The best way to pick the right guitar is simple: buy the right guitar. The guitar of your dreams will not only sound better than an electric or acoustic guitar, it will sound better than any guitar you’ve ever owned. In the “Guitar Gear Guide” section of the “Guitar Guitar Gear Shopping Guide,” you’ll find all the information and tools you need—from guitar-specific tools and techniques and tips to tips on what to look for in a guitar’s finish, to the differences between the neck and body woods, to the ideal pickups and pickups models to get the perfect sound. The only hard and fast rule is that if you don’t really know what you’re after, it doesn’t matter what you do. That’s why so many guitarists pick a Stratocaster or SG over a Gibson Les Paul or a Telecaster.
How do I compare guitars?
Once you’ve chosen a guitar, it’s critical to compare it on a technical level, not on price. When you pick a guitar do not just take a look at what you like and don’t like. Don’t compare just the features of the guitar—you’ll miss the important differences. What will resonate most with you will matter to the instrument you’re playing. That might mean a Stratocaster, a Telecaster, a P-90, a JB Pickup, or a T-Bird, but not a “T” Pickup. That’s not a criticism of the picker’s choice—it’s a question of how well their choice is suited to your playing style.
The most important aspect to understand when comparing two guitars as a technician is “how do you play the guitar.” A guitar should be a joy to play—a sound you won’t just get out of the speakers—but it needs to function for that too. There are several factors to take into account, but the most important are:
The tone, volume and tone control on the guitar.
Whether it is a fingerpick or a pickguard.
Where you’re strumming.
How you’re playing.
How much sustain do you need on your notes?
The distance you need to strum your note.
The strength of your strumming.
How much you’re picking, and what
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