"The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you." ― B.B. King
I don't know about others, but I chose to take a few guitar lessons first before I went ahead and bought my first guitar. I would use one of my teacher's guitars during the lessons and practice on my friend's guitar at home. This way, I was able to bid some time and save up for my own guitar, if ever I decided to get one. However, a lot of people I know first bought their guitars and then enrolled for guitar lessons or taught themselves through books and online research.
One of the foremost things that you must consider before buying a guitar is to ask yourself the reason for wanting to do so. Is playing the guitar a desire you have harbored for a really long time or is it just a passing phase? Depending on your love for music and the instrument, you will have to decide whether the guitar is the best choice for you or not. If you feel that you might get bored of it or find it too difficult to learn, I suggest that you wait until you're ready to get your very own guitar. The reason being, the guitar requires a certain level of maintenance and looking after, and constant practice in order to ensure that the instrument stays in optimal form, does not warp, or lose the vitality of its strings. This Buzzle article discusses some of the fundamental things you must consider before buying your first guitar.
Which Guitar Would You Prefer - Electric or Acoustic
The acoustic guitar with metal strings or the classical guitar with nylon strings is often preferred by beginners, because it is portable, does not require amps and cables, and can be played unplugged. The basics of guitar are often taught on the acoustic guitar, so if you plan on joining a guitar class, buying your own acoustic guitar is the wise thing to do. Not only would you get the chance to practice on your own guitar, you will get to take it home and practice some more. The longer you play on one guitar, the more familiar you become with it, and thus, you will be more comfortable playing it often. On the other hand, starting with the semi-acoustic or electric guitar can help you learn about using guitar pedals, pickups, vibrato arms, and other guitar components with greater ease. The only downside of starting lessons with an electric guitar is that it does not sound good without being plugged and that can take a lot away for those trying to learn the notes by ear.
Which Genre Do You Plan on Playing?
Depending on the genre of music, you will need to decide whether your needs will be met by an acoustic or electric guitar. If you wish to start with basic major and minor chords, and blues scale, an acoustic guitar would be ideal. Another way to decide upon the type of guitar you want is to go for the guitar that your favorite artist uses often. Acoustic 'Dreadnought' and classical guitars are great for playing country music, folk songs, bluegrass, and pop tunes. However, if your goal is to play guitar with heavy distortions and solos, an electric guitar will suit your needs better.
Consider Testing Some Guitars First
It is always better to visit some of the local guitar stores near your locality and check out their collection. This way, you will get the opportunity to try out various types of guitars, select the one that sounds the best, and is the easiest for you to play. Since guitars come in various cuts, designs, and sizes, the owner of the store will be able to show you guitars that are well-suited for beginners. Make a note of the guitar models you liked a lot, their prices, and do the same for every store you visit.
Do a Thorough Guitar Search and Research
Once you have made a list of the guitars you like, begin searching for discounts on the same brand and model on the Internet. Many of the guitars sold in shops tend to be sold on discounted rates online. Read the reviews by others who purchased the guitars shortlisted by you, and decide if you really want to settle down for the guitar model or not. Reviews can tell a lot about the individual user's experience with the guitar and pros and cons of having invested in the particular guitar model and brand.
Consider the Cost, and Plan Your Budget
For beginners, it is often advised to go in for cheaper guitars that sound good and serve the basic purpose of helping the user learn the instrument. It is also better to invest less initially so that in case you do not enjoy playing the guitar, you do not have to feel guilty about having dished out so much of money for nothing. On the other hand, you can always save and spend a little more so that you can go in for a good guitar, and treat it as a long-term investment. It all boils down to your needs, budget, and willingness to spend for a good instrument. Another alternative is to buy a used guitar from a friend or online, and save yourself the unnecessary expense. The biggest downside to buying secondhand guitars is that you will need to be extremely cautious that the seller does not try to pass off a damaged guitar to you.
Go in for a guitar that not only sounds good, but is also comfortable to hold and play. The strings must press down easily and not be too sharp or hard. Also, make sure that you don't get talked into buying a guitar by a salesman and end up with a guitar that is not suitable for you. Moreover, once you get your first guitar, the next stop is to find a good guitar coach and put in plenty of hours of practice!