• Kiera Peterson

Tips For Choosing Your First Electric Guitar

If you love the sound of an electric guitar and are thinking about picking one up as a hobby, there are a few things you need to know before rushing out to the local music store with your hard earned cash. The first thing for a beginner to know is being able to spot the different types of guitars you are going to find in the store. There are two types of guitars: electric guitar and acoustic guitar. While the acoustic guitar is good for playing softer tones like Hawaiian music or for sitting around the camp fire, electric guitars are the best choice for electric and metal style music. If you are looking to learn how to pick the best quality electric guitar, then this post is going to be helpful.

Origin of the Electric Guitar

The amplified electric guitar was invented way back in the year 1931 and was instantly a big hit with the jazz guitarists who could then, for the first time, be heard in the large band ensembles of the age. The early pioneers of the electric sound included T-Bone Walker, Les Paul, and Charlie Christian. By the time the 1950’s and 1960’s came, the electric guitar became arguably the most crucial instrument in all popular music.

How Does an Electric Guitar Work?

An electric guitar differs considerably from an acoustic guitar because it uses a pickup to convert the vibration of the strings into electrical signals. With an acoustic guitar, the musician plucks the strings and the air inside the body and outside in the world (plus a wooden soundboard) makes the notes shine. An electric guitar on its own makes little noise which isn’t helpful when you are trying to make your music heard. That's why an electric one takes it one step further and uses a pickup, usually of the magnetic variety, that in turn is plugged into a good-quality amplifier and then sent to a loudspeaker. The amp then makes the sound loud enough to be heard.

Tips for Choosing the Best Quality Electric Guitar

Since there are so many different varieties of electric guitars available in the market, buying your first guitar can be a daunting task. You must choose the right kind since the guitar for the beginner would be different than one a professional might use. Hence, when it comes to choosing the best quality electric guitars, you must consider the following points:

Types of Electric Guitars

Like with most things, the electric guitar comes in different models like the typical six-string, a twelve-string, hollow body, and solid body varieties. The popular bands today often use two or more guitars that allow for more melody with chord sequences, rhythms, and the like that set them and the song apart. Beginners should stick to the basics and focus on a six string guitar. As you advance in skills you might later look at other models but when starting out, you'll want to keep things simple so you can build confidence in your playing.

Try Before you Buy

Yes, you must not forget to test any guitar before making the commitment to buy. That's why it is best to purchase your first guitar at a local music store rather than buying online. Not only will you be supporting local business, you can be assured that the instrument is the right fit for you. The sales person in the store can also point you in the right direction and suggest a good beginner model or two making your decision that much easier. Local stores also often offer lessons which might make sense to help you get the foundation and basics of playing out of the way.

Size of the Guitar

One factor that you need to consider while choosing an electric guitar is the size of the guitar. Guitar bodies come in various shapes, styles, and sizes. If you are a beginner, then you must invest in a normal-sized guitar, rather than a bulkier one that might be hard to handle or control while playing. Smaller people or children will probably want to avoid a very big guitar especially when starting out.

Easy of Play

Second, we have to ensure that the instrument we purchase is playable. The guitar is a very mechanically challenging instrument, especially when we are starting off, so we need to ensure that the instrument is not going to ‘fight’ us as we train our fingers to create music. Being at one with your instrument is such a liberating feeling for a budding musician and it's very difficult to unlock that 'magic' if we are playing an instrument that is not comfortable to play.

For this reason, the experts always advocate not to opt for the cheapest electric guitar you can find when you are a beginner. Luckily, there are plenty of options out there for very reasonable prices that will indeed have an edge if you opt for the best quality electric guitar you can afford as your first guitar. It may be quite tempting to purchase a guitar with a low-price tag from a departmental store but you will quickly out grow these models as you progress.

Height of Strings from Fretboard

It is important for you to consider the height of the strings from the fretboard. This is called the 'action' and if the strings are too high or far from the fretboard, then you need to have stronger hands to play nice clear notes. Cheap and low end guitars are known for having higher strings and being harder to play. The long term consequence is that you might lose the motivation to play as you fail to progress in your guitar studies.


We all need a hobby, and playing an electric guitar is a great choice. Not only will your appreciation for the music you love increase, but you will build discipline and concentration by studying music. All you need is the right instrument to get off to the right start. Always visit a local music store to try out different models and make sure you are making the right choice.