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3 Guitar-Shopping Tips to Find Your Perfect Instrument

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After I began to outgrow my first guitar and develop musical tastes of my own, I started asking for a new guitar. The problem was, I didn't know exactly what I wanted. Walking into a guitar store was mind boggling. The brands and prices became a blur; was there a “best” brand? Was there an ideal model? And, of course, money is always a factor. Few can afford to walk into a store and buy a several-thousand-dollar-dream guitar.

While everything is subjective, here are my own opinions and experiences I've developed while guitar shopping. Hopefully they will help guide you through the process!

Don’t Hit the Stage Without These Overlooked Heroes of Your Pedalboard

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This article originally appeared on Soundfly.


Guitarists like to spill ink all the time about distortion boxes, classic overdrives, boutique delay pedals, and bucket-brigade modulation effects. It’s understandable why: These attention-grabbing stompboxes lead to dramatic and satisfying changes in sound. Like a great vintage amp or a top-notch guitar, it’s these larger-than-life pedals that help a player define his or her own sonic character.

Sometimes, however, it’s the most often-overlooked pedals that can make all the difference. Learn about them, and get them on your pedalboard  you’ll be surprised at the wonders a simple and relatively unsexy pedal can do for your sound.

The Best Acoustic Guitars for Every Budget

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Whenever we think “songwriter,” our mental image usually includes an acoustic guitar. This instrument is the iconic companion of earnest coffeehouse songsters, grizzled folk storytellers, and country crooners who tell it like it is. And like most instruments, the price of admission goes from very little to sky’s-the-limit.

Sweetwater Sound’s catalog of acoustics ranges in price from just over $200 (for a tiny backpack guitar) on up to this $10,000 museum piece by Martin. But unless you absolutely need to match Neil Young’s guitar tone on “Harvest Moon,” price point is a matter of diminishing returns. Does a $1,200 Taylor sound better than a $250 Yamaha? In general, yes. But what extras do you get when you hit the $3,000 price point? How about $5,000?

The Best Guitar Pedals on the Market for Your Budget

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If you’re a violinist, tone comes from wood and your fingers, and that’s it. If you play electric guitar, there are several more stages in the signal chain that run from your fingers to the listener’s ear. Pedals are so important that many players would rather use a house amp with their own pedals than bring their own amp along and leave the stompboxes at home. But there are so many to choose from, and you can’t buy the whole store. By category, here are some of the best choices in guitar pedals, with a budget option and another choice if cost is no object.

The Best Guitar Amps for Every Genre

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For all the talk about how “tone comes from the fingers,” amplifiers are still critical. Just ask any musician who’s been told, “You have to use our backline to cut down on soundchecks. Don’t worry – our gear sounds great!”

Do you really want to play on amps that have been set up according to someone else’s personal style and taste? You may still be finding and refining your guitar sound, but you know what sounds bad, and you want to find that tone that will make your music soar. With that in mind, here are some of the best amps on the market for the styles you play.