GUITAR TYPES AND BUYING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS


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This page may be of help those in the market for guitar equipment (prices are approx RRP $AUS:

Nylon String (Classical):
Great for beginners as the strings won't dig into your fingers as much as steel strings. The sound is mellow and suitable for classical, folk and blues. Available in smaller sizes (1/4, 1/2, 3/4) which makes them an obvious choice for kids.
Beginner: Valencia and Ashton ($100+). Intermediate: Yamaha ($250+). Advanced: Custom ($1,000+)

Steel String: These are good all-round guitars. They produce a louder and brighter sound than nylon string models. Suitable for Blues, contemporary, folk and general purpose "unplugged" playing.
Beginner: Ashton, Ibanez, Yamaha ($150+). Intermediate: Fender, Epiphone, Maton ($500+), Advanced: Maton, Martin ($1000+).

Acoustic Electric: These are similar to steel-string guitars but have an electric pick-up and preamplifier installed. You can plug them into your Hi-Fi system or a dedicated guitar amplifier. They also usually have a cut-away for easier access to the upper frets. Acoustic electrics cost about $100-$200 more than their non-electric counterparts.

Stratocaster (Strat) style: If you intend to own only one electric guitar, you cannot go past this type. It's versatility will let you emulate the guitar sounds of 90% of the songs you hear on the radio. Famous players include(d) Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton (on his later albums) and John Frusciante.
Beginner: Squier ($250+). Intermediate: Fender - made in Mexico ($1000+). Advanced: Fender USA ($1,500+).

Gibson Style: These produce a fabulous "fat" blues/rock sound. Not as versatile as the Strat, but if you want to sound like Jimmy Page, Angus Young or Slash then this is the guitar for you. The solid Les Paul models are very heavy and can lead to shoulder pain. SG models are lighter and look great, but the necks can be fragile with a few reportedly snapping off.
Beginner: Various Chinese and Taiwanese brands ($300+). Intermediate: Epiphone ($600+). Advanced: Gibson USA ($2,500+)

Heavy Metal Style: Unless you are sure you will play nothing but metal for the next 30 years (believe me, you'll get sick of it a lot sooner), I would stay away from these. They have a hard-edged sound, over the top styling and usually an expensive Tremolo system which you will rarely use. On the plus side, most examples have excellent action. ESP, Ibanez, Jackson and B.C. Rich are some of the manufacturers. Expect to pay $600+.

Amplifiers: If you are buying an electric guitar or want to plug in your acoustic/electric, you will need an amplifier. Practice units range from $150 to $300. Make sure that the output is at least 15W and that it has a lead switch. Amps suitable for live performance should be rated at 60W+. Brands to consider are Fender, Marshall, Peavey, Behringer and cost $500+. Valve amps sound better than transistor amps but are far more expensive and require a lot more maintenance.

Music gear in Sydney and around the world:
User Reviews This is part of Harmony Central. User reviews are useful if you are in the market for a guitar, amp or any other music gear.
Allan's Music Wide range of instruments. On the expensive side, but they have a huge selection of singing and guitar resources.
Music City Sydney Good selection of guitars, basses, amps and electronics. You'll have to haggle hard to get best prices.
Ebay
It's worth looking at some of the US sellers for new gear. You can save up to 50%, even allowing for shipping costs.

Saturday, 01 January 2011 08:45:26 AM

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