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Archive for November, 2011

As Christmas is just around the corner, alot of people may be thinking about buying a guitar for themselves or someone they know. The question is, with a staggering amount of guitars on the market these days with all different models, pick up selections and wood types, where does someone start? In this blog post, I hope to help clear all that up with some practical advice and real life examples.  (Just to mention that I obviously can not endorse any products or companies and all my suggestions are based on my own experience or preference.)

Costs
So, where to start?  First place in this day and age is budget. How much can you afford to spend?  Realistically set it and stick it to it, otherwise your £150 budget is up to £200 before you know it.  However, the question in that circumstance is how much should you spend? Ideally, £200 would get you everything you need and more for a great, brand new, starter kit.  However, if you’re prepared to go to the second hand market, then you can get alot for £100 – £150.

On top of the guitar you look to buy, PLEASE ensure you add in the following:
Guitar tuner – £15 max
At least 2 set of strings – £10 (£5 each set, depending on what brand. The usual brand is Ernie Ball)
Plectrums (assorted sizes – 45p each)

The above are great stocking fillers so if someone is stuck for a present, a tuner is a must have for all beginners.

Where to buy – Local Stores Vs Internet Shops
So, now we have set our budget, where do we go?  The internet has a massive array of websites all offering a great range of guitars, starter packs, budget buys etc. However, local stores are well stocked and usually well informed on their products.  Your local shop will often be able to resolve small issues in the store so if your guitar does develop a fault, you wont have to box it back up and send it away at your expense. Finally, a local shop is that they may also offer a discount where online stores are fixed prices only.

Online stores main benefit is cost so certainly have a browse of the local shops and websites before you make a decision.

Heres a list of local shops you may wish to check out:

Guitarthings – www.guitarthings.co.uk – Brand new shop in Llanelli
Cadno – www.cadnomusic.net – Llanelli shop
Rowlands – rowlandsmusic.co.uk – Based in Swansea town centre
Cranes – www.cranesmusicstore.com – Based in Swansea town centre, also have a shop in Cardiff

What to buy

Now we have a established where you can buy your guitars from, we now need to be looking at what guitar you should consider. Essentially, it mainly comes down to the type of music you want play. Certain guitars suit certain types of music so theres not point trying to play blasting death metal on a Jazz guitar! Here are some suggestions for you:

Rock/Metal etc:
Fender Squire Affinity Strat – Click here for info
Fender Squire Bullet Strat – Click here for info
Ibanez GRGR121EX – Click here for info

Blues/Classic Rock:
Epiphone Les Paul Special 2 – Click here for info
Epiphone SG – Click here for info
Fender Squire Telecaster – Click here for info
Fender Squire Affinity – Click here for info
Ibanez GAX30 – Click here for info


Indie/Pop:
Fender Squire Telecaster – Click here for info
Fender Squire Affinity – Click here for info

This list is not by any means exhaustive but the majority of shops will offer these guitars at a reasonable price (ie around the £100 – £150)

The Guitar Itself
When deciding what guitar suits best, its usually best to pick up the guitar you want to buy and see how it sits on your leg/strap. You’ll more than likely spend around 30 mins a day (if you get a good practise routine going!) with it so you want to let it sit naturally with you and not fight to keep it in a comfortable position. You dont have to know how to play guitar to know how comfortable you will feel with your guitar on your leg so go into a shop and ask to try them out. Explain you cant play a note and say your just looking for something to start with.  Some guitars are “neck heavy” (the neck being the long wood which your left hand goes onto) so they will tend to be a little unbalanced in that respect. Some people are ok with that, some people find it a bit of an issue.

Before parting with your cash, run your hands up and down the neck to feel for any imperfections, dents or sharp edges. Check the metal work (like frets, screw heads etc) to make sure all the frets etc are smooth and not chewed up.  Screw heads should be in flush and NOT at a 45 degree angle as I have seen with some guitars. Check the body in the same way and ensure its all dent free etc. If you’re happy, then make sure you buy the guitar you have inspected and not a different one from the back of the shop. This is important as each guitar is different so ensure you get what you’ve checked out, it just saves you checking out a different guitar again.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this little user guide on what to consider when guitar buying this Christmas. If you need any more advice or are looking for some lessons from me, please click here for my contact details.

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When I was younger, and still this day, this pair of guitarists are a real driving force and inspiration to playing guitar. This is the stand out track for me with the intro and outro solos being huge highlights for me. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do every time I hear it!

 

 

 

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