Advice needed for beginner please!!!

I am looking for some advice from experienced guitar people. About 2 years ago I bought a starter Acoustic guitar on a whim without any knowledge of guitars. The brand is a "Galveston" and I'm sure it's not the greatest. I hadn't played it until last month...mostly because I didn't have time, didn't know how to tune it, and couldn't afford professional lessons at the time.It was just collecting dust in it's case.

About 2 weeks ago I picked it up and decided I am going to dedicate myself to learning. I am teaching myself through books and an amazing website www.about.com which has a full free online begginers lesson plan. You can work at your own pace. I have already gone through the first 2 lessons - know 6 chords - 2 strumming patterns - and 3 scales by heart. I am starting to be able to put them together into a song (not to well yet...I have trouble switching chords fast enough still).

I am having trouble with how hard to strike the strings...sometimes it sounds OK othertimes I hit them too hard or soft or hit 1 string harder then the others and it will sound funky. I am starting to think I am going to need some help...there is only so much you can teach yourself without guidence from someone who knows what the hell they are doing. I want to do it right.

Anyhow I know I am going to want to upgrade. How long should I continue to play on the Galveston? About how good do you usually need to become before you want to get rid of your "starter" guitar and get something decent. Has anyone ever herd of "Galveston" before. Do you know what type of quality it is??

What would the best guitar under or about 400 dollars be? I am looking for an Acoustic or Acoustic/Electric hybrid. I have herd that Washburn's are good & Epiphone's by Gibson are pretty good too. I'm not exactly sure what I should get. If I am going to invest sevral hundred dollars I want to get the most for my money. I am also rather petite...only 5'2 and 120lbs so I assume I would need something with a smaller body to be comfterable???

Acoustic

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Hi mlynn
I can't comment on the quality of Washburn & Epiphone acoustics, I've never tried one, but the D10S was rated by Acoustic Guitar Mag as the best solid top =>
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Washburn-D10S-Acoustic-Guitar-?sku=515152

In the price range you mentioned, you might also want to look around for this :
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Seagull-S6-Cedar-GT-Acoustic-Guitar?sku=512122
I owned one a few years ago , i sold it.....I'm still wondering why!!!

I never heard about Galveston excepted their triple neck electric model.

I've tried Washburn acoustics and thought they were really impressive. However, I reckon you'd need to go to a guitar shop (or a few guitar shops), explain what you're looking for and try out a few guitars, then go with what feels good for you - don't let yourself be swayed by a brand name.

Oh, btw, I'm curious as to how your guitar was able to collect dust whilst IN its case?

Ive always recommended 'Crafter' guitars for the sub $400 (£200) range, some of the Crafters ive played in shops are exceptionaly good.
But i dont think they are available in the US, Washburn are good, at least the ones ive tried are.

I know of Galveston. It varies, but the majority of their acoustics are around $75-150 in price. Sortof "not a toy, decent starter" price. That funky noise may well be bad strumming technique rather than a fault of the guitar. It's a common mistake of beginners to strike the hand downwards and inwards, heading towards the soundhole. The strings have nowhere to go, so bounce back at you with an unpleasant noise. Also, not having developed strength in your fretting hand, the strings can loosely vibrate against the fret instead of being clamped firmly over it. That sounds horrible, too.

We have a member here, Bob Houlston. If you look him up and PM him, he'll be sure to suggest useful learning resources, I've no doubt. He's very helpful. When you do feel like moving on (that Galveston can be set up by any guitar shop tech for around $30 to make it play at its best) the acoustics suggested above are good upgrades. Have a little read around a search on the different body sizes that acoustics come in. For a petite figure, you don't want to be hanging off some oversized dreadnought.

This is definitely one of those cases where spending a few more dollars in a "mom and pop" store, that takes time to look after the customer, is infinitely preferable to hunting down the cheapest price for an acoustic in some of those big, mail order chains.

A few minutes of lessons (which you can get for not much money, or even for free from some willing helper) can help a lot, but the most useful thing you can do is play with someone else.

Washburn is one of the sponsors of this site, so we certainly shouldn't denigrate their quality.

I have an Alvarez acoustic guitar I bought in college for $75, 35 years ago. I could have bought a better one for twice that, and it might be a $2000 guitar today.

Unfortunately, a lot of labor goes into a good acoustic. On the other hand, the inexpensive (less than $200 actual price) electrics today are probably better guitars than the 1960's Fenders that today bring $15,000+.

But if you go to several guitar stores, including the big ones, you can probably find an excellent guitar in your price range.

Unquestionably I'd go for a Takamine - they used to be 'totally top-end out of reach for most mortals' type of instruments, but they have come way down in price and now have excellent sub-400 quid models. Every one is superb.

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