But it’s a good idea to think about what type of music you’d eventually like to play. It’ll affect everything from which body to go for, to what custom guitar straps you might like.
So keep reading and find out how to choose the guitar for you!
The genre of music you want to play will affect the type of guitar you go for.
If you favour rock, punk or metal, then go for a solid body guitar. Unlike acoustic guitars, they have no resonance chamber.
That just means they need an amplifier to really make any sounds. A combination of pick-ups and electronics pass the noise from the strings onto the amp and presto! Music appears.
You’ll have seen plenty of solid-body guitars in music videos or at gigs. The Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster are two of the most famous.
Not sure what a Gibson Les Paul looks like? Think Jimmy Page, Slash, or Zakk Wilde. Like the sound of the Stratocaster? Check out Jimi Hendrix, Bryan Adams or Eric Clapton.
Alternatively, if you know you want to play metal, choose an axe suitable to the task. Ibanez and ESP do guitars aimed specifically at metal players.
They have thinner necks to make it easier to move up and down the fretboard. That makes it far easier to play at high speed.
But if you’d rather play jazz, then look at hollow body electric guitars. They don’t have a sound hole like an acoustic. They also use different pick-ups than their solid-body cousins.
Hollow body models often have a warmer tone to their sound. That hollow body gives you extra sustain, which is also great for blues or indie music. Think Noel Gallagher.
Last but not least, you can also get electric acoustic guitars. Very simply, they’re acoustic guitars with pick-ups. You play them like an acoustic, but you can plug them into amps if you want to play in public.
But we’re assuming you want to shred like a maniac!
And don’t just look at it. How does your chosen guitar sound?
It’s amazing how many new guitar players choose the look of an axe first. But when you ask how to buy a guitar, you’re also asking how to buy a particular sound.
So don’t buy a guitar you’ve never tried. That’s especially true if you’re going to choose a used model. If its sound doesn’t suit what you want to play, you won’t get any satisfaction.
Try plucking a few strings to see how they sound. Can you feel the vibration of the note throughout the entire body?
Does the sound seem metallic, or warm? It depends on the wood used and really affects the sound you can make.
You’ll also need to pay attention to the pickups. If they’re oval-shaped with metal spots under the strings, then you have single-coil pickups.
They’re more suitable for blues or rock lead players.
But if the pickups are metal rectangles, then you have humbucker pickups. They give a great level of ‘growl’ to your playing, especially if you’re a rhythm player. They’re also fantastic to use with distortion pedals.