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How Much Should You Spend on a New Guitar?

A First-Time Guitar Buyer’s Guide

Buying your first guitar can be exciting and fun. And overwhelming. There are so many brands, models, and price points that it can be difficult to narrow it all down. In this article, we will break down what to look for in your first guitar purchase, including the essential accessories, and help you keep in your budget.

What you absolutely need

The very essential items you are going to need are (of course) the guitar, strings, a guitar strap, and a pick. If you plan on buying an electric guitar, you will need an amplifier. You should also budget for a hard or soft case to protect your guitar.

Your first guitar need not be ridiculously expensive, but should be decently made of good materials, and built to last for at least a few years. Presuming you buy new, you can get a perfectly good name-brand starter acoustic or electric guitar for anywhere from $100-$250. Try several out in this price range before you make a decision. After all, you are going to be using it for a while.

Most new guitars come already strung with a decent set of strings. These are typically medium gauge strings, which are what most people use. As you continue to play, you will be better able to decide if thicker or thinner strings will work better for you, but for now, it’s best to stick with mediums.

Guitars (particularly starters) tend to include a strap. If not, a decent strap won’t cost very much, and will be necessary to help keep your hands free to play.

Unless you plan on finger picking, you should have a decent supply of picks. They are relatively cheap, so try several brands and gauges until out find what works for you.

The world of amps is huge. But since you are just starting out, let’s keep it simple. A small combo amp will serve you at home, in class, and in small live venues. $100 or so will land you one of these, and they will serve you fine.

Essential accessories

As mentioned above, a guitar case is an important investment, whether you are simply protecting your guitar from heat, moisture, and dust in your home or protecting it against damage when travelling. If you are staying at home or just doing occasional local travel, a soft case will typically do the trick. If you plan to do more heavy travelling or just want the peace of mind that comes with extra protection, consider spending a bit extra on a hard case.

And what should you have in that case, aside from your guitar? Always have at least one full set of extra strings for the inevitable time one breaks. Have several extra picks (for basically the same reason). A tuner is a great item to have, as well as a string winder.

Ways to save money

Many stores offer starter packs, which come complete with the guitar and all of the accessories necessary to get started. They take the guesswork away and generally cost quite a bit less than if you were to purchase the items separately.

You may also consider buying used equipment, but be careful. Buy from reputable dealers and test items thoroughly before buying.

Get Started!

Hopefully, this article has helped simplify the guitar-buying process for you. Enjoy your new guitar!

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