Some Guitar Buying Tips for Beginners

Everyone knows what a guitar is in this day and age. Guitars are basically used in almost forms, shapes and genres in music. Before the development of the electric guitar and the use of synthetic materials, a guitar was defined as being “a musical instrument having a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and a flat back, most often with incurved sides”.

The “guitar” term is used to refer to a number of related instruments that were developed and used across Europe at the beginning of the 12th century and later, in the Americas.  These instruments are descended from ones that existed in Ancient Central Asia and India. Guitars are distantly related to modern instruments from these regions, including the tanbur, the setar, and the sitar. The oldest known iconographic representation of an instrument displaying the essential features of a guitar is a 3,300 year old stone carving of a Hittite bard.

Guitars have come a long way since then though. Today you get them in all shapes and sizes. Prices for new guitars also range from very low, to affordable to just outrageous. If you are a beginner or wannabe guitarist you will probably be looking to buy a reasonable priced second hand guitar instead of forking out a fortune for a brand new one. When you are just starting out, buying a second hand guitar might be your best option because you will be exploring your musical interests and abilities.

Before buying your first guitar, you should first decided whether you want an electric or an acoustic one. The big question is whether or not a beginner should start on an acoustic guitar or an electric one. You should note these differences before buying one:

  • An acoustic guitar does not need to be plugged into an amplifier, thus it does not require as much of an investment
  • The style of music to be played has a lot to do with this choice in types of guitars.
  • If you plan on playing rock music, your learning progress would benefit most by purchasing an electric guitar and amplifier.
  • If you want to just learn how to strum a few chords..an acoustic is fine..plus..it is very portable, able to be played just about anywhere without the need for electricity.

We asked Gareth Wilson (the lead vocalist and guitarist for Johannesburg based band Southern Gypsey Queen) for some tips about what to check for before you are buying a guitar. This is what he had to say:

  • The first thing you should always check is the guitar’s neck. Check if it’s bent or cracked. If it is it will affect both the tuning and intonation of the guitar.
  • Sometimes guitars can have dead spots. To check for this you should physically play every note on the fretboard.
  • You should also check the tuning heads, knobs, pickups etc on the guitar and make sure they are working like they should.
  • Also remember that there are guitars that (no matter what is wrong with it) just feels right. In this case you should pull out your moth-ridden little wallet buy it (because it’s meant to be).
  • Also note that just like magic wands and dragon-slayers a good guitar will always choose you, not the other way around.

We hope that you wannabe music stars have found these tips useful. If you have, please share this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. If you have any tips that you want to add to this post, please comment on this post and share it with the readers of the Junk Mail blog. Feedback is appreciated and welcome.

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Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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