Everything You Need To Know
Here is your complete guide to buying your first electric guitar. It’s hugely helpful to get this right at the beginning. As you’ll see below, not only does it make your musical journey more enjoyable, it also makes learning the guitar easier.
Do Not Buy A Guitar Online
I will never buy a guitar online. I have to feel how it plays in my hands, hear the sound, check the intonation, set up, string gauge, and more. Also a good music store has a guitar workshop area where you can get your guitar set up when you buy. You won’t have to pay extra as they usually include it in the cost of purchase. And you can go back if there’s a problem in the future.
Avoid Starter Packs
Starter packs seem like good value for money. You may get a reasonable guitar but the amplification may not to be great. I have yet to see a starter pack with everything I would want to use. The accessories are not of the best quality. Especially the guitar tuners. And if you’re a beginner you definitely need a very user friendly guitar tuner. And even though the guitar bag looks big, it’s usually not well padded. Once you progress you will definitely want to upgrade everything.
So it actually costs less if you invest in a better quality guitar, amp, and other accessories from the start. If you’re a beginner, here’s what you need to look for when buying an electric guitar. More importantly, You learning journey will be much easier, and more enjoyable.
A Really Helpful Guide
Especially If You’re A Beginner
A Slim Neck
Almost all professional guitarists play slim necked electric and acoustic guitars. So Should You, especially if you’re a beginner. Because the fretboard is narrower on slim necked guitars, all chords are easier to learn and play. This is very important if you’re a beginner as it greatly speeds up your progress.
Strings Close To Fretboard
Because strings buzz when they’re too close to the fretboard, manufacturers set them slightly higher (High Action) when leaving the factory. This means there is always room for adjustment. When buying your guitar ask to have the strings lowered closer to the fretboard (Low Action). This makes the guitar so much easier to play, especially if you’re a beginner.
And it’s the most important reason why you should buy in a music store. When buying your guitar, they will make all the right adjustments at no extra cost. If you buy online, you will still have to go somewhere if you want your settings done. But you will have to pay for the service.
Good intonation means an accurate pitch in all the notes on your guitar. Sometimes a guitar will be in tune at the first 3 frets. But it can be completely out of tune as you move up the fretboard. I also check the 12th fret when buying a guitar. If the 1st fret and 12th fret are in tune, all the other frets in between should also be in tune.
As you just saw, improving the action makes your guitar easier to play. But it also helps greatly to improve intonation. My guitars sound so much better up and down the fretboard with a reasonably low action.
Light Gauge Strings
The one short-term disadvantage of learning guitar on a slim neck is that you also have to learn on steel strings. But it will be worth it in 3 to 4 weeks. All the guitars in the video above have light gauge steel strings. This makes it much easier for a beginner to develop the right sound. And without hurting your fingertips.
A Guitar Amp
Because electric guitars are too quiet, they cannot be played on their own. The sound needs to be amplified. This is done by a built in pickup that converts string vibration into electrical impulses and sent to an electric guitar amplifier. Only then will you hear the sound.
To make an electric guitar sound louder you need a guitar amp and guitar lead. Then you’ll be able to electrically enhance your sounds. And this opens up a whole new world with sound effects such as reverb, wah wah, and distortion pedals.
I use a Roland Micro Cube for home practice. It has built in chorus, reverb, delay, and more. And my acoustic guitar sounds quite good through it also using chorus and reverb only.
Pauric Mather Signature Tip
Acoustic and classical guitars can be played softly. But the electric guitar often needs to be played loud. It’s a loud instrument. This becomes a huge problem for beginners as the noise will upset everybody where you live. When buying an amp, make sure it has A Headphone Input.
That solves the problem. Now you can practice for hours as loud as you need to, into your headphones. And nobody will hear a thing.