Guitar Buying Guide

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      When trying to decide what guitar to get for any aspiring musician, the choices are limitless.  LNS staff and instructors highly recommend visiting a local music center near you, where you can spend time with musicians who can learn about your specific needs and fit you with the perfect size and style. 

When a student is just beginning, a large investment is not necessary. There are many music stores that can provide rental or even rent-to-own options.  LNS recommends Bertrand’s Music in Northern San Diego (858-780-1812) and Music Mart in Solana Beach (858-259-3940). Also available is Giacoletti Music in Carlsbad (760-729-1335).  A quick Google search for a store near you can also be helpful.

Though you can begin with any type of guitar, LNS guitar instructors recommend beginning with an acoustic or classical guitar because they are a little less harsh on the fingers and are a simple grab-and-play option. They do not need an amplifier and are often priced lower than electric guitars. 

Basic differences between classical and acoustic guitars:

The fret board

The fret board (aka neck) of a classical guitar is wider than that of an acoustic guitar.  Classical guitars often will not have the fret markers (dots) along the fingerboard.

The size/shape

Acoustic guitars are typically larger than classical guitars. It is also rare to find classical guitars that have cutaways which provide access to the higher frets.

The price

Classical guitars are a bit cheaper then acoustic guitars.


Classical guitars have nylon strings while acoustic guitars have steel strings. 

Nylon strings are a lot thicker, sound softer than those of steel strings, and can be more comfortable to play for beginners. Classical guitars are the choice to go with if you enjoy Flamenco or Spanish guitar music.

Steel strings produce a twangy and bright sound that resonates (lasts longer) than a classical guitar, but are thinner and somewhat sharper on fingers. With enough practice, however, your fingers won’t hurt as much.  Most popular bands and artists use steel string acoustic guitars.


Advice from platinum selling artist and Leading Note Studios instructor, Sameer Bhattacharya:

The advice I always give aspiring musicians is to make noises they want to hear and practice practice practice!