Buying an electric guitar is exciting, whether you’re purchasing one for yourself or picking one out as a Christmas gift for the guitarist on your list. But guitar shopping can also be overwhelming with all the choices available. We compiled some tips you can use to find that perfect instrument this holiday season.
There are different models of electric guitars that will each suit various skill levels and musical genres. Jazz or country musicians often use hollow-bodied instruments, but if you’re just starting out you can probably stick with a standard solid-bodied model. The Fender Stratocaster is the iconic pinnacle of this category, played by stars like Buddy Holly and Jimi Hendrix. If you’re looking for a lower price point, Yamaha, Schecter and Ibanez make similar guitars that are affordable options for beginners.
Electric guitars come in many sizes so as to fit the guitarist. If you’re buying one for your child, here are some guidelines:
- For ages 4-6: 30 inches
- For ages 6-9: 34 inches
- For ages 9-12: 36 inches
- For ages 12 and older: standard size
If you’re buying a guitar for yourself, try some out and see what feels best. Play a few chords standing up, sitting down — even lying down if you can manage it! Many seasoned guitarists choose their instruments based on a gut feeling.
While some guitar makers now use materials like aluminum or plexiglass, the majority of electric guitars are made out of varying categories of wood such as maple, walnut, ash, alder and mahogany. The type of wood in the build affects both the guitar’s sound and quality.
Alder wood was very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, so many vintage Fender guitars are made from this. You’ll get a nice, warm tone with a beautiful high range, but less quality in the midrange and bass notes.
Maple is a hard wood with good sustain, meaning the guitarist can hold a note for longer. It creates a nice, clear tonal quality.
This stylish, dark-colored wood is frequently used to create both guitars and basses. Mahogany guitars have warm tones and a beautiful mid and bass range.
The original solid-body electric guitar shape was developed in the 1930s and 1940s by pioneers like Les Paul and Leo Fender. Now, guitar makers have become more creative in their designs. As long as the guitar has a stable pickup installed in the body, and a well-constructed neck and fretboard, the specific shape of the guitar is not as crucial.
Unless you’re playing sold-out stadiums, you’ll just need a basic combo amp, which has a self-contained unit with an amplifier and speaker in one cabinet.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of picking out a guitar and let your choice of strap become an afterthought. But the strap literally supports your guitar-playing experience, so choosing one that combines comfort, durability and style is important.
Look for a strap that has well-constructed buttons, which connect the strap to the guitar. You need to be able to rock out without fear of your guitar crashing to the ground. Be prepared to choose a material type — most straps are made from synthetic materials like nylon or polypropylene, or natural materials like cotton or leather. Strap width is also important; the heavier the instrument, the wider the strap you need.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re ready to make your first electric guitar purchase. If you’re looking for a great deal on an electric guitar, Pawn USA always has a good selection of guitars, amps, and other musical instruments at a variety of price points. Check out our merchandise online or stop by any of our six locations!