The first point we want to emphasize is that you should not buy a poor quality guitar for the simple fact that the person who is going to use it is a beginner and does not yet know how to play it.
It is understood that as the apprentice guitarist will start a hard road, he may lose his enthusiasm and with it his willpower and end up getting tired after the first effort. As he does not know if he is going to continue his apprenticeship and training in guitar, he usually opts for a “low-end” guitar, the cheapest if possible. Our first piece of advice is that we should not skimp on the quality of the instrument, although we can fine-tune the price and not start with a concert guitar made by a renowned ” luthier “, but with a good studio guitar.
The reason for this appreciation is that, if it is already difficult to adapt to an instrument like the guitar, in which we lack strength and elasticity in our fingers, the notes sound bad to us because we do not step correctly, etc. we add that the instrument itself (due to its low quality) has a dull sound, that the notes are not maintained, that the frets have a bad finish and bother the hand when sliding down the neck, that even stepping correctly on a fret sound bad because the guitar is not calibrated correctly (fifth), that the separation between the strings and the neck is excessive, making it difficult to play and a long number of etc., then, what should be an exciting adventure of discovery becomes a path hard and unpleasant, in which few will dare to reach the final goal.
Now we detail specific aspects to take into account when choosing a guitar to start
- SOUND: Try to stay with the sound, its tone, the brightness, the duration of the sound. guitars of different brands and prices, you can even ask an employee to interpret the same piece in those that you liked the most and thus, even if you don’t know how to play, you will be able to assess and compare better between one guitar and others.
2º.FRETS: Check the frets one by one , for this you do not have to know how to play the guitar, just press hard with a finger of your left hand (if you are right-handed) one by one each guitar fret until you reach No. 12 and string to string . You start with the thickest string, the one on top and press on fret one (the space between the nut that guides the strings and the first metal bar or fret of the fingerboard, once stepped on, maintaining pressure and without releasing, use the thumb of your right hand to press the string. If it sounds nice and you don’t notice any vibration, it means that fret or note is fine. That vibrating or distorted sound is what is generally referred to as “fretting”.
It is about doing this check with all the frets and with all the strings, think that it is as if when buying a piano you were trying the keys one by one to verify that they are all good and that they all sound, nobody would buy a piano in which some key will not sound, right? . since a well-built guitar, regardless of the price and quality of the materials used, must sound correctly all the notes that press fret by fret.
3rd. Finishing of the frets : We must make sure that when passing a finger brushing the lower part of the neck, you do not get hooked or scratched every time it passes through a metal fret, if this happens it is that the ends have not been filed and polished well and protrude too much and this is inconvenient when playing the guitar. Again, ask the clerk for another guitar and discard this one.
4th. Distance between the strings and the neck : The distance that separates the strings from the neck is important and we must take it into account when choosing a guitar, since this distance will determine whether the interpretation is more comfortable or not. In short, it is more comfortable for the beginner to play a “low action” guitar, but care must be taken, because if it is too low, the “fretting” that we mentioned before can occur.
The recommended distance for a classical concert guitar is 4 mm on the 6th string (the fattest) and 3 mm on the 1st, always measured at the 12th fret and with the guitar tuned correctly.
With time and practice you will be able to decide what type of “action” works best for you or you like more, since a higher action gives more intense sounds.
5th. Pegboxes : although we cannot appreciate too much the internal construction of the pegbox , its external appearance and finishes will give us an idea of the quality, let us think that this part of the guitar, together with the bridge, support all the tension of the strings (which is not little) and many times after a short time of use they begin to fail, jumping backwards when trying to tune the strings making correct tuning impossible.
There are also different types of machine heads , some allow greater precision when tuning and others a little less, but the fundamental thing in the matter at hand is that their quality allows them to withstand normal use of the guitar without giving us problems.
6th. Neck-Fingerboard : A check that should always be done is to take the guitar by the body and align it at eye level looking from the bridge towards the headstock. In this position we carefully observe the line that describes the fretboard, it should have a slight upward slope, but it should not be curved, in general if it has an upward curve it means that the guitar has been in the store for a long time and the neck is suffering the passage of time with the strings tense and unused. Without hesitation, put it aside and have another one brought to you.
Relatively recently, classical guitars have begun to be manufactured with a small but important variation as far as the Neck-Fingerboard is concerned, and that is that they have begun to incorporate internally something that electric and acoustic guitars have incorporated for a long time and It is a threaded rod that allows you to adjust or loosen the tension along it, allowing you to increase or decrease the distance between the fingerboard and the strings. With this simple device it is possible to correct this problem.
7th . Unions : It is important to look at the unions of the different parts of the guitar, since they are another of the clues that will allow us to find a guitar of acceptable quality. When we say joints, we refer to the joint of the headstock area with the neck, to the joint of the neck with the body of the guitar, to the bridge attached to the top, to the rosette that adorns the sound hole , etc. If you see that they have any defect, irregularity in the union, pores, poorly glued, traces of glue or glue, etc. show you another
8th. Woods : It is advisable to ask what woods were used to build the fundamental parts of the guitar, since the price will vary a lot if exotic woods or the most common or standard woods have been used. But do not think that the simple fact of using exotic woods makes a guitar better. Fundamentally, we have to ensure that the type of wood with which the neck, fingerboard and bridge were built are resistant, of the ebony or cedar type.
9th. The price : This is a very personal aspect that varies according to many factors, such as purchasing power, preferences for buying new or second-hand items, preference for a brand or manufacturer, advertising influences, advice, etc.