Ottawa's guitar repair shop

Choosing your very first guitar - Choosing an Electric

How to choose your first electric guitar:

Of course, the before last paragraph on acoustic guitars still applies to your first electric guitar: Have it checked by a luthier within 24 hours of purchasing it. And you will want to have it setup. If you don't want to, I can have you try a 150$ guitar that I ticked out, you'll get the point.

The first thing is to avoid any type of tremolo system. In beginner budget guitars, these types of bridges will only make you cry, believe me, I learned that the hard way when I was a beginner.

Ask the store salesman if the hardware is compatible with higher end parts. Not because you want to replace them, but because if a component breaks or gets lost, you can easily have it replaced. You want to know if the the bridge and pickups can be swapped for aftermarket parts. In the case of the bridge, Tune-o-matic style bridges are the easiest to find "drop in" replacements for. Tuning keys can always be swapped easily, even if a drill is needed to help. But if ever a pickup dies on you, you don't want to have to re-rout the pickup cavity to fit a standard one and paying for a re-wind on a budget pickup would be annoying.

What type of pickup should you get? As with acoustic guitars, when you start playing, your ears won't really understand the difference between a pickup and another. This being said, I would suggest you get a guitar with Humbuckers. These pickups give off less background noise then single coil pickups and can help you enjoy your learning experience. Also, most electric guitar beginners want to play rock and metal (I did say most, not all), and these music styles require distortion. Distortion through a single coil pickup is extremely noisy, there will be a loud humm at all times in the background. Humbucking pickups reduce this background noise and sound more aggressive! For those about to rock, we salute you!