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RacheRach

Best Guitar for Beginners

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Hey, I'm a newbie here and just started looking into playing guitar. What would be the best guitar to get for someone just starting out? 

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Welcome to Harmony Central! :wave:

What kind of music do you want to play, and what kind of budget are you wanting to stay within? 

 

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When I used to teach guitar, I always advised my students to start on a nylon string guitar, with decent action. Don't worry about 'tone', that will be your next instrument. Too often, when students started on steel strings, they gave up before their calluses developed...'it hurt!'...nylon strings are much more finger friendly. A decent classical by a known manufacturer, like Yamaha, will run in the $150 range, and despite the wider neck, this is actually the best place to start....IMHO, of course. 

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50 minutes ago, daddymack said:

When I used to teach guitar, I always advised my students to start on a nylon string guitar, with decent action. Don't worry about 'tone', that will be your next instrument. Too often, when students started on steel strings, they gave up before their calluses developed...'it hurt!'...nylon strings are much more finger friendly. A decent classical by a known manufacturer, like Yamaha, will run in the $150 range, and despite the wider neck, this is actually the best place to start....IMHO, of course. 

And it's my opinion too ^  ^  ^  ^  ^

And welcome to the forum RacheRach

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If electric, possibly something from Harley Benton... very decent pricing and you get a very decent guitar. I've seen some for only a few hundred bucks and they could stand up to something double that price.

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1 hour ago, daddymack said:

When I used to teach guitar, I always advised my students to start on a nylon string guitar, with decent action. Don't worry about 'tone', that will be your next instrument. Too often, when students started on steel strings, they gave up before their calluses developed...'it hurt!'...nylon strings are much more finger friendly. A decent classical by a known manufacturer, like Yamaha, will run in the $150 range, and despite the wider neck, this is actually the best place to start....IMHO, of course. 

 

FWIW, that's what I started out with when I first started playing. 

 

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5 minutes ago, BDJohnston said:

If electric, possibly something from Harley Benton... very decent pricing and you get a very decent guitar. I've seen some for only a few hundred bucks and they could stand up to something double that price.

the problems with electrics as starters are multiple...you need an amp [more$], steel strings [and much lighter, more breakage]...and resale on cheap electrics? Meh...would never be my first choice for a raw beginner.

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Any inexpensive guitar will not fetch much money on resale. As for the other issues, know they are issues. Two other things... the poster did not indicate whether the person is playing steel still or nylon acoustic OR electric.  I gave an opinion on electric since others posted about nylon (that's why I clearly stated "IF ELECTRIC..."). Also, Harley Benton produces acoustics (including nylons)... and I would put up a $200 HB over a $200 from another brand. Hope that clarifies and have a good evening.

Edited by BDJohnston

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Something the caters to your hands, first, then when you progress you'll naturally pick up cues about refining your search. We all know the first hurdle is our lack of motor skills in fretting and picking the strings. No sense exacerbating that by getting a guitar with strings that are easy to fret (nylon) but the neck is too wide (classical) for small hands. For all intents and purposes typically everyone has small hands starting out until they develop the motor skills needed to use them well.

The first step is to view the major chords (A thru G) and pick a couple to try out on guitars at your local store. The C, D and E Major chords are beginner's chords by virtue of their placement being easier than A, B, F and G Major chords. Know the fingers used for the C, D & E and take your time placing them on various guitar necks. It's your money so get something that will make it well spent starting out. Guitar necks vary greatly between models and classical guitars are typically the widest of them all.

If you have the means, seek out a nylon string guitar that has steel string physical dimension necks. They're called cross-over guitars. I bought one for my son to learn on and he's done well by it. It's the best of both worlds providing ease in fretting the strings.

The appearance and sound of the guitar is something you will consider important after you have the skills to make music with one. Don't encumber yourself at this point looking for the grail of sight and sound. As your progress you'll quickly learn that every guitar you buy is the grail when you buy it, only to be bested by another. That means there's no such thing as a grail.

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Hi RacheRach and welcome to the Forums. All good advice. I'll add that nylon string guitars aren't as affected by the ravages of aging so it's perfectly okay to look at used guitars.

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Find a teacher!  Sure, you can get basics on YouTube, but someone in person, there’s really no substitute.  Even if it’s another newbie that knows 2 chords and wants to learn, you can both do the YouTube thing, strength in numbers.

You could go for lessons at a local music store, or a lot of times they have a bulletin board and you can find lessons on the cheap.  Even in a lot of local markets and co-ops, bulletin boards.  Lots of decent guitar players just looking for something to do.

I know you didn’t ask this, but what the hey. :)

There really isn’t a “best” for beginners, brand or style wise.  But a lot of good suggestions have been made.  Do you have a budget?

 

Edited by Gibson29

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Thank you all! Such great advice and I really appreciate it :)

I am thinking now of just starting out with the classical guitar with nylon strings. Something to just learn on and kind of develop what types of music that I am interested in and potentially moving then to the acoustic or even electric guitar at some point. 

As for the budget question, I don't really have one. I love music so I don't want something too cheap right away but not something too high-end either if that's possible! 

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RR, if you live in or near a major metropolitan area, there are likely a number of reputable of music stores. Do you have a friend or an acquaintance who is knowledgeable about guitars? If so, ask them if they would accompany you to some of the stores and advise you on the do's and don'ts, good/bad*. Salespeople typically will try to sell you more instrument than you need. Set a maximum dollar level, like, say $150, and stick to it. There is no reason to have to pay more; and you don't need to buy in a store [and pay the salesperson's commission] When you find a guitar you like, look for it on-line, and odds are you will find it in your budget. The Yamaha C40 is a great beginner classical, and they retail online for about $150. If you are 'diminuitive', perhaps a 3/4 scale model like the Yamaha CGS would work better for you. Why do I harp on Yamaha? Because they are well made**, typically have great 'action' [string height above fretboard] and have decent tone, even on the 'starter' models.

 

*I've done this many times for students and friends...because a friend did it for me when I bought my first 'pro' guitar...in 1971, at Manny's on 48th.

**my sister still has her first [and only] guitar, a Yamaha that my parents got her in 1967. And I played it a few years ago, and [despite possibly having the original strings on it :freak:], the action was perfect. That guitar has survived Upstate NY winters, NYC summers, Santa Barbara humidity and several decades of LA weather and now 'hangs it's hat in Tennessee'.

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22 hours ago, BDJohnston said:

Any inexpensive guitar will not fetch much money on resale. As for the other issues, know they are issues. Two other things... the poster did not indicate whether the person is playing steel still or nylon acoustic OR electric.  I gave an opinion on electric since others posted about nylon (that's why I clearly stated "IF ELECTRIC..."). Also, Harley Benton produces acoustics (including nylons)... and I would put up a $200 HB over a $200 from another brand. Hope that clarifies and have a good evening.

Agreed, a cheap ax is a cheap ax, but there is always another newbie out there with less cash than you had.

The OP stated she/he had not started as yet, so no 'if'...and, unfortunately, Harley Bentons are not readily available in the USA...whereas something labeled Yamaha can be found almost anywhere on the planet. If the OP is in the EU or UK, then yes, a HB is a sound investment...no pun intended.😎

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18 hours ago, Gibson29 said:

Find a teacher!

Good advice IMO. 

A teacher can not only help you to pick a suitable instrument, but help you to get going while avoiding the development of bad habits that may hinder your further development and make it harder to progress as a player later. While YouTube videos are great, they're not interactive, and they can't spot it when you're doing something wrong and make suggestions for fixing the problem. 

BTW, the OP is in the eastern USA folks, but based on their IP, about an hour or so from the two nearest relatively large metro areas.

Still, it might be a good idea to take a trip into one of those cities and look for a decent acoustic nylon string guitar at some of the music stores there, unless there's a decent-sized music store in your local town. You can probably find a very suitable, brand-new nylon string that won't have any issues that would impede your playing development for around $200 or so, maybe a little more. I'd recommend that you stick with the bigger / more well known name brands like Yamaha, Ibanez and Cordoba - not only will they have better quality, but they also tend to have better resale value when you decide to move up to something nicer in a couple of years. Then again, you may wind up like some of us, and keep all of your guitars and never sell them... fair warning! :lol: 

 

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1 hour ago, garthman said:

Excellent advice from daddymack ^  ^  ^  ^. 

garshk!:classic_blush:...thanks, mate!

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3 hours ago, daddymack said:

Agreed, a cheap ax is a cheap ax, but there is always another newbie out there with less cash than you had.

The OP stated she/he had not started as yet, so no 'if'...and, unfortunately, Harley Bentons are not readily available in the USA...whereas something labeled Yamaha can be found almost anywhere on the planet. If the OP is in the EU or UK, then yes, a HB is a sound investment...no pun intended.😎

There certainly is an if, since I stated it.  The poster did NOT indicate acoustic or electric.  Not sure what problem you have with that.  I merely gave a recommendation IF the poster wanted an electric.  And you can import a Harley Benton for cheap enough that it's still a good buy compared to something of its league found at a local store (where there's a markup for the middleman). If you have something against HB, then fine, but try to find negative reviews on HB (for the price and what you get).

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6 hours ago, RacheRach said:

Thank you all! Such great advice and I really appreciate it :)

I am thinking now of just starting out with the classical guitar with nylon strings. Something to just learn on and kind of develop what types of music that I am interested in and potentially moving then to the acoustic or even electric guitar at some point. 

As for the budget question, I don't really have one. I love music so I don't want something too cheap right away but not something too high-end either if that's possible! 

You have good spirit. The knowledge here can sometimes compete in suggesting something for you to take to heart. Just think of it as a camaraderie of players looking out for someone's best interests. Have fun getting started.

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I'd look at a Yamaha FS800. As Daddymack has said Yamahas are easy to find but I'd recommend looking at something slightly smaller than Yamaha's FGs for comfort's sake. Larger guitars can be cumbersome when you're still learning your way around the fretboard. I started playing in the early 70s on a folk size guitar and I still feel like that size is a good mixture of comfort and tone.

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On 2/14/2020 at 12:22 PM, kwakatak said:

. . . I'd recommend looking at something slightly smaller than Yamaha's FGs for comfort's sake. . . .

Since the OP is leaning toward a classical size shouldn't be a problem. Pretty much any used classical with a recognizable brand name should work out fine.

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