Friday, January 8, 2010

How To Buy A Guitar

Choosing A Guitar:

Yesterday I was with my friend for buying him a new guitar. Guitar is very complex instrument and there are many factors to look for while buying a new guitar. This one is for those who are beginning to learn guitar and looking for a good guitar for practice.

Info Gathering:

If you want to buy a guitar, never think that you are going to buy it on that day itself. You should spend a lot of time in searching your soul-mate. Visit 3 or 4 shops per weekend. So, you can at least visit 10 to 15 music shops in a month. See all the models and brands and ask for the price list. Write everything down in a paper. Compare the price across models and shops. At least you should have a list of 50 instruments.


The next thing is budget. For a beginner, I suggest buying an economical model which costs around 2500 to 4000 Rupees at max. Because you will never be content with one guitar. Soon you will be buying your second instrument if you really love playing. Second reason to buy a cheaper guitar is, the instrument (whatever may be the cost) will suffer damage with use and climatic changes. Usually rough-use guitar will live for 4 to 5 years.


Beginners are not expected to buy electric guitars or f-cut guitars. The reason is, these are modified guitars to serve certain ends. For example, a beginner will be learning lead bits which sounds better in ordinary Jumbo-guitars than in f-cut guitars which are preferred for playing chords. So I suggest sticking with a jumbo model without a cut-a-way body. You are not going to play those really high pitch notes. Pick-up is not needed. But go for it if it is within budget.


Judge the shop with following criteria. The first thing is price, shop's reputation, nearness to house (for service concerns) and the shop's contact with your music teacher or friends. For example, my friend was suggested a shop by his teacher. So it is the better option to stick with.

Shop Visit:

Budget, Model and Shop are to be decided in your home. After that, ask your music teacher or a friend familiar with guitar to accompany you to the shop. You should be deciding the brand and piece in the shop. If your budget is very low, go for Indian brands like Givson. My first guitar was a Givson. But Chinese made guitars are flooding the shops now-a-days. My current guitar is a jumbo from Infinity(Chinese). Next thing is the finishing of exterior. It may sound silly. But that is what going to save your guitar from wear and tear. The edges should be sealed and varnished (not painted) completely. It offers safety from cracks. Next, the interior. The interior should be as smooth as the exterior. Givson interiors won't be that good. This is what going to offer your guitar safety over falls and crushes. Look for the material of the tuning keys and the bridge. Go for rust free parts. After sorting out some 3 to 4 pieces with the above mentioned features, test the sound. The guitar's sound should be clean without any damping. Place your eyes exactly vertical and see if any string hits on fret-board while plucked. Take time and play all the frets in all the strings. See if the frets are fixed without any irregular slants. The sound should not be too metallic. Your hand should not be easily playing the guitar. It should be a bit hard for your left hand to play. This will improve your endurance while practice. At last, ask for free bag, 5 to 10 picks, spare-string set, strap, tuner and chords book. All or most of it should be given free. Bargain!

Post-Purchase Care:

Rest your guitar flatly on a shelf or keep it slanted against the corner of wall with a bottom support. If you can afford, buy a stand. Dust your guitar daily. Change strings every 3 to 5 months. If you are not going to play for a long time reduce the tuning two frets below. Don't stick any fancy stickers on the surface. Don't try to tune if you are not familiar with it. Never allow your family members or friends to handle the instrument unless they are guitarists. Cover the guitar in winters. Don't pick with anything except pick or fingers.

1 comment:

David Schrock said...

Which is better to start off with acoustic or electric? I'm a beginner with no experience. . I want to buy an electric guitar but i don't know which kind to choose. I found a lot of web pages offering acoustic guitars for sale ( ) but I’m still considering which one to get. Help?