To choose the best acoustic guitar— select an instrument that you’ll love to play for many years. This choice does not have to be difficult or expensive if you are informed. And… if you’re still reading this, you’ve probably decided that you want to get best beginners acoustic guitar and are considering your options for which one to purchase.
So, should you go for the cheap acoustic guitar or best acoustic guitar? Well, here at the full acoustic guitar guide, I sympathise and will do my level best to give you all the advice you’ll ever need on buying an acoustic guitar.
Why own a good acoustic guitar in the beginning?
A good acoustic guitar for beginners is one that you will enjoy learning on, playing on, and listening to year after year, even as your skills grow. In this guide, I have recommended some good quality acoustic guitars for beginners at below, which still have the good quality that you need to learn effectively and to enjoy playing for years to come.
With prices on some acoustic guitars very low, it is tempting to buy the cheapest instrument you can find for a beginning guitar student, however bad the guitar may be. A bad acoustic guitar may have the following characteristics that are highly detrimental to the learning process:
- Difficulty keeping your guitar in tune.
- Poor sound quality — tinny or too mellow; too loud or soft; buzzing sounds on the strings against the frets; not resonant, vibrant, and poor tones.
- Poor action that are hard on the fingers, especially the sensitive, un-calloused fingers of a beginning guitar student
- Not pleasing to the ear, therefore more difficult to play — especially when improvising (“playing by ear”)
- Hard-to-adjust or loose tuning pegs, meaning that tuning is an unwelcome chore and time tuning is time spent not learning and playing the guitar
- Visually unattractive and unappealing
- Cheap woods (or even plastic!) that is subject to warping and not pleasing to the touch
So, why not buy any low price guitar? The reason is the same as that for any other instrument: if you buy a bad guitar, the student will necessarily get bad and unpleasant-sounding results and will definitely be turned off to the idea of playing the guitar at all.
This falls under the category of “you get what you pay for”: garbage noise from the guitar and low enthusiasm from the student results since you are limited by the low quality of the instrument and can never see and hear progress beyond a certain point.
The factors need to consider for buying the best acoustic guitars
Questions to ask yourself before buying a good acoustic guitar for beginners:
- What is my budget: How much money can I spend on the guitar? How much can I spend on lessons, sheet music, accessories, and so on?
- What style(s) of music will I be playing? Folksy, Classical, Bluesy, Jazzy, Spanish/Flamenco, light or heavy strumming, finger-picking, and so on.
- For what purpose(s) will I be using the guitar? Learning seriously, for fun only, recording, performing live, and so on.
Be sure to consider the following when you want to get and purchasing the best suited acoustic guitar, especially for a beginner:
1) The price & budget
Often you get what you pay for. In this case, to get a good acoustic guitar suitable for a beginner, you should anticipate paying between about $200 and $300. If you are paying more than $300 for a beginner acoustic guitar, you are either getting a bad deal or buying more guitar than is necessary: a good beginner guitar will be suitable for playing for years, not just for a few initial lessons.
Keep in mind that it is an investment in a rewarding hobby as well as in the instrument itself, which can be resold later if necessary. Also remember that, for most people, the best way to learn is to learn from a live teacher, therefore factor in the cost of lessons for a beginning student, also, when budgeting.
2) The desire to learn and the ability to do
The higher your desire to learn and ability to practice regularly, the higher the price you may want to pay to get a higher quality guitar.
3) Additional costs
The cost and hassle of taking lessons and buying learning materials and guitar accessories. These costs add up considerably over time. Note that if you buy a guitar from a guitar store, sometimes an introductory number of lessons are included in the price of the guitar.
4) New vs. Used guitars
Do your homework before considering buying a used guitar. Especially be sure to check out the stability of a used guitar. For example, make sure that it can hold its tune for several hours and that the case is solid and relatively undamaged, and that the fretboard and tuning pegs are sturdy.
Note that there is much less risk when purchasing a used guitar from a trusted friend whom you know to be conscientious about caring for his/her instrument properly. That friend will be more honest about the pros and cons of the particular guitar for your beginner’s needs, also.
5) Steel vs. Nylon stringed acoustic guitars
This is an important decision because string types are not interchangeable: you either need to buy a guitar with steel or with nylon strings, and that is what you will need to stay with for that instrument. Steel strings provide a bright, crisp tone, whereas nylon strings are more mellow and less responsive.
Choose which type of string to buy based on the type(s) of music you plan to play. Choose nylon strings if you want to play classical and folk music; Choose steel strings if you want to play rock, country, or other styles.
For a beginner, steel acoustic guitar strings may offer the most versatility. Steel strings also stay in tune better/longer than nylon strings do.
6) The size
The guitar should feel comfortable in your arms with the bottom groove comfortably resting on your right leg. In the case of a youth or petite adult beginner, a ¾-sized guitar might be more appropriate than a standard, full-sized guitar. This is why holding the actual guitar that you will be buying is so important when choosing what works best for you.
In addition, the width of the neck should be comfortable so that you can reach all strings on the fretboard comfortably — the shorter your fingers, the narrower the neck you will want to shop for.
7) Special case: Left- or Right-handed guitar?
Make sure to get a left-handed guitar if you are left-handed! If you are ambidextrous (both left- and right-handed), try both types of guitars extensively and buy what feels the most natural to you. If possible, lease or borrow guitars of each type for a few weeks to determine which works best for you and then make your purchase.
8) Sound quality
The acoustic guitar should have a wide and open timbre, meaning a pleasing, vibrant sound that you could listen to for hours.
The best methods for testing acoustic guitars before buying one
Bring competent guitar-playing friends and have them test prospective guitars for you. Question them extensively about the playability of the guitar and its suitability for a beginner. Remind them that the guitar that they would choose for themselves as experienced players might not be the best one for you as a beginner!
Have store personnel test many guitars for you and describe differences between models and even specific guitars of the same model.
- Ask about each individual guitar’s features and benefits.
- Ask about drawbacks, too: every individual guitar has them!
- Ask for a guitar with a medium action, which is easiest for beginners
Where is the best place to buy a guitar?
Do not buy a guitar from a salesperson that is pressuring you to buy something, especially if you came in to the store to buy an acoustic guitar and you are being pressured into another type entirely, such as an electric or electro-acoustic guitar.
The best places to buy a good acoustic guitar for beginners are:
- From authority website such as Amazon.com
- From a friend or family member whom you trust.
- From a local guitar or music store with a good reputation—ask guitarists you may know where the best shops are in town.
Tip: A written list of requirements may help you stay on track and avoid sales pressure in stores.
When to use caution when buying a guitar
Use caution when buying a guitar…
- …from a department store, toy store, or massive chain guitar store.
- …that is second-hand/pre-owned.
- …from a pawn broker.
Choosing the best acoustic guitar for beginners is the KEY to successfully learning and loving to play the guitar. If you choose wisely, following the criteria above, you will be most likely happy with your choice and your new hobby for years to come.
Family and friends will also enjoy your playing, and sing-along sessions are both fun and almost mandatory when one learns to play the acoustic guitar. Your services playing the guitar for the crowd to sing along with will almost certainly be in high demand throughout the year, especially at parties and family gatherings.
Hopefully, you get the cheap acoustic guitars with best quality in your price range. Good luck in everything and Rock on!