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what to look for when buying a guitar.

Feb 29, 2008
If you are looking to buy one of your first guitars, this task can be very daunting. Your first decision will be based on what type of music you want to play. This will influence you towards either buying an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar.

If you like your heavier rock'n'roll music or particularly like lead guitar then your choice will likely be to buy an electric guitar. And don't worry. There is no rule that says beginners can't start with an electric guitar. Just remember to listen to how it sounds on the type of amp you will buy.

Your other choice is obviously to buy an acoustic guitar. Acoustic guitars remain very popular due to their natural sound and portability. Acoustics are great for that finger picking technique you will likely want to try at some stage.

Like most items you will pay for brand names and originality or how how authentic the guitar is. For example, if the guitar you want to buy is an original Fender Stratocaster, this will severely damage your credit card whereas a no name Fender Stratocaster Copy with adequate sound and playability will be relatively cheap.

Your personality also reflects your choice in buying guitars. Just as one person will buy an automobile based on it being a luxury brand with a powerful engine, another person will be satisfied with a car that gets them to where they want to go. Many guitar tragics spend their time visualizing themselves owning that guitar that makes everybodies jaw drop. But others with more down to earth tastes are happy to owner one with adequate sound and quality.

When you buy a good brand you typically have less to worry about in terms of the guitar quality. If on the other hand you are buying a guitar at a bargain basement price then you need to conduct your own investigation into its quality. You will need to look at the guitar's tone, it's playing action and last buy not least whether it suits you. There are small pink acoustic guitars and there are big heavy razor-blade shaped electric guitars and everything inbetween. Pick the one that suits you.

The guitar tone is something you alone can decide whether you like. It is personal taste that some people like a more full well-rounded sound while others prefer a more hard edge attacking sound. If you're not comfortable playing it yourself when you go to buy the guitar, get someone else to play some different songs and listen carefully to the tone.

The balance and playability of the guitar is important because of the hours you will spend playing it. Balance and weight are factors and it is a good idea to make sure you are comfortable playing in both a standing up and seated position. The weight and shape of the guitar will influence how it feels for you. Also check the action of the guitar. In other words how hard is it to press the strings down to the fretboard as you move up to the higher frets. The action can be altered but you would hopefully buy a guitar that felt good out of the box. Many people spend hours looking down the neck of the guitar to ensure it is straight but the truth is that it should have a slight forward bend, known as neck relief. This ensures that the strings don't buzz when pressed.

Overall, you have two main choices when buying your guitar. You can buy a more expensive guitar and you know that you are getting a good product. If you are buying a cheap guitar, you probably need to take someone with you with at least intermediate level skills so they can report on its playability and sound. As always make up your own mind. Don't let the salesman make it up for you.
About the Author
About the author: Terry Booth is another keen guitar addict interested in all things referring to buying guitars. He has accumulated all the information needed to buy guitar into the one place.
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