Full-Size Acoustic Guitar Buying Guide

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Full-Size Acoustic Guitar Buying Guide

Acoustic guitars come in every price point for every kind of guitar player. The girl who wants to quietly accompany her own singing at home, the guy who wants to rock out with his mates, and an aspiring classical music student or professional performer can all find acoustic guitars or electro acoustic guitars to accompany their songs and soothe their souls.

 

Different Acoustic Guitar Types for Different Music Styles

Acoustic guitars have different builds for different musical styles. Variations in guitar shape and wood types further shape the instrument's sound and playability.

 

Guitar Type

Characteristics

Musical Styles

Classical Guitar

Wide neck

Nylon strings

Classical

Spanish

Flamenco

Steel String Acoustic

Narrower neck

Steel strings

Multipurpose

Produces louder sound than nylon

Electro Acoustic Guitar

Pickup for plugging into an amp

Steel strings

Used in various performances

 

The advantage of an electro acoustic is it plugs into an amp for performances. However, it is more expensive than a standard steel string acoustic guitar. A young beginner often does well with a guitar with nylon strings simply because the lighter strings require less finger strength.

 

Acoustic Guitar Shapes

Full-size acoustic guitars come in many sizes and shapes, all of which have proponents for sound, tone, and playability. Cutouts make it comfortable to reach the strings. Necks have either 12 frets or 14 frets above the attachment points. A 14-fret neck makes it easier to reach more frets, but some players prefer the 12-fret sound in the upper registers. Martin acoustic guitars have the dreadnought shape others later imitated. Gibson created even wider jumbo flat-top guitars, while round-backed Ovation acoustic guitars remain unique. Every shape and size creates its own sound.

 

Wood Choices for Acoustic Guitars

The wood used for the guitar top has the most influence on the instrument's sound. Spruce has a strong, direct tone, even when played forcefully with a pick. Cedar has a quick response to the lighter touch of fingerstyle players. Country blues players like the 'punchy' tone of mahogany tops. Maple is clear and does not add any tone colour of its own. Rosewood has rich, dark tones and overtones throughout the range.

 

Guitars from the UK and Beyond

Broadly speaking, the more expensive and more highly coveted guitars, such as Tanglewood acoustic guitars, come from the US and the UK. That does not mean Asian-made instruments, such as the Takamine acoustic guitar and the Crafter acoustic guitar, are lesser quality. The Asian-built Epiphone acoustic guitar is a product of Gibson, but some prefer the Gibson label because it originates in the US.

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