If your starting off there are two good choices to pick. There are many packaged deals out there, mainly around $300. They generally come with a guitar, amp, picks, strings, gig bag, and all the other little things needed to get you started. The drawback of these is mainly quality. After you get better you will want to get a better guitar, since your ears have matured and your taste for tone has increased. The dilemma now is that you’ll have to invest another four or five hundred dollars.
The second choice, if you have the extra money to spend, is to start off with a mid-range ($400 to $500 or so) guitar. This way you won’t have to spend more money for a nicer guitar later on. The drawback to this choice is that you are going to have to buy all those little things mentioned above.
You’ll have to choose between electric and acoustic guitars. I’ll explain some of the differences here and leave the final decision up to you.
Electrics have a lower action – action is the space between the fret board and strings – meaning that you don’t have to press the strings down as hard. For this fact, electrics also enable you to learn songs at a faster rate, giving you a taste of success faster than an acoustic might allow you to. Although they may not be as strict a tool as an acoustic when it comes to learning they allow you to taste success earlier. They also have more frets, meaning you can solo easier. They also require an amplifier, which will raise the cost around $50 to start off cheaply.
Acoustics allow you to play without the use of an amplifier, meaning you can play anywhere. However, acoustics have a higher action and so you have to press down harder on the strings. Acoustics usually have larger bodies, though not all the time. Some may feel engulfed by the size of their guitars.
A classical guitar is essentially an acoustic, but it has a wider neck, smaller body, and nylon strings. Due to the nylon strings, classical’s are easier to fret notes with but their larger necks can still be a hindering to some. Those with larger hands might prefer classical because of the greater fret spacing and neck width.
If you are starting off or just looking to buy your next guitar, you should always find a way to play it. Internet services can be slow and a hassle to deal with sometimes. So the store is the first and best thing. When you play the guitars of your choice, ask yourself these questions.
- Can I reach all the frets?
- Is the body too large for me?
- Is the body too small for me?
- Overall is it comfortable for me?
- Can I easily press down on the strings?
- Can I reach my hand around the neck?
And other questions like these.
There is a lot of information on Guitar Noise regarding this topic. An entire section on how to buy equipment has more than a months worth of articles. You should definitely browse through those articles if you are not sure about what to buy.