If you are looking to buy your first guitar, or as a present for someone else then the sheer range of different types and styles may seem overwhelming, not to mention the barrage of jargon and technical know-how that comes with it! The following guide has been written with the first time buyer in mind to guide you through this musical jungle and help you choose the best first guitar for you.
There are three main types of guitar and this is where you need to make your first decision. Do you want to learn to play an acoustic guitar, electric guitar or bass guitar? They all have their unique sound characteristics and are slightly different to play – have a listen to each example videos below see which sound you like best. Which style can you see yourself learning?
The acoustic guitar is a very popular choice at the moment with lots of big chart artists all using this type, it’s very much ‘in fashion’. Think Ed Sheeran, George Ezra or early Mumford & Sons, they have very much the ‘acoustic sound’ so if you love music in this style then this is a great choice of instrument.
Some other artists such as, Bob Dylan, Newton Faulkner or Jack Johnson all take on the acoustic sound and that’s what you can do with an instrument like this. Smooth and mellow! Think of it as the Singer Songwriter’s instrument of choice. Just you and an acoustic guitar can make a big sound.
This type of guitar is hollow and the strings vibrate the air inside the guitar to create its cheery, bright and natural tone. The sound vibrates out of the hole in the middle; this is called the ‘sound hole’. What’s great about this type of guitar is that it can be used on its own with no additional equipment. Great for writing songs, recording a demo track, for busking, learning and even taking on your travels.
Read our Acoustic Guitar Buyer's Guide
The electric guitar works differently to the acoustic guitar but the fundamentals of playing it are the same. It still has six strings and you can play the same songs on it but it is not hollow, it’s solid. This type doesn’t rely on air inside to vibrate to create its sound. Instead, it uses electronic components to amplify the sound through an amplifier and speaker. This is where you need additional equipment like an amp and cable.
Electric guitars tend to be smaller in size and easier to play at first than acoustics although this shouldn’t be a factor when choosing your instrument. It’s all about the sound and what sound you want to achieve! Think Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, ACDC or Foo Fighters when thinking about how these guitars sound. Think ROCK!
They are great if you want to do some solo/lead playing where you can bend the strings and do fun tricks. Acoustic guitars generally aren’t suited to soloing, string bending or Rock style music in general. So, if you want to play styles like Rock, Metal, Blues or Funk then this is the type for you.
Read our Electric Guitar Buyer's Guide
Bass guitars are quite different as they tend to only have 4 strings rather than six. The strings are much thicker and are tuned to a lower pitch to give a full, booming sound. They also tend to be bigger and heavier than 6 string guitars. Bass guitars are part of the driving force on a piece of music; they sit in the background creating a layer or ‘blanket’ for the 6 string guitars to play over. They plod along keeping the rhythm and drive going. That being said, they are still a very important part of a band and a piece of music!
Bass guitarists are harder to come by so if you buy one of these you can almost guarantee your place in a band once you’re ready to start playing gigs! As you only really use single notes on bass it can be much easier and quicker to get playing songs.
You can play a vast number of styles with a standard bass guitar such as Rock, Blues, Jazz, Funk, Country, Metal or pretty much anything you want! If you want to hear what a bass sounds like listen to Marcus Miller or Victor Wooten.
It’s fun, interesting, and if you master it you’ll be the coolest kid on the block!
You can play with your fingers, with a plectrum and you can even 'slap' it which sounds amazing! Listen to the artists listed above and you'll see what we mean!
Technically, they use similar insides to the electric guitar; they are solid, not hollow and need an amplifier & cable to amplify the sound such that it can be heard well, they are electric instruments.
If you think the bass is for you then click the link below to read about the types we offer in more depth.
Read our Bass Guitar Buyer's Guide
As you know, with anything, you get what you pay for and such there is a difference between entry-level and professional quality instruments. However, at Guitarbitz Music Store, we source the best guitars for every price bracket so you can be sure that if you buy your first guitar for just £100 or £1000 it will be of great quality relative to its price.
We only sell branded, high-quality instruments regardless of the price and every instrument comes with at least a 1-year warranty. All guitars are checked thoroughly before they are dispatched so you can be sure of receiving the best possible instrument in full working order.
It's important to consider that cheap guitars may not last you as long and as you progress with your skills you'll find the need to upgrade quicker. So, always buy the best you can afford as generally by spending just a little bit more will get you a much better instrument that will be easier to play and will last longer.
Click the links below to look at each type of guitar in more detail: