Like any major purchase, buying guitars can be both exciting and a bit scary. Buying a guitar isn't like buying an iPod or even other musical gear. A guitar is a very personal thing. You can buy two guitars that look exactly the same, that are the exact same model, or were even made at the same factory on the same day, and they will both play and sound differently. When it comes down to it, a guitar is a big piece of carved wood with a little bit of metal and plastic. So, deciding what kind of guitar to buy involves far more than just a guitar's aesthetic appeal. You have to know what makes a guitar good or bad.
When buying a guitar, you also have to decide whether or not you want
to buy it locally or through an online retailer. There are pros and
cons to each option. It's important to understand both so you can weigh your options. Personally, I've had success with both, but you need to be shrewd about your choices.
If you buy a guitar locally, you can try it out
easily before you purchase so you know completely whether or not the
guitar sounds and plays well. When you buy locally, you can also
develop a relationship with a salesperson that will make the purchase
possibly much easier. The downside is that you are more limited with
respect to selection, and it can be harder to get the best deal (though
many local retailers will match or beat Internet prices).
Buying instruments online will afford you much greater selection and likely the
best prices as well. However, to state the obvious, you can't exactly
try before you buy. Most major retailers will offer generous return
policies (between 30 days and 45 days), though you might have to pay for
Smaller retailers are less generous, though
they typically offer 24 - 48 hour return policies. Smaller stores are
also more likely to provide specific descriptions of the instrument
(e.g. "fast neck," "lightweight") than a larger retailer, so there's a
good chance you can get what you want. Depending upon your state's sales
tax rate, you can also save a good amount of money through shopping
If you have any questions about buying instruments locally or online, send me an email. I'd love to help!