It is important to know what you are looking for when you are choosing your own musical instrument. And picking the best acoustic guitar for you is no exception.
With the various choices in the market, it might be hard to select the right guitar for you. A lot of people will rely on the looks alone. But true musicians know an instrument is more than meets the eye. It is what hits your ears — how it sounds when you play it and the feel of the acoustic guitar. If your fingers slide easily or if you have small hands. These things matter.
Main Types of Acoustic Guitars
It might seem unimportant but you’ll have to know the shape of the guitar because it affects the tone it will produce. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common shapes of acoustic guitars. And how each shape affect the sound it produces.
We should start with the most common acoustic guitar shape, the dreadnought. It features very broad square shoulders with a larger internal cavity. Because of this, this type of acoustic guitar produces very tight sounds that enhances bass frequencies and gives strong midrange with cutting highs.
The extra volume and tonal range make this type a famous one. Also, the sound this acoustic guitar produces the same highs as the mandolin and the brash and loud banjo picker.
Dreadnoughts produce bold sound because of its shape. The common misconception is that dreadnoughts are limited to Bluegrass or Country genre. But there are a lot of guitarists who like this type of acoustic guitar as well because of its strong, cutting, and bold balanced sound it produces.
Parlor guitars have a smaller body which can be appealing to musicians with smaller body types. Also, parlor acoustic guitars produce sounds that can come off as very intimate. For example, a Folk solo artist playing alongside soft vocals. With this type of guitar, the acoustic guitar will not overpower the vocals.
The shoulders of parlor guitars are slightly more sloped that classic dreadnought acoustic guitar. Parlor guitars also have narrower body compared to larger sized guitars. Which makes it more comfortable and less physically intrusive to play with. Another good thing about this guitar is it is very portable. It is easy to carry around from gigs to gigs.
These type of acoustic guitars are favored by players who prefer more low-key, less brash musical styles like Folk and Indie.
Jumbo acoustic guitars have a more rounded shape in the shoulders and bottom. Which provides the largest sound cavity from all the types, therefore, gives more volume. These acoustic guitars are loud.
Even though jumbo guitars are loud, they produced a very balanced tonal spectrum. The larger cavity gives a more open type sound that can enhance the bass frequencies.
If you invest in a jumbo, you will get the most volume for your money, whether you are strumming hard or finger-plucking softly. We know there are a lot of pick-ups and pre-amps in the market that can help with the volume. But if you are a straight acoustic player who likes loud acoustic guitars, jumbo might be the one for you.
Auditorium shaped acoustic guitars are quite similar to dreadnoughts but with much more recent developmental history. These acoustic guitars have a much tighter and more refined waist. This means that the inner curves are defined more inward which also decreases the amount of inner cavity of the guitar. Some players who like their instruments sitting on their legs find it more comfortable to use. Because it will not slide down.
Compared to dreadnought’s strong bass and mid-range, the auditorium tends to smooth the EQ curve. This means it gives a more balanced range while maintaining the same booming volume from the dreadnoughts.
If you play with a lighter touch the auditorium acoustic guitars might be the one you need.
The grand auditorium is just a larger version of the smaller auditorium guitars. Which means it is similar to dreadnoughts. With acoustic guitars, the larger the body shape the more pure volume is.
It might be confusing to distinguish which is the grand auditorium and dreadnoughts. That’s why we added this video comparing Taylor (Grand Auditorium) vs 110 (Dreadnought) from Acoustic Letter.
And last but not least, the classical acoustic guitars. These guitars are known for their nylon string tone but can also be used with steel strings which gives a unique sound. These types of guitars are easily identified because of their open slotted tuners instead of standard tuner posts. The tuner knobs fall back perpendicularly from the back of the headstock instead of parallel with the sides of the headstock.
If you enjoy finger-plucking and loves the soft sounds of traditional European orchestral music, the classical acoustic guitar might be the one you are looking for.
Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners
There are a lot of acoustic guitars in the market and choosing the right one can be hard. So, we listed some of the best acoustic guitars for beginners. Enjoy!
Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitars
The Seagull S6 Original has a full-sized dreadnought body. It features a solid cedar top which gives bright but warm and well-balanced tones. The thin rosewood fretboard makes it easy and comfortable to play. It is known as the flagship of the Seagull line which combined tonewoods with a thin yet durable finish. Making S6 Original gives a crisp midrange with a tight bottom end – one of the main essential for any guitarist.
Even though this acoustic guitar doesn’t have any frilly design, it’s simplicity exudes class and traditional appeal that a lot of people would love.
If you are looking for an entry-level but affordable acoustic guitar, Seagull S6 Original might be the one you are looking for.
Ibanez AW54CEOPN Acoustic/Electric Guitar
Ibanez AW54CEOPN features a classic dreadnought body made from mahogany with a single-cutaway and laminated sides making it easy and comfortable to play with. Also, it has an open-pore finish adding more rustic aesthetic to its already dark and vintage vibe.
Because of AW54CEOPN solid mahogany body, you will get a lot of sustain, strong projection, and warm tones. Thanks to the X-bracing, the tone this acoustic/electric guitar’s tone is not too warm. The X-bracing balances the thick and warm sound with wide-ranging tones. You will have the rich and sonic sound when you play this guitar whether you are on stage or in your home music studios. Both advanced guitarists to budding ones will have a great time using Ibanez AW54CEOPN because of the muddy and rich tones like some entry-level guitars offers.
Martin LX1E Little Martin Acoustic/Electric Guitar
LX1E Little Martin is the smallest guitar from C. F. Martin & Co. Even though it is a small acoustic guitar, it has a very big on tone, quality, and versatility. It is constructed from solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany high-pressure laminate back and sides with a warm satin finish.
This acoustic/electric guitar is ideal for traveling, students practicing, or when you are jamming in your house with your friends. LX1E comes with Fishman Sonitone preamp system. Perfect for performing on stage. While the Fishman ISYS T and the preamp combo system gives this acoustic guitar built-in tone shaping, phase, and volume controls to allow a new level of sound customization.
LX1E is not small but is called fun-sized. Making it very portable. A lot of travel-sized and little guitars tend to produce bright and thinner sound. But in Martin LX1E gives the classic Martin sound but just on the slightly miniaturized version.
If you are always on the go or have small hands and stature Martin LX1E might be perfect for you.
Yamaha FG830 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Yamaha FG830 features its comfortable dreadnought body with solid spruce top and scalloped bracing. Giving this guitar a bigger low end and better projection perfect for live performance and recording. The new scalloped bracing makes Yamaha FG830 sound fatter and louder. Its ideal stiffness-to-weight ratio gives a lot of power perfect for full chords, punchy single-note playing, and riffing without getting muddy. Also, the solid spruce top gives an expressive dynamic range across various frequency range.
The back and sides are made from rosewood giving this guitar powerful and warm low-end tone. And FG830 satin-finished slim neck and rounded fret edges give this amazing guitar smooth and comfy playability.
Whether you are a beginner or a professional guitarist, Yamaha FG830 acoustic guitar can be your perfect companion. It is affordable without looking cheap!
Fender FA-100 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Fender FA-100 features a dreadnought body giving the players clean, uncomplicated feel perfect for beginners. The glossy C-shaped maple neck is very cost-effective and basic but very comfortable for all players.
The neck has a truss rod to make it easy for you to do simple neck adjustments. And the headstock has a built-in set of chrome sealed tuners for great sustain.
This guitar has a consistent tone and feel because of the rosewood bridge and a nut and saddle made from synthetic bone.
If you are looking for a crisp, clear, and pleasant sound, Fender FA-100 can be the one for you. For music lessons, practice, and jamming, this acoustic guitar is great but it is not really ideal for performing on stage or doing your gigs.
Choosing the Best Acoustic Guitars
When you are shopping for anything, it can be hard to choose the things you need and not just what you want. In the case of acoustic guitars, there are a lot in the market. But if you are a beginner and looking for entry-level acoustic guitars, we have 5 great ones for you to choose from.
Just make sure to check your budget first. It is never wrong to admit to yourself that you can’t afford something, it just means you have to save some more. Remember, when you own an acoustic/electric guitar, you will also need studio cables to attach it to your speakers or amps. So, you also have to consider the accessories that you might need.