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A Quick Guide To Choosing an Acoustic Guitar

By moosers on 03/10/2010 - (Anyone)


In our world of mass production, there are an endless amount of acoustic guitars to choose from.  There is a guitar out there for everyone and every type of need, so let's go through all of the important categories that you should be aware of when it comes to choosing the perfect acoustic guitar for you!

Step 1

The initial questions are very simple, but should definitely not be over looked.  The first thing I always recommend people to do who are looking for a guitar of any type (or anything really!) is identify your price range.  This will instantly help you to eliminate a ton of guitars that are either too expensive or too cheap to play.  If you're serious about learning to play or already know how to play and are just looking for something new, I'd seriously recommend not skimping when it comes to an acoustic guitar!  While there are certainly a lot of options out there that are very inexpensive, I encourage you to spend a bit more money and get something that is easy to play and sounds at least decent.  If you are an experienced player you of course know this, but for those beginners out there, heed this advice as you will be better off in the long run!

Step 2

After identifying what you'd like to spend on your acoustic guitar, next I'd recommend choosing a style of acoustic guitar to choose from.  This can be dictated by a number of different things including the genre that you play and the overall sound that you're looking for.  For example, you don't want a nylon string classical acoustic if you're going to be playing pop and rock music - or maybe you do!  It's really all up to you, but in order to know what you want, you should definitely have a good idea of what is out there.  The main types of acoustic guitars include the dreadnought style body, which is probably the most popular, the jumbo style body guitar, the nylon string/classical guitar, the 12 string acoustic guitar, and the resonator/dobro guitar.  The last few guitars that I mentioned are really specialty guitars, so I'll mention there here and move on, as I'd like to focus on the more traditional types of acoustic guitars...

Step 3

Once you've got an idea of what type of acoustic guitar you'd like to look at, it's time to actually try some out.  Next to the sound of an acoustic guitar, and maybe even the most important thing for me, is the feel of the neck and how easy the guitar is to play.  Playing an acoustic guitar in general takes a little bit more man power than playing an electric, as the strings are harder to hold down and in general they are a bit harder to play.  Of course it varies from guitar to guitar, but in general this will be the case.  Different types of woods of course will have different feels, but rather than going by the wood, I would suggest simply trying out different guitars to see what will work best for you.  Of course if you're a beginner and do not know how to play yet, this is going to be much harder for you.  In this case I suggest doing the best you can and asking around - whether that be in a store or other players...

Step 4

The sound that an acoustic guitar generates will most likely be at the top of everyone's list as a parameter for what makes a good acoustic guitar, as after all it is all about the end result.  Of course any acoustic guitar will only sound as good as person telling it what to do!  However, there are definitely some guidelines to follow when testing out the sound of different acoustic guitars.  First, I'd recommend that if you're able to play, that you play the guitar for yourself and see how it sounds, rather than listen to someone else play it.  Next, different types of guitars have different sounds, so figuring out what type of acoustic guitar sound you want can often be half the battle.  For example, do you want a bright sounding guitar or do you want something with a lot of bottom?  Do you want something twangy or just straight up full sounding?  The choice is yours alone, as there are an endless amount of tastes out there...

Step 5

To wrap up, a last consideration that is also very important when it comes to acoustic guitars is if you're going to want and/or need a pick up built in.  Many acoustic guitars have built in pick ups with on board controls, while others don't have any at all.  For me, I don't need a built in pick up as the way it sounds by itself is the most important thing for me.  This is because I do most of my work in the recording studio, where a pick up is generally not necessary, and when I do play live shows I have an external pick up that I attach to my guitar.  If you're going to be using the guitar primarily for live shows, having a pick up might be necessity for you.  It really just depends...


I hope that this tutorial has offered up a little bit of help for those in the process of choosing an acoustic guitar.  Just remember to do your research and you should definitely be able to find a guitar that suits your needs perfectly!
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