When Is it Time to Step-Up Your Guitar?

How do you know when it’s time for a guitar upgrade? Instrument upgrades are always an exciting moment in a player’s musical journey. For many guitarists, acquiring a new “axe” feels like finding a new best friend. A new guitar can reignite your passion for music and motivate you to take your playing to the next level.

There are many reasons to get an instrument upgrade. For young players, physical growth often requires them to get a guitar upgrade. Other reasons to buy a new guitar include irreparable damage to your current instrument, the desire to explore a new sound, and sheer inspiration. Some guitarists walk into a music store and may feel an immediate connection to a new instrument.

Guitar upgrades are also a perfect way to celebrate milestone accomplishments, such as the anniversary of your first lesson or your first paid gig. Whatever your reason for bringing a new guitar into your life, make sure you cherish your instrument with care.

Here are some obvious signs that it’s time to step up your guitar game:

1. If Your Guitar Is Too Small

If you have small hands, it can be difficult to learn to play guitar. That’s why many children who take guitar lessons are encouraged to learn to play on a half-size or three-quarter size instrument. It’s easier for young players to master chords and scales when their instrument is made for their size. 

Making it easier to play guitar can help prevent young beginners from giving up. However, it means you’ll need to purchase a new guitar sooner. When the player’s hands outgrow the instrument, it becomes difficult to produce clear sound because their fingers will crowd the fretboard. If your guitar is too small, this is a sign that it’s time to upgrade.

2. When Playing Guitar Becomes Your Passion

It’s also time for an instrument upgrade when the player becomes passionate about music. Although there’s no rule for upgrading your guitar, many players choose to buy a higher quality instrument once they have been playing consistently for two or more years. 

Around the two year mark, many guitarists have trained their ear and can tell the difference between a “beginner” instrument and a professional level instrument. Guitars designed for intermediate, advanced, and professional level players are made from much higher quality materials than beginner guitars. They produce a much richer, more distinct sound. Once you can hear this, it’s time to upgrade.

3. When Your Old Guitar Wears Out

If you purchase a high quality guitar and keep it properly maintained, your instrument can last for years. But if your guitar was poorly constructor from inexpensive materials, stored improperly, or simply not cared for, it may wear out over time. 

At Music & Arts, we always encourage players to repair their instruments at one of our certified Repair Shop locations, rather than throwing them away. Unfortunately, sometimes instruments simply become too damaged or worn out to fix. These instruments produce poor quality sound and may feature reduced playability, making them more difficult and less enjoyable to play. When this occurs, it’s time for a guitar upgrade.

4. When You’re Ready To Experiment with a New Sound

Many beginning guitarists take their first lessons on an acoustic guitar, then upgrade to an electric guitar after they know the basics — or vice versa. But when it comes to guitar sound, there’s a world of differences that go far beyond acoustic versus electric. Visit any guitar store and you’ll quickly see that different manufacturers, materials, shape, hardware, and model year can make a big impact on a guitar’s unique tone.

For many players, this means it’s time for an instrument upgrade when they’re ready to experiment with a new sound. Additionally, many modern electric guitars offer technological advancements that allow players greater creativity by connecting to their computer. If you’re craving a new signature sound, it may be time to get a new instrument.

5. When Inspiration Strikes

Finally, it may be time to upgrade your guitar simply because you feel inspired to play a new instrument. A new guitar can be more exciting to play and help you stay motivated to continue sharpening your skills as a player. Or you may simply walk into a music shop to buy some new strings, play a floor model, and fall in love. 

Whatever your reason for upgrading to a new guitar, Music & Arts can help you find the perfect instrument to join your collection

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