The 6 Second Summary:
From an affordability and learnability standpoint, the most intelligent choice for an absolute beginner of the guitar is any acoustic guitar starter kit. Select one mainly based on whether the kit is affordable and consists of a steel-stringed acoustic with accessories, as brand names don’t matter as much.
Not only will such kits provide you with the basic ingredients to get started with the guitar, but they’re remarkably affordable as well.
As an absolute beginner, your best bet for a starting guitar, from the perspective of affordability and “learn”-ability, is any acoustic guitar starter kit, so long as the kit comes with a steel-stringed acoustic of the proper size, a gig bag, and supplementary accessories.
In fact, don’t feel concerned with brand names, since they’re largely all quite alike; instead, make your selection based on the kit being acoustic, having the proper guitar size, and having a lower price point.
Try to hold back that impulse for instant gratification, in case you feel driven to get more expensive gear!
Why Go Cheap vs. Expensive?
Firstly, at this stage, you’ll still be gauging whether you can integrate the guitar within your daily life over the long term; it’s a lot like raising a dog, it requires lifestyle adjustments, and sudden changes in work, relationships, or life in general may throw your guitar learning into limbo, in which case you’ll have wished you didn’t spend $1,000 on a guitar quite yet!
Secondly, as a pure beginner, you won’t likely be able to discern the sonic and ergonomic differences between an expensive guitar and a cheap starter kit guitar, so there’s overall more risk than reward in spending lots right away.
As a bonus, starter kit guitars usually come with a plethora of accessories, often with a value of $20 to $30 on their own, including items like a tuner, capo, and soft carrying bag. Not only does this add to their economical value, but it saves you time and energy in having to individually purchase these useful items for yourself in the future.
Start Affordably, Then Upgrade Later
In fact, the real recommendation here is to start with a starter kit guitar, for $100 to $200, then, once you’ve graduated to being an intermediate player within about 3 months’ time, reward yourself with a nicer guitar!
Planning for that, you’ll help engineer your own motivation to progress on the guitar faster.
3 Buying Factors to Consider
In the next days, as you browse the market for the acoustic starter kit for you, focus primarily on 3 key factors: whether it’s acoustic, the size of the guitar, and whether the acoustic is steel-stringed; other aspects like the type of wood, at this stage, won’t be as important, if it all.
1. Acoustic (not Electric)
Firstly, ensure the starter kit guitar you buy is acoustic, since learning on an acoustic guitar is quite simply more advantageous for beginners.
You can read up in greater detail why learning guitar on an acoustic (rather than electric) is superior for absolute beginners, but, to summarize the main details, it’s more affordable since there’s less equipment to manage, acoustics are more portable which allows you to practice in various spaces (outdoors or indoors) with ease, and most importantly acoustic guitars force you to develop your technique better since you can’t rely on an amplifier to help produce your sound.
If you’re really itching to get an electric guitar, plan to graduate to an electric guitar after 3 months of initial learning on your acoustic.
2. Proper Sizing
Next, when selecting your acoustic guitar starter kit, ensure it’s the proper-sized guitar. By having a guitar of the proper size, you’ll experience less shoulder and back strain, and it’ll be easier for your fingers to properly fret the notes.
As a quick reference, for children under 8, try getting a ½ sized guitar; for children under 16, try getting a ¾ sized guitar; and for any age above that choose a full-sized guitar. Know that, if it’s unspecified whether the guitar is full-sized, it’s most likely full-sized.
3. Steel-Stringed (Rather than Nylon-Stringed)
Finally, know that a steel-stringed guitar is best for your acoustic guitar starter kit.
Typically for western music, the steel-stringed guitar is far and away the most prevalently used in music, so you’ll be able to more easily play along with your favorite songs if your guitar is also steel-stringed.
Nylon strings tend to be used more so for classical and flamenco guitar; unless you’re planning on playing those genres, opt for a steel-stringed guitar.
That Sums it Up!
That really summarizes all you’ll need to think about when purchasing your starter acoustic guitar kit! You might be surprised by how simple the selection process is, but that really should cover it.
As you gain more familiarity with the guitar’s sound and feel, the buying process will become more nuanced for future guitars, but at this level it’s quite straight-forward in just thinking about whether it’s acoustic, properly sized, and steel-stringed.
What’s the Worst Beginner Guitar?
Just to cover all the bases, you may ask the question, “what’s the worst guitar for a beginner?”
To answer that, the worst guitar for a beginner is no guitar at all! In other words, if you’ve been struck by that sudden wave of passion to learn the guitar, don’t also get struck by option anxiety when choosing a guitar.
Instead, simply make a cost-effective choice based on suggestions you’ve read here as well as elsewhere, and take advantage of your curiosity and passion so it drives you up the guitar learning curve.
Suggestions for Beginner Acoustic Guitars
Now, here are some example suggestions of acoustic guitars which would be ideal for an absolute starter. Know that any steel-stringed acoustic guitar starter kits of the proper size, not just the ones below, will be fine (again, don’t worry about the brand).
Here’s a kit which should have everything you need to get started with your guitar learning.
It’s got what appears to be a nice carrying case, alongside essentials such as a strap, capo, extra strings, a tuner, and other accessories.
The finish is that natural spruce color, so you’ll have that classic acoustic guitar look.
At the time of writing this, they’ve got lots of these in stock, so you should be able to have one delivered to your home within just a few days.
This kit should also have everything you need to get started with learning guitar.
Again, brand doesn’t matter at this stage of the guitar learning journey, so as long as you have a guitar and the essentials, you’ll be set to go!
This one includes a carrying case, alongside the essential accessories; the main difference is the finish, which is a bit mellower than the natural finish of the Aklot guitar above. Otherwise, they’re quite similar and affordable and should serve you well!
It looks like this one is in good stock so you should be able to have one delivered to you soon.
After your purchase, I’m looking forward to seeing you in the upcoming lessons to learn guitar on your new equipment! This is a course you can freely follow along with to graduate from an absolute beginner, never having touched the guitar, to being an intermediate within 12 weeks.