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ubersiren's avatar

Is there an affordable guitar that is good for a beginner?

Asked by ubersiren (15150points) July 8th, 2010

I’d really like to learn to play guitar. Right now I don’t have one. I’ve tried to learn in the past, but the guitars I had were really horrible and made it that much more difficult. The strings were always hard to press on the one, and the other kept slipping out of tune. I don’t have much money, so I’m looking low-end. I could keep an eye out on craigslist, I suppose. Is there something you can recommend that I should look for?

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9 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

How low budget are we talking here? 50$? 100$? 0$?

I would suggest you look for a guitar that has “low action”, this means a small amount of space between the strings and fretboard. Low action guitars are easier to play, softer on the fingers. Also, using nylon strings instead of metal strings is better on the fingers, it produces a bit of a different sound but that’s irrelevant when learning.

Hands down the best deal you’ll find for a guitar is on used sites. You get the biggest bang for your buck, as people are trying to recoup their failed investment. But the flaw is that you have to inspect each guitar before buying it, which takes time, and you have no idea whether you will like the brand before having invested the time in inspecting it.

The benefit to going to a guitar store is you can try out many brands of guitars to find one you like. But then you have to pay retail prices on both the guitar and the accessories. Sometimes they have consignment guitars, and while that provides some discount, it’s not the discount you’ll see from Craigslist.

So I say combine the two methods. Go to a guitar store and spend hours trying all the guitars till you find a few brands you enjoy playing. Since your price point is low I’d stay with the entry-level ones, but try the medium ones too cause you’ll never know what people will sell on used sites. Then keep an eye on the used sites for those brands of guitars, and go visit it and try it on.

When I bought my guitar, I asked for advice about brands on another asking-question website, so I already had a few brands in mind going in to the store. For me, buying a Canadian-made product built with Canadian wood was a very important criteria. My budget was around $250CDN, so above entry-level but nothing really fancy. After trying on a bunch of guitars and playing a bunch of diddies, I fell in love with my guitar… I still remember that day, it was love at first sight, just a glance over in the wrong direction and BAM there she was looking all beautiful and sassy. But I was lucky to have the luxury of being able to buy her instead of simply researching at the guitar shop. I admit I was in love and let my heart decide the purchase over my brain trying to tell me to get a better deal.

I would go ahead and post a wanted ad for a guitar that has low action and a low price, in addition to keeping your eye out for other ads posted. You might just get a response from someone who has a few guitars in their attic, et cetera. You could also offer to barter in your ad, which may make the transaction more appealing for a potential seller, provided you have something to barter with. In this economy though it should not be hard to find you a good guitar!

CMaz's avatar

Esteban sells guitars.

jazmina88's avatar

Try pawn shops…....or used instrument shops. I got a nice sounding one for $60. It depends on the soul of the instrument, not the price tag.

aprilsimnel's avatar

2nd on the pawn/used instrument shop.

Cruiser's avatar

Go to Amazon or Craigslist and buy used. You can get real good gear for ½ price new. As @jasmina says check out pawn shops too! See something you like, run over to Guitar Center and test drive the guitar to see if it is to your liking! Electrics too are typically easier to play and use lighter gauge strings to make it even easier to fret the strings.

john65pennington's avatar

I will repeat an above answer….pawn shops. take a friend thats knowledgable in guitars and let him or her advise you. buy a guitar that has flat wound strings. they are easier on your fingers. it takes time and practice, for your fingers to grow calouses on them. you will feel pain for a while, but thats expected. pawn shops are loaded with bargains. shop till you drop.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Take someone knowledgeable and experienced in selecting instruments with you the the pawn or used instrument shops and you will be sure you will make a great choice at the right price.

Cruiser's avatar

One other not mentioned is Flea Markets. I have a Silvertone and a Strat knock off that I got for under $50.00 each both still play great many moons later. Garage sales are shots inthe dark but I once got a mint 1959 Gibson ES 125 (think Elvis style guitar) for $20.00 plus they threw in a golf bag!

ubersiren's avatar

Great advice from all. My budget is negotiable; I can save a little for a better one.

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