Beginner’s Guide To Buying Your First Guitar

The guitar world is vast so it can be a little daunting when searching for your first axe. You might be buying one for your child and have no idea what is suitable. I’ll break down the process into simple steps to make sure you’re spending your money wisely.

Cian Hodge

Cian Hodge

You’re about to buy your first guitar! Getting your hands on a new instrument is extremely exciting, and we’re here to make sure you choose one you’ll feel inspired to pick up and play as often as possible.

Steps to buying your first beginner guitar:

  1. Choose what type of guitar you want – acoustic or electric
  2. See what style or shape stands out to you
  3. Set a budget
  4. Consider trying it in person before you buy
  5. Buy accessories e.g spare strings, guitar maintenance

Step 1: electric or acoustic?

Decide if you want an acoustic or electric guitar. Acoustics give you a sparkly, delicate sound ideal for practice and eventually songwriting. Acoustics guitar are used in all different styles of music, but most often you’ll come across them in folk, indie, rock, country and pop genres. The modern acoustic guitar shape was well-established before the arrival of the electric guitar, so visually you have a classically-styled instrument featuring a large body and soundhole.

Diving a bit deeper, you also have the choice between a nylon-stringed acoustic which is quieter and less demanding to play, or a steel-stringed acoustic that’s louder but tougher on beginner fingers.

Shop Beginner Classical Nylon String Guitars

When it comes to electric guitars, there’s a massive scope in style and sound for you to explore – and it’s always expanding at a beginner level. You could go down the Hendrix route with a Stratocaster shape guitar, BB King likeness with a semi-hollow or full-on metal with a “V” shape.

There is no right or wrong way to start here. In most circumstances, electric guitars might be considered easier to play early on in your progression – but we wouldn’t recommend you let this dictate your buying decision too much. You can always change direction when you have more experience with the instrument.

Types of beginner guitars

Step 2: Settle on the shape and style

Pick what you think stylistically looks the best. Do some research into what your favourite guitarists use to see if you share a taste in guitars. Have a look at some more expensive guitars for inspiration.

One thing to consider is that there’s less stylistic variation amongst acoustics; but instead a number of body sizes which produce different sounds. Dreadnought style acoustics have an iconic look and a thick, loud tone perfect for strumming chords, but may be too large for smaller players. Parlour style guitars, on the other hand, have thinner bodies more suited to seated practice playing and children.

Shop Beginner Acoustic Guitars

Shop Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners

If you’re looking for looking for an Electric guitar, a great place to start is by looking at the 3 most iconic styles: The S-Style, the T-Style, and the Single Cut.

Shop Beginner S-Style Electric Guitars

Shop Beginner T-Style Electric Guitars

Shop Beginner Single Cut Electric Guitars

Electric guitars come in all shapes and sizes, so the classic three don’t take your fancy, try searching for something more unique. Different brands make different looking guitars.

Shop Beginner Alternative Body Electric Guitars

If you’re buying for a child, check out beginner small-scale guitars. These have shorter necks and fretboards so there’s less stretching to play notes. Some manufacturers make 3/4-sized guitars or smaller built specifically for children. The Jackson Minion series is a range of small-scale rock and roll instruments perfectly suited for younger players.

Shop Mini Electric Guitars

Shop Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

Step 3: Set your budget

Decide your budget. Do this now because you may be tempted to pay that little bit extra for a certain shape or colour that really takes your fancy. There’s a wide array of excellent beginner guitars for under £250. This is a great budget for a first guitar because if you find out it’s not the instrument for you, or you get bored, you don’t want to waste an excessive amount of money. Start off cheap and gradually build up in price with your progress and dedication.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of choices, If you get the chance, go to a guitar shop such as Andertons *wink wink*! Ask the staff to help you out. See what takes your interest in the flesh. See what it’s like to sit down with a guitar. Hold onto the neck and get a feeling of it.

Step 4: Consider trying it in person before you buy

All guitars will have similar specifications in this lower price bracket. So there’s no need to focus much on what the fretboard material is, or how many knobs it has, or what the hardware is made of. There are lots of variables in guitars so it’s important not to feel overwhelmed.

Even how they sound is less important than how the shape makes you feel. If it excites you to look at, you’ll be more inclined to pick it up and play.

Step 5: buy your accessories

Consider buying a starter pack. The Epiphone Les Paul pack contains a strap so you can play standing up, an amplifier and cables to project the sound and plectrums to pick the strings with. There are plenty of these out there for acoustics too such as the Fender CC-60s pack. Or you could buy the guitar separately and add these accessories after.

Shop Electric Guitar Starter Packs

Beyond the basics such as picks and an amp and cable for electrics, everything is optional. But I would recommend getting extra strings when you’ve worn out the ones already on the guitar. Cleaning fluid for the neck is also a worthwhile addition. If you want to get more creative after nailing the very basics of playing, a slide and capo open up even more possibilities.

Follow these steps and you’ll come out with a guitar that will inspire you to become the next big thing!

Want to know more? Check out our guides on the best electric, acoustic and bass guitars for beginners. Some top affordable brands to look out for include Alvarez guitars, EastCoast guitars and many more – check them out!

Check out our other learn articles for more guitar and music tips.

Read more about how to clean your guitar here.

For the next step, check out our blog on upgrading from your first guitar here.

Cian Hodge
Cian Hodge
Cian is a writer for the Andertons team. He shares his birthday with Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and believes he will one day reach the same level of stardom. Cian is a big prog/modern metal fan so naturally loves Bare Knuckle pickups and pointy guitars.

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