So you have decided you want to learn the guitar? Now has never been a better time to start! When choosing to learn a new instrument it can always be a little daunting to know what equipment you need, what is essential etc
At Sutton Music Centre we have many years of experience in both providing musical instrument equipment advice for beginners to seasoned professionals as well as providing musical instrument tutoring.
We aim to provide you with a list of essential products to start you on your guitar playing journey!
You will obviously need a guitar to practice and learn on. There are 3 main styles of guitar; electric, steel strung acoustic and classical. In order for you to know what guitar to start on it’s important to think about what kind of music gets you inspired and what style of guitar playing you want to learn.
It’s common for beginners to be unsure of this question so we start of by suggesting that if you wish to be able to play along with your favourite songs that you hear on the radio it’s worth considering either an electric or a steel strung, as they are better suited to contemporary music.
There are many electric guitars on the market so making a decision can be a little daunting. Comfort and versatility are key. Most teachers for that very reason would suggest a Stratocaster style guitar. They are easy to play and offer many tonal variations that provide you with classic electric guitar tones. We suggest you check out our Aria range of electric guitars:
If you are less interested in the sounds of electric guitars and playing guitar solos/single note melodies you may want to consider steel strung acoustic guitars. These are better suited for strumming chords which is perfect if your goal is more based around playing along with songs you like. Steel strung acoustics come in various body styles and designs. The main ones being the Parlour shape, a folk body or a dreadnaught. Parlour guitars are very popular at the moment due to artists such as Ed Sheeran and are small bodied instruments, these are particular comfortable if you are quite small. Folk style bodies are slightly bigger but would still be considered small and therefore easily managed by beginners. Dreadnaught designs are the larger of the body shapes and will, because of this, produce a little more volume and a richer tone; these instruments are perhaps a little better suited for adults and teenagers. In truth it’s hard to say what is the right instrument for you as what ever instrument inspires you to play is what is right for you! For both playability and quality we feel Tanglewood’s Crossroads range is a great place to start.
If you have a son or daughter who is interested in learning and is quite young we tend to suggest that a classical guitar is the best way to go. This is partly due to them being available in 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 sizes and they are also strung with nylon strings (as opposed to steel) making them much more gentle on younger fingers. Any one of our members of staff will happy to assist you in store on finding the right size guitar for your child.
Our top picks are the Valencia 200 Series and the Aria Fiesta!
A Guitar Amp
If you have decided that you want to play the electric guitar you're going to need an amp. There are many different types of guitar amps on the market and it can be intimidating to navigate. We would suggest that to get you started you just need something simple so one doesn’t get too distracted by all the various pre-amps, cab simulations, effects modelling etc. (unless that's exactly what you want then by all means, go for it!) The SoundSation Cream 10 is our top pick for a basic starter amp but if you want something a little more in depth and modern then check out the Mustang series from Fender
A Guitar Tuner
Whether you want to be playing electric or acoustic guitar, it’s important to understand that the tuning of a guitar is part of the daily maintenance. In order to see fruits of your practice, it’s vital for the guitar to be in tune to sound good. Our top picks include the Snark Clip-On Tuner or, if you have more elaborate needs, the Korg Polyphonic Clip-On Tuner.
A guitar pick or plectrum is a small piece of plastic that the player uses to strum the strings. If you are starting on classical guitar, often teachers will instruct students to use finger based strumming techniques but if you are playing electric or steel strung acoustic it is usually suggested to use a picks. Picks come in varying sizes and thicknesses. Most people will find they have a personal preference so it is good to buy some varying sizes and see what you prefer. Our top picks for picks would either be the TORTEX Standard's from Dunlop or this assorted bag of picks from Fender.
A Gig Bag/ Hardcase
If you’ve got yourself a guitar, it’s important to consider a case if you are planning on travelling with it. We offer an extensive range of styles with varying degrees of padding. If you're looking for a case for your acoustic guitar we'd recommend either the soft-case or hard-case from Kinsman or alternatively the soft-case from RokSak or hard-case from Hiscox.
A metronome is a tool that musicians use to practice with to help them develop good time keeping skils. They are devices that provide a consistent click measured in beats per minute, they can be either digital or clockwork and often provide a visual tempo as well as sound. Our top pick is the Korg MA-1