What gear do you need for guitar lessons?
Updated: Nov 10, 2021
This guide is to help my new students get ready for lessons so that there is no confusion or time wasted!
Websites to order online:
New equipment: Sweetwater https://www.sweetwater.com
Used equipment: Reverb https://reverb.com
Small accessories like paper and picks: Amazon https://www.amazon.com
Stores for in person shopping (recommended for getting guitars)
A local guitar store. Call in advance and see if they have what you are looking for.
Guitar Center or Sam Ash as a last resort
A beginner guitar should cost between $100 and $600. If you are on a budget, the used market is the best. Popular brands are Fender, Taylor, Martin, Ibanez, Epiphone, Breedlove, Yamaha etc. I don’t recommend starting on an expensive instrument.
General Guitar Accessories:
You will need ALL of these. This is Amazon stuff.
You should research what your guitar came with from the factory or what it was set up with. I like Elixir Optiweb strings for electric because they last long. But other popular brands include D'Addario, Rotosound, DR, LaBella, and Ernie Ball. I would recommend 9 or 10 gauge strings on electric for standard tuning.
On acoustic, try Elixir or D'Addario. I use 12 gauge, but 11s would be ideal and it just depends on what your guitar is set up for.
Guitar Tuner/Metronome - please be tuned up before your lesson to save time! Here's one that is both in one by Korg.
String Winder/Cutter - you need one of these to change strings.
Manuscript Paper - you need this to write down fingerings. Guitar Tab AND Music Paper
Guitar Picks - personal preference here are some to start with: Dunlop Variety Pack
Changing strings can be tricky your first time. Check out some YouTube videos. If you don’t feel comfortable changing strings, you can bring it to a local guitar tech or guitar store and have someone do it for you. I recommend learning how to do it yourself. You will know when to change strings when they feel crusty and you’re out of tune.
Guitar techs offer a service called a set up where they change your strings and make adjustments to the guitar to improve performance. This costs around $70. I don’t think it’s necessary unless there is a noticeable problem such as high action, buzzing, or tuning issues. If you purchased a guitar new, it should come set up from the factory, and stores often offer a free set up or inspection.
Guitar Amps & Electric Guitar Accessories
I have a much more detailed guide on this topic, but for someone starting guitar lessons, a solid state amp should run you about $100 - $500. You want a 1x12 combo. You also need a guitar cable. I would not recommend spending a lot of money on your first amp. I would not recommend getting anything too loud, unless you have space to make a lot of noise, or you play with a band.
You can get great deals used online on reverb or locally. You can also go into a store and try out a few and see what you like. Tube amps are great, but I don't recommend them for beginners because they may require some maintenance.Reverb, Sweetwater, and YouTube have amazing resources and demos to figure out what to buy. I can also make specific recommendations. But beginner gear is not worth splitting hairs over, just get something that's a known popular and functional product and roll with it.
Check this out: https://reverb.com/guide/best-guitar-combo-amps
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