Choosing a guitar depends on you - your hand size, the sound you want, your music taste, not to mention your budget. It should inspire you.
Not sure if you should get acoustic or electric?
Start with the sound you love! If you already know you want an electric guitar, we’ve compiled some of our expert top tips and recommendations below to get you started.
Want to learn more about acoustics before you decide? Check out our post on acoustic guitars as a comparison.
- You don’t need to break the bank but get the best guitar you can afford
- A decent electric guitar will cost about $200 - 300
- Remember - A cheap guitar will be cheap and cost you more in the long run. It could easily go out of tune or break.
Buying second-hand or got an old guitar already:
- Get it checked out by a professional. It may not be the right guitar for you or may need some adjustments.
- Always try the guitar in person.
- Make sure the guitar is in good condition and has been set up correctly before you bring it home. There should be no buzzing sounds when playing strings on any fret.
What to avoid
If buying new:
- Be careful with no-name brands from online resellers. They might be cheaply made and cost you more issues in the long run.
Buying something for the “cool” factor.
- Jimmy Page’s double-neck Gibson is an awesome electric guitar but it’s complicated for beginners. If you’ve got your eye on an unusual setup, try it out before buying so you don’t get discouraged.
Pickup, amplifier - what’s that all about?
As opposed to the acoustic guitar, the electric guitar doesn’t have a soundhole to strengthen the sound from the strings. Instead, the vibrations from strings are picked up by a pickup (built into the guitar) and amplified by an amplifier (also called an amp).
- Come in two basic types, single-coils and humbuckers, which make a difference in the sound.
- Check out our recommendations below to see what fits your preferred genre.
The amplifier (amp) amplifies the sound, which can be intimidating for beginners. Especially if you don’t want to host a rock concert in your apartment. Here are a few tips to help you find what you need.
- Don’t choose an overly cheap amp. The amp defines the sound more than the guitar. No guitar can overcome a bad-sounding amp.
- A decent amp will cost about $100
- For band rehearsal you want an amp in the range of 40 -100 watts. Otherwise, the drums will drown you out.
- If you’re at home, something between 2 and 5 watts is more than enough.
- For something quieter you can go with the software option.
Suggested Brands and Guitars
There are many styles of electric guitars and have evolved for each genre. Here are our top picks.
- Best overall choice - Yamaha Pacifica P112
a. Great for: versatile sound
b. Sound: rock, pop, blues, and a bit of funk.
2. Guitars with single-coil pickups
a. Great for: rock, funk, blues
b. Sound: Delicate, or "funky"
c. Example: Fender Stratocaster
3. Guitars with humbucker pickups
a. Great for: classic rock or blues/rock and metal
b. Example: Gibson (classic rock or blues) / Ibanez models (rock and metal)
c. Sound: can easily be distorted. An important consideration if you're into metal
4. Other types or mixtures:
a. Fender Telecaster for country
b. Superstrats combine single coils and humbucker pickups for trying to get more variations in sound
c. Semi-acoustic guitars are perfect for jazz and blues
We hope that our tips will help you to find the perfect guitar for you!
Ask us anything
Stuck on a guitar problem? Let our teachers solve it for you. Simply send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll answer your question in our upcoming Ask us Anything video.
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