For a good reason,, the electric guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world. In fact, over 1.1 million electric guitars are sold in the US each year alone. With the right gear and the right skill, an electric guitar player can make noise in just about any style, any band, or any genre.
The diversity of the instrument, along with its lightweight nature and easy transportation, makes the electric guitar the perfect instrument for bedrooms, gigs, or world tours alike! But, for a new guitarist, knowing what to buy and how much to spend can be a tricky decision. To help you out, here are a few things you need to consider when buying your first electric guitar.
Electric Guitar Basics
An electric guitar is different from an acoustic guitar. An acoustic has a hollow body, making it loud and amplified to the room without any need for power, cables, or any other additional items. However, an electric guitar will sound almost completely dead in a room without amplification. It is not the guitar itself that is electric, but the simple circuits within the pickups and body create a signal that is sent down a wire to your amp, pedals, laptop, or other devices.
Your Home Setup
So, you’ll need more than just the guitar if you want to make varied sounds and play live. Deciding what you want in your home can be one of the big challenges of a new electric guitar player’s life. Over at Really Simple Guitar, you can find awesome reviews on different amps, bedroom equipment, live gear, and more. What you choose to have in your home is up to you.
For example, many people like to practice at home with a low-power practice amp. These amps come in all shapes and sizes but tend to be on a quieter scale. This is great for bedroom rehearsal, noodling, and songwriting, as you can get all the sounds of a high-performance amplifier at a low noise level.
You might also choose to have a selection of guitar pedals to help change the sound. A bedroom amp will likely have a simple clean and distortion channel, with little flexibility on effects. This is where guitar pedals come in. There is a huge range of guitar pedals to help create sounds to fit all genres like blues, punk, rock, and even electronic or synth sounds. Depending on the style of music you want to play, it’s definitely a world to take a look at.
Price And Quality
When choosing your first guitar, the options can seem endless. That’s probably because they are! There are tons of guitar manufacturers with thousands of different models. While some are better than others, a lot does come down to personal preference.
You should know that trusted brands like Fender, Gibson, or Gretsch all make beginner-level guitars. These will be made to an exceptional standard as you would expect from a big company. However, they will come with cheaper parts such as pickups, strings, and machine heads. For a beginner, this is not an issue. However, if you progress to professional or touring guitar playing, you may wish to upgrade these parts or buy a better model.
Buying a beginner’s guitar is still not the cheapest thing in the world. For a trusted brand, you’ll be looking to spend around $200 and upwards. Anything less, and you may be getting poor-quality craftsmanship on the guitar. Once you add an amp and gig bag to protect your guitar, you could easily spend upwards of $300-350.
Do You Need Lessons?
While some people have the ‘gift’ and others take much longer to learn a new instrument, it’s always worth considering lessons. A professional guitar tutor can help you understand scales, reading music, and playing techniques. This may not be the most exciting way to start your guitar journey, but it will certainly help you down the line as you develop and find your style. These days, it’s possible to have lessons both in person or online. You can even simply follow an online guitar course. However, these courses usually offer no one-to-one tutoring, so you may still be making mistakes without being aware of them.
These few notes and points should help you make a clear decision on whether you want to pick up an electric guitar, how much you want to spend, and what other equipment you might need. Playing guitar is super fun and definitely recommended. No matter where you are, you can always grab your guitar and get lost in the music.