How to buy a Guitar! - Part 1

Buying a new piece of instrument is always a tough task at times, with so many lucrative options available. Musical instruments are always very alluring and 90% of the times one ends up getting distracted and starts checking out super cool instruments, that you can't help, but admire.

This 3 Part blog will cover all the aspects of purchasing your new guitar! So without further ado, let's board the fantasy train!

The Basics

One of the most important thing one must have if you want to get the perfect instrument is Patience! You'll need to spend some time on this thing, use that time to research, check out the type of guitars there are, which shape you are looking for, etc...the list goes on and on. I can tell you with my experience that if you don't research enough and don't keep patience you end up buying something that is likely to be higher in price and still not meeting your entire needs spectrum.

Apart from having patience, one must also learn to Maintain control! Yes we are talking about Shaolin Control, yes it get's crazy! When you go into a music store or an online store, it's very easy to get intimidated with the better higher priced options available. Here you need to keep your calm. Be very specific about your needs and execute likewise.

For novice guitarists, music stores, physical and online, are likely to be intimidating. However it gets much harder when you are at a physical store, for reasons such as, a music store will invariably have several guitarists with amps cranked, intent on showing off their skills. This can be a little scary for beginners, we understand, we all have been there. Here you need to do your best to ignore everyone else and keep your focus on finding the best guitar possible option with the least expense, yes that is possible!

How to Choose the Right Guitar

Always have a checklist of features you can't live without and features you can afford to compromise on. For a beginner it's very likely that you won't need any high end configuration guitar. So for a beginner the features to compromise on list, should be high, don't worry about it!

See which guitar fits! This is a two step process, in general the online shop's inventory is much much greater than any physical store for obvious reasons! So it's better to start off by making a list of guitars that fit your needs and you'd like to try. Now you have two options, to go check those guitars yourself out at a local store or trust the online reviews. However to get the feel of instrument it's generally preferred to first check the instrument on your own. When in store ask the employee for a stool and a pick. If it's an electric guitar plug it in an amp similar to what you intend to buy. And, it may go without saying, but avoid using effects.

Once the setup is done, play the guitar the same way you would at home. If you are just beginning your lessons, ask for a musician friend to help on this one. To hear the tonal qualities of a guitar, it needs to be played at a reasonable volume. Strum the open strings hard... listen to the sustain, and note problems like buzzing strings. Things to note when buying a guitar include the following things:

  • Fret buzz (open and fretted notes across the fret board)
  • Intonation problems
  • Neck warp
  • Problems with electronics (if any)
  • Problems with tuners (not able to hold tuning for long time)
  • Neck alignment with the strings.
  • Action of guitar.

However most of these issues can be fixed by performing a guitar setup, it's nice to buy a well set guitar in the first place.

Play something you've learn and you are comfortable playing. Don't be the one who shows off, it's not the time for that right now. Your main focus be the guitar and not you. Play the guitar and listen closely to find out if the guitar has any of the stated problems. It's important to note that you need to check at-least 2-3 pieces of the same model before you can judge the actual sound of the guitar as there can faulty pieces in the lot.

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Stay tuned for the Part 2 on this article as this will be worth reading :)


Shubham Sharma
Shubham Sharma

Author



1 Comment

H.Madhusudhan Bhandarkar
H.Madhusudhan Bhandarkar

March 18, 2015

You have shared wonderful suggestions which are very useful while purchasing a guitar. Being a guitar teacher myself in Mangalore, I apply all your ideas. Thanks a lot.

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