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Buying or Renting a Guitar
My son, 11 years old, wants to play the electic guitar or electric bass. Can anyone recommend a particular brand or model for a beginner, that is good enough to sound good and be encouraging, but not too expensive, since I don't know how serious he is about playing?
Full-sized Guitar for 2-year-old?
My two-and-a-half-year old loves guitar music and becomes mesmerized whenever he sees someone playing one. He's told me that we need one for him. I played years ago in college, and would welcome the chance to pick up a few chords again. But I mostly want to find something that will work for my son and keep his interest in playing music. So my question is, should I get an inexpensive full-sized guitar that we can both play ( and that I would not mind too much if he dropped small trucks inside), or should I start him out on one of those kid-sized guitars? Would such a thing keep both of our interests long enough to learn to play? Would it be better for him to see me playing too? Carolyn
Subway Guitar in Berkeley might rent guitars. They would also be able to recommend a hip, but patient teacher. Hope this helps, Jamie
-- Is Guitar Center the best place to ask and look, or -- do they push the new, expensive equipment?
They do tend to push new, expensive stuff; worse, prices are negotiable and you have to go through an annoying ritual of haggling as in buying a used car.
I suggest you try either Univibe (corner of Adeline and Alcatraz) or Subway (Cedar Street, a couple blocks West of MLK). You'll be treated with more respect. Subway, a Berkeley landmark, has to be seen to be believed: around 10,000 guitars in a room the size of a living room! Both have lots of used equipment (not necessarily cheaper than new Asian-made instruments, but with more substance, history and style).
This is from my husband, who is a jazz guitarist and elementary school teacher, and has a lot of experience teaching guitar to children - A good place to find a used electric guitar is Subway Guitars on Cedar. Expect to spend $170-300 on a used electric guitar which will be good enough quality that your son won't be frustrated. It's better to spend a little more on a decent quality instrument then to buy a super-cheap instrument which will frustrate him to the point where he either gives up, or you need to buy the better instrument anyway.
I started playing guitar as a teenager and made many mistakes along the way. My first mistake was getting an inferior quality guitar. When you're first learning it's very important to have a guitar that's easy to play (i.e. the strings aren't too high off the neck) and stays in tune. Many cheap guitars suffer from one or both of these problems. Another mistake was being influenced by how a guitar looks. If you go into Guitar Center there are literally walls full of scary-looking guitars made to attract teenagers.
My advice would be to try to find a used guitar. In addition to a lower price, the chances are greater that any built-in problems will have become obvious. Guitar Center isn't too bad, and the one in El Cerrito isn't too high pressure, but you will be at a disadvantage no matter where you buy from. For used guitars you might try Subway Guitars on Cedar. It's a messy small place full of all kind of interesting guitars. They're lower pressure than Guitar Center and you could probably rely on them to select a good used guitar for a beginner.
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