Three Things You Should Know Before Buying Your First Acoustic Guitar

Posted on: 31 March 2016

The first time you begin shopping for your first acoustic guitar, you will likely be overwhelmed by the number of choices. Not only are there variations in these guitars, but there are huge price ranges. The following are three important things to understand before you purchase your first guitar.

Decide on the type of music you want to play

The type of music you wish to play will be a big factor in the guitar you buy. There are two basic types of acoustic guitars: the classical guitar and the acoustic guitar. Although technically both types of guitars are acoustic, classic guitars are designed differently, so they are given a different name. Anything not a classical guitar can be considered an acoustic guitar. If you plan on learning classical, flamenco or folk music, the you will need a classical guitar. Country, rock and pop music are well suited for the acoustic guitar.

How to recognize the difference between the two types of guitars

One notable difference is a lack of a pick guard on a classical guitar. This large piece of plastic is attached below the bottom string of a guitar to protect the wood from being scratched by a pick. Not all acoustic guitars have this, but most of them do. Classical guitars do not have this guard because players use their fingers to pluck the strings. Also, the strings on a classical guitar will be made from nylon; an acoustic guitar has steel strings. Another noticeable difference is the head where the tuning pegs are. On a classical guitar there are two long spaces in the head, but with an acoustic guitar, the head is one solid piece.

The two fundamental aspects of a guitar's quality

These are the materials used and the quality of construction. The most important material is the wood. The better guitars are made from a solid, natural wood or two or three woods used in different places on the guitar. Lower price guitars are made from laminate wood. There are guitars in the middle quality ranges that are a combination of laminate and natural wood. The difference between the woods can be easily heard by experienced guitar players. Quality construction can often be felt as well as heard. One example is the distance between the strings and the neck of the guitar. Small distances for easy finger placement is a hallmark of a quality guitar.

Once you decide the type of music you want to play and can recognize the type of guitar you will need, you should focus on the lower end of the price scale. It will take time before you can appreciate the higher quality instruments. Try to select a guitar that feels comfortable holding it. You will be practicing a lot.