Acoustic Guitar Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong Acoustic Guitar

Guitars vary in terms of how they are built. Many options are available when it comes to choosing the type of wood, fretboard and other elements. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned musician, you want to choose an acoustic guitar that matches your skill level and desired sound quality. Before doing so, determine which acoustic guitar to buy for your needs. Use this acoustic guitar Guide to help you learn how to buy an acoustic guitar and factors to consider.

>> What is your musical style?

Before choosing which acoustic guitar to buy, consider your musical style. By thinking about the type of music you want to make with the types of acoustic guitars you are looking at, you can narrow down your options. If you are a jazz or blues player, consider acoustic guitar sizes with thin necks and low action. (An acoustic guitar's action is the distance between the strings and the fretboard.) This will help when it comes to playing slide guitar or soloing. If you are into classical guitar playing and styles like flamenco, consider choosing types of acoustic guitars that have nylon strings. The best acoustic guitar to buy must complement your playing style.

>> What is your skill level?

To understand how to buy a acoustic guitar, consider your skill level. Keep in mind that even if you are a beginner player, you are not limited to types of acoustic guitars that are geared toward beginners. You might wish to shop for acoustic guitars that feature a higher-quality design. This way, as you progress, you will not need to find a second guitar. However, it is fine to avoid choosing a top-of-the-line guitar as you begin learning. The main thing to remember as you decide which guitar to buy is to consider acoustic guitar designs that match your current skills and future goals as a player.

>> Where will you play your guitar?
The great thing about the many styles available as you shop for acoustic guitars is the fact that they are made for large and small venues. Consider where you will be playing your acoustic guitar to help you decide which acoustic guitar to buy. If you will be primarily playing your guitar in small venues, choose a guitar without plug-in capabilities. Because you are unable to plug into guitar amplifiers, your guitar will be quieter. However, you can strengthen the sound by using heavier picks and strings. For a louder sound, consider guitar bodies that feature pickups. Acoustic guitar pickups send the vibration of the strings through the cable to the amplifier to boost your sound.

>> Consider the guitar material

While deciding which acoustic guitar to buy, you will find an assortment of possibilities when it comes to the material of your new guitar. Acoustic guitar designs are primarily made up of wood and are customizable. Everything from the body to the neck and headstock utilize wood. Maple neck guitars give a dry tone with deeper middle notes, which work well for rock music. Used in many types of acoustic guitars, spruce is lightweight and resonant for many different styles of playing. If you are a blues player, consider guitars that feature mahogany on the sides and backs. Mahogany gives off a "snappy" sound that heightens higher notes. If you are interested in higher mid-range resonance, look for an acoustic guitar with rosewood. Rosewood is commonly used on the fretboard and back of the guitar. When it comes to understanding how to buy an acoustic guitar, remember that the material of the guitar affects tonal quality.

>> Consider body style

The variety of acoustic guitar sizes varies depending on the manufacturer. The dreadnought style of guitar body provides a louder sound with deeper undertones. With dreadnought guitars, the neck meets the body at the 14th fret; these work well for heavy playing on medium to heavy strings. The classic body style works well for players who are primarily sitting down when they play. It requires light strings, which work well for finger picking. The jumbo style has a size similar to the classic body style, with a loud sound like a dreadnought guitar. The jumbo style is commonly used for playing while standing, and is often used with a strap. Because of its larger size, it requires medium strings for the best tone.

>> Consider neck size

Neck size plays a key role in determining which acoustic guitar to buy. As you you learn how to buy acoustic guitars, choose a guitar with a neck that your hand fits comfortably around. Children's guitars are made specifically for this reason. Nylon string guitars, for instance, feature large necks that are often suited for players with large hands. As you shop for acoustic guitars, keep in mind that the neck you choose needs to have action that you are comfortable with. If you are interested in more technical playing, lower action is better. However, if you are looking for a guitar that is suited for strumming, higher action is fine. Be sure to check the cutaway. The cutaway is the area of the guitar where the neck and body meet. A cutaway allows you to access higher frets while playing.

>> Consider string type

The type of string will also help you figure out which acoustic guitar to buy. Steel strings are commonly found on guitars meant for strumming. Steel strings offer a richer tone and work well for rock, jazz, country and blues playing. If you are more interested in a warmer sound for Latin, folk or classical playing, consider nylon strings. Because nylon strings are softer, they offer a quieter sound. Acoustic guitars feature a headstock that is designed for steel or nylon strings.

>> Consider accessories
After you figure out which acoustic guitar to buy, consider a variety of guitar accessories to help you in your playing. Guitar stands keep your acoustic guitar in one spot. If you are thinking about using an acoustic guitar that plugs into an amplifier, you can swap out your guitar's pickups to change the sound. Pickups not only affect tone, but also change the volume of playing. Instead of using electric guitar tuners to tune your guitar, you can use capos to raise the pitch. Capos attach to the neck and hold your guitar's strings in place. To keep your guitar safe, consider buying a case. Acoustic guitar cases are made of a variety of materials, including nylon, wood and fiberglass, which keep your instrument safe from rough handling and dropped objects.
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