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Ultimate Garage Band

Ok, I know what I want, now what?

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Congratulations!! You’ve finally decided which TYPE of guitar is right for you and perhaps you’ve even gone as far to select a specific model. Here are some shopping tips:

Get a guitar you have 100% faith in. By this I mean that when that guitar is yours there is no doubt in your mind that its performance will not fail you as you attempt to learn guitar. Your first choice should be to take someone who you know and trust and is a good guitar player with you to stores to shop. Let them play it and tell you what they think. Now, there’s kind of a hidden flaw in this method. It’s almost like someone telling you if a certain restaurants pizza is good or not. They might love it and say “it’s the best pizza I’ve ever had!” So you ask for a slice, look at it, and see toppings on the pizza you don’t like!!! Right away you KNOW it’s not going to be the best pizza you’ve ever had! In guitar terms, some players like high action, some like low action, some like thick necks, some like skinny necks, etc. Every experienced player has STRONG preferences as to what they like and don’t like. You don’t because you don’t know yet. So tell your friend this; talk to them about what they like and why. Ask them if they think that would be a good choice for you knowing what and how you want to play.

If you don’t have a friend to shop with you, get good recommendations. This is one of the greatest resources the internet has to offer. Sure, I sell guitars and I do a great job at getting the right guitar for the right player to the best of my ability, but so do other people. Shop around, check them out. Don’t buy from anyone just because it’s easy or the price is too good to be true.

Make sure the guitar is ‘set up’. Set up means the guitar has been inspected with technical performance adjustments and musical performance adjustments made on the guitar. This is one of the major reasons I object to purchasing a starter pack. It’s very rare to find a store that will actually open that box up and check out the guitar setting it up. Most just ask ‘What color do you want?’ grab the box, take your money, and walk you out the door. I guarantee you no major, on-line music warehouse sets up starter packs. If you find yourself in a position of purchasing a guitar you suspect will not be set up when you get it, then find a good guitar technician to take it to and have it set up for a fee. Or, go to the tech forum here and read my stickies there on how to do yourself.

This is the hardest part for many new players to look beyond; don’t get hung up on brand names. Brand names do NOT equal quality or performance in every circumstance. This is especially true at the lower end of the product line offering and that’s where the first time buyer is shopping.

Don’t cheat yourself; spend as much as you can afford to a reasonable level. Even if you were the most experienced guitar player around, I’m not certain you could honestly tell the difference between a $2800 Martin and a $3000 Martin. At this price point, what is the difference in $200? Maybe more inlay? Maybe a fancier finish? Gold hardware? The point is that $200 will more than likely not really show up in the playing or sound of the guitar. Now, let’s bring it down to YOUR level. Do you think there’s a difference between a $100 guitar and a $300 guitar? You better believe it!!! In an acoustic you can’t get a solid top for $100 but for $300 I could show you models with a solid top AND a solid back! Think there’s any difference in the way those 2 guitars would sound? I KNOW there is. The good news for you is that now more than any other time in guitar history you have so many good models to choose from that are excellent values. The guitars one can buy today for $200 are TWICE as good as the new guitars I was buying for $200 in the 70’s and $200 in the 70’s would be what, about $1000 or more today?

Buy a guitar you feel proud of, buy one that instills confidence, buy one that gives you no ‘buyer’s remorse’ and let’s your mind focus on learning it. Good luck!!

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My RG has never let me down since I "adopted" it home from the store. It was my first real axe (compared to those toy banjos i played with when I was like 7 lol) and I even gave it a name. "I" for "Ibanez".

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you can pick up a guitar or you you can have a guitar put into your arms. I choose the guitar which finds me, the cost is of little importance. For years I played a hohner then a hofner, to me it was one letter the difference so I went back to the hohner, made in Germany as are many of the great instruments from around the world. goodnight

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Thank you so much for that inspiration UGB! You guys have already helped me more on this site than I can find In person and I'm addicted to the learning aspect from this site! You guys are awesome!

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