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...