What gear do I need to learn the guitar?
I often get asked lots of questions by people starting out who want to learn the guitar:
- which guitar should I buy?
- which amp is the best? What do the numbers mean?
- what leads will I need?
- do I need effect pedals? If so which ones?
So, in this post I am going to discuss what to look for when starting out. I will go through the essentials you will need to learn the guitar.
The first thing is to make sure you are comfortable with the guitar that you are going to buy. If the student is of a young age, I would suggest an acoustic guitar with nylon strings and three quarter size guitar. This is because nylon strings tend to be a little kinder to the fingers than steel strings. Also a full size guitar can be cumbersome and also be too heavy.
For students who are 10 or older then a full size electric guitar or acoustic guitar would be more suitable. The choice is yours if you want to play electric guitar or acoustic and should be determined by what style of music you are intending to play. Classical or flamenco guitar should always be played on a nylon strung acoustic guitar for the best results. If you are looking to play more popular acoustic styles then you may want to purchase a steel strung acoustic guitar.
With electric guitars I would recommend purchasing a shape that is comfortable, as strange shaped guitars are more designed for stage use. One thing to consider is you want to feel comfortable when sitting down with the instrument as you may be spending a good amount of time together.
Things to look for that the guitar holds tune well. The distance between the neck and the strings is minimal without fret buzz, as this makes the guitar easier to play as you do not have to press so hard to get the notes to sound. The more expensive the wood that the guitar is made from will determine in a lot of cases the cost of the guitar. For example mahogany is an expensive wood so any guitars made from this wood will be reflected in the price. For a beginner electric guitars I would take a look at Yamaha Pacifica or Fender Squier. For an acoustic, take a look at Yamaha or Washburn guitars, and for three quarter size guitars take a look at Encore guitars.
Guitar amps come in many different sizes. A good beginners amp would be a Roland Cube. This also has a few effects built into it. The Roland Cube comes in different sizes: the higher the watts, the louder the amp will be, so choose carefully unless you want to upset the neighbours!
Other gear that you will need to learn the guitar
Other items to consider are a good quality lead and a tuner. Guitar leads come in different lengths so decide how long you need the lead to be. The more you spend on the lead the better quality it will be. It will also last longer than a cheap lead. I would recommend Planet Wave leads.
For a guitar tuner I would take a look at a Korg or Boss tuner. These are relatively inexpensive and a must have if you want to be playing in tune!