So, your 10 year old son or daughter has been begging you for a new guitar, but you’re not sure how to go about selecting a good starter or upgrade instrument. Here are a couple of suggestions to help get you started.
1. You get what you pay for. If you buy a cheap guitar at a chain box store you may have problems. Make sure they’ll set the guitar up (action, intonation, etc) to make sure it’s ready for a beginner and to make sure that everything is as it should be. Though a guitar may be new, it usually needs a little tweaking to make it play as well as it should. That leads us to rule number 2.
2. Don’t spend so little that playing the guitar is unenjoyable or even impossible. Bad guitars are hard to play, and if your guitar is hard to play, it won’t be long before it ends up in the closet untouched. Are the tuners good quality? If they’re not, the instrument will not stay in tune, making it frustrating (and discordant) to play. Used guitars are also often a good bargain, if you know you’re getting a good one. Be sure you have it checked out thoroughly, or buy from a reputable store that deals with quality used instruments and checks them out completely before putting them on sale (like, you know, Mass Street Music!)
3. This one hurts to say, but don’t spend so much on a first guitar that if your child doesn’t like it, you’ll be out a ton of money. Do some research and make sure the manufacturer guarantees the instrument. Get the guitar set up properly, and get a tuner. This can make all the difference in the world.
4. Consider getting a book or DVD, or even schedule a lesson or two to get started. One of our favorite go-to books is “Guitar from Scratch”, part of the Skeptical Guitarist series by Bruce Emery – super easy to read, funny and engaging. We’ve also got a few great starter DVDs for those who learn better visually. Lessons can easily be had in Lawrence and the surrounding area – and often just a couple lessons will get you on your way.
Here at Mass Street we’ve helped many folks with the purchase of their first to their tenth guitar – sometimes we’ve sold to the second and third generation of a family. You can be assured of getting a quality guitar here no matter the budget.
If you do purchase a guitar elsewhere, please take the time to have the guitar set up properly so it’ll sound and play as well as possible. (Our esteemed repair shop can do this for you – it runs from $25-$35 dollars).