Check out this helpful info to get you started!

If you’re about to start guitar lessons, chances are you’re on the verge of purchasing an instrument.  You may have ventured to a music store and quickly left, overwhelmed by the different sizes, models, and price points.  And the accessories!  Don’t even get us started!

Fear not, The International School of Music in Bethesda is here to break it down for you.  In this blog, you’ll find recommendations for all the guitars and accessories you’ll ever need (and probably a few things you didn’t even know existed!).


Make sure your music instructor is right for you!  Since there are many different styles of guitar genres and lessons, it may be best to take a trial lesson with an instructor in the style of music you wish to play, so that they can advise you about what size, style, and model guitar to purchase.  Different styles require different types of guitars, so it’s crucial to get the make and model information from your teacher at the first lesson!


The first step in purchasing a guitar is to figure out what kind of music you see yourself playing in order to determine the type of guitar you’ll need.  Jamming out to Jimi Hendrix on a classical guitar is probably not going to produce the sound you’re looking for, so this is an important first step.

If it’s classical or folk music that piques your interest, you’ll want a classical guitar.

For classical guitar, Cordoba and Yamaha both make smaller sized instruments for younger students at a moderate price ($120-$270).  For older beginners seeking a full-sized guitar, you’ll find quality instruments in the $250-$300 price range.

For rock and pop lovers, a steel string acoustic guitar is the instrument for you!  While there’s a wide range of pricing depending on brand, you can definitely get a smaller guitar for as little as $159 (Yamaha).  Other good brands for smaller steel string acoustics include Martin and Taylor, which are a little pricier in the $300 range.  For full-sized acoustics, expect to spend $200-$400, varying on make and model.

If you’re more interested in the electric guitar and the rock band/blues/metal/pop aesthetic, prepare to drop a little more cash.  Smaller electric guitars will cost under $200, but the full size electrics start at $200 and go up from there, depending on make and model.  Some go-to brands include Epiphone, Fender, Ibanez, Gibson, and Schechter.


Here is a list of everything outside of the guitar and case that you need to be successful as a guitarist, including practice and maintenance items. Our teachers can guide you in purchasing these and once you acquire these items, bring them to your guitar lesson and our instructors will show you how to use them.

  • Tuner – Tells you whether your strings are on-pitch or if they need to be tightened or loosened.
  • Metronome – Helps develop your sense of rhythm and steady beat.
  • Spare Strings – Your strings will ultimately wear out over time and might even break once in a while!  Make sure you have back up strings on hand for your specific guitar!
  • Picks – Start with a light or medium thickness and figure out what best fits your grip
  • Capo – This handy device clamps across the strings in order to raise the pitches of the open strings.  You’ll most likely need this if you’re trying to match the key of a popular song.
  • Guitar Support/Footstool – This device helps you maintain a healthy posture while playing classical guitar.

Want more information on guitars, guitar accessories, or guitar lessons from our music school? Set up an introductory guitar lesson with one of our stellar music instructors here at The International School of Music!  Our dedicated and professional music instructors will guide you towards the best guitar for your needs and help you realize your musical goals.

Call 301.365.5888 to schedule your introductory lesson today!