Guitar Buyer’s Guide for Beginners – 2024

As a beginner shopping for their first guitar, there are several categories to choose from.

First of all, where should you shop for your first guitar or other music gear? Sweetwater is our preferred musical instrument seller. They have a top-notch sales department, competitive pricing, and reliable shipping times. We do not receive anything in return for this suggestion. This is simply where we order a lot of our gear for our schools.

Whichever guitar you choose, make sure that the strings are close to the fretboard.

When the strings are high, the strings are harder to press down, and you have to press them down further than if the strings are close to the fretboard. We call close strings "low action" You want a guitar with "low action." Many inexpensive acoustic guitars have higher action as they are cheap to build. This is a good reason to consider starting on an electric guitar even if you eventually want to play on an acoustic guitar. This is especially important for smaller hands.

The guitar below is a Stratocaster style electric guitar and it is usually the most comfortable for beginners to play due to the contours of the body, narrow neck, and low string action (how far the strings are from the fingerboard)."

~ Tyler Tullock | Director, 4/4 School of Music

$100 - $200 (Smaller Sizes)

The guitars listed in the paragraph are all smaller in size than normal. They can be excellent choices for kids and very small adults. In this price range, the guitars are generally speaking, not built to last a lifetime. But if you are not sure whether or not you want to play for a lifetime, they can be a great way to test the waters! The Squire Mini Strat (Squire Mini-Stratocaster) is a good entry level model that gives the Fender feel without the Fender price. If you are looking for an acoustic guitar in this price range, Epiphone (Epiphone Acoustic Guitar) and Yamaha (Yamaha Acoustic Guitar) have several quality instruments for the price. If you are confident that you (or who you are buying for) will play guitar longer than a few months, this range is generally not recommended.

$150 - $300 (Beginner)

GOOD CHOICE if you're not ready to make a big investment in a high-end guitar yet. Perfect for Beginners that are trying guitar for the first time!

In this category, Squire, Epiphone and Ibanez offer the best value. Most of these are full sized and can last the typical beginning student one to two years. The major factor to consider with this range is whether you want the Les Paul feel of the Epiphone Les Paul Special (EpiphoneLesPaulSpecial), the Stratocaster/Telecaster touches of the Squire Bullets (SquireBullet) or the rocker appeal of the Ibanez GRX series (Ibanez GRX). For acoustic guitars, Epiphone (EpiphoneAcoustic) and Yamaha (YamahaAcoustic) have the best options for these prices.

$350 to $750 (Intermediate)

BEST CHOICE if you ARE SURE you will stick with it. This quality of guitar is one you can play as a beginner but can also continue to play as an intermediate-level student. Some pros even play guitars in this price range.

These are our top recommendations for beginning students. It can be frustrating for a new player to practice hard and still not be able to get a good sound because their instrument is holding them back. The Fender Player Stratocaster is a quality guitar that can last a you a lifetime.  Epiphone Les Pauls (Epiphone Les Paul Standard) offer high quality instruments and feel extremely similar to their Gibson counterparts. Ibanez (Ibanez RGA) has become a very reliable brand and offers many guitars that have hard rockability and looks.  Fender (Fender Acoustic) and Epiphone (Epiphone Acoustic)  are the most popular in this range for acoustic guitars but if you are looking for something a bit more unique, Breedlove Guitars (Breedlove Acoustic) offer high quality acoustic guitars at a great value!

$750 and Up!!

At this point, the world is limitless with options. You can spend thousands of dollars on high end guitars with premier tone and playability but aren’t necessary at all for learning the instrument. Once you’ve been playing for a while, you will get a sense for what your dream guitar is. You don’t need to start with the best. When you are ready to rock stadiums, you’ll know what to get.

Please call us at 425-485-8310 if you have any other questions about purchasing a guitar for yourself or your child.

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