questionswhat is the best low cost guitar for a beginner?

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@durkzilla: Thanks for the reply. I am looking for accoustic and not electric. If I get my wife an electric guitar she will upset the cats.

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fender is probably your best bet for a beginner/cheap electric guitar. takamine by jasmin is also pretty good. i personally have the jasmine takamine S34C which has a nice cutaway for easy access to the higher frets.

also keep in mind in general an acoustic guitar will have a higher action compared to an electric. action is basically the height of the strings on the fretboard. the higher the action the more difficult/painful it will be on your fingers (specially for a beginner) to hold strings down on the fret board. an electric guitar will have a lower action and should play fine even without an amp but will not sound as vibrant as an acoustic.

i would encourage her to play because once you start learning some basic chords you can start playing many songs. you will be surprised that with just 4 or 5 chords and some basic strum patterns you can play lots of songs. And as she begins to add more chords to her arsenal specially barre chords she will be playing like a pro in no time.

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@fahadqureshi: Sorry to post more questions, but I have never played a guitar.
Does size matter? LOL
I am getting confused between 30 inch, 1/2 size, 3/4 size, 38 inch, and full size.
A few inches seems to make a lot of difference.
I don't believe I am going to say this, but here goes. What is the best size for a beginner?

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also if u are buying online i would highly recommend you pick up some new strings. a lot of times these guitars are kept in warehouses and with time the strings begin to rust. guitar strings by d'addario or martin are both fairly cheap and a good bargain. youtube has lots of helpful videos on changing strings.

i also recommend getting a guitar tuner because if the guitar is out of tune it will sound terrible and she will become discouraged. if u have an iphone or a android phone there are lots of different guitar tuning apps available. i recommend the "cleartune - chormatic tuner" from the apple app store which is fairly accurate. or u can always buy a tuner from wherever you buy your guitar. a clip on tuner which tunes based on string vibrations are probably the best ones to get because they are not affected by ambient noise(basically means you can tune your guitar in a noisy environment) and are fairly cheap.

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@atd15: i dont really know a lot about sizes i just buy my guitars from amazon. when u say a few inches makes a difference do u mean in price? i will advise you not to buy a child guitar however. it looks like the guitar i have has the following dimensions:

Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 41.5 x 20 inches ; 6 pounds

i don't think its too big or to small actually seems perfect.

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@fahadqureshi: I think they mean the length of the guitar. That surprised me too.
You know what you are talking about....so, do I buy a cheap $50 guitar, or buy a $200 guitar?
I know my wife...and I love her.....but she tends to "want stuff more than she needs it" I just don't want to buy a gift that will be wasted.
I love music, and I hope she will learn to play

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@atd15: well it looks like you want a definitive reply so here goes. dont buy a $50 and don't buy a $200. buy something in the range of $100. that way you wont be breaking the bank and if she decides that she is not interested(highly unlikely since learning/playing guitar is very addictive) you will only be out $100.

both of these guys are under $100:

http://www.amazon.com/Jasmine-Takamine-S35-Acoustic-Natural/dp/B0002F58TG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323201673&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Jasmine-Takamine-S34C-Acoustic-Guitar/dp/B0002GXZK4/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1323201673&sr=8-8

both have plenty of reviews on amazon so you can read up and make a decision based on your needs.

keep in mind one of the many reasons people quit anything in life(be it a diet/exercise regimen or in your case your wife wanting to learn to play guitar) is because of a lack of proper motivation. with proper encouragement and motivation i don't see any reason why this thoughtful gift would go to waste. :D

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@fahadqureshi: Thanks for your help, I really do appreciate it.

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@atd15: no prob. and one last bit of advise check out justinguitar.com for free guitar lessons. his lessons were really helpful to me when i was starting off.

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I suggest one of these package deals:

For $100, you get a Fender acoustic, gig bag (basically something to keep it in so it doesn't collect dust after your wife stops using it), shoulder strap, picks and a tuner.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/fender-sa-100-upgrade-acoustic-guitar-pack

Or for $160 you can get this Yamaha set that includes all of the above, plus extra strings and an instructional DVD. I have a Yamaha acoustic myself and I think it's an excellent guitar. Very low action for an acoustic so you don't have to press down on the strings too hard, which is great for beginners.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/yamaha-gigmaker-acoustic-guitar-pack