One of the most confusing parts of starting out with the guitar is trying to figure out what gear you should buy. The questions can seem endless: Should I get an acoustic or an electric guitar? What exactly should I be looking for? How can I get something adequate, without spending too much? Should I decide based on the price alone, or something else? What accessories will I need? Where should I buy this stuff?

QUESTION #1 – What should I look for in my first guitar?
The 2 biggest things to look for in a starter guitar are: A) Make sure it stays in tune Many cheap guitars don’t, and that makes it close to impossible to learn correctly. Nothing you play sounds good if your guitar doesn’t stay in tune, so it’s worth paying a little bit more for a better quality guitar that does. B) Make sure it’s easy to play The cheapest guitars out there can be difficult to play, especially for beginners. You want the strings to be pretty low (close to the fingerboard) so you don’t have to press down too hard to make sounds. If it’s too hard to physically play your guitar, it’ll be more difficult to stay motivated and pick it up to practice often. Other than that, just decide whether you ultimately want to play electric or acoustic guitar (see the next paragraph), and find something in your price-range that looks cool to you. The most important things to look for in a guitar to help you learn the best when starting out are tune-ability and play-ability…everything else is secondary. If the tone of the guitar isn’t the best, you can always sell it later on and upgrade to something nicer.
QUESTION #2 – Should I buy an electric or acoustic guitar?
This is a great question. The answer really depends on what kind of music you like and what kind of music you intend to play. You’ll probably eventually want to own both an acoustic and an electric guitar, but you usually need to choose one or the other when you’re just starting out. My advice is to ask yourself the following two questions: A) Who is my favorite guitar player? B) What kind of guitar does he/she play? Here are two examples of how you can use the answers to these questions to decide what guitar to purchase… If your favorite guitar player is Slash (Guns & Roses, Velvet Revolver, etc), he plays a Gibson Les Paul…which is an electric guitar. You will probably want to eventually play music similar to Slash’s, so you should also get an electric guitar…and probably some version of a Les Paul. You will also need a decent sounding guitar amp. Likewise, if your favorite guitar player is Dave Matthews, he usually plays Taylor acoustic guitars. You’ll probably gravitate towards Dave’s playing style, so you should choose an acoustic guitar, too.
Here’s a list of recommendations which can be purchased through Amazon (some of the prices are subject to change, hopefully in your favor!):
Child – Classical

(Classical guitars use nylon strings which are easier on your fingers) 1/2 size classical – good for kids around 40″ tall

1/2 Size Classical Guitar – $45.95 3/4 size – good for kids around 45″ tall

Classical Kit 1 NA 3/4 Size Classical Acoustic Guitar  –  $49.95

Yamaha CGS103A 3/4 Size Classical Guitar  –  $129.99

Child – Acoustic

3/4 size – good for kids around 45″ tall

Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar Blue Burst  –  $59.99

Yamaha 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar with Gig Bag  –  $134.99

Adult – Acoustic
Adult/Child – Electric

Fender Squier Strat – Package w/amp – $199.99

Epiphone SG Vintage Solid-Body Electric Guitar, Worn Cherry  –  $299.99 (option for brown) While they do have “mini” Strats for kids and cheaper “bullet” strats (full size), I don’t recommend them.  They’re not well made and you’ll have trouble keeping them in tune.

Accessories - Highly reccommended once you choose the right guitar

Once you picked out the right guitar I would highly recommend these accessories unless you choose a guitar that already comes with an accessory package.

Essential:

12PK Sampler Guitar Picks  –  $4.77  (It’s good to have different types of picks, so you can try them out and decide which you prefer)

Clip On Tuner – $10.75 (You’ll definitely need one of these to stay in tune, unless you get a tuner app, but clip on tuners are much more accurate)

Guitar Stand  –  $9.99  (You’ll want to remove any barriers towards practicing.  Having your guitar out on a stand makes it easier than always have to get out/put away your guitar in a case.  Plus it helps keep it in tune better (tuning pegs don’t hit the case) and it’ nice to look at)

Guitar Capo  –  $9.99  (Most acoustic players will eventually want a capo.  It clamps down higher on the neck, allowing the player to play the same chord shapes on different parts of the guitar.)

DR Strings – Acoustic – $6.77  (You’ll need to change strings at some point.  It depends on how often the guitar is played, but strings should be changed at least once every 6 months.)

DR Strings – Electric – $5.99

D’Addario Nylon Classical Guitar Strings – $6.95

Non – Essential:

Acoustic Guitar Gig Bag with Guitar Strap and Pick Sampler – $19.99  (If you plan on ever taking the guitar out of your home, you’ll definitely want a gig bag or hard case.)

3/4-Size Acoustic Guitar Gig Bag – $24.99

Guitar Strap – $5.19  (In case you want to play standing up)

Heavy-Duty Folding Music Stand Black  –  $19.99

Non-Solid Folding Music Stand with Carrying Bag – $14.95

Foot Stool – $9.95

Anytune – Music Slow Down Player for Iphone/Ipad – FREE – A great tool to have when trying to learn a song.  You can slow it down making it easier to hear and also making it easier to play along with.

Amazing Slow Downer for Android – FREE

Stringed 2 – Music Slow Down Player for Mac – $4.99

Amazing Slow Downer for Windows – FREE

Sennheiser Lightweight Over-Ear Binaural Headphones – $19.99

Recording Gear

Here are some recording interfaces that allow you to record straight to your computer.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB  – $129

UA Apollo Twin (Thunderbolt – for mac) – $899

UA Apollo Twin (USB) – $899

UA Apollo 8p (Thunderbolt – for mac) – $2,999

Audio Technica Mic, XLR Cable, Mic Stand, and Pop Filter – $149