Buying your first electric guitar is a big decision to make, and there’s no ‘right first guitar’ for anyone. Are you going to get the cheapest one possible? Do you buy the most expensive one or even the best-looking one in the store? Before you hand over any cash, there are a few important things you need to consider selecting the best guitar for you.

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Know your budget

You might want to buy your guitar in cash, or you might want to use your finance/credit card. You know what your investments are, and that is the most critical thing. It may make sense to save for a few months and then pay for the instrument right away, so it may make more sense to pay for the item from a store selling it. You’ll need a credit score to support that to use finance.

So don’t put yourself in a situation where the purchase can adversely affect you financially, just make sure your budget allows you to invest the most you can afford, whatever it may be.

You’ll thank yourself later for choosing the best you can afford rather than the cheapest you can find (and you will find it very inexpensive!).

If the case is that the cheapest available is the best you can afford, that’s great, too!

What do your guitar heroes play?

If you know what you have available to invest, it’s very important to start from the very beginning. Only ask yourself the following questions:

  • Whose tone do I want to emulate?
  • Whose playing style do I want to learn from?

This is it. Don’t go by the guitar that looks best. Only go for who you think is doing a fine job as an artist.

Don’t let pride stand in the way either – some guitars are great for shredding, while others are great for being a lot more careful with the notes they play, while neither will be ‘worse’ than the other.

Each guitar style and configuration is built to achieve those sonic characteristics, so your artist role models are a perfect way to test what’s going to suit you, and that’s a whole topic in itself!

Consider buying budget guitars

If you’re just starting and you know you’re not going to gig regularly, then look at the budget options-brands like Squire by Fender, Epiphone is well-built cheap instruments, while Ibanez has its budget ranges without a budget brand and there are several more reliable budget guitars. It refers to electrical, electro-acoustic and acoustic requirements.

When it comes to ‘big name’ guitar brands, they are known to add a named premium to the headstock, so their budget choices provide an outstanding value for money. For gigging artists, it’s a different story and the small improvements that premium instruments deliver make all the difference, but at home, don’t let that get to you.

Consider purchasing used guitars

When you know the guitar style and have narrowed it down to a handful of versions, or have one that you’ve decided you like, see how it’s used!

Premium guitars may keep their value, but only vintage premiums boost their value. This means, if you’re looking for a bargain instrument, the second-hand market will be a source of great and inexpensive offers. Please seek one of the following:

  • Online used marketplaces (Ebay, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree among others) will be a way to see if anyone is selling an old guitar privately and find a great deal
  • Retailers that offer used guitar deals.
  • Brick-and-mortar stores such as second-had stores, charity shops may all have some hidden gems of guitar deals.

The unfortunate fact in the world today is that everybody needs stuff to be brand new. For electric guitars, the parts are all swappable, and if you don’t like pick-ups, you can change them later. So long as the guitar is in working condition, a pre-owned instrument can represent you just as loyally as a brand-new instrument, with its own special story to tell.

Look for reviews of guitars

Before handing over your hard-earned cash, take a step back. Find a few reviews of the model that you’re interested in on YouTube and elsewhere. Figure out what the consensus is.

Just an understanding of the sounds that can be made. Try to grasp what it’s going to fail to do. You’re definitely going to have to compromise on some of your favorite music in order to get as close as possible to other music you enjoy.

Are you happy with your decision, huh? Have you found another pattern that suits your needs a little bit better? There’s only one thing you need to make sure you do that before you pay.

Try out your guitar

YouTube videos are amazing, but they’re not going to tell you how the instrument sounds when you play it. Tell yourself, please:

  • How does the neck feel in your palms?
  • How do your fingers feel when you press on the frets?
  • Is it too light or too heavy?

So before you blindly order your instrument, make a trip and check it out in person. If the music store is the retailer you’re planning to buy online, the better! Whether it’s a stand-alone store, you can still play it, and you might even opt to buy theirs, even though it could be a little more expensive than online.

If you buy a pre-owned instrument, this step is important because it helps you to determine the condition of the instrument. Don’t be afraid to just say ‘no thank you’ if the instrument isn’t as mentioned!

When you take these basic steps to pick your first guitar, you can be confident that you have an instrument that will work well for you for a couple of years.

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