Acoustic guitars are an entity to a musician’s soul. Not only are they all unique in their own ways, but have a variety of differences that set them apart from other instruments. However, nevertheless, they are still a costly investment to embark on.
To get you started on buying your own acoustic guitar, view our buying guide below on the most important things to consider when making this purchase.
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Take Your Budget and Goals into Consideration
There are plenty of options to take into account when choosing a new acoustic guitar:
- How much will it cost?
- How much can you save?
- Is it worth it in the long run?
- What kind should you purchase?
It’s best to answer these questions yourself before you start the buying process. Not to mention, your answers may help you narrow down your acoustic guitar options.
Tonewoods refers to both how you play the guitar and what sound you are looking for. For example, a fingerstyle guitar player wants a style of wood that can resonate with a pick. Many acoustic guitar luthiers believe that the type of wood is the sole factor that will determine what your guitar will sound like.
However, the back, top, neck, and sides are also incredibly important to a guitar’s tone.
It’s also important to understand that the type of wood the guitar is made of defines the tone as well. This also includes the skill and design of the craftsman designing it.
Nevertheless, the tonewood is one of the most important deciding factors when choosing your next acoustic guitar.
Spruce is one of the most standard types of wood for crafting acoustic guitars. Due to its lightweight, yet rigid profile, it helps increase the sound velocity of the guitar.
Especially Western Red Cedar is very popular for warmer guitar tones. This type of wood is particularly commonly used by fingerstyle guitar players due to its lightness and deep tones.
Mahogany is great for country blues guitar players due to its strong tones and low response rate. Due to its high sound velocity, it has a large overtone which is great for a select variety of guitarists.
Sugar, big lead, and bearclaw maple are favored by many guitar players due to its internal damping and low response rate.
Rosewood is most commonly known for its range of overtones and high response rate, as well as its darker tone and sound complexity. In addition, it also has stronger highs and mids than other types of woods, which solely contribute to its rich tone.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Guitar
1. Body Type
There are many different varieties of acoustic guitars. They are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes that range from small travel guitars and classic acoustics to dreadnoughts and jumbo guitars. The guitar’s body type plays a role in determining the guitar’s tonal emphasis and projection of sound. When choosing your body style, you must compare the sound quality to your comfort when playing to find a happy middle ground.
A lot of acoustic guitars come with built-in preamplifiers and pickups. These features are helpful if you plan on playing in large rooms. Some preamps are mounted inside the guitar’s soundhole whereas others are mounted in a hole on the side. There are even some systems that include a preamp, piezo pickups, microphone, tuner, and EQ. Electronic features like these are not really necessary for a beginner. Learning to master the guitar, not performing, should be your main priority.
3. Guitar Neck
The width and size of the guitar neck are dependant on the size and body style of the guitar, as well as the number of frets it has. Most acoustic guitars are either 12 fret or 14 fret. This is not the overall number of frets, but rather the number that is clear of the guitar body. To find the right guitar neck size, pay attention to the size of your own hand and the sound you are looking for.
4. The Intonation
This factor plays a role in determining if notes will be tune when you play up the neck. The intonation will be off if the distance between the frets is incorrect. This means that it will be impossible to play in tune, which will be a pain if you plan on recording music or performing live.
5. Tuning Machines
Tuning machines allow for your guitar’s pitch to be tuned. This is extremely important to your guitar’s sound, pitch, and tone. Plus, the tuners resist rust and corrosives, so they require very minimal replacement or maintenance.
6. Bridge and Fingerboard
The materials that are used to craft the bridge and fingerboard have a minimal effect on the sound of the guitar.
Pay Attention To Your Personal Preference
This is perhaps the most important consideration. No matter what the specs or features are, choose a guitar that you love. Pick one that feels comfortable to hold both standing and sitting. A guitar may look perfect on paper, but if it doesn’t feel right in your arms or sound right to your ears, it’s not the right one for you. So don’t settle on a guitar if it does not meet your personal preferences.
The important thing to remember is to be prepared before you head down to your local guitar store. You should know exactly what you want and need before you make your purchase. Determine why you want your guitar, the wood type you want, and the features that are important to you. No matter what your budget is, you will surely find the perfect acoustic guitar for you.