The Systemic Problem: Why is it difficult to find the right guitar?

The systemic problem is that parents and other first time (and even second and third time, etc.) buyers who desire to give their children or themselves an opportunity to learn to play the guitar often lack the necessary experience to intelligently select an instrument that will help usher them to their desired goal. Elements of the systemic problem include:

  • A marketplace full of poorly constructed instruments to meet consumer demands for low prices.
  • An overwhelming selection of instruments for the uninitiated.
  • A lack of adequate consumer information.
  • Overwhelming amount of conflicting and hype-inspired recommendations.
  • A lack of an instrument grading system.
  • Tremendous market hype and well-meaning people that are influenced by that market hype.
  • Consumer inexperience.
  • Salespeople who are most likely not qualified professional teachers.

The lack of information and experience, coupled with the overwhelming selection of instruments to choose from means that consumers often have to rely on the good intentioned advice of others. These others, unfortunately, may themselves be influenced by market hype and salespeople who obviously want and need to sell their product.

Unfortunately, parents or first time buyers may not be aware of the consequences of purchasing an inappropriate or poorly constructed instrument. If the strings are too hard to push down, or the instrument plays too stiffly, or the size of the instrument is awkward, the inexperienced player will most likely discover their desires turning into frustration. Believing and feeling that they lack ability to learn to play, they may convince themselves that they don’t want to play.

This is unfortunate because these students may in reality have all the ability they need and may miss out on a lifetime of making music, as well as the joy of learning and personal growth. The negative experience may also influence self-esteem and the way one approaches other new interests. In family settings it may create a chain reaction where parents in turn become frustrated. They may not understand their child’s sudden lack of interest to play the instrument that they spent their hard-earned money on. This just compounds the problem for both the child and the parents.

For most new players, learning is like a three legged chair. Take any one leg away and the whole structure comes tumbling down. The desire to learn and grow can be dramatically enhanced with lots of encouragement, a good, sensitive teacher and an appropriate instrument.

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