For an amateur or a professional musician, the acoustic guitar is one of the most versatile instruments, which can be fun to play with. For beginners, before jumping into the big guns like a 12-string or an electric guitar, one must practice their chops first on the ever-reliable acoustic guitar. If you're reading this, you're either a beginner looking for your first guitar, or you're an experienced player needing a better instrument.
Now, choosing a new instrument is exciting and enjoyable, but it can sometimes be astounding. In this article, we will discuss some points on how to choose the right acoustic guitar for you and which brands are available on the market today. So keep on reading to know how you can upscale your guitar knowledge.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
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Functionality is one of the major differences between an acoustic and an electric guitar. The acoustic guitar is generally associated with mellower forms of music like folk or country, while an electric guitar is for high decibel sound that is used in rock or metal music. Below are some features that differentiate the two.
An acoustic guitar has a wooden hollow body with a soundhole beneath the strings. The soundboard, which is the wooden part of the body, is typically made out of spruce or cedar. If you pluck or strum the strings, the vibration travels to the soundboard and amplifies the sound to create that specific melodic sound.
The electric guitar, on the other hand, has a slimmer but solid body that is made out of different types of materials such as wood, metal, resin, or hard plastic. It doesn't have a soundhole, but it uses transducers to convert the string vibrations into electrical signals that are sent to the amplifier.
Because of the high-output, electromagnetic pickups that are installed on an electric guitar, it can capture even the slightest of variations on the magnetic field. The highly sensitive pickups can ensure better sound quality.
Acoustic guitars also have electric pickups either inside the soundboard or on top of the soundhole. But it can often sound faint, depending on the quality of the pickup installed.
In terms of portability and ease of setting up, acoustic guitars are the sure winner. It doesn't need any added equipment to be functional since it can be played with or without an amplifier or power. On the contrary, electric guitars require power and amplifiers for sound to come out. Also, beginners can easily get confused when operating several buttons, knobs, and switches along its body.
Now that you know the difference between an acoustic and an electric guitar, let's get down to business. Below are some items that can help you make the right acoustic guitar choice.
Basically, there are three popular types of acoustic guitars that you can buy in the market today - a flat-top, an archtop, and a 12-string guitar. So, which one would you fancy?
Used in every style of music, flat-top guitars are versatile enough for any musician. It is the most common type that you can find in every instrument store or music shop. The soundboard has a flat surface, hence the name. It uses either steel or nylon strings, and the size could range from baby up to jumbo.
This type of acoustic guitar has an arched top instead of a flat top. It could come in acoustic, semi-acoustic, and electric variants. Alternately, the standard round soundhole is replaced by F-holes, a curved treble clef-shaped hole on both sides of the guitar's front. The F-hole is a good indication that the acoustic guitar is an archtop. This guitar type is used by rockabilly, blues, and jazz guitarists.
As the name implies, this guitar has 12 strings instead of the standard six strings. It is used mainly for the strumming parts of a song and is very popular among pop, country, or rock music styles. This type of guitar can be time-consuming in terms of tuning and cause a bit of pain when playing barre chords.
Although this may be a small detail, choosing which type of guitar strings has a great impact. It should be dictated by the music you want to play and how you like to play it. Guitars with steel strings are believed to be a true acoustic guitar, while nylon strings are meant for classical or flamenco guitars. If you opt to play country or rock music, a steel-string guitar is the right choice.
Just keep in mind that you cannot interchange steel strings with nylon strings and vice versa. Steel-string guitars can withstand the tension created by steel strings, so installing it on a classical guitar will damage it. Nylon strings produce softer tones and volume, so they cannot withstand higher tensions and could easily break if installed on a steel-string guitar.
Acoustic guitars could come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the manufacturer. We can say that the style of the guitar could affect the sound that it projects. Let's take a look at the different body shapes to know which one will work for you.
These types of guitars are deemed to be the smallest in the market today. The width could range from 13.5 to 14.5 inches on the widest area of the soundboard. Sometimes called "model 0," a younger or smaller bodied player will find this comfortable to play. It is a medium-sized guitar with a punchy, well-balanced tone suitable for strumming or fingerpicking.
Also called the "orchestra" model, this guitar is a bit bigger than the concert - being 15 to 16 inches wider. It is an excellent all-around guitar that is very suitable for beginners. The narrow body waist offers a sweet spot that comfortably fits on laps while sitting down. This type of guitar creates an excellent projection and dynamically balanced sound.
While it has almost the same width and depth as the auditorium, this guitar has a thicker and boxier appearance. Its sound has just the right bass tone to complement the human voice. This may dissuade those who have a light touch when playing as the sound quality won't be loud or rich enough. The late great Kurt Cobain loves to play this beast of a guitar.
The jumbo is the biggest of all acoustic guitars, measuring at least 17 inches across its widest portion. It should be played while standing with a strap to manage its huge profile, it's not for smaller players. Strummers like the King, Elvis Presley, prefer playing a jumbo because of its bassy and powerful sound. It projects a rich and resonant tone enough to fill a room.
For those who love playing leads, solos, or have advanced guitar skills, a cutaway acoustic guitar can be beneficial. The body of the guitar is cutout at the lower portion just below the fretboard to provide better access to higher frets. This can be a great feature if a player has short fingers and find it difficult to press the strings to produce higher notes.
The quality of sound produced by a guitar will vary depending on the tonewood. This refers to the type of wood used on the soundboard. Several types of wood can resonate differently from each other, so it's essential to know which kind will cater to your preferred sound quality. The following section will discuss some of the commonly used types of wood in acoustic guitars.
There are three popular types of spruce woods used on guitars - the Sitka, Adirondack, and Engelmann. A Sitka produces a complex tone that shines with fingerpicking and strumming styles. The Adirondack is also a great choice, but it has limited availability because of over-harvesting. The Engelmann spruce is very light and creates an airy sound, often found in very expensive guitars.
Together with a good soundboard, rosewoods make up for the back, neck, and sides of a guitar. This contributes to the excellent projection of an acoustic guitar, most especially if Brazilian rosewoods are used. Nowadays, Indian rosewood is harvested because the Brazilian rosewood is already endangered.
The highly praised Martin D-15 is the best example of an all-mahogany acoustic guitar. This solid wood guitar is visually distinctive and innovative. It creates a balanced tone between deep lows and warm highs when played. Some manufacturers also use this type of wood for guitar necks and bridges.
As the walnut ages, it creates a richer tone. It yields a rich and warm bass with more punch on the mid and treble side. The sound is a sort of in-between mahogany and rosewood. This traditional material is used for the back or sides of the guitar.
On the other hand, cedar is favored by fingerpickers or fingerstyle players because of its luscious tone. The wood produces a darker and "bell-like" tone, which is not ideal for strumming. It is generally used on the sides and back of acoustic guitars.
Archtop guitars use this wood to create a low-velocity transmission of vibration and to enhance the note separation for clarity. Maple wood is often used on sides, backs, or necks because of the transparent tone and its beautiful wood grain. Jazz and blues guitarists love the sound it produces on their beloved archtops.
A guitar's wood finish not only makes it gorgeous looking but also protects the wood from scratches while preserving the tone and sound quality. Lacquer is the most common finish for many guitar makers. It is longer-lasting with a shiny gloss that is easier to clean.
A Shellac finish offers a more durable finish that seals the wood against damage and scratches. Lastly, a varnish finish brings out the natural grain look of the wood with a less glossy finish, but it isn't as durable as the other finishes.
When it comes to the action of the guitar, remember to check the distance between the fretboard and the strings. It must be set low enough to eliminate dead notes or buzzes when pressing the strings against the fretboard.
Many cheap guitars have high action that makes it frustrating to play and may discourage beginners to continue learning. Fortunately, an experienced guitar tech could easily resolve this issue.
Correct fret distancing plays a major role in a guitar's intonation. This pertains to the ability of the guitar to play in tune across the fretboard. A poor intonation may be caused by old or rusty strings, issues with the neck, or if the saddle needs some adjustment. Check all of these items before your purchase. But if you encounter this issue after buying, it is time to bring the guitar to a tech.
Check if the guitar tuners can immediately tighten or loosen the corresponding string. Cheap guitar tuners can slip out of tune quickly because of substandard materials.
If you're a beginner, this is a huge drawback since you will constantly retune your guitar from time to time. A good guitar tuner should be able to hold its tune for days, except on newly installed strings as it's still stretching itself out.
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The Baltimore acoustic guitar's top and body are made of Basswood, which is commonly used for a budget to mid-level guitars. Some high-end manufacturers use this tonewood, which some players are specifically looking for. The acoustic guitar comes with a truss rod to easily adjust the action and achieve your comfort level when playing.
The bridge has six pegs for better support and easy string replacement. Its metal tuning knobs ensure that the strings stay in tune and stable when winding. The guitar is available in three different colors and is a great instrument for learners or beginners. The cutaway design allows advanced players to access higher notes and play solos.
The best thing about this product is that it comes with freebies -- guitar picks, strap, capo, strings, winder, hanger, hexagon key, and soft case.
If you're looking for a practice guitar for your budding musicians at home, this is the right acoustic guitar. It features a Basswood top and sides with Rosewood fretboard material. The semi-closed metal tuning knobs are easy to turn and provide better tone accuracy. The top has multiple wood reinforcements to ensure that it is sturdy enough even for rugged playing styles.
Beginners will greatly enjoy playing this acoustic guitar. The installed strings are colored with low action, and the copper-toothed metal tuners keep them in tune. It is a perfect gift for your family or friends since it was priced reasonably but with surprisingly high quality.
With a tagline of "No frills, just tone," the Clifton A1 Grand Orchestra acoustic-electric guitar has a well-balanced tone from top to bottom. The brawny bass and responsiveness, even to a light touch, allow every player to bring out their dynamic playing style. It features a Clifton Dual Sonus Piezo pickup with a built-in gooseneck acoustic mic.
This guitar's design is patterned from the "no-frills" concept of stripping all of the unnecessary inlays and elaborate bindings. Thereby leaving it as simple as it can be while all efforts are focused on making it sound as premium as possible. In that way, musicians don't have to break the bank to purchase better sounding guitars.
The Yamaha C40 is a full-size classical guitar that is relatively smaller than a dreadnaught, which is meant for beginners that are looking for a good action that is light to the fingers. This will make a beginner's first few weeks of playing much easier and enjoyable. This guitar is meant to last for a lifetime, even for the most careless person because of its materials.
This solid top guitar's tonewoods are all laminated, so don't expect too much from its sound. The materials used keep the price lower, but any player will experience a better sounding instrument than budget models around.
Overall, the C40 is a good investment if you want a durable yet satisfying acoustic guitar that is reliable enough to be picked up and played anytime.
Using a spruce tonewood, this guitar's strength and dynamic tone will complement any playing style, from delicate fingerpicking to hard strumming. The Venetian-cutaway body provides better upper-fret access, and the rolled fingerboard edges offer a comfortable feel that is ideal for beginners and advanced players alike.
The onboard electronics with a built-in tuner give the user the option to be the master their own sound. A Fishman pickup system adds amplified performance with a myriad of controls on top to enhance your acoustic play. Whether you're at a live performance or just lounging around the house, the CD-60 SCE is an excellent instrument if you want that classic Fender sound.
Since 1974, Taylor Guitars has been an innovator that has set industry-leading techniques and modern-day guitar manufacturing. Their version of a scaled-down Grand Symphony acoustic guitar with an all-Koa material provides a combination of looks, feel, and great sound.
With a shorter scale length, forming chords became easier than before without sacrificing the tone quality. This design makes it an ultra-portable guitar for players on-the-go or lounge musicians that require a smaller but beautifully sounding instrument.
The onboard ES-B electronic pickup lets you plug and play anytime and anywhere. It features a built-in digital chromatic tuner with an LED display to show your tuning and the guitar's battery level.
Cort has been a longstanding guitar manufacturer spanning more than 50 years. One of Cort's oldest acoustic series, the Standard Series, is where the AD810 belongs. It gives meaning to superb performance and real value for the money. This guitar series consists of affordable but solid performing guitars for beginners and hobbyists alike.
The AD810 is constructed with a Spruce top, Mahogany back and sides, including a Merbau fingerboard. The neck joint is strongly joined in a dovetail design that transfers the body's reverberation without losing energy. You can check out the other model variety in this series with different features to satisfy your playing style.
The legendary Martin & Co. guitar traces its roots back from 1833 to the present times. Their guitars were highlighted by mainstream artists like Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Bob Dylan, to name a few. This Signature Edition guitar is the third edition that Ed Sheeran uses.
His signature guitar is a Sitka spruce with a divide symbol on top and on the fretboard. The body shape is easy to play and travel with since it has a smaller construction. You can plug it into an amplifier for an acoustic-electric setup.
The Fishman Sonitone pickup allows any user to configure it for gigs, recordings, or rehearsals. Get the versatility and convenience of playing a custom guitar with the signature acoustic guitar designed for one of the biggest acoustic artists today.
Takamine is considered one of the world's premier acoustic guitar makers with its longstanding innovation and improvement since 1959. The name was derived from Mount Takamine in Central Japan at a town called Sakashita.
Built to perform, the GJ72CE-12 is a 12-string guitar that has a jumbo body. It produces that robust and lush sound that most strummers expect. Take control of the sound with the onboard Takamine TK-40D preamp system, which includes a built-in tuner, equalizer, and other control knobs.
The solid spruce top and maple back create that big, meaty chords, huge volume, and excellent tone balance that jumbos are known for. It's time to invest in this great accompanying instrument for your acoustic band set up and regular gigs.
Get your kids playing early with this unique type of instrument called the guitalele. Yes, it's a guitar but slightly bigger than a ukelele. The body size and shape have just the right widths for a small child, while the length is just 27.5 inches long. Plus, the string spacing is at 10.2 millimeters only, which smaller hands and fingers could easily navigate.
You can tune it like a guitar but a 5th scale higher. It also uses nylon strings so your kid's finger won't blister and discourage them from playing. The combination of the Mahogany soundboard and Rosewood fretboard creates a softer and warmer tone that your kids will surely enjoy.
Are you a music lover? It’s time to start a musical journey with some of these exciting products and expand your musical awareness. Check out the articles now!
Author: C. Lacson
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1: Baltimore | Acoustic Guitar Beginner Set | With Free Accessories
No. 2: | 38-Inch Acoustic Guitar
No. 3: Clifton Guitars | A1 Series Grand Orchestra Guitar
No. 4: Yamaha | Classical Guitar | C40
No. 5: Fender | Natural Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar | CD-60 SCE
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