Ease of playability is of upmost importance when buying a guitar. To find a guitar that is easy to play, look for an adjustable neck with a “truss rod.” All our recommendations* below should have an adjustable neck.
Size is also important when picking a guitar and is another component of instrument playability. A 3/4 size (smaller all around) or parlor guitar (smaller body) can be comfortable to younger students or players with smaller hands. A guitar with a concert body is usually a great one-size-fits-most instrument, while the large-bodied dreadnought guitar is the gold standard for a nice, booming acoustic sound. Do not worry about investing in and then “outgrowing” a guitar — what was once a student guitar will soon become your travel or couch guitar. Again, ease of playing is supreme as students are far more likely to practice an improve on an instrument that is comfortable and fun.
Second priority is longevity of the instrument. We suggest a solid wood top to keep strummin’ your favorite guitar forever. We’ll provide a few laminate options if you need to get started on a budget, but if you can swing it — definitely spring for the solid top! Or if you are looking to upgrade your current git-fiddle, look for a guitars with solid backs and sides, too, for ultimate resonance.
All of our suggestions are for 6-string acoustic guitars. Feel free to add a “cut-away” if you have a desire to play solos high up on the neck, or pick an acoustic/electric model if you want to plug in to an amp. If you’d like ideas on classical guitars or electric guitars please shoot us an email.
Your local music shop will have a variety of awesome instruments for you to choose from. If you decide to purchase an instrument online or used, please have it looked over by a luthier to make sure it is in tip-top playing condition. We love Eagle Guitar (the owner, J.R. is featured above, sizing one of our students on a Yamaha JR) for guitar shopping and The Better Fret for instrument tune-ups. Check out the guitars below to get an idea of reputable brands and models.
3/4 Size Laminate-Top Guitars
3/4 Size Solid-Top Guitars
Smaller Body “Parlor” Guitars
Recording King ROH-05 (solid)
Full Size Solid-Top Guitars
Left-Handed, Solid-Top Guitars
If you are a lefty thinking of playing guitar, try “right” first and see how it feels. We personally do not care if you play left or right, but often lefty guitar options can be restricting. Lefties are not just limited in guitars available for purchase; they cannot pick up a friend’s guitar and start playing — total bummer! Many left handed instrumentalists (Marcus included) get along just fine playing “right” and enjoy the advantage of using their dominant hand to grab the chords. If you are already committed to playing left-handed we can still help you learn and give you recommendations for quality instruments.
All Solid Wood Guitars
Guild Westerly M-120 (concert body)
Now that you’ve found your perfect axe, outfit it with all the necessities.
- Case — go for either a hard shell or at least a padded soft case to protect your beloved guitar.
- Capo — quickly change keys and discover new tones with a capo. Also, it looks pretty cool clipped to your headstock.
- Picks — shoot for .60mm or thinner so you get a nice bite on individual notes and a smooth strum on chords. Also, a grippy texture makes it less likely that you’ll drop it immediately into your guitar’s sound hole.
- Strap — pick up a strap in a fun color so you can play securely sitting, as well as standing up onstage.
Build Your Practice Corner
Create a safe and comfortable space to leave your instrument out and get in your practice groove!
- Instrument Stand — a visible instrument is a played instrument! Display your guitar on the wall or on a sturdy floor stand for a standing invitation to practice, and for a beautiful conversation piece.
- Music Stand — find something nice and robust to hold up heavy books and a metronome/cell phone. Bonus points if you have a place to store pencils and highlighters, a stand light, fingernail clippers, and some clothes pins to keep your books open!
- Adjustable Foot Rest — you will play more if you are comfortable. Prioritize ergonomics and practice with a foot rest to bring your instrument the ideal hight.
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