Best Acoustic Guitars
When it comes to buying an acoustic guitar the choice is phenomenal. Most of the electric guitar makers also make an acoustic guitar too. This can sometimes be a help, but in some cases it can be a hindrance too.
If you already own an electric guitar, we suggest you forget all about it and look for an acoustic guitar from scratch. You see what made your perfect electric guitar will not necessarily be ideal for an acoustic. And don’t be lured into those “best Acoustic Guitar 2021” or “our recommended acoustic guitar for 2022” when you see headlines like this, ask yourself 2 questions.
“Who For?” and “By Who”.You see the best acoustic guitar for you, may be the totally wrong guitar for me and so on. So, what are you looking for? That should be one of your first questions, so let’s have a look at what you are looking for in an acoustic guitar.
Table of Contents
How Large Does The Body Need To Be?
With an acoustic guitar, the larger the body is, the more sound will be produced and the louder it it will sound. Great! Let’s get a large bodied acoustic then, there are 2 problems with this,
- It’s bigger, which makes it more awkward to handle,
- It’s heavier which makes it more awkward to handle.
You can see a theme developing here, but that’s not the only confusion, depending on how tall, and how strong you are, neither of the above points is a negative reason for not getting a large bodied acoustic.
Let’s just for the sake of argument, assume that size is not the issue. What else should you consider?
How Does The Guitar Sound?
The sound in an acoustic guitar is dictated by a few important factors,
The Wood Is An Incredibly Great Place To Choose On Your Journey To Perfect Tonality
Let’s have a quick look at the wood a guitar is made from, and what (if any) difference it makes to the overall sound. So just running our eyes down a guitar catalog and wood types start jumping off the page. What does it all mean?
Spruce is lightweight, highly rigid, making it perfect for a high velocity sound. Sitka Spruce in particular, has a power direct tone that allows it to remain clear sounding even when played under force.
Cedar tends to be the top choice of finger pickers due to its fast and rich response to lighter, finger styles of play.
Mahogany is favoured for country blues guitarists because of the strong, punchy sound it produces.
This African tone wood is closely related to mahogany but it is a much more versatile wood, giving it a larger range of uses in the guitar industry. Sapele is suitable for strumming and softer styles of guitar playing, along with lead and finger picking styles too.
Is used mainly due to its brightening aspects of tone. And rapid note decay, leaving a clear pitch. Maple is more suited to live acoustic performances, because the wood tone cuts through the mix and allows each note to be heard clearly.
Rosewood is a commonly used wood used in the acoustic guitar making industry. As there are 2 Rosewoods in use for guitar manufacture, this is confusing too. There is East Indian Rosewood, and Brazillian Rosewood. Due to the rarity of East Indian, Brazillian rosewood is far more common.
From a tonal perspective neither is far superior to the other, and both deliver a clear bright sound distributed well over all frequencies.
So as you can see the type of wood chosen to fabricate the body, soundboard, neck, fretboard, and any other part of the acoustic guitar will make a huge difference to the sound and overall tonal quality of your acoustic guitar. But enough with all the technological confusion!
Points To Identify Before Buying An Acoustic Guitar
To identify the right type of acoustic guitar for you, You need to consider the following points:
Not just the size of the sound hole, but how it feels in your arms, can you reach the top fret and all the way to the bottom fret?
You’re going to be holding this instrument for some time, does it feel comfortable?
Unlike an electric guitar, the acoustic sounds exactly how it sounds, is that the tone you are looking for?
Steel or Nylon? The string choice will affect the body shape, tone etc.
Do you want a standard shape? A smaller body? A cut away neck to reach further up the fretboard?
- Actual acoustic? Semi acoustic? Electro/acoustic?
How To Choose The Best Acoustic Guitar
There are people who believe that choosing any type of guitar can only be done, in a guitar shop, with the guitar cradled in your arms. They would say it is impossible to choose a guitar without playing it and you need to get the feel of it,
There are others who say it’s best to buy online so that you are not pressured in anyway before you buy your guitar and you can do your own research via customer reviews.
Consider All Options
Take your time, don’t feel pressured at all, if it feels wrong, tell the assistant, and explain how it feels wrong, he’ll be easier placed to find you what you are looking for, if he knows what you’re not looking for.
Play A Few Different Tunes
Check the action, too low and the strings will buzz, too high and it will be a struggle to play.
Consider The Strings
How do the tuning screws feel? Easy to use, or situated at the wrong angle for you? How do the strings feel? Too thick? Or too thin?
Look At The Neck
Check the thickness of the neck, is it convenient for your grip? How does the fret height feel? Are Barre chords a struggle?
Think About The Body
The length of the overall body needs to be considered, how about the width? Does it fit in your arms easily? Does it have a large sound hole? Or a smaller sound hole? How about where the body meets the fretboard? Is there a cutaway?
It’s Not All About The Name
Forget the branding, buying a guitar is not about buying a brand. You are buying a guitar that you will hopefully be playing for many years to come. It needs to feel correct, sound correct and then, and only then should you look at the price or brand.
Having said that, before you start it might be worth telling the assistant how much money you have in the kitty for buying the guitar. But with so many guitars to choose from, there will definitely be something to fit your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Acoustic guitars come in 4 sizes, they are ¼, ½, ¾, and full size. Adults should play full size acoustic guitars. Try a few out and see which size fits you most comfortably.
Expensive acoustic guitars are worth it because in most cases you definitely get what you pay for. Expensive guitars are usually manufactured from superior quality materials, by expert craftsmen It is for these reasons that expensive guitars cost more money.
This is an age old debate, with only one clear answer, it’s all about individual preferences. Our advice would be to try both and see what suits you better.
This is a purely subjective question and there are too many variables. If we were pressed for an answer we would likely say, Yamaha, Fender, Ibanez, Epiphone, Taylor. Some people have different wants and needs from a guitar. Our advice is always to try as many different guitars as you possibly can before deciding on which model to purchase.
Many acoustic guitars do seem to sound better as they age. This is due to the quality of the wood improving as it mellows.
As with many of these questions, it is all about personal preference. There are some guitarists who will play only Gibson Guitars. Others who will only play Gretsch, it really is a matter of choice. We suggest trying as many different guitars from as many different companies and see which you prefer.