On topic of buying your (or your child’s) first guitar it very much depends on personal needs, taste in terms of music most likely to play initially and of course budget. This topic is huge, so I have split in to two parts. Part1-Acoustic:
For younger first time players (age 6-10):
- I would strongly recommend a half or three quarter size classical guitar. The three thinner strings (strings 1, 2 & 3) are made of nylon material -this tends to be more forgiving of smaller hands when first toughening up finger tips.
- There are many good entry level classical guitars in price band £45-£100. Visit your local music shop to get a size up and feel the quality. (If you cannot make it to a good music shop nearby there are some online shops listed further down this post.)
- Avoid eBay unless it is a convincing/trusted seller – I know of a couple of people with a bad experience via eBay- maybe better for second hand bargain rather than new cheap/ low quality false econony.
For the more mature players (early teens up):
- I would suggest an electro acoustic guitar would be most flexible if that is type of playing style would like to focus on, plus saves issue of plugging in each time for practice, they are lighter weight and easier to transport (you can get ruck sack style case with shoulder straps too).
- There are many brands which independent local shops might be able to advise you better on in terms of quality vs price – but at end of the day the salesman will try to sell what they have rather than what is best for you, so perhaps worth visiting a few shops and get a range of advice and use your own judgement. Or visit shop with wider selection (listed at bottom of mail).
- In the price bracket £100-£300 there are many nice looking Fender/Epiphone and Yamaha guitars with good reviews. I would suggest avoiding a ‘jumbo’ body size as these may be too big, and possibly avoid travel size as these might be too small- although this is Ed Sheeran’s ‘axe of choice’ -he has a signature travel sized Martin available around £450. Alternatively,Taylor Swift has a ‘baby Taylor’ small scale guitar on the market for around £300.
- My electro acoustic is a Yamaha APX500 which was around £260-300 new (shown in action in photo above). I love it- it is a great work horse guitar and never let me down! For similar money you can also find Epiphone Hummingbird/ Dove or SJ/EJ series guitars latter of which is used by James Bay and look and sounds gorgeous!
- As the price increases you move from laminate tops to solid woods which resonate better, plus set ups and finish will be better (more time spent on them) and beyond this it will be made in ‘higher cost countries’ i.e. better quality components and more exotic woods and better craftsmanship.
First port of call should be your local music shop, touch feel and play a few different guitars. For more options search the web too:
Visit online or in person at Andertons Music, Guildford.
Alternatively, check out Guitar Village, Farnham (30mins from Andertons – definitely worth a look – huge stock, plus nice town if you want to stop for lunch!)
GAK at Brighton is also popular.
Online-wise, Thomann (Germany), DV247 and Gear4Music are all competitive, offer 0% finance if you want to splurge and have 30day money back guarantee plus free next day delivery over certain amount (£199 I think). I have tested out the money back guarantee and as long as goods returned in original packaging and as new condition, no issue with refund- for added peace of mind.
Lots of info there but hope that helps for an initial ‘reccie’.
Guitars, guitars, guitars! – Part2 will focus on choosing your first electric guitar(s)!! Have a great week!