Choosing Your Guitar...
Whether you are just starting out or even if you are complimenting that guitar army you've always dreamed about, it's crucial you make the right decisions when buying the guitar for you.
Here is a simple three step guide on buying the right guitar for you...
Set a budget. Set a budget that is affordable to you. One man's budget is another's two week holiday in the Bahamas, so make it a realistic budget. Keep in mind that there is a strict correlation between the amount you spend on something and what you get back in return;
£20-100 £100-300 £300-600 £600-1000+
Adequate Good Great Excellent
Make some guitar friends. Make a special effort to become friends with someone else who knows a little something about guitars. They don't necessarily need to know a lot, but it's always useful to discuss ideas between other musicians. Even to this day I always find it beneficial to take a moment to talk to some of my guitar playing friends when it comes to my next purchase.
Guitar friends can be found at online forums and music shops...
Visit guitar shops. The most important aspect of purchasing a guitar is physically picking it up and playing it with your own hands.
I recently went guitar shopping with a student that I have been teaching for a few years, and he decided the time had come for him to buy a nice acoustic guitar. So he asked if i could advise on what was the best acoustic guitar to buy, and my response was "You don't choose the guitar, the guitar chooses you!", loosely translating as "get yourself to a music shop!".
As his designated guitar friend he told me his budget and we went on the search for guitars...
Set a budget
Made a guitar friend
Found some guitar shops
Armed with my student's budget (about £500) and knowing him well enough to advise, we went to some guitar shops and I started handing him guitars to play, but removed the price tags so he couldn't see prices of the guitars that I handed to him. I think the guitar auditioning process should be based purely on the playability, feel and sound rather than the price tag playing a factor at this stage of the process. You've set your budget, keep it at that. Don't let the price influence your decision making at this point, let your hands and ears do this for you. As a result my student found a guitar that suited him perfectly from every aspect, a Tanglewood TW145 SS CE, and it came in under budget too!
So there you have it, the three key elements when purchasing a guitar:
1. Set a budget
2. Make guitar friends
3. Go to a guitar shop
If possible, do the auditioning of your guitars without knowing the actual price by taking someone with you who can only hand you guitars that are within your price range.
Hopefully these tips will make the process more organic and less stressful!
Links to reputable music shops and forums: