How To Choose Your First Acoustic Electric Guitar
It is not easy to guess the choice of a guitar. Perhaps there is no such dream guitar with which to maintain long idyls beyond the initial crush, or simply the question lies in the unsatisfied (and capricious) nature of the guitarist, the fact is that it is not easy to decide on a particular guitar model, not even when we have it in our hands. “Do I have it?”, “Is it the one I need?”, “Does it sound good?” … here we do not have the answer to those questions, but at least we can comment on some criteria that, for years, I had to use both advising friends and acquaintances, as well as for my own acquisitions.
If it is your first guitar, the matter is slightly different. I have never agreed with that “bad to start” concept. Read “cheap”, instead of bad: it does not change the meaning. Still, it seems like a bad idea. Why learn the basics with a guitar that, sooner or later, you’re going to want to replace with a more competent one? It is a way to generate frustration, hinder learning, enjoy little with the first steps … and spend more money.
However, there are some qualities that the first guitar must meet, and this leads us to try to synthesize how many types of guitars there are. A very simple and general classification, ignoring the aesthetic aspects (shapes, colors) would be the following:
Types of Acoustic Electric guitar:
“Classic” Acoustic electric guitars with fixed bridge:
They are those that do not have a tremolo lever because the strings rest on a completely immobile bridge. Some memorable examples are the Gibson Les Paul, the Grestch, or the Fender Telecaster, in addition to countless similar models and imitations that follow the philosophy of the fixed bridge. It should be noted that many times the imitations do not correspond to the pejorative sense of the term, but rather they are competent instruments that reach out to more pockets. Traditional guitarists, and especially those who move in the field of blues, jazz, or rock n ‘roll, usually opt for what we might call “classic option”. Returning to the first guitar, this option would also be the most appropriate to learn and know the instrument. The fixed bridge is much simpler to adjust the strings, change or refine them, and when someone is starting to play, they have enough to press strings and learn chords, as to add extra complications. These classic guitars do not present that kind of added difficulties, and therefore they seem the ideal option to get familiar and take the first steps.
The Stratocaster family:
The Fender Stratocaster is one of the most influential and imitated guitars in the guitar universe. Since Jimi Hendrix became the electric guitar par excellence (yes, in left-handed version), has been an icon of rock. Its main features are the 3 simple pills (we will discuss this later), which was combined and provide a great versatility of tones and sounds, and the use of the tremolo lever on a bridge that can swing forward. Although of limited possibilities, the use of the lever expands the sound possibilities of the stratocasterand will be indispensable for those who want to reproduce some of the most emblematic “roars” of rock. Eric Clapton, YngwieMalmsteen or Mark Knopfler have been faithful devotees of the stratocaster.
The revolution of Mr. Floyd, or guitars with “floating bridge”.
The bridge of this type, also called Floyd Rose due to its inventor (and owner of the patent), consists of a set of springs that, compensating the pressure exerted by the strings, allow to keep the point of support in balance, so that with the tremolo lever they can be tensioned and lowered, raising and lowering the tone. The Floyd Rose has been almost exclusive patrimony of the most “cañeras” guitars of the rock, and its popularity shot up in the ’80 (the Jackson that used Eddie Van Halen mounted this bridge), and was consecrated in the ’90 thanks to the Ibanez who played virtuosos like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai. It is therefore guitars with powerful sound and fine masts so that it is comfortable to interpret solos of a certain technical complexity. However, it is not a good option to start
During recent times new types of guitars have been developed, incorporating truly amazing new features in many cases, such as the Parker Fly or the more recent Line6 Variax. They are guitars designed to meet specific needs, such as the possibility of being used as MIDI controllers, or to emulate the sound of acoustic or classical guitars with nylon strings. These models are usually the choice of studio guitarists, with a lot of experience and with the need to play many styles effectively.