The best guitar for beginners.
In this installment we are going to look at a few different choices for the best guitar for beginners based on your budget, commitment, and style of music you want to learn.
What style of music do you want to play?
The first step is to decide on what genre you want to ultimately play. If you are looking to wail away the blues ala Eric Clapton, BB King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, or shred monster rock guitar solos like Slash or Zakk Wylde, than you are going to want to equip yourself with a mighty electric guitar axe to melt faces with.
If strumming Ed Sheeran songs, or serenading cute girls (or guys) with cascading finger picking arpeggios while you sing your heart out (it works for John Mayer) is more the target you are shooting for than the bright chime of an acoustic steel string guitar will do the trick nicely.
A third option would be a nylon string acoustic guitar, which inherently has more of a soft muted sound and is primarily used for classical or latin music.
Choosing an electric guitar
If you’ve decided on the larger-than-life sound of an electric guitar to start with the immediate challenges in playing are reduced because of the smaller profile neck and thinner strings, which make it easier to push the strings down and get a clear tone.
For more of a blues sound, you can’t go wrong with the Fender Stratocaster, which has been the choice and signature sound of many blues and rock legends including Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and David Gilmour. Although the American made Stratocaster is the pinnacle of the popular Fender line, it is pricy at around $1250 street price.
Fortunately, there are less expensive models such as the Standard Stratocaster (made in Mexico and priced around $500) which is a great alternative to the flagship American model.
If this is still too much cheddar to spread than the Indonesian made Squier Stratocaster is a good way to get started for as low as $200.
Here is a video demonstration of all three Fender models.
For more of a hard rock tone, the Gibson Les Paul has long been the go-to preference of guitar greats such as Jimmy Page, Slash, Zakk Wylde, and Randy Rhoads.
Although a standard model LP is out of reach for many beginners because of its $1000+ price tag Gibson’s subsidiary company Epiphone also makes the more affordable Epiphone Les Paul which is priced around $400. Another comparably priced yet more “metal” looking and sounding alternative to the Les Paul is the Schecter Omen.
Choosing a steel string acoustic guitar
Some good acoustic steel string guitars include the Seagull S6 which is a great sounding guitar for the price ($420).
Here is a video demonstration of the Seagull S6.
If you are looking to spend closer to $200, the Yamaha FG700S is a good entry level guitar. Seagull and Yamaha both tend to produce pretty good guitars for the price. If you are on an uber-tight budget than the Fender FA-100 is not a shabby way to get your feet wet.
Choosing a nylon string guitar
If you have decided to go the serious route of the classical guitarist, or have a passion to play fiery latin or flamenco music, Yamaha makes a good student nylon string guitar for a variety of price points. From the entry level C40 ($140), to the CG122 ($220), and the CG182 ($450), you have a selection of “get what you pay for” options. Although nylon string guitars typically have a wider neck, the strings are a lot softer on your fingertips, which make it less painful to play for the beginner than their steel string counterparts.
Here is a video demonstration of the Yamaha CG122.
Finding guitar lessons
After you have chosen your guitar, the next step is to find the best guitar teacher for lessons. If you are in the Orange County Ca area, Mark Hamrock at Hamrock Music Instruction has been chosen by CBS Los Angeles as one of their “Best Places for Guitar Lessons in Orange County ”. If you are outside of the Orange County area, Mark also provides online guitar lessons via Webcam at http://hamrockmusic.com.