Are you considering buying a guitar?
Before learning or starting to play the guitar, it can be difficult for beginners to find a guitar that suits them well. In this case, it is often advised to consult with someone knowledgeable about guitars and accompany them to a music store. However, most people may not have such acquaintances, leading them to rely on online shops for purchasing. We provide online instrument price but this article is mainly about purchasing offline.
Some individuals who consider buying a guitar in this way go on to enjoy playing, but there are also many who decide that the guitar does not suit them and give up early. While not everyone may have the same experience, I write this article with the thought that perhaps choosing the wrong guitar initially could be a contributing factor. I hope this article can be helpful to those who are purchasing their first guitar.
- Set a Budget.
You must establish an accurate budget for buying a guitar. Acoustic guitars come in a wide price range, from tens of thousands to millions of won. Therefore, it is crucial to set a budget that matches your financial situation and buying a guitar within that limit. It is recommended to specify a maximum value rather than using ambiguous ranges like the $100 range. For example, it’s better to set a specific value such as ‘below $250 instead of ‘around $200.’ This makes it easier to choose a guitar and prevents overspending.
However, it’s not recommended to consider guitars priced below $100, as they often lack the quality to be considered instruments.
- Choose a Well-Known Brand.
Search for popular brands. Beginner guitarists may have little expertise in judging the sound and quality of guitars. Therefore, it is advisable to choose a guitar from a well-known brand rather than opting for unknown products. Well-known brand guitars not only have good sound quality but also excellent durability, and they usually come with good after-sales support (though the price is often higher).
To avoid direct promotion, specific brand or manufacturer mentions are avoided in this article. Searching for popular brands online or checking the websites of major music stores can reveal reputable options. If you’re unsure, large music stores that operate their own websites typically carry popular and well-known brands. Additionally, manufacturers producing guitars priced from below $300 to over $1000 are generally considered to have confidence in their technical capabilities.
- Choose a Design (Size and Shape) that You Like. (Very important factor when buying a guitar)
Select a design that suits your taste. Choosing a beautiful guitar can encourage you to play more. Sound quality and aesthetics are equally important considerations. However, the size and shape of the guitar also directly affect the sound. In general, larger guitars have richer low tones, while smaller ones produce beautiful high tones.
Additionally, these design differences can impact the playing experience. For instance, if a person with a small build uses an excessively large guitar, playing may become uncomfortable. Therefore, it is recommended to consider both tonal preferences and physical conditions when making a choice.
More detailed information on guitar design is available in the link provided.
- Narrow Down to Two or Three Guitars as Candidates.
After considering the criteria listed above and conducting a web search, narrow down your choices to a few candidate guitars. This step prevents impulse purchases and helps avoid buying unverified guitars. Additionally, knowing the online minimum prices for each candidate guitar can serve as a benchmark when making an in-person purchase.
- Choose a Music Store to Visit or Online Stores.
If possible, it is recommended to visit a music store in person to make the purchase. Even for beginners who may not play well, holding and trying out the guitar directly can help determine comfort. Moreover, comparing the sound of different guitars is easily done through demonstrations by store staff.
Selecting the right music store is crucial. While large music stores offer a variety of guitars, factors such as staff friendliness are also important. Personally, stores that emphasize repair or basic setup are recommended because they can compensate for inaccurate factory settings, allowing for a more comfortable playing experience.
If you must purchase online, refer to the link provided for more information.
- Play the Guitar Yourself.
Since every guitar produces different sounds, even the same model may have variations. Therefore, it is crucial to play the guitar yourself before making a decision. Even simply holding and embracing the guitar can help determine which one feels more comfortable. During this process, comparing the feeling of cradling the guitar and holding the neck with your left hand is important. This becomes more critical as your playing skills improve.
If you cannot play the guitar yourself, request assistance from the music store staff to compare the sounds of different guitars. Even guitars with similar designs may produce different sounds for each brand, making it essential to personally listen to each one.
- Check the Condition of the Guitar Thoroughly.
Examine the finishing at the joints. Once you find a guitar with a sound you like, carefully inspect its condition, especially the finishing. This step is essential as refunds may be difficult in case of customer-caused damage. Examine the joints, such as the neck and bridge, particularly looking for issues with the neck’s twist or sharp edges on the frets (metal strips embedded on the fingerboard). If the neck is visibly twisted, the guitar is likely of low value, and if the fret edges are sharp, it may cause discomfort when sliding and should be avoided, especially in cheaper guitars.
- Ensure Proper String Height (Setup).
Measure the string height. If you have verified that the brand is reputable, the guitar likely underwent inspection at the factory. However, the setup for comfortable playing is often different. Therefore, it is crucial to have the guitar set up when purchasing it. If you get a setup separately from another location, it may cost over $100 so it is recommended to purchase from a store that does a good setup from. If you prefer buy guitars online have the guitar set up by a reputable guitar tech is highly recommended.
Refer to the link provided for more information on guitar setup.
- Confirm with Online Price Comparison and Check the Refund and Warranty Procedure.
Finally, confirm the refund and after-sales service conditions and procedures. Having clear answers from the store owner in advance will be beneficial if any issues with the guitar arise in the future.
Tips for buying a guitar (Used).
- Check the Accurate Brand and Model of the Instrument:
- Confirm that the guitar’s brand and model are accurately specified. If the information is lacking or unclear, be cautious. If a guitar priced at $500 is listed with minimal details, such as “In good condition,” it’s best to avoid it.
- Search for the Model to Confirm Popularity:
- Use search engines to check if the specified model is popular among users. Products that have been widely used and tested are likely to be of better quality. If you come across a brand that seems vaguely familiar, search for the brand and model to verify if it’s a well-known and respected instrument.
- Verify the Purchase Date and Maintenance History:
- Check when the guitar was purchased and when the strings were last changed and inspected. Instruments with shorter usage periods are less likely to have structural issues. Therefore, find out how long the guitar has been in use, when it was purchased, and inquire about the last time the strings were changed and inspected.
- Be Wary of Unbelievably Low Prices:
- Be cautious if the price seems excessively low. If the asking price deviates significantly from the realistic market price, there may be underlying issues with the instrument.
- Examine Photos and the Actual Instrument:
- If possible, inspect the actual instrument or request detailed photos. Assess the current condition of the guitar, checking for warping, damage, and signs of wear.
- Request Detailed Information from the Seller:
- Ask the seller for comprehensive information about the instrument. Inquire about when the strings were last replaced, and how the guitar has been stored. Request as much detail as possible to make an informed decision.
- Consider Repair Costs:
- Keep in mind that unexpected repair costs can arise after buying a guitar. Consider both the price and potential repair expenses before making a decision.
- Choose a Trustworthy Seller:
- Opt to buy from a reputable seller or store. Purchasing from a well-known music store or a specialized seller of used instruments adds a layer of security to the transaction.
- Negotiation Strategy for Price:
- When negotiating the price, base your offer on the actual condition of the guitar and its maintenance history. Providing a reasonable offer backed by information about the instrument’s current state and any potential repairs can be advantageous.
- Check for Warranty Period:
- Confirm whether there is a warranty period offered by the seller, even for used instruments. Having a warranty can be beneficial in case issues arise after the purchase.
Buying a used acoustic guitar requires careful consideration, and if possible, seeking advice from experts is advisable. Carefully examine the instrument and gather information before making important decisions.
Buying a guitar online?
If the price and the convenience is the most important factor online might be the better place for beginners. Leave a note on the instrument price enquiry form.