The world of acoustic guitars is filled with endless options, which can make finding the right instrument a little overwhelming. After all, you need to select the wood, neck, and body that suits your specific stylistic needs and music genre.
Before you start fretting, take a look at this comprehensive acoustic guitar buyer’s guide so that you can find the acoustic guitar of your dreams!
How to Find the Right Acoustic Guitar
Here are some factors that you need to consider when buying an acoustic guitar:
Some acoustic guitars are significantly more expensive than others. It’s why you need to have a defined budget in mind when buying an acoustic guitar. Their price depends on the manufacturer’s location, wood selection, and the rarity of the wood, finish style, and make and model of the guitar.
For instance, lower-end instruments use laminated wood or a series of wooden layers for the top instead of one solid piece of wood, which affects the vibrational quality of the top. However, many guitarists prefer laminate due to its reliability in changing temperatures and its fine onstage tonal quality.
You don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket to find an excellent guitar. It all depends on your requirements. Plus, if you find a pricey guitar that fulfills all your needs but is beyond your budget, you can buy a used version of the same model.
The wood you choose will determine the sound of your guitar. The right tonewood for you will depend on the kind of sound you want your guitar to make and how you want to play it.
Here are some woods that you can choose from in an acoustic guitar:
Spruce is a highly rigid, lightweight wood that offers a powerful, direct, and clear tone.
Mahogany tops are heavyweight and produce a low overtone. Guitars with Mahogany tones have a “punchy” tone ideal for country blues playing. When used for backs and sides, Mahogany offers a relatively high velocity of sound.
Cedar offers a balanced warm sound. It’s ideal for fingerstyle players as it provides them with a quick, rich response to their lighter playing style.
Popular for its broad range of overtones and high response rate, Rosewood offers complex, strong bottom notes, and an overarching darker tone. It offers strong highs and mids, which add a defined richness to the upper registers.
Maple is an acoustically transparent tonewood thanks to its high degree of internal damping and lower response rate. With a maple top, you can hear the tonal characteristics of the top without adding a lot of tonal coloration.
Acoustic guitars come in a wide array of shapes and sizes, from compact travel-size instruments to jumbo to dreadnought. The style of an acoustic guitar’s body determines its tonal emphasis and sound projection. Some guitars have a single-cutaway design, while others have a double-cutaway design, which ensures easier access to the upper frets. Consider the tonal quality of each body and make sure the instrument feels comfortable in your arms and hands while playing.
When choosing a neck, make sure to pick the instrument and note how comfortable the neck feels in your hand. Typically, its width and thickness are based on the guitar’s body size and how many frets the neck is holding. Acoustic necks typically have 12 to 14 frets.
Check the distance between the frets to ensure the notes play in tune as you move up the neck. If it’s off, your guitar’s intonations will be off-tune.
6. Tuning Machines
Tuning machines enable you to fine-tune the guitar and hold the pitch. Opt for an enclosed machine head as it resists corrosion and requires minimal maintenance as opposed to open tuning machines.
Some acoustic guitars come with built-in preamplifiers and pickups to ensure that the acoustic sound fills the room. They are ideal for playing in larger venues. Some guitars have preamps mounted in a hole cut in the side, and some have mounts inside the soundhole to combine with a microphone, preamplifier, or tuner.
Use the pointers mentioned in this acoustic guitar buyer’s guide to find your dream instrument. Just remember to choose a guitar that sounds great, fits your budget, and feels comfortable in your hands.