Choosing a guitar for a beginner
The main thing to worry about when choosing a guitar is what they call “playability”.
That is, how easy it is to hold the strings on the fretboard when you play notes and chords. It doesn’t matter how good the guitar looks or how good it sounds. For a beginner, gameplay is the most important thing.
The main reason people stop learning to play the guitar is because they decide it’s too hard. It’s certainly not an easy instrument to learn, and a guitar with poor playability makes it more difficult.
As a guitar teacher, I would say forget about how the guitar looks or sounds. Find a guitar that is comfortable to hold and with the strings positioned close to the fretboard. Your fingertips will still hurt before they harden, but the fingers themselves and your left hand should be stress-free and pain-free with a well-played guitar.
If you have a guitar with good playability, you will always be a better guitarist than if you have one with poor playability. A guitar with inadequate or poor playability will always make it more difficult for you to play chords and hit notes quickly.
Are you going to choose an acoustic or an electric guitar? For a beginner, an acoustic is often better because:
1. You don’t have to buy an amp
2. Every day you can grab it and practice it, you don’t have to set up an amp too
3. The neighbors will not kill you. A beginner practicing on an amplified guitar is not, to be honest, the most wonderful of sounds for a neighbor to hear.
When you have chosen a guitar, it would be very smart to buy a guitar stand as well. This means you never have to put your guitar away, it’s always there on the stand, watching you, waiting for the next practice session.
The first two or three weeks are the hardest. Your fingers will hate it and you probably will too. But you got into this because you love guitar and guitar music, right? Hard times at first go with the territory. The best guitarists in the world started out as beginners just like you.
You must commit to practicing half an hour a day. Whatever happens, half an hour a day, seven days a week without fail. Sometimes it will feel like torture, some days practicing guitar is the last thing you want to do, so that’s where the rule you accept for yourself helps you get where you want to go: half an hour a day, every day.
Then one day, not too far away, you will discover that you are no longer a beginner, you are a guitar player.
Everyone learns at a different pace, but whether you’re fast or slow, there’s nothing stopping you from becoming a good guitarist. Remember to focus on what you want to achieve. Are you learning guitar to accompany singing, or is your goal to become a soloist? Keep your dream in mind.
Whatever your goal, everyone needs to learn the basics. If you hang in there, you’ll get where you want to go, and a guitar with good playability will make it that much easier.