Beginner Guitar Lesson - Choosing a Guitar
Hello, this is Brad from JamPlay.com. And I'm here to introduce a new Phase 1 series: Beginning Guitar.
So you've decided that you want to play guitar. You need to decide what kind you want to play. Do you want to play rock and roll, country, blues, acoustic, electric? That's something to think about. Choose from your favorite artist, what kind did they play? Did they play an acoustic? An electric? Did they play with humbuckers? Did they play with single coil pickups? These are some things that you need to think about when choosing a guitar.
Let's say, you want to play an acoustic guitar. Some things to look at in acoustic guitar are, first of all, the way it feels when you play it. Does it fit your body with comfort? When you put your arms around the guitar, does it feel comfortable to you? Are you having to put your arm way too far over and it's uncomfortable? These are some of the things you need to think about.
The action is very important. What I'm talking about with action is, you have your strings here, and then the neck of the guitar. When you're holding down the strings, are they too hard to push down? Are the strings, what I call gorilla action, where you have to push really hard there far up, play just single notes, if you're just starting out, to feel if it's going to be too difficult for you to push the strings down. Also, I would bring a friend with more experience with me, that knows how to play a little bit of guitar. And have them tell you what they feel about it.
One other thing to think about is your physical hand size. Are you a small person? Or a big person? If you're a small person, you may want to think about play a three-quarter size guitar, with a smaller type of neck, which will make it a lot easier for some of the small hands to get their hands around and stretch. Also, how is the width of the neck? Some have a thinner neck, which is easier for stretching, holding chords, and moving around. And some have a fatter neck. So it's all a matter of physical size, comfort, and value.
So now, what we're talking about value, we're talking about quality versus price. First of all, what I would do there is so many out there right now, and so many things to choose from, that it's almost like going out and buying your first car. There's so many things to choose from and it's really not impossible but could be frustrating. So what you need to do is first narrow it down to a price range that's comfortable for you. There's a lot of good starting ones in the $200 range. $150, $200, $300 to $400 range.
So, what you do is you pick what's comfortable for you and then look guitars that are just in this price range category. Then what you do is you look at the quality of the guitar. Look inside it, inside the hole if you're looking at an acoustic model. Is there glue that you can see physically in there? Is it dirty on the inside? Did they not clean it out? Does the craftsmanship look well? Does it feel good in your hands? These are some of the things you need to think about.
Another thing to consider is buying from a local store. I always find it that it is better to buy from a local store because you have the place, first of all, to take your guitar back if there's something wrong with it. Make sure that they have a decent repair person. And talk to him about things like, if I need to have a new nut put on, what would it cost? When you buy from a local store, you tend to have better service, rather than buying from a big company, because they know you personally. And they are going to take better care of your instrument because they want you to keep coming back.
Look at multiple guitars, try out many of them, as many as there are available. And what fits best for you with your price range and quality of guitar, and style of play. Some of them out there that I would look at are Fender, Art Lutherie, Epiphone, Dean models. These are just some of them that have decent entry level models and a decent lower bracket price range.
Once you've decided on a guitar, whether it be electric or acoustic, you need to get some accessories for this. You're going to need strings, picks, a guitar strap, and possibly even something to tune up with, pitch bite, fork tuner, or nowadays they have electronic tuners. They have electronic tuners that go on the back of the neck of it, some that are like a floor pedal unit. These are some of the things you need to look at.
With strings, whenever you one, think about or ask who you're buying from what gauge of strings and what type of strings are on the guitar. Especially if you're buying an acoustic type. You don't want to put on too light of set of strings because it could cause fret buzz. With lighter strings there's less tension on the neck which, it's made out of wood, so the neck will tend to bow back a little bit which can cause fret buzz, which will make you have to have your reset for that gauge of strings. That being said, that can happen also on electric guitar but it's less common. Usually electric types have a lighter set of strings on it anyway. But it's very important on acoustic models to look at that.
Now as far as picking out picks, what I would suggest for somebody that's beginning is a medium weight pick. I'm not exactly sure what gauge that is but they usually have light, medium, and heavy. And for someone who's just starting out, you don't want too light of a pick, because it's less control. And you don't want too heavy of a pick because sometimes it feels a little bit sloppy and uncomfortable in the hand. So I would go with the medium gauge.
There are different kinds of textures with picks, what's really important is how it feels in your hand. Is it too slick, first of all? Does it feel like it wants to fall out of your fingers? There are some that are made out of nylon, plastic, there's some that they say are made out of tortoise shell, which I feel they have a really good grip to them, and that's what I prefer. I'm not exactly sure if they're really made out of tortoise shell, but that's what they say.
Anyway, with picks there's a lot of different shapes. The shape is important, how it fits in your hand. Is it too big? Some are triangular shaped and some are shaped like this, which is what I would prefer for someone just starting out.
Then we go into picking out a strap. You want to pick out a strap that's in your price range. That's another thing that can be anywhere from $10 on up to $50 or $100. And depending on what's it made out of, dependent on what company makes it. What I would consider is just a good old standard leather strap, if it's not too expensive. Or even a nylon type are fine. But you want to make sure that it feels comfortable around your shoulder and you want to make sure that it stays on without falling off.
Which leads into another thing. When you're standing up playing, you may want to get some strap locks. Because I feel that if you have a decent one, if your strap falls off and it hits the ground, you're going to be very disappointed when you see the nicks on it.
All in all, what's most important for your choices of models and accessory is comfort, price, and quality. Anyway that's my take on choosing a guitar. And I hope this helps you out. [sound cut 00:10:07]