Best Starter Acoustic Guitar

Travel size guitar - Martin

To start playing the guitar we want the easiest possible. Of course, it’s easy if you are already drawn to a favorite because you’ll likely put in volunteer rather than compelled time. Electric guitar is easier but as long as you replace the heavier gauge strings with thinner strings to lighten up on the picking on the acoustic, either is good. Just remember that the acoustic is basically self-sufficient while the electric guitar needs an amp, cable, headphone, and so on. If you can’t decide you could consider going for an acoustic-electric guitar.

What makes the best starter acoustic guitar?

  • an aesthetically pleasing guitar that you will like hanging out with
  • built-in tuner
  • a top made of solid wood produces more pleasing tones than guitars with laminate tops
  • buy midrange so you are not hunting for an upgrade too soon
  • accompanying starter packs including picks and tuners; some may even include a gig bag, replacement strings, strap, DVD and so on.
  • without a pickup it’s not a deal breaker as you can add it later as needed
  • if you think this will be your forever guitar, steer towards those with warranty programs
  • concert size tend to be more comfortable for beginning guitar players
  • your favorite starter acoustic guitar brand (provided you are aware of the learning curve)

 

Acoustic Guitar Design

Acoustic Guitar Design anatomy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The headstock of the guitar holds the tuners or tuning keys.  The fretboard overlays onto the guitar neck. The hollow box resonates the sound of the strings.

Guitar wood types availability depend on the regulations of the country where guitar wood suppliers get the material. As certain species of trees become overharvested a country may ban exports. Other suitable trees become the new source for guitar wood. The type of wood selected for guitar manufacturing are durable, have ecstatically pleasing appearance and some can be steam bent to form the guitar sides.

Common guitar wood types include ebony, koa, maple, mahogany, rosewood and walnut.

Does the Acoustic or Electric Guitar Wood Make a Difference?

With the different woods used to build a guitar we may be curious about the the effect on guitar tone. Woods used in guitar construction do not translate to different sounds. No one has ever identified the wood used in a guitar by listening.  According to Bartolome, “the sound of a guitar is dependent on
the ear and sound perception of the person listening,” and described with words such as bright or warm. However, when amps are plugged into guitars made from different woods, the sounds are exactly the same (Bartolome 10).

 

Is There Any Longer An Appeal of Antique Guitar (Vintage guitar)?

What are we looking for when we are considering picking something up at an old guitars sale. Cheap, as in low cost, or are we interested in the idea that the aged wood, in the past, produces a better sound? At one time old guitars sales were driven by the understanding that a vintage guitar sounds better than a new guitar due to the wood’s stiffness as it aged. Technology has nullified this argument through the advancement of wood treating applications. New woods are now aged to produce the same sound as vintage. Further, wood treatment technology prevents certain tree species from being overharvested by making any wood material sound good. A more expensive guitar doesn’t guarantee a better sound. But, they can be appealing in appearance. Similarly, vintage or antique guitars do not any longer mean better sound over new guitars.

The sound predictability and integrity of the outcome rely on the uniform “pool of material going into a well-controlled build process” (French 18). This material is graded by skilled luthiers. After production of the guitar body, a global measurement in guitar manufacturing uses the lower sounding frequencies to measure and detect possible variation.

Guitar building is highly automated using computer precision. For example, lasers are used to cut the guitar components such as top, back, and side. The neck is formed using computer numerical controlled (or CNC milling). A robot applies the finish. Luthiers may assemble and attach decorations (French 19). All contributing to the uniformity of the end products and sound that can rival any vintage guitar.

 

How to Choose the Guitar Size

Travel size guitar - Martin

If you are traveling a lot and still want to get some guitar practice or play, not planning to record, or disturb your fellow neighboring vacationer,  then a travel size guitar like this Martin is recommended.

 

 

Parlor size acoustic guitar - Ibanez

 

The parlor size guitar like this Ibanez was designed to be played in small crowded parlors. It’s compact size means it can be kept handy in the parlor, living room, bedroom, etc.

 

guitar size dreadnought - FenderThe standard or full size dreadnought like this Fender is the most popular acoustic guitar size. It’s larger chamber provides more sound reach.

 

What Accessories to Expect With Your Acoustic Guitar

Extra guitar strings as backup in case you finally get the impulse to pick up your guitar and discover that someone in your household, short on strings for some emergency project, decided to take yours having convinced themselves that you had given up playing the guitar.

Picks for strumming or individual picks for each finger (for fingerpicking guitar).

Guitar strap or tie for when you want to play standing up.

Gig bag or hard shell case to easily carry your guitar with you. As well as for protection from the elements. The gig bag allows you to easily sling the guitar over your shoulder, but if needed, the hard shell case provides a bit more protection.

 

Additional Guitar Accessories

Guitar stand to give your guitar its own space when away from your arms or the gig bag. Plus, it simply looks more elegant than leaning against a wall, laying on the floor or hidden under a clothes pile.

 

Allowing Your Guitar Style to Evolve

When playing any instrument, we want to unleash who we are through our music. The guitar, which is the most versatile instrument  in the world, is best at allowing such creativity. The musician in the above clip provides a sample of the guitar’s versatility.

The rest of us likely do not play at that level as guitar playing may not have been top priority. For that reason we want the best starter acoustic guitar as a step ahead to ensure a strong comeback or beginning.

Wherever we are in our guitar journey – not yet begun; beginner; on-and-off learner, returning; seasoned player; expert; and so on, guitars are readily available to honor our commitment. The one that will serve us best is as easy as picking a size and style. Technology takes care of the rest by making the best sounding guitars comparable in quality and affordability.

CLICK HERE to see these beautiful guitars on Amazon

CLICK HERE to see these beautiful guitars on zZsounds.

 


Bartolome, Jan M. “Effects of Wood Attributes on Acoustic Guitar Sound Quality.” University of British Columbia, Library, Collections, 2016, open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/undergraduateresearch/52966/items/1.0314332.

French, Mark. “Response Variation in a Group of Acoustic Guitars.” SOUND AND VIBRATION, Purdue University, Jan. 2008, pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9b7b/f71599885790a011cfd568b84c97f3983c21.pdf.

Ibanez Guitars. (2018). Acoustic Guitars | Ibanez guitars. [online] Available at: http://www.ibanez.com/products/u_ag_top18.php?year=2018&cat_id=3.

8 Comments

  1. I was wondering does wood effects the sound of the guitar. Somehow I thought it does. I must say I am surprised to find out that it has no effect on the sound. Cool article, very informative. Thanks for sharing.

    All the best,
    Ivan

    • Hey Ivan,

      There might have been some slight detection in the sounds from guitars made of different woods. Some vintage guitars sell for a very high price due to the better sound of the aged wood. But now technology allows a wood treatment that gives the guitar the desired sound quality. You are not likely anymore to detect different sounds from different woods as consistency has been achieved.

      I hope that helps.

      Best,

      Terri
      denebguitars.com

  2. I always love me some nice guitar posts, and I really enjoyed this one a lot. I started learning how to play the guitar around 7 years ago. I’ve loved the instrument for more than that, and I am glad I ever decided to start learning how to play.
    Thanks for such a nice article! I’ll definitely be coming back!

  3. Fantastic very informative article. I never knew the type of wood used doesn’t effect the sound.
    When picking a guitar this is a must read for all because after reading this well informed article and you still don’t know what to pick then maybe the guitar isn’t for you.
    I really think the travel guitar is pretty cool looking.
    Thank you for this great article,
    David

    • Hey David,

      Before technology treatment which now makes the wood more uniform, It makes sense that some listeners would report a difference in the sound. Not so much anymore.

      And, yes, that travel guitar looks quite handy. Smaller guitars are available in the traditional shape but with smaller chamber so the volume isn’t as full.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Terri

      denebguitar.com

  4. Really? the wood doesn’t affect the sound? I was surprised on that one. Got to tell my cousin about that. Love your content, as someone who has been playing guitar for years, I can say that even I learned something from your post. Thank you!

    Regards,
    jason

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