(Now there’s a terrible picture of myself. Not sure how to change it.)
Make Music Now
The first, and most important point I make in this lesson is that you should just get on with making music with whatever means you have available at the time. Don’t get too hung up on having the right gear and some fancy-ass guitar before you can start learning to play. Use that old guitar of your Dad’s that’s been sitting in the attic, borrow that guitar that your mate’s not using anymore, or buy a cheap guitar to learn on. When you’re ready, and when you can afford it, you can always upgrade.
Summary of the Main Types of Guitar
Guitars can be divided into two broad categories: acoustic (these make a noise without needing to be plugged in) and electric (you need to plug these into an amplifier for them to sound any good).
Within the category of acoustic guitars there are several different types:
The classical guitar (also called a nylon string or Spanish guitar). As the name suggests these guitars are best suited for playing classical music. They have nylon strings for a softer kind of sound. The neck is usually slightly wider than on other types of acoustic guitar making them harder to play for most people. In general, avoid getting one of these unless you want to play classical music. However, if this is all you have to practice on that’s fine – all the stuff I cover in this course will work on this kind of guitar too.
The steel-string acoustic. Get one of these if you’re a beginner and aren’t really sure what kind of guitar to go for. They sound great for most styles of popular music. They come in different body sizes, so try out a few and see what feels the most comfortable.
The electro-acoustic. Don’t be confused by this, it’s just a normal acoustic guitar which is fitted with a pick-up, so you have the option of plugging it into an amplifier or PA system. Probably not something a beginner needs to worry about, but great if you want to start playing gigs or open-mics.
There are two main types of electric guitar:
The solid body electric guitar. The majority of electric guitars fall into this category. A good choice for a beginner, particularly if you’re into electric guitar-centric styles of music, such as rock or metal. You really need some kind of amplifier to plug in to as well – this can just be a cheap practice amp to start with.
The semi-acoustic guitar. A bit confusing this one as it’s not really an acoustic guitar, but an electric guitar with a hollow, or semi-hollow body. This just means it has a slightly different tone to a solid bodied electric. They still need to be plugged in. These sound particularly good for blues and jazz. Decent semi-acoustics are pricey, so probably not the best choice for a beginner.
Be specific Adrian…
As I say in the video, it’s really down to you when it comes to choosing a particular model or manufacturer. But if you were to push me, here are a few makes of guitars I’d recommend. This list is by no means comprehensive and there will certainly be other good beginner’s guitars out there. These are just a few guitars that I’ve personally come across and liked.
Probably my first choice would be a Squier Tele(caster) or Strat(ocaster) . Squier is Fender’s budget brand, and this range of guitars is generally well made, easy to play, and has the classic Fender looks. There are a few different models at slightly different prices.
Similarly Epiphone is the budget brand for Gibson. Also a good bet.
The Yamaha Pacifica range is also really good. Not quite as cool looking as the Squier’s or Epiphone’s though, if you ask me.
Would-be metallers or shredders may want to look at the cheaper Ibanez or ESP guitars.
I like Yamaha acoustics. There are loads of models available at different prices, so just go for what you can afford.
A few other reasonably affordable acoustic brands to look out for might be Seagull, Tanglewood, Vintage, Fender, Takamine. See what you like the feel of and the look of. Go for solid wood top and sides if possible.