guide to reaching guitar-god status
Watch your subject closely for rock ‘n’ roll clues
Veteran musicians know
exactly what kind of instruments and accessories they want and need.
This makes them easy people to shop for. But what about novice or
Newbie musicians are like dogs sitting at a chess table: clueless. And
chances are, the people shopping for them are just as clueless. Luckily,
help does exist. You just need to know where to look.
starters, you have to know what kind of rock star the person you are
shopping for wants to be.
“The guitar is still the most popular [instrument],” said Ryan Hastings,
general manager at Guitar Center in Nashua.
People can be sensitive “artists” with a guitar, like John Mayer, or
on-the-edge rock gods, like Jimi Hendrix. They can be mysterious, dark
figures, or the one who steals the show.
you notice the person you’re shopping for break out into air guitar
solos on a regular basis, chances are, he’s an aspiring guitarist.
but what kind of guitar? Electric? Acoustic? Electric/acoustic?
Six-string? 12-string? The options are endless.
all depends on the influences,” Hastings said. “If someone’s into death
metal, I’m not gonna say, ‘Hey, let’s pick up an acoustic.’”
Unless the gift recipient is a death metal addict, an acoustic guitar is
a good first-guitar option.
beauty of an acoustic guitar is you only need the guitar in order to
play. Also, in the long run, acoustic guitars will be easier on your
Stores like Daddy’s Junky Music in Manchester and Nashua’s Guitar Center
offer package deals for certain instruments.
Take, for example, these deals, seen at Daddy’s Junky Music in
Yamaha Gigmaker Standard Pack: $149.99, which includes a Yamaha acoustic
guitar, tuner, strap, extra strings, picks, gig bag and an instructional
Yamaha tends to be a “higher end” guitar, so perhaps you’re looking for
something less expensive for a first-guitar gift.
Keep in mind you can also get a Fender acoustic guitar pack for $199.99
or an Ibanez pack for $99.99.
your gift recipient really wants to rock hard, huh? So give in. Buy him
an electric guitar. But beware: You need more than an electric guitar to
be able to rock.
“You need an amp[lifier], cable, case ... and the will to rock,”
Peavey has a stage pack that includes a Peavey electric guitar,
amplifier, gig bag, tuner, extra strings, guitar cable, guitar strap and
picks, as well as an instructional DVD for $199.99.
Ibanez has a similar deal for $249.99, while Fender has one for $279.99.
It’s worth noting that the Ibanez package comes with headphones.
Headphones allow the wanna-be guitarist to rock, and rock loud, without
pissing everyone off.
bonus of an acoustic/electric
Acoustic electrics are pricier than regular acoustics, but the beauty is
you can plug your acoustic/electric into an amplifier or play it like a
regular acoustic. A newbie musician would love to have one. If you don’t
want to make the commitment but still want your gift recipient to be
able to plug into an amplifier now and then, you can always buy a pickup
for the acoustic guitar, which can run anywhere from $40 to more than
Knowing your accessories
We’ve mentioned strings, straps, picks, tuners and cables in this
article. You should probably know how much these things cost separately.
can buy a strap for as little as $5, or for more than $50. Newbies don’t
need a fancy strap, they just need to be encouraged to play guitar while
standing up. So, make sure they have a strap!
Strings will usually run you about $10. Your newbie should restring his
own guitar (it’s like giving a bath to your dog). How often you restring
is based on how often you play. Here’s a helpful hint: When you see a
plethora of dead skin on your strings, it’s time to change them. Also,
don’t get annoyed if your new strings become out of tune quickly. That’s
just something they do.
Picks are dirt cheap, like four for a dollar or so. There are big picks,
small picks, hard picks and soft ones. Try for medium-sized picks. Your
newbie can make changes along the way.
tuner is a sad necessity for new musicians. Hey, we all can’t tune by
ear. For $20 or so you can buy a basic tuner, which is all you need for
Cables are needed for guitars that want to plug into an amplifier. Those
will run you about $6 to $15.