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Electric Guitars – Frequently Asked Questions

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How much should I spend?

The golden rule, as with other instruments, is to spend as much as you can afford. A better guitar and better amplifier will make a better sound, and will keep you satisfied for longer. All the guitars we sell at Sheehans are checked over and set up by our own repairer and luthier prior to sale, so they will all have a nice low action, even frets and accurate intonation.

Bear in mind that, at the very least, you will also need an amplifier, strap, lead, and plectrums, and it's usually a good idea to buy an electronic tuner (by far the easiest way of keeping your instrument in tune), and a soft case if you plan to take the instrument out of the house. There are complete packages available which are excellent value, and usually contain everything mentioned above (apart from the tuner); these are a very popular choice for people just starting out.

Why are some electric guitars more expensive than others?

Browsing our shop you will notice there is quite a difference between the prices of the least expensive and most expensive electric guitars. Here are some improvements you might expect by spending more money on an instrument:

  • Attention to detail - more expensive guitars are generally put together more carefully than their budget counterparts. Even in the most highly-mechanised factories, there are still some jobs which have to be done by humans. The more skilled the workers, and the more time they spend on each instrument, the higher the labour costs.
  • Country of origin - most budget guitars are made in Far-Eastern countries, where labour costs are much lower. Whereas there used to be a massive difference in quality between Far-Eastern instruments and those made in Western countries, the quality of the better budget instruments has improved dramatically over the last few years, while prices have actually decreased!
  • Raw Materials - many of the most sought-after materials for making instruments are tropical hardwoods, which are becoming rarer and hence more expensive. Better looking timbers - and those which have the right grain structure and density for making instruments out of - are rarer still, and cost more money. Budget instruments tend to be made from less expensive wood. The cost of these raw materials often account for a large proportion of the final cost of the instrument.
  • Hardware / Components - more expensive instruments are often fitted with better quality and branded hardware such as Grover® tuners or Floyd-Rose® tremolo systems.
  • Pickups - these are obviously a crucial part of any electric guitar's sound. Most manufacturers make their own pickups, but more high-spec guitars will often be fitted with high-quality branded pickups, such as Seymour-Duncan®, which are usually reflected in the price.
  • Finish - matt finishes are generally cheaper than gloss, and fancy multicoloured works of art and metallic paints cost more than plain old solid colour. Also many manufacturers sensibly save the better-looking, more expensive bits of timber for guitars with a see-through finish, such as natural or sunburst, and may charge extra for 'special wood requirements' on these finishes.
  • Extras - gadgets such as active electronics, locking tremolo systems, fancy pickup-switching arrangements etc all have to be paid for!

Will my musical equipment be covered on my house insurance?

This will depend on the details of your indivual policy - some cover musical instruments, some don't. Often insurers will require you to pay a surcharge to cover instruments over a certain value, and most will not cover instruments outside of the house.

Even if your instruments are covered on your home insurance, it may well be worth considering a specialist musical instrument insurance policy. These are often surprisingly inexpensive, and will usually cover accidental damage or theft of instruments in many more situations than a household policy - at home, at school, in an unattended vehicle, in a performance venue, at a friends house. Usually you can upgrade the policy to include extras such as worldwide travel, and public liability insurance.

For specialist musical instrument insurance, we recommend Allianz Cornhill - see our musical instrument insurance page for more information on their policies.

What's the best way to learn electric and bass guitar?

There's a variety of good tutorial books available, many of which have CDs and DVDs included, and some good standalone DVD packages available - sheet music, books and dvd search facility on our website, or contact our electric guitar department for our latest recommendations.

Whilst it's possible to learn to play entirely from books or DVDs (and some people manage to teach themselves without even these) its usually a good idea to think about having lessons with a guitar teacher, even if it's just a few sessions to point you in the right direction.

If you're looking for a guitar / bass teacher in the Leicester and Leicestershire area, please contact us and we will email you a list of the ones we know about. If you're from further afield, we suggest trying to contact your local music shop to find out if they offer a similar service for your area.

But I'm left handed…

Not a problem! Jimi Hendrix was left handed, in common with many other successful guitarists before and since. Although some left handed players have learned to play right handed, and some have taken a right handed guitar and turned it upside down, nowadays most tend to use left handed guitars.

Pretty much all manufacturers now make a good selection of left-handed electric guitars and basses, so there's plenty to choose from. There's even special chord books printed for left handed players, so there's no excuse not to learn!

Brands we stock include...

  • Guild Guitars
  • Veelah Guitars
  • Eastman Guitars
  • Godin Guitars
  • Lakewood Guitars
  • Faith Guitars many more!

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