Too Inexperienced to Buy a Nice Guitar?!?

I’ve been working through Grade 1 for a month or so and consider myself a total beginner. I can play the main 8 chords or so and switch with some difficulty. I’m working my way through Pontoon and A Horse With No Name.

I went to my local guitar store to see some new 3/4 size acoustics, I really like the Martin 000 Junior. To my horror, the owner takes one down, points at a stool and says “try it out, play something.”

I’m not sure why I was surprised and what else I was expecting but sheer panic swept over me as I sat down and hacked away at an E Minor with a du u u du strumming pattern and meekly gave out a “Ooh, sounds nice.” :joy:

I handed the guitar back and lamely said I’d check with my wife and I’ll return soon.

I guess I need to work on a few impressive riffs before I return.

Honestly I feel ya, even though I know a few songs and sort of can play whenever I go to music store I feel big blank in my head and I think gosh what should I play now?! I only been twice though as I don’t have any music shops in my small town so maybe if I was going more often it would be better? :grinning:

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Try this one the next time you go there :wink:

When I try guitars at the store, I usually go to a more secluded spot (if there’s any) so as not to be in the way of other customers and not to draw too much attention to myself. Also, when I try a guitar, I tend to play the things I most often do (where my hands fall “naturally”), either chords or bits of melody, just to get a feeling of the instrument. I don’t care if the assistant or anyone else finds it entertaining or not. After all, I’m not there to give a concert.

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I feel you! I didn’t have such a hard time trying acoustic but I still remember trying an electric in a store, they plugged it to an amp and left me alone (they told me to feel free to play around with both things) and I was like… what now?



I don’t think you’re ever too inexperienced to get a nice guitar. If you can strum a few chords, you can see what feels comfortable to you and what sounds nice to you. Get the best guitar you can afford. Sure, you probably don’t want to get a $10,000 Taylor, but $1,000 - $2,000 is fair game, even $3,000.

Reason being is that if it sounds nice, you’ll be more inclined to play and practice. Also if you ever need to resell, it’s much easier to get a decent price for a good guitar than a beater.

Also I’ve played many years, and I run into the same problem in guitar shops. I had my guitar setup a few months ago. When I pick it up, they put me in a room and plug the guitar into a PA to try out. I was going to play the intro to Wish You Were Here. First thing that came to mind. Then I said to myself, “Nah, everyone probably plays that.” Maybe a Beatles song? “Nah, basic open chords, and I don’t want to sing.” Then I was going to play a blue grass run, but it thought it was too basic as I only had the rough version of it down. Ended up just playing a few barre chords in a song to see if the action and string buzzing was fixed and just left. :joy:


This makes me feel a bit better. I was thinking I had to be the only inept player walking into a guitar store!

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The right guitar for you is the one you’ll enjoy playing! I’m a total beginner and I went guitar shopping in November to get a guitar that fits me better than the one I was using. I just strummed the three chords I knew at the time to see how it felt. Remember, you’re not there to put on a concert for anyone, but to buy a guitar that you love.


Been there a lot! I personally think it is good to feel as many guitars as you can, even just for fun. That way you at least get clues about differences in them. I did a lot of browsing and barely playing early in.

Of course it is hard to make big purchase decisions when you are so early on, but just do your best, admit that you are a beginner so you have nothing to be embarrassed about and strum a few cords. Channel your one minute changes for A and D and see if you like how the guitar feels and sounds. Take a friend who plays if you have one, but mostly gauge how it feels to hold it and play a cord or two.


Nope. Go for it, dont bother the ones that work there. Just trying it out with whatever you got with skills.
But yes, i feel the excact same thing as you. I think we all do no matter what level and skills we have. But… in the end, if you go out from that shop with a guitar that your in love with… its all worth it.


Here’s the thing about guitar stores and the sales staff.
It doesn’t matter how good you are the sales staff are there
to help you buy a guitar. They are not there to judge you or
your skill level. Most sales person will bend over backwards
to help you pick the guitar that’s right for you.

What they don’t like is that annoying shredder that thinks they
sound good and crank up the amp and bast out a crappy rendision
of Crazy Train.
So try not to get down on yourself, we were all beginners at one
time and know what it is like. Even the sales staff had to start at the
bottom and are more understanding than you think


I was just about to post the same thing. I’m still pretty new to guitar and I’ve never worked in a music store, but I did work retail selling ski and climbing gear for many years. I would take an enthusiastic beginner over a cocky show-off any day. And I would bet that most guitar store employees feel the same way.


Hi Flying_V,
I feel for you!
The guitar shop can feel be an intimidating place, no matter what level you are at.
If it’s a decent shop, then if you tell them your story, they should be able to help you better.
What I mean is , say something like" I’m pretty much a beginner, but looking to improve, and taking these great internet lessons, and practicing every day. What do you think might be a suitable instrument to help me on the journey?"
Good luck!


I like to visit guitar shops but I always feel uncomfortable when trying out the guitars.
I think its pressure from within, saying I am not a good enough guitarist.


Far from it and I have an even worse story.

I’m doing bass and guitar and the same time… I bought one of each around the same time and I am always switching back and forth.

I found a nice intermediate-quality bass on Craigslist. I had never even held a bass guitar until I went to the Craigslist guy’s place. All I could do was check the neck and other obvious mechanical stuff that I learned about online… but I couldn’t play a note.

Then, I took it to my local guitar shop for a setup. They happen to be a semi-famous custom maker. I stumbled through asking for what I needed. I came back a week later to a perfectly set up bass. “Check it out!” said the semi-famous shop owner.

“I am not even sure which end to hold,” I had to say. “I can’t play a single note yet. I trust you.”

So, you aren’t alone!


I agree with much of what has been said here about going into a shop to try out guitars.

I think that it’s important to try before you buy and get a feel for what you like and don’t. I think this is true regardless of skill and experience level. Personally, I would not buy a guitar that I have not played. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve lived in places where there were good, small guitar shops with knowledgeable sales people, typically the owner.

Like many, I’ve been anxious about playing in stores. To deal with this I did some up front work. I chose some song sections and chord sequences that I like and that would give me something to compare sound with. I practiced them a bit before going in to feel more confident about what I would do in the shop. My goal was not to play well for someone in the store, but to feel less self-conscience and have a ‘test drive’ plan so that I could focus on each guitars’ feel and sound.


Yeah. I had gone to a small local shop and the owner was very nice. It all just struck me as to how little I knew when I saw the pictures of some of the artists he has built or set up guitars for - like Clint Black and ZZ Top.

This was helpful. I watched the lesson and now I’m really wanting to try the finger picking some more.

I think this will also be my new game plan.

Agreed. And that’s what I did. The owner was very nice. I think the pressure was from within.

It always is.

Remember, even Tommy Emmanuel sucked once.

Everyone has to start somewhere and there is no shame in that.

Be proud for starting at all!