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Buying a beginner guitar this Black Friday? Here's 8 things to consider - plus all the latest deals

Man shows young girl how to play the guitar
(Image credit: Getty/izusek)

The Black Friday guitar deals are an ideal time to find yourself a great deal on a brand new beginner guitar. There are deals all over the place, online and in-store, from huge reductions on the models you’ve spent all year lusting over, to unique bundle deals which throw in all those useful accessories you’ll need. 

It can be a bit of a minefield though. With so many deals and a limited time in which to take advantage, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making an impulse purchase you might regret. In this guide, we’re going to walk you through how to make the most of the savings on offer. From explaining the techniques we employ when buying a new guitar, to offering hints and tips on where you might find the best deals, we’ve got your back this Black Friday. 

We’ve also tracked down some great early deals. Keep scrolling to take a look at those.

1. What makes a great beginner guitar?

Regardless of whether it’s Black Friday or not, there are certain things you should always be looking for when buying a new guitar. At this end of the scale, price will likely be a big driver over which model you end up with. There’s value to be had at all price levels though, so don’t worry if your budget doesn’t stretch far or if you’re buying for someone else. 

The top beginner guitars are usually found within the ranks of the bigger, trusted brands. Thanks to economies of scale, these guys can afford to make superb quality, incredible sounding guitars that will stand the test of time, without costing the earth. Also consider what you want to sound like. Are you emulating your favorite player, or looking for something versatile enough to cover lots of bases in your fledgling playing journey?

As ever, do your research and buy wisely. Guitar World is full of reviews and buyer’s guides covering guitars of all styles, budgets and genres, so if you’ve got your eye on something particular, there’s a high chance we’ll have a tested it.

2. Which brands should I be looking for?

While it would be nice to jump straight into the world of Gibson, Fender and the like, the accompanying price tag of the more elite tier is a barrier to most. Thankfully, both brands understand the value of locking beginner players into their worlds and have, in Epiphone and Squier respectively, ‘sister’ brands offering properly licenced, well-crafted, value versions of those more expensive full-fat models. You can’t really go wrong with either Epiphone or Squier (take a look at our best Squier guitars and best Epiphone Les Paul guides for our top picks).

Elsewhere, Yamaha has a rich history in the world of beginner-to-intermediate guitars, with lines like the Pacifica giving countless players over the years their first experience of good quality guitars. And, for something a little different, Gretsch has done some great work broadening its product lines to cater for less experienced players. 

3. Any red flags to avoid?

We’re fortunate in 2021, because there simply aren’t many ‘bad’ guitars at the bottom end of the price spectrum, in the way there was even 15 years ago. Quality control, and fierce competition, has driven up the standards of manufacturers everywhere so even the most entry-level of entry-level guitars will do a job. If anything, the only red flags to be avoided when buying a beginners’ guitar will come from the buyer themselves, either through snapping up something completely ill-suited to their requirements or ability level, or in buying a model that doesn’t inspire creativity/fun/joy. 

There are things we buy in this world for practical reasons. A guitar shouldn’t be one of them. Find the right one, or it will always be the wrong one. 

Man shows boy how to play his acoustic guitar

(Image credit: Getty/South_agency)

4. What added extras should I be looking for when buying a guitar?

Around Black Friday, guitar dealers do their best to offer the most unique deals possible. They are in competition with other dealers essentially offering the same product, so many will throw in added extras like strings, stands, picks or cases. Shop around, because there are always deals and bundles to be had. Not sure what you need? Take a look around our guide to essential guitar accessories for beginners.

5. Where are the best deals on beginners’ guitars?

Many of the best deals won’t be revealed until the day itself, but from looking at previous years it’s not unreasonable to expect more than a few eye-catching reductions on genuinely big-name models. Naturally, the larger dealers like Guitar Center, Musicians Friend and Sweetwater have the power to buy in large quantities, so can afford to offer the biggest deals. That said, retailers at every level will be looking to take advantage of that Black Friday spirit so it’s worth keeping your eyes open. 

6. When should I start looking?

Black Friday has, as we know, expanded slightly every year to the point where deals start popping up weeks beforehand. The strategy for many retailers seems to be to drip-feed a few eye-catchers in the weeks and days running up, in the hope of planting that seed in the buyer’s mind that their store is the best place to find a good deal. For us, as consumers, this is great because there are deals everywhere and they keep getting bigger and better as the clock ticks down. In short, start looking now because you might find exactly what you’re looking for sooner than you thought.

7. What kind of deals can I expect?

Some of our favourite beginners’ guitar deals from Black Friday last year included $50 off a Squier Bullet Telecaster at Guitar Center, bringing the price on this highly capable beginner electric guitar down to a very sensible $129. We also loved the Fender FA-135CE acoustic down from $199 to $149, also at Guitar Center, which represents incredible value for players of any level. 

It wasn’t just guitars though, with amps, pedals and much more all subjected to some pretty significant reductions. If there’s a better time to look for new beginners guitar, we certainly haven’t found it. 

8. What if I need to return my guitar?

Say the worst happens, and you buy a new beginner acoustic guitar and just can’t bond with it. Could be it doesn’t look like the pictures, or it doesn’t feel comfortable to play. What can you do? Well, there is hope. All major retailers will have clear, easy to understand rules over how you can return unwanted purchases. And as long as you follow their rules, which would mean at the very least keeping the original packaging and your proof of purchase, you can simply send it back within the allotted time frame. 

Each retailer will have its own rules, so be sure to check them out before you hit the big button marked ‘buy now’, but if you have a decent reason to return and haven’t damaged the guitar then you should have no problems doing that. 

More beginner-friendly buying guides

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Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths, to microphones and music production hardware.