Your Ultimate Guide to Buying An Electric Guitar

Your Ultimate Guide to Buying An Electric Guitar

Buying an electric guitar is incredibly exciting! Heading to a music store and trying out all your different options can seem like a great idea, but you may end up finding that you have more questions than answers when it comes to making your final decision

So, heading into the process of buying an electric guitar with an idea of exactly what you are looking for can help to make sure you don't make a rash decision and end up with the wrong choice for you.

How Do You Pick a Good Electric Guitar for Beginners?

When looking for one of the best electric guitars for beginners, you will need to do some initial research into the different types that are available, and which are best for you. Electric guitars can vary in their neck and body shape; whether they are single coils pickups or humbucking pickups; and there are also different types of strings to consider.

So, before you start playing, you will need to make sure that you have a clear idea about what makes a good electric guitar for beginners before you start buying.

Some Tips for Buying An Electric Guitar

Whether you are a seasoned player or are looking for the best electric guitar for beginners, you should think about exactly what you need from your new guitar before you start seriously browsing.

Here are the things you will need to consider in order to make the best decision the next time you start browsing guitars.

What Style of Music do You Want to Play On Your New Guitar?

When deciding to buy an electric guitar you will find there is a vast range of guitars that are suited for playing different styles of music. So, your first choice is to decide which style of music you find most inspiring and enjoyable.

Do you want to play rock, metal, or jazz? If you are more into folk, you might consider whether acoustic guitars are a better choice for you.

What Style of Guitar do You Want to Play?

Another important choice is what role you want to play as a guitar player. If you are just starting to play, then you will want to look at beginner guitars. If you are more seasoned and want a guitar that will support impressive lead playing and amazing solos, then your choice of guitar will be different! If you are a rhythm guitarist, then your choice will be different again!

Set a Budget Before You Start Shopping Around

As any guitar enthusiast knows, it can be all too easy to get carried away in the moment and end up falling in love with a guitar with a price tag that is way beyond what you can afford.

If you are looking for the best electric guitar for beginners, you should probably stick to a budget that is in and around $100-$500. As your skill improves and you become more familiar with what works for you, you can invest more.

There is no sense in buying a Gibson Les Paul in the beginning if you find out pretty soon after that you feel more comfortable playing acoustic!

What Type of Venues Will You Be Playing In?

You should also think about where you will be playing your new electric guitar. Will you be playing shows with your band? Or are you more likely to be playing at home with friends in a casual jam session? This will affect the sound capabilities you need to consider when you are buying a guitar.

What Are The Different Types of Guitar Bodies?

When buying an electric guitar, you will need to know what type of guitar body you are looking for. There are different shapes and sizes available and picking the right one will affect your comfort level and how you play the instrument. Your choice of body shape when you buy an electric guitar will also affect the overall sound you end up producing, so make your decision carefully.

Should You Buy An Electric Guitar with a Solid Body? 

The majority of electric guitars have solid bodies and are constructed from three parts - a guitar body, a neck, and a fretboard. Solid Body electric guitars are constructed from solid wood and may also feature a top that enhances the look of the instrument and the tone.

A Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar May be a Good Choice

An electric guitar with a semi-hollow body has features of both a solid and hollow guitar. The center is made up of a solid wood center which is mounted with the bridge and pickups. However, the rest of the guitar adheres to the design of a Hollow Body Guitar but is usually not as thick.

Because these guitars have solid bodies, there will be more resistance to feedback, but the look and sound of the guitar are similar to a hollow guitar.

Would a Hollow Body Electric Guitar be a Better Buy? 

A Hollow Body (or Arch Top) Guitar has a similar construction to an acoustic guitar but with pickups included. These guitars can be loud unplugged, but you will get the full tone when amplified through guitar amps. Because of the heavy vibration involved in playing these instruments, you will experience more feedback.

The wood on electric guitars with hollow bodies tends to be chosen to support a brighter control which affords better tone control when amplified.

What Parts of an Electric Guitar can Affect The Sound?

Many different features can affect the sound of a guitar, these include:

  • The type of Pickups
  • Your Choice of Guitar Amps
  • Different Optional Guitar Effects
  • The type of wood can have a small influence. (For example, there will be a difference in sound between a guitar with an alder body and one made of ash.)

What are Guitar Tonewoods and How Do They Affect Your Sound?

Tonewood will affect the sound of your guitar playing. The type of timber used on the body of the guitar is important as it will affect how the instrument will absorb the tension created by the guitar rings and whether it will maintain its integrity.

Types of tonewood that are commonly used in creating guitars include Mahogany, Ash, Alder, and Maple.

Which Guitar Strings Should You Choose When You Buy An Electric Guitar?

When choosing guitar strings when buying a good electric guitar for beginners you will have some simple choices to make. Different types of strings are suited to different guitars, and you will need to pick electric strings which are made from steel or nickel. If you want to play classical guitar you will need to select nylon strings.

But you will also need to consider both the blend and gauge which will affect both the sound and how long the strings are likely to last.

How Does a Gauge Affect Your Guitar Sound?

The heavier the gauge on your strings, the deeper the guitar will sound when you play. If you want a lighter, brighter sound you will want to select options with lighter gauges. If you are going to be doing more fingerpicking playing you should go for the crisp sound of lighter gauges, but if you want to produce a heavy rhythmic strum, heavier gauges are better.

What Guitar String Blend Should You Look For?

Guitar strings can vary in the different combinations of metals that are used and the different ratios implemented. For example, the standard ratio for an acoustic guitar is known as 80/20 and refers to the ratio of 20% zinc and 80% copper.

What Are Guitar String Coatings?

Coated guitar strings are protected from dirt and corrosion by a layer of polymer which means that they are likely to last longer. Because of this they tend to be pricier than non-coated strings.

What is a Guitar String Winding Type?

There are three main types of guitar windings:

  • Roundwood Winding provides a bright and crisp sound.
  • Flatwood Winding is darker in tone and popular with jazz guitarists.
  • Halfround Winding provides a middle ground between the two sounds.

How Do Pickups Affect the Sound of an Electric Guitar?

The pickups on a guitar will be a huge influence on the sound of the electric guitar you buy. When you are buying an electric guitar there are two main choices when it comes to a magnetic pickup.

  • Single Coil Pickups produce a crisp and bright sound.
  • Double Coil Pickups (aka Humbucking Pickups) give you a fuller, louder sound.

Other factors which may affect the sound when you buy an electric guitar include the placement and setup of materials. But if you are looking for a good electric guitar for beginners, knowing the difference between these two pickups and the sounds they produce is enough for now.

Summary: Your Ultimate Guide to Buying An Electric Guitar

You should now have a clearer idea about how to buy an electric guitar that is the best fit for you and your style of playing.

Whether you are looking for the best electric guitar for beginners or looking for the next step in developing your sound - a good understanding of the structure of a guitar will ensure that when you begin the process of buying an electric guitar you will know exactly what to look for.

Related Reading

How To Choose a Bass Guitar For Beginners