I’m a beginner – what sort of guitar should I get?

I always recommend that pupils get the guitar they most want to end up playing. So, if you’re dream is to play like Ed Sheeran, get yourself a Martin acoustic guitar. On the other hand, if you want to be the next Eric Clapton, go for a Fender Stratocaster.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start out with a £700 instrument (though if you can, why not?), but invariably new pupils tend to go for the cheapest instrument available – classical nylon-string guitars for £20-40.

Here’s why this is a mistake:
– They do not hold their tune well, which means they constantly sound ‘wrong’.
– They have wide fretboards, which make it hard for smaller fingers to play.
– They sound dull, because the materials are poor quality, which contributes to that ‘wrong’ sound.
– They don’t look like something you’d want to pick up and play, making practice more of a chore than a pleasure.
– Classical guitars have a different sound, shape and feel to acoustic and electric guitars, so unless your goal is to play classical guitar, it’s best not to use one to learn on.

That feels like enough reasons, but I’m sure there are more. In brief, I recommend you take the time to find a guitar that you will WANT to pick up and play, that is in the style you most want to play and that doesn’t cost under £100.

Back to our Ed Sheeran example, you can get a decent Epiphone acoustic guitar for around £150 (or the Martin Ed Sheeran Signature guitar for £650). As for the Eric Clampton guitar, you can get a black Squire Bullet for around £120 (or the Fender Eric Clapton Signature Strat for £1800). I would always recommend you go into the store – and personally I don’t think you can do better than Andertons in Guildford – and try out a few guitars to see what suits you best.

Think of it as an investment in your guitar-player future, because if you have a guitar you want to pick up and play, that’s exactly what you’re going to do!