BUYING A GUITAR
I am looking for a guitar for beginner. Which do you recommend?
Follow your budget. All our guitars are budget guitars within their category and good enough for beginners. Just decide whether you want to buy acoustic guitar (steel strings) or classical guitar (nylon strings) first.
Many teachers in music school get their student to start with classical (nylon) guitar because it is not so painful on the right hand fingers when pressing. More so if they are female students. Most people however, do not enjoy the sound of classical guitar because it is mellow. But that is because classical guitar aka Spanish style guitar is designed for fingerstyle set pieces, solo and accompaniment playing. Just search 'classical guitar' youtube and hear the playing.
If you are learning on your own, with friends, youtubing, etc, you can buy any type of guitar, and usually young people prefer the acoustic (steel) guitar which is bright and ringing. This is the type of guitar we usually hear and see on MTV, the one Taylor Swift or Yuna picks and strums on accompaniment.
Finally, a guitar costing say RM800/= will certainly sound better and build better quality than a guitar below RM200/=. But the cheap guitar can still play and get the job done, ie. to entertain you. Of course if you have RM800 to spend for your first guitar, go ahead.
Are your guitars new?
Yes almost all the guitars are new. If it is used we will indicate so.
Is this a good guitar?
Or do you mean 'is this a good buy'? A good guitar can costs thousands of ringgit and it still can be subjective! A good buy is that the guitar is reasonable decent based on the value you are paying.
I'm looking for something for my son/ daughter, something for a beginner. My son mentioned something like Fender or Gibson. What do you recommend?
We do not have any branded label guitars.
We carry guitars below RM1,000/=, in fact many less than RM500/=. They are ALL cheap yet decent guitars made in China, certainly decent enough for any beginner... but that's our view. Some parents give their teenage son/ daughter a small cheap used car for a first car whereas some a new 1.8 Honda or Toyota. So it depends on where you're coming from.
What we can say is that for a lady, a nylon string guitar (see below) may be more suitable when starting to learn simply because it is less painful on the fingers compared with steel string guitar (see below). Many music schools also use a nylon string guitar for beginners and teach them to pluck and strum simply because it is easier to play.
The Valencia classical (nylon strings) guitar is one of the very popular entry level guitars used by many music schools.
Do you have second hand guitars?
Most of the time, no.
I got a guitar to sell. Do you buy?
No we do not buy second hand guitars. If there are any in the shop they are on consignment basis. The customer left it in our shop for us to sell on their behalf.
Where are your guitars made?
Almost all are made in China.
China guitars can (play) ah?
These are cheap guitars compared to a RM2K - RM5K guitar or RM8K - RM10K+ (and even higher). Many branded labels do not have guitars below RM500 AND even if they do,:-
(1) the guitars may be re-labelled with a second-tier name (or some use their orginal label), AND
(2) the guitars are likely made in China or Indonesia.
We are not likely to find guitars below RM1K made in USA, Japan, Spain.
The made in China guitars we carry are quite decent for the price you pay. If we benchmark against the branded labels (but made in China or Indonesia), we are about 50% to 70% of their prices. In fact the Valencia classical guitars are used by many music schools.
Gypsy Rose, SX, Valencia are all made by the same company in China teamintlco.com
Can you give examples of second tier labels?
Good example is Squier which is Fender's second tier label. Here's Fender's Shanghai factory making Squiers http://news.guitarchina.com/article.php/1466
Another is Gibson's Epiphone label made in Qingdao China - see here http://news.guitarchina.com/article/2662.html
What do you mean by decent guitar?
Like we say above, all of us have different budgets. Here we carry guitars less than RM1K and the models spread over different budgets. Say if you have RM300 to blow for a classical guitar, we have a model that we think is a decent buy.
There are 5 basic qualities in a guitar (1) projection / volume (2) tone (3) sustain (4) playability/action and (5) build to last. A guitar is decent enough with regards to these qualities within its price range. Certainly if we buy a Proton, we do not expect it to perform like a Honda.
Most of these cheap guitars can easily last 5 to 10 years or more. In fact plywood actually can last a long time. It's the glue and binding that gives way.
You mean these guitars are plywood ah?
It is not likely you can get any solid wood (as against plywood) for anything less than RM800 - RM900 for branded labels. We have solid top models starting above RM450+. Solid top refers to only the top piece of wood of the acoustic guitar (where the hole is) as against the back piece and the side pieces. A guitar that is made of solid wood all round is a different class altogeher.
There is a major difference between a solid top and the normal plywood (laminated). The top piece of the guitar is the main sounding board and a solid top guitar reverberates stronger and longer.
What do you mean by classical, acoustic, electric guitar? I don't know anything about guitars
We can put into 2 types:-
(1) electric guitar
The ones where you watch the bands playing on MTV, loud and hard edge. Usually 3 to 5 guys gals with a drummer, bass guitar, lead guitar, cables on floor with guitar strap hanging over body, and large amplifiers to amplify the sound of the electric guitar.
So if you are buying an electric guitar, you need an amplifier to go with the guitar.
(2) acoustic guitars - these are 'boxed' guitars with a hole on the top and played normally without an amplifier, loud enough for a room, They are your campfire guitars, the one most people play in their rooms or school concert.
[Note: some acoustic guitars also come with built-in pickups. We then have the option to plugin acoustic guitar to an amplifier (need to buy of course). This is louder of course then playing unplugged. Or we can buy separate pickups, attach to acoustic guitar and plugin to amplifier.]
Acoustic can differentiate into 2 types:-
(a) steel strings (b) nylon strings
Steel string acoustic guitars are your typical country western strumming 'changling' bright kind of sound. You can use a pick (plectrum) or your fingers to pluck the strings.
(b) Nylon string guitars are the classical (or spanish) guitars. They do not have button straps. So we cannot strap the guitar over our body. They are designed to be played in sitting position, prim proper concert manner, like you can bring your classical guitar and play with the Philharmonic Orchestra. The guitar sounds more mellow in contrast with the steel string guitar which is bright.
Also, checkout Wikipedia's Different Types Of Guitars.
Which guitar sounds better, steel or nylon string?
Which car is better - hatchback or sedan? It's like they have different applications. Typically the strumming and singalong guitar is the steel string guitar. It's bright sounding and a lot of fun.
The nylon or classical guitar is more suited to fingerstyle plucking, playing solo guitar pieces - classical music (as in Bach) or pop music arranged in classical style. But we can of course use the nylon string guitar for strumming and singalong. Just use a lighter plectrum to strum the guitar.
Another way of putting it is like the weather! Acoustic guitar sounds bright like "cuaca cerah"; whereas Classical nylon guitar sounds mellow like "cuaca renung". That's why the classical guitar, aka the Spanish guitar - sounds especially good playing typical Spanish minor mode tunes like "malaguena".
Listen to the beautiful song "Stairway To Heaven" played by the original Led Zeppelin with Jimmy Page on the electric guitar.
And contrast it with the (typical) Classical spanish guitar version - how do you feel? Where, what type of music do you like to head in your guitar playing? It comes from within you!
Finally these are just general fits. Like all art, feel free to play and experiment all styles you like or create regardless of the stereotyping of the instruments.
How long does it take to learn the guitar?
If you wish to play the guitar like Jimmy Page (above), it will take you years of training. If you wish to accompany yourself on the guitar as you sing a simple song, then it will certainly be shorter, probably not more than 3 months to learn a few simple chords and strum the guitar slowly as you sing a simple song.
Do I need to join or form a band to play electric guitar?
No, you do not need to be in a band to play electric guitar although we see most electric guitarists in a band. You can work your own electric guitar solo arrangement and with amplifiers and effects, play a great tune all by yourself. Watch the awesome Andy Timmons plays 'Strawberry Fields Forever', his own solo electric guitar arrangement.