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10 Tips for Buying a Guitar

We help many people buy their first, second,third or more instrument.  Buying a guitar can be very exciting, and if you're getting one as a gift for someone,make ure you talk to us as we can help ensure the person gets an instrument that will fit, be comfortable, and they will love to play!


Going online to see the different brands and types is always a good idea, but you really you need to 'feel' the instrument and find one that speaks to you. Like going to a rescue centre to get a dog - they kind of choose you - getting a guitar is somehow a bit like that.

  • Take someone with you who can play a bit - but also
  • Play a load of guitars and see what you like the feel of
  • Play them yourself (getting someone to play it for you can help too!)
  • Listen to your ear!


Don't get a guitar you think you should get, or that your friend likes.

The #1 Reason people don't stick with playing their instrument is because its uncomfortable and difficult to play.

Another is that some people just don't like the look of their guitar, and just couldn't be bothered with picking it up.

Your guitar is YOUR connection to the sound - make sure it feels good and YOU like the look of it.


How hard it is to press down the strings?  Normally, strings shouldn’t be more than 3 or 4 mm from the neck, and certainly not more than 5mm at 12th fret. 

All in-stock guitars @ CB Music Centre are checked and tuned daily so you have the optimal experience when you're shopping for a guitar.

We also do setups and strings changes in-house, and most can be done while you wait!


You are VERY likely to buy more guitars in the future.

Get one to learn on that you like, that can also retain a good portion of its original purchase value.  That way, when its time to upgrade, you have a good bargaining chip with the trade-in value.

Purchasing a quality instrument in an investment in both yourself and the instrument.  The better the instrument, the more likely you are to succeed in your musical journey.


Buying used sometimes seems like a great deal. The thing to look out for are the setup and action, strings, warps, sharp frets or dryness.  This is especially true if buying from online marketplaces like Facebook or Kijiji.

Occasionally the setup and work required on a used instrument to get it into a playable state outweighs the "deal" you may have gotten.

Other things to consider would be the overall condition of the guitar, warranty, etc..

Your best bet, is to always stop by your local store and speak with professionals about any instruments you may be looking at buying used.  Most will give you an honest assessment, and help you to decide whether new or used.

We suggest buying new, especially if the instrument is for a beginner or a child. New ensures a proper setup, a good connection to your local music store, and of course service and warranty on your new purchase.


While most new players choose to learn on an acoustic guitar, some choose to go electric right away.  Electric guitars are generally easier to play, as their strings are much lighter, and their bodies smaller, but they project almost no sound.

Amp technology has come a long way, and you can get some incredible sounds (and some not somuch) from digital amps these days.

There is also software that can be ran on PC or Mac's, apps for iPhones and Android, and tiny portable simulator units that can be used with headphones.

There are many types of amplifiers, talk to your local music store, and they'll help you find what's right for you

While you dont’t need an amp to learn,  if you've decided ot go electric, a good amp just cranks the fun factor to 11!


Smaller bodied guitars are a great way to introduce kids to music, and lots of regular players use them as travel guitars and campfire stuff. 

Normally, a child can start using a regular sized guitar around 8 or 10 years old. There are 1/2 sizes, 3/4 sizes, 7/8 sizes etc. The key to learning, is comfort, playability and likeability. A music professional can help to size your child for the right guitar, and ensure that they are setup for success in their musical journey.

Many other body styles and shapes exist. From OOO (Triple O) to jumbo, these bodies give different times, volume, feel and comfort.

CB Music carries a wide range of shapes and sizes, and we're able to help you find what one is comfortable for you. No matter where you are with playing skill, a properly sized Instrument that feels right, will get you to another level.  


An analogy I often use is a sports one. Music, like sports, is a learned skill.  If a person is given dull skates, or a poorly fitting ball glove, that person likely will not enjoy or continue with that activity.  Music is the same.   

An instrument that cannot stay in tune or be properly setup will never lead to anyone enjoying making music. If  the goal is for you, or a friend/family member, to learn an instrument, buy the best you can afford, that also checks the other boxes we've discussed in this post.

That said... I don't think a beginners should go and buy a super expensive limited edition custom made with unicorn horn guitar... save that for when you really know what you like. But if you can afford a higher end guitar, then go for it - look after it and it'll treat you very well, retain it's value, and deliver some great moments.


Quite often we get asked "What's the Best"? I can honestly tell you that there is no best, just different. 

After almost 40 years of making music, I have either owned or played every major brand. I have played $8000 guitars that sound terrible, and $500 guitars that punch way above their weight.

When buying a guitar, or any instrument, play as many as you can, listening and feeling each one. While having a $4500 Martin D28 is awesome, it's not awesome if you're afraid to play it. All instruments are made to be played, regardless of their sticker price. I always say that someone, somewhere, put the time, and some outstanding skills into making the guitar, it needs to be played out of respect for the instrument and the people behind it.

When you're trying out guitars, don't think 'it must be good because it's X, or not good because it's not X - use your ears, hands and gut to decide!


Further to TIP 9, avoid buying an instrument for show. Value in instruments come from the stories and memories they've helped to create. To get the most from your instrument, respect it, play it, and spend some time with it.

Like most things, you'll get out what you put in. An instrument kept in a case looking like the day it came off the line, will be exactly that. It will have no stories to tell, no memories to trigger, and will never get to the "broken in" zone.

Buying guitars is fun, and searching for the right one is fun too, sometimes even more fun :)

CB Music Centre has a wide selection of guitars, basses, drums, keyboards and amps, along with a huge accessories selection.

Come check us out online @


Please like and share!!

Thomas Clarence March 12, 2021

You made an interesting point when you explained that it is important to make sure that you get a guitar that feels good to you. I am wanting to learn how to play the guitar this month, and my wife is thinking of purchasing one for me on my birthday. We will have to find some local stores that sell guitars so that I can find one that feels good in my hands.

somya November 24, 2022

Great web site you have here.. The clearness in your post is simply nice and i
can assume you are an expert on this subject. You should take part in a contest for one of the finest websites on the internet.A lot of times it’s challenging to meet
that “perfect balance” between useability and appearance.
I must say that you’ve done a very good job with this. I definitely enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.

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