Things to know before buying a guitar

7 Things to Know Before Buying Your First Guitar

Published on Aug 13, 2020

In a diverse country like India, we can find wide range of Guitars, from locally manufactured to imported & even Chinese brands. Its really important to select the best one that suits you

If you have made up your mind to learn Guitar, the next big question that comes is which Guitar to buy? In a diverse country like India, we can find wide range of Guitars available from locally manufactured to imported and Chinese brands. As a beginner it is hard to decide which one is best for you and if you're an impulsive buyer then there is a huge chance that you might buy a wrong Guitar and regret it for next few months of your music learning journey. Don't worry. We won't let that happen. 
 
In this article we will be discussing the factors which you must consider while buying the Guitar. Most of these factors are applicable to all Types of Guitars. But for beginners we recommend to select an acoustic or semi-acoustic guitar to Start Learning.
Here are 7 factors which every beginner must understand before buying the first Guitar.


1. SIZE OF GUITAR

Guitar comes in various sizes and it is important for you to know which size is best for you. Broadly we can divide Acoustic Guitar into 6 different size. a. Parlor or '0' – This is the small size Guitar which gives a very soft and gentle sound. b. Grand concert or '00' – This is slightly larger in size and gives more balanced sound.c. Auditorium or '000' – This is larger - full size Guitar which gives a heavier sound with strong bass. Auditorium Guitars are all-rounders to play all sort of styles, with body large enough to produce a loud sound.d. Dreadnaught -  This is the most common type of Guitar and gives a loud sound with huge body. It is preferred by those who like to play strumming. This type of Guitar requires to strum harder than smaller ones.e. Dreadnaught Cutaway – It's a dreadnaught Guitar with cutaway. Cutaway is the C shaped cut on soundboard near the neck of Guitar which allows you to play on higher frets with ease. f. Jumbo – These are the largest of all types. Such Guitars have very powerful and loud sound. It is recommended for players with strong strumming style. Due to large size it is slightly expensive than other Guitars.

Guitar size recommendations:

For Adult Male – Dreadnaught or Dreadnaught Cutaway and Jumbo size

For Female – Auditorium and Dreadnaught or Dreadnaught Cutaway (if comfortable)

For Children – 00, Auditorium and Dreadnaught or Dreadnaught Cutaway (if comfortable)

2. SOUND BALANCE

Guitar must have a proper sound balance. When you strike the strings 1, 2 & 3 you get the treble sound which is high in frequency and when you strike strings 4, 5 & 6 it gives a heavy or bass sound. When you strike all 6 strings together, you must get a balanced sound i.e. the overall sound shouldn't be dominated by either bass strings or treble strings. You must select the guitar which gives a good and balanced treble and bass sound. If you are unable to decide whether the sound is balanced or not, in that case just select the Guitar ,you feel, has a soothing sound to your ears as you are the one who will be spending most of the time with it.

3. FINISHING OF INSTRUMENT

Finishing of the Guitar is an important factor especially when you are looking for a low priced Guitar in the beginners segment. It should not have any scratches or cracks. Many times, Guitars are kept at the store for long time which means many people who have just started to learn guitar, tried their hands on it before. So check the instrument properly before buying and make sure that it does not have scratches specially near the sound hole and fret board. Guitar should be free from any cracks and all the joints must be neatly pasted, giving a strong and stable grip.

Most importantly, you must make sure that frets are properly finished near the bottom end of the fret board. If the finishing of Guitar is poor and frets are not placed properly, as shown in the image, it cuts the fingers which playing. When you move your hand across the fret board it must feel smooth and not uneven or pointy near the top or bottom end of fret board.

Guitar with poor finishing & pointed Frets

4. TUNING PEGS MOVEMENT

Movement of tuning pegs must be fine and smooth. Before buying the Guitar move all its tuning pegs in clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. Movement shouldn't be too stiff or you might end up breaking the tuning head of the guitar. Tuning pegs shouldn't be too loose either. If it is loose than normal, the tuning drops while playing the Guitar. 

ProTip: Whenever you check the tuning pegs of a guitar, always move the tuning pegs very slowly and gradually or else you might break the strings.

5. ACTION OF THE GUITAR

Action of the Guitar is the distance between fretboard and strings. It is the height of strings above the fret board. It is used to measure the ease of playing on fretboard.

Generally, action or height of strings is measured near the 12th fret of Guitar as its almost the centre of fret board and gives a good point of reference to measure how high the strings actually are. Action of the Guitar must be between 1mm – 1.5mm. If the action is less than 1 mm, your strings might give a buzzing sound when you play a note and if the action is more than 1.5 mm then you'll have to press the strings with much more pressure than required and waste a lot of energy and strength.

Action is the most important factor to be considered while buying a Guitar. Proper action increases your comfort to play the Guitar. Action on an acoustic guitar is higher i.e. the distance between the fretboard and strings is more as compared to action of electric guitar. This is due to the reason that strings on acoustic guitar need to resonate more while strumming.If the neck of your guitar bends, forming a curve, it leads to higher or lower action than standard. This is fixed by tweaking the truss rod. Truss rod is a cylindrical rod which runs throughout the neck of a guitar. It is a must have element in the Guitar. Never buy a Guitar without a truss rod unless you are looking for a very cheap and temporary option as Guitar without truss rod will not last for more than 6 months.

6. PRICE

In India we have a wide range of Guitars available starting right from Rs 1500/-. In this saturated market you will find all sorts of guitars from locally manufactured brands to imported ones. Broadly we can classify it in 3 price segments:Segment 1 - Rs 1,500 to Rs 5,000Segment 2 – Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000Segment 3 - Rs 10,000 and aboveFor beginners, we recommend to buy Guitars in Segment 2 i.e. Rs 5,000 – Rs 10,000. Problem with Guitars in price segment 1 is that they are not always trust worthy and might be missing out on important factors like truss rod, sound balance or proper action. If you pick up the wrong instrument then you might end up giving up within first few months as you don't enjoy playing it. So if your pocket allows it, stick to segment 2 and choose your first guitar which you feel comfortable holding it and likes the sound of it. IF you're too tight on budget, you can contact our beAmusician team as we provide Guitar to our students at wholesale price through our direct tie-ups with various manufacturers and wholesalers.

7. CONNECTION WITH THE INSTRUMENT

Buying a music instrument is all about connection. By connection we mean how well you connect with the instrument. When you first pick up the instrument you get a feeling if it's too bulky or not and whether the colour, built and structure suits you. Sometimes by picking the instrument you connect with it and get an idea that it is a right fit for you. Selecting your first instrument is like selecting a wand in Harry Potter: You don't choose it, it chooses you. So try to get your hands on different models before buying a Guitar and choose the one with which you connect the most

We hope that these factors will help you shortlist the best Guitar for you to buy. If you're still confused and not sure then you can contact our beAmusician team and we will help you to select the best Guitar for you. If you're looking to learn Guitar Online, do check out our course at beAmusician.in where you can start learning Guitar in most Convenient, Easy and Affordable manner.