Resist the urge to go cheap.

Buying a well crafted instrument is an important part of learning to play the guitar or piano or any instrument for that matter. If you spend just a little more you will get a far better instrument in most cases. Costco and Target are excellent places to save money on everyday items but not usually instruments. The cheaper guitars that are sold at these stores do not stay in tune very well and are more difficult to play because the build quality is not as high. You can still learn on these instruments but there are better options to consider. As a beginning guitarist there are enough things to worry about, having an awkward guitar that isn’t easy to play and doesn’t stay in tune will not help.

Buying used instruments.

I am a big supporter of buying used instruments. CraigsList is an excellent resource for good quality instruments. You can usually buy a higher quality instrument for the same price as you will pay for a new one. $200 will go much further when purchasing a used acoustic guitar than it will for a new one.

Acoustic or electric…which is better to start with?

I get asked this question frequently for both guitar and piano lessons. Either acoustic or electric guitar is fine to start with. I teach both acoustic and electric guitar and tailor my lessons for whichever you prefer. There isn’t much of an advantage to either except that there are some techniques that can only be performed on an electric guitar. An acoustic guitar is more portable which is important for some people if they might be practicing in different rooms or locations throughout the week.


For piano, an acoustic piano is the ideal instrument to lean on. If this is not possible, by either purchasing or renting one, then an electronic piano will do. Many electronic pianos are very well made these days and mimic the sound and feel of an acoustic piano fairly well. Electronic pianos can be purchases with 64, 76, or the full 88 keys. Try to purchase one with at least 76 full sized keys if you are buying one.

If you would like to buy a new guitar or piano and still are not sure what to buy, please ask me first for recommendations on brands and styles that are a good fit for you or your son or daughter. For younger students especially the correct guitar size is very important. In some cases a smaller size guitar, 3/4 size, will be necessary instead of the standard full size guitar. A guitar that is too big or too small for you will be more difficult to play.

Feel free to ask me about local stores in your area as well as online options to purchase equipment. I can also recommend local stores where you can rent instruments if that is a better option for you.