For beginners selecting guitars, consider the following steps to ensure a wise purchase and avoid being misled (Chapter 1)

When purchasing a guitar, we must first focus on 2 key questions:

  1. Where to buy

  2. How to assess the quality of the guitar

The guitar

There are generally two channels for buying a guitar: visiting a music store or shopping online. Let's analyze the pros and cons of each:

  1. Buying from a Physical Store:

Pros: You can directly see, touch, and hear the guitar's sound. Cons: Prices are not transparent, and store owners often recommend obscure, high-profit margin brands, making it easy to be misled.

  1. Buying Online:

Pros: Prices are transparent, accessories are complete, and there are more well-known brands (since obscure brands are less known and have poor sales). Cons: You can only understand the guitar through pictures and sound samples, and if a dispute arises, it's unclear how to handle it (many people only know to write a negative review when something goes wrong).

a guitar

Neither method is inherently better or worse. Everyone's goal in choosing a guitar is the same: to buy a fair instrument at a fair price.

For those planning to buy from a physical store, if you are a beginner, it is strongly recommended to bring a friend who can play the guitar. Since you lack the ability to discern the quality of the instrument, even if you see and touch the guitar, you won't know which one is good.

This is similar to someone who doesn't know how to appreciate wine; even if you are given a bottle of Lafite, you might think it's no different from a ¥100 bottle from the supermarket.

Without the ability to discern, your thoughts and actions are completely guided by the store owner, and it's not surprising to end up paying a few hundred dollars extra as a lesson learned.

There are countless online sellers, and I won't specify which store to choose. The reasons for choosing a particular store are varied:

It might be because the owner is nice, the shopping online page is attractive, the sales are good, or other reasons.

Everyone has different priorities, but I must remind you that if there is a significant price advantage, it could either be a great deal or a big pitfall. It's not necessarily about falling for a small gain and ending up in a big trap; it's just that there is a risk of falling into a big trap. Guitars sold at low prices might be second-hand, flawed, in poor condition, or without a warranty.

If you were the seller, would you sell the best-conditioned guitars from a batch at a low price?

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The categorization of acoustic guitars is primarily determined by the type of wood used, rather than the brand. Here's a concise introduction to three distinct grades of guitars:

  1. Laminate Top Guitars ($50-$400) These represent the lowest grade of acoustic guitars, typically entry-level regardless of brand. The top is made of white spruce laminate, with the back and sides constructed from harder laminates such as rosewood or mahogany. These guitars offer average sound quality and limited tonal development, primarily suited for practice. Prices range from $100 to $1000, with some imported branded models costing several thousand dollars, yet still classified as low-end due to their construction. The grade can be discerned by examining the wood inside the soundhole; laminate guitars clearly show three layers, distinguishing them from solid wood guitars. Ideal for beginners due to their affordability.

  2. Solid Top with Laminate Back and Sides Guitars ($400-$2000) This mid-range category offers superior sound quality compared to laminate guitars, featuring a rich, textured sound that improves with use as the wood becomes more resonant. The top is made of white spruce, recognized globally as the premier wood for guitar construction. The back and sides are typically made of rosewood or mahogany laminate. Domestic models start around $1000, while imported ones are priced below $10000.

  3. All Solid Wood Guitars (starting from $1000-$1100) This is the highest grade of acoustic guitars, often used in concerts. They outperform lower grades in terms of sound quality, tone, and volume. The top is made of white spruce, with some premium models using wood that has been naturally aged for decades or even centuries. The back and sides are usually made of rosewood or mahogany, with Brazilian rosewood being the most esteemed, though it is now a protected species in Brazil.

acoustic guitar

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