11 Things To Consider Before Buying A Guitar

11 Things To Consider Before Buying A Guitar

Set your stage.
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Music helps define us. Music defines our culture and our heritage. Many of us aspire to be great musicians or to make it big in the music industry. Although most of us will never achieve the latter, it will not stop us from trying. I am a musician who plays guitar, and I am going to share a few things you need to know before purchasing one.

1. Play the guitar, before you buy it.

Although that guitar may look cool online, you may hate the way it feels in your hands. I have had that experience plenty of times and it is a terrible feeling to spend a great deal of money on a guitar that depreciates as soon as the purchase is completed. Although the guitar may look cool, it may not play that way. I personally made this mistake by purchasing a BC Rich Warlock. I loved the way it looked, but as soon as I got the guitar, I hated the way it played and immediately tried to get rid of it.

2. Research the guitar.

Research is key. Guitars vary greatly and only you know the type of tone that you want to have. I would not recommend buying a guitar with active EMG pickups if you hate playing with the distortion on.

3. Step outside of the box.

Nothing is more bothersome than to see musicians following the pack. Blaze your own path; this is your guitar! This will be the crafter of your sound, so avoid selling yourself short by following the crowd. Don't sound like everyone else! When you follow the crowd, nothing will distinguish you from the rest of the pack.

4. Know your neck.

There is enormous variation in the neck of guitars. (The major shapes for the necks are the C-shape, which is more rounded; the V-shape, which is more pointed; and the U-shape which is more squared.) Beyond the basic shape of the neck, there are many other things to consider! The fretboard is the next major item I want to draw attention to. The type of wood for the fingerboard is the first item for consideration. Some woods play faster, while others provide a thicker sound. Like everything else about buying a guitar, it is all about your taste and the tone you are trying to get out of the guitar. Fret size and fret count are also major factors. Most guitars range from 22 - 24 frets, but the size of the frets is the real key. For those of you with larger hands (or those who simply want a little more room), I would recommend jumbo frets.

5. Know your price range.

This could be a "make or break" point for some of us. I would love to have a huge budget for my next purchase, but sadly that is not the case (college student, anyone?). This point gets overlooked more often than it should. Try to avoid falling in love with a guitar that you know cannot fit into your budget.

6. Used or new?

Trust me, I love a good deal as much as the next guy, but think about buying a used guitar like buying a used car: only get it if you know what you are looking for. There are heaps of problems that can stem from both purchases if you end up with a lemon. A couple of questions I would ask when buying a new guitar: "Does it function properly (i.e., pickups and electronics)?, Is the neck warped?, and How does it look cosmetically?"

7. Electric or acoustic?

At this point in the shopping process, you should already have an idea of what you are wanting. However, this question is still important. Ask yourself: "What do I need?" and "Which option will benefit my collection better in the long run?". You may have fallen in love with that new electric guitar, but why would you want another electric when you are in need of an acoustic?

8. Know what you are looking for.

I recommend not stepping foot into a music store until you have a short list of guitars you want to play. Go into the music store with a purpose, because if you have done your research, you already know more than most of the customer service personnel. It is the employee's job to sell you something, so if you go into that store unprepared, you may just walk out with a guitar that you never even wanted.

9. Age is important.

Your age can play a big role in what guitar you want to buy. When I was younger, I dreamed of sounding like the 1980s era rock music and that reflected the kinds of guitars I bought. As I grew and matured, so did my taste in music. Instead of buying a guitar that is only going to sound good playing one type of music, think about your future goals and intentions for the guitar. Doing that might save you some money in the future, if you choose a versatile instrument.

10. What else do you need?

Buying the guitar is only one piece of the puzzle. You will need a few other things to accompany it. First, buy your guitar a hardshell case. A hardshell case will protect your guitar during transport, and makes it easier to carry from place to place. Softshell cases work too, but they do not offer the same protection that the hardshell cases offer. So, do yourself a favor and buy a hardshell case. The next item to buy is a pack of spare strings. Strings make a world of difference. Who wants to have a jam session ended abruptly by a broken string? You will thank yourself for having that extra pair of strings. If you bought an electric guitar, you are now in the market for an amplifier for it. Amplifier selections are just as diverse as guitar selections and require just as much research.


11. Now what?

This last point is mostly for new players who are looking to purchase their first guitar, however this point may apply to not-so-new players, too. Get yourself some lessons. Learn how to play the instrument properly. Having someone mentor you through the process of learning how to play will help you from getting frustrated and you will be less likely to quit when the going gets tough (sore, callused fingers and all). By having a teacher, you have someone who is skilled in their craft that you can ask questions to and can vent your frustrations to. Also, they can be someone who can help you overcome those frustrations, because it is highly probable that they went through the same issue.

Remember these tips when you step into the music store to start or add to your collection! Play on.

Cover Image Credit: McKenzie River Music

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Severus Snape Is The Worst, And Here's Why

Albus Severus, sweetie, I'm so sorry...

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I grew up being absolutely obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise. I read the books for the first time in second and third grade, then again in middle school, and for the third time in my last year of high school. Recently, I had a somewhat heated argument with a fellow fan of the books about Severus Snape. As I've reread the Harry Potter books, I've noticed that, although J.K. Rowling tried to give him a redemption arc, he only got worse because of it. Here's why I still think Severus Snape is the absolute worst.

His love for Lily Potter was actually really creepy. When I was younger and reading the books, I always found the fact that he held fast in his love for Lily to be very endearing, even noble. However, rereading it after going through a couple of relationships myself, I've come to realize that the way he pined over her was super creepy. It was understandable during his time at Hogwarts; he was bullied, and she was the only one who "understood" him. However, she showed zero interest, and if that didn't clue him into realizing that he should back off, her involvement with James Potter should have. She was married. He was pining after a married, happy woman. If he truly loved her, he would have realized how happy she was and backed off. Instead, he took it out on her orphan son and wallowed in bitterness and self-pity, which is creepy and extremely uncool. When a girl is kind to a boy during high school (or in this case, wizard school), it's not an open invitation for him to pine for her for the literal rest of his life and romanticizes the absolute @#$% out of her. It's just her being a decent person. Move on, Severus.

He verbally abused teenagers. One of the most shocking examples of this is in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Snape literally told Neville Longbottom that he would kill his beloved toad, Trevor if he got his Shrinking Potion wrong, and then punished him when he managed to make the potion correctly. Furthermore, poor Neville's boggart was literally Snape. The amount of emotional torture Neville must have been enduring from Snape to create this type of debilitating fear must have been almost unbearable, and even if Snape was simply trying to be a "tough" professor, there is no excuse for creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear like he did in his potions class for vulnerable students like Neville. In addition, he ruthlessly tormented Harry (the last living piece of Lily Potter, his supposed "true love," btw), and made fun of Hermione Granger's appearance. Sure, he might have had a terrible life. However, it's simply a mark of poor character to take it out on others, especially when the people you take it out on are your vulnerable students who have no power to stand up to you. Grow up.

He willingly joined a terrorist group and helped them perform genocide and reign over the wizarding world with terror tactics for a couple of decades. No explanation needed as to why this is terrible.

Despite the constant romanticization of his character, I will always see the core of Severus Snape, and that core is a bitter, slimy, genocidal, manipulative trash being. J.K. Rowling's attempt to redeem him only threw obsessive and controlling traits into the mix. Snape is the absolute worst, and romanticizing him only removes criticism of an insane man who just so happened to be capable of love (just like the vast majority of the rest of us). Thank you, next.

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