Buying Your First Guitar – A Buyer’s Guide

I am always asked by students as to what I think would be a good guitar for them. While choosing a guitar is very much a personal preference, there are a few things to keep in mind when you go to purchase your first guitar.


Obviously, you have a certain range that you want to operate in. If you need something on the cheap, then I would recommend getting an electric guitar. They are built pretty good but have very cheap pickups which makes the guitar quieter than it’s more expensive counterparts.

If you are not interested in an electric and want an acoustic, then I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you spend over $250 for a guitar. If you could afford $500, that would be the ideal range. Why? The wood is better quality and the guitar themselves are actually easier to play.

The Guitar Action

This is the distance between the strings and the fretboard. The lower it is, the easier it is to play the guitar. This is also a personal preference and something that can be adjust on both acoustic and electric guitars.

Buy The Guitar That Fits Your Musical Style

If you want to play heavy metal and rock, then buy an electric guitar. If you want to learn some country, folk or singer/songwriter stuff, then buy an acoustic. If a rock player comes in with an acoustic, we will learn the basics and then have them upgrade to an electric as soon as possible.

Make Sure It’s Not A Boat Ore

This tends to be more of an issue for women and young children than it is for men. First time students that play acoustic guitar often come in with a guitar that is too big for them (cheap guitars usually are too big). They find it uncomfortable to hold and therefore do not practice as much. We call these guitar boats ores because really all they are good for is rowing a boat.

Make sure when you buy a guitar that it feels comfortable to hold. If you do not know, ask a salesperson or your teacher to let you hold a variety of guitar sizes so that you can feel the difference. If your arm can comfortably go around without feeling like you are holding onto a beach ball, then you probably have a good fit.

You can check out our Best Beginner Acoustic Guitars article for good options. If you are interested in taking guitar lessons in the Boston area, click on the yellow button below to schedule your introductory lesson.