When it comes to what guitar you are going to play, the best answer is usually whichever guitar you have available to you. When my first started playing guitar, my grandmother had an old nylon string classical guitar under her bed, and she let me borrow it. It worked until I saved up enough to buy something else.
For this course, I’m assuming you’re going to be playing a 6-string guitar (I wouldn’t recommend a 12 string, for example). Whether it’s electric, acoustic, classical, etc doesn’t really matter – as long as it’s 6 strings tuned to standard tuning, you’ll be good to go.
I like to tell students that using an acoustic guitar to learn on is typically preferred, mostly because you don’t need an amp to play one. You can use an electric guitar, though – the way you play/learn them is exactly the same. You can also use an electric guitar without an amp, but it will just be quiet.
Assess your current guitar (if you have one)
If your guitar is very cheap and poorly made, it will be difficult to play and learn on. There are a couple reasons why this is, but the main reasons are as follows:
- Cheap and poorly made guitars don’t stay in tune very well (or don’t tune properly at all). If your guitar won’t tune properly, you won’t really be able to use it at all. And if it does tune, but goes out of tune easily, you’ll constantly be fighting it.
- They typically have very high string action (how far above the frets the strings are). The higher the string action, the hard the guitar is to play – you literally have to press the strings harder.
The best piece of advice I can give you is to find someone who plays guitar, and ask them to assess your guitar for you – they’ll be able to tell you if it’s fit to use to learn on.
What if you want to buy a new guitar?
I’m not suggesting that you have to go out and buy a new guitar if you already have one, but if you are in the market for something to learn on, here are a few suggestions. We also did a video on the best cheap (read: budget) guitars and amps – I’ve embedded it below:
The acoustic guitar we recommend is the Martin 000x1ae (find it here). For electric guitar, we recommend a Fender Standard Telecaster (find it here). We also recommend you buy them used, which puts either guitar in the $3-400 range.
If you have any questions, please ask away in the comments – see you in the next lesson!