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James Walkers

Guitar Blog

Buying a guitar

Different guitar types

So you're buying a new guitar, perhaps your first or perhaps you're a seasoned guitarist, how do you know what guitar is right for you? There are three basic guitar types, electric, acoustic (steel string) and classical (nylon string), choosing which type will be best for you will depend on what sort of music you're interested in. But you can also play all styles on any type of guitar, for example you can play country music on an electric even though steel string guitars are designed for folk music. Before I bought my first proper guitar my guitar teacher told me that a guitar is an organic instrument that breathes and speaks, no two guitars are exactly alike just as no two trees are alike.


There are many different factors that need to be considered when buying a guitar and all should be considered carefully, this is including but not exclusive to:

Fretboard - Fretboards are made out of a variety of different woods which change the tone and feel of the guitar, the most widely used are rosewood, ebony, mahogany and maple, the basic thing you need to know are that the lighter woods such as maple have a softer feel and tone and darker woods like ebony have a harder feel with a more round tone. Also the shape and thickness of the neck it's self should be considered, I bought my Ibanez RG because it has jumbo frets with a soft fretboard, which feels chunky but allows swift fluid motion on the fretboard.

Pickups - Pickups make up a huge amount of the tone of the guitar along with the body shape and amplifier, this is because they're responsible for taking the vibrational energy of the stings and sending them to the amplifier, there are many different types but it comes down to single coil or double coil (humbuckers) single coils are used on many classic stratocasters and have a twangy tone great for soloing, double coil pickups have a more rich full tone great for rhythm playing, you can also get guitars that can switch off one of their coils to create a single coil or mixed pickup range.

Body shape - This one is largely self explanatory, the more chunky the body the more full tone you will have, which is why the Telecaster is hugely popular, it has a big body and great full tone, personal preference comes into this choice a lot as well as it's the essenes of how the guitar looks and feels. My favourite shape is the Les Paul shape, a large body thats cut away allowing you to reach the higher frets.


I bought my guitar online after lots of research and found that it didn't feel or sound like I expected it to, the problem with buying a guitar online especially when you're paying a significant amount is that all of the research in the world won't be able to show you how it feels under your fingers, or how the nuances and details really sound, because of this I've always recommended you do your research and find a music store near you so you can really get to know it through a similar amp to yours before you buy it. I also always talk to the guitar techs in the store as they're usually very well informed when it comes to choosing the right guitar for you.


To arrange guitar lessons via Skype, or in person in Derby, UK contact me here

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