It can be hard to find suitable shops to buy guitar equipment. Some shops will specialise in electric instruments, or sell mainly books. Others will specialise in other instruments and know very little about guitars.
I would recommend visiting your local music shop. They are usually used to helping guitar students and will offer reasonable advice. Be wary of any shop that needs to order in a beginners guitar or footstool, they are probably not used to dealing with classical guitarists. You must also be very clear what you want when ordering music, a 'similar' book will not do, especially if you are buying exam material. Local music shops are also helpful when guitars need re-stringing (if you are not yet confident or I am not around) or repairing.
The Next Level
There are a number of options when the time comes to buy a better quality guitar. I would suggest a price bracket of £250 to £500 for this instrument. It will last you through to grade 8, though many students will decide to upgrade again before then. It is now much more important to find a suitable shop offering choice in this category. A number of local music shops will be able to help you or you can speak to a specialist classical guitar dealer.
Classical Guitar Dealers
We are lucky to have a Classical Guitar Dealer near Sevenoaks. I would recommend talking to Miles at Kent Guitar Classics if you are looking for a good quality guitar. I have been sending students to Miles for some time now and have always been impressed with the instruments he has on offer.
Online music shops
Local music shops are very useful for buying books. They will almost certainly stock the main titles I use. Your other choice is to shop online, using shops such as musicroom.com or guitarnotes.co.uk.
Here are some other particularly useful sites. Peter Nuttall has published a large selection of pieces from solo guitar to guitar orchestra. The orchestral pieces are fun and flexible enough to suit most groups.
Productions D'Oz are currently making fantastic use of the internet. You can preview their publications on line. If you like what you see, you can pay and download the music instantly. Their catalogue is extensive and includes some interesting arrangements for larger groups.
West Sussex Guitar Club
There are a number of guitar societies near us. There is one in Bromley and another in Tunbridge Wells. However, the West Sussex Guitar Club works particularly hard to attract big names. They meet in Bognor Regis, but concerts are of the highest quality and it is worth the trip.
World Youth Guitar Festival
The World Youth Guitar Festival runs every other year. I am keen to support this event because it is so good for my students to play with other people and to study under such fantastic inspiring guitarists.
The next festival is in August 2011. Check the website for more details!
Stringsetc are a new online company offering a whole range of strings and guitar accessories. They are certainly getting in touch if you need anything!