Buying Guide: Best Guitar Models and Features
There is a reason why the guitar is probably the most popularly played instrument on the face of the earth – everyone loves the sound that a guitar makes, especially when it’s being played by someone that knows what they’re doing.
You just aren’t going to find that kind of sound, that kind of flexibility, and that almost elemental sound quality with any other instrument. It’s already hooked millions and millions of people all over the world into buying one and learning how to play it, and the overwhelming majority of musicians out there know how to strum a six string without any headache or hassle – even if they do not play it professionally!
At the same time, trying to learn how to play a guitar can be more than a little bit daunting, if not a flat-out nightmare. There is so much to learn, so much to process (especially in the early stages), and most people just don’t believe that they have the inborn talent to play the guitar like legendary musicians do day in and day out.
And while it’s true that most people will never become Jimi Hendrix (no matter how hard they try or practice), it’s also true that just about everyone and anyone out there can learn how to play the guitar well – provided that they purchase the right one in the first place!
That’s what this quick guide has been set up to help you do.
With so many different kinds of guitars on the market today, and let’s not even get into all of the different brands and manufacturers producing guitars, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.
Combine that with more than a little bit of nervous energy about making the right (or wrong) decision when buying your first guitar, and things can certainly start to get a little crazy.
However, when you are yourself with all of the insider information below, and really focus on the type of guitar player that you want to become, you’ll be able to make the right decision the first time around, and then pick and choose other guitars to add to your collection later down the line.
Ready to get started?
Types and Models
The first thing (and the most important thing) for you to understand about purchasing a new guitar is that there are so many different kinds and so many different types of guitars out that you’ll need to focus in on just one or two different kinds or you’ll become overwhelmed right out of the gate.
Though you’ll find that all different kinds of the tars fit into all different kinds of categories, the overwhelming majority of guitars can be condensed down into the following groups:
- Acoustic guitars
- Electric guitars
- Acoustic/Electric hybrid guitars
- Bass guitars
- And other guitar like instruments like the banjo and the mandolin
You are really going to want to look at a number of things before you start to whittle down the types of guitars that you focus in on when it comes time to buy one, including (but certainly not limited to):
- The type of music that you want to play
- The type of venues or locations that you hope to play in
- The size of the guitar that you’ll feel most comfortable playing
- The kind of budget that you’re going to operate with in the beginning
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
You’re also going to need to prioritize all of the things you need to focus on that are listed above. You see, the type of music that you want to play is going to inform your decision-making process more than just about anything else.
People that want to play bluegrass music are going to want to focus on steel and acoustic guitars versus electric ones, while those that want to play metal or rock would definitely be better suited with electric guitars and acoustic/electric hybrids.
Of course, you might want to think about getting your hands on an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar right out of the gate. These two guitars will allow you to cover the majority of the genres of music out there, and you’ll be able to immediately learn the differences in sound and playing styles that each of them bring to the table as you learn how to play the guitar itself.
Obviously, not everyone has the budget to pull the trigger on purchasing two completely different guitars, and not everyone wants to sink that kind of money into a relatively new hobby that they may not even stick with.
You’ll need to make the right decision for yourself going forward.
Features You Should Look for in Your New Guitar
As far as features go, there’s a long list of “extras” that you might be interested in – or you might decide to go with a pretty bare-bones acoustic guitar that is just so well-made that it produces a rich and natural sound no amount of technology or flair could ever hope to reproduce.
Regardless, the features below are going to be things you want to pay attention to when it comes time to pull the trigger on your new guitar purchase.
You’ll want to look for:
- Well-made guitars from reliable and reputable brands in the guitar making industry
- A comfortably sized guitar that fits your body type and your playing style right down to the ground
- Good rich tone woods that help to produce an incredible sound and even more beautiful look and aesthetic
- Properly manufactured, installed, and set up necks, bridges, and pickups
- A well-made bridge (a stoptail bridge or a tremolo bridge makes all the difference in the world when you’re looking to produce a specific type of music)
As well as other extras like guitar picks, high quality guitar strings, a safe and padded guitar carrying case, a neck strap that is incredibly comfortable without getting in the way, and a handful of others that will make your guitar playing days much more comfortable!
How to Choose the Right Model
Choosing the right guitar for your specific needs becomes a lot easier when you know exactly the type of music that you would love to play, but also where you expect to play music most often, and how much time you’re willing to spend practicing in learning how to strum your guitar.
Because this guide has already covered focusing on the type of music that you want to play most, it’s time to cover choosing the right guitar by the venue as well as the amount of time you expect to spend playing your guitar in the future.
If you anticipate playing smaller venues (like your living room, a bonfire around a campsite, small coffee shops and bars, etc.), you’re probably going to be able to get away with a high quality acoustic guitar and it doesn’t require extra amplification.
If, on the other hand, you really want to melt thousands and thousands of people’s faces every single time you touch your guitar, and want to play larger venues (especially outdoor venues), you’ll want to grab an acoustic/electric hybrid or a straight out electric guitar. This will allow you to plug into extra amplification, while at the same time opening up all different kinds of musical styles that you’ll be able to play at the exact same time.
Next, it’s important for you to figure out exactly how much time you plan on spending with your new guitar.
Obviously, right now you’re probably pretty red hot and all kinds of excited to play your new guitar, but you have to understand that getting better at the guitar (real good, anyways) is going to involve more than a little bit of practice and a lot of hard work and dedication.
You certainly wouldn’t be the first person to have their passion for the guitar die out before they ever got close to nothing at Jimi Hendrix’s coattails.
Start off with a lesser expensive guitar unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are going to jump into this with both feet and stick with it until you really master it. If that’s the case, don’t be shy about investing in the highest quality (and most expensive) guitar you can afford.
There’s nothing like learning how to play on a finely tuned piece of equipment, an instrument that is heading shoulders above the rest of the entry-level pack.
At the end of the day, it’s probably going to be a lot easier to purchase your first guitar than you might be expecting it to be.
Obviously, you’ll want to follow along with all of the tips and tricks included above, as well as pay attention to your intuition and your common sense. If you do that, you’ll have absolutely no trouble and zero headache or hassle getting your hands on the right guitar for your specific needs.
Best of luck, you’re about to embark on a musical journey quite unlike anything else out there!