So you want to join the wonderful world of guitarists? It’s a fun, creative, emotional, empowering road to go down. There are a few important things to know before you begin, so let’s get started!
1.) Should I buy an electric or acoustic guitar?
I’ve mentioned this before, but I believe that it’s easier to get started with an acoustic. If you have an electric guitar and you don’t have an amp, your guitar won’t have very much volume. Plus if you are a beginner it seems overwhelming enough, without having to decide which cables you need, what type of saddle and nut your guitar has, which amp you need to go with your guitar, what type of pickups you want on your guitar etc. In the starting phase, people rarely know what any of this means. So my suggestion is to start with an acoustic. If you’re dead set on having an electric guitar, an acoustic/electric is a fantastic option.
2.) What size and style guitar should I buy?
The size of the guitar you choose has a lot to do with what you feel comfortable holding and playing. Generally smaller people or children feel more comfortable playing smaller guitars. There are a few different Teton models to choose from that are smaller: range, parlor, and grand concert. You’re really going to have to try them out and decide what your preference is. I’m not a short person but I still prefer a smaller model of guitar most of the time. So, it really depends on you. The other size options are dreadnought, jumbo, and auditorium.
If you are playing mariachi or flamenco style music, you should buy a classical guitar. I will point out that on a classical, the neck is wider than on a steel string guitar. The neck is wider because the classical guitars have nylon strings on them instead of steel strings which produces a very different sound specifically for these styles of music.
3.) What do I need to buy with my guitar?
Besides the cable, amp, and pedals you’d need if you decide to start with an electric, there are a few other items that are vital when you first get started. You don’t want to take your beautiful awesome new guitar out, exposed to the elements and promise of accidents. So the first thing you need besides your guitar is a case or bag. Make sure it’s the right size for the model of your guitar.
The second thing is a humidifier. Just trust me, you need a humidifier-unless you live in an area of the world with high humidity levels. Your guitar is made of wood (hopefully) and it can get dried out, so get a humidifier. Speaking from experience, it’s not fun to have dehydrated instruments and have to take it to a luthier for him/her to fix. We have talked about this here and here.
There are some other things that are good to have but aren’t vital. Picks are inexpensive and pretty important to have at some point. Try out different thicknesses, brands, and styles to figure out what you like the best. Another thing that is great to have is a tuner. It’s easy to keep thinking of products we love and you could rack up quite a bill with small, fun items. Oh and a polishing cloth is something else that is nice to have to keep your guitar clean and looking nice. In fact, we might even say that would be the 3rd thing to have. Caring for your finish is just as important as keeping it humidified.
4.) What is my price range?
When I was first looking at houses to buy, the real estate agent asked me this very question. He said “I don’t want you to go look at a house that you love and later learn it’s way out of your price range”. The same thing happened when I was looking at wedding dresses. You don’t want to get your heart dead set on a guitar only to find it’s way beyond your budget. An important thing to keep in mind is the cost of the items I listed that you need to buy with your guitar. Those things need to be included with the cost of the guitar. So before you even start looking, get an idea of what you’re wanting to spend on your instrument.
The different question to include with this one is – is it ok to buy used guitars? The answer is yes! I’d be extra careful ordering a used guitar online but if there is an individual or store selling a used guitar locally, you can get a great deal that way. Plus you can play the guitar and make sure it’s in good condition and that you like it. In some stores you can even go to them and ask if they have blemished guitars. Blems usually have small issues like a scratch or defect in the finish.
5.) Where should I buy my guitar?
My suggestion is to go to the music store where you live. If they don’t sell Tetons, tell them to call us! There are many reasons to buy local. The top one being, you can try playing on lots of different styles and sizes to get a feel for what you like. The second is, you can ask for help and get answers to questions from someone who knows what they are talking about. The third reason is, it helps your community economy and local music programs. The last reason to go local is that generally the store owners/employees look over every guitar before it’s hung on their wall. So you’ll be getting a guitar that has gone through a set up, and quality control.
Bonus question: What do I do now that I have my guitar?
First, sign up for lessons. Whether it’s group lessons or private lessons, get an instructor. Learn how to play correctly from the beginning. The very last thing you need to do is play that guitar! It may be hard at first (most things are), but you’ll be surprised by the songs you can learn from just a few simple chords. Learning to play an instrument is extremely fulfilling and fun. Good luck with your musical endeavors!
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