If you don’t choose the right guitar to start with, you are likely to give up your guitar dreams.
You won’t want to play with it, you won’t like the music you make and you move on.
It only happens to other people, you think. Well, no. No. Many more beginners than we think are misguided and buy the wrong guitar.
With a guitar that suits you, you will enjoy playing, your motivation will be strengthened and your chances of success will be increased tenfold.
The solution is simple. To choose the right guitar, just listen to yourself.
Here’s my advice: You should choose the guitar that suits the music you’re listening to.
That being said, I will present you with the choice available to you when you want to buy a guitar to get started.
Choosing your first guitar
You can choose your guitar to begin with from 3 main families of guitars:
- The classical guitar
- The folk guitar
- The electric guitar
I will now present you the differences between these 3 guitars, first in video and in the following lines as well.
Choosing a classical guitar
The classical guitar is the oldest guitar. It is also sometimes called acoustic or acoustic guitar, which causes confusion with the folk guitar which is also acoustic. An acoustic or acoustic guitar is just a guitar that has no electrical amplification (microphone, cable,…).
You will easily recognize the classical guitar because:
- It is the only one that has nylon strings (it has 3 nylon strings and 3 metal strings)
- It has a flat and wide handle (to be able to play arpeggios and complex melodies while leaving room for fingers)
- His mechanics are inside the head (see the article on the basic vocabulary of the guitar)
- It has no amplification (microphone, cable,…)
The classical guitar is the guitar that is very often recommended for beginners. In reality, it is mainly a question of habit and the influence of music conservatories.
In my humble opinion, this is not a good enough reason to start with a classical guitar.
Why choose a classical guitar?
You must choose a classical guitar if:
- You mainly like classical or Hispanic music (flamenco,…) and that’s what you want to play (that’s the most valid reason I see)
Who shouldn’t choose a classical guitar?
You should not choose a classical guitar if:
- You don’t like classical or Hispanic music
- You like other styles of music
- You want to play chords and accompany yourself while singing
- You want to play solos
Of course, if you already have a classical guitar at your disposal, you can start with it, but know that you will have much more fun with the guitar that suits you.
Choose a folk guitar
In its basic version, the folk guitar is part of the acoustic guitar family.
It is the perfect guitar to play chords, to accompany each other while singing and to play all the hits of folk, pop, variety,…
We sometimes use several names to designate it, which can be confusing: folk guitar, acoustic guitar, acoustic guitar, acoustic guitar, electro-acoustic guitar,… but in reality, if you are not dealing with a classical guitar, they are all the same guitars.
The only difference is with electro-acoustic guitars (electro-something) that can be connected to an amp and other guitars, which are not equipped with this system. (classical and folks guitars can be equipped with amplification)
You will easily recognize it because:
- It has steel strings (the famous 😉
- It has a sound box (like the classical guitar)
- Its neck is thinner and less flat than the classical guitar
Sometimes this guitar scares the beginner because the strings are made of steel and they have a reputation for hurting his fingers.
It’s not entirely false, at least at first, but know that all guitars will do that to you. It takes between 3 and 6 weeks of regular practice to make this small layer of hard skin on the fingers (also called wedge or horn). Once you have it, your fingers will be harder (the skin of your fingers actually) and you will no longer be in pain.
Why choose a folk guitar?
You must choose an acoustic guitar if:
- You mainly like folk music, pop, French and international varieties (mainly the one you hear on the radio)…
- You want to play chords and accompany yourself by singing
- You want to play rhythms
- You want to be able to play anywhere, just with your guitar, around the fire, on the beach, outside, inside, on the street, anywhere.
Who shouldn’t choose a folk guitar?
You should not choose a folk guitar if:
- You don’t like folk music, pop, French and international varieties (mainly the one you hear on the radio)…
- You like other styles of music (classical or solo)
- You want to play Blues or Rock solos or Vivaldi sonatas for guitar
The folk guitar is the most versatile guitar. You can play almost anything and do everything on it: chords, arpeggios, rhythmics,… you can even play classical on it or solos
On the other hand, for solos, it is important to know that the strings of the folk guitar are quite tense and it takes a lot of strength to make the bends (a technique characteristic of solos that consists in pulling on a string to change the note).
In most cases, it is the beginner’s guitar that I would recommend for a beginner.
The only exception is if you want to play classical (take a classical guitar) or if you love Rock and Solos (take an electric guitar). Once again, I advise you to start with the guitar that suits you best with music style and the one that makes you vibrate.
Please don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, let alone if he is the salesman of your guitar shop.
Choosing an electric guitar
It’s the guitar of every Rocker. You will recognize it very easily because:
- It has no sound box (except for jazz guitars)
- She has microphones (1, 2, or 3)
- It has all kinds of shapes
The electric guitar sometimes gets bad press:
- It makes noise: it’s true if you plug it into an amp with the volume at full volume, but it’s also the quietest because you can play with a headset and not disturb anyone
- We need an amp to play it: to play in public yes, to play notes alone at home, it’s not necessary at all. You can use an electric guitar without plugging it in and you’ll hear all your notes (it works very well so as not to disturb your neighbours, but it’s a shame because you lose the Rock sound)
- It’s not made for beginners: oh well? why? I started with a guitar and it has several advantages. In addition to being silent without an amp, its strings are also softer than on an acoustic guitar. It will hurt your fingers less and make it easier to play chords and melodies.
Why choose an electric guitar?
You must choose an electric guitar if:
- You mainly like Rock or Blues and their derivatives (Metal, Hard Rock, Punk, Heavy, …)
- You want to play everything
- You want to play a lot of Solos
- You want to use effects, an amp and get lots of different sounds
Who shouldn’t choose an electric guitar?
You should not choose an electric guitar if:
- You don’t like Rock or Blues
- You like other styles of music (see classical and acoustic)
- You want to play guitar on the beach, by the fire, without having to bring an amp and other electronic accessories.
To use a guitar to its full potential, you will need an amp and a cable to connect your guitar to the amp. Electric guitars may be more expensive as an initial investment, but if that’s the price you pay to please yourself, it’s worth it.
Moreover, you can, without being too mistaken, buy a small second-hand amp, cheap, on sites that are doing well; -)
Personally, I’m a big fan of Solos and Rock, it’s while listening to a Slash Solo that I finally decided to buy a guitar. So I logically chose an electric guitar to start.