Three Factors To Consider When Shopping For Your First Electric Guitar

Posted on: 25 August 2015

When you start to play guitar, your first instrument is often a hand-me-down acoustic that will help you determine whether this hobby is something you want to pursue. If you're serious about developing your skill as a player, either through private instruction or by learning on your own online, the next step in your journey is to buy an electric guitar. With guitars on the market for every budget and type of player, the process of choosing the right instrument can initially feel a little daunting. Don't give up on your goal of finding the perfect instrument. Here are three ways to ensure you buy the right electric guitar.

Consider Your Pickups

While it's easy to get preoccupied with the shape and finish of the guitars that you're considering, set these aesthetic qualities aside for a moment to think about the type of music you want to play. Selecting a guitar with pickups conducive to your favorite music genres can help you achieve your desired tone. If you're into blues or country, single-coil pickups have a bright and occasionally twangy sound that is agreeable; for a player who favors rock or metal, humbuckers provide a suitable heaviness. For versatility, you can always consider an electric guitar that has one or more single-coil pickups and a humbucker, which will allow you to adjust your tone depending on the pickup you're using.

Plug In And Play

Although it's entertaining to grab different electric guitars off the wall and see how they feel, you won't get a true sense of whether a guitar is the right one for you until you plug it into an amplifier. It's best to try the guitar with an amp that suits your budget, since you'll likely be buying the necessary accessory at the same time. Don't just plug the guitar into the amp and assume this is the tone you'll get -- tweak the gain, treble, mid, bass and reverb knobs to get a sense for the sounds the amp will provide. If you're shy about your playing, many music stores have soundproof booths that allow shoppers to practice without being self-conscious. Talk with a place like Wilmington Jewelry & Loan to see what kinds of guitars and amps go well together.

Check The Playability

If you're on a budget, it can be tempting to reach for one of the least-expensive guitars you can find. While there are plenty of decent-quality guitars at an affordable price, some might not have the same degree of playability as a pricier instrument. While the guitar should always feel comfortable in your hands, you should be able to play it with ease, too. One thing to check is the action of the strings -- that is, the height of the strings off the fret board. Although many players favor different degrees of action, the higher the strings are, the more difficulty you'll have playing. A low-price guitar might have high action that can discourage you from playing, so always take this area into account. Some stores may be able to work out a payment plan, such as a "rent-to-own" plan, if you are tight on cash.