How to Choose an Electric Guitar

Lots of you out there will be wannabe electric guitar players. Whether your particular guitar hero is Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, BB King or Richie Kotzen, you’ll want to find the best guitar for you to be using in order to be able to emulate them (well, do your best at least!). So how do you find the right electric guitar for you? 

OK, first and foremost, you need to set a realistic budget. You’ll want to buy the best guitar for the money you have available, as the sound will almost always be better than simply going for the least expensive you can find. Bear in mind, too, that you’ll also need a guitar amp, a lead for the guitar to the amp, a shoulder strap for wearing the guitar round your neck, and a plectrum for picking the strings. An electronic tuner is also recommended, as they’re inexpensive and simple to use for keeping your guitar properly tuned. 

You’ll want to determine what style of guitar playing you’ll be following. Rock and heavy rock playing will generally imply that you need a solid body guitar (eg such as made by Ibanez electric guitars). If you want a more acoustic feel, you might look for a semi hollow version. And if you’re looking for a more jazzy sound, you’ll be after a hollow body guitar. 

The size of your hands will influence the sort of guitar neck that is best for you, with guitars coming in a variety of neck sizes to match every size of hand and length of finger. In relation to the length of the neck itself, almost all electric guitars will have 22 frets (each of which corresponds to a particular note), though you can opt for a 24 fret neck if you wish to play higher notes. 

The key factor in all of this, of course, is how the instrument sounds. There’s no way you’ll ever really understand this without testing it for yourself. However good a particular guitar sounds in the hands of your idol, you should realistically bear in mind that they’re likely to be a lot better than you at playing it, and will make it sound very different from what you will be able to do! 

So the most important recommendation for choosing your guitar – once you’ve fixed a budget you can afford – is to get down to your local guitar shop and start playing. They should have a range of styles to suit every pocket, and a couple of hours alongside an experienced guitar salesperson will be hugely beneficial for the choice you make.

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