Top tips on buying your first guitar and getting a great deal
There has never been so much choice when it comes to buying a guitar these days. Even guitars designed with the beginner in mind have improved in quality to the point that some professionals will use those models as a back up in live performances. Unfortunately, It is still possible to end up with a bad purchase, so I will be giving you the low down on what to look out for when buying your first instrument, and the best places to buy from.
The main motto I promote is this: "Buy the right guitar and you will only need to buy it once".
What to avoid:
Don't buy guitars from catalogue stores, or online retail websites such as A**z*n or E***. In my experiance they won't be set up properly for playing and as a result almost always end up costing you more in the end. The staff in these places won't have any knowledge of what they are selling you either, so they can't advise you on the best guitar for you.
I have taught many students in the past that bought from these places, and most of them regretted it! Many of them have experienced problems from poor build quality to tuning problems which need to be sorted out by the local guitar repair man/music store. In some cases they may be unlucky enough to end up with something that is totally unsuitable for learning on and playing. I have also taken on far too many students with such guitars that wrongly belived that they couldnt play guitar, and it was only when they experianced playing a properly set up good quality student guitar that they realised that their guitar was the problem, and that they had a lot of potentail to be good musicians.
Avoid buying second hand (unless you know someone who has a good experience and knowledge of guitars who can try the guitar out for you and give you their insight.). The reason I give this advice is that unless you already have some experience and understanding of guitars there is a good chance you may buy an instrument that is not suitable for the music you want to play, or worst case, unplayable and beyond repair. If you do have a friend or know someone who is an experienced guitarist then with their advice you can find a suitable instrument and save a bit of money buying pre-owned/second hand.
Where to buy from:
You can buy a good beginner guitar new from about £100.
There are several music stores in Southampton/Hampshire that have experienced and knowledgeable staff that can advise you an instrument that is suited to your budget and the style of music you wish to play. Prices will start from about £100 - £200 for a good beginner instrument that will last you many years. Many stores offer starter packages or bundles including tuner, cable and amplifier to save you money.
Here is a list of local music stores to check out.
17 Romsey Road
023 80 77 4433
The Music Shop
1 Bitterne Road
Southampton. SO18 6AZ
Winchester. SO23 7BZ
12 Fitzherbert Spur
Farlington, Portsmouth, PO6 1TT
023 9220 5100
56 Commercial Rd
Southampton. SO15 1GD
St Mary's St. Southampton. SO14 1NR
If you can't afford to buy your dream guitar:
The arts council runs a scheme called 'Take It Away'. This is a way to purchase your instrument and pay back instalments without paying interest. For more details phone 0845 300 6200 or visit www.takeitaway.org.uk.
Note: As I don't currently have any endorsements or affiliations with any of these retailers my recommendations are totally impartial. It is best to visit (or at least phone) a few of these stores and make your purchase based on which one you feel gives you the best service and advice.
If you have any questions on this article, or would like further advice please visit my website guitarlessonssouthampton.com and send me a message, or leave a comment below :)