Wouldn’t you love to go to “Guitar Center” or go shopping online at “musicians friend” and buy a new guitar like a new Gibson, Fender, PRS, Ibanez, or maybe even an Epiphone? Then slap on a set of new guitar strings to make those chords and scales sound awesome and all inspiring? I know I would! So I was kind of thinking about a question I got the other day:
“When did you decide it was time to upgrade your beginner guitar buy a better (more expensive) one?”
What made me at the time want a better instrument. Because I was playing a lot of fast songs I needed a guitar that played more smoothly and had a better sound but more importantly, the 21 frets on that Fender Squier were not enough, I needed 24.
But that is not what he was asking. He wasn’t asking why I needed an upgrade. He was considering upgrading himself and was maybe trying to figure out how others make that decision so he would know what to do himself.
So what could possible reasons be?
- Playability, the guitar is hard to play
- Sound, the guitar doesn’t sound as nice as you’d like
- Function, the guitar is not meant for the style you’re (currently) playing
- Function, the guitar isn’t setup to play gigs (no pickup, bad pickups, etc)
- State, the guitar is in bad shape
- What many don’t realize is that when you buy a guitar it comes straight out of the factory and it hasn’t been set up correctly yet. Usually this makes the guitar hard to play.
Solution: there are guitar shops and luthiers that can do this for you if you can’t do this yourself. It can greatly improve your guitar. I had brought 2 guitars to a workshop and the before and after difference was insane! They played much much better and I felt like such a moron for not having it done before.
- So you don’t like the sound. Funny thing is that when a student says that and I pick up that guitar and start playing the guitar suddenly seems to sound just fine. Even though you might be right that the sound isn’t optimal, usually a lot of it has to do with the guitarist.
- If the guitar is fine but it doesn’t have a pickup (akoestic guitar), there are several solutions out there that don’t require a new guitar. You can have a pickup built in by a local luthier or you could try a sort of “clip on mic” system like the DPA 4099 (wich is what i use for my guitars currently). Of course the DPA is quite expensive and you shouldn’t just by the first system you see. Be sure you check that the system meets your needs and that the price of the system makes sense.
- I have different guitars for precisely that reason. Though I can play certain things on my dreadnought which I absolutely LOVE, there are times that I really meet its limitations. It is for you to decide whether a purchase is really needed. There’s a ton of things I could buy but in your case only you can decide how much it is needed.
- Some guitars are in really bad shape but bringing them in for repair, fixing what’s broken can breathe new life into old instruments. Of course the costs have to outweigh the benefits but still, it is a viable option.
What many don’t realize is that a guitar much like any other usable object, needs maintenance. Change of strings can do a LOT for you sound, especially for acoustic guitars! Also after long use frets wear down making bends more difficult and causing possible string buzz.
The electronics in the guitar can wear down and cause all kinds of problems. Checking and fixing these things yourself or bringing your guitar to a service point is probably a lot cheaper than buying a new instrument.
So, does this mean you shouldn’t buy that new guitar? No. But it is good to know there are other options before actually purchasing another instrument. Should you decide to buy and instrument on either ebay, zzounds, guitarcenter, or amazon, click one of the links below to check their latest deals.