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Talk to me about playing the guitar (and what sort of guitar)

(12 Posts)
MrsFogi Sun 02-Apr-17 16:19:46

DD wants to take up the guitar. She wants to be able to play "the electric guitar" but is happy to learn on a non-electric. Can someone tell me what I need to think about - I think there may be different types of guitar to learn (classic, Spanish)? Has anyone that has a clue about guitar playing got any gems of wisdom about what is the best to start with, any advice at all welcome as I really do not have a clue.

dodobookends Sun 02-Apr-17 20:33:26

How old is she, and does she already play another instrument? What sort of music does she enjoy, and does she want to do exams/grades, or play just for pleasure?

DH teaches guitar so he can advise once he knows those things.

MrsFogi Sun 02-Apr-17 21:06:58

Thanks dodo bookends - she's 11 and plays the violin (grade 2). She likes The Script, Michael Jackson and Dolly Parton (yes, I know!). Now she's thinking about the guitar she's liked hearing U2, Eric Clapton, Prince, Hendrix. Any pointers would be great.

MrsFogi Sun 02-Apr-17 21:07:33

And I suspect she'd be more interested in pleasure (i.e. being in a band) than grades/exams.

formerlyknownasuser1469397655 Sun 02-Apr-17 21:40:57

The only problem with an electric guitar is it can be very expensive, even initially.

You not only have to consider the guitar, but also the amplifier it requires to be plugged into.

If you buy a cheap guitar, this can be very off-putting, because it may actually be set-up wrong, or just made with cheap components. and could be hard to play, and sound awful.

So, you need to do a bit of research by either finding a friendly music shop, and quizzing the staff (and if it is any good they will be more than willing to advise you, even as a complete "newbie"), or just by reading some of the reviews in the various Guitar Magazines that are available everywhere. They always feature an equipment review, and usually a beginners guide.

Some of the big names in Guitars (i.e Fender, Gibson) have associated companies that particularly make budget versions of their guitars, and they are usually made in places like Mexico, Japan, and even India. Quality varies, but it is a good starting place.

In general, the mainstream quality Guitars are usually American companies (Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker, Gretsch) but you will pay many hundreds of pounds for these items. Of the non-american companies (and this is my own personal opinion only) Yamaha is probably the best quality for a budget outlay.

So, I feel you will probably have to pay up to £200 for a half decent guitar, plus another £100 for a small (good quality) practice amp. If, in the future, she does want to play in a band, the practice amp will have to be upgraded to something more suited to small gigs.

However, like any musical instrument, it is how the player feels about the instrument, so don't necessarily go for the latest "trendy" guitar if she feels more comfortable playing a less well known model. All shops will let you try the instruments, and I suggest you go several times until you find the one that she feels comfortable with. Take your time, a good shop will not rush you, and don't be put off by being a beginner. Ask any questions and don't get rushed into buying anything you're not comfortable with.

Sadly, I have recently had to sell 2 of my guitars (I'm skint), and I had owned them since the mid seventies, so do be warned that it can get a bit addictive once you get started.

Mistigri Sun 02-Apr-17 22:18:21

My DD took up guitar as an 11 year old - initially self taught then with a guitar teacher whose background is as a jazz musician.

If your DD takes to guitar you'll probably end up with several ;) (mine has four now) but it doesn't need to cost a fortune to start with. You just need an instrument that is good enough to make some progress on, and is the right size. It is almost certain that you will end up trading up at some point if she takes it seriously.

FWIW, DD started on an old 3/4 classical that we had kicking around. Once she'd been playing for 3-4 weeks, and it was clear that she was VERY keen and was leaning mostly towards singer-songwriter type playing (chords and fingerpicking), I bought her a scaled down steel-stringed acoustic - she is petite and has small hands. We also acquired an electric guitar quite early on (Fender Strat - good for small hands), and then a year or two ago her "forever" guitar (a Taylor electro-acoustic). She also plays bass, which she prefers to the electric guitar.

If you plan to get lessons for your daughter, it would be worth speaking to the teacher before you buy. But as a general rule I disagree with the PP about electric guitars being expensive - you can get decent playable electric guitar and a second hand amp for not much money, whereas cheap steel-stringed acoustic guitars are often horrible to play and really hard work for beginners. Also, an eleven year old can probably play a full size electric guitar as long as you choose one that is not too heavy and that has a reasonably narrow neck, whereas a full size steel-stringed acoustic may be too large.

If your DD mainly wants to play rock and pop then a classical guitar isnt a long term solution, but it might be worth considering if money is an issue - you can pick up a reasonable 3/4 size classical guitar for a hundred quid. It's not the same (hard to learn barre chords) but it would enable some basic techniques to be acquired and give your dd time to work out what sort of guitar she really wants to play.

But ask your teacher first, or at minimum find a friend who knows about guitars to advise you. Cheap guitars are usually more toy than instrument.

dodobookends Mon 03-Apr-17 00:11:45

If she has small hands she might get on better with an electric and agree with another poster that a Yamaha would be a good instrument, their 'Pacifica' are a good quality and reasonably priced. I will ask DH's advice tomorrow - he's gone to bed now! Maybe find a local guitar teacher and ask for suggestions where to buy a guitar near you. They may even have something she could try out or borrow for a short while to see how she gets on.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 03-Apr-17 11:24:10

Ds has an electro-acoustic guitar. I will have to look up the brand but I think it cost about £200. His guitar teacher recommended that he didn't have steel strings as they hurt beginners fingers.
It plays perfectly well as an acoustic but can be plugged into an amp.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 03-Apr-17 11:24:48

Dh is a musician and keyboard player so we already have amps of various sizes etc.

Mistigri Mon 03-Apr-17 16:22:07

Electric guitars have steel strings too, though they are usually a smaller gauge so require less finger strength to hold down.

How hard the acoustic is to play (vs an electric) depends what strings it has, how well the guitar has been set up and in particular the "action" (the distance between the strings and the fretboard - often too high on cheap acoustics). Also you need to know whether it is too big for your daughter - acoustics come in many different sizes and the most popular type (called a "dreadnought") is likely to be a bit unwieldy for an 11 year old.

Tbh rather than forking out for a new guitar before you know whether she will take to it, I'd get a teacher or someone else who knows about guitars to look at the one you already have to see if it's suitable. As a beginner whether she plays acoustic or electric, she will probably start by learning some open chords and simple strumming patterns - and she can do that on any guitar (though she will find it easier on a guitar that's a suitable size for her).

Note that in my experience it is very easy for an acoustic guitar player to pick up an electric guitar, but the reverse is a bit less true (because electric guitars are basically easier to play).

Paulweller11 Thu 06-Apr-17 21:15:57

Squire (made by Fender) make a good mini electric. Not too badly priced either. You oils probably get away with buying an amp for a little bit. You could always pick up a 10/20watt amp up from cash converters or such shops, as well as a squire guitar....
I wouldn't get a classical guitar- not for the music she wants to play.
I learnt on an encore guitar- but sound quality was poor. Worth getting a squire, but if money is an issue, encore is ok- for now....

Ferguson Fri 07-Apr-17 20:45:05

You have had plenty to good advice, so here are a few web sites that may be of interest:

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