Are you looking to buy a guitar, but you’ve never owned one before?
Then this guide is for you…
The most important thing about buying your first guitar, in my opinion, is “how easy it is to play”. And “how easy it is to play” depends on a few different factors such as the overall physical dimensions of the guitar, and the setup of the individual parts that make up the guitar. If you get the wrong guitar with the wrong setup then it will be harder to play, and you probably won’t enjoy learning on it, and you’ll give up when you shouldn’t have…
So how do you know what guitar is right for you if you’ve never owned one before?
Well, as you may know, there are many different makes and models of guitars out there and they vary greatly in type, quality, and size. For example, here are some features you will typically see described in guitar advertisements: 6 String, 12 String, Electric, Acoustic, Electric/Acoustic, Dreadnaught, Jumbo, Single Cutaway, Double Cutaway, Flat Top, Arch Top, etc… And this is just scratching the surface! So to keep this guide as brief as possible, I will focus on some basics. The “standard” 6 String Electric and 6 String Acoustic guitars.
I will try to highlight what I think are the important things to look for, and go into some detail on them, so you can make a relatively knowledgeable decision when its buying time. (Instead of walking into the store cold and having the salesperson sell you the wrong thing, just because you don’t know what’s right for you.)
The topics we will discuss are:
- Acoustic vs. Electric Guitars – What should you get if you don’t really know what you want?
- Guitar Body Size and Shape -There are many sizes out there. Make sure you get a guitar that’s comfortable for you.
- String Scale – This is the length of the Fretboard. It determines how far apart the Frets are.
- Nut Width – or (Width of the Fretboard) – This determines how wide the Neck will be. Wider Necks are typically better for larger hands.
- Fretboard Action – or (String Height) – This is how high the Strings are off of the Frets. The higher the String the harder to play.
- String Gauge – or (String Tension) – Thicker Strings will be harder to play than thinner strings.
- Fret Buzzing – (When the strings make a “buzzing” noise) – And what causes this:
- Action Too Low
- Truss Rod Tension
- Worn Frets
- Also Worth a mention – (But not in detail) – These are advanced subjects for a beginner, so I will not dive in with too much detail. I’ll just give an overview so you are aware of them.
- String Intonation. – You tuned up your guitar with the tuner but your Chords still sound out of tune?
- Fretboard Radius – The slight curve on top of your Fretboard, and why it’s curved.
- Neck Profile – or (Neck Shape) – The back of the neck (where your thumb goes) also comes in different shapes.
- Fret Size – The “metal strips” on the fretboard also come in different sizes.
So let’s get to it: Acoustic vs. Electric Guitars