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Picking Out the Perfect Guitar for You

June 8, 2012; Dane Bryant Frazier

Let’s talk about the things you should consider when picking out a guitar. Sometimes it is difficult to pick out the right guitar. There are so many makes and models to choose from and they are all different in their own way. Some of the things you might consider include:

  1. Does the guitar have the sound you’re looking for?
  2. Does the guitar stay in tune?
  3. Is the guitar very comfortable and easy to play?
  4. Is the guitar is in good shape (the wood, the body, etc)?

Tone

There seems to be many people who like to debate which guitar is best. There really isn’t a “ best” guitar. The most important factor for any guitar is that it produces the sound you want. If you are looking for a more crunchy, bluesy sound, a Fender Stratocaster is great for that because of its single-coil pickups. If you want more of a bold, warm sound, a Gibson or Epiphone Les Paul is great because of its humbucker pickups. People have used Les Paul guitars for blues, rock, metal, pop, etc. They have also used Stratocasters and Telecasters for blues, rock, pop, and country. I’m sure you can use these guitars for any style, really. Just recently I used my Ibanez in a blues contest! I never thought I’d do that, but the guitar sounded great for what I was doing.

Tuning
You need to make sure the guitar you buy stays in tune. It doesn’t have to stay in perfect tune, but you don’t want to have to stop playing a song or a set to tune your guitar. I had a guitar a few years ago that went out of tune so often that I considered buying locking tuners for it. Because this was a significant expense, I decided to switch out the guitar for another. I remember recording some Christmas music on it and I really liked the sound and feel of that guitar, but it just wouldn’t stay in tune.

Playability
You also are going to want the feel of the guitar to be right for you. You may like a thinner neck that allows you to go up and down fast so that you don’t have to bend your hand so much. Or you may prefer a fat neck, which seems to make a guitar feel stronger. In my opinion, the size of the neck is probably the most important part of the guitar, as far as the feel is concerned.

Condition
Ensure that your guitar is in good shape when you buy it. On a new guitar, you might check that there aren’t any dents, dings, scratches, etc. A used guitar may have some blemishes on it, but if they don’t affect the sound, it should be okay. You also need to make sure that the electronics are in good working order, such as the pickups, knobs, the switches, and the jack. Usually you don’t have to worry about any of this because the guitar should be fine, but it’s worth making sure.
The bottom line: your guitar needs to have the sound and feel that is right for you. This can mean many trips to the store so you can try out the guitar. But you could get lucky and fall for the first guitar that you pick up.

Thanks a lot for reading. You may contact me for any questions or comments at: danefraziermusic@gmail.com


Dane Bryant Frazier is a 16-year-old self-taught multi-instrumentalist. He’s been writing his own music and film scores, as well as directing short films since 2008. You can hear a sample of Dane’s music at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW1U4jWe_20




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