There isn’t any sort of official statement regarding the best acoustic guitar in the world yet. Sure, some brands like Yamaha and Seagull stand out from the crowds, but that doesn’t mean their guitars will work out for you. Honestly speaking, it will all come down to everybody’s personal preference. For that, you will need to learn about a few key factors, such as the material of the guitar, to be able to decide which the right one for you is. Rest assured, I have put together all those things in this one extensive guide. At the end of the day, you should be able to figure out which acoustic guitar suits you the most.
What Is Acoustic Guitar?
Unlike electric guitars, which amplify the sound electronically, acoustic guitars make use of the strings’ vibration to produce the sound. At certain frequencies, the vibration causes the soundboard and sound box to resonate, allowing the player to compose different harmonics. Such frequencies are mainly influenced by the string’s length, tension, and mass. Most strings in acoustic guitar are made of nylon but there are some that feature steel, which is completely different in terms of mass. As for the length, a normal acoustic guitar’s neck is never more than 14-frets. Lastly, the string’s tension can be adjusted by twisting the knobs on the tuning machine.
Types of Acoustic Guitars
In terms of the purpose, there are two major types of acoustic guitars used by players around the world; one is acoustic-electric guitar and the other is pure acoustic guitar. As its name implies, the former refers to the one that is devised to be used with electronic amplifier, so as to make the sound louder, which is necessary for stage performance and studio recording. While the latter is the pure traditional model that simply depends on the strings and soundboard to produce sound. Since it is more affordable, the pure acoustic guitar is more common with beginners and occasional players.
Some people also like to call certain acoustic guitars as classical. This actually refers to the one that utilizes nylon strings instead of steel strings to produce sound that is heavier and more rounded. Now as far as the body shape is concerned, there are a whole lot of different names that you may not be too familiar with. The most common shape is Dreadnought while the least popular one is called Parlour, which is the smallest of all. In addition of those two, there are Jumbo, Round-shoulder Dreadnought, Auditorium, Grand Auditorium, and Small Body. Each body shape contributes to different sound, thus, each of them has different usage.
Why Choose Acoustic Guitar
First and foremost, acoustic guitar is generally more affordable than its electric counterpart. Sure some of them are sold for a high fortune but overall, you can get a good one for just a few hundred bucks. Starting low is what all beginners should do; don’t you agree with me? The next advantage is that compared to electric guitars the learning curve you need to get through to play an acoustic guitar is relatively more reasonable. Lastly, acoustic guitar has more natural sound to it. Yes, it’s indeed a personal preference but many great players like Don Ross and Tommy Emmanuel chose to build their careers with acoustic guitar.
What to Take into Account before Buying an Acoustic Guitar
First things first, you need to look at your budget as well as skill level. If you just found an interest on acoustic guitar and want to start from zero, it wouldn’t hurt to go for an affordable model from Yamaha or Fender. Once you get a good hang of it, you can upgrade to a better guitar. The same goes for how much you want to invest on your this instrument. Don’t get it wrong. Even though it’s acoustic, some models like those by Seagull can cost your arms and legs. So, be wise on these matters.
Next, pay attention to the designs and materials. Like I told you before, there are a whole lot of different types of acoustic guitars in terms of body shape. Make sure you don’t pick the wrong one. Additionally, ask yourself whether you want to go with steel or nylon strings, since they are the main part on your guitar that produces sounds. Last but not least, look at the tonewoods. For your info, each tonewood resonates differently with the strings’ sound; hence it may completely affect the harmonics. The most common ones are rosewood, mahogany, and koa. Anyway, tonewoods not only contribute to the guitar’s sound, but they also affect the price. The rarest the tonewood is, the more expensive the guitar will be.
Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Reviews
Yamaha FG700S Solid Top
At almost $199, Yamaha FG700S is not the cheapest entry-level guitar out there. However, if you are looking for an inexpensive alternate to Taylor’s masterpiece, this is the one you need. Bearing a nice black and white body binding, this guitar doesn’t look like it is made for beginners. It’s well-built and features top-notch materials like solid Sitka spruce top, die-cast tuners and fretboard made of rosewood. Even when you take a close look at it, you will hardly find any flaws on its design. As for the sound, I doubt you will any difference between this little guy and Taylor’s Big Baby, unless you’re an experienced player. It stays in tune considerably well; you can strum like you want to go for the heck of it and still won’t notice any slight drop in tunes. Still, I’d suggest purchasing a tuner and some extra strings too along with it.
Fender FA-100 Dreadnought
Like all skills, playing guitar does need effort and dedication. Now, if you are not very confident with your commitment in training, it’s best to go with a low-end guitar like Fender FA-100. This acoustic guitar is sold in bundle with a bunch of supplementary accessories, namely extra strings, tuner, gig bag, strap, and three picks. Assuming you can do a few simple chords, those things should be able to get you going right away. Anyway, being a Dreadnought model, this 6-string guitar is perfect for any adults of regular size but would rather prove to be too big for a kid and early teenagers. Both the fretboard and bridge is constructed out of rosewood, but the combination of laminated spruce top and Agathis back doesn’t seem too durable. In other words, it does need a bit of more care from owners. Overall, I’d say that this guitar is adequate for beginners.
Jasmine S34C NEX
Jasmine S34C is another low-end guitar that’s manufactured outside the U.S. To be more precise, it is originated from Asia. Even so, this steel-stringed guitar can compete reasonable well with the much more expensive models from big brand like Martin or Taylor. Unless your ears are quite experienced with chords, you wouldn’t spot any flaws on the sound it produces. Still, what makes it a perfect option for beginners is that it comes with a bunch of accessories. For less than $150, you can get the guitar along with a gig bag, a chromatic tuner, polish cloth, extra strings, and 10 eye-catching picks. Anyway, like all Dreadnought model, this guitar isn’t suited for children but considering how close the action is (the distance between strings on the fretboard), its playability is great. If you’re a woman with small hands, you won’t find it difficult as you walk through the chords. In short, this acoustic guitar couldn’t be any better for its price.
Seagull S6 Original
On the $200-$400 price range, I doubt there is any other acoustic guitar that is better than Seagull S6. You can even tell that this is a great guitar just by having a glance on it. The top is made of premium cedar wood with great matte finish while the back and sides are of durable wild cherry wood. The sound it makes is just as beautiful as that of a high-end guitar that at least costs thrice of its price. One thing about it, though, is that it’s a bit on the large side, both its body and neck. For those who have messed around with guitar for a while, that would be great. However, for beginners who aren’t used to gripping guitar’s neck, that could definitely make your fingers sore in short time. The action on this baby is just right out of the box but if you want to make it more playable, you will need to adjust to be a tad lower.
Taylor Guitars Big Baby
Taylor Guitars Big Baby may seem too big of an investment for a beginner but if you think you can keep a serious effort to play guitar, there is no better deal than this. It’s the best acoustic guitar that you can get for less than 500 bucks, hands down. It sounds great and constructed very carefully. The laminated Sapele back and sides might not seem to be of premium grade but they are extremely durable against humidity. I especially like the ebony fretboard. In comparison to other Dreadnought in this list, this one is a little smaller which is great for anyone with smaller fingers.