Do you want to buy a guitar, but you don’t know whether to buy an acoustic or electric, or what brand, wood, style, or size to choose? Here are some tips to help you decide!
What to look out for when buying a guitar
Do you want to buy a guitar, but you need some help?
Firstly, you probably have an idea of whether you want an electric or acoustic guitar. Acoustic guitars are those guitars (typically with a soundhole) that are loud enough to be heard without amplification. Sure you can hear an electric when not plugged in, but it sounds pretty wimpy without an amp.
To seemingly complicate the matter, there are acoustics that can be plugged in for amplification, making them electric and there are semi-hollow electric guitars, making them “acoustic” to a degree.
Secondly, the style of music and how you will be playing will oftentimes be the determining factor as to what type of guitar you will want to get. Usually the heavier the music, the more an electric will suit you.
Acoustic guitars don’t need an amp to hear them well, so they are nice and portable. The action (distance from string to fretboard) tends to be a little higher than electrics and the strings are typically thicker making bending and intricate licks/noodling more difficult. They sound great playing open chords and fingerpicking. Some of my favorite brands for acoustic guitars are Gibson, Marlin, and Taylor.
On the other hand, electrics usually have lower action making soloing and subtle movements easier. Electric guitars can vary widely in the sounds that they produce and in the way that they feel. The wood is almost always solid in electric guitars.
The quality of the sound has to do with the body style and the pickups mainly. Some of the most famous body types are Stratocaster, Super Strat, Telecaster, Offset, Les Paul, SG, and Flying V. As for the pickups, they are usually the size of one finger, but if you see guitars with wider pickups, the sound will be different. Some of my favorite brands for electric guitars are Fender, Gibson, Epiphone, PRS, and Ibanez.
Which guitar should you buy?
The main variables for me always come down to budget, feel, and sound (in no particular order).
Higher prices usually equate to better woods, craftsmanship (try to buy a guitar with solid wood pieces instead of laminated!), but manufacturers are getting really good at producing good guitars at cheaper prices. DON’T let the price alone dictate a guitar purchase.
For women, smaller folks, and kids, there are 3/4 and 1/2 size guitars that might be easier to reach around. There are different full-sized acoustic bodies as well: jumbo, dreadnought, and parlor, from bigger to smaller.
Electric bodies usually run much smaller than acoustics. String action is also important as high action (string height) can make chording and fretting difficult and discouraging. My advice is that you go to a shop and try different guitars to see how you feel with them!
Sound is the other important variable. Different woods and their ages, string types, pick type, etc., are some of the variables that dictate the sound of the guitar.
If you want to learn more about the anatomy of a guitar, I have a post about it!
My Epiphone Les Paul Special II
I have an acoustic guitar and an electric one, but this one is definitely my favorite. I’m left-handed, so when I’ve decided to look for an electric guitar, I had to look for a model available in a version for left-handed people. After reading several reviews online, I’ve decided to order this one online.
Well, first of all, this is very obviously a Les Paul guitar. The Epiphone Les Paul Special II has the same pickups, tune-o-matic bridge, and stopbar tailpiece as you would find on a much more expensive Gibson model. It also has a nice mahogany body.
The pickups on a cheap electric guitar will usually sound muddy, and toneless, but not these! The tone is just as liquid and smooth as that of a true Gibson Les Paul, although I wouldn’t say that it as 100% as good. When playing this guitar, it definitely doesn’t feel like a cheap guitar, and the neck is fast and comfortable.
In summary, this Epiphone Les Paul Special II is a great guitar for any beginner who loves the look, feel and sound of a Les Paul, but hasn’t got the budget for a more expensive guitar. I definitely recommend it! You can buy it from eBay here.
Check other posts about guitar in the Guitar section of my blog