Getting Your Guitar in Shape for Lessons

This page pertains to lessons given at the Apple Valley location. Affiliate teachers may have different recommendations.

Musical enjoyment, strong motivation to practice regularly, and the ability to produce the tone quality and volume control taught in lessons requires a guitar in good condition.

If you already have one:

  1. The strings should be changed if they’re more than a year old. (The “industry standard” recommendation is about every three months.) Why? Because relatively old strings are sometimes difficult to tune up, have a dull tone, and reduced volume.
  2. The guitar should not buzz or rattle when notes are played.
  3. The neck needs to be largely straight, not bowed up or down or twisted. If it is, the guitar won’t tune up. If it’s bowed up, the strings will be too high above the fingerboard, and will be difficult to press down with the fretting fingers.
  4. Assuming relatively fresh strings, the guitar should tune up properly.

We will check all of these points for you during a free guitar check-up. If necessary, issues can be addressed by a local repair shop. Hoffmann’s in Minneapolis is one of the best, and is the authorized warranty shop for several major acoustic guitar brands.

If you don’t have a guitar:

  1. Buy one with a SOLID wood top. Laminated tops (plywood) produce a poor tone, weak volume, and limited dynamic range. They also have very low resale value.
  2. Visit us FIRST for a free guitar sizing. Otherwise, we’ve seen students end up with new guitars that are too large or small. This can make playing difficult and uncomfortable.

See: What Instrument Should I Buy for more details.

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