Go to a Guitar shop!
Online is great and there are bargains to be found but when it comes to finding the right guitar for you nothing beats sitting down and trying 20 different ones, and working out what feels comfortable.
Spending your hard earned cash over the internet, only for it to arrive and then realising it’s not comfortable, maybe its too heavy, too large or isn’t how it looked in the pictures, all of these will not encourage you to pick it up and play it.
Forget names. I still know people who believe Fender and Gibson are the only good guitars out there, based on a nostalgia for American rock and blues. Don’t get me wrong they make some beautiful guitars but so do PRS, Ibanez, Jackson, Washburn, Peavey, ESP, Taylor, Martin and many more. Lots of these companies have excellent budget ranges too, such as Squier by Fender, Epiphone by Gibson, LTD by ESP, SE by PRS and so on.
There has never been a better time to buy a guitar, the overall build quality and affordability is at an all time high across more brands than I can think of.
Work out what your budget is as a rule of thumb £100-£300 is entry level, £350-£700 is intermediate, £750-£1200 is Semi-Pro, and £1200+ is Professional.
I’ve had people in the past ask if they should just jump to the end because they can afford to, you can but I think you miss out on one of the joys in life. Finding your perfect guitar over years and learning about how you play and what you like from many different instruments. If you only ever own one guitar, how will you know what sort of bridge you like, or the fret size, the neck radius, the type of wood, the pickups. So many things you only learn from a journey. (Speaking as a man who has owned over 30 Guitars (not all at once) from Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, Jackon, Taylor, Tanglewood, Yamaha, ESP, Breedlove, Vintage, Crafter, Squier and a few others. My first being a Squier Stratocaster that I loved and played to death).
Once you know your budget, play everything in the shop in that range! it doesn’t matter if you like the look of it, hold it strum it, play a few notes you might surprise yourself. You want it to sit with it, making sure you’re comfortable you can reach all the frets, your hand curls nicely round the neck, your wrist sits well on the bridge.
Ask the shop assistance to help, if you’re in a good shop they will be happy to look after you and help you find what you’re after, but also have confidence to like what you like.
Use one amp with the same setting for every guitar, so you can hear the differences between them, does it sound bright and twangy or warm and full bodied? There’s no right answer, I like guitars that sound like the noise in my head, there is no good sound or bad sound only different.
Most importantly don’t rush, enjoy the experience!
Written by Mike Bateson 29/07/2020
If you’re in Chesterfield, check out our friends; Tony Rogers at Realtimemusicshop.co.uk and Sue Clarke at Alanclarkespianos.co.uk
#mikebateson #Reddogstudios.co.uk #Buyingaguitar