Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Which guitar for a beginner?

Hey @BanjoBen,
Been with your site for a little while now. Am looking possibly to upgrade in guitar quality. I still consider myself a beginner, as I haven’t passed your beginner chart yet, but am planning on going “to the top”! I love flatpicking and playing chords, but (unfortunately) my budget isn’t limitless. Any suggestions? Anyone can answer too.


Looking for a dreadnought? Here’s a few options depending on budget.
Low, up to $400:
Recording king


Mid range ($400-800)


Another blueridge

Mid high, ($800-1200)


Nother Eastman

Not sure if that’s helpful, but basically buy the best guitar you can afford. If you tell us what your budget is, more specific info could be given


You can buy mine when I’m through with it😁
Adding binding right now.


I agree with Gunner, buy the best guitar you can afford. Once you get some experience you will probably want to upgrade to a higher end instrument. As you learn you will have time to save for further upgrades,

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I like all the responses above. Great suggestions on guitars. The E1D and E10D are great value guitars that I have seen. I will add a couple thoughts:

  1. If you are not a large person, a dreadnought can be a pretty big instrument. This is a bluegrass site, and so everything will be tilted towards the grassier side of the fence (dreadnought). Smaller guitars work fine for everything but the most volume demanding situations, and I have heard people cut through a mix with a 000. I am 5’9" and developed shoulder issues with a dread (I played a goofy amount, but still). So… if you are vertically challenged, a dreadnought might not be the right body shape to play all the time. I love dreads, but you don’t have to play one… I love lots of other shapes too!

  2. A setup is well worth the money. It can make a good guitar play great. There are places like Ben’s where that is already priced in. Most places don’t include that.

There are a ton of good opinions on the forum. If you have any questions, put them out here.

Happy hunting!

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BTW, I have no idea about your height… I was just putting the size of the player as something to take into consideration.

I recommend the Eastmans if you can swing it! I don’t know what your budget is, but if you give us a call we’ll give you the best possible deal you can find: 833-226-5623

Thank you all!!! This has helped so much. I won’t be able to purchase anything soon, as I am currently saving, but am already researching and setting a goal. Also, I’m just under 5’ 6".

Plus what do you think of acoustic guitars that can be plugged into an amp? My friend had one because she travels and plays for her college
Christian campus group, but she says it creates a lot of static.

It depends on your intentions for the guitar, and the style of music you play, and where you play. Most traditional bluegrass people prefer instruments to be mic’d, while others like the convenience of a pickup. Most people agree that a mic sounds more natural, but that might not be a concern for you, I don’t know. If you have a pickup, you don’t have to use it, but if you don’t have it, you can’t use it. I have an acoustic with pickup, and I haven’t noticed any static, but I don’t plug it into anything except my electric guitar amp, and the guitar is carbon fiber. If you’ll be playing with a band, and gigging, a pickup will be very convenient, if you mostly play alone, or small venues it’s not necessary. A final thought, if you decide you want one, at least consider Taylor, they’re known for having good electronics. That’s way too much info, but I hope it helps

Pickups are great! I sell some with them already installed like the

Or, I sell the pickups separately and we install them for you.

I bought the Eastman E10D from Ben and I absolutely love it. It’s a big guitar but I have no trouble playing it and I’m shorter than you. :grin: You won’t be disappointed in the Eastmans! I installed a fishman Infinity matrix pickup in mine and play it every week at church with no major feedback issues. I don’t use a monitor though, and that helps with feedback I think.


Thanks! This has help a lot!

Here’s a thought, buy the biggest guitar you can find! That’s what Emmylou did. I just looked it up, she’s 5’ 5" and has primarily played Gibson J-200 guitars throughout her career. And she doesn’t just stand there holding the guitar for looks, she can actually play… and she does!

Gibson does make an L-200 Emmylou Harris guitar now which is a smaller version of the Jumbo she’s so known for, but I always thought it was cool that she played the J-200’s and similar guitars. Plus, I’m kinda partial to Gibson.

But seriously, Mike’s right… You should get a guitar that’s comfortable and doesn’t cause health issues later on. The best thing to do, is go to a good guitar store and spend some quality time trying different size and shape guitars. This hurts badly to say, but comfort and playability is more important than tone. My Gibson J-60 (a Dreadnought) doesn’t sound as good as my very expensive Collings dreadnought that I sold. I always played my Gibson more because it was just simply a more comfortable neck, so I sold the Collings. I even sold a '56 Martin D-18 and kept the Gibson over that as well. It’s really not that great of a sounding guitar, yet it’s such a joy (for Me) to play and I’ve had it for 23 years now.

No one can tell you what’s the best guitar to buy. We can all give you helpful advice, but only you can decide what is best for you by extensively trying different guitars. I guarantee, there will be one or two that you don’t put back on the rack right away, that you will be comparing others to until you finally make that bold decision to choose one.

Good luck and have fun with this and let us know what you decide!

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