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By Clive Rogers of Haven Guitar Clubs
Buying a Guitar for the first time can be daunting with all the choice we have today. Before you even set foot in a music shop you should consider if you are left handed or right handed. This is not necessarily the same hand you write with. As luck would have it there is a simple test you can perform to find this out. Pretend to hold a guitar in other words play Air Guitar. Before you start shaking your head or pogoing take notice of which hand you strum with. The strumming hand is the one that moves up and down hitting the strings. If it is the right hand you strum with then you are right handed. If you strum with your left then you are left-handed.
Right handed folk breath a sigh of relieve you can go to any reputable music shop and buy a guitar. Left handed folk you should go to a reputable music shop and ask for help. Shops do stock left-handed instruments more and more these days but expect to pay a bit more for them. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s just a matter of stringing the guitar the other way around. There is a small white plastic part at the top of the neck called the Nut. This has grooves in it to guide the strings along the neck. It is cut with grooves that start off thin for the thinner strings and thick for the thicker strings. If you simply restring the guitar the other way around the thick strings tend to sit on top of the groove rather than in it. This can cause a very unpleasant buzzing sound and also cause tuning problems. If a shop does suggest this say to them “will you also reverse the Nut” and see what they say.
For beginners an Acoustic guitar is fine you can always change to Electric later on. For children of primary school age, 7-10, a ¾ size guitar is correct. If your child is 11 then they are on the “cusp” so if they are big for there age then a full size would save you having to change in a couple of weeks. Size is where a good music shop can help as you can see the size against the player. Buy a gig bag and a spare set of strings as strings don’t last long and should be changed about once a month or more.
Lessons? well I think you know what I’m going to say there. A good teacher can guide you to the correct way of playing. I spend half my time correcting bad habits learned by self taught guitarists.
Happy playing and if you need more help please get in touch
Clive Rogers HGC