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The most important things when buying a guitar:

  1. Get something that is not too large!​ Buying very large guitars is a very common mistake, leading to bad posture. 

  2. Make sure the instrument is set up so it is easy to play! This is very important, and it is the chief advantage of buying your instrument at a guitar store, not online (or even at a general music store). Unfortunately, most music stores do not set up instruments for easy playing when they sell them. Due to the pull of the strings, and changes in weather, guitars need to be set up about once a year (see photos below).

  3. Buy a solid-top instrument if you can, not a plywood-top instrument (also called "laminated top"). In my opinion, buying a solid-top guitar is much more important than buying a guitar with a built-in pickup, because solid-top instruments sound better. (A pickup can easily be added later if you need it.) Most music stores have lots of fancy-looking plywood guitars with built-in pickups, but they usually do not sound as good as solid-top instruments. Solid-top instruments will sound better and better as they are played over many years. This is another advantage of buying at Eric Schoenberg Guitars: they do not sell plywood-top instruments (except for some of the entry-level ukuleles).  Please note, Eric Schoenberg Guitars is closed Sundays and Mondays, except for teaching.

Guitar 2.jpg

This old guitar was unplayable until the action (distance between strings and frets) was adjusted.

The guitar is now playable after an expert set up, which cost $50. Guitar necks bend from the pull of the strings, so for ideal playability, get the action checked every year or two.


I highly recommend Eric Schoenberg Guitars, 106 Main St., Tiburon, as the best place in Marin to buy guitars and ukuleles. 

They have excellent beginner ukes from $69 and beginner guitars from $199, as well as professional quality instruments.

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