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The Best Guitars for Beginners, According to Our Readers

Holy shit: A lot of you really like the guitar. There were so. many. passionate and helpful responses to our call for the best guitar for beginners. I didn’t bargain for a master class in purchasing your first axe, but that’s exactly what I got, and I implore anyone exploring guitar to go check out all the wonderful advice, education, and suggestions over there—reading through all of that taught me more than any Google search ever could. Thanks, Co-opulace!

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One of my favorite revelations from reading it all is that I don’t need to spend tons of money to get started if I don’t want to ... but I probably should?

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Because I have heard about calloused fingers and fatigue by technique, and considering something as simple as Rock Band can wear me out on my worst days, I’ll pay whatever I have to for something that won’t prompt me to get an amputation later in life.

But I also love that there are many viable beginner options that don’t cost quite as much as I’m willing to spend, and maybe those are more appropriate starting lines for me. Also, I do feel a little less comfortable spending toward the upper limit of my budget after failing to comprehend 90% of your discourse on the topic. Between strings and necks, bridges, and “action”, and the wild variety of acoustic profiles, I have a lot of new terminology and variables to explore!

Sadly, we can only fit five recommendations here, but I’ll be spending all weekend carefully researching your suggestions. Here are your picks (HA! Get it?) for the best guitars for beginners! (There are many more great suggestions at the original post, so be sure to check that out, too!)

Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Acoustic | $200 | Amazon

Illustration for article titled The Best Guitars for Beginners, According to Our Readers
Graphic: Quentyn Kennemer

That’s an easy one. If you want to go acoustic, then a Yamaha steel-string, any of a thousand models they have. Yamaha acoustics have great tone even on very inexpensive units. Seagull is a good brand as well.

DO NOT buy nylon string guitars. They make achieving a good tone difficult for beginners and don’t do a thing to help develop finger strength and calluses. Plus the fretboard is usually wider than any other guitar, so when you try to move to an electric or acoustic steel, the transition will be more difficult than it needs to be. The Strat is a good choice because it’s quiet for apartment dwellers, compact, great for sitting or standing, light-weight ... and there’s decent resale value if things don’t work out. - HeartCondition

Start acoustic. You can pick it up anyplace anytime and take it anywhere. It’s a great sound to start with, and you won’t have effects to mask all the bad habits 😉. Plus, it’s harder to push the strings down, so you’ll build callouses and get stronger fingers faster. It makes electric feel so much quicker and easier when you inevitably get one of those too.

Oh, and get the most expensive Yamaha acoustic you can afford. Unless you’re going for a Taylor, Martin or Larrivee, Yamaha is the best bang for your buck under $700.-



I Think I Canuck

You can get a great acoustic for around $200-300 by foregoing any built-in electronics and finding a guitar that comes with a solid wood top (in general, they sound better than wood laminate tops). I recommend Yamaha’s FG series, although you can usually find better deals in-store for guitars in this range. Sometimes you’ll get a hard case thrown in. You get a jump in quality around the $500-700 range, and another above $1,000. - lemonsoju

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Fender Squier Bullet Stratocaster | $209 | Amazon

Illustration for article titled The Best Guitars for Beginners, According to Our Readers
Graphic: Quentyn Kennemer

I recently bought the 1950's version of the Squire Stratocaster (better hardware than the $200 models) and an Orange amp, stand, tuner and some other goodies for just under the $700 cap. I also have a low end Yamaha acoustic that was about $150.

Go introduce yourself to Marty, he’ll teach you to play. Lots of his videos on YouTube as well. - UpNorthOz

For electrics, Squier Stratocasters have already been mentioned, though the modern Chinese versions (anything made after 2014) are generally excellent. Older ones are way more hit and miss both in terms of build quality and sound, but if you’re buying new it’s not a problem. - J-gongle

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Baby Taylor Acoustic-Electric | $469 | Amazon

Illustration for article titled The Best Guitars for Beginners, According to Our Readers
Graphic: Quentyn Kennemer

I recommended a Baby Taylor to a few people who started and the were all happy with it. Its easy on the hands and fingers for new players. Sounds great (cheap starter guitars sound horrible and might lead to you quieting early on) so even if you do get better and want a full size, you will definitely still keep this one around and keep using it, which is something you usually cant say for first guitars. Plus it’s not a huge price point to start, and if you end up not playing, it holds it value very well so you can quickly resell it to recoup some of that money.- AllUnderstood

I recommend getting a travel-size acoustic guitar. With their smaller fret board and body, they’re very suitable for beginners. Also, you can easily take them anywhere. The portability just enhances its enjoyment.

Two great options are the “Little Martin” or “Baby Taylor.” Both made by two of the best brands in the business, Martin and Taylor. Sure, they’re on the more expensive side, but totally worth it if you’re really invested in learning. - 513att

I don’t want to sound like a Taylor fan boy but I think Taylor currently makes the best acoustics in the world, they are really great and easy to work on, the necks are a bit liek bolt necks so easy to remove and adjust, ebony board on 314s are thick and easy to surface and refret, bracing system really great and electronics simple. - SnixBlossoms

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Fender Squier Affinity Beginner Pack | $333 | Amazon

Illustration for article titled The Best Guitars for Beginners, According to Our Readers
Graphic: Quentyn Kennemer

You don’t need to spend $700-$1000 on a guitar, if you are just learning how to play. You can get a kit that will come with an amp, guitar, gig bag, strap, online lessons and some picks.

There’s always a lot of talk about which make of guitar is better or where it was made. But the best guitar you have is the one you play on. I just picked up an Affinity HSS last week from Amazon. They’re good for a beginner player.

But you don’t have to go new. You can pick up decent guitar for $100 on CL or Facebook. Just bring that guitar to a luthier or a Guitar Center for a setup and you’ll be off playing. - radioout

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Ibanez GSRM 4-String Bass | $180 | Amazon

Illustration for article titled The Best Guitars for Beginners, According to Our Readers
Graphic: Quentyn Kennemer

I picked up one of these bass last year and it is fantastic. Stays in tune decently, versatile, and easy to play (it is a short scale). I’m running it through a Fender Rumble 50 and it is a ton of fun (you can also run this though the Spark amp) - r12ax72

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Associate Editor. I'm trying to be the very best like no one ever was. To play every game in the world is my real test. Finding the time to is my cause.

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