Your Complete Electric Guitar Buying Guide
- Who are you buying for?
- What is your budget?
- How an electric guitar works
- Different electric guitar body types
- Pickups and Electronics
- Scale Length
- Neck Construction
When buying a guitar for a beginner, it's important to get a guitar that is properly sized, sounds great, and matches up with the budding player's music tastes and aspirations. If you don't know, find out what kind of guitar they're lusting after and who their guitar heroes are.
Choosing an electric guitar that addresses these preferences helps guarantee that new players will stay motivated as they learn to play. Musician's Friend offers a wide selection of 3/4-scale, mini, and travel guitars that are ideal for smaller, younger players. Full-sized electric guitar bodies vary considerably in size and weight, and those factors should be considered.
For beginners, it's important to have a guitar that is easy to play and stays in tune. But cosmetics, body style, electronics, and tone matter too. Often, a beginner may have a favourite guitarist who inspires them to play. Check out what guitars their heroes play and try to aim for something similar. Your budding country star may not be very enthusiastic about the pointy guitar with skulls, but they will probably fall in love with a classic. (Don't worry if some of these terms are unfamiliar-we'll address them below.) You may choose something different, but this is a good starting point in determining which guitar is likely to inspire your up-and-coming guitar prodigy.
For someone who's been playing for a while, your options are a little different. Perhaps they've got a certain guitar in mind. If so, get them what they want! Chances are they've already done their homework and have their eye on their next guitar. If they're not sure, you can still make an educated purchase. There are many popular options that should satisfy most experienced players. And there are many lesser-known models that can be the right fit for someone with more specific tastes.
Remember that when buying a guitar, quality usually comes with price tag to match. Consider paying a little more for the right guitar. Often, you can save money in the long run by purchasing a better guitar up front, skipping over the incremental upgrades along the way. A seasoned guitar player will often have a very good idea of what they like. With experience comes a desire to invest in quality. Musician's Friend offers a stunning selection of Private Reserve Guitars. When gift shopping for a high-end guitar, it's usually wise to forego the element of surprise and find out exactly what your giftee wants.
Reading reviews by fellow musicians as well as by the experts can help narrow your possibilities. You'll find plenty of customer-written reviews for most of the electric guitar models we offer.
While you don't have to mortgage your home to buy a good guitar, price will still be a key factor in deciding which guitar to purchase. When buying for a beginner-especially younger players-you may be hesitant to spend too much without knowing if the recipient will stick with the guitar. That's perfectly reasonable. There are guitars to fit just about every budget. Just keep in mind that the better the guitar the new player starts with, the more likely they will be to continue learning and playing. An instrument that's hard to play or won't stay in tune will deter even the most enthusiastic beginner.
All new guitar players will need an amplifier and cable. Additional electric guitar accessories include:
In India, if you have a budget of Rs. 15,000/- (max) you will get some basic electric guitars like Kaps, Aria, Ashton, JNR, gb&a, Pluto and Rocks. You can go for a basic amplifier upto 10W from Marshall, Roland, Ashton or Stranger. If, you keeps a budget of Rs. 25k to 30k you may opt for some good guitars from Ibanez, Fender, Cort, Yamaha, Schector, ESP and Fernandez. You may get a good amp from Line6, Fender, Marshall, VOX and Roland.
While styles and models may vary, electric guitars operate on the same general principles. The pickup mounted on the electric guitar's body functions as a magnetic field. When a metal string is plucked and vibrates, it generates a current. That current is transmitted by the pickup through a preamp circuit with tone controls to the guitar cable, and in turn to the amplifier. The amplifier boosts the signal and modifies it with various tone controls and effects, depending on the amplifier's design and capabilities the signal is then output to a speaker. The type of pickup(s), tone controls, strings, playing techniques, and other factors built into the guitar's design all influence the signal that is sent to the amplifier. In short, each component of the guitar affects how the guitar sounds.
Pickups and Electronics
Aside from the body style, the pickups and electronics have the greatest effect on the way a guitar sounds. The most basic, original pickup design is a single-coil pickup. It's composed of a single magnet with fine wire wrapped around it, creating a magnetic field that captures the strings' vibrations converting them into an electronic signal.. Single-coil pickups tend to be bright and crisp sounding. The tone they produce cuts through dense band sounds well, but they are also prone to generating hum and are subject to magnetic interference. Many great artists play guitars equipped with single-coil pickups. Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer, Merle Travis and many others are famous for their use of single-coil tone.
were designed to deal with hum while also offering tonal characteristics beyond those of single-coil models. This design incorporates two single-coils wound together in series, with the polarity of the magnets arranged opposite each other. This design helps to eliminate hum. Hence it's name. Humbuckers usually have a thicker, louder, more powerful tone when compared to single-coils. While they are very versatile, humbuckers lend themselves to rock, heavy metal, and jazz styles. Famous guitarists who use humbuckers include Slash, Jimmy Page, Joe Pass, and Duane Allman.
Not nearly as popular as single-coils and humbuckers, piezo pickups can be found on electric guitars as well. These crystalline sensors are usually embedded in the saddle of an electric guitar. Piezo sensors operate on mechanical vibration as opposed to magnets to convert sound from vibrating strings into an electric current. Piezo pickups can be used to trigger synthesizer or digital sounds much like an electronic keyboard. Most often, piezo pickups on an electric guitar are used to simulate an acoustic tone. Piezo-equipped guitars often also include magnetic pickups to expand their tonal versatility.
Active Pickups and Electronics
Some guitars are equipped with active pickups that require batteries as an energy source and incorporate a preamp for sound-shaping. Active electronics may also include filters and equalization circuits for added sound control Guitars with active electronics generally have a higher output than magnetic pickups and produce cleaner, clearer sound. Most guitar pickups are passive.
Other Electronic OptionsMost electric guitars feature multiple pickups. Some will have two or three single-coils. Some will have two or three humbuckers. Many offer a combination of single-coil and humbucker pickups. This combination offers the player a wide range of tonal options. Pickup configurations are often abbreviated by referring to single-coils with an "S" and humbuckers with an "H." The placement of each pickup is indicated from the neck down towards the bridge. Thus an SSH configuration has single-coils at the neck and bridge positions and a humbucker at the bridge.
The placement of pickups on the guitar's body has a significant influence on the tone they generate. Pickups located near the bridge sample the strings where they have the least overall motion. The result is accentuated treble sounds or "bite." Pickups located nearer the center of the strings-closer to the neck of the guitar-produce a tone characterized by more midrange and bass sounds. Guitars with multiple pickups have controls allowing the player to access each pickup individually as well as combinations of two or more pickups simultaneously. These controls may be rotary knobs, blade selectors, or toggle switches that allow the guitarist to quickly access various pickup combinations during performance.
In addition to pickup selection, most guitars will have controls for volume and tone. Volume controls simply regulate the strength of the output signal. Depending on the amplifier, this can control the tone as well as the volume. Most tone knobs regulate the high frequency and many guitars have separate tone controls for each pickup. This can vary a guitar's sound between soft, warm, and mellow to a very bright, raw, distorted sound.
Other switching options found on select guitars can control phasing between pickups for unique effects, eliminate one coil of a humbucker, or toggle the output on and off. Some newer guitars have digital technology built in to allow a user to access a variety of sounds, including acoustic, 12-string, and resonator guitar tones; violins, piano, and many other sounds traditional electric guitars can't produce. Other options include emulating alternate tunings without actually adjusting the tension on the strings. Some guitar designs include automatic tuners which physically tune the guitar to a variety of preset and standard tuning options.