If you are looking for your first acoustic guitar, make sure that you know what type of sound and playability you want. Acoustic guitars come in many shapes and sizes with some being better suited to beginners than others. Once you decide which type of guitar will work best for your needs, it’s time to start shopping around.
Factors to consider before buying an acoustic guitar!
It all boils down to preparation: selecting the best acoustic guitar requires forethought. Before making a decision, carefully consider the following five variables.
1. Consider your budget
Consider how much money you have for your purchase before making any decisions about which type of acoustic guitar to buy.
Although price should be a deciding factor, never buy an inferior quality or poorly made acoustic guitar just because it’s inexpensive. When playing any musical instrument, you need to have good tone and playability from top to bottom of each string so make sure that you buy an acoustic guitar of good quality at a reasonable price.
2. Choose an acoustic guitar that matches your skill level.
If you’re a beginner, choose a smaller instrument with lighter strings that’s easy to handle. When you become more experienced and advanced, choose a larger acoustic guitar with heavier gauge strings for better sound quality.
3. Have an idea of what you plan to use your acoustic guitar for before making a purchase decision
What are your goals with the guitar – do you want to play it for fun or professionally? If you’re just starting out, it might be best to buy an acoustic guitar that’s versatile enough for a range of genres. More experienced players might want to purchase a specific type of acoustic guitar suited for a certain style of music.
4. Check out reviews for a particular model before purchasing
Many acoustic guitar reviews can be found online from trusted sources. These resources will provide you with honest feedback about the pros and cons of a particular model. It can help give you an idea about their durability, reliability and sound quality. If possible, try to visit an actual music store that sells the type of acoustic guitar you’re interested in before making your purchase decision.
5. If you’re buying a guitar for the first time, take someone who is an expert with you.
When buying an acoustic guitar for the first time, it’s always a good idea to have someone who is more experienced with you. They can help you find the best acoustic guitar for your needs and budget, as well as give you some helpful tips on how to get started. You may make your personal choice more clear by asking a friend to accompany you.
What to Look For When Buying an Acoustic Guitar
Now that you know the basics of what to look for in an acoustic guitar, it’s time to start shopping around. Here are a few things to keep in mind when comparing different models:
1. Body Size and Weight
The body size of the guitar is important because it affects the tone and projection of the sound. The size of the guitar also matters in terms of comfort and ease of use.
Consider how heavy or light you want your acoustic guitar to be. Weight plays a role in the playability of an acoustic guitar. A lighter weight guitar is easier to hold and control while playing, but may not have as much projection or volume as heavier guitars with larger body sizes.
2. Top Wood
The other defining feature of acoustic guitars is the top – this is the soundboard that sits on top of the body and gives your guitar its unique sound. There are six main types of tops or tone wood:
- Spruce – The most common and least expensive top for acoustics, spruce is used on the majority of entry-level acoustic guitars. It’s a lightweight wood that sounds clear and bright when played unplugged but doesn’t have much sustain or bass response.
- Cedar – A more expensive top wood, cedar is used on guitars that are designed for fingerpicking or recording. It has a mellower tone than spruce and produces more bass response.
- Mahogany – This is the most common type of wood used for guitar bodies. It’s a dense wood with a warm tone that works well for strumming and fingerpicking.
- Rosewood – This has a warm, balanced tone with good sustain and bass response. It’s one of the most popular tops on semi-acoustic guitars because it gives you more sound options than just using an acoustic pickup alone. It also looks great as fretboard inlays.
- Maple – This is a bright-sounding wood that’s often used on acoustic-electric guitars. It has good sustain and sounds great when plugged in.
- Ebony – The most expensive top wood, ebony is very dense and has a very clear, bright tone with lots of sustain.
3. Neck Width and Profile
The width of the neck can vary from acoustic to acoustic, so it’s important that you try a few different models before making your final decision.
The standard neck width is around 43-44mm, but there are some with wider or narrower necks.
The neck profile of your acoustic is also important for comfort – a D-shaped profile is the most popular and familiar, but you may find others like “C” or even V shapes more comfortable to play. If possible try before you buy in order to make sure it feels right for playing fingerstyle or soloing with a pick.
4. Tuning Machines
Tuning machines, or tuners, are the little gears on the headstock of your acoustic that keep the strings in tune.
Most acoustic guitars have locking tuners, which are great if you’re going to be performing a lot of live shows. They keep your guitar in tune well and they don’t need any extra effort to change the strings or re-string them like traditional tuning pegs do – just turn these knobs at the end of each string and the string is locked into place.
5. Bridge and Fingerboard
The bridge and fingerboard are another important part of your acoustic. They both work together to give you a full sound as well as giving your fingers the right grip while you play.
Most guitars have a rosewood bridge and fingerboard, but the wood that’s used can affect both tone and playability of your acoustic guitar. Rosewood is great for high-end guitars as it helps produce clear tones with good projection, while maple produces a brighter sound – making them ideal for playing softer styles like jazz or folk.
6. Guitar Action
When looking for an acoustic guitar, be sure to check the “action.” This is how high or low the strings are from the fingerboard. An acoustic guitar with a low action is easier and more comfortable to play than one with a high action. However, if the action is too low, the strings may buzz on the frets.
Acoustic guitars typically come in two finishes. The most common is satin, which has a nice smooth feel and appearance to it. Glossy or high-gloss finishes can make the guitar look shinier but be sure that these are not “lacquered”, as they tend to chip easily with use of the instrument.
The color can also affect sound quality, depending on your preference for a brighter or darker tone from your instrument.
Satin finishes tend to produce warmer tones while glossier ones have more precision in their articulation and subtler inflections within each note’s sound.
8. A cutaway design will allow easier access to high frets.
Not all acoustic guitars have this feature, a cutaway design can also improve your range of motion and make it easier for you to change positions on the fret board as well as reach higher frets. This can be helpful for players who want to play lead or solo parts.
9. Look for a guitar with a good sound that is easy to play
Sound quality is the most important aspect of any acoustic guitar, so make sure that you find one with a good tone. Play test or demo different guitars if possible before making your purchase decision to ensure that they sound and play well enough for your playing style and personal preferences. The best way to test the guitar’s playability is by trying it out yourself and checking if you find any difficulties in playing chords or scales that you’re used to doing on other guitars.
10. When buying an acoustic guitar, go with what feels right in your hands.
The sound is important but the feel of the guitar in your hands is also a major factor when it comes to comfort and ease of play.
You should be able to hold onto the neck comfortably, and glide across strings easily without feeling too much resistance or being forced into awkward positions that might strain your fingers, arms or back.
Prepare to buy your first acoustic guitar.
Acoustic guitars are available in different price ranges, so take your time and select a guitar that is well-made at an affordable price range for you.
Buying a quality acoustic guitar should be one of the best music investments you’ll ever make. Every guitarist is different – play around with a few models before making your final decision about what instrument will suit your needs!
Choose one that’s right for you and begin taking guitar lessons!