3 Things to Consider When Buying your First Guitar

January 22, 2021

Guitar Lessons NYC - Music Lessons in NYC


Are you thinking about signing your child up for guitar lessons, or taking them yourself? One of the most important things you’ll have to do is know what to look for when buying your first guitar!

It does not matter if you plan to purchase a guitar online or go into a music store – what is most important is to find the RIGHT guitar to use!

Every guitarist has different physical needs and there are many different styles of music which can be played on guitars, the instrument comes in all shapes and sizes.

Here are three things to consider before buying your first guitar:

1. What size are your hands?

There are three different sized instruments that you may come across when shopping for your first guitar:

  • full size (the “standard”)
  • 3/4 size
  • half size

 The sizes refer to the length of the strings from beginning to end and not the overall size of the body of the guitar, which can differ from guitar to guitar.

You may be asking, “Should I buy a normal-sized guitar or something smaller?”

This question is generally best answered by how large your hands are. A young child enrolled in their first guitar lessons may benefit from a smaller instrument than an older student with larger hands.

Half Size Guitars

I would usually not recommend buying a ½-size guitar as they are really only suitable for children under the age of 7.  I don’t recommend taking guitar lessons until the age of 6 or 7.

3/4 Size Guitars

¾-size guitars can be a good choice for children aged 7-10. Children  who are a year or two older may also enjoy a 3/4 size guitar if they have particularly small hands.

Most People Do well with a full Size Guitar!

Above the age of 10 or 11, a full-size guitar will work fine, although you have to be careful about certain acoustic guitars which have very large bodies.

If buying a full-size acoustic guitar for a child around age 10 or 11, it might be worthwhile to go to a physical store to find one with a smaller body. Go and get a feel for them all!

2. Should I buy an electric or an acoustic guitar for my first guitar?

The two main types of guitars are electric guitars and acoustic guitars.

Although the two types can sound very different from each other, the skills you will learn on one will transfer to the other easily if you decide to switch later on.

The main thing to consider when deciding which type to buy is what type(s) of music you want to play.

  • Want to learn rock guitar? Go with electric.
  • Want to learn pop guitar? Either electric or acoustic will work. If you decide upon an acoustic, just make sure to buy an acoustic with steel strings rather than nylon strings.
  • Want to learn classical guitar?  You’ll want an acoustic with nylon strings.
  • Want to learn jazz guitar? A hollow or semi-hollow electric is most common.
  • If you are interested in multiple genres or are not sure what you want to learn, just go with whichever one you think is cooler!

In the end, the guitar is one of the most flexible instruments and you will still be able to play classical music on an electric guitar if you really want to!

3.How much should I spend when buying my first guitar?

For a beginner guitar, one should expect to spend at least $200, though I would really recommend starting at $300.

Some people might think that it’s okay to start on a low-cost instrument at first then graduate to a better guitar later on, but the beginning stages of lessons are when habits are formed. You don’t want to develop bad habits due to compensating for defects in the instrument.

A higher-quality instrument will simply sound better, and if it sounds better it will be more fun to play and inspire you to practice more. That being said, you don’t know if you’ll stick with the guitar forever. Maybe you’ll change instruments after a year or two. With that in mind, I wouldn’t spend any more than $500 on your first guitar.

One last thing to know is that, thankfully, guitars are very easy to sell and don’t really depreciate in value. If anything, they go up!

Contact us for guitar lessons! We welcome beginners as well as advanced, and any style!

– Riverside Music Studios’ guitar instructor Sasha Kern



To sign up for music lessons in NYC or to contact us with any questions please use this form:

(212) 247-4900
Riverside Music Studios
1727 Broadway, Suite 2
New York, New York 10019