Buying a guitar can be very exciting and fun, but there are several questions you should ask yourself before making a purchase. This is an important decision and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the many different types, styles, colors, makes, and models there are to choose from.
If you’re not careful you could end up spending a lot more money than you really need to. On the other hand, getting a “deal” may also get you a lemon.
So, what specific things should you be looking for? How much money should you spend? Keep reading and I’ll share some tips and advice that will help you make the right choice.
Questions To Ask Before Buying A Guitar:
What type of music to you want to play?
The basic skills required for playing guitar are the same regardless of the style of music you like. However, you’ll find some instruments are better suited for a particular style than others. Knowing your own musical tastes can help you decide whether you should buy an electric or an acoustic instrument.
For example, if you like Rock and Roll or Jazz music, an electric guitar would be a good choice.
Acoustics are well suited for those who prefer Bluegrass, Folk or Classical music. Taking these things into consideration before you buy can help you to avoid costly mistakes.
Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced guitarist?
Students with small hands might consider a 1/2 or 3/4 size acoustic or classical instrument.
Musical style, personal preference, quality and price are the key determining factors to consider when buying a guitar for intermediate and advanced players.
What is the tonal quality of the instrument?
Tonal quality refers to the unique sound of each individual guitar. When you strum the strings or listen to it being played what do you hear? Does it sound deep, bright, soft, dull, tinny? The instrument should resonate (transmit the full vibrating quality of it’s sound) clearly.
How is the action?
The action of a guitar refers to how high or low the strings are set on the fretboard. This will greatly affect the play-ability. If the strings are set too high they will be difficult to push down and you will be working harder than necessary to play the instrument. On the other hand, if the strings are set too low they will likely interfere with the frets, which may cause a buzzing sound as you play.
You should check each fret thoroughly before buying a guitar. This can be done by using a barre chord or the first finger of your left hand to play each string at every fret up and down the neck. Do you here any buzzes? Does the guitar sound in tune at every point? Is it easy to push the string down? If you are unsure about how to check the action, then I suggest you take someone who plays guitar along with you as you shop.
Is the neck straight?
If the neck is straight, the intonation will be consistent. This means that when a specific note or chord is played at different points along the neck it will remain in tune. If the note or chord sounds out of tune at different points, then the neck may be crooked or warped. You can check the neck by looking along it’s edge. Begin from the base of the body and continue on up to the base of the head. You should see a straight line. If you don’t, the neck may be bowed, twisted, or warped.
How does the neck feel in your hand?
Necks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you will need to determine what feels comfortable to you. Some necks are round and some have a v-shape angle to them. When you cradle the neck in your hand be aware of the fit. Thin necks tend to be easier for small hands, but are generally not as strong as heavier ones. For example, a 12-string guitar will have a heavier neck than a 6-string. Buying a guitar that is the wrong size for your hand can be a factor in developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
How much are you willing to spend?
If you’re just starting out, you really shouldn’t need to spend a lot of money when buying a guitar. Knowing what your budget will allow can help to speed up the process though. If you only have $200 to spend, don’t waste time looking at more expensive models. You can always upgrade later after you’ve had sufficient time to explore your musical interests. I personally own 9 or 10 guitars and there is always room for one more. =) Establishing a spending limit before you start looking will save you a lot of time and heartache in the long run.
Buying a guitar online can be a way to save time and money, provided you’ve done some research first. Be careful to avoid scams. You can find affordable prices on quality acoustic and electric guitars, plus accessories, at zZounds.com. They also provide free shipping and a customer satisfaction money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with your purchase.
Be realistic about your own needs and keep these questions in mind as you shop. Better yet, print them out and take them with you.