The electric guitar is extremely popular, and has recently undergone a major resurgence of interest due to the prevalence of guitar-based bands. In the past, guitar teachers felt that it was important to get good technique on an acoustic before playing an electric, but attitudes have changed, and as long as the correct tuition is given an electric is just as good a starter instrument.
Like the classical guitar’s nylon strings, the electric’s strings are much thinner, lighter and closer to the fretboard than an acoustic (steel strung) guitar’s, and so are less likely to discourage the sore-fingered beginner.
As electric guitars do not have a hollow body to amplify the sound, magnetic pickups are used underneath the strings which need external amplification, so you will also need a guitar amplifier and an instrument cable to connect it with. Electrics are generally played with a plectrum and you’ll also need a strap.
You can either buy all the components separately, or choose from the range of guitar packs now available which include amplifier, cable, strap and often tuition materials. These packages are ideal and tailored for beginners and take the stress out of buying. Don’t forget to protect your investment with a case.
What to look for
- If you are a beginner, ask your teacher’s advice and don't buy the cheapest model - spending a little more will buy a guitar that looks, sounds, feels and lasts better.
- Electric guitars (especially starter packages) are sometimes available in smaller sizes suitable for younger students.
- Visit several music shops before you buy and talk to someone who plays guitar for the best advice.
- Look for a guitar made from solid wood, not plywood.
- You will also have to purchase an amplifier to go with the guitar so be prepared for the extra cost. Choose one with a headphone socket.
- Most shops will offer a complete package to get you started that includes all you will need, check these out.
- Take your time, don’t rush out and buy the first one you see, you have to live with it for years so make sure it is the right one. A good guitar will make you want to play it.
- Buy guitar magazines that have reviews on the latest products and accessories or get catalogues on the models you are interested in and do some research.