Paul Howard's Valley Music School Tip of the Week #2

Are you in the market for a new guitar? Here are some shopping tips!

Are you in the market for a new guitar?

It can be pretty daunting to walk into Guitar Center and look at the hundreds of guitars hanging on the wall. Guitar Center has an incredible selection and some of the best prices around but their service and advice can leave a little to be desired. Some things to keep in mind when shopping for a guitar:

 1. Make sure the guitar is easy to tune and plays in tune. Good inexpensive instruments are available these days but quality control can be lacking. So, make sure you play a couple of the model you like.

 2. Make sure the guitar is easy to play. The strings should be relatively close to the frets. This is called "low action". Action can be too low but most guitars can be "set up" with low, playable action. Even an expensive instrument can have "high action" when it comes out of the box and will need to be set up by the shop.

 3. Guitars at the store can have dead, old strings from all the sweaty people playing them. If you think the strings are shot, ask the store to replace them before you make a decision.

 4. Acoustic guitars are made from "solid" or "laminated" wood. Laminated guitars are cheaper but can be pretty nice for what they are. A good compromise for beginners is a guitar with a "solid spruce top" and "laminated back & sides".

 5. Most electric guitar makers have different price points that they offer. For example, Fender has American-made instruments, Mexican-made instruments and Korean-made models. The Mexican versions are often quite nice for considerably less money then the American versions.

 6. Electric guitars need an amp and a basic practice amp can be found for $100.00 to $150.00. Probably less than 25 watts.

 7. There are still many small guitar shops around. Especially if you are looking for an acoustic check them out. Most these days cater to the more "high end" market than the beginner.

 I will offer some further pointers in a subsequent post. Remember to call us at 860-677-8763 if you arew interested in lessons. Happy guitar hunting!!..........Paul

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