best guitar for beginners

Do you want to be more creative? Do you want to exercise that part of your mind that so often goes unused? Do you want to start doing something right now that will give you hours, months, and decades of enjoyment? Then you have probably already thought about learning to play the guitar.

In general, when you are looking to buy a guitar there are a number of things you have to consider. It can be hard to know where to start, what to look for, and how to go about finding your next guitar. When the guitar you’re looking for is your first guitar, matters are even more difficult.

This guide is meant to help you understand how to look for your first guitar, whether it is an acoustic or an electric. Do you want to find a guitar that will do everything you need it to and then some? You need to know what to look for and what to avoid. This guide will teach you those things and will give you a rundown of the best guitar for beginners.

Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners

1. Yamaha FG830 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha FG830 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

My rating: 4.5 Stars

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This Yamaha is one of the very best beginner acoustic guitars. It has many of the features of a much more expensive instrument at a fraction of the cost. It is recommended for any starting acoustic guitarist, and would even be suitable for more advanced players who are on a budget.

The guitar, to begin with, looks great. It’s natural blonde top complements the darkness of its sides and back quite well. It is a beautiful guitar to look at and you will love how you feel holding it.

It features a solid wood top, which is rare among inexpensive acoustic guitars. This alone makes it worth the ticket price. It means that this guitar sounds resonant and rich. Solid wood is more resonant than laminate.

The sides and back of this guitar are laminate wood, which is generally not as desirable as solid wood. That doesn’t however mean that it isn’t a great instrument with a great sound.

I am very happy with this guitar and feel that it would suit just about any beginner well.

Things we liked

Yamaha construction
Great price
Solid wood top

Things we didn’t like

Laminate back and sides


2. Jasmine S34C NEX

Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic Guitar

My rating: 4.4 Stars

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Overall, this Jasmine is a great piece with some great features. It is recommended for any beginning player who is on a serious budget.

This guitar is quite inexpensive, which makes its quality all the more remarkable. It features a dreadnought body, a laminate spruce top, and a single cutaway.

Though this guitar is made of laminate wood, it is a serious instrument given its price. Reviewers say that it plays and sounds great, and it is certainly appealing to look at. In general, you can’t go wrong with this instrument at its price point.

It isn’t very often that a bargain guitar is also a quality guitar, but this is one of those cases. It may be of inexpensive materials, and it may be laminate, but it is a great guitar for beginners nonetheless. If you are looking for a first guitar on a budget, then this is a great one to look at.

My feeling about this guitar is that it is quite easy to play and sounds great. It will work well as a bargain beginner guitar.

Things we liked

Great price
Spruce top
Single cutaway
Dreadnought body

Things we didn’t like

All laminate
Generally, of a lower quality than some other instruments


3. Fender Acoustic Guitar Bundle

Fender Acoustic Guitar Bundle

My rating: 4.3 Stars

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This bundle is great for beginners. It features a guitar that plays easily and sounds great. My feeling about this guitar is that it is of surprisingly high quality and will give you or anyone you gift it to years of enjoyment.

This guitar is made especially for beginners, and that is who it is recommended for. It comes with a case, a strap, and a variety of other odds and ends, which makes it a great gift for a complete novice.

The guitar itself is a full-size dreadnought, which means it will have a great, big, loud sound. Some reviewers say the sound is what you would expect from a bargain instrument, but in general there is not much to complain about here.

Things we liked

Complete bundle
Full size dreadnought
Great price

Things we didn’t like

The sound is not as resonant as other acoustics


4. Bristol BD-16 Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar

Bristol BD-16 Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar

My rating: 4.3 Stars

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My feeling about this guitar is that it is a great piece at a great price. It sounds great and feels good. It is also quite attractive.

This is a fine introductory guitar, and is recommended for any beginning or even early intermediate acoustic player.

This guitar features both a spruce top and scalloped braces. That means that its sound is both dynamic and full — bright but also bassy. Combined with the fact that this is a full dreadnought, and you have a great sounding, full, loud instrument.

The neck of this guitar is mahogany, which is a great material, and it is designed to be slim, which means that it is easy to play. This is a fast-acoustic guitar — in other words, it is easier to play than some others.

Things we liked

Full size dreadnought body
Spruce top
Scalloped bracing
Mahogany back, sides, and neck

Things we didn’t like

Perhaps not made with complete care


5. Yamaha APX500III Thinline Cutaway

Yamaha APX500III Thinline Cutaway

My rating: 4.3 Stars

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This Yamaha is completely unlike the other acoustic guitars on our list. First of all, it is acoustic-electric, which means that you can plug it in to amplify it. Second of all, it is a thinline guitar, which means that rather than being large and boomy it is thinner and more piercing sounding.

Overall, this is a great instrument worthy of your attention. It is recommended for anyone who is on the market for an inexpensive acoustic-electric.

My feeling about this guitar is that it is versatile enough to be used for virtually any style of acoustic playing. If you are looking for something to plug into an amp then you will want to look at this offering.

This guitar features electronics that enable it to be plugged in like an electric guitar. It also features a thin body and a single cutaway. Overall, this is not a piece to be trifled with.

Things we liked

Acoustic-electric
Thin body
Single cutaway

Things we didn’t like

The sound is neither as full nor as loud as a dreadnought


Top 5 Best Electric Guitars for Beginners

1. Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Package

Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Package

My rating: 4.4 Stars

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This is the real deal. It is guaranteed to be of a high quality.

If you’re looking for a great electric guitar to start on, then this might be it. It is recommended for anyone who wants a big, full rock sound and look at a price they can afford.

This guitar is part of a package, which includes a gig bag (case), a small practice amplifier, and some other things that you will need. That means that it is ideal as a gift for a young rock guitarist in the making.

This guitar is built from big, heavy, solid wood and includes two loud humbucking pickups and a thick, around neck. It is not as easy to play as some other electric guitars, but what you lose in ease you gain in tone. For rock and blues, this guitar is the sort of thing you want to be looking at.

My feeling is that if you are going to play loud with a big warm tone then this is the kind of guitar you should look into.

Things we liked

Big tone
Heavy, solid guitar
Great for rock

Things we didn’t like

Not perhaps suitable for all styles of play


2. Fender Modern Tele Plus

Fender Modern Player Tele Plus Electric Guitar

My rating: 4.3 Stars

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Guitars like this one have been played by country, jazz, rock, and blues guitarists for decades, and have been played by some of the most talented professional players in the world.

While an American made guitar of this kind will set you back thousands of dollars, this guitar is available at a fraction of that cost. These are quality guitars at a great price.

These guitars are recommended for anyone who wants to play rock, country, or blues and is looking for a standout guitar to do so with. They are sure to last you a long time and they are of a very high quality.

One problem with this guitar is that though its piercing pickups and thin body make it great for piercing tones, it is not a very warm sounding guitar. For some people that may be a problem. It is, however, very easy to play. These are fast guitars.

Things we liked

Great, piercing tone
Easy to play neck
Versatile

Things we didn’t like

Not made in America


3. Epiphone Les Paul-100

Epiphone Les Paul-100

My rating: 4.2 Stars

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As we have already seen, the Les Paul is a flagship guitar. Les Paul guitars deliver monster tone both clean and distorted, and have been played by rock and blues players for decades.

My feeling about this guitar is that like the Les Paul already reviewed it is just about the best guitar you can get for loud, warm, dirty tones. This is not a guitar to ignore if you are going to play rock or blues. It’s heavy wood and loud humbuckers make it ideal for cranking the volume and getting dirty.

The difference between this Les Paul and the one already reviewed is that this one is slightly more expensive. It is not part of a package and it comes with better electronics and most likely better tonewood used in its construction. Though both guitars are of a very high quality, this one is probably closer to the original Les Paul.

In general, there is very little to say negatively about this guitar. It is a great instrument at a great price. The only thing that may detract from its value is that it is not made in America.

This instrument is recommended for anyone who wants to crank up the noise and play hard — in rock, metal, blues, shred, or fusion. For any beginning guitarists in any of those styles, it is a killer guitar.

Things we liked

Great construction
Solid tonewood
Great tone

Things we didn’t like

Not as easy to play as some other guitars


4. Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

My rating: 4.5 Stars

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Overall, these are great guitars. My feeling about this Pacifica is that it is made for diversity. It feels great in your hands and sounds great in a number of different contexts — from blues to pop to rock to jazz. There isn’t enough that can be said about how easy this guitar is to play and how versatile it is.

This particular guitar is a copy of a Fender Strat, and it has all of the bells and whistles of that guitar at a fraction of its price.

The Yahama Pacifica PAC112V is recommended for any player who wants a great all around rock, blues, jazz, or country guitar capable of delivering a number of high quality sounds. It sounds great both clean and distorted, is suited to playing multiple styles, and it has three pickups and a coil tap to make sure you can dial in just the sound you want.

The only thing to say negatively about this guitar is that it is not designed to be played in very high gain situations. If you want to play metal or hardcore, or even very high gain blues or rock, then this may not be for you.

Things we liked

Versatile guitar
Great quality
Great price
Tons of features

Things we didn’t like

Not perhaps suited to heavy music


5. Ibanez RG Series RG450DX

https://www.amazon.com/Ibanez-RG450DX-Electric-Guitar-Starlight/dp/B00I1Y47G0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?&linkCode=ll1&tag=guitarinstrument-20&linkId=0424e3b9c879de32fbc2a895124d20af

My rating: 4.3 Stars

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Calling all shredders! There are few guitars that have made the mark on the rock and shred communities that this series of guitars has. Ibanez RGs may be affordable, but they are second to none when it comes to speed and aggressiveness, which means they have been the choice of many great shred guitarists over the last few decades.

Recommended for any player who wants to play loud and fast, this is a guitar that not enough good things can be said about. The only reason not to buy a guitar like this is that it is not suitable for all styles of play — it is really designed for rock.

When you want to play different ways, you use different guitars. When you want to play jazz, you get a jazz box; when you want to play folk, you get a dreadnought acoustic guitar. But when you want to play shred, and when you want to play fast and loud, you get a guitar like this one.

Overall, this is a fast guitar with a big, heavy tone. My feeling about this guitar is that I can play virtually anything I want to on it. It is that easy to play. If you are looking to shred, then this is your pick.

Things we liked

Great neck
Very fast
Heavy, aggressive tone

Things we didn’t like

Not suitable for all styles
Made oversees


Buying Guide The First Guitar for Beginner

What to Look for In a Beginner Guitar

best acoustic guitar for beginners

When you are looking for first guitar, you need to know how to spot a good instrument. Here are some things to consider.

Price

First, there is the price. The price of a beginning level guitar should be lower (substantially) than that of a professional guitar. That said, it should not be so low to guarantee that you are purchasing an inferior instrument. Look for something inexpensive but not cheap. This is one of the things that a lot of people get wrong.

Brand

Something to look at before you buy a guitar is the brand of the guitar. Is it a well-known, time-tested brand with a lot of history like Gibson or Fender? Is it a newer but well-respected brand like Ibanez? Or is it something nobody has ever heard of? It isn’t true that only the big brands make good instruments — in fact, many professional instruments are made by small, boutique companies — but when you are buying a beginner guitar it is often smart to stick with major brands that have a lot of quality control.

Tonewood

It is important that the guitar you’re going to buy is made of quality wood. Good tonewood will make the guitar resonate and sing in just the way that you need it so. Have you ever heard how great Brian May sounded? That’s in part because his homemade guitar was made of 19th Century wood that had great resonance.

Pickups and Electronics

One of the most important features of any guitar is its electronics (if it has any). If you are looking at a solid body electric, then you need to consider what’s under the hood. Do some research and find out what people are saying about the pickups on the guitar, the volume and tone controls, and the pickup selector. Read about the features and see what you like.

Action

The action of a guitar is the distance between the strings and the fretboard. It largely determines how easy that guitar is to play. Some players prefer high action, but in general low action is much easier to play on. As a rule, even if you will be raising the action, a better guitar is capable of having lower action than an inferior guitar.

Tone

All of this, put together, makes the guitar sound a certain way. You want a guitar with a great tone — warm but piercing, resonant, clean but heavy. If you are looking for an acoustic, then you will need to consider the specific voice of the instrument — is it shimmering? bright? warm? booming? Consider all of these things and decide which guitar is best for you.

What You should Avoid When Buying The First Guitar

There are a few things you need to avoid when you are buying your first guitar.

  • Many people buy with their eyes. They see a guitar that looks great and they perhaps fall for cheap marketing ploys.
  • A good guitar, however, is not about its color or its shape. A good guitar is about its sound and its playability. You have to sit with a number of instruments to learn what you like, do some reading about as many guitars as you can, and make a learned decision.
  • Many players go too cheap with their first guitar. They think that they can learn on anything. The fact is, one of the things that makes a good guitarist good is that they have the right equipment. That doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands on an American Strat, but you should get a quality instrument.

What is The Best Way to Learn Guitar?

When you’re setting out to learn the guitar, you need to begin at the beginner. The first thing to do, if you don’t already know how, is to learn to tune your guitar. You should learn to tune by ear, since it is easier to gain a good ear if you begin right away.

Beyond that, there are a few basic steps to take to learn the instrument:

First – Make Sure You Have All of The Right Gear

  • You need:
    • a good guitar
    • a set or two of strings
    • a tuner
    • a strap
    • maybe a capo
  • If you’re playing electric, you will need:
    • an amp
    • cables
    • effects pedals (any and as many as you desire).
  • Beyond that, it is all in your fingers.

Second – You Need to Know What to Learn

  • If you are taking lessons, then your instructor will tell you what you need to learn.
  • If you are not, then you will want to use the following resources:

Third – You Need to Make a Lesson Plan

lesson guitar

It helps to be organized. Set goals for yourself (realistic goals) and try to stick to them.

Here is, roughly, what you will need to learn (in order) to gain mastery of the guitar:

The chromatic scale

This is the most basic scale, containing all 12 notes. Every note on the fretboard is in this scale.

Open chords

These are the most basic chords on the guitar. They are played using some open strings and some fretted notes and are usually in the keys of G or C Major.

Pentatonic scales

There are 5 pentatonic scales, which are all rearrangements of the same 5-note series that makes up the minor pentatonic scale. These scales are the foundation of the blues, folk, rock, and country (among other styles) and are easy to learn and remember.

Major and minor chords (and inversions and arpeggios)

Major and minor chords in different places on the neck are the foundations of all Western music. They are easy to learn.

Once you learn these chord shapes, you should learn to rearrange the notes (these are called inversions) and also to play them one note at a time in different positions (these are called arpeggios).

Major and minor scales (in different positions)

7 note major and minor scales are the most widely used scales in music. Once you learn them, you can learn to play them in any key all around the neck.

Seventh chords (and inversions and arpeggios)

Seventh chords are major or minor chords with one note added to them. These are widely used in jazz, R and B, pop, and the blues.

Once you learn these chords, you can learn to invert and arpeggiate them.

Diatonic modes

The notes of the major and minor scales can be rearranging to produce 5 other scales. All seven scales are called the diatonic modes.

Extended chords

By taking a triad or 7th chord and adding notes to it, you can end up with extended chords, such as 6th, 9th, 11th, and 13th chords. These chords are used widely in jazz.

Melodic and harmonic minor modes

Once you have learned the diatonic modes, you can begin to learn the modes of the harmonic minor and melodic minor scales. Each of the 2 sets of modes has 7 scales.

Along the way, learn songs

As you learn music theory and the fundamentals of your instrument, you should be the entire time learning to play songs in a variety of styles (and using a variety of techniques). Use websites that offer free sheet music or tablature at first, and try to learn how to learn songs by ear as you get better.

Practice composition and improvisation

Never forget to practice writing and improvising music using the knowledge you are learning. Whatever stage you are at, you can make great music. Many famous musicians know very little music theory and are rather poor technicians.

Finally – You Need to Put in The Time to Practice

practice guitar for beginner

This is the single most important part of learning. There is no way to get good without putting in the time, and you will progress the fastest if you are playing every single day. It is better to play for 20 minutes every day then 2 hours every few days. So, build it into your schedule and stick to it.

All that you can do is play. All that you can do to get better is put your hands on the instrument. There is no substitute for practice. There is no substitute for the time you spend playing.

If there is one rule in learning to play the guitar, that is it. A famous jazz pianist was approached one night by an amateur player. The amateur said to him “I wish I could play like you,” to which the master replied” No you don’t, because you don’t play as much as I do.” Some professional jazz and classical players practice 4, 6, even 10 hours every day, even after decades of playing.

That kind of time commitment may not be possible (or desirable) for you, but putting in the time every day will help you get better faster. It is the only rule.

Top 9 Most FAQ Beginner Guitarists Ask

FAQ

Every beginning is hard, and the first steps on your guitar won’t be an exception. It’s only common that laymen and inexperienced people get confused from time to time – the questions pop up, but the answers seem distant. This is where we come in – we’re here to show you the ropes regarding the most frequent questions people have about guitars and guitar-playing skills.

You can check out the full rundown below, feel free to ask any additional questions you might have as well. After all, it is your feedback that fuels our passion for writing. Anyhow, let’s kick this thing off!

The Basics

Question #1 – “Where do I begin? I have no knowledge of music theory or guitar whatsoever”

First of all, you’ll need a proper beginner guitar – the one that was specifically designed for immediate beginners. These guitars are usually made of plain materials (so that they don’t weigh too much), and they come pre-strung with a set of comfortable strings.

Other than that, you may want to consider buying a “beginner bundle“. These combo packages often include “learn-how-to-play” video tutorials, beginner music sheets and books, picks, gig bags, and such. Once you’ve geared up, you can begin your training.

Question #2 – “Is guitar easy to learn? Should I switch over to other, more easier instruments?”

Essentially, guitar is a noble, beautiful instrument that is quite easy to handle, but difficult to master. Most veteran guitarists claim that they “still have a lot to learn” – new techniques are being developed even now, and it’s safe to assume that this instrument will reach even greater heights.

Now, as far as the basics are concerned, learning a couple of chords and getting familiar with the strumming techniques won’t pose much of a challenge. Switching to other instruments might come in handy once you’ve learned the fundamentals, as it will improve your overall knowledge about the guitar.

Question #3 – “Should I start with acoustic or electric guitar?”

Depending on your preference, you should begin with the one that feels most comfortable. Most musicians claim that the electric guitar offers an increased level of playability (easier to strum, slide, and such) while acoustic guitars are better for fingerstyle guitarists.

Nevertheless, your intentions should come first – if you’re planning on starting a band, most people would advise that you go with the electric guitar. On the other hand, acoustic guitar is better for certain music genres, such as blues, jazz, and such.

Questions Regarding The Guitar as an Instrument

Question #4 – “What are the most important parts on a guitar?”

Starting from the very top, there’s a headstock or the head of your guitar. It’s outfitted with machine heads that govern the tuning sphere, and it ends with the nut. Going down, there’s the neck of your guitar outfitted with frets and the fingerboard above which rest your guitar’s strings. The largest part is often called the body, even though it’s comprised of the body, back, and sides.

Question #5 – “I have a friend that has trouble with playing notes that are above the 12th field. I don’t want to make a similar mistake, so how do I avoid models with problems such as these?”

This problem is called bad intonation“, and there are several factors that affect it. First of all, bad strings can be the issue. Apart from that, the nut width might be improper, the saddle might not be compensated correctly, and such. Ask the staff of the shop you want to buy your guitar from about how good its intonation is, and check the neck beyond the 12th fret yourself to make sure it’s good.

Playing Style and Techniques

Question #6 – “Which techniques are the most suitable for beginner guitarists?”

If you’ve never played a guitar before, we recommend that you begin with the most basic strumming techniques. Plucking the strings upwards is called “upstroke” while plucking it downwards is called “downstroke” – these two should be your first lessons.

After you’ve handled these, you may proceed to slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and such. Even though these techniques are pretty basic, they will be of much use to you, even at higher levels.

Question #7 – “What are the most common mistakes regarding the guitar techniques, and how can I avoid them?”

Improper tuning would be the most common mistake overall, but, regarding techniques, most beginners tend to use solely “downstrokes” over “upstrokes”. This might not seem too important to you now, but you’ll regret it later.

Another common mistake is bad finger positioning. Over time, your hand will try out and reach different positions that will seem more natural than your original one, but bad positioning will not only make your technique dull, it might be painful as well.

Question #8 – “What is “fingerstyle”, and should I try it out?”

Fingerstyle is a term which describes a playing style of most country guitarists, but it’s used in various other music genres. It refers to using your fingers instead of a guitar pick, and it’s perfect for musicians who play classical and acoustic guitar.

Of course, certain musicians employ the use of fingerstyle on electric guitars, but we recommend that you go with a pick for additional versatility. The sound, as well as the overall feel the strings make is substantially different when you play your guitar “fingerstyle”, and you should try it out most definitely.

Question #9 – “When should I start practicing chords, and just how important are they?”

The chords form the very structure of each song, or riff you’ve ever played or imagined. There are numerous note groups that hold different names – power chords, major chords, minor chords, and such. As soon as you start learning what they are and what they do, you’ll be able to recognize them in songs, and be able to use them more proficiently when making your own.

The reason why most professional musicians recommend learning everything you can about the chords early on is because you’ll get to tap into a massive world of theory, one step at a time.

Conclusion

Learning to play the guitar is for some a productive pastime, for others a much needed escape from the daily grind, and for others a fully spiritual experience. It can be so many things, but it is almost always beneficial, and it is almost always something that people enjoy.

In the end, just what you get out of learning to play is up to you, but if you are going to start (or if you have just begun) then you will want to give yourself the best chance at success possible. That means learning to practice often and correctly, and it means knowing what you need to learn and learning it. But it also means making sure you have the right gear.

Gear is something that most guitarists love. We collect it endlessly; we buy new pieces and sell old ones; we trade gear; read and speak and write about gear. But no piece of gear is as important as they guitar in our hands. And no guitar is as valuable to us as our first instrument. Make your first guitar special and be sure to buy something worthy of your time.

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