Kittles Music has been in business for many years, and one thing I have always noticed is that we take quite a few guitars on trade. I like to put myself in the mindset of the customer and ask myself some important questions to think about when purchasing a guitar. I divide my thinking into two groups. What to reflect on before I walk into the music store and what I want to learn while trying out different guitars.

Before I get to the music store, I want to have an idea of what I'm looking for.

New or used

One of the first things I like to consider when buying a new guitar is whether to buy new or used. Both have advantages. 

Many manufacturers of new guitars will offer a factory warranty. At Kittles Music, we also offer a Care and Rotation (CAR) package for both new and used instruments. This CAR program includes scheduled care and maintenance for the lifetime of the device.

This is also where I try to establish a budget. Guitars can range from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars.  I try to consider how I will end up using the guitar.  Is it a practice instrument, an heirloom piece, or a vanity guitar? Will the guitar see a lot of use or spend most of its time on the wall?

If you are a first-time guitar buyer, it's often recommended that you start with an inexpensive acoustic guitar and only spend 200-300 dollars. If you are an advanced musician, it may make more sense to invest in an instrument that will run you 1000 or more.

Style of guitar

What type of music do I want to play and what style lends itself best to that playing style: electric, acoustic, or hybrid? Nylon or metal strings? How large a body am I looking for? Will I be particular about the color or pattern of the body? Am I looking for mother-of-pearl inlays?

Manufacturer

There are many manufacturers available when selecting a guitar, whether acoustic or electric. It's important to consider how much of what you are paying for is quality and how much is the name brand. An inexpensive fender may not play as well as a slightly more expensive brand.

How that I have some good thoughts as to what I'm looking for I make my way to the store. 

 

I never purchase guitars online. Picking up an instrument and ensuring it is a good fit outstrips any convenience or savings I feel I get from buying online. 

Quality and Selection 

I try to pick a music store that is well maintained and staffed, has excellent customer service, and a good selection of the type of guitar I'm looking for. I try not to get too hung up on brand names available unless I'm looking for something very specific.

Trying out the guitar

Now that I have access to some guitars to try out I want to check a few details off my list.

Is the guitar the right size? I must be able to hold the guitar using the correct form and posture. 

In the tone of the guitar good? I check for humming and buzzing on every note on the fretboard. It's likely most small problems can be corrected by a qualified repair technician before I leave the store.

Given that new strings and pegs may have a little wiggle in them to start dDoes the guitar play in tune and stay tuned? If the frets or bridge are misaligned, it can result in a bad sound quality.

How loud and resonantly can I play? Can I make a sharp strumming sound without a messy loss of tone?

Am I happy with the balance of the guitar? This means that the high notes and low notes are similar in volume when strummed with the same force.

If you find yourself smiling, take your new purchase home and get busy making music. You will not only find yourself with a big smile, but it will spread to those around you.