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Level1 Musicians


Thanks everyone. I’ll do some research and see what’s a good fit for a beginner and the music I like. That’s the other thing I was thinking about; should I focus on music I like, or something else? I feel like learning older music (“classic rock” and the like) may be easier, but I don’t listen to that. I feel like it’d be cool to learn it, and it seems like its “simpler” music, but I couldn’t name a single classic song without looking stuff up.

I’ll definitely see whats available locally to me, but a part of me doesn’t want to go meet someone because I have no idea what I’m actually buying. I wouldn’t know anything beyond “Well, it’s definitely a guitar.” I can see the “make sure it fits me” aspect, though, so that makes sense. But I don’t want to look stupid. I can be up front and let them know I am a complete and total beginner with no idea what’s going on, but then I run the risk of being taken advantage of.

My ideal situation/goal/project is to make a guitar, but I talked myself out of that idea pretty quick because I feel like I need to know how the guitar works before trying to make one. Sure are a lot of cool videos of people doing that, though.

I will do something next week after I get paid, so I’ve got some time to think about it.


When I started, I focused on stuff I liked, because that’s ultimately what I wanted to play. It can’t hurt to look into stuff you normally wouldn’t listen to, though. I say go for both.



Playing stuff you like and want to play is great to keep you motivated, and you’ll pick up some techniques from that. When I was just starting out I’d work on learning a ton of Iron Maiden riffs as I couldn’t do the solos yet. But when I heard parts of songs with interesting guitar I’d make a note then go find the spot in the tab for that part and learn how to do that technique. Particularly with southern rock where they play a note on one string, bend it up then do a hammer-on on the next string. I’ve incorporated that technique heavily into my style of playing.

When looking at stuff you normally wouldn’t listen to you’ll hear other ways to play the guitar you may not expect. And the techniques you can pick up from these other styles of playing can come in handy when you’re creating your own style. For example, hybrid picking used primarily in country can sound pretty cool when done in the right context in a metal tune.

It’s important to note, however, don’t actively try to master the guitar. There’s always going to be new techniques to learn and ways to improve your playing. The number one goal of any musician is to have fun doing what they’re doing otherwise what’s the point?


Is this where you promote your stuff? :smile:


Actually, I’d argue that the opposite will be true in a lot of cases. It depends on what type of modern music you listen to. If you listen to mostly new progressive metal or techdeath or something akin to that, then sure, it will likely be more complex than most items from the standard classic rock catalogue. However, classic rock was built on licks (aka riffs), whereas most popular music today is built on simplified power-chords. Usually, riffs employ a combination of rhythm and melodic filler components that add groove and special characteristics to a song. Most riffs also utilize a combination of strumming and picking technique too, instead of simple strumming of chords. Take for instance the main riff off ACDCs back in black (everyone knows that little riff):

The section in red is the part of the ‘riff’ that adds a melodic fill to the groove. In a lot of non-riff-oriented music (something like modern pop rock), they might just have moved to playing another chord instead of adding in the melodic flourish to end to groove. (E E D D A/C# A/C#). That would be boring as heck, so luckily all music insn’t constructed like modern pop music :smiley:

No need to ask for help at the guitar store unless you need to ask to play instruments (eww). Just take a look at each brand’s low cost option. Sit with it and see if you find one to be more comfortable in your hands than another. You don’t even really need to plug the instrument in.

Did you mention what type of music you’d like to play? Sorry if I missed it! That would be really helpful when getting suggestions from other folks.

I’d definitely recommend against that for your first guitar, but if you do get to that point or just want a fun project, I have some experience there so if you have any questions just ask :slight_smile:


Thank you so much for your knowledge and suggestions. I really appreciate it.

In the past couple months I got a new job locally, which means I don’t go in to the Twin Cities metro anymore. Because of this a trip to a music store would be a two hour round trip, not counting the time in the store. Maybe I can do it on a Saturday coming up.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned my music tastes. If it’s alright I’ll just link my The top 50 artists are a pretty good representation of styles I like.

Maybe based on my tastes I can narrow what type/style of guitar I should be looking for?


The most important thing to look for in a guitar is how it feels. You can tweak everything except that. Other than the feel, you may worry about the weight if you’re going to be standing while playing (or just get a really comfortable strap like Steve Harris has). Guitars may be associated with different styles, but when it comes to electrics, you need only to worry about the feel.

Many people say the sound is extremely important. I disagree. The sound can be made into anything with some gear, but the feel can’t be. It may be difficult to figure out what guitar feels right to you, this is why you to to the store and handle as many different kinds as you can before making a decision. Since you’re in MN you might be somewhat close to a Riff City guitar which is a pretty good store.


If visiting a music store would be too much effort, then don’t worry about it. However, as a few of us have been noting, it can be quite important to hold a guitar before making a purchase. I think that we are just trying to make sure that you have the best learning experience as possible. Personally, in hindsight, I did not end up liking the beginner’s guitar that I bought and that caused some issues with me not diving into learning and playing as much as I would have liked.

If you aren’t able to make it to a shop or if the shop you have access to doesn’t have a decent selection, then I’d suggest to pick something really designed for ergonomics and easy playability (aka not an odd shape - no V’s, RR Vs, Les Pauls, SGs, MLs, etc).

Also, I totally agree with what @ThatBootsGuy said - you can mold your tone with other gear down the road, so for now, it is most important to have something comfortable to play.

Here’s some recommendations:


I’m gonna add the Ibanez GRG120BDX to this list. I used to own one, and in my opinion it’s a rock-solid beginner guitar.