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A Guide to Buying a Guitar

A Guide to Buying a Guitar

Zebra Print Brantley Classic with Maple/Bloodwood Neck

Focus on function and not just the flash.

What’s your dream guitar?  When I was in college, my roommate bought a shiny, new V shaped guitar because he had always wanted one.  Several weeks later, he was cursing his “dream” guitar because it slid off his leg every time he played in a seated position.  He needed a guide to buying a guitar.

Unfortunately, the things that attract us to a new guitar, like moths to a flame, are those least likely to have an effect on how the guitar plays:  the sparkly paint and curvy body shape.  Popular culture and effective marketing by guitar “factories” have bombarded us with the notion that only a handful of guitars, endorsed by top players, will allow your playing to reach new heights.  The truth is, neither the style and color of a guitar’s body nor the logo on the headstock has any effect on it’s tone and playability.  Buying a guitar is a very personal experience that you should approach with an informed mind.

Follow me as I work  through the items that should run through your head as you are buying a guitar, whether from me or your local pawn shop.  Don’t worry, I’ll discuss finishes and body shapes near the end of the guide, but first I’d like you to think about the style of music you play and how you play it.

Part I:  Your music and playing style

Part II:  Your guitar’s fingerboard

Part III:  Your guitar’s neck

Part IV: The headstock and nut

Part V: The bridge and tailpiece

Whether you find this guide to buying a guitar helpful or missing a key piece of material, please leave a comment in our forum.  This will be a living document to help players of all levels find the guitar that’s perfect for them.

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