Buying an Electric guitar these days is pretty easy if you know what your looking for.
Unfortunately if you’re a beginner you don’t and that’s why you’re looking on the internet.
I understand walking into a music shop is probably a scary thing to do and to be honest it’s probably not the best environment for a complete novice to be buying from.
Let’s face facts, these days music shops are on their arses, they need to make a sale and if you roll up with a wad of crispy new tenners they will be more than happy to relieve you of them.
Now as usual I’m gonna make guitarist gasp with the idea of buying from the internet.
To be honest I’ve done it myself and never had a problem, but then again I know what I’m looking at and have probably been lucky. That said I know complete beginners who have bought direct from shops and ended up with a complete dog of a guitar.
If you are buying for yourself or a family member spend what is appropriate.
But don’t overspend, there’s nothing worse than a £500 guitar going to waste.
On the other hand the ‘wrong’ cheap guitar can cause a lot of problems.
Kids want the shiny skull or axe shaped guitar, try and be pragmatic with them.
Is it the idea or have they got a genuine interest.
If it’s the idea of having a guitar and your happy to spend the money then why not.
But if they have a true desire to learn to play then find them an appropriate guitar to learn on.
This advice rings true for everyone.
Les Paul shape guitars are bottom heavy – kids especially will overcompensate the weight of the guitar and tilt the neck downwards.
Strat shaped guitars tend to be lighter and much more suitable – they’re also usually cheaper.
Your first electric guitar should be that, something to learn on, spend between £100 -£200 for amp and guitar.
I’ll list a few I’ve found to be perfect below.
Before that some things to take into consideration.
Volume – A lot of guitar packages come with amps – these are around 1o-30 watts – this is plenty loud enough – you don’t need a 100 watt marshall!
Practice amps or Mini amps? – Practice amps are great because they are small but mini amps are small enough to fit into a gig bag. They’re also battery powered and therefore much more portable.
Guitar packages – Sometimes you can get a lot for your money – but be wise – the dvd and books are worthless really they’re stocking fillers – the cases can be very cheaply made – does the package contain a tuner? what make is the amp?
With guitar packages think like this – guitar case + tuner + guitar + amp + strings
Plectrums are 30pence each and the books and dvds are worthless so the the above should be below the total price of the package.
The following items are guitars, amps, cases and tuners that I’ve come across while teaching. They’re all of a decent quality and while they might not be the experienced guitarists choice they are good enough to learn on.
Follow up article with my favourite and recommended guitars.