There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a new instrument. The first thing you can do to simplify the process is know how much you’re willing to spend. My caveat with that statement is to make sure you look at a guitar as an investment, something you may potentially have for the rest of your life, and if not, it will have resale value. With that said, it’s a good idea to add 10-15% to your expected spending budget to make sure that you don’t limit yourself. If you really connect with a guitar, you’ll be able to find an extra $50-200.
Don’t be afraid to spend $ on something you love.
It’s easy to get caught up in the opinions of others. Employees at music stores are largely musicians and have strong biases towards certain instruments. With that in mind, remember that you are the only one that can decide whether or not a guitar fits. Much of the time there is no better or worse, only different. As Victor Wooten said “you wear that shirt and I wear this one… neither one of us is wrong.” Feel is subjective; you’ll know if you like the responsiveness of an instrument.
Listen to your hands.
As easy as it is to get caught up in compromised opinions, it is easy to get lost in the glory of famous brand names. A label doesn’t inherently make something positive or negative, it is simply a label. Countless individuals toot the horn of Gibson or Fender and claim that they’ve always played them and there’s nothing better. Coincidentally, these types of humans have rarely given other brand names a real chance because they’re too deep in the stigma. Not to say there isn’t merit in a notable brand name, but don’t let it limit you.
Don’t let words get in the way of music.
Wrapping It Up
If you like a guitar but are unsure of X Y or Z, take it home and play with it for a prolonged period of time. Most retailers have return policy of upwards of 30 days after the purchase. Get the guitar set up the way you like it by an experienced luthier—ideal action, neck relief, intonation, etc—so you can give yourself the best chance to love it.
Your decision should be based on your hands, ears and heart.