Your First Acoustic Guitar

What to Look for In An Acoustic Guitar

Your first acoustic guitar...

Probably the most important consideration, when choosing what type of guitar to learn on, is what type of music will be played on the instrument. If you're a fan of country music, and want to learn to play country guitar, starting on the acoustic guitar would be the most logical choice. The importance of the above philosophy can't be stressed enough. If you get stuck with the wrong type of guitar, you're going to have much less motivation to pick it up and play it regularly.

General Tips:

Make sure it stays in tune. Make sure it sounds good to you. Make sure it feels good to you. Check it for damage such as a bent neck.

Take your time and do your homework...

All in all, when looking to buy an instrument which will last you most of your life, you should take the time to make sure you are buying something good and something that you will enjoy in the long run. Don't get taken in by salespeople who don't know what they are talking about. If you're not comfortable with the instrument straight-away, don't buy it. Always remember this when you walk into a store: they want to sell, you don't have to buy.

Dean Tradition Exotic Dreadnought Cutaway Lacewood Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural Lacewood

Dean Tradition Exotic Dreadnought Cutaway Lacewood Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural Lacewood

The Dean Tradition Exotic Dreadnought Cutaway Lacewood Acoustic-Electric Guitar is a flattop dreadnought. Dean crafts it with a solid Sitka spruce top, and exotic, eye-popping lacewood back and sides! Plug in and jam with a group using the piezo bridge pickup and dial it in just right tone with the buffer preamp and 3-band equalizer. The neck shape is extremely comfortable and the rich even tones will make you want play for hours.

First Acoustic Guitar

Buying a Guitar is a COMPLICATED BUSINESS...

and it is easy for an unsuspecting first time buyer, or inexperienced guitarist to leave the shop with an instrument that nearer their worst nightmare than the guitar of their dreams.

If you have a teacher or a friend that has plenty of playing experience under his belt, ask them to go with you when you buy your guitar.

Before you do that, look through the guitar and instrument magazines. Read the reviews and check the prices in the advertisements. Get a feel for what you can or can't afford.

Advice... is price, preparation and purchase.

Price: Spend what you can afford - and no more

Looking through the magazines will give an accurate guide to prices. You must decide on a top limit before you step inside a guitar shop and stick to it. The temptation to overspend is huge.

Don't forget to include the price of a solid case into the total. From personal experience I know that a rock solid case is a real investment. I play a FENDER STRAT and on one particularly dangerous and icy day I slipped, shot upwards and landed with all my weight on my guitar case. Of the two of us the guitar was the irreplaceable one, and you'll be pleased to know that it was undamaged and still plays beautifully. I had the bruises for months.

Preparation: The choice can be overwhelming

Before leaving home do your homework because once in the shop you are likely to be dazzled by the sparkling array of colour and shape that fills the walls. This is one of the benefits of having an inflexible price range. Most of the guitars will be too expensive or too cheap. Narrowing the choice of guitars down to a manageable number increases the chance of getting the best buy. Another good thing to do before visiting a music shop is to phone a few friends and try their guitars - just for size. Ask them about the strengths and weaknesses of the guitar they play. If you are a complete beginner, hold the guitar to get a 'hands on' feel for the instrument. This gives you some idea of what to expect when you go to buy.

Purchase: In the shop

Tell the salesperson the top limit and work to it. Don't be tempted to save money by looking at cheaper guitars - you get more or less get what you pay for. If there is a second-hand model for sale, check it out. Make sure that it looks well used and not in pristine condition: if it's been played long and hard by another player you should get good value for your money. All second-hand guitars must be given a thorough check up before buying, ask the owner of the shop to go through the same set-up procedure as the would for a new guitar i.e. the neck must be straight and not warped in any way and that the action is low and playable.

A lot of people ask for my advice on buying a guitar and are quite suprised when I suggest an acoustic rather than electric. What about an acoustic? This is a better choice as it is very accessible for practise. So let's compromise and go for a hybrid an electric-acoustic guitar. The advantages are enormous. There is no need to buy an amp when you first get the guitar as the sound will easily fill out your practice area, the money saved will increase what you can spend on the guitar. Later, when the need for volume becomes a necessity, you can buy a good quality amplifier.

First Acoustic Guitar

Takamine EG540C NEX Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar Transparent Blue

Takamine EG540C NEX Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar Transparent Blue

Takamine guitars always have exceptional visual style and rich sound, and this one is no exception. The NEX Cutaway shape allows access to upper frets. Rosette design is finely worked abalone. Figured maple top, back, and sides. Rosewood fingerboard and chrome tuners. TK4NT electronics let you be heard in plugged-in situations.

An electric-acoustic is portable, practical and playable and is what I always recommend.

Fender DG-8S Acoustic Guitar Value Pack

Fender DG-8S Acoustic Guitar Value Pack

The Fender DG-8S Acoustic Guitar Value Pack has everything you need to learn to play guitar. It includes a natural-finish Fender dreadnought guitar with a solid spruce top, Fender's best chromatic tuner, a gig bag, shoulder strap, picks, guitar strings, string winder, and a Fender instructional DVD in 5 languages (English, Spanish, French, German, and Japanese).


Whatever guitar you go for, the way the action is set up is all important. The action is the distance between the fingerboard and the strings along its whole length. If it's too high it will be difficult to play - especially later on when you're trying to play barre chords on the higher frets. If it's too low you'll hear irritating buzzing noises when you play loud. If you find a guitar that you like but the action is suspect it can probably be fixed on the premises. Ask the shop to put it right before you buy.

If you're a beginner you will have weak fingertips and you won't be able to judge how a string responds when pressed. The shop assistant can make any guitar sound good by bypassing its weak areas This is why having someone with you who knows what they are doing is so very important. Find the Right Shop If your town has more than one shop, go into them all. Find the most helpful; find the one that is interested in your progress. Ask the assistant for help and advice. If they ignore you or leave you to you own devices walk out and find a better shop. If they say, "We sell a lot of these to beginners," ask to see something better as you'll only be a beginner for a short time. If you're buying a guitar as a surprise for someone, follow the same rules. Your intentions may be good but you could be setting their future back by decades if the guitar you buy is an over priced, fluorescent green, exciting piece of junk.

Yamaha CG111S Spruce Top Classical Guitar Natural

Yamaha CG111S Spruce Top Classical Guitar Natural

The craftsmen at Yamaha specially redesigned the guitars in their CG series with slightly thinner sides and back as well as a thinner finish to deliver better sound response. These instruments also have thinner necks to increase playability, and are slightly lighter in weight, offering greater volume as well as extended comfort. The overall results are instruments that deliver a mature, balanced tone throughout their entire range with exceptional quality, durability and cost performance.

Classical Acoustic Music The best guitar to go for if you are looking at playing Classic Acoustic music is either Spanish Classic Acoustic Guitar or Steel String Acoustic.

Espana Acoustic-Electric Classical Guitar

Espana Acoustic-Electric Classical Guitar

There's no reason a classical guitar can't be equipped with all the performance tools others guitars have. Hence, the Espana. It has traditional classical design but with cutaway added. It also features a built-in tuner and electronics for plugging in. Solid cedar top, rosewood back and sides, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard.

Spanish Classic Acoustic Guitars are extremely light and having nylon strings which are very soft on your fingers. They come in a range of different sizes even very small size for young kids. Spanish Classic Acoustic guitars are also a lot cheaper and easier to maintain than Steel String Acoustic Guitar.

Fender CD-160E 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar Black

Fender CD-160E 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar Black

The Fender CD160E 12-String Acoustic Guitar's luxurious cosmetic touches include snowflake inlays on a resplendent bound rosewood fretboard; multiple top binding, pearl headstock logo inlay; black pickguard, bridge pins, and end pin; and wood mosaic on the back joint. Fishman Classic 4T electronics feature onboard tuner and 3-band EQ with mid sweep. Spruce top with mahogany back and sides.

Steel String Acoustic Guitars are a little more expensive compare to Spanish guitars. Again, with acoustic guitars, there is no need to go for big brands when you are first starting out. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable playing it. Also, make sure your fingers fit around the guitar neck and it is not too big for you to play. It depends on you as to whether you want to pickups or not. But remember to test it first before you buy.

Epiphone DR-212 12-String Acoustic Guitar Natural Chrome Hardware

Epiphone DR-212 12-String Acoustic Guitar Natural Chrome Hardware

The select spruce top Epiphone DR-212 12-String Acoustic Guitar is a dreadnought with mahogany body that delivers the tones and warmth you want. The set mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard deliver great feel. Epiphone gives you chrome die-cast machine heads with your DR-212 guitar to provide great tuning stability.

Buying A Guitar From A Pawn Shop

One of the most important things to remember when considering the purchase of a guitar, no matter where it comes from, is the price. The pawnshop can be thought of as the world's oldest financial institution. It can be traced to ancient China, when merchants would hold collateral and heirlooms in exchange for rice. Here, we will give you a little insight to not purchasing a "pig," as pawn shops call merchandise that is virtually unsellable and based on luck of an inexperienced buyer.

Buying A Guitar From A Pawn Shop

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Updated: 3/3/07