The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Feliciano Guimarães
Photo courtesy of Feliciano Guimarães via Wikimedia under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

How to Find the Perfect Guitar for You: Budget-Friendly Edition

One of the most important things when learning a new instrument is its quality. When it comes to guitar, the condition will make or break your learning experience and how much you enjoy playing it. Finding an exceptional guitar on a budget might seem impossible, but there is actually a wide variety that won’t break the bank. From simplistic acoustic guitars to extreme electric guitars, here is a guide to finding the right guitar for your budget.

So, let’s get the “boring” stuff out of the way. When looking for a guitar, it is advisable to follow a budget. One reasonable budget for a guitar is to spend $200 to $500. While $200 may seem steep for the low end of the budget, I strongly recommend you don’t go any lower. Guitars below $200 often sacrifice a lot and cut corners to provide an affordable product. Some of the corners they cut result in the guitar being unplayable. Again, I encourage you to save that extra money and purchase a slightly more expensive guitar; the difference is day and night.

A smart way to find higher-value guitars on the cheap is by checking out the used market. Websites like Reverb, Sweetwater, and eBay offer a solid selection of used instruments at relatively good prices. However, when buying a used guitar, or anything used for that matter, you carry the risk of buying a defective item. If you purchase a non-functional guitar, the manufacturer can’t take the instrument back and offer a replacement.

So pay close attention to the return policy of a marketplace. Some marketplaces, like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or your local guitar store, grant you the opportunity to view the guitar in person. Ultimately, each option has its pros and cons. You should check a variety of websites to see what the best options are for you.

Now that we’ve established the financial aspect of finding your guitar, it’s important to take into account the type of music you want to learn. Some guitars are more effective than others when it comes to particular genres and styles of music. For example, you wouldn’t want to play metal riffs on an acoustic guitar or play jazz on a baritone guitar. Although possible and potentially nice-sounding, some guitars are not designed for certain styles. But if you want a versatile guitar, there are a handful of options that can handle multiple genres.

Certain brands appeal to certain genres, like how Gibson caters to classic rock, or how Ibanez fits best with modern metal. Understanding the role a brand plays (no pun intended) in a genre is key to finding exactly what you want out of your instrument. I love playing progressive rock music, so I need a guitar that has cleaner sounds as well as metal sounds. Therefore, a good brand for me would likely be Ibanez.

I am going to sort the guitars by genre, but these guitars are pretty flexible, so consider all of them.

Pop music is best suited by softer, rhythm-focused guitars. If you want pure practicality, I would recommend the Fender CD-60s (priced at $200), an acoustic guitar that best suits learning the chords of your favorite hit songs. Maybe you prefer electric guitar. In that case, I recommend the Squier Sonic Stratocaster (priced at $200). If both guitars lack the flair you desire, I suggest you look at the Squier Classic Vibe ‘60s Jazzmaster (priced at $430). The nice thing about all of these models is that they offer left-handed variations, perfect for all players.

Soul, R&B, and jazz are genres that require dynamics. You need a guitar that sounds smooth and crisp, but can take the lead as well. For acoustics, you should consider a classical guitar like the Alvarez RC26 (priced at $240), perfect for things like bossa nova (a style of jazz). If you want an electric guitar instead, I recommend the Ibanez AZES40 (priced at $350). If you aren’t sure, you can find a medium between electric and acoustic with the Ibanez AS73 (priced at $450), a semi-hollow guitar perfect for the suggested genres. Unfortunately, only the Ibanez AZES40 has a left-handed model available.

Rock and metal music go hand-in-hand with electric guitars, so don’t expect to play your favorite Metallica riffs on an acoustic. A good starter is the Jackson JS22 DKA (priced at $200), but I’m not a fan of tremolo bridges on low-end guitars, as they are prone to tuning issues. However, this can easily be fixed with a proper setup (intonation checks, leveling the bridge, spring tension adjustments, etc.).

Next is the gorgeous Ibanez GRG121SP (priced at $300) with a unique purple chameleon finish. You’re sure to get compliments with that one. Finally, the Harley Benton 6 BKBL (priced at $485) is a guitar perfect for shredding on a budget. The only issue with any of these guitars is the tremolo bridge on the Jackson, but everything else is phenomenal for the price range.

Finally, I want to cover some unique picks I would get myself. First is the Ibanez Gio GRG7221M (priced at $270). This is the only 7 string guitar on this list, and it’s perfect for the heavier side of metal or maybe even avant-garde jazz if that’s what you’re into. Next, we have the Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V (priced at $330). I love the variety of tonal options you get out of the guitar. The Pacifica has coil splitting (splitting connected coils into single coils), which is usually a feature you only see on high-end guitars.

Last on this list is the NK Headless 6-string guitar (prices range from $420 to $500). These unique guitars are sold exclusively on AliExpress, but don’t let that fool you; these guitars are some of the best you can find for the price. On top of that, you can have them custom-made for hardly any upcharge.

Overall, don’t let these options be the end-all-be-all for your quest to find the perfect budget guitar. At the end of the day, my suggestions are simply suggestions. You might find a better guitar more suited to your interests. Conduct your own research, and don’t forget to check out the used marketplace. Above all else, remember that your guitar alone won’t magically give you new skills but can inspire you to try new things and trek new musical horizons.

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