Originally published on dolphinmusic.co.uk Thu October 14, 2010
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.
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? Is there a different guitar shape for girls? 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.
You'll find several different categories of guitars on our website. 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, too! 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! View Classical Guitars.
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 and Epiphone 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.
Simply, an electro-acoustic guitar look exactly like an acoustic, and really they are. So what's the added benefit of an electro-acoustic? Electro-Acoustic guitars can be played as any acoustic, but also allow 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. View Electro-Acoustic guitars.
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.
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.
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 fro 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.
And no - there's no such a thing as a "guitar shape" for girls...
WHAT GUITAR SIZE DO YOU NEED?
There's no one-solution fits all when it comes to 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 & easy to play.
- 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.
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.
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 take a look at some of our best individual beginner guitars and starter packs and see what catches your eye.
3/4 Size (8-12 Years)
The Eastcoast Linden Guitar with its nylon strings and matt finish is perfect for young beginners.
- Top, Back & Sides: Linden
- Fingerboard and bridge: Artificial rosewood
- Machine heads: Classical, nickel
- Finish: Matt
- Colour: Natural - 3/4 Model - Scale length: 590 mm.
Full Size Dreadnought (All Ages)
This guitar is a perfect introduction to the world of steel string acoustic guitars. Budget friendly, sturdy and built by one of the worlds best guitar brands, the Fender CD-60 V2 is a great beginner guitar that will last many years.
- Body shape: Dreadnought
- Top wood: Laminated Spruce
- Back and side wood: Laminated Nato
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Bridge: Rosewood
Full Size Dreadnought with Cutaway
This is a very basic and affordable acoustic guitar, ideal for beginners! The cutaway shape offers guitarists the option of playing higher up on the fretboard - ideal for learning guitar solos. This also includes a pickup so you can hook it up to an amplifier or directly into an audio interface for recording your tracks.
- Top wood: Select Spruce
- Neck: Mahogany, glued-set neck for stability
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Pickup: Shadow's proprietary NanoFlex, low-impedance pickup
Acoustic Guitar Player Pack
Acoustic guitar player packs can really help get the beginner guitarist started in a good way as you have everything you need in the box. The Yamaha F310 Acoustic Guitar Deluxe Beginners Pack offers a complete package including tuition DVD, strings, plectrums guitar tuner, strap and more. The guitar is built to Yamaha's impeccable construction standards with a spruce top and meranti back and sides and will happily join you on your musical journey for many years - you'll probably hand it down to your grandkids!
- Includes: Yamaha F310 guitar
- Tuitional DVD
- Guitar strap
- Guitar picks
- Guitar Stand
Full Size Electric Guitar
For those who prefer to get started on an electric guitar, this is the best package. It comes with everything you need to start your musical journey. including award winning guitar lessons from eMedia. If you don't already have one, we recommend adding an amplifier to the package too. A great option is the Blackstar FLY 3 Mini Guitar Amplifier, the VOX Pathfinder 10w Combo Amplifier or the Marshall MG10CF Guitar Amplifier Combo - all of which make great practice amps to hone your skills.
- Includes Les Paul guitar
- Gigbag: Premium with Slash "Snakepit" logo in white
- Picks: Dunlop® Tortex™ Slash signature picks; 3 (white, black and purple)
- Instruction: Free On-Line from eMedia; Multi-Language
Full Size Electric Guitar Player Pack
The Squier SE Stratocaster Electric Guitar Package 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 SE Series stratocaster from Squier, which is a division of Fender - so you're in really good hands. The SP-10 amplifier provides 10 watts of power which is enough to practice with, without blowing the windows out or disturbing the neighbours, room mates, or parents!
- Includes: Squier SE Stratocaster Electric Guitar
- Squier SP-10 10 watt combo amplifier
- Instructional DVD
- Electronic tuner
- Guitar strap
- Gig bag
- Guitar cable
- Guitar stand
Whatever it is that you're after, from electric to classical, full scale to junior guitars, we have what you need to start playing the guitar, or advance your skills!