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Posted: 9/9/2010 7:16:28 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:21:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2010 7:22:43 AM EDT by Thepilot]

Originally Posted By buckfever34:


What is the minimum amount I could spend on a "decent" guitar? Suggestions?

it's really hard to make that kind of suggestion, because the quality in lower range instruments varies greatly- you get gems and dogs, not too much in between.

your best bet would be to take a guitar-playing buddy to the music store (or pawn shops) with you to evaluate.

tons of people teach themselves, or at least start that way. learning to tune one is the first big obstacle.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:23:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2010 7:24:07 AM EDT by peekay]
1. Go buy a Martin D
2. Take lessons from a pro to give you the basics and proper finger positions
3. Download tabs for the songs you like and practice them
4. ???? (campfire?)
5. PROFIT
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:24:28 AM EDT
I've been out of teaching for a good while now, so I am not up on the newest beginner equipment, but
be careful with beginner acoustic guitars. Some can have horrible action and be very uncomfortable to play.

If you're serious about wanting to learn to play, ~$500 is a reasonable estimate in my opinion...
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:24:55 AM EDT
I have been self-teaching for a few years now, and am now fairly good, strumming no lead. Like you, all I wanted out of this was to be able to hold my own 'round yon campfire. I got there, and kept going. Look to spend about $3-$400 on a quality guitar, don't buy crap. Go for it. You may want to post this in the music forum. Oh, as for guitars, I always recommend an Alvarez or Seagull to a beginner. Great, solid-topped guitars competitively priced.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:25:31 AM EDT
Take lessons, at least to get you started. When you buy a guitar take a experienced player with you to help you pick it out. Buy name brand (doesn't have to be top of the line, but don't buy their started guitar) and if it doesn't bother you buy used. It will be easier to get your money back if you decide it isn't for you and want to sell it.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:26:28 AM EDT
checkout recording king guitars- if you have a dealer close by that would be a great guitar to get into. have to watchout for the the gems/dogs thing again though- they should be pretty good for the most part.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:28:36 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Thepilot:

Originally Posted By buckfever34:


What is the minimum amount I could spend on a "decent" guitar? Suggestions?

it's really hard to make that kind of suggestion, because the quality in lower range instruments varies greatly- you get gems and dogs, not too much in between.

your best bet would be to take a guitar-playing buddy to the music store (or pawn shops) with you to evaluate.

tons of people teach themselves, or at least start that way. learning to tune one is the first big obstacle.



This. I have people asking my advice on just this issue many times. Most of the time I give them some things to look for, but offer to check-out whatever they're looking at and/or think they want.

On the positive side, these days there are MANY great choices in budget acoustic guitars (or electric guitars and amps). When I started (1980's), most everything was crap unless you bought the big/expensive names. But these days you can buy Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese stuff that's pretty damn good. I just hooked-up a coworker with a very nice used Ibanez acoustic/electric for $300 with SKB hard case. I would caution you to try to spend at least that much for a new instrument, and for used you may be able to find something in the $250 range. That's where things start getting pretty decent. Make sure that the action (distance between the strings and fretboard) is not too high. That's pretty much the biggest thing to look for in budget guitars. Because the higher that is, the harder it is to play. That can be adjusted, but usually you can get a good idea on the guitar's potential if that's already in the ballpark. Too high = hard to play. Too low = buzzing strings. You can adjust that issue to be higher though –– unless the neck isn't straight.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:29:45 AM EDT
Lessons are good. You can do it informally from a friend or hire a teacher. It is possible to teach yourself but if you don't already have a musical background that can be a pretty steep mountain. One year of lessons will do wonders for your playing. Most of the working pros I've known over the years get lessons of one kind or another from time to time. Take the time and trouble to actually learn how to read music after you spend a year or two messing with chords and tabs.

Budget around $500 for gear. A Seagull S6 or Entourage, used if possible, will be a good place to start. You'll need a case, tuner, picks, teaching materials, guitar stand, music stand, strap, string winder, the list goes on forever. I can't say enough good about Seagull. If you aren't buying a D Series Martin then go with the Seagull. Yamaha or Blueridge would also be OK, I suppose.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:30:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2010 7:32:53 AM EDT by alc1343]

Originally Posted By peekay:
1. Go buy a Martin D
2. Take lessons from a pro to give you the basics and proper finger positions
3. Download tabs for the songs you like and practice them
4. ???? (campfire?)
5. PROFIT

I don't think you can touch a D-Series for under a grand, but I might be wrong.

Regardless, Martin acoustics are wildly overrated IMHO, I don't care who uses them.

OP, check into a Takamine or Ibanez acoustics. They aren't the greatest sounding guitars, but they are geared towards
playability and they'll have many options in your price range.


ETA: The_Camp_Ninja mentioned Seagull. Those are some good sounding guitars for the price. The action was always a bit stiff on them, but last I heard they
were re-doing the neck design to fix that. Haven't played one recently to be sure...
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:30:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2010 7:33:41 AM EDT by ugagrad06]
Originally Posted By buckfever34:
I don't wanna dump a lot of money into this. And no, I don't want to start a band.



The wife, myself, and our friends spend most of the warm months hanging out on the weekends around a campfire....you know, just hanging out. I can remember doing stuff like this with mom, dad, and their friends when I was a kid and there was a guy that always came that could play the guitar. And it was cool. Therefore, I want to be that guy


Is it hard to learn on my own? Would I need to take formal lessons? What is the minimum amount I could spend on a "decent" guitar? Suggestions?


www.justinguitar.com

and play with a metronome, always. please please please listen to my aforementioned advice. i'm self taught and about 2 years in to it. i've developed a number of bad habits i'm trying to break as a result of NOT playing with a metronome from the beginning.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:31:41 AM EDT
Originally Posted By peekay:
1. Go buy a Martin D
2. Take lessons from a pro to give you the basics and proper finger positions
3. Download tabs for the songs you like and practice them
4. ???? (campfire?)
5. PROFIT


Nothing wrong with a Martin D. But there are SO many brands out there with budget lines that are comparable. Seagull, Tacoma, Larivee, Breedlove, Takamine, Ibanez, Crafter, Yamaha, etc, etc. Nothing special about Martin's budget line. And for that matter, with brands out there like Taylor, Breedlove, and Larivee... there's nothing special about Martin's high-end guitars either.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:32:48 AM EDT
The best advice here is to get a guitar with good low action. Otherwise you will not achieve your goal.

I started with a nylon string classical, built up my strength and calluses, then went with a steel string Gibson. Now I can play any guitar no matter how bad the action.

Do not underestimate the amount of pain you will experience with a crappy guitar.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:32:56 AM EDT
Much of guitar work is in the rhythm. The strumming hand.

You can know three chords and play all kinds of different melodies by just strumming them differently and in different rhythms. Start by learning the open chords.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:33:26 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:35:12 AM EDT
$400-$500 for a guitar is a good start. IIRC I bought my Dean Exotica for around $500 and it is acoustic/electric and it serves me well.

Go to JWPepper.com they have a tone of music books for guitar that you can buy. Just get a beginner book and have at it.

You could also go the route of a music teacher at a music store. It all kind of depends on your natural musical abilities.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:35:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Label:
Originally Posted By peekay:
1. Go buy a Martin D
2. Take lessons from a pro to give you the basics and proper finger positions
3. Download tabs for the songs you like and practice them
4. ???? (campfire?)
5. PROFIT


Nothing wrong with a Martin D. But there are SO many brands out there with budget lines that are comparable. Seagull, Tacoma, Larivee, Breedlove, Takamine, Ibanez, Crafter, Yamaha, etc, etc. Nothing special about Martin's budget line. And for that matter, with brands out there like Taylor, Breedlove, and Larivee... there's nothing special about Martin's high-end guitars either.
It's been that way for a while, IMHO.

Larivee makes a good guitar, too, I forgot about them.

My last acoustic was a Garrison GE-25, and man that thing sounds good for an $1100 guitar. Easily comparable to a Taylor 500 series. Too bad Gibson bought them out...

Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:46:09 AM EDT
Originally Posted By TurboniumOxide:
The best advice here is to get a guitar with good low action. Otherwise you will not achieve your goal.

I started with a nylon string classical, built up my strength and calluses, then went with a steel string Gibson. Now I can play any guitar no matter how bad the action.

Do not underestimate the amount of pain you will experience with a crappy guitar.


Good advice.I've been playing for about 15 years as a hobby,I started out with a warped out POS from a garage sale,not fun.A shitty guitar will make it harder to learn,there are lots of decent ones out there,but I'd plan on spending at least 400 bucks.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 7:50:02 AM EDT
Look on Craigslist for a used Seagull. You can find them priced pretty low or buy a new one for around $300. Good guitars.

Learn your "cowboy" chords. They aren't hard to learn by yourself, especially with the amount of free info out there on the net.

Practice.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 8:08:27 AM EDT
Whatever you want to spend, add at least 200 dollars to it. the problem is people say "i'm just a beginner" so they buy a peice of shit that is so difficult to play they never touch a guitar again. I have seen this so many times throughout my life I can't tell you. Buy the best guitar you can afford if you want to learn. If you don't want to make that investment, you're not really going to learn anyway.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 8:28:58 AM EDT
This guy's books actually made learning a lot of fun for me. Very enjoyable approach to teaching valuable basics to beginners. Gets you playing quickly and painlessly.

http://www.skepticalguitarist.com/

Link Posted: 9/9/2010 8:42:15 AM EDT
your best bet would be to take a guitar-playing buddy to the music store (or pawn shops) with you to evaluate.


[/thread]
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 8:48:49 AM EDT
I picked up a washborn acoustic electric at a pawn shop for $175. It has a great action and sounds good. To start lessons would be good
that being said. Learn these cords on your own and you will be able to to play a lot
G
C
D
Cadd 9
DSuspended
EM and suspended
A
Look up the chord shapes with googal
Then go to youtube and watch some free lessons on easy songs
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 8:50:28 AM EDT
I gotta get my guitar out and start learning....
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 8:55:15 AM EDT
Tag for later reply
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 9:01:59 AM EDT
This is what I did 4 years ago.

Bought a pawn shop guitar Epiphone pr 160 and a Taylor big baby..went to the music store, signed up for 3 months of guitar lessons, bought some dvd instructional vids, practiced everyday. My fingers began to hurt badly, used super glue on on my tips because I wanted to play all the time. Got Ultra-light strings (big help),,did finger exercises on strings over and over.

Found my "favorite" 3 or 4 chords and played like a crazy man. E A D G, Em Am C D, C G Am F

Fingers hurt for months until the callouses develop then it's all down hill.

Chicks dig guitar btw...when you pull out a guitar and play some of their favorite songs, it's like magic. No kidding..you should see their faces and eyes light up when you play a John Mayer/DMD/Katy Perry song on an acoustic. Magic.

You'll have good days and bad days..you'll wanna quit because you cannot learn fast enough or your fingers won't cooperate..keep with it. Your fingers will get stronger and your pickin' gets better.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 9:09:39 AM EDT
I'm mainly right-handed but I do a lot of things left-handed (kick, throw frisbee, dominant dribble hand, etc.).

Holding a guitar left-handed feels a lot more natural than holding it right-handed. If I wanted to learn how to play should I just ignore this and learn right-handed?
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 9:55:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Mountain_Snipe:
I'm mainly right-handed but I do a lot of things left-handed (kick, throw frisbee, dominant dribble hand, etc.).

Holding a guitar left-handed feels a lot more natural than holding it right-handed. If I wanted to learn how to play should I just ignore this and learn right-handed?


While there are some nice left-handed models out there, the selection pales in comparison to right-handed models. If playing lefty feels more natural, then I'd go that way. Just don't be surprised when 99% of the instruments at the store are right-handed.


OP, go to a guitar store and take a knowledgeable friend with you if you can. If you go alone, as the salesman to play something on each. Listen to how each instrument sounds. For shits and giggles, ask him to play a $2,000 Martin or Taylor, just for perspective. There are some good options available for $200-$500. I would NOT go below $200. Look at guitars from Fender, Epiphone, Ibanez, Yamaha, and Takamine.

I was partial to the Ibanez and Yamaha offerings in that price range when I sold guitars. I worked for one of the big instrument chains through college, selling guitars and drums. Avoid the "starter packs", as the quality of most of the components aren't very good.

I was deadset on buying a Martin, played dozens of them for a few months looking for The One. One of the guys I worked with said "try this" and handed me a Taylor. It was exactly what I wanted. Be aware that acoustics do come in a few different sizes. I'm pretty small, so a standard dreadnought body doesn't fit me well. The Taylor I bought has their "Grand Auditorium" body which fits me better. YMMV.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 9:57:27 AM EDT
You have to love it, and that can't be taught. If you do love it, nothing can stop you from learning it. If you don't love it, you will fizzle out, so don't blow much money on it.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 10:07:06 AM EDT
You can play about 1 billion songs with the chords G, D, and C alone.

My advice is to go to Guitar Center if there is one near you and go spend a day just looking at guitars, asking questions of the pros that work there, playing around on them, and comparing prices and quality.

Treat it just like a gun purchase. Do your homework. Go find a guitar forum to read up on.

Then after you purchase your new instrument find either a friend or a teacher to show you the basics. You DO NOT want to develop bad habits right from the start.

Personally, my bad habits came from learning in my garage, alone, on an electric guitar. I down stroke EVERYTHING, I have no rhythm unless I have other people playing or drums, and I play certain chords in ways that were easy to learn but make it hard to shift that figure up and down the fretboard.

You want to start out using all of your fingers as well, not just the first 3 like so many people try to do.

Finally. LEARN ENTIRE SONGS!!!! No one wants to hear the riff from Metallica's Enter Sandman and then not hear the rest of the song. It's a tease and it's cheap. Learn the entire song! Start out easy!

Sublime's "What I got" is G and D... for the entire song. It's a nice quick back and forth with fun lyrics and most folks know the words. I'd start with that one to get a feel of chord changes and singing at the same time.

And above all... have fun.

I'm 14 years or so into my guitar adventure and I still learn something new nearly every time I pick one up. Good Luck!
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 2:00:16 PM EDT
Lots of good info posted. As a former Guitar Center sales guy, I'd like to point out their very liberal return policy. You can take home and try several guitars before they get sick of you. One of my favorite things was getting new players started.
Suggest you get a good teacher to help you nip any bad habits quickly. Also suggest you get a strap and learn to play standing up immediately. Your guitar looks very different while standing.
Also suggest you learn songs you can sing to immediately. Very hard to pick up later for most folks.
As far as left or right hand, if you are a new player, play righty. 98% of the guitars you come across are gonna be right handed, unless you always have your own.
Enjoy. I've been playing for many years, and I always learn something new, everytime I pick up a guitar.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 2:11:03 PM EDT
I can teach you. $100 an hour
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 2:20:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2010 2:22:16 PM EDT by biglou250]
OP, don't go out and buy a $500+ guitar if you've never played. Keep it cheap and IF you still like to play you can move up to something better as you progress in your guitar playing.

Here is a good newbie guitar for $100.

http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Epiphone-DR100-Acoustic-Guitar-?sku=518569


You CAN learn to play by yourself but I would recommend going to one or two lessons to learn some of the basics. There seems to be an infinite number of resources for guitarists on the internet. Watch youtube, visit www.ultimate-guitar.com for tabs/lessons. Google IS your friend! One of the most important thing to remember during the first 6 months of starting to guitar is to not stop and try not to get discouraged. You will suck for awhile. We all did. You will NOT be able to learn your favorite songs overnight and you can expect a couple of tough weeks of sore fingertips and frustration.

The guitar is a very fun once you get the hang of it and it will keep you entertained for a lifetime.
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 10:15:57 PM EDT
http://www.customaxmusic.com/ae128-hb.html

this is one of the bset sounding and easiest to play acoustics and it can plug in for amplificationin my opinion. price is relatively cheap.

id recomend going to guitar center to check out numerous guitars though. find one that feels good to you. some guitars will have different shaped necks and they might not go well with your hand for one reason or another.

anything near 200 dollars should sound pretty good though and sometimes some of the 100 dollar guitars don't sound bad either.

as for lessons I would recomend them. I have been teaching myself guitar for a long time and occasionaly someone better than me will come over and ill learn more in an hour than i have in the last month. Im just a cheap bastard who doesn't want to pay for it.
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 11:00:39 PM EDT
Esteban is your friend....Offers affordable entry level guitars that come complete with DVD and Book lessons.

American legacy package $200.00
Link Posted: 9/12/2010 11:49:07 PM EDT
I bought my wife a baby taylor. Its a decent playing guitar for the size.
Stay away from fender accoustics. Mine is an absolute turd. Warped neck, shitty sound, etc.

I would suggest lessons. I have been dicking around with the guitar for 15 years. I still sound like shit.
I recently realized that the strumming is my weak point.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 1:26:06 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SteelTalon:
Esteban is your friend....Offers affordable entry level guitars that come complete with DVD and Book lessons.

American legacy package $200.00


Follow this advice at your peril.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 2:02:29 AM EDT
Buy a Jasmin S35 from musiciansfriend.com I have had one for years and I love it. It plays REALLY well. I have had many folks
comment on how easy it plays and how good it sounds. For the money it really is amazing.

Go read some reviews on Harmony Central and see what I am talking about. You won't be sorry.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 2:49:31 AM EDT
I was always amazed at the playability of the Jasmine guitars at such a low price point. Most of the imported brands have something between $100-$250 that are vastly superior to the guitar that kind of money would have got you 10 years ago.

OP, have you gotten anywhere yet?
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