If you are here, you probably are a music enthusiast, or someone keen to learn how to use guitars, or might be looking to get a guitar for your child who is starting out with guitar playing. While you might be encouraging your child or younger one to get into music and do the best with their musical instrument, it is equally a duty of yours to get them the best guitar that doesn’t just look good but is comfortable and delivers what you expect from it.
For your musical desires, there are quite a lot of factors you need to keep in mind before choosing the best guitar for yourself. Each of them is equally important, because, as a package, you are selecting something that is personal and accurate for you to use and bring out the music that your heart wants to put out.
A guitar needs to have good playability, comfort, size, tone production, and for beginners, should be easy on the pocket.
Types of Guitars
While brand of the guitar is crucial, is it more important to understand what kind of guitar you want to have, for the type of music you play. For your genre, the guitar needs to have a suitable sound, and thus, you should know about the types of guitars. As many as nine different types of guitars are available in the market though three of them are the most common ones.
These are again divided into two classes – the classical guitars, and the steel-string acoustic guitars. The difference, as the name suggests, with the material used for those strings. Unlike the steel string ones, the classical acoustic guitars use nylon strings. The Classical guitars have a wider neck than the ones that use steel strings.
Acoustic guitars are very common, and they are used by songwriters to craft tunes, and these are also seen in small halls, groups or such. For several beginners, acoustic guitars have been the best bet to start off and understand how things work, before upgrading to a better variety.
Also called as Acoustic-Electric Guitars, these are made to produce neutral sound with almost no difference to the tone produced by acoustic guitars. These are capable of being connected to an amplifier, and they can also be attached to a recorder.
The sound difference when unamplified is with the fullness, as the electro-acoustic guitars seem less full with the sound, as they are not as wide and large as the acoustic guitars. The amplified tones come out to sound a little different from both, electric and acoustic guitars.
Thinner than acoustic guitars and smaller than both, acoustic and electro-acoustic ones, the Electric guitars are specifically made to connect to an amplifier to show their full potential. These are versatile with the sound, and they are one of the very cool looking guitars.
These are quite low on sound when unamplified, but when connected, they produce an excellent high-energy sound that is full on tone. The strings on electric guitars are thinner than the ones on acoustic guitars, and they are closer to the neck, thus using the guitar becomes easier as the strings can be easily pressed down.
The bass guitars come with thicker strings, and they have longer necks than acoustic guitars. These can be called a perfect alternative to the acoustic guitars, and they usually have four strings, though sometimes models with five and six strings are available as well.
Even the bass guitars are slimmer than acoustic guitars, but the range of sound produced by these is different, and for someone who has a good grasp of it, some great music can be put out using the bass guitars.
Instead of having the regular sound hole, resonator guitars have a circular perforated cover plate. Under this is a resonator code that is made of spun aluminum, and it looks, functions as a loudspeaker.
The resonator guitars are noisy and shiny, and while the earlier resonator guitars had three cones, most of the recent ones come with a single cone. Some resonator guitars have a steel body, and thus, they are called steel guitars, for the steel exterior construction.
Some lesser-used guitars
- Archtop guitars: Not very different from the steel-string electric or acoustic guitar, the Archtop ones are used by jazz guitarists, and they have an arched table that is made by combining violin-style f-holes and internal sound block. They are one of the best-looking guitars.
- Twelve-string guitars: This is a simple variant of the standard guitar, and six thinner strings correspond to the normal set of strings, thus each note has a pair of strings. It is more of a rhythm instrument than a standard concert playing instrument.
- Double-neck guitars: Here, two guitar necks are made to share a single body, so that switching between the necks becomes easy for the guitarist. This comes to use when a single guitarist needs a twelve-string guitar for rhythm, and a six-string one for solo breaking.
- Steel guitars: Though the resonator guitars are called steel guitars when they have a steel exterior, the ones from Hawaii are also steel guitars and they, have a different type of use – horizontal. According to guitarists in Hawaii, laying the guitar flat gives better control on the slide.
Decide the type first
Before thinking about anything else, you should know or learn about the type of guitar you want to use – acoustic, bass, electro-acoustic or any other type. For a beginner, this is not easy to understand so some guidance from experts will be wiser before you research about the actual instrument.
Some might want to start off with a bass guitar while most would choose an acoustic guitar to begin with. First decide on the type, then look for the other factors.
Price is important, but not everything
It doesn’t always happen that a product that is expensive is good. There are many situations where a certain guitar sounds much better than the one priced higher. The pricing depends on the brand and material used, but the point you need to keep in mind is that if you are out to look for a guitar, have a budget range and not a fixed one, since sometimes you might lose a few more dollars, but sometimes you might actually save some money and get the guitar you wanted.
We might have suggested you to visit one of the guitar stores, but several of them don’t have a wide range of collection to choose from, thus it is better to understand from the reviews that we have done after some actual usage of the guitars.
Size of the guitar depends on size of the person
While adults might be quite comfortable with the full-size guitars, it is the children who might have to suffer if a guitar is purchased without proper research or check the size. For a large guitar size, it becomes difficult for children’s hands to reach the appropriate points on the guitar.
While trying to reach the first fret, the fingers might feel uncomfortable because of the already stretched muscles. So, while purchasing a guitar, make sure that the one you are looking for will be comfortable enough.
Forget about the brand name
Let’s face the truth. Not always a well-known brand will produce better guitars than the ones from relatively newer, cheaper or less-famous brands. The amount of marketing and spending on advertising by bigger brands is all included in the final cost of the guitar. If it is costlier than some competitive brand’s product, it doesn’t mean it will be better.
There are many brands that are not so famous, and which sell similar products are much lesser price, so while researching about the best guitars for your need, keep the brand name as one of the last factors in mind.
Quality of the exterior
The quality of your guitar’s surface, the material used hugely changes the way it sounds. Certain types of woods, tonewoods, and other materials are commonly used to make the body of guitars. For your specific need, there’ll be a guitar made with a particular type of wood, including mahogany, rosewood, maple, alder and cedar.
Look for the build, for its quality, and then select the best one that sounds right for your need. Also, the looks have to be good enough to motivate you and keep interested in doing a lot more.
Don’t rush into buying one quickly
Your guitar will be your companion, and you won’t be able to replace it for a good amount of time, because of the money you invested in it. Don’t rush into buying one because it has better reviews than others. It will be your personal instrument for months, or even years, so take you time, research well (probably the reason you are here on this website) and then come to a decision.
Look at the reviews
Now comes the reviews part, after you have decided about the type, material, budget, the best ones filtered out in that budget, and the brand if you are pretty conscious about it. Even in the same price range, a brand will have different models, so you will need to check out some reviews and see if a particular guitar is a perfect fit with features you want to see.
Some technical aspects to look at
Whatever the model, brand or the guitar type it is, a few details have to be checked and confirmed, because if these are missing, you might not have the experience that you might be expecting.
There should be a smooth operation and use of tuning machines
Truss rod should be adjustable on the guitar
The neck joint and heel of the guitar should be secured and strong
The wooden bridge for acoustic guitars should be sealed with no gaps
In electric guitars, the adjustment screws in saddles should be firm
String height in the first fret should be low so that reaching all the six strings becomes easy
Go, get one with confidence now
Got enough of knowledge and confidence to get your first guitar? We hope you did. We have tried to guide you in the easiest way possible, without mentions about the best brands, as that misleads even before you know about the instrument very well.
While you are at it, I hope you spend more time on the website in checking out the reviews of best guitars, as we did all the hard work so you don’t have to roam around. Of course, a personal touch and hands-on use can give a different opinion sometimes, but here, we have talked mostly about the technical side to give a better understanding of how guitars have to be chosen, whether it is your first one or one you want to get for professional music playing.