Newbie Series : The Ultimate Guide For New Guitarists

Neal October 7, 2014 12

So you want to learn to play guitar or bass but are unsure of where to start?  You’ve come to the right place my friend! This eight-part guide will clue you in on everything you need to know when starting out with your new hobby.

New Left Handed Guitar Player Guide

I am periodically adding to this guide, so keep checking back for updated information. Everything in this series will also apply to our right handed friends so tell them to check out the information out as well.

Part One : Tips Before You Buy
Part Two : Beginner Electric Guitars
Part Three : Beginner Acoustic Guitars
Part Four : Beginner Bass Guitars
Part Five : Amps
Part Six : Effects
Part Seven : Accessories
Part Eight : Lessons

Part One : Your First Guitar and Important Tips Before You Buy

Before we start looking at gear, here are a few ideas to consider that will hopefully help you to avoid any newbie pitfalls.

Left or Right Handed?

First things first.  Are you a left handed or a right handed guitarist?  If you’re unsure, check out Should I Learn Guitar Left or Right Handed? Although there are less options for new left handed players, this is not a reason to play the wrong way around and potentially hinder your progress over.

Decide What Your Budget Is

The next thing to do is to plan out what your total budget is, and then when buying your equipment stick within that budget! You’ll most likely need more than just a guitar, so tally up all of of the equipment you will need when doing your calculations.  For example if you want to play electric guitar you will at minimum require a guitar, a lead, and an amp or effects unit.  Also budget for any additional expenses once you have your gear, such as instructional materials, lessons, guitar stands, gig bag etc.

Buy The Best You Can Afford

As far as guitar is concerned, it really is a case of ‘you get what you pay for ’. It’s a false economy to purchase a cheaper guitar now, only to spend more money further down the line when you realise that you need something of a higher quality. Start off with a great setup and it will service you for years to come and save you money in the long run.

I’m not suggesting that you buy a $4000 Fender Custom Shop as your first guitar (although how cool would that be?!), just do yourself a favor and don’t buy whatever is on sale in your local Best Buy.

Keep It Simple Stupid

When choosing your first guitar you don’t want to become overwhelmed by buying something loaded with fancy gadgets and gizmos.  For example I would not recommend initially buying a guitar with a floating tremolo (floyd rose style) system. I cannot imagine the frustration a beginner would have trying to tune his or her guitar for the first time with one of those bridges. You also probably don’t want to start out on a 7 or even 8-string monster – yikes!

Comfort and Ergonomics

Your first guitar is primarily going to be something you play at home, probably in your bedroom, possibly in front of the mirror! You may think it will be cool to buy a Flying V right off the bat, but you are going to get quickly frustrated when you’re sitting at home and the thing keeps sliding off your leg. An uncomfortable guitar is only going to cut your practice sessions short and introduce tension into your playing.

Beware of Guitar Store Sales Staff

It can be incredibly intimidating stepping into a guitar store for the first time.  Unfortunately many guitar sales staff are there for one reason and one reason alone; to make the biggest commission possible.  If your rookie ass ventures into a guitar store alone they are going to eat you alive, and you’ll come out of the place $1000 poorer with a guitar that they’ve been trying to shift for months.  Have a good idea of what it is that you’re after before heading to the store, and if possible take some guitarist friends with you.

Make Use of Internet Knowledge

Sign up to one or more guitar websites that have online forums (LeftyFretz has a forum!) and read the relevant sections – you can learn a lot by reading other new players’ questions.  Ask as many stupid questions as you like, people are always glad to help out newcomers.  They could save you making a costly mistake!

Blah, blah, blah.  You just want to see the gear right?

Part One : Tips Before You Buy
Part Two : Beginner Electric Guitars
Part Three : Beginner Acoustic Guitars
Part Four : Beginner Bass Guitars
Part Five : Amps
Part Six : Effects
Part Seven : Accessories
Part Eight : Lessons

12 Comments »

  1. chris tyrie August 19, 2011 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    just ordered a g&l asat classic. im not terrible at guitar but im not awesome either. i mean i know my minor blues pentatonic all the way down the neck in any key. and iknow all major chords just now getting into 7ths and advancing a bit. but ive learned mostly on a cheap acoustic (rattley ole thing) but i make due with it(IM POOR!!$$$$) anyway i finally spent the money its a telecaster style that i think sounded like gold. is this a good first electric guitar choice? in yer opinion? also im buying a peavey vyper it has a built in looper to help with lead. and lots of effects im very excited! is this a good choice as well? thanks for your time.

    • Neal August 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm - Reply

      The ASAT is a fantastic guitar. It should cover most bases, but might struggle a bit with the really heavy stuff if that happens to be your thing.

      The Vyper should also serve you well, it gets great reviews and is super versatile due to all of the in-built effects. A tube amp it ain’t, but certainly a solid choice for a first amplifier.

  2. Sloane August 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Your hints have been the most helpful I have found on the web. Thanks so much.

    • Neal August 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sloane, glad you found the information useful :)

  3. anil October 19, 2012 at 11:24 am - Reply

    Hi, I am Anil from India. I am a left handed person.i am learning guitar from last 3mnths and my teacher recommend to buy a higher version of electro acoustic guiter. i shotlisted IBANEZ ael10le bk. kindly suggest, is this a right guitar i should go for, if not suggest some with left cut. my budget is $300-$400.

Leave A Response »