Things you need to know when getting a guitar

Imagine yourself walking into a guitar shop aspiring to be a guitarist but never held one before, seeing a plethora of guitars they have and being clueless as what to get. EVER HAVE THAT FEELING?! A sales person then walks up to you and asks you what kind of guitar you are looking for… that’s scary isn’t it? FEAR NO MORE! BRUTAL ASIANS is here today to help you to familiarise with the key components when getting a guitar as a beginner. 

  1. Neck

Being a beginner guitarist is a daunting task. Not know how to hold the guitar is one issue.

The neck of a guitar is a pretty important part of a guitar. it affects the playing of a guitarist and also how easy is it to handle it.

There are three main shapes of guitar necks. The C,V and U shape guitar necks. 

  • C’ Shape

Have small hands that seem to hinder your playing? The ‘C’ shaped neck is a pretty common neck used in guitars nowadays. It is better for players who have tinier hands, so no worries! 

  • ‘V’ Shape 

This shape is considered pretty ‘old-school’. It is great for players who want to play bass notes with their thumbs. The more comfortable ‘V’ shaped guitars are those that have little to no ‘V’ shape near the nut.

  • ‘U’ Shape 

Unlike ‘C’ shape guitars, the ‘U’ Shape is suitable for players with large hands, or for those who prefer to place thumb at the side or the back of neck. 

Other than these three shapes of necks, there are also two main guitar necks. The thicker and thinner ones. Both has it’s pros and cons, and suits different guitarists’ needs. 

  •  Thinner Necks

Thinner necks means thinner ‘grip’. Due to its thin grip, this type of guitars are more suitable for guitarists who play fast chord changing songs. They would be able to move their fingers with much speed, and create better sounds. However, thinner necks have higher tendency to warp, so you would have to re-tune the guitar every few days. 

  • Thicker Necks 

On the other hand, the thicker necks are less prone to warping unlike thinner necks. However, guitarists with smaller hands and shorter fingers may not play the guitar comfortably. 

Despite knowing so much about the neck,it’s always better to go down to a store and physically try out the different necks to find a beginner guitar that fits you best, and allows you to maximise your potential! 

  1. String construction 

The string is really more of a personal preference thing. It depends on what type of music you play. Different strings give off different feel and tone, so don’t jump and choose one without testing it out first. 

There are 4 parts to string construction. The gauge of string, string core, winding type and coating. 

  • Gauge (thickness of string

The thicker the string, warmer and louder the sound produced for. Thicker strings are better for blues, however are much stiffer and is harder to bend such strings. It is also much more painful to the fingers of those non-seasoned players . 

Thinner strings, on the other hand, are brighter and much easier to play, but sound really ‘thin’ on certain instruments 

  • Winding Type

There are three main types of winding type, it includes : Flatwound, halfwound, roundwound. 

  1. Flatwound and roundwound 

Like the name suggests, the flatwound is pretty flat, thus has a much darker sound. It is seldom used for blues, and is more suited for jazz guitars, unlike roundwound. 

  1. Half Round 

In between flatwound and roundwound, we have half round. It is usually harder to play than roundwound, but much easier to play than flatwound. 

  • String core (Shape of string) 

There are 2 main types of strings, the hex core, and the round core. Both produce very different sounds, thus is important to check with a professional what guitar string is used. 

  • Hex core: Brighter and louder sounds produced, provides are more modern tone, for jazz guitarists. 
  • Round core: Mellow tone produced, fit for Blues, and sustains sound longer. 
  • Coating 

Standard guitars strings that are coated are usually coated with a plastic polymer. These strings last much longer than non-coated strings are the material isn’t exposed as much. However, even though coated strings last twice as long as non-coated strings, it costs twice as much, so it honestly depends on how much you want to spend on a guitar.

DO NOTE that one should always always go down to a shop and try out the different strings. For a beginner, I heavily recommend thinner strings as it is much easier to press down. You will be buying many more guitars in the future if you continue practicing, so you don’t have to get the ‘PERFECT’ guitar that can tend to your needs for the rest of your life.  

  1. Know your budget 

This is a pretty basic thing for many to consider. DO know how much you are willing to spend on the guitar, with the accessories (Guitar bag, tuner, pick etc). A price under $300 for a beginner guitar should be able to suffice your learning. 

Verdict 

There are many things to look out/know when you get a guitar, but these are the main few I think everyone should know about. Don’t rush into things by getting an expensive guitar that looks cool but doesn’t work fine. DO also get a professional to help you out with your choices, preferably a teacher or someone with great knowledge of guitars. Have fun choosing your beginner guitar! 

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