Instructables
Picture of How to Find the Right Guitar
This Instructable will be a guide to what you should look for when buying a guitar. I will address all of the different aspects that you should consider so that you can know what kind of guitar will fit you best.  It will be directed towards buying an electric guitar so if you are looking for an acoustic this Instructable isn't for you. Also, I know this Instuctable doesn't cover every aspect of guitar shopping but it covers some of the more important parts.
 
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Step 1: A Good Fit for Your Style Of Music

Picture of A Good Fit for Your Style Of Music
One very important thing that you should consider when choosing a guitar, is the type of music you will be playing. For example, if you play a lot of hard rock or heavy metal, you might want to get a guitar from Jackson, B.C. Rich, ESP or Ibanez. These brands make most of their guitars with thinner necks and lower action (strings lower to the guitar neck). Both of these features allow for faster and easier playing so these are good guitars to shred on. Another example is if you play a lot of blues you might want a Fender Telecaster or a Gibson Les Paul. These guitars are mad with smoother sounding pickup which are perfect for soft rock, blues and jazz. It is also very important the the guitar you choose has the right sort of sound for your preferred genre.
I like the what type of music do you want to play aspect. I often, in my own school fall short of this though because most of our students are younger and beginners but I like your perspective. Thanks
nfk112 years ago
i just got a $170 guitar made by EPIPHONE, AND ITS WAY BETTER THAN UR SELECTIONS!!!!!
freeza36 nfk112 years ago
When you say "your selections" do you mean the guitars that he listed, such as the Fender Telecaster, ESP, Ibanez, or a Gibson Les Paul? In any case, epiphone is not better.
nfk11 freeza362 years ago
i know i was just joking. but i have a nice electric. it sounds like it has a pedal that's making the sound.
freeza36 nfk112 years ago
Yeah, I figued you where. What kind of electric do you have?
nfk11 freeza361 year ago
oh just an epiphone its okay i guess i mean a lead guitar is not what it will be ever ??? i got mixed up XD
freeza36 nfk111 year ago
Haha im confused. Eventually imma get an Epiphone Wilshire.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Epiphone-Worn-1966-Wilshire-with-Tremotone-Electric-Guitar-106526072-i1819085.gc
nfk11 freeza361 year ago
cool mine is an Epiphone SPECIAL! its pretty koolbeans.
freeza36 nfk111 year ago
I almost bought a special once.
nfk11 freeza361 year ago
i got it at a Sam Ash store for $170
freeza36 nfk111 year ago
Ive seen them for under $100 here at Guitar Center
nfk11 freeza361 year ago
yeah sam ash just overprices everything. but i dont live near a sam ash anymore.
mdog933 years ago
I would argue never to play one guitar, and decide that's the one you wnat. Never, always COMPARE. I got an electro/acoustic guitar for christmas just gone and I went to some shops with my dad. We didn't have a massive budget but we wanted a reasonable guitar. Sound quality was the most important thing.

Anyway I played two yamahas (not the best guitars, but i was surprised at how they sounded) and there wasn't much between them but the more expensive model sounded slightly nicer.

Then I decided to compare it to something more expensive, a tanglewood model, and it was sooo much nicer and before i tried that i would have been happy with one of the yamahas, and yes it was about £60 more. But hell was there a difference.

One more thing, maybe more so for acoustics and electro/acoustic guitars than electrics but it still applies- the best sounding guitars are not necessarily the most expensive. You can find great, really good sounding guitars for very little money these days. Sometimes even better than more expensive ones. But the only way is to play them and find out.
Does anyone else agree with any of those points?
jvdlcr125 (author)  mdog933 years ago
Thats a good point, I'll add it to the guide...
cool cheers :) have you ever played a tanglewood guitar?
I have once. Liked it quite a bit.
jvdlcr125 (author)  mdog933 years ago
Nope I've never played one
ahh, they are really nice quality. MAde it the UK, well some are some are just 'designed' in the UK
jackyroo3 years ago
Guys, some proof-reading of these articles would really make them look much better ( there or their ?).

On this topic, I think that stating "Fender or Gibson for blues" isn't even scratching the surface of available choices. It actually made me stop reading into it.

Playing a guitar at a store, then buying it on-line isn't actually the best approach. It will surely give an idea of what it's suppose to sound like, but each example is going to be different. You may even end up getting a lemon. Guitars do have issues. I'm not advising against on-line purchases and you can always return it, but it is such an individual fit, it's best to do it in person.

mdog93: you're right on with your points
Fender and gibson for blues? There are so many more comapnies that excell in blues...
jvdlcr125 (author)  jackyroo3 years ago
Thanks for the feedback, I'll be sure to make some changes.
haoran3 years ago
Dude, there's heaps of stuff you want to add to this guide. For instance:

* what sort of wood is the guitar made out of, and why does it matter? When I read that a guitar is made from ash, maple, basswood, etc, what effect does that have on the sound?

* pickups. Whats the difference between a single-coil and a humbucker? Why isn't it always better to have more pickups? (i.e., the difference between gibsons with 2 pickups, or the strat with 3 pickups.)

* scale. Whats the difference between a gibson scale and a fender scale?

* bridge. Why would I want a string-through body? Why would I want a fixed bridge? What's a floyd-rose, and why would I want it? What's the disadvantages of that? Is it good/bad to have an old-school gretsch style bridge?

* what am I looking for? What are desirable qualtiies, I.e., tone, sustain, action, playability? What are the trade-offs? I.e. less action = more tone.

hhiles haoran3 years ago
The wood, pickups, scale, bridge, tuners, nut, etc. are all good points to consider, but newbie guitarists may be a bit overwhelmed by all these details. Most brand name guitars are made pretty well these days, and a good guitar tech can make a cheaper guitar play like a more expensive one.

Picking the right guitar comes down to 3 things--how it looks, how it sounds and how it plays. Playing several guitars and comparing them is definitely the best way to go. Once you find a guitar that looks, feels and sounds just right, buy it. You can always replace any troublesome bits like the nut, bridge, tuners, pickups, etc.
In all reality though, it will eventually come in handy (if they stick with it.) And I agree that it is a bit overwhelming (me, approximately 5 years ago) but I think its important that he at least mentions it.
hannahbs2 years ago
Hey I have a problem with finding a certain guitar. You see, I have been playing for 5-6 years and I have 3 guitars looking to buy a 4th, an electric one. my 3 previous guitars have been a Gibson (melody maker Joan Jet), a Taylor steel string guitar and a Fender Strat, I like the fender sound and I want another one, but I need one which is smaller than the original size. My Taylor guitar has a length that is 7/8 of the regular size, and its the best one I have ever played on. I am looking for the same size in an electric guitar, but I can only find kids models which are not in very good quality. You seem like you know a great deal about guitars so I thought I would give it a shot and ask :)
Hannah
jvdlcr125 (author)  hannahbs2 years ago
Hannah,
As far as I know most, if not all, short scale guitars are usually cheap, entry level guitars designed for kids. You may want to try going to a music store like guitar center and asking them if they know if there are any mid range or high end short scale guitars. If you don't have any luck with that your only other option (that I can think of) would be to get one custom made from places like the Fender Custom Shop (http://fendercustomshop.com/) or another custom shop from another guitar manufacturer (most guitar manufacturers offer custom order services). What's nice about this option is that you can have your guitar made how ever you want, with everything from the custom short scale to a custom body shape to custom inlays. The downside is that it's expensive but if price isn't too much of a problem then this might be a good route to go.

Thanks, sounds like I have a lot of work ahead of me :) I live in norway so guitar center will be sort of difficult but I guess I have to start looking in stores and ask around. Would be fun to make one, but I don't think I know that much of all the different materials and how I would want all the other details. Thanks though! it was very helpful.
I think PRS makes short scale guitars that are mid and high end.
fredellarby3 years ago
Another vote for comparing as much as possible.
I've been playing for over 45 years so I pretty much know what I want. I went out looking to buy a Taylor or Guild based on reputation. When I started looking the Guild went off the table. I tried a Tanglewood at about half the price of the Taylor and after trying them both, then having the salesman play them for me across the room so I could hear them better, I got the Tanglewood and saved nearly $1000.
what brand of guitar would i use if i wanted to play muse at a reasonable price?
jvdlcr125 (author)  madrobot36003 years ago
Well there's not really one specific brand that makes a guitar best for playing Muse so the best thing to do is to just try a lot of different guitars (preferably ones geared towards rock music) until you find the one that you are most comfortable with and one that sounds the best. I would suggest starting out by looking at Gibson or Fender guitars. Both of these brands are usually good quality and many of the guitars they make are geared towards rock so they may have the sound your looking for.
ski4jesus3 years ago
Midtown Music is a good store too...
ski4jesus3 years ago
Also, new strings can make a huge difference in tone on a guitar.
make sure the neck is straight