Tudor-Niculescu-Mizil guitar lessons

How do I choose my guitar

When you want to learn how to play the guitar you have to know that you will need a guitar that you can practice on at home. During lessons, the teacher explains and shows the student what to do, following that the student will then repeat from one lessons to the other for skill training.

If you want to buy a guitar from a store, than you have to go to a music store. The classical guitar has 6 strings, the first 3 of which are made of nylon.

Depending on the student’ s age and physical development, different guitars should be chosen:

6-8 years old: guitar size 1/2

9-12 years old: guitar size 3/4

Over 12 years old: standard guitar 4/4

The first thing you should take into consideration when choosing a guitar is to be careful not to have any visible construction defects: scratches, wood cracks, deformation of the neck’ s plane, bumps in the wood, problems woth the polish layer. It is good to check the tuning keys, so that they have a smooth, uninterrupted course.

Another important aspect concerns the plane of the strings which must be uniform. All strings must be at the same hight relative to each other and also have a unitary tension. Therefore, once you visually check the plane of the strings at the rosette, you should gently press your palm against the strings to feel that the tension is equal on each string.

The appearance of the instrument is less important (color, drawing around the rozette od distinctive markings) and should not be a purchasing criterion.

The instrument should always be tested before purchase. It is also good to try at least 2-3 different instruments so that to have comparison points of reference.

Since testing an instrument involves certaind knowledge and skills, it is good to go with someone who has experience to this concern. This will give you the chance to make the right choice.

The following criteria will be considered:

  1. Sound quality

The sound quality refers to the specificity of the sound and the maximum degree of sound that the instrument can provide when it comes to different ways of plucking the strings. Sound quality considers several factors including:  clarity of sounds, their ability to form a unitary resonance, richness in harmonics.

  1. Testing the positions on the guitar fingerboard

In many cases it is possible that the the sounds in the first positions of the fingerboard, on different strings, may not be heard correctly. It is a phenomenon quite common that, when a sound is articulated in the first positions, it is possible to hear the buzzing effect of the strings. This is usually caused by the touching of the pressed strings with the next fret positions.

It is also very important to test all the positions on the fingerboard so that there is no danger that in some positions the sounds may not be heard correctly or even can not be emitted due to construction defects.

  1. The ability to be tuned

An especially important aspect is that the instrument can be tunned perfectly. An instrument you can not tune at the moment of purchase, regardless of the degree of string usage, can not be an option. The ability to tune the instrument is an essential element that can not be overcome.

  1. The sound proportion between trebles and basses

A qualitative guitar will have profound basses and sharp trebles. The balance between the basses and the trebles is very important in order to keep the proper proportion between these two resounding instances, the purpose of the basse being to support and highlight the trebles.

  1. The sustain – the duration of the sounds from the moment of articulation to their extinction

The extinction of the sounds after the moment of plucking must be achieved gradually. Ideally, the sustain of the sounds must be uniform on all frets, so that all sounds last as long as possible.

  1. The brightness of the sounds on the first string

The first string is generally responsible for leading the main melodic line. That’ s why it is good to make shure that the sound on the first string is clear, open and bright.

  1. The color uniformity of the strings

Each string should sound in the same manner, so that there are no major differences in perceiving the sounds when plucking two different strings. For example, it is possible that the first string will have a bright sound and the second string will have a bump resonance.

  1. The sound intensity

Since the guitar is an instrument with a relatively weak sound compared to other instruments, it is necessary to consider the instrument’ s dynamic range (how does the guitar sound in piano, forte, fortissimo etc). Moreover, one must observe the resonance capacity of the soundboard of the guitar, which can be felt not only auditory, but also physically, effectively through the body and arms. The sound projection is another aspect to be noticed, that means the degree in which the sounds are projected from the inside of the soundboard to the listener.

  1. Quality and duration of the harmonics

 Harmonics can be played in different positions on the fingerboard – the most common positions for natural harmonics are: III, V, VII, IX, XII. The harmonics played in these positions must sound clear, consistent and should last long.

  1. The range of tone colours:

Depending on the placement of the right hand to the rosette when pluking the strings, the sonority can be different: the plucking of the strings near to the rosette (naturale), near to the bridge (sul ponticello) and close to the XIXth fret (sul tasto). These differences mut be very clear.

Taking into account the above criteria, you will be able to purchase a guitar to be pleased of. You should of course consider the buget you are willing to allocate according to the purpose you are buying the guitar (hobby or performance, beginner or advanced level, short or long term acquisition)
For those studying the guitar for performance, luther guitars are the best option. They are superior in quality versus serial guitar and they can be custom made taking into account the characteristics and requirements of each player.

Once you’ve chosen the guitar, you will need some accessories, such as a guitar case, a footstool for the left leg and a stand for the scores.