Buying your first guitar is a big step, and there are a lot of things to consider. Electric, rather than acoustic guitars are the most frequent choice for budding guitarists, as they are generally easier to play and, for many beginners, more fun as well. Knowing which equipment is a necessity and which is overkill, comparing prices and brand names, and sorting through a mountain of technical jargon and specifications can all make the process intimidating. This is particularly true for budding musicians or people trying to find that perfect gift for the musician in their lives.

But buying a guitar doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, many professional musicians look back on buying and learning to play their first guitar as one of the most fun times in their lives. This article will sort out of a few of the most confusing aspects of guitars and accessories, and at the same time make the process of buying your first guitar as personal, easy and fun as possible. After all, you’re not really interested in buying a guitar, you’re interested in playing it!

By using the menu below, navigate through the rest of this article, including what you’ll need to get started, as well as how to select the right guitar and amplifier.

Necessary Equipment

There are a few absolutely essential pieces of equipment that are needed to play the electric guitar. The bare minimum set of equipment includes:

A Guitar This one should be obvious, but read the section on choosing the right guitar for more information about which features to look for when buying your first guitar.
An Amplifier (Amp) Some guitar amplifiers come with built in speakers and some don’t. Many have particular features which put them ahead of others in their class. Read the section on choosing the right amplifier for more information.
An Instrument Cable At least 6 ft. long, to connect the guitar and amp.
A Set of Guitar Strings
A Guitar Pick
The contents of this list may seem obvious to some, but overlooking any one of these items will require an inconvenient trip to the music store or your favorite music supply website before you can start playing. In addition, there are several other items that are not strictly essential, but many musicians would say they cannot live without:

Distortion and Effects A key element of a guitar’s sound is the effects that are used to modify it. The most common, essential effect for rock music, jazz, blues, and most other forms of modern guitar is distortion. Some amplifiers come with built in distortion, some don’t. Read the section on amplifiers for more information.
Guitar Carrying Case It’s pretty hard to move your guitar around without damaging or detuning it, so a hard guitar case or soft “gig-bag” are an important piece of equipment.
Instruction Book If you’re just starting out playing guitar, having an instruction book to guide you will definitely help. It’s no substitute for taking professional lessons, but it’s a start.
Since there are many pieces of equipment needed to play electric guitar, one attractive option is to purchase a single “kit” containing all the necessary items and accessories. An example of a good quality, affordable guitar kit is the Vintager Guitar Pack [].

Now that you know which equipment you’ll need to start playing, read the sections below for more information about selecting the right equipment to meet your needs.


Choosing the Right Guitar

The most important and possibly most intimidating part of putting together your first electric guitar “kit” is selecting the guitar itself. Music stores have walls full of guitars with a wide range of quality, features and price tags. So how can a beginner sort through the ocean of terminology, brand names, and jargon without getting lost? The choice really comes down to three essential elements: body construction, electronics, and budget.

Body Construction

Although electric guitars derive a lot of their sound quality from their electronics, the construction of the guitar’s body is even more important. The way sound resonates through the body of the guitar will determine whether it produces a warm, solid tone or a hollow one. As common sense might dictate, a solid-body electric guitar will produce a stronger more solid tone than a hollow-body guitar. Although some people do like the thinner sound that comes from a hollow body guitar, a solid body will be the most versatile, and most appropriate for beginners and veteran guitarists alike. In addition, a well constructed guitar should have the entire body, neck and fretboard made of wood, not of laminate or plastic materials.

A second consideration is the guitar’s size. A “standard” electric guitar has 22 frets, meaning each string is capable of producing 22 different notes. However, many electric guitars, particularly those marketed to beginners are smaller in size. Except for small children who lack the wingspan to reach a full sized guitar, this is undesirable, as it limits the range of notes the guitar is capable of producing. Therefore, teenagers and adults looking to purchase their first guitar (and 10th guitar, for that matter) should look for full-sized, 22 fret guitars.

Finally, the last important feature of an electric guitar’s construction is the bridge. The bridge is the part of the guitar where the strings attach to the guitar body. There are two types of bridges: fixed bridge and floating (vibrato) bridge. For most aspiring guitarists, the vibrato bridge will be the best choice. This allows the guitarist to “bend” notes as they are being played using the included “wammy-bar”. This is a common technique in rock, blues and jazz music. Although the bridge won’t have a large effect on other aspects of the guitar’s sound like those listed above, a floating or vibrato bridge really makes guitar playing more fun and expressive.

By yanam49

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.