30 January, 2009

HOW TO... decide which guitar to buy

For this post, I will specifically be focusing on choosing an acoustic guitar. In particular, I will be going through the different criteria I use when choosing an acoustic guitar. The 4 main criteria I use are "Feel", "Sound", "Quality" and "Price". I'll go into detail what these mean.

When testing out guitars at the shop, one of the criteria I use is the "Feel" factor. What this means is that when I play a guitar, I ask myself, "how does the guitar feel to my fingers?" This is important to me because when I play my guitar, I want it to feel good on my fingers. An example would be whether the action of the guitar is too high. If so, it would hurt your fingers more than if the guitar had a lower action. "Action" refers to how far the string is from the fretboard. A higher action means that the string is further away from the fretboard, therefore, to play a note, you would have to press down harder on the string. Below is a picture of a guitar with high and a guitar with low action for you to compare.Of course, it is totally up to you what kind of action you want. The main criteria is that it feels good when you play it.

The next criteria I use is the "Sound" factor. This of course is quite subjective because different people like different sounds. My advice to you is to buy a guitar based on what kind of sound you like. For example, do you like a more mellow or bright sound? Do you like a guitar with a softer or louder projection? In the end, it's really up to you because remember, this is your guitar that you'll be using. Make sure it is a guitar you will enjoy playing.

The next criteria would be the "Quality" factor. I sometimes couple this factor together with the brand of the guitar because if the brand is a famous/reliable one, then you can be sure that their quality is just as good too. Of course, the more famous brands will come with a greater price tag. Therefore, before choosing the brand of your guitar, do some research. You'll be amazed at how much information you can find over the internet. Guitar forums are an excellent place to read up on reviews about different guitars.

Finally, the "Price" factor plays an important role too. If you are a beginner, I would strongly suggest getting a guitar that isn't too expensive. The reason is because if you buy a high-end guitar when you are still a beginner, you would not really be able to maximize its potential. But by all means, if you want to buy a high-end guitar, go ahead. Just remember that what matters is that you like playing the guitar you buy. An expensive guitar does not equal to a guitar you will enjoy playing. The criteria I mentioned above will ensure that you will enjoy playing your guitar.


hpharlan said...

If you decide to buy an inexpensive guitar, pay particular attention to the first tip, "action." Cheap guitars can have such high action or such poor setups that they are nearly impossible for even very experienced guitarists to play. A guitar is no bargain if it is unplayable or needs to be immediately replaced.

ding said...

I find that most standard guitars are too big for me since my hands are small and have short fingers. I ended up having to slant the guitar to a greater angle because either I can't strum the strings or I can't pressed the chords.

Is there any guitars that are suitable for someone like me?

dinglouisa said...

Thanks brother Daniel,

I will try the baby Taylor that you showed me. It look small and may be suitable for me. Checked with a few stores however the price is almost to SGD500. Will try the second hand guitar stores at Bras Pasar. :D

verticalpraise4one said...

I have several guitars myself and I would like to say that for the money invested the Seagull Guitar is one of the best on the market. They are made in Canada and not expensive at all.. the action of these guitars is nice and low, on everyone that I have played anyway, and they have a bright sound. I mostly play my Taylor 8 series guitar, but it costs A LOT MORE MONEY... and if you are trying to get out with a quality guitar at a great price.. check out the seagull guitars. You will not be disappointed.