How to choose an acoustic guitar

If you are interested in taking up guitar as a hobby then you probably know already that there are two main types of guitars – acoustic and electric. Acoustic ones produce that authentic traditional guitar melodies while electric ones rely on amplification and give off a heavier sound. Think of it as a difference between a country musician and a heavy rock band. For beginners, acoustic guitars are usually recommended for a few reasons.

An acoustic guitar is a simpler instrument as there aren’t really any setting and amplification variables to mess around with. If you start playing on an electric guitar it is likely that your melodies will not sound good because of the amplification will only make any mistake you make more pronounced. Choosing an acoustic guitar will allow you to learn the basics of guitar technique itself to make sure that you can actually play the tunes without any fancy equipment.

The variety of acoustic guitars can be daunting at first so it is good to take a look at different models to make an informed choice before purchasing your first guitar.

Wood type

Types of wood used in the making of many instruments are called tonewoods. Different woods produce different tones due to their density, firmness, etc. You can get a mahogany guitar that will produce a deeper sound (often used by blues players) or a rosewood one for a darker tone. Most guitars for beginners will usually use spruce wood as it has a very nice balance while still being fairly lightweight.

Body top

The top part of the guitar’s main body can be either made from solid wood or laminated. The laminated ones are much cheaper but their sound is not as rich and doesn’t vibrate as well. More particular players who have available funds will usually opt for a solid wood guitar but for beginners, laminated should be more than enough. You should not spend a lot of money on your first guitar because it can be wasteful if for some reason you will not be able to continue with the new hobby.

Some might think that a wooden acoustic guitar looks a bit boring and will want to put some color into it. There are many models that cater to those needs. You can easily get a black acoustic guitar that will stand out from the crowd of similarly looking wooden guitars.

String material

Strings of an acoustic guitar are usually made from nylon or steel. Nylon strings are used in many classical types of acoustic guitars (like flamenco guitars) while steel strings can be found on guitars belonging to players of more modern music genres. Steel strings have a metallic feel to them and nylon are feel ‘warmer’. For beginners, steel-stringed guitars are much more common.

There are many factors to consider when buying a guitar but the most important one is how it feels to you. When in the music store, do not be afraid to pick up different models and pluck some simple tunes. A good guitar is the one that is comfortable for you. If you don’t know much about how a guitar should sound like ask someone from the staff to advise you or bring a friend with you.