6. Tips for Beginners

Most first-time electric guitar buyers have a very clear idea of the type of guitar they want – very often the instrument played by their hero, or at least a passable copy. Classical guitar makers are rather more anonymous, and their instruments all look almost exactly alike. At the high end, most serious players end up ordering an instrument hand-made to their exact specifications, though there are a few very respectable ‘off the shelf’ makers, such as Ramirez, catering to this end of the market.

One sound piece of advice should be given to beginners on many instruments - there is no need to spend a fortune, but the very cheapest instruments should generally be avoided. This is particularly true of the classical guitar, which has a long history of cheap ‘student’ models. The very cheapest guitars exist primarily to hit a price point which guarantees ‘mass market’ sales and bulk purchases from schools, and are often of inferior build and finish. A very poor quality instrument can be both difficult to play and disheartening to the beginner. If in doubt, a fairly safe approach is to restrict your choice to the major brands such as Yamaha, Höfner and Fender.

Like other classical stringed instruments, beginners’ classical guitars are made in a variety of smaller ‘quarter’ sizes. The ¾ size is a popular choice for young players - ½ , ¼ and even 1/8 sizes are intended for very young players. While these instruments do have their place, they tend to be of inferior quality, which as mentioned above is often an obstacle to progress on, or enthusiasm for, the instrument. It’s always better to have an instrument that feels slightly too large at first, than one which quickly feels too small.

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