Buying Guide: Electric Guitars

When it comes to buying an electric guitar there are a lot of options available, and making a choice can be confusing. This guide will help you understand the basic differences in electric guitars so you can make an informed decision.


Buying Guide: Electric Guitars

  • Who Are You Buying For?

When buying a guitar for a beginner, it’s important to get a guitar that is properly sized, sounds great, and matches up with the budding player's music tastes and aspirations. If you don't know, find out what kind of guitar they're lusting after and who their guitar heroes are.

Choosing an electric guitar that addresses these preferences helps guarantee that new players will stay motivated as they learn to play. Musician’s Friend offers a wide selection of ¾-scale, mini, and travel guitars that are ideal for smaller, younger players. Full-sized electric guitar bodies vary considerably in size and weight, and those factors should be considered.

For beginners, it’s important to have a guitar that is easy to play and stays in tune. But cosmetics, body style, electronics, and tone matter too. Often, a beginner may have a favorite guitarist who inspires them to play. Check out what guitars their heroes play and try to aim for something similar. Your budding country star may not be very enthusiastic about the pointy guitar with skulls, but they will probably fall in love with a classic. (Don't worry if some of these terms are unfamiliar—we'll address them below.) You may choose something different, but this is a good starting point in determining which guitar is likely to inspire your up-and-coming guitar prodigy.

For someone who’s been playing for a while, your options are a little different. Perhaps they’ve got a certain guitar in mind. If so, get them what they want! Chances are they’ve already done their homework and have their eye on their next guitar. If they’re not sure, you can still make an educated purchase. There are many popular options that should satisfy most experienced players. And there are many lesser-known models that can be the right fit for someone with more specific tastes.

Remember that when buying a guitar, quality usually comes with price tag to match. Consider paying a little more for the right guitar. Often, you can save money in the long run by purchasing a better guitar up front, skipping over the incremental upgrades along the way. A seasoned guitar player will often have a very good idea of what they like. With experience comes a desire to invest in quality. Musician’s Friend offers a stunning selection of Private Reserve Guitars. When gift shopping for a high-end guitar, it’s usually wise to forego the element of surprise and find out exactly what your giftee wants.

Reading reviews by fellow musicians as well as by the experts can help narrow your possibilities. You’ll find plenty of customer-written reviews for most of the electric guitar models we offer.

  • What Is Your Budget?

While you don’t have to mortgage your home to buy a good guitar, price will still be a key factor in deciding which guitar to purchase. When buying for a beginner—especially younger players—you may be hesitant to spend too much without knowing if the recipient will stick with the guitar. That’s perfectly reasonable. There are guitars to fit just about every budget. Just keep in mind that the better the guitar the new player starts with, the more likely they will be to continue learning and playing. An instrument that’s hard to play or won’t stay in tune will deter even the most enthusiastic beginner.

All new guitar players will need an amplifier and cable. Additional electric guitar accessories include:

  1.     a strap
  2.     a tuner
  3.     extra picks
  4.     extra strings
  5.     a stand
  6.     a case
  • Under $300

There are many options in this price range that will suit the beginning player. Musician’s Friend offers an extensive selection of Electric Guitar Value Packages that include an electric guitar, amplifier, and many of the accessories mentioned above. The components in these packages have been carefully chosen to work well together and can eliminate guesswork when choosing the right gear. Many also include instructional books, DVDs, and online beginner’s lessons, plus other resources to keep the new player motivated to keep learning.

If you decide to choose a guitar, amplifier and accessories separately, consider spending more on the guitar than the amplifier. A better guitar will often suit a player’s needs longer, and a less expensive amp will be fine for early practicing sessions. If the player decides to upgrade down the road, often they may only need to upgrade the amplifier and not their entire setup.

  • $300 - $500

As you move up in price, you have more options available. It’s still advisable to spend more of your budget on the guitar than the amplifier, for the same reasons noted above.

With more options, you can pick out something that’s going to suit the player better. Many models in this range are upgrades of less expensive models. The upgrades may take the form of better hardware, electronics, woods, cosmetics, and construction methods.

  • $1000 and up

In this range, you will find many premium options. Many guitars in this range will offer some of the best features available. Again, you will find many upgrades from lesser-expensive models. Often, these are considered the standard models. Of course, you certainly don’t have to spend $1000 to get a great guitar. However, most guitars of this caliber will satisfy even the most discerning player. Musician’s Friend’s Private Reserve collection includes instruments that cater to the most demanding professional guitarists’ requirements.

(collectibles: musiciansfriend)