You've known for years that your child had an ear for music. And now the time has come to begin music lessons. He says the guitar is his instrument of choice. No reason for you to worry, there's no rule that says bad habits and guitar playing have to go hand in hand! The guitar is a versatile instrument that he can enjoy playing for the rest of his life. |
WHAT KIND OF GUITAR WILL HE NEED? A common mistake I see parents make is buying a poorly made guitar so they will not have wasted a large sum of money if their child decides the guitar is not the instrument for him.
To start a child out on a guitar that has poor tone and is difficult to play is practically a roadmap for failure. Mastering the guitar is not a simple task. A child deserves some reward when he does something right and this is something only a quality instrument can give.
Buy a guitar suitable for the age and size of the child. The neck and body must be the right size the child's hands and arm length. For younger childer (10 and younger) three quarter (3/4) size guitars are available.
ACOUSTIC OR NOT? I'm sticking my neck out on this one, but for instant gratification you can't beat an electric rig. In addition to a guitar, you will need to buy a small amplifier and this will stop some parents in their tracks, but hear me out. A lesson or two will focus on setup of the rig and what the knobs on the guitar and amp are for, but an electric is easier to play and a kid can get a few good sounds out of the guitar much faster. You can always branch out into acoustic later once the fingers get stronger and more conditioned.
NEW OR USED? There's nothing wrong with buying a used guitar that's in good playing condition. Guitars are not like cars; a good guitar having been handled with reasonable care improves with age. Look at the guitars that the professionals play. Do those instruments look brand new to you? Hardly.
Cruise the pawnshops, Ebay and the classifieds for possibilities. Of course these avenues have a huge "Buyer Beware" sign on the corner. No returns allowed. Do you have a friend that plays guitar? If this is the case, I'm sure that he won't mind if you ask him to go by the pawnshop or to the garage sale with you, play the guitar you found and give you an opinion.
Go to the guitar forums on the internet and see what the others have to say about the instrument that you are considering. Expect to see contradicting opinions. But if a large percentage of the posters say any given guitar is a piece of junk it would be a good idea to look for another axe.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT THE GUITAR'S WORTH? Try checking on Ebay to see what guitars comparable to the one you are looking at have sold for recently. It's hard to know if you are comparing apples to apples even when comparing identical model numbers of identical brands but you can get a general idea. You can check the Blue Book of Electric Guitars, Acoustic Guitars and the Blue Book of Amps for a value, but again these figures are merely guidelines. WHERE DO I GO FOR HELP? While the advice that can be obtained at a local music store can be invaluable before you take the suggestions made by the salesperson you should ask the following question: Are you a guitar player? If the answer to your question is no, ask for a salesperson that plays guitar to help you or go and get that guitar playing friend to help you choose.
That's one of the perks of playing guitar, the friendships you make along the way.
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