Depending on where your interests lie when beginning to learn the guitar or bass, there are a few different instrument makes and models that get you the best bang for your buck. We’ll look at a few options here:
Acoustic Beginner Guitar
Our pick: Yamaha FG700S
If you are looking for a low cost, but high quality acoustic guitar, check out what Yamaha has to offer. The Yamaha FG700S model is a personal favorite of mine, and it runs at about $200. It features a solid sitka spruce top which gives it a nice tone out of the box. The guitar is purely acoustic with no electronics, so you save money on having the instrument relatively bare bones. As a beginner, there is no need for an acoustic/electric guitar as you end up spending a solid chunk of change on the electric plugin that will hardly, if ever, be used.
Electric Beginner Guitar
Pick #1: Squier Stratocaster
Pick #2: Fender Mexican Stratocaster
I’ll offer two options here, based on budget concerns:
For those of you on a $500 or less budget, you won’t find a better deal that a Squier Stratocaster. This is the cheaper version of the iconic Fender Strat, and it gets the job done just fine for a beginner student.
If you’ve got a little more to spend, look into a Fender Mexican Stratocaster, or perhaps an Epiphone Les Paul. These are well built, durable instruments that sound great. Many professionals even prefer the Mexican Strat to the American Strat (which is about twice the price) and the Epiphone Les Paul over the Gibson model of the same name.
Keep in mind that in order to play the electric guitar with any volume or effects, you need at least a basic amp. A good choice here is the Fender Mustang I v.2 amp. This gear will get you off and running and sounding great!
Our pick: Ibanez and Fender models
Depending on your needs, there are plenty of low cost options for beginner basses, but I tend to gravitate towards Ibanez and Fender basses because they tend to be well made, and the Ibanez models in particular can be relatively lightweight. It takes some getting used to the weight of a bass guitar, so I generally recommend something on the lighter side to begin with.
Just as with the electric guitar, basses require amplification. The Ampeg BA112 is a great option to start off with, but you’ll definitely want something more powerful as you progress.
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