What Is A Good Guitar For Beginners?

A good guitar for beginners - the Yamaha C40

A good guitar for beginners – the Yamaha C40

This is an important question. I am afraid that depending on whom and how many different people you ask, you might get a wide spectrum of input which leaves you with no conclusive answer. To be clear, I am not claiming that I have the ‘ultimate ratio’ for you on this, all I can share with you is based on my experience as a long time guitar teacher.

There are many teachers and guitar players who say that it actually doesn’t really matter what type of guitar you start out on. They say that your fingers will hurt, no matter what. But I fondly believe that your fingers hurt less with the appropriate strings. And I also believe that a good guitar for beginners must be light and not too bulky. Because a new student should not have to bend over backwards to get his fingers where they supposed to go. Believe me, I’ve seen it all over the years and I stand by what I said before: get yourself a light classical acoustic guitar which by default comes with nylon strings. And once you got a few months under your belt, you can absolutely move on to any other guitar type of your choice. By then you will have enough calluses on your fingertips and strengths in your hands to handle instruments with steel strings.

How Much Does A Good Acoustic Guitar For Beginners Costs?

Nothing – ideally. Because the truth of the matter is, if you just made the decision to learn how to play, then you don’t know whether you’re going to stick with it in the long run. I know, I shouldn’t be saying that – after all I am a guitar teacher and I should be motivating you to buy a nice instrument and sign-up for my Beginners Guitar Course. But I would hate to see you spending a lot of money on a guitar which may end up unattended in the attic after a few months. Therefore, I recommend that you ask around in your family or among your friends to see if you can borrow a classical guitar for a little while.

However, maybe you don’t find anybody from whom you can get a guitar. Or you already made up your mind and decided you want to buy an instrument. In that case, I strongly recommend that you look into the Yamaha C40. I own and regularly play that instrument. You can get the C40 along with a clip on guitar tuner, gig-back, DVD, etc. for under $150. It is more than just a good acoustic guitar for beginners – it’s an instrument that is certainly also appropriate for folks who are past the beginner level. Again, I personally use it for my modest attempts in playing classical pieces. You can see my full video review on the Yamaha C40 here.

Of course, there are certainly other good models out there, but I can speak only to the ones that I tried. Feel free to do your own research, but hands down, I don’t think it gets any better than the Yamaha C40. Also, you need to be very careful. Especially parents of young guitar students – all with the best of intentions – sometimes get their youngster a hip “Sponge-Bob” or “Hello Kitty” Guitar. There is nothing wrong with either one of the brands I used here in my example; however, if you are seriously interested in buying an appropriate acoustic guitar, you should not go with company whose primary market is in toys, in my opinion.

What Are Good Guitar Strings For Beginners?

As I mentioned before, I firmly believe you should start with a classical acoustic guitar. Those guitars have nylon strings and they are gentler on you, which is important. Yes, no doubt, your fingertips are going to hurt, even with nylons. But steel strings hurt more, that’s just how it is. However, other than sticking to nylons, I don’t think there is much more you have to worry about. There are many reputable brands that make very good guitar strings. Further below, I randomly picked a couple of offers I found online.

Alright, let’s sum this up:

  1. I highly recommend that you start out with a classical acoustic guitar.
  2. See if you can borrow a guitar from somewhere.
  3. If you want to buy a new instrument, a good guitar for beginners doesn’t have to be expensive. I recommend the Yamaha C40.
  4. As far as good guitar strings are concerned, you don’t have to over-think this. Just stick to nylon strings, assuming you are okay with starting on a classical guitar.
  5. Get yourself competent guidance in form of a good teacher. You may want to look in my online Beginners Guitar Course which is very affordable ($69) for the whole program and you have full access to me as your teacher.
Beginners Guitar Course

Beginners Guitar Course

Let me know if you have any questions. I look forward hearing from you.

Published date: November 16th, 2014 by Ulrich Peise

This article has 2 comments

  1. Hmm…I have no problem suggesting a classical guitar for beginners, but not sure I agree with the idea that the classical is THE best choice.

    For one thing, classical guitars have a very wide neck, which I find hard for beginners. They also (usually) don’t have fret markings, which again is very useful for beginners.

    My opinion is that an acoustic guitar (at least a quality beginner one) offers great playability and can be used for many more stylings than a classical guitar.

    Just my thoughts…thanks for the good reading!

    • Josh, thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts here. I totally get your point and you are right about the width of the neck, fret markings, etc. I admit that my post was very subjective and simply based what I’ve seen over the past 20-something years teaching beginners – on average, I think that the good majority of my beginner students found it easier to start with nylon strings. But then again, I can certainly think of many others would did very well with Western Guitar models for the reasons you mentioned….ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

      By the way, I just checked out your website. Very cool resource, excellent structure and a lot of helpful information for beginners and advanced players. So folks, if you read this, I encourage you to check out Josh’s site – it’s worth a visit!

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