Beginner Going Guitar Shopping

I am still a beginner, just making a tentative start on Grade 3. I have a cheap electric guitar I bought on the internet and I’m good enough now to notice the flaws in it (but still enjoy playing it). I’ve been planning, at some point, to go to a store and pick out an acoustic guitar with a slightly bigger budget than I used for the electric.

These plans, in my head, involved me learning something I could play in the store so it wouldn’t be embarassing. You know the sort of thing: Stairway to Heaven :slight_smile: Or at least to have one of my memorised songs rehearsed enough that I could play it confidently all the way through.

Saturday I was in town, had some spare time, popped into the music shop completely unplanned, had not prepped anything to play, but the little devil on my shoulder said “ask to play a guitar”, so I did.

So I’m writing this down in case it helps anyone else who was considering going into a guitar shop to buy a guitar but was worried they couldn’t play anything impressive, or that they needed to rehearse before they went in:

Even though I can play a whole song (badly!) from memory, I didn’t find I needed or wanted to. I found I played little snatches of songs on each guitar. Some loud bits, some quiet bits, a chord sequence, a bit of fingerstyle, playing with a pick, playing that F chord. That, to me, felt like it was plenty to feel if I liked it in my hands and liked the noise it made. The guy in the shop was helpful but left me alone as much as he could and never once commented on my playing.

And yes, I bought a lovely guitar, and I think we’re going to be very happy together :slight_smile:


Great advice Ross, you did exactly the right thing. Enjoy your new guitar. What did you buy?

One of these
It’s pretty, but mostly I bought it because it felt lovely (even the dreaded F was suddenly effortless) and I liked the tone.

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Looks really lovely Ross. Very unusual back and sides. Happy NGD.

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This is something to be really proud of for a Beginner! :clap::clap::clap: I didn’t do this well when I bought my acoustic last year :roll_eyes::laughing:

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Congratulations! That should be fun! What does your guitar look like? The one in the ad has interesting pattern, but odds are yours is quite different. Did the store set it up for you?

Great job! The wall of guitars, or room full of guitars, and the playing ability of other people in the store can be so intimidating.

It’s like I was reading my own mind’s experience as I was just going through the same thing a couple of weeks ago. The first time I went in, I just stood and watched for like 30 minutes, pretending like I was going to pick a guitar to play, but I had no intention of it. I was just trying to get a bit comfortable in that completely intimidating space.

Congrats on your choice of a beautiful guitar, and for being courageous, that’s a milestone!

Congratulations. Lots of great tune to come out of your partnership with the tanglewood.

Courage is needed as a beginner to go to a guitar shop to try out guitars. Our local shop is a small one, no separate room to play without “audience”. The first time it was a nightmare. I was interested in buying an electric but couldn’t play a simple chord progression in that situation… I tried to be as silent as possible :joy:, completly stupid. A few meters away there was a guy who slowly picked the sweetest tones on an acoustic, while I was grabbing one wrong chord after another. That was the end!
Next time I came in the morning, no good idea as well, as it was sooo quiet in the store.
This was the point for me to postpone the purchase of an electric till I’ve finished Grade 2. :rofl:


Definitely I can recognise the desire to play as quietly as possible when there are other people nearby! I had to make a conscious effort to play some bits as loud as I could to hear what it sounded like, even if all I managed was a couple of bars of old faithful in G.

Halfway through my tryouts, a family came in to pick up a guitar that had been in for repair, which distracted the guy who’d been fetching guitars off the wall for me, so I just sat there noodling with the guitar I had (not the one I eventually picked). When I eventually looked up I realised knew them (they live about 5 doors up the street from me), which turned the embarassment up to 11. But then I felt better when I watched them take the repaired guitar away without attempting to play it themselves, they just let the shop guy play it for them which did seem more foolish than me playing some clumsy chords.


Happy NGD, Ross. I hope you have many hours of happiness with her.

Nice looking guitar, that is a lively back isn’t it? :smiley:

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A year ago I had been trying to play an old inexpensive acoustic guitar with high action and decided to look for a new one. I had not been playing for very long and I found one I thought I would like and played a few chords on it. It was so much easier to play and had a nice sound, but I wanted to really hear what it would do. There was another customer who was obviously a good player trying out guitars and I asked him to play something on the one I had found and give me his opinion. He was very gracious to help me and he thought it was a good choice. It sure sounds good to me now that I am getting better at playing. It is a Yamaha, but not a really expensive model.

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Carol @Carol848
First of all welcome to the community.
You said you bought a Yamaha, just wondered what model as that is the acoustic I got recently.
Michael :guitar:

Thanks a lot, @rossbd , for starting this interesting topic.
Lots of different experiences here, encouraging me to share my own, which I made just a week ago :slightly_smiling_face:.

It wasn’t my plan to buy a new guitar. I only wanted to buy new strings, picks, and ask the shop assistant to have a look at my guitar, as I wasn’t sure, whether everything was alright with it (it’s been making clanking sounds). I wanted to know, whether it was a problem of the guitar itself, or the strings, or my playing :flushed:.
As my guitar is a quite cheap one, that I’ve bought online, I was a bit uncertain, how the shop assistant would react to my request. But it went all good. Willing to help me, she took my guitar, played a bit, producing quite sweet sounds (no clanking at all), reassuring me, that the problem is my playing :sweat_smile:. Good news so far - I don’t need to buy a new guitar, I ‘simply’ have to improve my playing :grinning:.

Nevertheless, I wanted to try out a more expansive guitar - just to get an impression, what it would be like… So she handed my a Taylor something for about € 1,100,-. And yes, it definitely sounded sweet, and I really liked the feeling in my hands. But in no way I was tempted to spend so much money for it - not yet. Instead, I bought the same strings which had been on the Taylor. Compared to them, the ones on my guitar feel more like construction steel :joy:.

While I was playing, there was only one other custumer in the small shop, trying out a uke. And the shop assistant left me alone. So, I felt quite comfortable, playing some simply melodies on the Taylor. And to be honest, I don’t think that any beginner has to be shy/scared to play at a guitar shop. We are potential costumers, not performers :wink:.


You had me going there! What a twist, I thought you had impulse bought a Taylor.

Thank you Matt. I am enjoying the community and the lessons.
My Yamaha is FG7355. It had been brought in to the store by the former owner and looks like it was never used, so was marked down. I really like ti.

Sorry, JK, I’m still in love with my ‘old’ guitar :wink:. A new one has to wait - at least for better times on my bank account :sweat_smile:.

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Sorry Michael, not Matt. I looked at your user name and got it wrong.

No problem @Carol848
MAT are just my initials and I am 69 so no prizes for what the numbers mean.

You have got a Yamaha from the same FG range as me, the strange thing I can find it available in Europe but not in the uk, must be called something else in the uk. From the pictures it looks great but the real thing does it feel nice to play as that to me is the really important thing.
Have you posted a picture on NGD?
Michael :guitar:
PS I presume it is a FG735S rather than FG7355

Going with the aim to try out different samples of stuff is a great idea, and way more efficient as you can focus on what’s important to you more easily, rather than getting stuck on trying to recall how the second progression of the middle-eight goes. Plus it would be an unusual ‘tune’ that you could play all the way through to be able to test out everything that you might want to do with a guitar!

Happy NGD :smile: