How To Buy An Acoustic Guitar

Everyday plainly thousands of people record entries in diverse forums asking for tips to purchase a basic acoustic guitar to begin with and they are provided with a load of hopeless suggestions.

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Everyday plainly thousands of people record entries in diverse forums asking for tips to purchase a basic acoustic guitar to begin with and they are provided with a load of hopeless suggestions. I have undergone the pain of reading all of those for a bit of no good. The opinions voiced in the sites of sellers on the other hand are completely prejudiced. They appear to say that every model they sell sound incredibly beautiful and are worth the price which is fantastically stupid. After all the bewilderment I got myself a black reasonably priced acoustic guitar which is fine and it as anticipated has a few petite flaws. I thought it's an excellent idea to write on things one has to look for in a guitar. First, you narrow down the choices based on your budget. I recommend that you do not go for the cheapest segments that entirely consist of local brands some of which are not that good. A good learner model might cost you something from 75$ to 150$. If you want to keep it under 100$ you have a choice to pick from a few decent local brands and a few China makes which isn't a dreadful option at all. In that range there are decent ones to pick. The class of timber determines the sound quality. So go for mahogany or at least rosewood depending on your finances. Don't get tempted to buy low-priced semi-acoustic guitars that come with pick-ups. That money would better be invested in a straightforward high-quality acoustic guitar. Don't for Pete's sake walk into a store, strike the instrument a few times and buy the loudest or what you think sounds best. Because all the guitars out there might be tuned differently and superior ones might not sound good because the strings are aged. See for good build. A typical acoustic guitar mostly has an absolutely flat body construction. I'd definitely prefer a standard shape with a circular sound hole. Some fancy looking ones might not sound good at all. Inside the body there must to two strips of wood forming a sort of X' shape and the sealing has to be perfect. Also the fret board has to be perfectly parallel to the strings and there has to be a steady gap between the strings and the board. If there is a bow the gap would be more which makes playing difficult on higher frets. Also the bridge construction must be simple for easier change of strings. Check if the strings are aligned properly to get good tuning stability. For playing chords you need to have a narrow neck steel string guitar, and narrow neck makes it easier to play. The frets are metallic strips glued onto the board and they have to be smooth and of adequate thickness. Try holding a chord shape and slide your hands along the board and see if it's smooth and unobstructed. Get a tuner from someone and tune the guitar to standard E-A-D-G-B-e (for 0.11 gauge strings) or Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bd-eb (for 0.12) and see if it's not too tight to play. Mostly it'd be fine for all guitar dimensions are standard. You have to get the same note in open string and twelfth fret if the fret dimensions are correct. Play individual notes and see how long a note sounds. Finally after all these tests try and play whatever you can and go for a guitar that sounds pleasant and warm. It must not be very sharp or muffled. If you have a friend who can play guitar take him along. On paper many guitars are pretty close in competition. Don't worry too much if you find it still difficult to choose. Just pick the one you think you will look good with. The color can be anything but there's nothing to beat the traditional wooden colors or black. I would suggest dark wood, black, vine red or brown for men and black, light wood or blue for the tender gender. Once you buy one, it the best thing in the world because it's yours. All the very best!

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    jean_genie
    Honestly, I think the whole concept of writing a 'pick a first guitar' article is overkill, at least in the price you're talking about. I can sum it up with a quick list of important factors, in this order. 1) Does it feel good in your hands? You're more likely to play a guitar that is comfortable than one that is not, and you will sound much better with practice than you will with a nicer guitar. 2) Do you like (or can you tolerate) the way it looks? People that are just starting out are very self-conscious, and no one wants to feel like an idiot struggling through their first song. If you give a teenage boy a purple D-45 covered in rhinestones, he will not play it. The fact that it sounds amazing isn't even important to him. 3) Is the top solid wood? The fact is that you don't have the playing ability for something like this to make a difference yet, but a solid wood top will sound good to your ears longer as you progress in skill, so you won't want to replace it as quickly. 4) If you want to avoid buying a second guitar as long as possible, THEN you can consider electronics. Do you plan to play at open mics? Then you want something with a pickup. Do you plan to only play at home? Then a model without holes cut into it for a cutaway and a big plastic preamp will sound better acoustically. If you don't know, you can always buy a cheap pickup later. When someone comes into my store looking to get started, these are the only questions I ask, and in that order. Your average newbie is young ... and they're not looking for a lifelong pursuit. They want to jam out and have fun. Talking to them about wood selection or body shape makes the process sound difficult and draconian, and will turn some people off entirely. Get something in their hand than they want to play, and the rest of the information is irrevelant. Remember that most 'educated' players would think that Jimmy Page's Danelectro, Willie Nelson's 'Trigger', and almost every old blues guitar ever were pieces of crap. They sound pretty good to me.
    Danjo's Guitar
    There are not colors specifically for girls (maybe pink, but nothing else). And besides, whats a chick doing buying a guitar? Everyone knows girls play bass. (There are maybe 50 exceptions to that in all of history. And only like 5 of those are actually any good.)
    Partyboy2k05
    I've always went with the philosophy that a beginner guitar should be just that, something simple. For almost all who start out it's just a hobby, so getting into the technicalities shouldn't be an issue. You need a guitar that you can learn basics on, not a high end martin or alverez. Brand shouldn't matter. My first guitar was a pain in the ass to play, the action was too high but it really forced me to play right. Now I can pick up a decent guitar and it sounds even smoother. I still have that guitar and play it everyonce in a while. It works and gets the job done. I don't think there really is a guide to "first" guitars, just get one and have at it, although I think acoustics should always come first.
    krypticguitar87
    Danjo's Guitar : There are not colors specifically for girls (maybe pink, but nothing else). And besides, whats a chick doing buying a guitar? Everyone knows girls play bass. (There are maybe 50 exceptions to that in all of history. And only like 5 of those are actually any good.)
    I'm surprised that no one has flammed you for this because I personally know more girls who play guitar than guys... just because more bassists become famous, doesn't mean they don't exist.... any way to my more important point...
    Also the fret board has to be perfectly parallel to the strings and there has to be a steady gap between the strings and the board.
    NOT TRUE. the fret board should be flat, but not parallel to the strings, if it were, the strings would not go through the bridge and the nut and into the tunning heads being parallel to the neck. there is an angle in which the strings would intersect the fretboard , just past the head. if not the instrument would not work. also this is a pretty bad guide for someone who is just starting, which is what it seems like its geared toward. I know plenty of people who decided to learn guitar, then decided it really wasn't for them. I'n this case I have found that buying a cheap crap guitar first makes the most sense, since they didn't spend alot and don't feel like they are being forced to stick with it because of the high cost of admission. later on they can save money to get a really nice guitar, that would blow any $150 guitar out of the water. This is how I started, I bought a starter kit for only a hundred bucks. Not the greatest guitar but it helped me learn, and gave me time to practice while saving money for one that I really wanted, I now play on an Ovation for acoustic stuff. If I had started out with this guitar I may have never progressed and it helped me appreciate tonality much more. I usually still use this to learn new songs even though I hate the tone. It helped me learn how to play cleanly and now every guitar that I play seems to sound beter by comparrison.
    AlanHB
    Get a tuner from someone and tune the guitar to standard E-A-D-G-B-e (for 0.11 gauge strings) or Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bd-eb (for 0.12) and see if its not too tight to play
    Standard tuning is standard tuning. It doesn't change on the gauge of the strings.
    calirocker
    Acoustic guitar forum>>>>>this. 1. Finish shouldn't matter at all. In fact, many good-looking finish guitars sound absolutely AWFUL (Ibanez and Dean, I've got my eye on you). This guy didn't mention the difference between laminate wood and solid tops at all. And often you can't get a decent guitar for under $100 US, I'd start with $130 as a threshold. Anything less, save your money. 2. The actual wood the guitar is made of (he mentioned mahogany and rosewood) matters less when you're talking about extreme budget guitars. What matters far more in this case is, like I said, all-laminate construction or a solid top. 3. Having great action walking out of the store is fantastic, but it CAN be adjusted by a luthier or experienced guitarist who's done similar adjustments a lot. I wouldn't say it's absolutely necessary to have the perfect action from the start, and it depends on the player. What's essentially most important in a beginner acoustic is... 4. The sound. Whatever sounds the best to you, the most alive and pleasant, whatever you prefer, is your guitar. It's extremely subjective and hard to pinpoint, but you need to try them out and play them, as many as possible for comparison's sake. A brand means little in terms of sound, although in terms of the quality of construction, it sometimes does. For example, I would never buy a budget Martin because the quality of the materials don't justify the cost: you're paying the Martin tax without receiving Martin quality. TL;DR: Play them. You'll know.
    Natrone
    Doonan wrote: i feel the guide in the acoustic guitar forum is more helpful.
    This.
    Doonan
    i feel the guide in the acoustic guitar forum is more helpful.
    Wasp
    It's a tad short and pretty much aimed at new players, but there are some good pointers.
    specialbrew8
    most small privately owned guitar shops have deals for first guitar purchases. if you know of a small music shop near you it can really help to buy from them. I bought my first acoustic guitar from a music shop about 6 years ago and theyre still offering me deals on picks and strings etc.
    Reesy666
    Dont for Petes sake walk into a store, strike the instrument a few times and buy the loudest or what you think sounds best.
    The sound is pretty damn important... I agree with the intonation and playability tests, but it should also be the one that sounds best surely? Why else do you have a guitar.
    saint22
    I agree with most of this, but your advice on the setup of the guitar is off. You usually do need a slight bow in the neck, otherwise the strings may hit the neck as they vibrate. What's important isn't having no bow and super low action, but the correct amount of bow and a comfortable action.
    jm911
    Just pick the one you think you will look good with.
    nice article. but i disagree with this, i think you should pick the one that feels the best