I was lucky when I first started playing bass and guitar, and I’ve been lucky quite a few times since. My first instrument was a Fender Jazz bass, courtesy of my mother. My second instrument was a Rickenbacker bass. I’ve owned a Gibson SG bass, a Les Paul, a couple of Fenders, and a variety of B.C. Rich guitars as well. Some of them I kept, others I regretfully traded for something else. They were all great instruments that I sometimes remember fondly and kick myself when I realize I no longer have them.
It would be ideal if everybody could start on some of the instruments I started on, but it isn’t necessary to have the best instruments to learn how to play guitar. I once saw a guy play Stevie Ray Vaughan on a little plastic toy guitar and he rocked it. That’s extreme, of course, and nobody wants to learn on a ten dollar toy guitar, but the moral of the story is this: if you’re heart is in it, you can make anything work.
Today, fortunately, there are good guitars for beginners that fall somewhere in between expensive collectible guitars and plastic toy guitars. In fact, there are a whole range of mid-level guitars that make good guitars for beginners that offer both affordability and playability. Both Fender and Gibson offer lower end versions of their most popular guitar models in the Squire and Epiphone. These guitars are produced in mass quantities out of the country, but they are still of high quality and can be had at a reasonable price. While Squires and Epiphones are more affordable than their American-made counterparts, they can still be outside the budget of some beginning guitar players. Fortunately, there are even lower priced alternatives available.
Yamaha, Fender, Epiphone, and Alvarez all make affordable acoustics that are good guitars for beginners. Gretsch, Schecter, and Ibanez make excellent lines of starter guitars that play well and won’t break your budget.
Good guitars for beginners can often be found in your local pawn shop. Sometimes you can find high-end guitars for a little less than you’d find them new, but you have to be careful when you buy used guitars. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, find someone who does and take them with you. Buying a high-end guitar and getting a good deal on it is no value at all.