How to Pick a Guitar





Introduction: How to Pick a Guitar

About: I am me. I enjoy playing instruments, preferably with strings, writing my own music and keeping my instruments in good condition, so that's why I've created this page, to share my passion with anyone who'll ...

Are you a new player? Have you been playing for a while? Whatever your guitar playing background is, one thing that'll always have to be considered is what guitar you buy. In this Instructable, I'll be giving you some tips and advice on the purchase of your next instrument.

First 'ible coming up...

Step 1: Brand and Reputation

It used to be that you could only play one of two guitar brands: Fender and Gibson. Now, there's all different names you can choose from such as Cort, Ibanez and Washburn. In general, the better known names will make better quality guitars. If you're starting out, then this may not mean too much to you, as genuine Fender or Gibson guitars are expensive.
However, both the above companies do cheaper versions of their guitars, but still good quality, under the names of Squire (for Fender) and Epiphone (for Gibson). A Squire guitar will look and feel exactly like a Fender, but the overall quality will be lesser than an actual Fender. The same applies for Gibson and Epiphone. So, whether you're looking for a first or fifth guitar, always look at the brand.

Step 2: Guitar Retailers

Guitars are one of those things that you have to "see it to believe it," and it's best to go to a shop that sells lots of guitars, or buy from a reliable friend who's selling a guitar. This step is pretty straightforward: It's all about assessing the quality of what you're buying. A golden rule of guitar buying is this: you are gambling if you buy a guitar from a website like Amazon or EBay as you cannot feel the guitar in your hands and pictures can be misleading. Try and use Internet buying as a last resort if you really can't find the guitar you want.

Step 3: Check Authenticity

You really can't go wrong with this, just check the guitar head for a serial number. Simple!

Step 4: Second Hand Guitars

Brand new guitars aren't always great as there are some brands out there who make cheap guitars and they don't sound excessively great either. Don't underestimate second hand guitars, if they're made by a good brand, and if the guitar itself has been made well, then it should still be a good instrument. As mentioned in the last step, always assess the quality, but if you're torn between a brand new guitar, and a well-made second hand guitar of the same price, never feel as if the brand new guitar is better, it may not be. I, personally, play a second hand Gibson Epiphone SG, and it's the greatest guitar I've played and guess what? It's second hand!

Step 5: Beginners, You're Done!

If you're after your first guitar then that's pretty much it for you. All you really need is six strings to get you playing, but hopefully now you can get a decent guitar for a decent price. If you're more advanced or if you're just the curious sort, read on for further advice!

Step 6: Consider Style

If you've been playing a while, then you probably know what you enjoy playing most. In this case, start to think about what sound you'll get from what guitars. Gibson and Fender guitars will give you a classic Rock sound, but other brands out there are better suited for Jazz or Blues, chances are they'll be a completely different shape and feature a whammy bar or other extras other guitars don't feature. Ibanez and Cort guitars can be used for a good metal sound. Or, if you prefer, stay loyal to one brand. The reason for doing this can be your own, perhaps you like the sound? Perhaps your icon uses these guitars? Don't forget about quality and authenticity from the earlier steps!

Step 7: Consider an Amp

A guitar and an amp are two sides of the same coin. As with guitars, amps come in different qualities and different brands too. Marshall, Orange and Peavey are some of the well-known ones, but it's entirely up to you! Don't forget that what guitar you have and what amp you use will directly effect the end sound, so, if allowed, try out some amps before you buy one. If you're a multi-instrumentalist like myself, you might want to consider an amp that is built for different instruments and can change between them. I personally use a Peavey amp that can adapt to bass, acoustic guitar and electric guitar with the push of a button.

Step 8: Consider a Different Instrument

Perhaps after gaining experience as a guitarist you want to branch out and expand your skills? In that case, try a bass guitar or another stringed instrument. If you want to stick with guitars, but you want a greater range and a new experience, you could consider looking into a seven-string guitar, found in several metal songs. There are loads of instruments out there, ready to be picked up and learnt, all you have to do is be willing to give them a go! You won't regret it in the long run!

Step 9: And That's It!

Whether you read just the beginners section or the full thing, I hope that this 'ible has proved useful to you in any way. Enjoy yourself!

First 'ible done...



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    Please be positive and constructive.




    No problem man, glad I could be of help

    Yes , good information ! I would agree that unless you know exactly what you want , don't buy an instrument " online , mail order , or whatever " . Try-before-you-buy is usually a good idea . See how the instrument feels , plays , and sounds in your hands . A good music store will usually have all of the popular guitars , and let you try them out . I have bought guitars online . Most of them , I have been happy with ( My Fender 12 string acoustic , Martin electric backpacker , Epiphone EB0 bass ) and there were some others that I bought online , that I wasn't real pleased with . Oh Well.......IMHO people get caught up in " brand loyalty " and pay $$$$ for a genuine Fender or Gibson or whatever , or a vintage instrument that cost a fortune , and doesn't play or sound any better than another one .

    Cheers , take care , and have a good day !........73


    4 replies

    Hey, come on guys, I don't want any arguing over my 'ible please, essentially I agree with both of you, some people prefer one guitar over another, but everyone has their preferences, it's no-one's place to judge anyone on here

    Yes , I have had a few guitars ( and other instruments over the years ) I love my Hammond M3 organ , and my Yamaha portable grand piano . One of the bands I played in , I played Hohner blues harp harmonica and percussion instruments . The band leader , Steve ,( a good guy ) wanted to be the " front man " and do all of the guitar and vocal work and wrote the songs, I said OK , I will be here !! we played gigs for a couple of years .

    You literally repeated what the author said, and not very gramatically correct at that.
    Read the 'ible first before going straight to the comments to share your life story (excluding your English classes).

    Cheers man, thank you for the comment!!

    That's a bit like what happened with me and my SG, the seller only wanted it as a display item and so he sold a great guitar at a low price! Thanks for the comment and advice!

    I'm new here and it's the Internet, so you're going to get doubles of things. I'm just trying to help people out there

    These are some really nice guitars, great description and advice btw

    1 reply

    Thanks, they're all mine and I hope that the write up was useful to you!

    Thank you!