Electric Guitar Lessons Online
Electric Guitars

As part of your electric guitar lessons online, you've got to start out with an axe – there's no two ways about it! Gotta have a guitar in order to learn how to play it (yea, I know, I've got a keen sense of the obvious).

Hopefully you have one in your life because someone else you know plays (or quit playing) and now you're looking to either get your own or upgrade to a better axe. So how do you choose?

Head straight to the popular guitar makers section.

Your First Axe

If you’re just starting out and don't have a guitar, go to a music store and talk to the sales people. Find out what they recommend and try some of the guitars within your budget. You can always come back to this site for electric guitar lessons online to start learning how to play.

Another way to look at it is "What does rocker X play?" Like I've said before, you have bands you like and may have a certain sound bouncing around in your head. Have you identified a guitar player you wnat to sound like?

Who in the rock kingdom has a similar sound to what you’re going for? Do you like the 60’s and 70’s sound of Led Zeppelin or The Who? What about something more modern like Green Day or Velvet Revolver? More mellow like Clapton or funky like Maroon 5? More metallic or punk?

Whatever your tastes, it’s pretty easy to find out what guitars are being played. However, a big potential limitation is cash. How much is that axe gonna set you back? Use these electric guitar lessons online to help you make a decision.

Don't be sad, dude!

You can start out with something that costs less than $100, but you've heard it before – "you get what you pay for". Not to say that you can't find a deal somewhere, but super low-cost guitars tend to have real low quality hardware, so it’s tough to keep them in tune and get a good sound (unless you have time and know-how to put into making it sound good).

Don't be sad, dude – you'll find something!

For most of the premium manufacturers, it’s going to be tough to find affordable guitars. Some do have some lower cost models, though. The big guys like Gibson and Fender have completely separate lines of affordable models for you to choose from. We'll cover some of the low-cost guitar options in these electric guitar lessons online. Don’t think you have to "pay for the name" to get a good, quality axe. In fact, some of the big name makers have "budget" lines to get you started.

Of course, maybe you’ve come across someone selling an electric guitar and you want to know what it’s worth before you lay down any cash. Heck, it might even be an axe that’s been in the family for a while. There are resources to help determine the value of the axe. Let’s have a chat here about vintage guitar values. These could turn out to be some valuable electric guitar lessons online indeed!

Used or New?

Well used Fender Strat and case

Once you’ve figured out what guitars you want to look at, you need to find a local music store that stocks it. Not that you need to buy it there – a lot of time you can find good deals online for both new and used equipment. You can keep coming back to electric guitar lessons online to help make sure you’ve asked all the questions you need to before shellin’ out cash.

You just need to "strap it on" to make sure the guitar feels good in your hands. No use drooling over an axe that you find out you hate. Try out a few different guitars and amps to get an idea of what you want.

And don’t be afraid of used gear. If you end up buying something from a music store, it’s probably been checked out to make sure it works before being accepted as a trade. You can find guitars at pawn shops too, but you’ll have to be extra careful. Check it out yourself – use these electric guitar lessons online to help you make a wise choice:

  • Is the neck straight? Any visible cracks, especially around the headstock?
  • Does the body have lots of nicks and scratches?
  • Are the frets worn down? Do they have sharp edges?
  • Do the electronics work? All the pickups work?
  • If it has multiple pickups, check the selector switch. Does that work? What about the volume and tone knobs?
  • Play it – does it stay in tune? Do the machine heads turn smoothly, or are they real loose or "jerky" when you turn them?
  • How long has it been in the store? You might be able to get a better deal if it’s been sitting for a long time.
  • Does the store know its history?
  • Was it a gigging guitar, or did some "little old lady from Pasadena" own it before?
  • Look for refinish work – that may indicate work done to hide a crack or other problem.
  • Ask the store about their return and warranty policies.
  • Get the store to have their guitar tech set it up for you if they haven’t done it already.
  • See if they’ll throw in some strings or a strap or cord.
  • Will they give you a deal on a hard shell case? What about an amplifier?
Guitar pile

Make sure you're comfortable with the guitar before you walk out with it. Don't worry about what anybody thinks in the store – this is your money, so put the guitar through its paces. Hopefully you've been working through some electric guitar lessons online so you can play some chords or songs!

Back in the day before the Internet, we used to hunt down guitars through newspaper classified ads, auctions (offline), estate and tag sales (you never know who has a classic Les Paul stashed away with no clue of its value – remember that little old lady?). Now, not only can you go into stores, you can go online and shop, go to eBay and bid, use craigslist or any guitar community to hunt for deals. Use these electric guitar lessons online to help you make smart choices when you buy...

If you happen to live in the UK and you're looking for a new guitar, you'll want to head over here to help you find the best guitar deals.

As a side note, if classical guitar is more your style, here are some tips from my friend Lesley at Learn Classical Guitar Today to help you in buying a classical guitar. Actually, some of the tips given here also translate well to choosing an electric guitar, so check 'em out!

Popular Guitar Makers

  • Jackson Guitars

  • Charvel Guitars

  • Kramer Guitars

  • ESP Guitars

  • Rickenbacker Guitars

  • G & L Guitars

  • Steinberger Guitars

  • Gretsch Guitars

  • Hamer Guitars

I get a little bummed out when I look at guitar prices now. When I started out in the 80’s, I remember my buddy picking up a cherry-sunburst Les Paul for $350. I bought my BC Rich Mockingbird for $550, including a road case. This was a 70’s hand-made model. These were used guitars, and back then we had to know what to look for – we didn’t have online electric guitar lessons to guide us.

Like everything else, prices on guitars just keep going up. It's tough to find deals like this today. But keep watching – you never know what the economy will do. People might just start unloading guitars and gear to pay for gas! You never know...

Are you a do-it-yourselfer? Maybe you want to try your hand at building a custom guitar. A great way to start is using a pre-fab guitar kit. This could save you some money, too.

Got some tips for picking out a new or used guitar? Add to the electric guitar lessons online with your comments right here.