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A great guide to buying a guitar:

Guitar Buying Guide

guitar buyingAre you in the market for an acoustic guitar? Many times, people who don't have much of a musical background find themselves craving to play an instrument, and one of the most popular choices is an acoustic guitar. When people get this urge, they typically head to a music store to shop around for their ideal guitar, even though they may not know much about the instrument at that point.

Walking into a guitar store can be exciting. You'll immediately be met with hundreds of acoustic guitars of all sizes and styles, all hanging from the wall, ready to be played. No doubt, most guitars are not just musical instruments, but they are also great items to look at. You will probably have an immediate desire to take home one of the beautiful instruments in the store. But let's take a step back. As a new guitar buyer, do you really know what you're looking for? Probably not.

In this article, I'll try to help you out in this regard, so that by the time you head to a music store, you have a good general idea of what it is that you want out of an acoustic guitar. So let's get started.

Start with a Budget

In an ideal world, you'd be able to choose whatever instrument you like, regardless of price. But for most of us, this simply is not an option. So step 1 is for you to decide just how much you would like to spend. The good news is that there are guitars for every price range. But the bad news, on the other hand, is that you generally get what you pay for. Guitar salesmen will always try to sell you a higher-priced guitar regardless, so you should know some basic things so that you can make the right choice.

Even if you are a complete beginner who is looking at guitar playing as a casual hobby, you'll want to spend $300 or more. The sad reality is that if you spend less, you'll end up with an instrument that does not sound very good, and will be difficult to play as well, taking a great deal of enjoyment away from playing guitar. You should aim for a guitar that has a solid spruce stop. If you can spend a bit more, a solid wood instrument should be your goal. At the higher prices ($1000 or more), you should not have an instrument with any laminated parts at all.

At the highest level are guitars that cost over $1200. These instruments will generally be the same instruments used by pros, and you can rest assured that you will likely never grow out of such instruments, although you may eventually have the desire to own other great instruments for the sake of variety. Of course, you can spend way above this price range for hand-crafted instruments, but such guitars can be a bit of a gamble and probably won't be the right choice for the majority of guitar players.

But what if your budget is really limited? In this case, I would forego any pricey accessories and spend all your money on getting the best guitar possible for the money you have at hand.

Whatever instrument you buy, keep in mind that it's typical to get 10 to 40 percent off the list price at most music stores. Many music stores will take holidays as an opportunity to have seemingly huge sales, but the prices are reduced from list prices(which nobody ever pays anyway), and therefore do not mean much.

Choosing Your Guitar

Choosing your guitar is a highly personal and subjective matter. There is really no right or wrong choice; just the choice that is right for you. A guitar that appeals to another musician may not be a good instrument for you. Don't be swayed by what other people play, or by which instruments are popular. Acoustic guitars come in all sizes, shapes, and styles, and you should therefore find the instrument that speaks to you the most.

A rather popular choice for acoustic guitars that get a lot of play is the dreadnought. The most common of this type of instrument is the Martin D-28, and you won't go wrong if you choose this guitar. You can also try out the many imitations of the D-28, and some of them can be quite good. I recommend trying out one of these guitars while you are guitar shopping. It doesn't matter whether you can afford it or not. It still serves as a point of reference when trying out other instruments.

Last but not least, if you have a friend who is a guitar player, it may be a good idea to have him or her come along with you when you go guitar shopping. There are certain things that a knowledgeable friend may be able to point out to you, which you may not notice on your own.