Take it for a Test Drive

I spoke with someone today who told me they are just learning how to play the guitar. They said that they planned to keep at it for the next two months, and that if they could play an F barre chord at the end of the test period without it hurting, they would buy a better guitar.

I asked him what type of guitar he plays. He said an acoustic. I asked him what model. He said, "I don't know. It's just a cheap guitar I picked up to start learning on." He said he didn't want to buy anything "too serious" until he knew he was going to keep at it.

This logic seems sound enough. Why spend money on an instrument until you know you're going to play it regularly? Here's why: if you don't feel moved by the instrument - if it doesn't feel right in your arms, make your heart skip a beat or bring you some sort of happiness just by holding it, then you probably won't stick with it.

Now, I'm not saying that you need to go out and spend all kinds of money on an expensive guitar. You could find a $50 guitar that makes you weak in the knees. What I am saying is that if you are going to begin the journey of learning to play an instrument, you need to go into a store that sells instruments - yes, they still exist - and try some out. You wouldn't buy a car without going for a test drive, would you?

Even if you haven't played a lick in your life, you need to sit with the instrument you're theoretically going to be cradling against your body for the next little while and see if it feels right. Is it too large for your frame? Too small? Is the fret board too raised? What about the neck, is it too wide to hold comfortably?

So go on. Get behind the wheel and see how she drives. You never know what will feel right, but I guarantee you'll have a much more successful outcome if you simply try before you buy.