Need help picking a guitar?

Guitar Tricks Forum > Open Discussion > Need help picking a guitar?

michaelepeters

Registered User

Joined: 08/04/20

Posts: 3

I'd really like to learn how to play but I need to buy a guitar & all the equipment I need, can anyone recommend what I should get as a complete beginner and possibly an estimate of how much it would cost?

I'm not sure if I should do acoustic or electric so any advice on that would be really helpful too :)

Thank you in advance :)

#1

I'd really like to learn how to play but I need to buy a guitar & all the equipment I need, can anyone recommend what I should get as a complete beginner and possibly an estimate of how much it would cost?

I'm not sure if I should do acoustic or electric so any advice on that would be really helpful too :)

Thank you in advance :)

hunter.kane

Full Access

Joined: 10/15/19

Posts: 69

It Depends On Your size are you small, large or normal sized? It can make a large difference.

#2

It Depends On Your size are you small, large or normal sized? It can make a large difference.

William MG

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Joined: 03/08/19

Posts: 919

Hi Michael

I am definitely a fan of electrics for beginners and a fan of the used market. From my buying experience, except to pay aprx 1/2 or even less off regular retail price.

To give an example my morning practice is with a low end Epiphone Les Paul Jr plugged into a Roland micro cube. The guitar cost me $80 and the amp was $80 as well. A new set of strings, a cable and a cheap strap still kept me under $200

These are Canadian prices. US I would expect to be lower.

The used market is filled with gear from beginners who found the dedication required to learn guitar a bit much and up it goes for sale. My latest acquisition has been an Ibanez Gio. They retail for 299 where I am but when a dark brown model hit the music swap at $100 I had to try it out. It's a bit different from my other electric guitars because the string spacing is a bit wider.

If you are nervous about used equipment, there are many low cost options available from big names like Squire, Epiphone etc. And a good retailer will or should have a good return policy. A very basic amp will get you started and I would suggest doing some YouTube learning on different amps and features at the entry level.

Good luck.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

#3

Hi Michael

I am definitely a fan of electrics for beginners and a fan of the used market. From my buying experience, except to pay aprx 1/2 or even less off regular retail price.

To give an example my morning practice is with a low end Epiphone Les Paul Jr plugged into a Roland micro cube. The guitar cost me $80 and the amp was $80 as well. A new set of strings, a cable and a cheap strap still kept me under $200

These are Canadian prices. US I would expect to be lower.

The used market is filled with gear from beginners who found the dedication required to learn guitar a bit much and up it goes for sale. My latest acquisition has been an Ibanez Gio. They retail for 299 where I am but when a dark brown model hit the music swap at $100 I had to try it out. It's a bit different from my other electric guitars because the string spacing is a bit wider.

If you are nervous about used equipment, there are many low cost options available from big names like Squire, Epiphone etc. And a good retailer will or should have a good return policy. A very basic amp will get you started and I would suggest doing some YouTube learning on different amps and features at the entry level.

Good luck.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

matonanjin2

Full Access

Joined: 08/11/17

Posts: 194

Excellent advice that William MG just gave you there. I agree that an electric is slightly easier to learn on. Your choice (acoustic vs. electric) should be somewhat tempered by whether you are more moved by acoustic/folk type sound or electric power chords/jazz electric sounds. But everything else being equal I think most would agree electric is slightly easier to start on. I'm not 100% in agreement with William's amount of depreciation of gear. But one thing is for certain and that is that a lot of beginners "found the dedication required to learn guitar a bit much and up it (their gear) goes for sale".

And Wiiliam makes a good point about low cost options from major names and retailers. A few years ago, after retirement, Santa brought me a Yamaha Pacifica starter kit. All my life I wanted to play and finally I could start. And start I did. But after a while I saw all the posts on these forums about expensive guitars and I reasoned the problem I wasn't making more progress was because I had a cheap guitar. So, of course, off to the store I went and I bought a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Blues Jr. amp.

And, of course, I made more progress. It never ocurred to me that I was progressing due to more practice due to the excitement of a new guitar.

But a couple months later I saw my poor, lonely, dejected, little Yamaha Pacifica staring at me from the guitar stand in my practice room. I picked it up for the day's practice. And guess what?!?! It played great! I practiced every bit as well that day.

Sorry about the long story. But my point is that there are some great starter packages very close to William's $200 target. If you can afford and want a new Fender Strat or Gibson Les Paul and expensive amp, go for it! But there are some great packages such as the Fender Squire ones.

Good luck and have fun!

#4

Excellent advice that William MG just gave you there. I agree that an electric is slightly easier to learn on. Your choice (acoustic vs. electric) should be somewhat tempered by whether you are more moved by acoustic/folk type sound or electric power chords/jazz electric sounds. But everything else being equal I think most would agree electric is slightly easier to start on. I'm not 100% in agreement with William's amount of depreciation of gear. But one thing is for certain and that is that a lot of beginners "found the dedication required to learn guitar a bit much and up it (their gear) goes for sale".

And Wiiliam makes a good point about low cost options from major names and retailers. A few years ago, after retirement, Santa brought me a Yamaha Pacifica starter kit. All my life I wanted to play and finally I could start. And start I did. But after a while I saw all the posts on these forums about expensive guitars and I reasoned the problem I wasn't making more progress was because I had a cheap guitar. So, of course, off to the store I went and I bought a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Blues Jr. amp.

And, of course, I made more progress. It never ocurred to me that I was progressing due to more practice due to the excitement of a new guitar.

But a couple months later I saw my poor, lonely, dejected, little Yamaha Pacifica staring at me from the guitar stand in my practice room. I picked it up for the day's practice. And guess what?!?! It played great! I practiced every bit as well that day.

Sorry about the long story. But my point is that there are some great starter packages very close to William's $200 target. If you can afford and want a new Fender Strat or Gibson Les Paul and expensive amp, go for it! But there are some great packages such as the Fender Squire ones.

Good luck and have fun!

hunter.kane

Full Access

Joined: 10/15/19

Posts: 69

I say you just go into a guitar store or a local pawn shop and play any guitar you see in your price range, same goes for the amp.

#5

I say you just go into a guitar store or a local pawn shop and play any guitar you see in your price range, same goes for the amp.

JeffS65

Full Access

Joined: 10/07/08

Posts: 1361

Originally Posted by: michaelepeters

I'd really like to learn how to play but I need to buy a guitar & all the equipment I need, can anyone recommend what I should get as a complete beginner and possibly an estimate of how much it would cost?

I'm not sure if I should do acoustic or electric so any advice on that would be really helpful too :)

Thank you in advance :)

The paradox of that question is; what do you have or want to spend. You can buy really cheap package deals that are terrible to play or you can spend a fortune on top of the line gear having never played before not knowing if you really are going to stick with it.

My assumption is that you aren't a millionaire so the answer is in the middle there somewhere.

It's also important to know what style of music you want to play. Are you in to mellow stuff? Maybe an acoustic. If you're more in to rock, you'll want an electric guitar and amp. So that's your starting point. Eventually what kind of music do you mostly hope to play? That's where you start. Note that if you're more likely to play rock of some sort, it's good to know that electric guitars are easier to play and is helpful for a beginner.

Then having understood that, what's your budget? I know I mentioned something about top of the line gear and unless you have money to burn, that's never a good idea as a beginner. So the middle ground of gear is a very big place. Lots of great options.

If you're going for an electric guitar and amp combo, it's better to spend more on the guitar and get something that plays really well. It's likely a cheap amp won't bring you much frustration like having a guitar that is difficult to play would.

My suggetion, if you have the budget, is to look at guitars on the $500 range. If you can, you tart to get some really good and playable guitars in that range.

So, with all that said; what type of music and what kind of budget?

#6

Originally Posted by: michaelepeters

I'd really like to learn how to play but I need to buy a guitar & all the equipment I need, can anyone recommend what I should get as a complete beginner and possibly an estimate of how much it would cost?

I'm not sure if I should do acoustic or electric so any advice on that would be really helpful too :)

Thank you in advance :)

The paradox of that question is; what do you have or want to spend. You can buy really cheap package deals that are terrible to play or you can spend a fortune on top of the line gear having never played before not knowing if you really are going to stick with it.

My assumption is that you aren't a millionaire so the answer is in the middle there somewhere.

It's also important to know what style of music you want to play. Are you in to mellow stuff? Maybe an acoustic. If you're more in to rock, you'll want an electric guitar and amp. So that's your starting point. Eventually what kind of music do you mostly hope to play? That's where you start. Note that if you're more likely to play rock of some sort, it's good to know that electric guitars are easier to play and is helpful for a beginner.

Then having understood that, what's your budget? I know I mentioned something about top of the line gear and unless you have money to burn, that's never a good idea as a beginner. So the middle ground of gear is a very big place. Lots of great options.

If you're going for an electric guitar and amp combo, it's better to spend more on the guitar and get something that plays really well. It's likely a cheap amp won't bring you much frustration like having a guitar that is difficult to play would.

My suggetion, if you have the budget, is to look at guitars on the $500 range. If you can, you tart to get some really good and playable guitars in that range.

So, with all that said; what type of music and what kind of budget?

michaelepeters

Registered User

Joined: 08/04/20

Posts: 3

Thanks everyone, some really good advice here, I will go for an electric guitar as rock is my favourite and the bonus is that you guys are saying it's easier :)

I'm happy to spend around £200 (I'm from England) I wouldn't want to spend more because the sad reality is that I have no idea if I'll stick with it or not, I'm hoping I do.

Does anyone suggest any websites that will have a reliable electric guitar and amp for around my price range?

I'm 6'3 if that makes any difference haha

Really appreciate the quick replies and indeph helpful advice guys :)

#7

Thanks everyone, some really good advice here, I will go for an electric guitar as rock is my favourite and the bonus is that you guys are saying it's easier :)

I'm happy to spend around £200 (I'm from England) I wouldn't want to spend more because the sad reality is that I have no idea if I'll stick with it or not, I'm hoping I do.

Does anyone suggest any websites that will have a reliable electric guitar and amp for around my price range?

I'm 6'3 if that makes any difference haha

Really appreciate the quick replies and indeph helpful advice guys :)

mjgodin

Full Access

Joined: 11/23/19

Posts: 150

Harley Benton would be a good start.
www.harleybenton.com

however you really should try to get into a store where you can try a few models out. Even if you can't play a single note it's important to find one that feels comfortable for your size. At 6-3" I'm guessing you have large hands and most electrics have narrower necks so fretting strings is a bit more of a challenge with large fingers.

just a thought. Good luck and have fun with the whole process.

moe

#8

Harley Benton would be a good start.
www.harleybenton.com

however you really should try to get into a store where you can try a few models out. Even if you can't play a single note it's important to find one that feels comfortable for your size. At 6-3" I'm guessing you have large hands and most electrics have narrower necks so fretting strings is a bit more of a challenge with large fingers.

just a thought. Good luck and have fun with the whole process.

moe

faith83

Full Access

Joined: 04/23/20

Posts: 194

Originally Posted by: michaelepeters

Thanks everyone, some really good advice here, I will go for an electric guitar as rock is my favourite and the bonus is that you guys are saying it's easier :)

I'm happy to spend around £200 (I'm from England) I wouldn't want to spend more because the sad reality is that I have no idea if I'll stick with it or not, I'm hoping I do.

Does anyone suggest any websites that will have a reliable electric guitar and amp for around my price range?

I'm 6'3 if that makes any difference haha

Really appreciate the quick replies and indeph helpful advice guys :)

That's the devil's dilemma. I bought a cheap one this time around for the same reason. Now I'm getting serious and wishing I'd bought the Martin I really wanted instead of the Fender acoustic that I bought for budget reasons. But on the other hand I've bought three other guitars over the years that I didn't play and sold, so... it's a crapshoot, really.

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

#9

Originally Posted by: michaelepeters

Thanks everyone, some really good advice here, I will go for an electric guitar as rock is my favourite and the bonus is that you guys are saying it's easier :)

I'm happy to spend around £200 (I'm from England) I wouldn't want to spend more because the sad reality is that I have no idea if I'll stick with it or not, I'm hoping I do.

Does anyone suggest any websites that will have a reliable electric guitar and amp for around my price range?

I'm 6'3 if that makes any difference haha

Really appreciate the quick replies and indeph helpful advice guys :)

That's the devil's dilemma. I bought a cheap one this time around for the same reason. Now I'm getting serious and wishing I'd bought the Martin I really wanted instead of the Fender acoustic that I bought for budget reasons. But on the other hand I've bought three other guitars over the years that I didn't play and sold, so... it's a crapshoot, really.

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

ddiddler

Full Access

Joined: 05/13/20

Posts: 63

also depends where you want to practice and then play.

Can you live with a smaller amp and headphones if you go electric.

I bought an Orange Mini Crush practice amp and headphones as I wanted quiet practice.

Acoustic can be dulled but you might lose some feedback from your tones.

I've started with a Squire Bullet Mustang guitar which is one of the cheaper lines from Fender. It will serve it's purpose to learn and noodle on in a bedroom.

Happy with the amp but maybe a Vox plug in would have suited my needs just as good.

Working through the fundamentals practicing my scales and already the GAS is setting in.

Should I buy another electric the next step up.

Another with different pick ups

or should I add an acoustic to compare the differences.

It can get addictive and expensive

I can resist temptation until the end of the year and I will then consider what progress I have made.

#10

also depends where you want to practice and then play.

Can you live with a smaller amp and headphones if you go electric.

I bought an Orange Mini Crush practice amp and headphones as I wanted quiet practice.

Acoustic can be dulled but you might lose some feedback from your tones.

I've started with a Squire Bullet Mustang guitar which is one of the cheaper lines from Fender. It will serve it's purpose to learn and noodle on in a bedroom.

Happy with the amp but maybe a Vox plug in would have suited my needs just as good.

Working through the fundamentals practicing my scales and already the GAS is setting in.

Should I buy another electric the next step up.

Another with different pick ups

or should I add an acoustic to compare the differences.

It can get addictive and expensive

I can resist temptation until the end of the year and I will then consider what progress I have made.