Monday, October 06, 2008

Tips For Buying Guitars and Equipment

By: Dave Long

A guitarist's equipment is an important investment for someone
that wants to learn to play blues guitar. There isn't a "best"
of anything, it all will come down to personal preferences. In
the end, it really does come down to trying things out and
finding what is best for you.

Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitars are one of the easier things to purchase. All
you really need to do is pick it up and see if it feels good and
it sounds good. Even if it has pick-ups (usually piezo),
generally an amplified acoustic guitar is only done so to make
it louder, not as an inherent part of the instrument, which
makes the interaction between the guitar and the amp less
important of a factor.

Electric Guitars

Electric guitars are a bit harder to try out than acoustic
guitars. For one thing, the amp is actually just as big a factor
in the tone as the guitar itself. A guitar plugged that sounds
great in a high end boutique amp at the store isn't going to
sound the same when you take it how and plug it into a practice
amp. Comfort is still important and should be the main thing you
look for when getting an electric guitar. If it isn't
comfortable to you, it isn't worth worrying about whether it
sounds good. Also, unlike an acoustic guitar, it is possible to
change the sound of the guitar by putting in new pick-ups.


As a note, there are separate amplifiers designed for acoustic
and electric guitars, while they can be switched, generally you
want to match them up because they are designed slightly

With an acoustic guitar amp, basically you are looking for
something that retains as much of the original acoustic guitar's
sound, just a louder version of it.

Electric guitar amps, on the other hand, are just as important a
part of the sound as the guitar itself. Playing around with the
amp before buying it is quite important to get a feel of if the
tone is one that suits your needs.

One thing to keep in mind is amp wattage only vaguely reflects
the approximate volume, it isn't an exact measurement of it.
Despite the rumors, tube amps are not louder than solid state
amps with the same wattage.

Changing volume does have an impact on tone, and on many tube
amps, the more desirable tones tend to be at higher volume
settings than on solid state amps, but they are not actually

Other Pieces of Equipment

There are two more pieces of equipment that every guitarist that
wants to learn to play blues guitar really should have.

The first is a metronome, which is important to developing a
good sense of timing, a skill important to any musician.

The second is an electric tuner (as a note many have microphones
so they can be used with acoustic guitars as well). Playing in
tune is critical, especially early on. Tuning by ear still
requires carrying something around for a reference pitch, an
electric tuner simply saves time and reduces the amount of error
for a starting guitarist.

About the author:
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Dave Long is a contributor to where he provides free
guitar tips and advice.