The process of finding your first guitar can be an intimidating experience. There are a lot of factors to consider when you may not even have a tentative grasp on basic guitar terminology. Luckily, the internet is full of helpful resources that can teach you a few basics before diving into a new purchase. In this article, we compile a list of guitars that we fit the playing style and price range of many individuals that are interested in playing the guitar. Read on to find out which guitar is the best guitar for beginners.
How Do We Rate the Guitars on this List?
Though quality is an essential factor when guitar shopping, many of the nitpicky details come down to personal preference. As such, we do our best to rate the guitars in an objective and unbiased fashion. When evaluating the guitars on this list, we look at three distinct factors. For each of these factors, we ask a series of questions about that aspect of the guitar. By answering these questions, we get a good sense of where the guitar lies in comparison to other models. We then assign the guitar a rating out of five stars.
— What is the general feel of the guitar? How does the guitar feel on new fingers? Do you have to press down hard to fill out basic notes?
— How does the guitar sound? What styles of music fit best with this guitar? What types of tones is it able to produce well?
— How much does the product cost? Does the price justify the investment? What do you get out of the purchase?
Top Seven Best Guitars for New Players
5 out of 5 stars
The Seagull S6 is our honest pick for the best guitar for beginners. While this model is a little bit more expensive than some of the other models on this list, there is a reason for that. This guitar sounds fantastic — unique from other guitars in its category — and it is very playable. The acoustic features a truss rod with double action, compensated cradle, and a solid headstock — a feature which lets the instrument hold its tuning particularly well.
While we know this might be a bit of an investment for some beginner player, we still recommend it. The Seagull S6 acoustic guitar is not just a good beginner guitar; it is a good guitar period. Most guitarists replace their learner guitars after a year or so because the player wants a better sound. You do not need to worry about that with this instrument. The S6 will keep sounding a great many years after you first buy it.
5 out of 5 stars
Squier is a subsidiary brand by Fender that makes similar, but much cheaper guitars. These guitars feel as American as you can get. If you are looking for a proper guitar to rock out to some blues, grunge, or classic rock, then the Affinity Series Jazzmaster by Squier is a guitar you should consider. The ceramic magnet pickups on the instrument give it a fat sound perfect for teenage shredding in the garage. Aside from the device looks beautiful and majestic, with a sleek and modern body.
Dual humbucker pickups and a three-dial switch allow for customization in sound. While this instrument is good enough for small concerts, it might not translate well to larger venues. You should keep in mind that the neck is c-shape which makes it a little more preferable for people with medium to large hands.
4.5 out of 5 stars
The Yamaha FG800 series has been teaching players acoustic guitar since its introduction in 1966. Unique bracing within the architecture of the FG800 provides a proven increase in the richness of the high and low tones. In layman's terms: this guitar sounds great.
But what makes this the best guitar for beginners, at least in the acoustic category, is its excellent playability. Everything, from how light the model is, to the comfortable feel of the neck makes the Yamaha FG800 Solid Top acoustic guitar a novice’s dream. The only problem is Yamaha is not the best when it comes to quality control. Some users reported cracked or damaged parts arriving in the mail. This issue is the only real flaw the product has.
4 out of 5 stars
The Epiphone Les Paul SPECIAL-II is one of our top picks for beginners because it exceeds expectations regarding its price. Though the instrument is a relative newcomer to the guitar world — only twenty years old — it has taken a community of novice players by storm. The guitar is remarkably playable. The Special-II features 700T humbucker pickups, a built-in tuner bridge and a stopbar tailpiece at the end.
There are often very few issues with shipping and defective products — Epiphone has better quality control than Yamaha. The sound is acceptable, nothing too fancy. If you want a professional sound out of the instrument, you will need a good amp setup and possibly a pickup replacement.
4 out of 5 stars
If you enjoy playing metal music, then the Ibanez GRX20ZBKN electric guitar is an excellent choice for your playing style. Ibanez makes very light tension on their guitar, so it is much easier to tap on solos and shred on breakdowns. Overall it provides much more precise control over the instrument. The Ibanez GRX20ZBKN also looks cool. It is a favorite beginner guitar for kids that want to look like rock stars.
It also is easy to tune and hold whatever tuning it is in very well — which is not always the case with cheap guitars. This feature makes it ideal for low tunings metal music often requires. The guitar features an alder body, rosewood board, two humbucking pickups, and twenty-two frets for medium-sized hands.
- Maple neck with "C"-shaped profile and 21-fret rosewood fingerboard
- Single-coil Stratocaster neck and middle pickups, humbucking bridge pickup
- Five-way pickup switch
3.5 out of 5 stars
Everyone knows the instantly recognizable form of a Fender Stratocaster guitar. The Squier version offers the same look and feels like the original, but at a much more affordable price for beginners. The guitar features twenty-one medium jumbo fretboard, three coil pickups, two knobs for controlling tone, a master volume knob and a switch to choose between five different pickup settings. One of the most recognizable features of the guitar in the syncopated tremolo sound that comes with the guitar.
Unfortunately, these guitars are not as high as they used the be a few years ago. Squier changed the design in recently, making the new guitars about two pounds less bulky. But with this weight loss comes a dramatic change in the tone of the instruments. The new Bullet models feature a much less fat, bassy sound than the old models. The knobs are also faulty, and volume, in general, is lower than other models.
3 out of 5 stars
If you are on a big budget and need the best bang for your buck, the Epiphone DR-100 might be the best option for you. While the guitar is nothing to brag about, it gets the job done. The headstock on the instrument benefits new players because the fourteen-degree angle allows the user to apply more pressure on the fretboard. It also features a built-in tuner you can use.
However, Epiphone did cut a few corners when making the product. The frets on the Epiphone DR-100 are incredibly sharp, and they can cut fingers if a player is not careful. The built-in tuner is also not very accurate. With that said, these issues are expected by the cheapest guitar on this list. Overall, the guitar is a good value. Not to mention the fact that Epiphone includes a lifetime guarantee of their product.
Guitar Attributes to Look for When Shopping: Beginner Buyer’s Guide
The first important decision you must make is what type of guitar you should. At this stage, there are no right or wrong choices, just preferences to fit your playing style. Try and think about the guitar artists you look up to and admire. Do they primarily use acoustic guitars or electric? Depending on your answer, you should choose the type that fits the style of music you want to play.
Or, if you know you are going to be playing a live show, you may want an instrument that can plug into a live setup. If you know you will be performing live shows, try going with either an electric or acoustic-electric option. Here are the different guitars you can choose from and some general information about their sounds and playability.
— Electric guitars are a bit more complicated than acoustic guitars. You require a cable and amplifier to play them properly. The sound that comes out of an electric guitar depends more on the pickups the guitar uses than anything else. Depending on what style of music you will be playing, electric guitars can be a high pick. They are far more versatile than acoustic guitars and can play genres like jazz, country, rock, and many more.
— Acoustic/electric hybrids typically feature the body of an acoustic guitar with the input capabilities of an electric guitar. Usually, the amplification system comes in the form of small mic pickups within the interior of the guitar. These guitars are beautiful because they can be used for stripped-down practice and live playing. Unfortunately, some of the pickup systems on the cheaper models are not very good. If you are thinking of an acoustic/electric hybrid, then consider investing some more money.
— Acoustic guitars use the principles of sound to amplify the music created by the instrument. Sound vibrations are heard in rich tones thanks to the hollowed out shape and the type of wood used. As such, you do not need to plug them in when playing. If you want simplicity out of your guitar, then you should look at acoustic guitars. Also, keep in mind that more heavy acoustic guitars produce more sound than smaller ones.
— While these guitars are often confused with acoustic guitars, they are very different. This difference is thanks to the nylon strings that the guitars use, instead of the steel variety. These strings produce a softer sound with more sweet undertones. Generally, if you prefer fingerpicking, then you cannot go wrong with these guitars. However, keep in mind that they are harder to restring, which may be an issue for beginners.
We hope this article has been helpful in your search for the best guitar for beginners. Whether you are getting an acoustic or electric, remember to not put too much pressure on yourself when shopping around. The “perfect” guitar is a bit of an unattainable myth among musicians. Everything will have something wrong with it. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable models that still sounds great for their price. So, go with the guitar that feels right. Then, if you want to upgrade in a few years, you can do that later.
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