10 Problems Beginners Might Face When Buying a New Guitar (And How to Fix Them)

Commonly, beginners face different problems when buying a new guitar. It can range from the guitar itself, up to the manner of playing with the stringed instrument.

It is easy to fix when you have a clear picture of what the problem is. Recognize if you have these problems that beginners might face when buying a new guitar.

1. Impulse buying the wrong guitar

Buying a brand new guitar is an exciting experience for every aspiring musician. However, this can lead to buying the wrong guitar. If you are a beginner who doesn’t know what to look out for, you can buy out an instrument impulsively without checking for the things that you need for playing. 

Charles from Guitar Junky said, there are different kinds of guitars for the right purposes, and the excitement in buying one can mask out your primary intentions. It is better to bring an experienced guitarist when you are about to buy your first guitar. 

If you can’t bring him or her when you will buy, have a consultation with a professional or seasoned player who knows the things you will look out for in your first instrument. It is also great to ask around the personnel in the store as they know the products and guitars more.

2. Using the wrong strings / not changing the strings

Beginners usually encounter having problems with the wrong strings once they start to play more frequently. When there is a need for changing the strings, beginners usually just buy out the least or the most expensive one, not knowing if the string is right for the particular guitar that they have. It is advisable not to use steel strings on a classical guitar. It is best to voice out the type of guitar you have and knowing if the strings sold in stores are perfect for your instrument. Beginners usually don’t change strings until they are broken. It is recommended to change strings every 6-8 months to avoid wearing out your guitar prematurely.

3. Difficulty playing some chords

It is quite common to have some level of difficulty when trying out new chords. As a beginner, it is vital to have enough practice and to be patient with yourself as you are learning something new. However, beginners can still have difficulty in playing some chords even with the right finger positioning. This can sometimes be due to the wrong handling of the guitar itself. Putting yourself at an ergonomic disadvantage while playing the guitar can turn out to be awkward when playing out some chords. Check your trunk, hand, and arm positioning while playing, and try making adjustments to be more comfortable in playing some chords.

4. Guitar not staying in tune

When the guitar has the right intonation, it still won’t stay in tune if the strings keep slipping out. The problem can be easy to detect if you first recognize if you play too hard or just gently on your guitar. First, check the nut for any jagged or sharp spots because the string could be caught up. If you play a bit rough, it is best to invest in a high-standard tuning peg or a premium-quality tremolo system.

5. A peeling pickguard

Some pickguards are weakly attached to the body, and this could be a good thing because a peeling pickguard is easy to remedy. Once it starts pulling off, never try to put it back on immediately. It is best to peel it off carefully until all of the pickguards are detached. Clean out the surface first and then gently put it back on with a tougher adhesive. Always consult the manufacturer to use the right binding agent to avoid damage to your guitar.

6. Songs don’t play smooth

A reason why songs don’t play smoothly is that the chords are not shifted in a very fluid manner. Most beginners have difficulty in changing chords right away. This is rational at their level. And this can get better over time, as one practices more every day. Try to keep playing the same rhythm with the strumming hand, even when your other hand is still not on the chord. This will let the song have a more steady pace, so it will play smoother along the way.

7. Wrong action height

The action height is the height of the string above each guitar fret. The common scenario is that most action heights are set on high. Beginners will likely experience difficulties in pushing down the fret. Beginners don’t notice this immediately because the high action height can only be apparent at a certain part of the guitar neck or another. It is easy to adjust the action height. Take off the string and use sandpaper to lightly shave down the area where the string is quite high. Reinstall everything and string it up to play anew. Another alternative is to check out recommendations such as these beginner acoustic guitars listed here.

8. Buzzing frets

A common beginner problem that usually persists if not addressed right away is that the frets are buzzing when they are playing out some chords. This is because the player is not squeezing the strings enough, not putting enough pressure on the fret, and if one finger accidentally or unknowingly touches the string above or below. It is vital to recognize what is the root cause of the buzzing, to know if you will focus your adjustments on the hand or the finger grip. You can also pluck the chords individually first, rather than strumming it out right away.

9. Using the wrong cleaning agents

The wrong cleaning agents on the guitar are also one of the common mistakes that beginners face. It is understandable how one is extra-protective of a new instrument. A common mistake is using household products to keep the new guitar shiny and well-polished. Some household cleaners have strong chemicals that do more harm than good for your guitar. Remember that there is a specific cleaner for your stringed instrument. Consult the store where you bought your guitar and clean it regularly with the recommended cleaning agent.

10. Buying unnecessary accessories

One of the things that make playing the guitar a tad bit more expensive is buying out unnecessary accessories. Beginners are usually overwhelmed with the new instrument that they have, that they tend to look at the bigger picture without focusing more on learning the necessary skills first. 

Accessories like an amp for electric and acoustic-electric guitars are bought just for fun, without even acknowledging it there is a need for one. This is an additional expense you don’t want to commit. Before buying an amp, consider if you will need it in the future, and how often you will be using it. You can try plugging your guitar into a computer when practicing and recording, to avoid needless costs.

Common guitar problems are easily avoided when you know what to anticipate. Beginners encounter these problems, but know that the struggle is temporary and that learning the guitar has its ups and downs. Finding the root of the problem can go a long way, and fixing it can greatly improve your guitar playing skills.