to play. Guitarists don’t quit playing guitar because they have an inexpensive instrument that is a challenge to play. Those that don’t really have a passion for the instrument will find an excuse to give it up. A guitarist will keep playing no matter what.
Try different styles of guitars to find the one that feels right for you. At this point do not worry about the price tag, worry about the feel. Try different sized guitars to see which fits your body size. Younger or smaller framed players will feel more comfortable with a smaller instrument.
Once you know what kind of acoustic guitar you want and the size that is right for you, then look to see what is available. Take your time, no one says you have to buy your first guitar on the first day.
When you find the one that is right, then turn the tuning machines. If they have a lot of play when you move them, then the tuning stability of the instrument will be very poor. Set the guitar down and move to the next.
Check the action, this is the distance of the string from the fretboard. You should be able to push down without too much effort at the first fret and get a clean and clear note. Try this up the strings and listen for buzzing, and if it takes too much effort to keep the note fretted. This could be fixed with a good setup, or it could be indication of poor craftsmanship.
Take advantage of your local music store. My local store offers a free lesson with every instrument they sell. If you haven’t already found a teacher to help you get started this would be a really good way to test the waters.
The Author’s Conclusion:
This could be the first step into a lifelong journey, or it could be a side step in the wrong direction. You won’t know until you take that first step. Maybe you think you want something more than a first time instrument, then take a look at some of our other comparison articles. Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with what we are keeping up on. Stop by often since we are adding new articles all the time. Until next time, keep working on your B chords and practice those scales.