Music is a powerful form of art. It can make just about anybody feel happy, sad, or excited. However, being able to play music yourself is even more powerful.
And what better way to start than with an acoustic guitar.
It’s a great instrument for beginners, and with a wide variety of fairly easy songs to start with, you’ll be having a blast in no time.
But which acoustic guitar should you get? What even is an acoustic guitar? What are the best acoustic guitar brands?
Fret no more, as this acoustic guitar review will help you with choosing the best acoustic guitar for beginners, as well as talk about the essentials you need to understand when it comes to this instrument.
- Best Acoustic Guitar 2018 Buying Guide
- TOP 10 Acoustic Guitar Brands
Best Acoustic Guitar 2018 Buying Guide
First of all, you need to understand how an acoustic guitar works. Just the basic stuff of course, enough to know what to look for when buying one for yourself.
An acoustic guitar is made of 3 main parts. The body, the neck, and the headstock.
The body is obviously the largest part of it and the part that sits in your lap when holding it.
The shape of the body may vary slightly, but as a beginner, you don’t have to think too much about that.
There are 6 different body types to choose from, and here are the benefits of each one.
- Concert/Grand Concert – Smaller, yet with a bright sound, great for smaller musicians
- Auditorium/Grand Auditorium – Great balance of comfort, volume, and tone
- Dreadnought – A very common body style, boasting a very large soundboard. Delivers powerful sound.
- Jumbo – As the name says, this is a bigger body type, as such capable of delivering clear and loud tones.
- Travel/Mini-Acoustic – Great for traveling or smaller musicians
- Cutaways – This means that the part of the body beneath the neck hosts a cutaway in order to reach the neck more easily
The neck is the part where your left-hand fingers do the work, if you’re right handed of course.
The width of the neck is usually around 1.72 inches, slightly wider than an electric guitar.
A smaller neck is better for playing fast and not having to stretch your fingers that much, but it also makes it harder to avoid unintentional string hitting or muting.
So as a beginner it’s advised to get a guitar with a slightly wider neck. As the length goes, it isn’t a big factor when buying your first guitar.
Do take notice of the number of frets. Usually, it’s either 12 or 14, referring to the number of frets clear of the body.
The size of the neck doesn’t affect the sound.
The headstock rests at the top of the neck and holds the tuning pegs, where the strings are wound.
The size of the headstock is pretty much standardized.
So, now that you are familiar with the terminology used when describing acoustic guitars, it’s time to take a look at different factors that determine the sound and overall feel of a guitar.
This is the most important factor when it comes to sound. Different types of wood produce different tones.
Most musicians and manufacturers agree that the type of wood used for the top of the guitar is most important.
- Spruce – Most commonly used, rigid, lightweight, retains sound quality nicely
- Mahogany – Provides a strong tone, great for country or blues
- Cedar – Slightly warmer sound
- Rosewood – High response rate, strong tone
- Maple – Lower response rate, higher degree of internal damping
3. Nylon or steel strings?
When it comes to this choice, you’ll have to consider what type of music you want to play the most.
It’s not that important, you can still play any style on both the nylon and the steel strings, but there is a difference in the type of tone you’ll be getting.
Steel strings are mainly used for playing rock or country, as they are louder and brighter.
Nylon strings, on the other hand, lean to a more soft, mellow tone. Usually used in classical or flamenco music, as they suit those styles better.
Once you choose between these two types of strings, keep in mind that they are not interchangeable on the same guitar, so choose wisely!
If you’re planning on getting an acoustic guitar, it may well look good!
After you consider the type of wood, size, and nylon or steel strings, get a guitar that looks good in your opinion.
If you like rock or metal, take the one with those skulls and flames on the top. After all, you gotta have some style when playing!
As a beginner, your first acoustic guitar shouldn’t be too expensive.
It’s way better to start with something less pricey, and when you get a feel of it and know that you’re going to continue playing, look for a better quality one.
TOP 10 Acoustic Guitar Brands
Now that you know what kind of an acoustic guitar you need, it’s time to choose a brand.
As there are practically hundreds, if not thousands of brands, this may seem like a daunting task.
That’s why we have compiled a list of our top 10 acoustic guitar brands that we find best for you to consider.
Of course, opinions differ from one musician to the other, but we are confident that this list of good guitar brands will help you in your journey of choosing the best acoustic guitar for the money.
Yamaha is known for making a lot of different musical instruments. From keyboards, drums, to guitars, they are well known for a reason.
With a wide range of products oriented on both the beginners and professionals, they are sure to deliver.
As a brand established in 1897, this Japanese company keeps making some of the best acoustic guitars you can find.
A brand that really doesn’t need an introduction. If you’ve ever been to a concert or seen a music video, chances are you’ve seen at least one piece of Fender equipment used.
Established 71 years ago, Fender instruments have since become the synonym for quality.
A broad spectrum of instruments as well as equipment made by this company is famous for their slick design as well as superb quality.
Associated artists such as Eric Clapton, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and many other chose Fender guitars for a good reason.
Another company coming from Japan. Founded in 1957, Ibanez boasts some of the most famous guitar models, as well as amps and other musical instruments.
It is the first brand to mass produce seven and eight string guitars. But when it comes to acoustic guitars, they make no exceptions.
By balancing high quality and affordability, this company offers great value for a more than reasonable price.
Seagull is a company founded in Canada in 1982. The main idea behind this company was to take the essence of handcrafted guitars and deliver them to needy musicians, but at a reasonable price.
They have been doing exactly that for the past 35 years. All of their instruments, which include acoustic guitars, mandolins, as well as an interesting instrument line they call the M4 (check it out if you don’t know what we’re talking about!) are precisely and carefully hand- made to ensure maximum quality.
As they don’t manufacture electric guitars or other pieces of equipment like the other companies we mentioned, chances are you haven’t heard about them.
Nonetheless, you should definitely look them up as they are more than professional.
As one of the leading acoustic guitar brands in the USA, Alvarez has lots to offer.
Nearly 50 years of experience has produced many successful guitar models, synonymous with innovation and quality.
Although probably not that famous and heard of as some of the previous brands we mentioned, these guitars are well known for their unique tone and feel, as well as for the artists using them.
Okay, this one’s a bit different. Rogue guitars are made in Korea, by a company called Sungbo.
Their guitars can also be found by some other names they use, such as Brownsville, Galveston, and many others.
Rogue certainly isn’t a brand name that you will see famous musicians using.
However, due to the fact that they make really decent acoustic guitars and the fact that you are a beginner looking for one, we decided to include them on our list.
Luna describes their instruments as comfortable, suitable for musicians of all ages, and beautifully crafted to engage minds, spirits, and talents.
Elegantly designed, while delivering great performance, Luna guitars are the go-to choice for many guitarists.
Although not that famous as Fender or Gibson, they definitely deserve to be on our list of top 10 acoustic guitar brands.
Epiphone has made some of the industries standards when it comes to guitars.
You don’t have to think twice about getting yourself an Epiphone guitar, as Paul McCartney himself used one of their models.
With a wide variety of excellent acoustic guitars, settling for Epiphone is always a good choice.
For 30 years Dean has been making high-quality guitars, both acoustic and electric.
Famous for their use of exotic woods for more than reasonably priced guitars, makes them a perfect brand to include in our list of top acoustic guitar brands.
Lastly, we have Bristol. Again, another brand that may not be that famous, but they certainly make good acoustic guitars for beginners.
As your question is “What is a good starter acoustic guitar?”, we couldn’t make this list without mentioning Bristol.
So, there you have it.
We’ve managed to cover a total of 10, in our opinion, best acoustic guitar brands, mentioning 2 models coming from each one. A total of 20 different guitars, each having their pros and cons.
We hope that we managed to introduce you to the beautiful world of acoustic guitars, and made the process of choosing one four yourself a little bit easier.
Every musician is different. Whether it’s a different genre of music you play or just a different technique of playing, all of us seek different things when it comes to our instruments.
The best way to find out what kind of acoustic guitar suits you best is to talk to as many musicians you can, and to try out different guitars.
I’d have to rate Fender as the overall best acoustic guitar brand. The two models we’ve covered are at different ends of the spectrum when it comes to price.
Although they make more than decent beginner’s instruments, Fender really shines when it comes to high-end guitars.
As an amateur and beginner, you won’t be capable of truly appreciating the fine details and the finesse built into their guitars, so it may be smarter to go for other brands.
However, if your budget isn’t restricted, go for a Fender and you can turn back to it at any time and appreciate it fully.
For a beginner, in my honest opinion, the best choice would be Yamaha.
It’s probably due to the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to play a couple of different models of their guitars. And all of them had a great feel, as well as a rich and balanced sound.
Trust me, you won’t be disappointed, and very well may find yourself, like me, enjoying the smooth sound while reminiscing about the good old days you played the very first song on your own.
That just about covers all the things you should know about getting an acoustic guitar for yourself, or anyone other that has never played before.
Give it a good thinking, refer to our article, get yourself a guitar and rock on!