Details To Consider
If you need to find an instrument:
A good general guideline is "Buy the best you can afford." The better the guitar, the easier it is to play, the better it stays in tune, and the more enjoyable it is to practice with.
I'd be happy to help you look for a guitar that fits your needs. Some of the better entry-level acoustic guitars will cost $300-$500. Some lesser but still quite playable models can be found in the $100-$250 range. I've seen a few smaller-scale guitars for as low as $75 that would work well for younger students. You can sometimes find a great bargain in a good used instrument, but you need to know what to look for, or have someone with you who knows. I can scout out possibilities for you or go and check out one you have found.
Even if you aren't sure if you (or your child) will stick with playing, it's still worth it to get a good instrument. A good guitar will be easier to resell and you'll be more likely to get back most of the money you've spent on it.
If you already have a guitar:
I would like to examine it sometime before we start lessons to check its "playability". I could do this during your free first lesson. It's very discouraging to start lessons on a hard-to-play or nasty-sounding instrument. Sometimes a few adjustments, a good cleaning, and a new set of strings will be enough to make an old guitar more playable. I can provide this service or suggest some places to take it to.
Other Items To Consider
The most helpful and greatest time-saving (and frustration-saving) device to ever hit the music scene. Get one. They can be found in the $10 to $20 range.
You'll find a great variety of shapes, sizes, and thicknesses - all a matter of personal preference. Start out with a medium thickness - good for plucking individual strings and for strumming. Find one that feels good in your fingers and buy about five or six of them. Some will break, some will get lost. It's good to have extras.
Optional for the acoustic, a must for the electric.
A Case For Your Guitar
This isn't absolutely necessary, but it's a good idea. The better the guitar, the better the case should be. Besides providing a cushion against the knocks of the hard, cruel world, a good case protects against damages caused by changes in temperature and humidity.
- A gig bag (padded bag with a zipper) provides minimum protection and is light-weight. Not a bad choice, especially for an electric guitar. Some have a little more padding and firmness than others.
- Hard cases (more like a suitcase) provide better overall protection. The better ones are well padded and designed for a specific guitar shape to fit snugly.
- There are some cases available that are made of a kind of tough styrofoam. These are reasonably priced and very good at resisting temperature changes.