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Buying Advice - Beginners Guide

At Dawsons Music, we believe that good sound advice is the foundation of our relationship with our customers. So whatever playing standard you are at or whatever stage of buying you find yourself, just ask us what you’d like to know. No fuss, no pressure, just down-to-earth, honest, true and accurate advice will be given.

The following beginners guide is a quick introduction to some of our key instruments. For more in-depth articles, visit Our Blog.

Acoustic Guitars

There are few instruments that are as easy to pick up, and as instantly gratifying as the acoustic guitar. There are no amplifiers required- just wood, strings and creative expression. This, no doubt, contributes immensely to the enduring popularity of the acoustic guitar, and has led to its use in just about every musical genre imaginable.

For a beginner, picking an acoustic guitar can be difficult, as there are a staggering numbers of brands and models available, in different shapes, materials and sizes. In our beginners guide to buying an acoustic guitar (which can be found here), we explain the two main types of acoustic guitar, and what each offers the player.


Electric Guitars and Basses

The electric guitar is perhaps the instrument that most aspire to be able to play. Despite huge changes in pop music, the electric guitar is still at the heart of most modern pop and rock music recordings. Its popularity is, no doubt, influenced by the desire to emulate our musical heroes. However, as beginners instrument, the electric guitar is fairly easy to pick up, very rewarding, and in recent years, very affordable, too. The bass guitar has also become one of the most popular modern instruments, for much the same reasons.

For the beginner, the options available to a new player can be bewildering. The essential gear required can be a mystery in itself. Our beginners guide to buying an electric guitar or bass is here to help, however- just follow this link.


Drum Kits

Drum kits come in two basic formats: acoustic or electronic, although more frequently known as digital drum kits. Acoustic drum kits normally consist of a bass drum, a snare drum, up to three tom toms plus cymbals and hi-hats - this is often referred to as a 'five piece' kit. A good starter kit will normally include all the drums, a set of sticks and a stool. Younger beginners may find it difficult to play a full size drum kit, so purchasing a junior set is advisable – Stagg and Essentials both make junior kits.

Of course, acoustic drums are naturally loud, and so you should consider investing in a set of silencers - these are pads that sit over the drum skins to muffle the sound and make your rehearsal time much more pleasant for your neighbours!

Electric drum kits consist of a set of electronically controlled pads rather than drum shells, meaning you can create sounds way beyond the traditional drum sound. They are ideal for practice as they are much quieter than an acoustic kit - headphones can be plugged in for private practise, or you can plug them into a dedicated drum amplifier to get a bigger sound – and, as they’re much smaller and lighter than a traditional drum kit, they’re much easier to set up and move around.

We stock a huge range of electronic drum kits, such as the Essentials Digital Percussion Drum Kit and the Yamaha DTXplorer. Roland are one of the pioneers in digital drum manufacturing and produce several kits ranging from the Roland HD-1 V-Drums Lite starter drum kit through to the flagship Roland TD-20KX.


Digital Keyboards

Most digital keyboards have 61 keys, and will produce a range of different sounds, from pianos and organs, through to guitars, flutes and drums. They also feature collections of rhythms and drum patterns that you can play along with.

Keyboards often come loaded with other features as well - for example, the facility to record what you play, the ability to play more than one voice at the same time, and special connections that allow you to plug your instrument into a computer.

If you are just beginning to take lessons, we would recommend that you buy a keyboard that features touch sensitive keys, which responds to how hard you press the keys, as they will allow your playing to be far more expressive. We don’t recommend that piano students practise on electronic keyboards; as the keys on a keyboard are much lighter, the way the instruments need to be played are completely different.

Popular choices for beginners are the Yamaha PSRE233 and the Yamaha PSR-E423 keyboards.