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Essentials

Electric Guitar for Beginners

Good day all, in this article we will be discussing the buying process for acquiring an electric guitar for a beginner. There are numerous guitars to choose from that come in all shapes and sizes. When you begin your search, it might be a good idea to define what is your intention. Is there a specific type and style of music you prefer, or would you like to play different types and styles of music. These are all important things to consider during the buying process. Despite the variety, which is great, brings the buying constraints to most of us and that is “money”. The buying process does not have to be too scary, but what experience has shown me, it is a fun adventure that does not seem to disappear regardless of how many guitars I obtain. I will try to break down the key aspects of what to consider prior to selecting your first electric guitar.

Guitar Body Shape

First thing to think about when buying your first electric guitar would be what shape interests you. We are going to discuss the three types of electric guitar bodies, Solid, hollow and semi-hollow. Here, we will illustrate a few examples below to give a general idea with the beginner in-mind.

Solid Body Guitars:

Fender Telecaster is the longest running electric guitar which was first introduced in 1951. The idea is based on modular construction. Necks, bodies, electronics and hardware and be made and constructed on assembly lines and ultimately assembled and bolted together. This particular guitar is known for its bright tone, attack and no-nonsense approach that attract guitar purists that are looking for sheer simplicity. The Telecaster is a workhorse guitar that is widely used by many artists across various genres.

Fender Stratocaster is probably the most widely used among all electric guitar players mainly because of its ability to play almost all types of music with just one guitar. Shortly after the introduction of the Telecaster, the Stratocaster was born in 1954. The stratocaster is similar to the telecaster in design and engineered the idea of mass production. The selection and pick-up configurations vary to provide many standard options and if desired, a wide variety of aftermarket parts that can be easily used to individualize. This axe is clear, bright and an articulate which results in a beautiful range of sounds.

Gibson Les Paul is a heavily emulated guitar in the industry. Gibson made its debut in 1954, to contrast popular Fender modular designs. With the help of a Jazz guitarist Les Paul worked with Gibson to create this iconic guitar. The Gibson Les Paul is a heavy bodied, glued-on neck which is an alternative to bolt-on construction. Gibson took a more traditionalist approach to fabrication. Craftsmanship was evident with the Gibson Les Paul guitar and remained unchanged for the last four decades.

Hollow Body Guitars:

Gibson Arctop guitars provide a lighter alternative to the Gibson Les Paul introduced in the late 50s. Gibson was a leader in the field of archtop guitars. They come to be associated with many leading guitarists. This guitar is genre specific and geared towards Jazz or softer sounding music. These guitars are usually prone to feedback issues because pickups are not usually shielded. Feedback is caused by guitar pickups picking up their own sound from the loudspeakers and feeding it back to the system.

 

Gretsch Archtop guitars launched during the 1950s and 1960s. There were seven principle models to choose from, for this example we will briefly discuss the Streamliner. It is a hollow body single cut guitar ideally used for chord work or fast riffs. Technology has come a long way and today, and the guitars are built with far fewer problems with feedback. This guitar pictured below offer more of a natural tone and lends itself to the bolder guitarist that requires more.

Gretsch 2420 Streamliner

Semi-Hollow:

Gibson semi-hollow guitars are also suited for jazz or bluesy type genres. This type of guitar was introduced in the 1950s and 1960s. This guitar offers a deep rich full sound. Thanks to the central body block was much less prone to feedback at high volume. The ES-335 series guitars were the first time Gibson used symmetrical cutaways allowing better reach to the upper frets.

Cost

All illustrations represent the affordable electric guitar counterparts. Prices vary between models but one can purchase in proximity of each other depending on preference. Prices range from $599 through $699 new. Please see below prices of pictures previously shown above.

  1. Fender Player Telecaster: $699
  2. Fender Player Stratocaster: $699
  3. Epiphone Les Paul Standard: $699
  4. Epiphone 1966 Century: $649.20
  5. Gretsch 2420 Streamliner: $599
  6. Epiphone ES-335 Dot: $620.73

Solid body prices are comparable with one another as is hollow body and Semi hollow body guitars. When purchasing the solid body guitars the versatility is not comparable with other body shapes mainly because of the various genre capabilities that they provide. There are numerous options in the lower price-points than stated above, that may suit you but the ones selected above are proven to be selected by not only beginners but more experienced players as well.

Conclusion

The three types of shapes does give the beginner plenty of tonal options to start the process of buying your first electric guitar. The solid body guitars offer the beginner better versatility without having to purchase additional guitars in the near future. But if your heart is set on a particular type of music than perhaps the hollow/semi-hollow might be the right one for you. It all comes down to the individual. You will have to go to the music store and try them all and see how they feel and sound. It does make a difference, between seeing it online or in a picture and actually holding them in your hands and hearing what they sound like. Generally speaking, the one to select is the one that feels right in your hands and sound good to you regardless of brand. Brand does play a factor, but Quality Control has come a long way in the last ten years. There is plenty of options at a great value for the money so go out and find one. Happy guitar hunting.

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