How To Choose A Guitar For Beginners

How To Choose A Guitar For Beginners

This series on How To Choose A Guitar For Beginners. When a student is just starting out it is difficult to determine which guitar you should buy. There are so many to choose from, different sizes and shapes, some are cheap, others are very expensive. Which is the best guitar for you? We’ll help you determine that by giving you some information to help you choose.

The biggest piece of advice we give is to go out and play as many guitars as you can. If you don’t know how to play, ask a friend that does or ask the store clerk. Listen to the tone, plug it in if it has pickups, how does it sound? How does it feel when you hold it or play it? Does the neck feel good in your hand, is the neck of the guitar straight? Does the guitar feel balanced or does the neck tend to fall when you are holding it? How the guitar feels is one of the biggest factors for me when I buy a new guitar. But we will also look at some quality factors to help you in How To Choose A Guitar For Beginners.

Part 1: How To Choose An Acoustic Guitar

Part 2: How To Choose An Electric Guitar

Part 3: Choosing A Guitar For A Child

Part 4: Choosing Guitar Accessories For Beginners

25 Easy Guitar Riffs For Beginners

25 Easy Guitar Riffs For Beginners

Check out these 25 easy guitar riffs for beginners and have fun while impressing your friends.

Every guitar player at some point wants to play their favorite songs and often those songs have a riff or hook associated with it that identifies that piece of music. A riff is a repeated sequence of notes or chords. A riff is usually a pretty catchy repeated sequence that adds structure to the song and often brings the listener into the hook or is the hook itself. These 25 easy guitar riffs for beginners are some of my favorite riffs. Since my preference is for rock and classic rock these songs lean heavily in that direction. These are a lot of fun to play and a great way to get an introduction to the songs.

If you are new to power chords, take my quick free course to get you started. I feature the first song in this list as you first power chord song.

What are your favorite songs you would like to see listed in a future article? Please post them in the comments below.

Smoke On The Water

Smoke On The Water is a timeless rock classic that has been a go-to for aspiring guitarists for decades. It has catchy power chords and an easy-to-play structure, This song is the perfect starting point for beginners. Get ready to rock out and make this legendary riff your own. If you are looking to learn the whole song, here is a link to it on my favorite tab website, Ultimate Guitar.

25 easy guitar riffs for beginners. Smoke On The Water easy guitar riff.

Day Tripper

No list of 25 Easy Guitar Riffs For Beginners would be complete without at least one Beattle song and Day Tripper is one of the best. The Beatles are my favorite band and his is one of my all time favorite guitar riffs. It is easy to play and fun as hell.

25 Easy Guitar Riffs For Beginners - Day Tripper by the Beattles.

Seven Army Nation

One of my favorite bass riffs is also included on this list of 25 Easy Guitar Riffs For Beginners. Seven Army Nation is an earworm that won’t go away. This song is super simple and fun on both bass and guitar.

"Seven Nation Army" guitar riff. 25 easy guitar riffs for beginners.

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Ready to rock out? Get your guitar skills up to speed with this blast of alternative rock. And what better way to start than with the iconic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” riff? Impress your friends and have a blast while learning these catchy sequences that add structure to your favorite songs. Whether you’re into rock or classic rock, these riffs are sure to get you hooked. Stay tuned for more song suggestions in the comments below. Let’s jam!

Smells Like Teen Spirit guitar riff. 25 easy guitar riffs for beginners.

You Really Got Me

Introducing “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks, one of the 25 easy guitar riffs for beginners that will surely get you rocking out in no time. With its memorable and infectious sequence of notes, this riff is a perfect starting point for aspiring guitarists. So grab your guitar, impress your friends, and embark on a musical journey filled with fun and learning.

Beat It

This classic riff from the king of pop is both upbeat and super fun to play but best of all it’s super easy to play.

"Beat It" guitar riff. 25 easy guitar riffs for beginners.

Another One Bites The Dust

“Another One Bites The Dust” is best know as a bass riff but can easily be played on guitar as well.

Enter Sandman

Impress your friends and family by learning to play one of the most iconic guitar riffs of all time with our easy beginner’s guide to “Enter Sandman” by Metallica.


Looking to learn an awesome song, This guitar riff by Nirvana is a great song to get started on that is easy and fun. Nirvana is an epic band that started a new musical genre and this song was one of the big hits.

Come As You Are

Come As You Are is another iconic song from the 90s by one of the most influential bands of the 90s.


Are you ready to rock? Then the song Paranoid by Black Sabbath will get you rockin’ quickly and loudly.

"Paranoid" guitar riff. 25 easy guitar riffs for beginners.

Chasing Cars

This guitar riff from Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.” is a gorgeous melody that will captivate an move your audience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, mastering this riff will add a touch of magic to your repertoire. So grab your guitar and get ready to embark on a musical journey filled with emotion and beauty. Let the enchanting notes of “Chasing Cars” transport you to a world of endless possibilities.

"Chasing Cars" guitar riff. 25 easy guitar riffs for beginners.

Folsom Prison Blues

Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues is a country classic that will love on for many years.

"Folsom Prison Blues" guitar riff. 25 easy guitar riffs for beginners.

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Unleash your inner rock star with the song “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, this riff is guaranteed to get your fingers moving and your audience grooving. Join the ranks of guitar legends as you master this timeless piece of music history. Get ready to rock out and experience the satisfaction of playing this unforgettable riff.

"I Can't Get No Satisfaction" guitar riff. 25 easy guitar riffs for beginners.

Iron Man

Looking to rock out like a superhero? Look no further than the iconic Iron Man guitar riff. This electrifying riff is a must-learn for any beginner guitarist wanting to impress their friends. With its catchy sequence of notes, it’s sure to add structure and excitement to your playing. So grab your guitar, channel your inner Tony Stark, and get ready to unleash the power of the Iron Man guitar riff. Rock on!

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Are you ready to rock? Get your fingers moving and your amp cranked up because it’s time to master the iconic guitar riff of “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” This energetic and catchy riff will have you feeling like a rockstar in no time. Whether you’re a beginner looking to impress your friends or an experienced player seeking a new challenge, this riff is a must-learn. Join the ranks of guitar legends and let the power of music flow through your fingertips. Rock on!

Black Dog

Learn how to master the iconic Black Dog guitar riff with our step-by-step guide. Unleash the power of this legendary Led Zeppelin track as you navigate the intricate chords and captivating rhythm. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, our comprehensive instructions will help you channel your inner rock god and conquer the Black Dog riff like never before. Get ready to rock your world and leave a lasting impression with this timeless classic!

"Black Dog" guitar riff. 25 easy guitar riffs for beginners.

Billie Jean

Learn how to master the iconic Billie Jean guitar riff and make your guitar sing with Michael Jackson’s timeless hit. Follow our step-by-step guide to nail the catchy melody, groove to the rhythm, and captivate your audience. Unleash your inner rockstar and impress everyone with your guitar skills. Join the ranks of guitar legends and embrace the magic of Billie Jean. Get ready to ignite the stage and become the center of attention with this legendary riff. Let the music speak for itself and embark on a musical journey that will leave a lasting impression.

Brown Eyed Girl

Learn how to play the iconic guitar riff for “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison and impress your friends with your musical skills. In this comprehensive guide, we break down the notes, chords, and techniques needed to master this beloved tune. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced guitarist, our step-by-step instructions and helpful diagrams will have you strumming along in no time. Get ready to rock out to one of the most recognizable guitar riffs in music history and experience the joy of playing “Brown Eyed Girl” like a true rock star.

Sunshine Of Your Love

Want to learn how to play the iconic guitar riff from Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love”? Look no further! In this guide, we’ll break down the chords and techniques needed to master this timeless classic. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, our step-by-step instructions will have you jamming along in no time. So grab your guitar, crank up the amp, and get ready to rock out to “Sunshine Of Your Love” like never before!

Whole Lotta Love

One of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs is “Whole Lotta Love” and it is a blast to play on both bass and guitar. 

Walk This Way

A classic riff from a classic band, “Walk This Way” is both fun and iconic.

Purple Haze

One of Jimi Hendrix’s most famous songs and it turns out it easy to play.


Eric Clapton’s song Cocaine is an amazing introduction into his blusey style of rock guitar.

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How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Change Acoustic Guitar Strings 

Changing strings on an acoustic guitar is a crucial skill for guitarists, contributing significantly to the instrument’s overall sound quality. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of changing strings on your acoustic guitar. You will also learn about the materials that are used in strings and how that affects the playability and sound that you get.

Choose the Right Strings for Your Acoustic Guitar

Choosing the right acoustic guitar strings is a crucial decision that can significantly impact the instrument’s sound and playability. Here’s a guide on how to choose acoustic guitar strings, covering important factors to consider are tone and playability.

Guitar String Gauge

Light Gauge ranges from 10 to 47 and is an excellent option for beginners because it is easier to play and press down on. This may be an important consideration if your fingers are still developing calluses.

Light Gauge ranges from 12 to 52 produces a brighter tone and is generally easier to bend. This gauge is a great balance between volume and comfort.

Medium Gauge: ranges from 13 to 56 and offers a good balance between playability and tone. Ideal for a variety of playing styles.

Heavy Gauge: ranges from 14 to 59 Produces a richer, fuller tone and is preferred by some players for specific genres. However, they can be harder on the fingers. Many players choose these for alternate tunings on their guitars.

Acoustic Guitar String Material

Several different materials for acoustic guitar strings offer different tones from warm to more bright. Some offer longer lifespans, a softer feel, and different tensions.

Phosphor Bronze: Offers a warm, well-balanced tone with enhanced bass response. They are commonly preferred for acoustic guitars.

80/20 Bronze (Bronze): Provides a bright and crisp tone. Popular for its clarity and projection.

Silk and Steel: Features a softer feel and mellow tone. Great for fingerstyle playing and folk music.

Nickel Bronze: Great for jazz players. These strings have a good string life, project well for soloing, and have good volume.

Aluminum Bronze: Clear strong volume and good at resisting corrosion.

Stainless Steel: Long string life but usually used for electric guitars. Some players prefer these for their brightness and projection.

Playing Style

Strumming: If you primarily strum your guitar, you may prefer strings that provide a good balance of warmth and clarity.

Fingerstyle: Lighter gauge strings are often favored for fingerpicking, offering easier playability and a brighter tone.

Versatility: If you play a variety of styles, consider medium gauge strings for a balanced compromise.


Coated Strings: Have a protective coating to resist dirt, sweat, and oils. They tend to last longer and maintain their tone.

Uncoated Strings: Offer a more natural feel and tone but may require more frequent changing.

Guitar String Brand and Model

Experiment with different brands and models to find the one that suits your preferences. Popular brands include D’Addario, Elixir, Ernie Ball, Martin, and more. My favorite brands are Ernie Ball Earthwood medium to medium light strings for their warm, rich tone with excellent projection and clarity. Ernie Ball strings are also very affordable. I also like Elixir and D’Addario strings.

Consider trying out signature sets endorsed by professional guitarists if their playing style aligns with yours. The more strings you try the more you will figure out which aligns with your playing style and experience. Once you find what you like you can mix and match strings. Some people like a lighter gauge for the lower-tone strings and a heavier gauge for the higher tones.


High-quality strings can come at a higher price, but they often offer better durability and tone. I used to buy exclusively higher-priced strings for my Taylor 212e back when my income was much higher. However, now that I make less and have several guitars to buy strings for I started buying less expensive strings. That was when I discovered how much I like the Earnie Ball strings for both my acoustic and electric guitars.

Acoustic Guitar String Removal

It is important to remove your guitar strings properly so that you do not risk injury or damaging your guitar. Some people just take some wire cutters and start cutting. Don’t do this! No matter if you remove it with wire cutters or take the whole string off, you should always begin acoustic guitar string removal by loosening the guitar strings. Snapping or breaking them with high tension can whip them back and cut you, or worse, strike an eye. The easiest way to loosen guitar strings is to use a string winding tool. This inexpensive tool not only winds and unwinds your strings, but comes with wire cutters and an integrated pin remover. I’ve used pliers before and not only damaged the pin but when my hand slipped, I scratched the guitar as well. The pin puller lets you leverage pulling the pin with less risk of any damage to the pin or guitar.


Acoustic guitar bridge

Guitar Maintenance Tips

Take advantage of the string removal to give your guitar a little maintenance. Part of maintaining a guitar is cleaning it. Take the time while the strings are off to give it a thorough dusting. After the dirt and dust are removed, get some guitar polish and wipe the guitar body, headstock, and neck down to protect the finish. This is also a great time to clean the fretboard, remove finger sludge, and polish the frets. This article from Acoustic Guitar goes into great detail about cleaning and polishing your fretboard. Now is a good time to examine your pins and replace them if necessary. Also, take a look at your tuning pegs and make sure all the screws are tight and if your guitar is having issues staying in tune, apply some graphite from a pencil to your nut grooves.

How To Install Acoustic Guitar Strings – Step-by-Step

Restringing Acoustic Guitars

Tip: Keep the new strings in the package so that you know which string to replace.

Step 1: Getting The Strings In The Bridge Correctly

  • Start with taking the ball end of the string and putting a little bend in the string about 2 or 3 cm above the ball.
  • Insert the string into the bridge the bridge.
  • Replace the pin by inserting it into the hole.
  • Lastly, slowly pull the string up while holding down the pin until the street is tight.

Step 2: Connecting The Strings To The Tuners

  • Start with either the 1st or the 6th string.
  • Line up the hole of the tuning peg so that it is pointing down the neck.
  • Now pull the string through the hole and pull till you feel a soft tension.
  • Hold the string up to the next peg and pinch the string at that location.
  • Now bring the pinch string down to the peg and crimp the string. Brace the crimp against the peg so it does not move.
  • If you are replacing the 6th string, tighten the string by turning the peg with your string tool. Turn the peg in a counterclockwise direction.
  • If replacing the 1st string turn the same but turn the string in a clockwise direction.
  • Make sure when winding the string that you wrap it under the string and keep it under as you wind. This will tighten the lock on the crimp.
  • Replace the rest of the strings in order so that you don’t get confused as to which string goes where.
  • When you get to the 3rd and 4th strings and do not have the next peg to measure give it a good eyeball on how much slack the other strings had and go from there.

Step 3: Tuning the Guitar

Once you have all the strings replaced and some tension on them it’s time to tune the strings. This will be the first of several tunings as new guitar strings always need some time to stretch. The strings will quickly go out of tune soon after this first tuning, but that’s ok. We’ll come back to tuning after we stretch the strings out a bit. The easiest way to tune is to use a tuner. They are inexpensive and accurate so if you don’t have a good tuner, get one as soon as possible. One of my favorite clip-on tuners is the Snark line of guitar tuners.

Step 4: Stretching Guitar Strings

As I have mentioned, new strings take either time or effort to stretch properly. You could do the first tuning and then let the guitar sit for a while and re-tune it, but if you are in a hurry you can help the process get done a little quicker. Waiting for your strings to stretch takes a couple of days and most people don’t want to wait that long. Stretching the strings will get you playing quicker and keep the guitar in tune longer.

Stretching guitar strings is pretty easy. You can grab each of the strings with your fingers and gently pull the strings away from the guitar. Grab it in a couple of areas on the string to get a good even stretch. After stretching, retune and stretch again two or three times, retuning after each stretch. Now you should be able to keep the guitar in tune for long enough periods that you can practice or play.


Guitar Tuning Pegs


Knowing how to change your guitar strings is an essential skill to learn as a guitar player. Not only will you save money and time, but you will be able to quickly change a string when it breaks so that you can continue playing. Playing on dead or dull strings is unpleasant so change your strings when they need it. You will enjoy playing your instrument much more.



How to Learn Guitar: 12 Tips To Learn Guitar And Be Great

Get Started Playing Guitar

What You Need to Know to Succeed at Learning Guitar

Beginners Guide To Getting Started Playing Guitar

Learning how to play the guitar is both a difficult thing and at the same time, a thrilling journey that unleashes creativity and provides a lifelong source of joy. Whether you’ve just picked up your first guitar or have been pondering the idea for a while, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you embark on this musical adventure.

Tips To Learn Guitar And Be Great

Learning guitar is one wild adventure, starting with nailing those fundamental basics. It’s gonna take some serious time, infinite levels of patience, and relentless practice to truly rock it. But hey, even the most badass players once stood right here, and it took ’em a boatload of time and effort to reach their mind-blowing awesomeness. So buckle up, believe in yourself, and dive headfirst into the joyride of learning guitar because it’s going to be one hell of an extraordinary ride. Oh, and don’t forget to jam with your fellow string-strumming comrades for some extra epic fun. And remember, throughout this journey, never forget to prioritize having an absolute blast!

Have Fun Learning Guitar

No matter if you choose a private teacher or teach yourself to learn guitar, you should start slow with the fundamentals. Believe me, even the best players started here and it took them time, patience, and practice to get to the stage you see them at now. Believe in yourself and know you can do it. Most of all it is important to have fun and enjoy the journey. Guitar is fun and when you start playing with other musicians it becomes even more fun. You will find some great advice in the following paragraphs, but the most important piece of advice is to have fun! These tips will help you get started as you learn guitar.

How To Learn Guitar. Tips For Guitar Beginners

1.  How To Choose The Right Guitar For Beginners

The first thing to consider when you learn how to play the guitar is choosing the right guitar for beginners. Guitars range in price from around $100 for the least expensive to thousands of dollars, so where do you start? First of all, starting with an inexpensive guitar is a good choice for beginners. You do not want to spend $1000 or more on an instrument and then discover that you do not like it. Also, if you do discover you love playing guitar, this first guitar is just that, your first. You will likely be investing in more guitars as you grow as a player. There are two types of guitars to consider when choosing your first, an electric or acoustic guitar. This choice is often determined by the style of music you want to play. So here are some important considerations when choosing a guitar.

Ways To Amplify Your Guitar

The most simple way to amplify your guitar is to buy an amplifier and a chord to connect it. You can always add pedals to alter your tone and add effects later on. There are so many great amps to choose from and you can spend as little as $50 on up. Pedals vary in price as well. These days a great option for beginners is a modeling amp. These types of amplifiers have software attached to them that lets you experiment with tone.

One great and affordable amp to consider that allows you to use software modeling for your tones is the Spark amplifier. Spark offers a couple of different amplifier options that range in price from $130 for the 5W ultra-portable Spark Go to the $270  Spark 40-Watt and the 10-Watt Spark Mini at around $229. These are all great practice amps that use a phone app to control tones and give a selection of different amps to try. There are tons of different modeling amps to try on the market these days and they are a great way to get started experimenting with tones you like.

Computer Interfaces for Guitar

Another option is to buy a computer audio interface and connect your guitar to a computer. Then you will need software in order to make it work and you will need speakers or headphones so that you can hear what is coming through. The advantage to this is that you can record through your computer using the interface, Some interfaces also come with modeling software as well and you can play around with recording yourself and writing music if that is the course you want to take.

Comfortable Guitars

Choose a guitar that feels comfortable to hold and play. Electric guitars tend to be more comfortable but if you are looking for an acoustic, you can choose one for comfort as well. Take a look at the different sizes available for acoustic guitars and try them out. You will find one that feels just right for you.

Budget Guitars

Set a budget that aligns with your commitment level, but remember, quality matters for an enjoyable learning experience. In today’s day and age, you can find some quality affordable guitars if you research.

Check out this article about inexpensive guitars.

Choosing To Play Acoustic Guitars

An acoustic guitar produces sound without amplification and is an excellent guitar for beginners due to its portability and simplicity. Acoustic guitars are a great way to start for many reasons. One reason guitar teachers recommend this type of guitar is because acoustic guitars are more difficult to press down on the strings. The reason some feel this is good is because it will develop your finger strength and calluses better. Then if you wish to move to an electric guitar, you will find it much easier to play. However, if you start on an electric guitar and move to an electric it will be more difficult. Another great thing about acoustic guitars is that they do not require a lot of extra equipment to amplify the sound. Also, since you do not need a lot of equipment and they are naturally amplified, they are very portable.

Choosing To Play Electric Guitars

As we said before, an electric guitar requires an amplifier to be heard properly. Sure you can play them without an amplifier, but you do not hear the nuances of the sound, the tone is not as clear, and it is much less pleasurable to play without amplification.  If you do choose to go with an electric guitar, then you must find a way to amplify the sound so that you can hear what you are playing and have a much better experience. Another great reason to make sure you have amplification is because at some point, you will want to play around with different tones and pedals and you will need amplification to do this.

Both types of guitars have many other considerations to look at, see this article for information on the types of electric and acoustic guitars and sizes that you may be interested in trying.

2. Essential Equipment To Learn Guitar

At a minimum, you should consider the following items when you start to learn guitar. These items will make your first experience with guitar much more enjoyable.

Guitar Tuner

The first and most important item to purchase when you learn guitar is a tuner. A guitar tuner is an  essential piece of equipment for beginner to keep your guitar in tune. Many people learn to tune by ear, but this takes time, practice, and ear development. So for beginners, the best option is one of the inexpensive clip-on turners available today. You can also consider an app on your phone, but I find that the clip-on tuners are very accurate and are very easy to use.

Guitar Picks

These small, triangular pieces of plastic are used to strum or pluck the guitar strings with your non fretting hand. They are made of plastic or other materials and allow more volume as you pluck or strum the strings. Many people strum or pick with their fingers, but a pick will help you to not only amplify your sound but it is also better for long period of playing where your fingers might get sore.

Guitar Strap

Guitar straps are used for playing while standing, however, they are handy to have when you are sitting as well. Having your strap around your neck as you practice allows you to concentrate on your playing and technique while not having to worry about balancing a guitar. I highly recommend using a strap whether sitting or standing. The other good reason to have a strap is that you are less likely to drop your instrument if you are using a strap.


Strings break and wear out if you play a lot, Having spares is always a good idea. There are lots of different strings to choose from on the market, but be sure to choose strings that are suited to your type of guitar. Acoustic guitars should use acoustic strings and electric should use electric strings. Also know that there are two types of acoustic guitars, nylon and steel string, and the two types of strings are not interchangeable. You should also consider string gauge which is the thickness of the strings. Strings can be quite in depth and are a subject of another post.

Guitar Case

A guitar case protects your instrument when not used or traveling to other locations like a guitar instructor’s studio. Another great consideration with guitar cases is that they help stabilize the humidity of your guitar. If you live in a very humid or very dry climate, a case is your best friend. If the environment is too humid, a guitar can warp, if it is too dry it can crack, the trick is to keep the humidity between about 40% and 60%. A guitar case can help you maintain these levels more easily.

See this article for a detailed list of guitar accessories that you may want to consider. There are many other useful items that you may want as you learn and grow.

3. Resources To Learn Guitar

There is more than one way to learn to play guitar. Each has it benefits and drawbacks so choose the one that suits your the best.

Private Guitar Lessons

Private guitar lessons are often the preferred way to learn guitar. I offer private lessons both in person and online. The great thing about taking lessons from someone is that your instructor will hold you accountable for learning things correctly and practicing them correctly as well. It is easy to develop bad habits when playing guitar, an instructor will notice these bad habits, such as posture or points where you may be straining yourself too much.

Contact me for more information.

Online Guitar Tutorials and Courses


A vast repository of free guitar tutorials covering various skill levels and genres. This can be a bit overwhelming, but if you are looking for instruction on a specific technique or how to play a certain song, this can be a great resource.

Paid Platforms

Websites like Fender Play, JustinGuitar, or Yousician offer structured lessons and progressive learning paths. These are both paid and free. The great thing about free beginner lessons is that you have a chance to try learning and see if you like it before you invest a lot of money into a subscription. My courses are either free or you pay a small one-time fee where you have lifetime access to the course.

Free Online Guitar Courses

Most websites that offer guitar lessons offer at least a few free courses to get you going. The premise is that you will enjoy it an continue on with some paid courses.

This Website

Bobbi Guitar has several free and paid courses to get you started playing guitar. I’m adding new courses as often as possible so sign up with our email newsletter to get the latest releases. The courses offered here are either free or you pay a small one-time fee where you have lifetime access to the course.

Join a Guitar Community

There are many guitar forums out there to check out and people are often willing to give advice based on their own experiences. This is an amazing resource if you have specific questions on gear you may be considering. Local music groups or shops offer an amazing support system for people learning. You should also check out social media sites as you can ask questions, help others, and learn along the way, and can offer support, advice, and motivation.

One of my favorite communities to learn guitar from is Ultimate Guitar. I use this sight all the time for tab and to practice songs but it also offers a community and if you want to pay extra, you can also get lessons. Check it out, you will love it.


Guitar Books and Apps

Instructional books

Look for beginner books with chord diagrams, exercises, and music theory basics. Some of my favorite books to learn guitar fundamentals include The Hal Leonard Guitar Method books as well as Mel Bays Guitar Method books. I learned how to play with private lessons where we used the Hal Leonard Guitar Method for the learning material. I have recently discovered that the Mel Bay Guitar Method is really good as well. It is possible to self-teach yourself with either of these titles.

The downside to self-teaching through a book is that it can be a bit dull, thankfully these books offer videos on YouTube so you can see how to play lessons. Another downside to being self-taught is that it can be difficult to stay motivated.

Guitar Apps

GuitarTuna, Ultimate Guitar, or Yousician offer good chord libraries, tuning tools, and interactive lessons. Justin Guitar is a great online teacher who I visit often as well. Justin also offers several apps to help you learn. Guitar Pro is an amazing Windows and Mac application that allows you to write music in either tablature or standard notation

Learning guitar can be a lifelong journey and if you choose to, you never have to stop learning.

How To Choose A Guitar For A Child

4. Practice Habits

Consistency Is Key

Anyone can learn guitar if they put their mind to it are patient and practice consistently. Regular shorter practice sessions daily are preferable to one long practice once per week just before your lesson. This consistency helps you to remember vital aspects of your lessons and do them during your practice sessions. Practice not only makes perfect, but it also makes it permanent.

Set Achievable Goals

Set your long-term goals such as playing in a band, at church, or just being able to sing songs around a campfire. Then set short-term goals to help you reach your long-term goals. These can be anything from learning open chords as you are just starting, to learning a simple song you can play for Aunt Gladys. Goals are important because they will keep you on track and keep you interested

Be Patient and Persistent

Progress takes time and everyone learns at their own pace. Be patient with yourself and be persistent. Learning guitar is hard, its one of the harder instruments to learn because not only must you develop your muscles and muscle memory, the fretboard and chord are not as easy to understand as something like the piano. Celebrate the small victories and have fun.

See my free Before You Begin guitar course and learn more about forming good practice habits before you begin playing.

5. Learn Rhythm and Basic Theory


Music is all about rhythm so you must start using rhythm from day one. My free Beginner Guitar Course begins teaching rhythm in lesson 4 so that as you practice playing chords you are also practicing rhythm.

Guitar Music Theory

There is a certain amount of theory you will want to learn. Knowing something about scales, intervals, and chord progressions will only help you as a musician. So start with the basics and start learning a scale. Playing a scale will help you develop finger strength and speed. Play scales at tempo starting slow and gradually increasing your speed.

12 Tips To Learn Guitar

6. Proper Ergonomics

The important thing about where to practice is finding a quiet place where you can be alone with your guitar. I was very self-conscious about my playing in the beginning and did not want anyone to hear me practice. This still bothers me today. The other thing about finding a private place to practice is that you go over a technique or piece of music many times before you finally have it down. This can be annoying to people around you so having a room to go to that you feel more comfortable in and lesson the noise for others in your house it essential.


Being comfortable when sitting or standing while you learn guitar or practice time is essential. Maintaining good posture and playing as ergonomically as possible will allow you to play for longer periods without strain. Knowing where to put your hands to get the proper position over the strings and how you hold the guitar is essential. Mom always told us to sit up straight for good reason, because it saves your back and neck from becoming sore. If you were like me when I was learning, I would go into my room, sit on my bed, and hunker over my guitar to look at sheet music and my hand placement. Sometimes I used a music stand but I often skipped it because music stands back in my day sucked. Get yourself a decent music stand for holding your books or tablet.

Proper guitar placement

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here. Get yourself a strap and use it even if you are sitting. Using a strap even if you are sitting is much more comfortable and helps you to keep the guitar at the correct angle. It is recommended that the neck be at about a 45-degree angle when playing. A guitar strap will help you to do that and will keep you from accidentally dropping your instrument which can cause a lot of damage. If you are sitting you should rest it on the leg corresponding to your dominant hand. This lessens the weight of the instrument on your shoulders which will lead to less strain on your back and neck.

I show all these fundamental poster techniques in my Beginning Guitar Course. Check it out for more details on proper posture.

Learn Guitar 1

7. Learn Songs

When you take the time to learn other people’s songs you learn a lot about music in general and playing guitar. This is especially evident when you play with other musicians. However, the main reason to learn songs is because it is fun and helps keep you motivated. I still get excited about learning new songs even after 40-plus years of playing guitar. Besides, when you tell someone you are learning guitar, they either want to hear you and/or want to know what songs you can play. Having an opportunity to play songs with another musician is also extremely fun and motivating.

8. Guitar Anatomy

Discover the captivating beauty and essence of guitar anatomy. Each element, from the graceful body curve to the precise fretwork, harmoniously combines to unlock a world of endless musical possibilities. It’s important to know your guitar’s anatomy so that you can understand what other people are talking about as you learn to play. For example, you need to know what a sound hole or fretboard is to comprehend your guitar lessons. My free beginner course includes a quick and easy lesson on the guitar to get you started. You can find it in the Before You Begin lesson. This short free course and lesson introduce the absolute beginner to the names of the parts of the guitar. This short free course and lesson introduce the absolute beginner to the names of the parts of the guitar.

9. Develop Your Ear

Developing your ear takes time and practice. Ear development will help you recognize notes, song keys, chords, and more. Start slowly by trying to learn to tune your guitar to a piano or to itself. This is a very beneficial skill to learn especially since guitar tuners are not always available. Then move on to trying to figure out simple melodies by ear and playing them. Start with the simplest nursery songs and move into more complex songs. Next, try to figure out the chords of your favorite song’s melody, then move on to string to figure out which chords are played against the melody. Knowing scales will help you develop your ear by giving you the possible notes and chords to play. Being able to figure out the notes by ear will not only make you a better musician but will allow you to play with other musicians more easily. This is a skill I still work on even though I have been playing for some time. 

Young Woman Learning Guitar

10. Guitar Maintenance

Basic guitar maintenance is not difficult and can be learned quickly. At the very least you should know how to do the following independently.

Guitar Cleaning

Regularly wipe down your guitar to remove dust, dirt, and sweat. Have a soft cloth available to wipe down your guitar after each use.

Guitar String Care

The ability to change guitar strings when they lose their tone or feel rough, or worse, break is well worth the effort to learn. Nothing sucks more as a guitar student when you can’t play because you have to take the guitar to someone else to get the string changed. Also, strings wear out over time begin to weaken, and sound dull. Being able to change your strings when this happens will not only make your playing time more enjoyable but will save you time and money.

Guitar Storage

Storing your guitar properly is important to keep the wood from warping or cracking. This has to do with humidity and where you store the guitar when it is not being played.

  1. Keep humidity around 50%.
  2. Store your guitar in the case when not in use. This is the best method for keeping the humidity controlled and will keep it protected from getting knocked over by pets or others in your household. It also helps to keep the dust off the guitar. Be sure to wipe down your guitar with a soft cloth before setting it back in the case. 
Playing guitar with sunset in the background.

11. Expanding Your Musical Horizons

Experiment with different music styles to broaden your playing skills and preferences. For example, if you are a rock or pop musician, you would benefit a lot by learning classical or jazz as these genres have a lot in common. Playing the same thing over and over again can get boring and tiring so challenge yourself with learning new styles, songs and skills. 

Learn Guitar Note Names

To truly understand the guitar you need to learn the note names up and down the fretboard. This will allow you to expand your understanding of scales and chords. It will also allow you to experiment with different chord voicings.

Learn Music Theory

Understanding scales, notes, and chords enhance your playing and songwriting abilities. By knowing theory, you will be able to play with confidence with other musicians by now how to communicate in musical terms. Also, if you have any interest in writing music, having a basic understanding of music theory will go a very long way. Don’t let it scare you, music theory is not as hard as it can be made out to be if you start with basic concepts and grow from there.

Check out my course Introduction To The Major Scale. This short course is the beginning of your journey into music theory and with only 8 lessons, makes it easy,

12. Enjoy the Journey

These are just a few tips to help you get started. There are lots of guitarists who will add their opinions to these tips and it may behoove you to listen to others. Everyone’s experience is different and your experience may be closer to their experience. Talking with other guitarists is an awesome way to learn new things and gain valuable tips. Above all, remember that as you learn guitar, that learning this instrument is an ongoing, enjoyable journey. Embrace mistakes as learning opportunities, stay motivated, and relish the joy of creating music. As you progress, you’ll discover your unique musical voice and find endless fulfillment in playing this beautiful instrument.

Guitar Accessories For Beginners

Guitar Accessories For Beginners

The Most Important Guitar Accessories For Beginners

No matter which type of guitar you get, you will need some guitar accessories for that guitar. This article explains what must-have accessories you should buy for your guitar as well as some nice-to-have items. The necessities you should definitely get with your first guitar include a case, a strap, a stand, picks, and most importantly, a tuner. We’ll discuss these items in detail these items as they pertain to acoustic and electric guitars. The items listed in the Acoustic Guitar section are also necessities for electric guitars. However, I list them once for acoustic guitars so that this post is not redundant. The last section talks about some nice-to-have items that you will probably want at some point but do not need right away. These nice-to-have guitar accessories are not specific to the type of guitar you own.

What Accessories Do I Need For Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic guitars these days are often sold as acoustic/electric guitars. If you have an acoustic/electric you might want to check out the section on electric guitar accessories because you will eventually want an amplifier and some of the things that go with an amplifier. The items listed here are also items you will want with an electric guitar. These are mentioned in my Beginner Lesson as well because they are important items to have.

Guitar Tuner

Guitar Strap


Not everyone sees a guitar strap as a necessity but I do. The reason why is that having your guitar strap on whether or not you are sitting or standing, stabilizes the guitar in your arms. The strap keeps your guitar close to your body and makes playing it that much easier. The other reason I think it is a necessity is that you just invested a lot of money into a new guitar. Putting a strap on it and using it keeps it from slipping out of your hands and crashing to the floor. This happened to a 12 string guitar I had that a friend was trying out. It slipped out of his hands and went crashing to the floor. That guitar was never the same afterward. I forgave my friend, but I rarely, if ever, let anyone play my expensive guitars because of this incident.

Guitar Strap Locks

I was introduced to strap locks a few years ago and think they are the best thing since sliced bread. Strap locks are awesome because, without them, your guitar may slip off of the strap pegs. The problem with plain old strap pegs is when the cut in the strap that is supposed to fit into the peg, is too big or small. If its too big, the strap is loose on the peg and is at risk of slipping off. If its too small, it may never get fully onto the peg and is also at risk of falling off. I highly recommend getting strap locks. They are reasonably priced and worth the investment. You might also be able to find straps like this one that have them built-in. I own this guitar strap and absolutely love it.

If you decide to invest in strap locks and have more than one guitar, you should try to get the same strap lock for each guitar. That way the strap will fit on multiple guitars. When I bought my bass, I purchased strap locks for it. Then a couple months later I bought a Stratocaster from a friend who had already installed the strap locks oon the guitar. The two locks do not fit the same strap.

Picks or Plectrums

A pick is not really a necessity, it is possible to strum the guitar with just your fingers. However, if you are playing riffs or scales you will find a pick a necessity. There are a million different styles and textures of picks out there. Try a bunch out and see what you like. Many beginning guitarists like a light size such as the .60 or .73 mm but try out the different sizes and see what works for you. Picks are very inexpensive so having a variety around is a good thing. My favorites are the Dunlap Max Grips. .88mm. I really like the texture and size of this pick.

Guitar Strings

At some point, you are going to need new strings on your guitar. This depends on how much you play it and how hard you play. If you play really hard then you may end up breaking a string and needing to replace it. It is good to have an extra set on hand for when this happens. You should also learn how to replace the strings yourself. I will cover that topic in another post in the future. A lot of music store will change your strings for a nominal fee or sometimes for free if you buy the strings from them.

Guitar Case

Even if you are not taking your guitar anywhere, storing your guitar in a case is usually the safest option for your instrument when you are not playing it. Hard shelll cases are the best, but they can be expensive. However, if you have an expensive guitar, don’t skimp on the case. Gig bags are super popular right now as well and some even come with a hard casing on them.

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What Electric Guitar Accessories Do I Need

If you have an electric or acoustic-electric guitar you will want to get the necessary items listed above. However, in order to plug in your electric guitar, there are a number of items you will also need to get. Plan on getting an amplifier and cords at the very least. Playing an electric guitar without the amplifier is a pure drag!


Like guitars, amplifiers can cost an obscene amount of money. You don’t have to break the bank buying a decent practice amp. Maybe you are telling yourself, I can just play it without an amp until I can afford to get one. I did this years ago, and I regretted it. Because I never had good amplification on my electric guitar, I rarely played it and stuck with my acoustic instead. If the electric guitar is going to be your main guitar, you MUST get the amp, practice with your amp, and explore the different tones that your amp and pedals provide. Two of my favorite, which I do not own yet, but will soon, are the Spark amp and The Fender Mustang amp. These two amplifiers both have effects built right into them which makes buying pedals unnecessary. This is a great option for practicing and figuring which tones you want from your setup.

Currently, I use the Fender Rumble Bass Combo amp. I absolutely love this amp. Great tone, I can plug in an auxiliary line from my computer and play songs through it so I can practice along with real songs. It also has a headphone jack so you can practice quietly. This is a great amp for both bass and guitar!


Don’t forget to get a cable to connect your amp to your guitar. If you have pedals, don’t forget the patch cables for those as well. Look for cables that offer no unwanted noise, it should be the right length, and has a warranty, has low capacitance (reducing hiss and other unwanted noise). Gold cables are generally known for being better. This because they are less corrosive and tend to last longer.

Effects Pedals

There are a ton of effects pedals on the market. What I did when I was exploring pedals was to go into a music store that had them on display to demo and I played with them using a similar guitar and amplifier to mine. You can also consider one of the new digital amplifiers on the market today which have a ton of effects built into the amp. As I mentioned the Spark amp and The Fender Mustang amp are two that are very popular. However, if you are old school and love that tube amp sound, you will want to get some pedals. Pedals are a lot of fun to play around with.

Miscellaneous Guitar Accessories

There are a number of items that you may want to consider down the road in your guitar playing journey.

Music Stand

If you use books or sheet music you should get a stand. A music stand put the music at eye level and helps you to play ergonomically. This will help your posture and put you at the proper playing level which will allow you to play with more comfort and less pain over time. If you use a computer or tablet, you can still use a stand for these as well. I highly recommend getting one.

Guitar Stand Or Hanger

The great thing about putting your guitar on a guitar stand or wall hanger is that it is right there in front of you begging to be played. I know I stated above that putting a guitar in its case is the safest place for it, and it is, but having at least one of your guitars easily accessible is fun and you get to look at that pretty guitar when you are not playing it. I keep my less expensive guitars on a wall hanger and my more expensive guitars usually reside in their case.


A guitar capo is almost an essential guitar accessory. The reason I say a capo is almost essential is that whatever song you are playing that requires a capo can be transposed. So what exactly is a capo? A capo is a small device that clamps onto the neck of a guitar and shortens the length of the strings thereby raising the pitch of the guitar. When you are just starting to learn chords you probably won’t need a capo right away. However, once you start grabbing music off the internet, you will find it a handy little tool and a bit easier than trying to transpose the key of the song.

String Winder

I changed my strings for years and never owned a string winder so its not a necessity, but damn I regret not having one now that I own one. The process of winding those strings is so much easier and faster with a winder. Not only is it easier but string winders are pretty inexpensive so why go without.


Playing with a slide is a specific technique not everyone gets into. If you play country or blues, however, you may want to consider getting one and learning this technique.

Music Books or Website Subscription to Music

There are a ton of books and website that offer you instruction or music to play. Some are free, others are not. One of my favorites is Ultimate Guitar. This is a free music tab website that has an insane amount of songs, how to play them, all in tablature. The free version offers tabs submitted by users. The subscription or Pro version looks like a Guitar Pro file and is generally a lot more accurate than use submitted songs. You also get multimple instrument tracks so you can learn the different parts of the song. Chord only versions if you just want to strum along. Printable so you can create your own song books, and it offers Tonebridge compatibility so that you can incorporate the correct tone. At the very least, book mark them for the free stuff.

Microphones and Microphone Stand

If you plan on performing for an audience other than a campfire, you will probably want a microphone and mic stand. Again there are a tone to choose from so we won’t go into too much detail. This will likely be a topic for its own post.

Computer Or Audio Interface

At some point, you might want to plug your guitar into your computer so that you can either play along with online music or record your own music. In order to connect your guitar to a computer, you will need an audio interface. The audio interface allows your computer to process the guitar’s signal into something the computer can understand. There are a ton of options on the market for affordable audio interfaces. The biggest thing to keep in mind when choosing an audio interface is the latency of the unit. Latency is the period of delay measured in milliseconds between when an audio signal enters a system and when it emerges and you hear the output. In these terms, the less latency a system has, the better. I use the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 as my interface. I love it because I also purchase a program from them called Guitar Rig, which lets me plug my guitar in and play with all kinds of different effects and tones.

Recording Equipment

Recording your music is beyond the scope of this article and is a complex subject. However, if you wanted to get started you would need a computer, an audio interface, cables to connect them, and recording software. If you have an Apple computer that has Garage Band, which used to be free with your MacIntosh, then all you need to do is connect to start using it. If not I would recommend Reaper recording software. You can try it before you buy it, its simpler to use than some out there and there is a ton of video instruction on their website.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing from that vendor, we receive a small stipend. This helps to offset the cost of running a free website. These are products we either tried, have used, or currently use and recommend based on our experience. We do not guarantee your experience will be the same and we do not handle returns or refunds for these companies.

How To Choose A Guitar For A Child

How To Choose A Guitar For A Child

Buying A Guitar For A Child

Everything You Need When Choosing The Best Guitars For Kids

If you are still not sure how to choose a guitar for a child, acoustic or electric, see Part 1 – How To Choose An Acoustic Guitar or Part 2 – How To Choose An Electric Guitar. These are articles explain the difference between an acoustic and an electric guitar and why you would choose one over the other. Choosing between an electric or acoustic or nylon guitar is the same no matter what your age. However, keep in mind that nylon-stringed guitar or classical guitars are much easier on the fretting fingers so many people chose this style for a child because of this. The size of nylon-stringed guitars is also a bit smaller than other acoustic guitars. So in summary, these are the things to keep in mind for a child.

  • Guitar quality
  • A Guitar that is easy to play.
  • Guitar Size.
  • Which Body Style or Shape?
  • Is your child left or right-handed?
  • Should I get a starter pack?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Which brands are best?
  • What accessories do I need?

Guitar Quality And Easy To Play

If you get a guitar that doesn’t play well or sound right, your kid will hate it, and they will become frustrated and discouraged. It’s not hard to find an affordable quality guitar. A lot of people are calling today’s market the era of the affordable guitar. That being said there are still a lot of terrible guitars out there so you should be aware. Avoid department store guitars or something just because it is a kit. Kits are great and useful, but they are usually offered on entry-level instruments that are of poorer quality. Reviews are great if they are legitimate reviews. You can also check out some Facebook Groups or forums and see what other people are playing and like. This will give you an idea of what is out there when you start looking.

A good quality guitar should also be easy to play. This is true of most of us, but especially for children. Everyone’s body is different so different styles may suit different children. An easy-to-play guitar should be the right size and shape for your child.

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Guitar Size

What size guitar is right for me or my child?

Choosing guitars for kids’ biggest challenge is finding the right size guitar for your child. Finding the right size guitar is very important. If the guitar is too large for your child, then it will make it much more difficult for them to play. If it is even more difficult than it needs to be, the likelihood of them sticking with the instrument diminishes significantly. The wrong sized guitar will not only be uncomfortable but could be ergonomically bad for their little body. Your child will enjoy playing guitar much more if they have a guitar that fits their body. Here are some things to look at when choosing guitars for kids.

Here is a general chart for different sizes for different ages.

Size of ChildGuitar Size
3’3″ to 3’9″¼ size
3’10” to 4’5″½ size
7-11 years old¾ size
11 +years oldFull Size

Types of Guitar Shapes

What shape guitar is right for me or my child?

When deciding how to choose a guitar for a child, besides size the shape or type of guitar will determine comfort and playability. First, you should know which shapes are available. Second, you should go to a music store and have your child try out as many as possible and see how it feels for them. Here is a rundown of the available shapes for acoustic and electric guitars.

Acoustic Guitar Shapes

  • Parlor-sized acoustic guitars are one of the smallest available. They have a very brighter tone than most and are a great option for younger students.
  • Concert-sized guitars are slightly larger and have a bright tone as well.
  • Auditorium-sized acoustic guitars are great for older kids and have a better balance between high and low notes.
  • Dreadnaught guitars are one of the most popular style acoustic guitars on market. These tend to have a nice full should, however, they are larger and can be difficult for smaller arms and hands.
  • Jumbo or Super Jumbo style guitars produce a big sound with a good balance between highs and lows. These will probably be very difficult for younger hands to handle.
  • Classical guitars are often a great choice for kids. They are smaller than steel-stringed guitars and since they use nylon strings, they are easier to play than steel-stringed guitars. However, be aware that some have larger necks, so choose one that does not have a huge thick neck.
  • Travel Guitars are usually 1/2 to 3/4 sized guitars that are great for kids.

Electric Guitars Shapes

There are a vast amount of electric guitar shapes as well. We will concentrate on the most popular styles.

  • Fender Stratocaster
  • Fender Telecaster
  • Gibson Les Paul
  • Gibson SG
  • Hollow Body Electric Guitar
  • Semi-Hollow Body

There are many clones of these styles as well. A lot of these clones are very good guitars as well.

Is your child left or right-handed?

You should make sure that if your child is left handed that you get them a left-handed guitar. Most guitars produced and sold are right handed guitars so keep that in mind when you choose a guitar. Finding a smaller left handed guitar may be difficult, but if you search online you may have better luck.

Should I Get A Guitar Starter Kit?

Starter packs are great, especially with beginner electric guitars. Starter packs provide basic necessities for any guitar owner. At a minimum, they should provide a strap, a tuner, picks, and a case. If it is an electric guitar the kit should include a small amplifier and cable. There are lots of great starter packs out there, just avoid the department store packs with unknown brands. Stick to well know good brands like Fender, Epiphone, Taylor, Ibanez, Schecter, or Yamaha to name a few. Some lesser know brands that are also good quality include Harley Benton, a German brand, Firefly, Wolf. The key here is to try them out and make sure they play and sound good.

How much does it cost?

It is no secrete that guitars cost a lot of money, however, a good starter guitar shouldn’t cost you a fortune. At the same time, you should buy your child a toy guitar just because it is cheap. Get them a real guitar that they will enjoy for a few years until they are ready for an upgrade to something nicer.

Which brands are best?

Here are a few guitar brands and models that have a great reputation and also have some 3/4 sized guitars. While I don’t own all of these, I have played them in music stores and think they are good guitars at a great price. These also have great reviews on Amazon and other online retailers.

What accessories do I need?

If you get a kit then you are much, if not all of what you need is provided in many kits on the market.

Conclusion For How To Choose A Guitar For A Child

In conclusion, the most important things to consider when figuring out how to choose a guitar for a child are guitar quality, size, and shape which correlate with comfort, and price. Other considerations are accessories as well as whether your child is right or left-handed. Armed with this information you should be able to make a great choice for your child’s first guitar.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing from that vendor, we receive a small stipend. This helps to offset the cost of running a free website. These are products we either tried, have used, or currently use and recommend based on our experience. We do not guarantee your experience will be the same and we do not handle returns or refunds for these companies.

How To Choose An Acoustic Guitar

How To Choose An Acoustic Guitar

Pros and Cons Of Choosing An Acoustic Guitar

When Figuring out how to choose an acoustic guitar, the first thing you should consider is the pros and cons of choosing an acoustic guitar.

Pros Of Acoustic Guitars

  • Great for folk, country, and rock guitar – Steel-string acoustic guitars just sound great. That’s one reason they are used in popular music. Not only that, if you want to play for friends around a campfire, at church, or just accompany your own voice, but they are also the standard. They are also awesome for writing music.
  • Less gear to get you started. When you start with an acoustic or nylon guitar, you don’t need to worry about buying an amplifier and chord in order to hear the guitar.
  • Portability. Since you don’t need a lot of other gear, you can take an acoustic guitar anywhere and play anything, anytime. You also won’t annoy other people with your loud music.
  • A great way to learn – When you learn to play on an acoustic, moving to an electric or nylon guitar is really easy in comparison. If you start with an electric, you will quickly realize how hard it is to move to an acoustic because it is harder to press down on the strings.

Cons of Acoustic Guitars

  • It hurts to play more compared to electric or nylon guitars – While this is true, once you are able to play acoustic, you can switch to any instrument with ease.

Acoustic or Nylon, what is the difference?
Acoustic guitars have steel strings, this creates a more treble-like tone. The steel strings are wound to soften the tone. Steel-string acoustic guitars are used in country, rock, and folk styles. Nylon guitars are easier to play because nylon strings hurt the fingers less. These are typically played in classical guitar but many folk players also use them. Nylon string guitars give a warm relaxed tone. The one drawback to nylon or classical guitars is that the neck on some models can sometimes be very large. For those players with small hands, this could be a problem.

How To Choose An Acoustic Guitar such as this Nylon string classical guitar.
Nylon string classical guitar.

Acoustic Guitar Body Styles

You may find a few other varieties of these styles when figuring out how to choose an acoustic guitar, but these are your main considerations.

  • Parlor – These are the smallest-sized guitars you can get. Often set up for students who are younger or players who want a smaller size. They have a bright tone where the low bass tones are not as pronounced. If you are buying your first guitar for a student, then you might consider these.
  • Concert – Are slightly larger than parlor guitars are the concert guitars. Both work great for fingerpicking and have a brighter tone with less emphasis on the lows.
  • Auditorium – The auditorium has a great balance between highs and lows with good volume and projection. These are also great for fingerstyle playing and are often used by solo singers/songwriters for performance.
  • Dreadnaught – One of the more popular styles of a body for guitar. These achieve a great balance of highs and lows and are versatile in the style of music they are used for. Many of us started our guitar journey with a dreadnaught.
  • Jumbo or Super Jumbo – These guitars are great for getting out the volume. Their jumbo-sized bodies were designed for volume and they produce a big bold sound. Be aware that the body size may be harder for smaller people to play.
  • Classical – these are usually smaller than the steel-stringed guitars mentioned above but have a warm inviting tone and since they use nylon strings, it can be easier to play than their steel string counterparts. Be careful though, even though the steel strings are easier, many of these styles of the guitar have very wide necks which can make things more difficult for smaller hands.
  • Travel Guitars – In recent years, travel-sized guitars have been popularized by Taylor Guitar and Martin Guitar companies. These are smaller guitars that fit more easily in compartments when traveling, hence the name. If you are looking at buying your first guitar and are of smaller stature, these are a great option and have great tone and playability. I have one of these on my list of guitars to get.

How To Evaluate An Acoustic Guitar

Here are some things to consider when figuring out how to choose an acoustic guitar.


While you don’t want to go expensive, don’t go too cheap either. Don’t order your guitar from Walmart because it is cheap and comes with a bunch of starter stuff. On the other hand, don’t spend a grand on your first guitar. A good starter guitar with a decent tone will run you around $150 to $200. The old saying you get what you pay for is true.

If you go super cheap you will get super cheap and you will probably end up discouraged by the tone and quality of the guitar. This is why I recommend spending a little bit more and getting something you really like. Never buy a guitar because it is pretty. If it sounds great and is pretty, that’s a bonus. I would rather play an ugly guitar that sounds great than a pretty guitar that sounds like shit. Does it sound good? If it looks pretty but sounds like crap, put it back and move on.


Play Some Guitars And See What You Like – Bring a friend who plays to help you determine the sound quality and playability. The first thing you should consider is the tone of the guitar. How is the action on the guitar? Is it easy to play? This is where it might be good to bring a friend with you who can play who can help you with these things. Also, most store employees can play too, but since they are trying to sell you a guitar, you might find more reliability from a friend.

How does the size feel? Small-scale vs large-scale. Do your fingers fit in the frets? Some people recommend full-sized guitars no matter what. They believe that you will adjust your playing to suit the guitar. While this is true, there may be reasons for considering a 3/4 sized guitar, especially for smaller children.


The most important thing to consider is how does it sound? Does it sound good? If it looks pretty but sounds like crap, put it back and move on. You will enjoy playing much more with a guitar that has a good tone. Again, this is where an experienced guitar player can help you evaluate the sound. They can play it, you can hear how it sounds. Many acoustic guitars come with pickups. Plug it into the same type of amp you plan to use. If you plan to buy both at the same time, make this a consideration. Are the pickups working and do the switches work? How is the tone when plugged in?


Check the frets, fretboard, and body for flaws. The frets should be smooth and the ends should not be sharp. Run your hand along the top and bottom of the fretboard. Is it sharp? The frets should not be sharp. The fretboard should not have nicks or other flaws and the fretboard should be a size that fits your hand. Are the seems and joints snug and put together well? Are there scratches? Look down the length of the neck, is it straight? Does it stay in tune and do the tuners slip when you are trying to tune?

Buy the guitar not the brand.

Conclusion – Choosing A Good Guitar

Choosing a good quality guitar is important, however, how to choose an acoustic guitar that is right for you is even more important. So in conclusion, consider body style and size, feel, tone, price, and quality when considering what to look for in a good acoustic guitar. If you are looking for some accessories for your guitar, be sure to check out the post on Guitar Accessories.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing from that vendor, we receive a small stipend. This helps to offset the cost of running a free website. These are products we either tried, have used, or currently use and recommend based on our experience. We do not guarantee your experience will be the same and we do not handle returns or refunds for these companies.

How To Choose An Electric Guitar

How To Choose An Electric Guitar

How To Choose An Electric Guitar For Beginners

When Figuring out how to choose an electric guitar, the first thing you should consider is the pros and cons of why you would choose an electric guitar.

Pros Electric Guitars

  • Want to play the same as a guitar hero. Your motivation might be to play like your favorite rock star. In this case, you may want to start with electric guitars. 
  • I don’t want that mellow crap. You hate acoustic guitars and just want to rock out. That’s fine. Have fun with it.
  • Looks really cool. Electric guitars do look really cool. But don’t ever choose a guitar just because it looks cool. There are many other things to consider.

Cons Of Electric Guitars

  • Needs additional equipment. An electric guitar needs to be plugged in to be heard properly. Consider a good amp with your electric guitar to get the most out of it.

Chosing An Electric Guitar Body Style

  • Solid-body guitars are very popular for rock and country guitar playing.
    • Fender Stratocaster’s – Popularized by Fender Guitar Company, Strats have a distinctive style that has been copied over and over again. They have a great variety of sounds that you can incorporate and are fun to play.
    • Fender Telecaster – Another great guitar by Fender. This style is used a lot in country music.
    • Gibson Les Paul – Popularized by heavy metal and hard rock bands, Les Pauls is another versatile guitar that can really get a raunchy sound.
    • Gibson SG – Another great raunchy-sounding guitar that has been played by greats such as Jimmy Page. This guitar has a double-cutaway design that is great for playing higher notes on the fretboard.
    • Gibson Flying V – I’m not a big fan of this style but some people love them.
    • Gibson Explorer – This model looks like a lightning bolt. The SG, Flying V, and Explorer all make playing high notes more accessible and easier.
  • Hollow Body Or Archtop Guitars
    • A very resonant instrument with a top that is arched and set up for playing amplified.
  • Semi-Hollow Body
    • These are popularized by Gibsons ES Series guitars and Rickenbacker. These guitars have a tone block that runs down the center of the guitar that helps to reduce feedback, while still retaining a deep tone. These instruments are often used in jazz-style guitar but you can find them in rock and country as well.
  • Other
    • There are lots of other variants of these main styles out there. Play as many guitar styles as you can so you can decide for yourself what you like, what feels the best, and what gives you the sound you are looking for.

How To Choose An Electric Guitar – Electric Guitar Pickups

Active vs Passive

  • Active Guitar Pickups – Active guitar pickups also use copper wire coils but they use fewer coils than passive. Instead, these use a preamp to boost the signal which is usually powered by a 9-volt battery.
  • Passive Guitar Pickups – Passive guitar pickups use simple transducers, built by wrapping many coils of copper wire around a magnet. The location of the magnet in proximity to the strings causes the strings to magnetize. So when the strings move, they disturb the magnetic field and cause an electrical current to pass through the copper wire. A lot of popular brands use this type of pickup.

Benefits And Drawbacks

  • Passive guitar pickups tend to transmit more hum and interference. Also, since the pickups and strings are magnetized, it can cause the strings to bend enough to cause intonation issues. Passive pickups can also cause a lot more feedback. Passive pickups tend to have a higher dynamic range than active so they are praised for this. They also enhance lower frequencies and have a warmer tone.
  • Active pickups are less susceptible to background noise. They are sometimes described as tonally “cold” meaning the tone dynamics are much lower than that of passive. However, these are sought after for their ability to articulate lines for shred or jazz guitar.

More About Pickups

  • Single Coil Guitar Pickups – Single-coil pickups are just that. A single coiled pickup controlled by electromagnetic copper wiring. Passive pickups tend to be single or double coiled pickups. These produce
  • Humbucker Guitar Pickups – Humbuckers were created by combining two single-coil into one pickup and wiring them so that their magnetic poles oriented in opposite directions. This canceled or “bucked” the electric hum. Hence the name humbucker.
  • Why choose single coil-over double coiled guitar pickups? Because single coils tend to be brighter and crisper with more not definition between strings. Humbuckers are usually darker, heavier, and louder.

How To Choose An Electric Guitar – Evaluating A Guitar

When looking at how to choose an electric guitar, first and foremost, go out and play a bunch of guitars and see what you like. This is the best way to get a feel for what you prefer.

Guitar Price

You do not have to spend a ton of money on a decent electric guitar. At the same time, too cheap can be devastating. Don’t order your guitar from Walmart because it is cheap and comes with a bunch of starter stuff. On the other hand, don’t spend a small fortune on your first guitar. A good starter guitar with a decent tone will run you around $150 to $200. Some makes and models even come as a kit with a strap, tuner, and case among other things. A used guitar can be good too, just be careful and know what you are looking at. Plug it in and make sure the pickups work, if sounds and feels good, and plays well.

Guitar Quality

The old adage “you get what you pay for” is true. If you go super cheap you will get super cheap and you will probably end up discouraged by the tone and quality of the guitar. This is why I recommend spending a little bit more and getting something you really like and that you will enjoy.

Check the frets, fretboard, and body for flaws. The frets should be smooth, the fretboard should not have nicks or other flaws and the fretboard should be a size that fits your hand. Are the seems and joints snug and put together well? Are there scratches? Look down the length of the neck, is it straight? One of the most important questions to ask is whether the guitar can hold the note when it is tuned? Do the tuners slip when you are trying to tune?

Take a look a the pickups and plug it into the same type of amp you plan to use with the guitar. If you plan to buy both at the same time, make this a consideration. What type of amp do you want, need? Are the pickups working and do the switches work? How is the tone when plugged in? Does it plugin from the side of the guitar or the top. This may change which chord you choose. Do you want or need a tremolo?

Buy the guitar not the brand name and buy the best you can afford, you will enjoy it more. Mostly do not buy a guitar just because it’s pretty.

Feel Or Action

The action is the distance between the fretboard and the strings. The strings too far from the fretboard make the action hard. Closer is better, but not so close that the strings buzz on the frets. The closer the action the easier it easy to play. This is where it might be good to bring a friend with you or consult with a store employee who can play who can help you with these things. Another consideration is ergonomics, is it a comfortable guitar? Is the headstock heavy and does it experience head dive? A guitar should be balanced so that you don’t have to hold up the neck when playing. Head dive is really annoying especially when you are trying to learn.


An important consideration in how to choose an electric guitar should be the sound. How is the tone of the guitar and the pickups? Make sure you plug it in and listen to how it sounds through an amplifier. Use the same or similar amplifier as you plan to use at home. When it comes to electric guitars, you will find that having a good amp will make a huge difference in the tone of the guitar. If you have a cheap amp, it will be frustrating because it will likely sound bad. Don’t spend $800 on a great guitar and plug it into a crappy amp. Practice amps don’t have to break the bank but make sure it sounds good. You can also plug the guitar into a computer with a computer interface. This will allow you to use digital amplifiers which is a great option when you are just learning. We cover computer interfaces in Guitar Accessories For Beginners.


How does the size of the guitar feel? Do your fingers fit in the frets? Some people recommend full-sized guitars no matter what. They believe that you will adjust your playing to suit the guitar. While this is true, there may be reasons for considering a 3/4 sized guitar, especially for smaller children. The more comfortable the guitar is the more you will want to play it.

Conclusion On How To Choose An Electric Guitar

How to choose an electric guitar can be overwhelming, however, when you know what to look for it becomes much easier. So in conclusion, look at the price of the guitar, the overall quality, action, tone, and size. How a guitar feels is one of the most important considerations when choosing a guitar. When this information all comes together, you can make an informed decision and pick the right guitar for you!

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