Occasionally, people come to me because they want advice on choosing a new guitar, or because they want to know if the guitar they’ve bought is the “best guitar” out there. Given that I work on them frequently, it’s no surprise that people turn to me for advice. But, there unfortunately isn’t usually a perfect or clear-cut answer. For most situations, there is no such thing as a best guitar, only the best one for you.

Because there are so many to choose from, here are some criteria you can use to narrow down the list and find the one that’s perfect for the way you play:

Think About Your Style

What kind of music do you like to play? Or, if you are new to the guitar, what kind of music do you think you’ll want to play? Often, guitar buyers look at what sorts of instruments their musical heroes like to play and buy the same, or buy the same guitar that a friend or family member has. That might make sense if you plan on playing the same way they do, but if you aren’t sure, it makes sense to look around and try as many as you can.

Weigh New Versus Used

Don’t assume that you automatically have to buy a brand-new guitar. Often, you can get a beautifully maintained guitar – and a lot more for your money – by looking through used classifieds. In these cases, a “broken-in” guitar might have a much better sound and feel than the shiny new model from your local shop, and cost you a lot less.

Know Your Brands

Most guitar players develop a favorite brand over time, usually because they like the feel or tone that comes from a given type of wood, body construction, or pickup combination. If you’re shopping for a guitar, though, now is the perfect time to experiment a little bit and see if you have any new preferences. You should also look into the qualities and drawbacks of all the major brands, so you’ll know how to get what you really need.

Shop by Budget and Reviews

Once you start to understand what you’re looking for, begin to compare prices and reviews. See what other guitar players have to say about each model, especially those who might have more experience with different guitars than you do. Often, this is the best way to find out about complaints or problems that might crop up later.

Play a Few Different Kinds

As any experienced guitar player can tell you, you don’t choose something to play with your head, but with your heart and fingers. So, after you’ve narrowed down the list significantly, get out there and play as many of them as you can. Because you already know what fits your style and is in your budget range, you’ll probably locate one guitar on your list that best suits you pretty quickly.

By following these steps, you can probably narrow hundreds or thousands of different guitars down into a few good options. Then, it’s just a matter of putting together your budget and preferences to find the one that’s perfect for you.

After you’ve found your perfect guitar, don’t forget to call me for Vancouver’s best guitar repair and maintenance, and check back to my blog for more great tips!