Buying A New Guitar – Choosing One Out From The Rest
Buying a brand new Guitar or instrument is not as simple as one might think. Sure, if you had more money than you knew what to do with and be able to just buy anything without checking it out first, it would be. Sadly that’s not the case for the majority of us. Buying a new Guitar or other Instrument is not cheep. If you want good quality, expect the dollar sign on the instrument to raise quickly. Now that doesn’t mean if the price is extremely high, you’re getting the best guitar in the world. You would just know that the instrument was very well made. Now I personally have played guitars ranging from $75 all the way to $5000+ and can tell you that some of the smoothest and best guitars were no where near the $5000 mark. It all comes down to you and the instrument. All of the variables to consider and how the guitar plays and feels to YOU. So, I’ve compiled a little list of things to look for that will make it a little easier to pick out a guitar that is right for you. (Think of it as a little cheat sheet)
What Style Of Music – Type of Guitar
Every person on the planet has a different opinion in music (even if its just a tiny bit) Now, there are so many different kinds of guitars out there and every one of them plays different. However, certain guitars are made to play different types of music. Basically just how they are made. So here’s something to check out that will help you with what kind of guitar to play with what style(genre) of music.
- ROCK – Both electric and acoustic, but majority is electric.
- ALTERNATIVE – Pretty much the same as Rock
- METAL – Electric, always electric, one that is very durable.
- COUNTRY – Acoustic guitar
- BLUEGRASS – Acoustic guitar
- PUNK ROCK – Doesn’t matter, you’re a rebel who doesn’t follow the pack.
Parts of The Guitar
Now, we can’t jam out and have it sound good with only the guitar body. We need the next and very important pieces to the puzzle, The Other Parts! I’m talking about; Strings, Pickups, Whammy Bar, Toggle Switches, Volume knobs, etc.
- ROCK – I find that any size of strings work well.
- ALTERNATIVE – Pretty much the same as rock.
- METAL – Durable Medium to heavy, but usually leans towards the heavier/thicker side.
- COUNTRY – Medium strings that are smooth to play.
- BLUEGRASS – Medium to heavier strings that are durable.
- PUNK ROCK – Again, you’re a rebel, use what you want to. (But I would suggest light to medium strings)
Now for those of you who don’t know about pickups, they are the neat little things on the guitar that basically “transfer” the sounds you are making with the strings, to the Amplifier you have the guitar hooked up to. They are already “installed” on every electric guitar out there being sold (unless you specifically get one customized before you buy one). There are literally dozens of different brands of pickups out there, and for the most part, they all do their job very well with any kind of music. If you ever want to change them out with other ones, my suggestion would be to check out and play other guitars that have different pickups, to see which ones you might prefer more. So you might be asking, “What about Acoustic Guitars?” Well, Acoustics are a bit different. Yes, there are Acoustic-Electric guitars where the pickup is installed inside the hollow base part of the guitar, but just a straight up Acoustic Guitar does not have a pickup (that’s why they are called acoustics). However, you can add pickups to them and the process is fairly painless. The beauty about them, is that you can make beautiful music with or without a pickup.
-TOGGLE SWITCHES & VOLUME KNOBS-
This one is pretty simple to explain, and they are on every single electric guitar and Acoustic-Electric guitars. Volume Knobs turn the volume/tone that go to your pickups up or down. Toggle switches can do a few different things (depending on the guitar build). They can; Turn the power to the guitar on/off; Change which pickups to turn on/off; Change certain tones/effects.
Whammy Bars are pretty cool (plus I just like saying it). Basically what it is, is a little “lever/bar” that screws into the bridge (it holds your strings to the base part of the guitar) where you can push/pull on it to bend your strings to create really cool sounds. That being said, Whammy Bars are not on every electric guitar (I have yet to see one on an acoustic, but if you find one, let me know). They require the Bridge to have a spot for it to screw into. Some people like them, some don’t, it’s just a matter of opinion and style you are going to go with.
TONE & SOUND
Like I said before, every single guitar ever made will have a different sound (even if it’s just a tiny one). When it comes to the Sound & Tone, this is what I basically have figured out. The Lighter/Skinnier the strings, the Brighter it will sound. The Heavier/Thicker the strings, the Darker it will sound. The type, size, and weight of the guitar has a play in that too, but the only way to find out, is to play around with several guitars ’till you find one that sounds just right for YOU.
So, I hope this article will help you out when choosing your new best friend (guitar). There is a whole different and amazing world out there when you step into the realm of music. It is a very powerful and magical thing. In the words of Bob Marley, “You could cure racism and hate… literally cure it, by injecting music and love into people’s lives.”
Thanks for reading!
Jerrick S. (J-Rock)
P.S. Everything I have talked about and mentioned on this page, is my opinion and what I have personally figured out and experienced over many years of playing.