Choosing a guitar

Hello! In this blog I am going give a comprehensive guide to buying that first guitar. Whether it’s for you, your child, a loved one or a great grandma, I will shed some light on which type of guitar to go for if you are just starting out.

Let’s begin with the different types of guitar…

At Rockademy we often get asked by parents as to which guitar is best for their child.  Size, style, shape, colour, to name a few. In a nutshell, it is okay to learn on either a classical style guitar, a standard acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. The main difference, (apart from the appearance,) is the type of strings and feel of the neck and body. Here are the key features for each type:

Classical Guitar

Classical…  

– Fitted with nylon strings, that make it more comfortable on soft fingertips

– Lightweight and can be carried around easy in a gig bag to and from lessons.

3/4 size recommended for starting which are available

– Prices vary but these can be fairly inexpensive, starting from as little as £32.99

Classical guitars are the most popular choice for beginners. Also, known as “Spanish guitars” because they were developed to play classical or Spanish-style flamenco music however can be used for any style. These guitars have distinctive features such as 6-nylon strings (rather than steel strings). They are lightweight, small and easier to play, with a mellower sound than traditional acoustic guitars.

Also, available in even smaller sizes (1/2 and 1/4) which are perfect for the little ones. They’re usually cheaper, so perfect for those who just want a casual instrument to play and are perhaps unsure how seriously they’ll dedicate themselves to it.

electric guitar

Electric… 

– Skinny necks, easy to reach the bass strings for little hands

– Lend themselves for learning techniques such as string bending

– They have a striking appearance in a range of colours

– Can be amplified to give volume and ideal for using with FX

– We’re a fan of this junior guitar pack and 3/4 guitar.

Electric guitars do not include a sound hole for acoustic amplification, but produce their sound from converting the string vibrations into electrical audio signals. You won’t be able to use an electric guitar like an acoustic, as it won’t be very loud at all. You’ll need a small amp and a jack-to-jack lead to get going!

acoustic guitar

Acoustic…

– Steel strings, like an electric, but a hollow body… so is loud enough without plugging in

– Transportable and lightweight when carried in a gigbag

– Different colours (Black, Blue, Red, Natural) and sizes (3/4 and 4/4) available

Acoustic guitars are very similar to classical guitars, yet their steel strings make the difference in tone and build. They come in a variety of slightly different shapes such as dreadnought, jumbo, auditorium. They are the most popular type of acoustic guitar used by a range of artists over the years such as; The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Oasis and Ed Sheeran.

So what’s the added benefit of an Electro-Acoustic?

Electro-Acoustic guitars allow you to plug them into an amplifier, effects pedals or recording equipment. They are fitted with pickup/microphone or transducer, making them ideal to plug in for live performances.

electro acoustic

“There’s no one size fits all when it comes to choosing the right one, and it always comes down to personal tastes”

Which size should I get?

A good question. Classical guitars come in many sizes, three popular sizes are 1/2, 3/4 and full sized. This really depends on the height of the guitarist. As a rough guide, the chart below may be a useful start:

¼ Size – Ages 4-6

½ Size – Ages 7-9

¾ Size – Ages 10 – 13

Full Size – Ages 13+

Find more from Rockademy, here. 

About the author

Director of Rockademy - Who offer “Music Lessons that Rock!” to individuals/small groups.

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