5 Tips To Remember When Buying Your First Electric Guitar

So you’ve fallen in love with the sweet creamy tones of Slash’s les paul or feel yourself getting high off the fuzzy twangs of Hendrix’s masterful playing. It’s time to get an electric guitar. But before you realise rockstars are not born over night here’s what you need to know when buying your first electric guitar.

1.You’re not just buying a guitar. I remember my parents excitedly introducing me to my first electric guitar, it was one of the happiest memories I have. Not only because I was overjoyed to have my first electric guitar but also because they looked at me with expressions of befuddlement when they asked me to play and I told them I needed to get an amp first. If you’re funding your  first electric guitar the way I was, remember that you’re saving up for an amplifier and cables as well for the bare minimum that’s needed for practicing and jamming. It will cost more if you’re going to be buying recording equipment or effects pedals but that is the main reason why guitarists go bankrupt so it deserves and article of its own

2. You get what you pay for. As with most things in this world you get what you pay for. Although it is true that Eric Clapton would be able to make almost any guitar you gave him sound good, if you gave him a choice he would still use his choice of high end guitars, pedals and amps, because even if you can play, I’m sure experienced guitar players will agree with me that it tends  to be easier to sound good with your choice of high end or at least decently priced guitar. So do not expect your 100 dollar amp and plywood guitar to sound the way Foo Fighters sound at Wembley.

3. You can modify it. This is true for acoustic guitars too but electric guitars are modifiable to a further then acoustic guitars. Although it is not always worth it, I have personally seen guitarists purchase cheap guitars, only to mod it to within an edge of its life over the course of a few years. The truth is if you spent enough time on an electric guitar you could turn a Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster into American Standard just by modifying everything. Although it might be more worth it to just save up some money and get the American Standard from day 1 but the experience of modding and transforming your own guitar while discovering your preferences is quite an interesting one.

4. If it sounds bad it might not be your guitar. Playing aside, if what you’re playing sounds bad even though you managed to get yourself a decent guitar it might not be the guitar’s fault. In the world of electric guitars the relationship between an electric guitar and an amplifier is quite a synergistic one. Even an expensive guitar will sound bad if paired with the worse amplifier in the world. That being said it is very important to get the right amplifier for your guitar or style of playing. If you’re into metal, get the appropriate amplifier for that. If you’re unsure of what to get look at check the internet to see what your favourite artists are using and ask your local music store for a more budget friendly version of that.

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5. Your gear drastically affects your sound. When playing acoustic songs playing almost any decent acoustic will make it work. Even if it’s a concert shape or dreadnought, it doesn’t really matter that much, it’s an acoustic and it’ll work. However among electric guitarists gear can change everything. Play Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton with a concert shaped acoustic guitar and a dreadnought shaped acoustic guitar of similar quality and you’ll find it sounds more or less the same. If you used Eric Clapton’s stratocaster, amplifier and gear to play Sweet Child O Mine however you’ll find that it sounds almost wrong. You just won’t get the sound you’re looking for, because you’re not using the right gear.  Which is once again why it’s so important to buy the right guitar and gear for yourself so you don’t regret your choices. Research and patience is key. Make sure you know exactly what you’re buying and that you like how it sounds so it’ll help you grow into a better musician in years to come.

So that’s was a few thoughts of mine to share with people looking to buy an electric guitar. On a final note  many people have asked me if playing an electric guitar is the same as playing an acoustic guitar. It is and it isn’t. They share many similarities, the transition will be easy with some work but not seamless. I hope you guys have enjoyed reading this and rock on!

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