Guitars

The Right Guitar For You
It can be a bit of a mine field to decide which guitar is best for you if you're just starting out: acoustic, electric, semi-acoustic, electro-acoustic, full-size, 3/4 size, steel strings, nylon strings, light/medium/heavy gauge strings?

There are a couple of questions you may want to ask yourself first that can help you:

  • What music do you like and want to play?
  • Which guitarists to you admire?
  • How old are you? (Younger students or students with smaller hands may prefer 3/4 size guitars)
  • Do you prefer acoustic or electric?
  • Are you looking to play classical?
Answering these questions can help you decide what you need.
What music do you like?

If you are into rock or metal you may be looking for an electric guitar with high output pickups like an Ibanez, Dean, Shecter or Gibson Les Paul. These guitars will generally have humbucker style pickups that have lots of output which can drive an amp a lot more than single coil pickups.

If you like blues, rock, country music you may like to try something with single coil pickups like a Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster or even a Gibson with P-90 style pickups.
Which guitarists do you admire?
If there are specific guitar players you admire check out what they are playing, this can set you off in the right direction regards which instrument to go for.

If you are a Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton fan you might want to try out a Fender Stratocaster, if you like Slash or Jimmy Page then a Gibson Les Paul might be what you're after or if you like Joe Pass or George Benson you be looking at an arch-top guitar like the Epiphone Pro Vintage II.
How old are you?
Younger students may want to try out 3/4 size guitars to make sure they are comfortable to play. Not only will the neck be smaller but the body will also be considerably smaller. If you are finding a full size guitar too big you also may want to try a parlour sized guitar which has a smaller body.

It's essential that you try the guitar out yourself in person so visit a guitar shop where they can also advice you.
Do you prefer acoustic or electric?
You may like the singer songwriter sound you get from an acoustic or the twang you get from an electric but you'll have to decide exactly what you're after.

An acoustic is great for finger picking and strumming but you may struggle if you want to bend strings within a solo as the gauge (thickness) of string is usually higher than on an electric. An electric guitar can be great for these things as well but you will also need an amp to be heard.
Are you looking to play classical?
If you want to learn to play classical music you may be looking at a Spanish style acoustic guitar with nylon strings. These usually have wider necks for a specific way of playing that doesn't lend itself to pop or rock music.

They usually have a thinner sound to steel strung guitars and are mainly played by finger picking the strings rather than strumming but it can be done.