What is the best guitar for beginners? This question is not uncommon and shows that there is a belief that a) there is such a thing as the right guitar for beginner, and b) that this guitar is right for every beginner. But this is certainly not the case.

My initial response to this question was “go with a Classical Guitar.” My answer was based on considerations such as the ease playing, technique, and the future development of the student. But even if my answer was correct in regard to all the considerations I set forth, can I still claim to be right, if the student quits after a month, because the Classical Guitar was just not her/his thing? Of course not.

In terms of their sound, their playing techniques, and their connotations all guitar types are very different. What do a Fender Stratocaster and a hand-made Spanish Classical guitar in common, other than the number and the tuning of the strings? Nothing much at all.  Especially with young prospective students, considerations of this nature can determine whether he/she will become a guitar player or not. As much as I would like my students to take my word when I tell them that chances are that, as they develop as guitarists, they will develop a taste for the Classical approach and that they might regret not having picked up certain techniques earlier, it is impossible to be sure about the students future interests.

All in all, I believe the best way to go about this decision is to find a way to be flexible. Rent or borrow an instrument and discuss the different options with the teacher. One possibility is to purchase a Classical Guitar but to have the teacher bring in an Electric every now and then. This is what I do most often.  Then after the student has some experience with both instruments we are ready to make a better choice.

So, what is the best guitar for beginners?

We can’t say that the classical, or the acoustic, or the electric is best for all students.  They each have their benefits and disadvantages.  While the classical is easiest to hold and play, its sound is not well suited to popular music.  While the electric and acoustic guitars appeal more broadly, they are more difficult to play and provide the student with less flexibility.

We recommend that you speak with a qualified teacher about your goals, your history, and then decide upon the best instrument to start with in conjunction with your teacher.  Also look for our upcoming article on choosing a guitar.