SMG TIPS: The Art of Acquiring
Guitars, Part 1


Due to its length, this article will be broken down into four parts. This is not your average blog post on how to buy a guitar. I look at this as more of a logical approach to deciding what kind of guitar you NEED! With that being said, have you ever found yourself in a situation where you see a guitar that catches your eye….and that’s it….you’ve got to have THAT one guitar! I understand all too well as I have been guilty of that very thing.

I’m asked all the time, “What kind of a guitar should I get?” Or, “I want to get a guitar for my kid, what should I get”? Another popular one, “My kid is really getting into this guitar stuff, I want to get him (or her) a better guitar.” And I am also frequently asked, “Should I really save for the Gibson, or go with the Epiphone?” And the same goes for the MIM Fender vs. MIA Fender guitars. I don’t see any of these questions as being too tough to answer. Of course, this is just my approach, not everyone may agree and everyone should look at this there own way. So…’s my two cents!


First off, as the buyer, you need to ask yourself some questions about your purchase and needs. What kind of a guitar player are you? Pro, hobbyist, just getting started? What is your skill level, and where would you like to take it? Acoustic or electric? And for most everyone, the biggest question….what is your budget?

For acoustic guitar players, I simply tell people to go to a store with a good selection, sit down and start playing. Listen. How does it sound? How does it feel? How does it play? What don’t you like about it? Compare. Again, what is the guitar going to be used for? Are you getting the right one for your needs? Pretty simple and direct approach for me.

Electrics…pretty much the same approach. Find a good selection, sit down and play. Don’t go into the shop (the first time) with the intent to make a purchase. You are there to begin the research project. Scope them out and see what you like and check them out. Play LOTS of guitars….even the ones that you don’t think you would like or would ever buy. That is usually the guitar that will surprise you. Listen… does it sound good? Does it feel right in your hands? Are the controls in your way? Is the neck smooth? Is the neck too fat… too thick… too wide? Does it feel tacky? Does the guitar feel or look cheap?


One rule of thumb here, especially when dealing with guitars for kids. If it looks and feels like cheap plastic… it usually is cheap plastic. A few months ago I was talking to a guy at a guitar store. He was there trying to get his daughter’s guitar fixed. He had just got it for her at Christmas. “Hasn’t worked once,” he said. This guy was really upset about it. I asked where he got the guitar at. He told me he got it at a toy store. “Why would you go there for a guitar?” I asked. He fired back at me, “It only cost $69 bucks.” I asked him to tell me what he was expecting from a toy store guitar? As they are not known for selling musical instruments. He shrugged and admitted to not looking at it from that perspective. He then went forward and spent more money getting his daughter a real guitar.

To be continued…


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  • scott exler

    what happened to jeff healey? is he still jamming or what?

  • Scott, sorry to tell you this, but Jeff Healey died back in 2008

  • I like this post! And yeah, this is quite a post that has a long way to go.

    But anyway, you are just in time because I was or shall I say, I am planning to by my own guitar. And I’m a bit concerned on what to get, either a classical or an acoustic and no need to deal with electric or whatsoever because then it would be needing some amps. And yes, I’m still a beginner with a bit of experience playing only rhythm basics.

    So I hope you would include that on your future post and would enlighten us more. Well I sure know that you will do that. 🙂 So thanks for sharing your insights!


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    Your welcome

  • I’d add the point that if you are trying acoustic guitars & are trying to compare how they sound, a critical question to ask the store is how long have they had the guitar (ie, how long has that set of strings been on the guitar). A new set makes such a difference that you need to know you’re comparing like with like

  • buying a guitar isn’t rocket science.

    I have 4 rules.

    1: Buy at a music store or pawn shop.
    2: Check out the used guitars sometimes you can get a good deal on a high end guitar used.
    3:Brand is not as important as tone and feel.
    4:All new guitars need a setup in order to play well.

    I have a personal rule not to spend more the $500.00 on a guitar.
    But of you have the bucks and are thinking of buying a high end guitar you might want to check out a custom shop or say a maker like Dean where you can have a guitar built just for you a one off that nobody else will have.

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