One of the questions I get all the time from parents and students is:
"What's a good guitar for a first time player?"
One of the worst things you can do is to buy the cheapest guitar you can find or purchase an instrument without playing it first. The things you should look for in purchasing a guitar are:
1. Is it comfortable for me to play?
2. Do I like the sound of it?
3. Does it meet my needs as a guitar player?
There are many instruments on the market and a visit to your local guitar store can be overwhelming. Here are three that can be found for under $200 that I would recommend checking out:
1. Recording King Dirty Thirties 000 (my personal favorite)
Recording King makes excellent budget friendly instruments in the style of historic CF Martin instruments. It has a solid spruce top, comfortable frets, and a very nice bone nut and saddle. The 000 shape is very comfortable and the sub $200 price point is very attractive. Instruments with a solid wood top tend to sound better as the wood "breaks in" due to age and use. The top has a thin satin finish which will pick up scratches, dings, and pick marks over time. I highly recommend this as a first instrument to purchase, available from Amazon.
2. Epiphone Pro-1 ("I need a guitar, but don't want to spend too much")
One of the things I hear from parents over and over again is that they don't want to spend a lot of money on an instrument for their kid because they're worried they won't commit to it. This guitar is made of laminated wood and has a thick polyester gloss finish that will protect the top from scratches and dings. Laminate wood will not sound better with age, but it is marginally tougher than solid wood and cracks are rare in an instrument properly humidified. This guitar has a thin neck, thin body, and is strung up with thin strings for comfortable playing. This is a great guitar for an early learner. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
3. Yamaha F335 ("I want something tough I can take camping or trust with a young person")
Yamaha makes excellent instruments and the F335 is a workhorse guitar that won't let you down. The neck isn't as thin as the Epiphone, and the body is much bigger than the Recording King, but it is built like a tank and can take quite a bit of abuse. The other nice thing is that these guitars are very common and your local mom-and-pop music store as well as your local pawn shop will probably have them in stock. This would be an excellent purchase for a teenager or an adult that travels often.
If you have any questions or want specific advice on a guitar you're looking at, send me a message and I would be happy to share with you what I think.