Is there any point upgrading my guitar?

Hi all, I have been learning with Justin for over 18 months on my 2nd hand acoustic Aria AF-20 N. I can’t remember exactly what I paid for it but it was under £200 from a guitar shop. I didn’t want to spend too much in case I didn’t stick with it.

Well, I did stick with it and I have recently started beginner grade 3. I am still not very good, it’s slow going and I don’t think I am anywhere near the standard of people I see on here. I am lucky enough to be in a position to afford to upgrade my guitar but not sure that there is any point until I am a lot better (I want to avoid ‘all the gear, no idea’ syndrome).

Other than the thrill of the new, is there really any point in upgrading my guitar at my skill level?

I am not interested in electric by the way, I enjoy the easy portability of acoustic and am leaning towards folk style/fingerpicking as my preferred sound.


My advice is buy the best quality guitar you can afford. You’ve stuck at it for 18 months, you won’t give up now.
Just because you’re a beginner and in your opinion “not very good” doesn’t mean you can’t enjoying playing, holding and looking at a quality instrument. Go for it. Life is too short!


Can you go play some?

No idea on the one you have, guitars have many qualities and one Generally won’t cover everything…

Also 2 guitars are twice as good as 1 guitar, known fact.

Plus you can have one in an alt tuning


Hi Kim!!
Yes! If you can afford it. Go for it… a good guitar with the set up that suits you is a huge different on every level. Dont know anything about your 200£ guitar… but an upgrade is more likely to sound better and play better. And then its much more fun and rewarding to play and learn. So yes… dont even think about it. Go for an upgrade. What kind og upgrade and how much money you have to spend… well. That is up to you, but do not by without trying out. And try out as many as you can.

As Gordon said. If you stuck by it for 18 months youre not going to quit…
Good luck :grin:


Ooo, guys with your advice… there should actually be a serious G.A.S. warning above your posts…even I get little gas bubbles and have enough guitars for the coming years uhhh months…??? :see_no_evil: :speak_no_evil:


Roger you know you have enough guitars for at least this week.


What they said :smiley:
That is, if you actually enjoy playing your guitar.
You will enjoy it more if you prefer the sound, look and feel of your new instrument- and that will probably improve your playing too. Do not make the assumption though that a better instrument will make you sound like a better player.
Another thing to bear in mind is, if you buy a quality instrument and look after it (esp. if second hand) it is likely to keep its value and you can sell it later if you want, so are essentially playing a quality instrument for free :laughing:


That’s a very good argument

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O no Rob,
You shouldn’t make it even crazier now :grimacing:… if you’re right … no no no … Saturday I’m going to look in a guitar shop in Amersfoort, luckily a small one and they don’t have 3 types that I want to hold and I have a few weight requirements that are non negotiable unfortunately…but it’s like playing with fire :see_no_evil:


You certainly don’t help Brian, the bubbles are getting bigger… I’ve already convinced my wife of the value retention, … but I sometimes…kuch… bump or drive into things :see_no_evil:, but she likes almost everything I want to purchase :sunglasses:… but my “common sense” :roll_eyes: says…1 accousta sonic and then it’s done for a long long time for now.

…But Tjemig de Peemig, of course I also want to combat inflation… :innocent:

And now I actually want to go to Utrecht(big city big shop…iig next month)


I agree with @RobDickinson if you can go and try some then do. Maybe your current guitar is holding you back, maybe it isn’t and the only way to find out is to try some more.

I remember my first guitar (this is years ago). I struggled and struggled with it and then tried a mid-range guitar in a shop and realised that the chords I was struggling to play was largely the fault of the terrible guitar that I had. Maybe you’ll try a fancy new guitar and find that actually it’s no better than what you currently own, if so, great, you’ve saved some money.


Lots of good advice given already, Kim.

If you do go out and try a bunch but nothing really sings to you then if you have not had your guitar setup, you may find that is worthwhile to improve playability. And if doing so, you could also consider your string gauge. If you are playing with 12s (the guage of the high e thinnest string) then you could also consider switching to a lighter gauge, like 10s. The difference in sound is not likely to be huge but you may find the lighter guage strings plus proper setup makes the guitar a whole lot easier to play.

And that could buy you time to search for the right next guitar.

is the guitar you have comfortable in your hands? does it sound decent? if yes, no need to upgrade unless you just want a new guitar. I’m not familiar with that model. go to a guitar store and play a few, see if they are comparable, better, worse.

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The short answer: If you have that wish and the money, go for it! :sunglasses:

I am total beginner and not even two month into my guitar journey and can’t even play a popular song yet.
I started with a new guitar at around $300 and just as you, kept it cheap in case I didn’t stick with it. - Now I know I will stick to it and are already considering my second guitar, though for this kind of equipment/instrument it can easy take 6 - 10 months, before I actually buy a new guitar. I will need to investigate the different wood types etc and go to the shop several times and try out different guitars, before I will be able to decide.

Wish you good luck and a continuous enjoyable guitar journey :sunglasses: :pray:

I’d say it really depends on your current guitar. I’ve seen some cheaper guitars that are better than their expensive better brand counterparts. And I’ve played plenty of cheaper guitars that weren’t worth what they had on their price tag.

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Get an electric guitar. Expands the options available to you.

I would say the answer to this depends on the guitar you currently have. Some budget guitars play quite nicely, if yours does, then there is no need to upgrade. OTOH, your guitar may indeed be holding you back by having high action, not staying in tune, poor sound, etc., in which case an upgrade would be in order. The best way to decide is to go to a guitar store and play a few guitars and see if they feel and/or sound better than yours.

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Hi Kim,

I feel that having the guitar be more capable than I am is the right way to go. That is not a terribly high bar right now! :slight_smile:

I purchased my first guitar with the expectation that I would not need to replace it. I still expect to keep it and play it for the rest of my life.

I bought my second guitar to fill in gaps the first didn’t cover. Things like single coil pickups for different sound, far lighter weight for portability, different neck feel. This was a well thought out purchase with specific goals that I am very happy with.

Think about what you want to improve with your existing guitar, make a list and try to locate a new one that can satisfy the list. Don’t forget to list the stuff you LIKE about the current guitar! If your list is pretty thin, maybe you don’t need a new guitar until you have a bigger list. If you find something that covers most of your list, you will likely have something you will enjoy playing for a long time.

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Doubt is just one of the first steps before actually buying a guitar. The fact that you even ask this question means it is inevitable.

But, you are right, you may not need to. It depends on how you feel about it. If you are feeling good about your guitar, don’t buy one just because you think you should.

Go out and try a lot of guitars, just for fun. See how they feel to you in comparison to the one you have. If you find you really want and need (even emotionally) something else. Then go for it.


Upgrading your guitar, at this point in your journey, imho, is a matter of “focused on progress” in your playing.
If you have access to a guitar store, then you should go and play a few guitars, just to try 'em out.
There is a huge difference in “playability” in a well built and properly set-up guitar.
You might even bring your guitar, and ask if your guitar is set-up properly.
A guitar is easier to play when the strings are closer to the fretboard (without buzzing).
If in your comparison playing, if there is no huge difference in your guitar playing, (ease of making the chords sound clear), then - not the time to upgrade.
There will simply, come a time, when your level of guitar playing will tell you your needs, i.e. sound quality, amplification, etc.

Spend the money on a good setup for your current guitar. I had my acoustic setup by an experienced Luthier and the increase in playability was STAGGERING!

Find out who the good Luthiers are in your area and go visit one. You won’t regret it.