5 Things To Look For When Buying Your First Guitar

Posted Apr 15, 2024

Featured Stories / Playing Tips

5 Things To Look For When Buying Your First Guitar

There are plenty of reasons to take up playing the guitar, whether it be to make friends, build a new skill, or simply because you've always wanted to learn, there are tons of benefits to playing any musical instrument!

Don't believe us? Countless studies have been done on the subject of the benefits that come from playing a musical instrument. Young or old, learning the guitar has been proven to be a boon in several different aspects of life.

Here are 5 ways guitar playing improves your life:

  • Hand Eye Coordination - Each of your hands must move independently while playing the guitar, it might be difficult at first but with practice this skill will become like second nature.
  • Self-Confidence - Getting up in front of group of people can be daunting, but playing the guitar can help overcome your nerves by playing for friends, family, or even on stage!
  • Social Skills - Whether its people you meet at guitar lessons, an open mic, or by joining a band, playing the guitar is a great way to expand your social circle!
  • Memory - Learning and practicing challenging songs until you can play them without sheet music is a great exercise for your brain and can lead to improved memory over time.
  • Stress Relief - Adding guitar-playing into your routine is an excellent way to decompress and focus on something that brings you both joy and satisfaction.

These reasons only scratch the surface of some of the wider benefits brought on by playing the guitar, not to mention the gratification you'll feel as you begin to see your skills improving over time!

Now that you know how playing an instrument can benefit you, it's time to figure out what makes a great beginner instrument! Whether you’re looking to buy your own guitar, or buy one for the young musician in your life, it can be difficult to find the right fit for a “First Guitar.”

Ultimately, a good guitar is going to make it easier for you to learn! The wrong instrument may be uncomfortable for you to play, hurt your hands, and make it easier to want to 'give up' on your journey to learn the guitar.

5 Ways Guitar Playing Improves Your Life

Here's a few things to look for while shopping for your first guitar:

  • Find a Guitar That Stays in Tune - When you are just starting out, the last thing you want to do is re-tune every time you sit down ready to practice. There are a few things that can impact tuning stability - like the guitar being properly intonated and having a nut that is seated well and set up for your string gauge. If those things sound confusing, don't worry, your local guitar shop can help guide you.
  • Look For a Model With Low Action - When talking about guitars you’ll often hear that they may have lower or higher action, but what does this mean to you as the player? The action is the distance from the middle of the string to the top of the fret. This distance is adjustable to a point but varies from guitar to guitar. Too low, the guitar will buzz. Too high, it’s unnecessarily hard to play. In general, slightly lower action is recommended for beginner players as less pressure is required to press on the strings which allows you to focus more on finger placements than a higher action might!
  • Feel for Smooth Frets - Ensuring that the frets are smooth all the way up the fretboard on either side of a guitar’s neck is an important habit to build when guitar shopping. This simple test allows you to feel for any sharp or protruding edges. A smooth, rounded edge makes for more comfortable playing—along with saving your fingers from annoying or painful snags!
  • Make Sure You Like How it Looks - On top of function and feeling, it’s important to find a guitar you find aesthetically pleasing—you will be wearing it after all! There’s no wrong answer when it comes to preference on cutaways, color, or finish, only what feels right for you.
5 Ways Guitar Playing Improves Your Life

We understand that many players (or parents buying guitars for beginners) may not want to break the bank when shopping for their first guitar. At PRS we developed a whole line of instruments (our SE Series) to offer professional quality at modest price points. Our SE CE 24 Standard Satin, for instance, is available for only $499.

SE CE 24 Standard Satin

Below, hear what one guitar teacher and two of his students have to say about the SE CE 24 Standard Satin and why they love playing guitar below:

One of the best assets you can utilize when picking out your first guitar are of course your local guitar shop dealers. They can help answer plenty of questions and point you in the right direction to find an instrument that's right for you! Click here to search for your nearest PRS dealer.

So now you're armed with the knowledge of how playing an instrument can benefit you, and the basics of what to look for while buying your first guitar! With this information in mind you can think about your plan to truly begin learning. There are countless resources on platforms like YouTube, or books to get you started, but if you have the resources for dedicated one-on-one lessons with a teacher, your chances of building a strong foundation for playing the guitar are greatly increased.

While there is no one "right" way to begin learning the guitar, it's important to remember that no matter your skill level, playing is meant to be fun above anything else! Happy strumming!