WHAT GUITAR SIZE SHOULD I BUY? WHICH IS THE RIGHT GUITAR FOR ME? WHAT'S THE BEST GUITAR TO LEARN ON? WE ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS WITH OUR HANDY GUITAR BUYING GUIDE and Guitar Size Guide.
Here at PMT Online, we are always getting asked LOADS of questions about guitars. What guitar is right? What's the difference between acoustic and electro-acoustic? What size guitar should my child play? What guitar is suitable for my son? What accessories do I need to buy if I'm buying a guitar? What's the difference between half-size and full-size guitar? So today, we'd like to give a helping hand in deciding which guitar is the right one with our handy guitar guide.
GUITAR CATEGORIES EXPLAINED
You'll find several different categories of guitars on our website, such as electric guitars acoustic guitars and classical guitars. But what are the differences?
Classical guitars are the most popular choice for beginners. They are called that (or "Spanish guitars") because they were developed to play classical or Spanish-style flamenco music but can be used for any style, really. These guitars have distinctive features such as 6-nylon strings (rather than steel strings) and a smaller acoustic sound hole to amplify vibrations. They are lightweight, small and easier to play, with a mellower sound than traditional acoustic guitars.
They are also available in even smaller sizes (1/2 and 1/4) which are perfect for the little ones. They're usually cheaper, so perfect for those who just want a casual instrument to play and are perhaps unsure how seriously they'll dedicate themselves to it. Having said that, the more high-end models can be very expensive and are suited for professional musicians, especially those who indeed play classical music.
Acoustic guitars are very similar to classical guitars, yet their steel strings make the sound much louder and therefore are of a bulkier build to hold the sound. They come in a variety of slightly different shapes such as dreadnought, grand concert, jumbo etc, and are the most popular type of acoustic guitar, as used on most acoustic songs you've heard, from Beatles and Bob Dylan to Oasis. Brands such as Tanglewood, Yamaha, Fender, Epiphone and Eastcoast are some of the UK's most popular brands, due to their exceptional value for money and built quality. If you're not sure which brand to choose, try out a few and see which one suits you. View more Acoustic Guitars.
An electro-acoustic guitar looks exactly like an acoustic, and really they are pretty much the same except for one key difference. So what's the added benefit of an electro-acoustic? Electro-Acoustic guitars can be played as an acoustic, but also allows you to plug them into an amplifier, effects pedal and other recording equipment. They're just more versatile - fitted with pickups, a microphone or transducers, it makes them more convenient for live performances, or if you want to play along to a loop FX pedal, like Ed Sheeran and so many other acoustic artists do. Check our Ed Sheeran Gear Guide if you'd like to find out more about his setup. Often, but not always, electro acousric guitars will have a cutaway towards the body of the guitar as this allows you to play the higher frets easier.
Electric guitars do not include a sound hole for acoustic amplification, but produce their sound solely from electricity, converting the string vibrations into electrical audio signals. Which means you can't just buy an electric guitar to strum it like an acoustic, because you'll need to also buy at least a cable and a guitar amplifier. View Electric Guitars.
For a more detailed overview, check our article Electric Guitar Buying Guideand Acoustic Guitar Buying Guidewhich both show how to choose a good guitar for your particular musical tastes. Want to know more? You can watch a quick video on guitar sizes with Dagan from PMT Newcastle below, offering up in-hand examples of guitar sizes as well as a quick buying guide.
GUITAR SIZES EXPLAINED
It's important to know what size guitar you're buying, especially when you're shopping online and can't try out the guitar for yourself. Guitars a variety of different sizes - we have a guitar size-guide here, along with some guitars to match - so you can see just what suits you.
Even though 3/4-sized guitars are recommended for 8-12-year-olds, this doesn't mean they are not suitable for adults, too. Increasingly, adult players - even experienced ones - have been opting for playing 3/4 size guitars too, due to the convenient size (especially when travelling) and the more punchy sound. Ed Sheeran uses almost exclusively 3/4-sized guitars.
WHAT GUITAR SIZE DO YOU NEED?
There's no one-solution fits all when it comes to a musical instrument, and it always comes down to personal tastes. But you can follow these suggestions:
If Buying Guitar for a Child: Follow the guitar sizes as advised before, according to child's age.
If You've Never Played Guitar & want to try it out: Buy a classical guitar. Cheap and easy.
If You Want A Good All-Rounder: Get a traditional acoustic guitar.
If You're Thinking About Playing Live: Get an electro-acoustic.
If You Want To Play Some Rock'n'Roll: Get an electric guitar
Please Note: If you're looking into completing Grade Exams with the guitar, such as ABRSM or Trinity College London, then you should take a look at the guitar grade requirements published by these examining bodies. The requirements state that the instrument used to take guitar grades must be a classical guitar with nylon strings (this is excluding Rock Guitar, or Rock School grades). If you're ever unsure about any guitar features advertised on our site, please don't hesitate to call up our sales team on 0151 448 2089, who will be more than happy to give you help and advice with whatever you need.
SHOULD I GET A 3/4 SIZE GUITAR?
We often get asked this question. If you're thinking "should I get a 3/4 size guitar?" you need to think about what you want. A 3/4 size guitar is great for travelling if you want to take your guitar with you on holiday or trip, they're great for children and people with smaller frames and they're no longer known as "toy" guitars - they can be incredible quality guitars that professionals like Ed Sheeran rely on!
In short, if you want to travel with your guitar easily, you're buying for a small child, you have a smaller frame, or you don't have the room for a full-size guitar, then yes, perhaps you should consider a 3/4 size guitar.
ESSENTIAL ACOUSTIC GUITAR ACCESSORIES
Spare strings and a guitar tuner are absolutely essential. And even though some guitarists do prefer using just their bare fingers to pick or strum the strings when playing, most still prefer using guitar picks, so that's a recommended accessory. View all guitar accessories.
We recommend purchasing the following when you get your first guitar:
Spare strings - you WILL break a string one day!
Guitar case or gig bag - for travelling with your guitar and keeping it safe
Tuner - To keep you in tune of course!
Capo - you may need to change the key or pitch of a song whilst learning to play
PMT'S GUITAR RECOMMENDATIONS
So now you know which guitar size is the right one for you, which guitar fits? Our guitar starter packs come with everything you need to start learning to play, complete with a learn-to-play DVD, picks, strap and an extra set of strings. PMT's diverse range caters to players of any age or any size, so we recommend taking a look at some of our best individual beginner guitars and starter packs and see what catches your eye. Here are a few options to get you started which we believe are great starter guitars. There are also links at the bottom of the page where we show you some of the best beginner guitars.
We've started out with just the budget friendly options, but of course, if you're serious about continuing your guitar journey - the sky's the limit when it comes to purchasing your first guitar and how much you're willing to spend. As a general rule, professional level guitars can cost anywhere between £500- £2000.
3/4 SIZE (8-12 YEARS)
The Jose Ferrer Estudiante 3/4 Classical Guitar with its nylon strings and laminate top natural finish is perfect for young beginners as it's only £75. This is ideal for smaller frames thanks to the 3/4 size, making it easy to hold, whilst the nylon strings are easier on the fingers. We think this is a great starting point as the guitar itself has been designed by guitar teachers in collaboration with UK guitar professionals, so you know you're in good hands with this one!
The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Special II Performance Pack is ideal for those who prefer to get started on an electric guitar, and is one of the best guitar starter packages available. It comes with everything you need to start your musical journey, including award-winning guitar lessons from eMedia. You also get an Epiphone Slash's Snakepit signature amp, picks, guitar strap and a guitar case. This is not just for fans of Guns N Roses but guitarists everywhere.
Includes Les Paul guitar
Gigbag: Premium with Slash "Snakepit" logo in white
Instruction: Free On-Line from eMedia; Multi-Language
The Yamaha Pacifica 012 Guitar Starter Pack is another one of the best starter packages available for beginners. It comes with everything you need to simply plug-in and start playing. The Yamaha Pacifica 012 is one of our most popular electric guitars and this comes with a Line 6 V20 combo amp, a nylon strap, cable, picks, string winder and replacement strings.
Includes Full-Size Yamaha Pacifica
2 x single-coil, 1 x humbucker pickups
Line 6 Amp
The Eastcoast GT100 Electric Guitar Starter Pack pictured here in Blonde provides the beginner or younger guitarist with a complete setup including electric guitar and amplifier, plus a host of accessories. This entry-level guitar bundle features the awesome Eastcoast GT100, which is a 'T' style guitar - so you're covered for a wide range of musical genres. The 2-Channel, 10-Watt Eastcoast EC-G10R Guitar Amplifier provides 10 watts of power which is enough to practice with, without blowing the windows out or disturbing the neighbours, roommates, or parents.