ROCKER: Choosing the right guitar

Friday February 19 2016

Let’s talk about guitars today. It is pretty

Let’s talk about guitars today. It is pretty obvious that guitarists and lead singers get all the attention in a band, which is not surprising. The instruments and vocals, if well used, often do the trick. ILLUSTRATION| JOSEPH NGARI 

Let’s talk about guitars today. It is pretty obvious that guitarists and lead singers get all the attention in a band, which is not surprising. The instruments and vocals, if well used, often do the trick.

Though an unfair advantage, it is widely recognised that guitars and vocals are the two most easily manipulated to produce beautiful-sounding music. Good luck beating your lead guitarist’s shredding while you are on a bass.

So what factors should you consider when choosing a good guitar? First, you have to determine what kind of music you’ll be producing. You can’t go around playing a seven-string battle axe yet you are a country musician.

Not only will you look exceedingly weird, but it won’t produce the desired sound. You’d need a good acoustic guitar for that, preferably one that you have listened to and touched. This way you can have it befit your desired tone.

If you play more aggressive music, say heavy metal, then a six or seven-string electric guitar is a better option. Have your budget ready. Way too often we walk into music shops and get overwhelmed by good-looking guitars with hefty price tags.

Before you leave your house, decide how much you’re ready to spend. 

VARIETY OF CHOICE

Once you know what you want to play, you can go into the nitty-gritty’s of the instrument. You have to take time and play the instrument. Sit down and actually listen to the sound each guitar produces, both on a clean channel and on distortion.

After that, you can decide which is best for you.

When picking a guitar, there is so much to choose from. Which kind of body do you prefer? Personal preference always have me salivating over the arrowhead guitars, but maybe it is not the most comfortable thing to carry around for everyone.

I would also prefer the simple light brown maple fret board over a darker ebony or rosewood. Again, all this is down to preferences. Go for something that is comfortable. Let the strings be at the right height from the fret board if you are a shredder and like

low action. What pick-ups are on the guitar? Are they ordinary shop pick-ups or are they custom-made? How rich does the ring sound when you hit the strum? Simple things like these dictate the satisfaction you receive from playing.

Lastly, always buy something you find pleasant to look at, bearing in mind that it is something you will be using pretty often. Make sure it is something that you will enjoy playing. If it is a beautiful instrument that fits your specs, you are more likely to enjoy

using and taking care of it than something you bought out of necessity. Take your time and pick the right guitar.