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(NOTE: Want unbiased comparisons of the top guitar brands and models? Get JamPlay’s 2017 Guitar Buyer’s Guide here for free!)

When you find yourself in the market for a guitar the options can be mind-bending. There are a lot of great guitars out there and it’s really easy to get distracted. The simple fact is you want to learn to play the guitar and for that, you need an instrument. Although it’s tempting to find the best deal online and click “buy”, a little research can go a long way.

We know, we know: you just want to play. We’ve got you covered. Here are three easy steps that will help you cut through the chaos and get you playing.

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Step One: Beginner Guitar Search

Before you make any investment – and for a lot of people a guitar is just that – you need to set your goals and do your research. (Don’t worry, it’s not as intense as it sounds.)

The first thing you’ll want to do is to think about your budget. Here are a few things to keep in mind: there are great guitars in every price point. Two guitars can look exactly the same, but can be in two completely different price ranges. Don’t let this throw you off. The fact is, everything about a guitar, from the wood it’s made of to its shape and size affect the price. Don’t let all of the options distract you. For your first guitar, you want to make sure that the instrument is comfortable to play and that it sounds good. While you are learning, you will be training your ear as well, so having a guitar that helps you do that is key.

Not only will a budget keep you focused on what you can afford, but this will, naturally, narrow your options, making the process less overwhelming. (Why get your heart set on a $600 instrument when your budget is half that?!)

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Next, consider your goals: Are you picking up the guitar to play for fun, or do you want to parlay your interest into a career? What or who do you want to sound like? You may not know the answers to these questions out of the gate, but they are great things to think about as you start doing your research.

Once you’ve got your budget set and your goals in mind, a great next step is to go online and search some retail or manufacturer websites to see what is out there. Why not just go to the nearest music store and start strumming? Simple: online retail and manufacturer sites can provide priceless reviews that you won’t get in a store. You’ll be able to get a feeling for the quality of the instrument and whether it’s suitable for a beginner. Odds are if countless other people love playing a particular guitar, you will too.

Once you’ve narrowed your list to the types of guitar you think you want, it’s time to go shopping.

Step Two: Buying the Best Beginner Guitar

Even if you find an amazing deal online, you’ll want to go check out your options in person before you hit “purchase.” Visit your local guitar retailer and take your wish list with you.

This is where it gets fun. Take the time to look at the guitars, listen to their sound and make sure they are comfortable for you to play. Ask questions of the salespeople and make sure that your budget and goals are clear. Beginner Guitar Tip 2

Not sure what to look for? Here’s a checklist to take along to help you out:

  1. Is the guitar the right size? As you hold the guitar, is it comfortable in your hands and as it sits in your lap? Is it a good width?
  2. Is the neck straight? With one eye open, look down the neck from the bottom of the guitar to make sure that it isn’t bent, crooked, or warped in any way.
  3. Does the guitar stay in tune? Make sure that the guitar stays in tune as you play. Ask a salesperson to help you listen for changes in tuning, or better yet, take a friend along who already plays and have them help you.
  4. Are there any cracks or scratches? Scratches can give a guitar character, but cracks can severely impact the sound, so make sure to give the guitar a good once over.
  5. Are any of the frets sticking out? Those metal strips down the neck of the guitar are called frets and you want to make sure they’re not poking out when you play. Run your hand down the neck to make sure that they are smooth.
  6. Is the action (space between the strings and the fretboard) good? If it’s too high it can make playing harder, and if it’s too low, it can cause buzzing when you play. Make sure that it feels and sounds right for you.

Once you’ve checked out your options, it’s time to choose your instrument! It’s an exciting moment for every musician so enjoy this step in your musical quest. (Psst: If you found a deal on your chosen guitar online, now would be the time to go home and click on that “buy” button!)

P.S. Don’t forget to ask about strings, picks and a strap for your guitar. We also suggest getting a nice sturdy case to protect your investment.

Step Three: The Payoff

Of course, the payoff is when you get home with your guitar and start playing…. and we know you want to start playing NOW! Good news: online lessons are becoming more and more popular and are a pretty cool option if we do say so ourselves. Even if you choose to take private lessons, we suggest that you find some online lessons that will keep you motivated between your sessions and will help you expand your skills and try out new things!

We’d be thrilled to see you and your new guitar rocking out on JamPlay with our awesome instructors and amazing community of guitarists. Not only can you access hours and hours of lessons with some of your favorite artists, but you can join live online lessons 8 hours a day with the best instructors in the business.

(NOTE: Want unbiased comparisons of the top guitar brands and models? Get JamPlay’s 2017 Guitar Buyer’s Guide here for free!)

The Bottom Line

So, here’s the thing: Regardless of what you spend on a guitar, or where you choose to buy it, the important thing is that you’re taking the steps to learn to play… and we think that’s pretty awesome. Explore your options and make them your own. And remember, whatever your path, stay focused, stay positive and keep rocking out!


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