Here you’re in my Best Acoustic Guitar Buyer’s Guide and Review. I’m Paul and I created this page to help you find the best acoustic guitar before you set out to get all the girls. No, obviously you’re not learning the acoustic guitar just to get any girl but a great acoustic guitar and a mediocre one make all the difference when you’re playing in front of somebody. So read up on my acoustic guitar reviews and guides and get the best acoustic guitar for you.
- 1 Best Acoustic Guitar – Acoustic Guitar Reviews
- 2 How To Choose The Best Acoustic Guitar
- 3 Hohner HAG250P Classical Guitar – good beginners guitar for kids
- 4 Hohner HW03 – Best Sounding Acoustic Guitar
- 5 Martin Steel String Backpacker Guitar – Best Acoustic Guitar for Travel
- 6 Ovation AB24-4 Acoustic-Electric Guitar – The best of them all
- 7 Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic Guitar – Best Sounding Acoustic Guitar
- 8 Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar
- 9 Taylor Guitars Baby Taylor – Best Acoustic Guitar for Kids
- 10 Yamaha FG700S Solid Top Acoustic Guitar
- 11 Yamaha FG730S – Best Acoustic Guitar for home use
- 12 Acoustic Guitar Tips and Techniques
- 13 Guitar Sizes Explained
Best Acoustic Guitar – Acoustic Guitar Reviews
- Best Acoustic Guitar – The best of them all.
- Best Buy Acoustic Guitar – Good value for money.
- Best Sounding Acoustic Guitar – Often praised for its great sound quality.
- Best Acoustic Guitar for Kids – Sized down the acoustic guitar for the young people.
Keep reading my blog for more acoustic guitar reviews and guide articles.
A steel six string can make or break a new guitarist, especially when he picked the wrong one. You might wonder what makes a wrong guitar and a right guitar. Well obviously it would be “you”, a guitar has to suit the player, if the player went along the road to get something which he likes but would never fit him in a million years then that’s just a big a mistake as learning it the wrong way.
Before you ever buy an acoustic guitar you have to know the basics of what makes a guitar, you need to know the feel, try it out, or do some research, a little bit of those two will get you further than a thousand dollar price tag. Here are some of the things to consider when shopping for the best acoustic guitar:
The neck action of a guitar, especially steel stringed ones, is the most important and primary factor, I can’t tell you how tippy top this is on the “what to do before buying a guitar” list. The neck action is the distance between the strings from the fret board, the closer the strings are to the fret board the lower the action is, it’s best to pick a guitar which has the lowest possible action, but make sure the strings don’t touch the fret bars when its open, or this could make some seriously unwanted buzzing.
But the first time I bought a guitar (when I was a little twerp) the neck action was way too high, and I didn’t know since I didn’t have a mentor to teach me (it took me 1 year after that to finally realize). I played the guitar figuring that my fingers were too weak which is why I couldn’t hold down the strings easily, and that high action guitar has made my fingers bleed, but the benefits come in the form of a stronger grip, but it will decrease your morale a lot if you thought you were too weak to play the guitar.
Sound box and wood works
The sound box is the entire body of the acoustic guitar; it is what makes the guitars sound. This is affected by the wood they use, it ain’t because of some magical mumbo jumbo that a guitar will sound better than another, so pick a guitar based on the wood, some of the loudest and best sounding are made from a spruce top and mahogany side and back combo, you can replace the mahogany for Nato, that’s because they ain’t much different.
Makers like Takamine, Taylors, and Martin, will provide you with a definitely solid build, but these guitars will cost you a pretty penny, and that won’t be pretty if it was your penny that took you 3 months to work for (warning these guitars to cost a lot). So if you are a beginner and you are worried about getting a poor quality guitar that would break or have fits down the road and can’t spend too much on an expensive one, you can always take a look at Yamaha. Yamaha builds are by far the best acoustic guitars for any beginner; they are a music school after all.
|Solid Spruce Top|
|Hohner HAG250P||Spruce Top|
|Martin Steel String Backpacker||Solid Spruce Top|
|Ovation Applause AA24||Spruce Top with Natural Finish|
|Jasmine By Takamine S34C||Laminate Spruce top|
|Takamine Jasmine s35||Features a Spruce Top|
|Baby Taylor||Solid Sitka Spruce|
|Yamaha FG700S||Solid sitka spruce top|
|Yamaha FG730S||Solid Sitka Spruce Top|
This is ridiculously small, why would anyone even do this? Well, Hohner was probably thinking about the little ones who want to play the guitar, I had a hard time keeping my fingers on a single string, but do not “fret” (pun is entirely intended) as this Hohner HAG250P 1/2 Sized Classical Guitar was not made for grown-ups like me.
The design is basic, being a classical guitar it uses nylon instead of strings, and the best part of having nylon is that you can use woods which have less resistance but more sound qualities, but they used Agathis, which is referred to as commercial grade mahogany, it has the same qualities as Mahogany but it would be entirely silly to put this on a guitar that uses steel strings (the wood can’t handle the tension and the bridge will most certainly break off) well that was just a heads up to not ever fit this guitar with steel strings.
The sound is pretty good for a little thing like this. Hohner HAG250P 1/2 Sized Classical Guitar plays all the chords well, for a child it would be just perfect, but for an adult it would be a nightmare, but judging by the width of the neck, I’d say definitely scaled well, classical guitars have a usually wide neck, this allows for plucking and a lot of fingering, learning songs like Pachabels Cannon would be a breeze.
The tuning Keys and gears are made of metal so there is nothing to worry about, however the bits which you grip on are made of plastic, and they are in that easy to break butterfly shape as well, so you better be careful not to break them.
The fret board markers are stickers, now that is a big no no, in making a guitar, its either you paint them at the sides or you inlay colored plastic into the fret boars, stickers will not last and will fall off once they lose their stickiness, it makes the guitar look cheap.
Some users on Amazon complained that the guitar does not hold its tune for more than 5 minutes, this is due to the strings being nylon, fresh nylon strings will always lose tune, after a few weeks of playing and tuning it will retain and outstretch itself, and hold its tune better.
A small guitar, it’s pretty hard to tell if Hohner HW03 fits well or not, it’s a little too small for someone like me, I play it and it does handle itself pretty well, but let’s take an even deeper look at what you can expect out of this guitar.
I was reluctant to buy it online, unplayed and untested, but I did anyway and only because I couldn’t find it in the store.
But what a relief the guitar came in one piece, an entirely playable piece with no dents, scratches or even dust whatsoever, looking at it the first thing that came to mind was “baby” yeah that’s right this guitar is not the type I am used to, but perfect for them little runts who wanna rip it up before they can even ride a bicycle properly.
The build is very professional, having a spruce top which is encased by mahogany back and sides, the sound came out unexpectedly strong, the midrange was a little damp, well that’s what you get with spruce and mahogany, this is a great guitar for taping and hammer-on’s , it registers the three high strings very well without compromising its lows, you can get good range with this Hohner HW03, the sound is appropriate to its small look.
The neck is also made of mahogany, and the fret board is definitely rosewood, easy on the fingers, not to mention that the strings that came along were light gauge, well I would surely ask anyone who is keen on playing to go directly for the heaviest gauge, this is great for building up callous, and strength, but I am assured that without discipline they will be discouraged.
What in the world? In all that is good and holy, I have never seen a guitar shaped so peculiarly in my entire life, well I have encountered harp guitars, but not skinny completely chopped away guitars like this Martin Steel String Backpacker, I just had to find out how it sounds, I couldn’t get it at my local music store so I had them order it and ship it to me, boy was I excited.
Thank goodness the person who shipped it used the shape to his advantage (and mine) as he placed it sandwich in a coffin of foam and bubble wrap, after a quick inspection no scratches or dents were found. It looks unique, well there is no other way of describing it, it’s very light, and natural in color, there were a few variations in color, but I figured if you are going to bring it backpacking in a forested environment, the more natural the better. The top is made of mahogany so are the sides, back and neck, Martin was obviously trying to maximize the volume since this guitar lacks so much due to its small internal area.
Playing this Martin Steel String Backpacker guitar, it gave out a very sharp tone, something like a ukulele, or a mandolin, the volume is so and so, it would produce just as much as a ½ guitar would, but rest assured as the frets and neck are scaled to a full sized one. It is very easy to play and suitable for beginners who can’t tell what loud is.
The design has a little problem, the fret board is a little lower at the higher frets near the base of the neck (12th fret onwards), at first I figured it to be just a regular building defect which is unique to my guitar, but I was wrong, almost all other Martin steel string backpackers have that high action at the base of the neck, well nothing I can’t fix.
The downside, of course, are in terms of volume, this guitar is not meant to be played in a noisy area, perfect for the woods, and another downside is that you have to have a strap to play it, if you don’t then the guitar is going to fly everywhere, it’s difficult to keep the neck elevated when the body is this light.
A synthetic deep bowl guitar Applause by Ovation AB24-4 nothing out of the ordinary considering Ovation has been making deep bowl guitars since their starting years; The deep bowl design came from an Idea after Kaman the mind behind Ovation made a helicopter. From the front, it looks exactly like an ordinary guitar, but turn it around and you can see the plastic back.
You may think that having a plastic back might reduce the resonance and produce poor sound quality, well that’s a misconception right there, the deep bowl actually acts as a damper and reflector, as the strings are played it resonates sound inside the cavity which unlike regular acoustic guitars will not be absorbed by the player, instead the bowl will magnify it out towards the front of the guitar, so everything is heard by your audience in a more clear and crisp tone.
The reason for it being plastic is due to wood being entirely difficult to curve into a semi parabolic shape; this shape is what is needed to make the guitar what it is.
The Ovation Applause AA24 is exactly similar to all other guitars produced by ovation, the only difference is that it does not have a plug in, no electronics in this one, a little bit disappointed, but this is a fully acoustic version. Like all other Ovation guitars this guitar fits well on any player, some may find it uncomfortable, but the round back allows for an almost electric guitar holding position, your strumming arm can go up further ahead of the sound hole for a little buzz effect.
The sound of this guitar as other Ovation guitar is very clear, almost like an after recording version of an all wood acoustic guitar, it doesn’t have much sustain but it makes up in volume by a mile.
The X brace pattern under the Spruce top is a good support, this is what gives the guitar its heavy weight, you can tap and whack this guitar as hard as you want, and it will absorb all the force and not even have a tiny dent.
The fret board has little plastic dot inlays as markers, no worry about scratching them off or peeling them off.
What a looker, the Jasmine By Takamine S34C is a junior to the long line of Takamine guitars, the quality to price ratio of all guitars produced by this Japanese Luthier (or band of Luthiers) is fairly good, you can always be certain to get what you paid for, but that may not be the case if your main means of shipping this is through air mail or any other way aside picking it up yourself at the store.
The Takamine S34C has a single cutaway, I am not sure if there is one without cutaways, it’s easy to reach past the 12th fret with a cutaway (obviously),the entire design is nothing special, basic body and neck design, solid looking and feeling bridge, and a good neck and head set up, everything that you need to make a good guitar.
The face is made of Spruce, hard on the outside and soft on the inside, just by looking at the wood you know that the resonance is going to be above average, not to mention how it would have a great open midrange, well for those who don’t know all these technicalities then I will just say in theory “it’s going to sound great”.
The neck, sides, and back are made of dark red Nato wood, common with Japanese producers like Yamaha and Ibanez, the dark red color (if not treated) is the sign of well-graded wood, so this guitar should have good vibration retention.
Playing this guitar confirms that the Nato and Spruce combo are always dead accurate, the sound produced came out with that similar to a Yamaha, finger plucking seems to work well, strumming does tome out bright, but due to the cutaway, it’s not as deep as regular guitars that do not have cutaways.
The fret board is made of rosewood, regular oily wood which is very finger friendly, so sliding, tapping and regular playing won’t leave you with sore tips.
A few Amazon Reviewers complained about the mat appearance, well do not be discouraged by them if you are considering to buy the Takamine Jasmine S34C, it’s a good guitar for those who want something not cheap sounding without burning their pockets.
Takamine has always been producing affordable steel strings, their quality is nothing short of a well-made guitar, so presumably the Takamine Jasmine s35 should also be as well made as the rest, this guitar sports a no cutaway design, as you all should know, “No cutaway” means that the sound box can exert its volume throughout the guitars front end and neck, bringing a more resonant and deeper voice.
The looks are great, having a natural wood finish with a minimum gloss finish, if you had just replaced the Jasmine logo with that of a Taylors, no one could tell the difference before playing it.
The wood is basically the regular average type of wood typical of Japanese guitar makers, a Spruce, Nato combo that gives the guitar wonderful resonance and amazing sustain, you won’t need mics or plug ins for this guitar if you are performing, well that actually depends on the size of the crowd.
The feel and size of this Takamine Jasmine s35 acoustic guitar is just right, not too small or too big, but the voice box is a little too distant from the hole, nothing a little arm positioning couldn’t fix, and I am very grateful by the way for that large voice box, it’s the main reason why the volume is what it is.
It came with Light Gauge D’adario a string, at least that’s what I assume, but nevertheless they are definitely Light Gauge strings, playing it with ease you get all the control you want, the fret board made of rosewood allows for unhindered bending and augmenting, really smooth (like Santana smooth).
The bridge is also made of rosewood, and it’s very sturdy, you get constant tones every time, and you can be sure there will be no body warping as the entire body is built tough.
A lot of users are complaining on Amazon that the Takamine Jasmine S35 is a piece of junk, well I can assure you that it all is due to shipping and handling, and the problems with rattle and buzzing noises is due to them not trying it out, as there are 1 in every 100 of guitar produced that will have defects, and the buzzing can be fixed by just raising the front neck string rest.
Guitars to be the of high quality and exceptional standards require the best craftsmanship and the best materials, Taylors has always been one to provide just that, so far for all the Taylors I have played all of them never fail to impress, so I decided to get a Baby Taylor for the little ones.
The size is perfect for little runts who want to pick it up, but I wouldn’t recommend this for those who are just beginning to learn to play the guitar, not that it’s difficult to play, actually it’s the exact opposite, it’s too easy to play, if a guitarist plays a really easy to handle guitar they will never be able to properly play difficult or lower quality guitars, so this Baby Taylor is great for those who already know the basics, and can already play chords with no problem.
Design wise, it’s beautiful, nothing in between you and the wood except for a little varnish, a smooth feel, with a natural color typical of genuine Mahogany, this is what produces such a loud and round voice, I was surprised even for its size, it not only sounded better and clearer than my regular full sized guitars, but even manages to sound louder than them as well. The sides and back are made of Sapele, it shares the same characteristic of Mahogany in regards to tone wood, both woods combine the resonance is amazing, which will then lead to great volume and range.
The ebony fret board is nothing less than beautiful, smooth and not too slippery, playing this guitar was a breeze, I found myself playing it a little too much, usually for little guitars the sound would tend to leave you wanting a full sized one, but not this Baby, tap it, pluck it, shred it, you can be sure that it’s going to be asking for more.
I have always loved the Yamaha FG series, and the Yamaha FG700S is no exception, the FG series sports amazing sound qualities and comfortable playability, I owned several FG’s in my life time and this FG was from the year 2007, that’s when Chris Daughtry and a lot of other young rock stars made their first solid impression.
Enough about facts, let’s take a look at the guitar, a regular six steel string acoustic dreadnought, with a natural color, you can have the painted versions but they don’t look as pretty and aren’t true to the Yamaha FG spirit.
The face being made of solid stika spruce, a type of tone wood which has great resonance and sound qualities, it’s more of a treble sounding guitar due to this, but it has a very low frequency harmonics great for picking out the little tones and sounds that are important to make the music you play what it is. The top is not laminated which gives it a better quality. The sides and back typical of Yamaha is made of laminated Nato, or better known as eastern mahogany, this wood gives the guitar its deep and wide range, it complements the high notes from the spruce by resonating the bass and mid notes more.
Playing this Yamaha FG700S is the same as all other FGs, the fret board made from rosewood is very smooth and not taxing on the fingers during bending, the light gauge steel strings are a breeze to play.
There is not much which can make this any different from other FGs other than its trimmings and labels, the body is bound by a black and white trimming, and its pick guard is a tortoise, not the regular black one.
If you find this at a store and you are considering to buy this as a gift or as a starter guitar then you should go with the Complete guitar bundle pack, it comes with all sorts of necessities like a tuner and a solid case.
A brand that you can trust, this Japanese made Acoustic guitar is nothing out of the ordinary, neither is it less spectacular, it is the most basic of Yamaha guitars, almost to an iconic sense, it can be said that the Yamaha FG730S is that what makes acoustic steel strings what they are, heck even Andy Mckee has an FG.
Being very popular among players who have gotten serious about playing, the FG is a popular choice, every guitarist who has ever bought a Yamaha would definitely go for this at least once (even if it was just a borrowed guitar). I personally owned an FG 345 II, and it has been with me since the first time It was handed down to me (this guitar was from the 70’s) and now I have decided to get a new FG just for my young ones who are probably going to run me out of my music soon, so I picked the FG730S.
I didn’t buy it from Amazon, which is why you can’t find my review there, but I am not interested in having an instrument so beautiful arrive in a box or by mail, a good reminder to anyone who wants to buy a guitar, try it out first!, that’s why I go to a store.
Trying it out at the store I found that the face is still made of Sitka spruce, very reliable wood, stiff and produces that much needed resonance, strumming it gave out a strong tone, something much needed for any acoustic guitar. I add up the entire sound quality of the guitar to the combination of its face, sides and back, the Japanese really have been in the industry long enough to know that rosewood really complements the resonance of Spruce with its deep bodied amplification, thanks to that, the guitar can also be played in classical fingerings with very noticeable bass notes.
The Nato wood used in the neck has probably turned into a trademark of Asian made guitars, the wood is inexpensive, and it provides a good sustain, not as well ebony but it does the job.
The finger board is also made of Rosewood, easy on the fingers, its smooth and well finished, a little arpeggio scaling here and there got the true colors of this guitar out.
I can’t say anything bad about the Yamaha FG730S, its exactly what the price can offer, use this for on stage unplugged performances, you will drive everyone wild, but if you are looking for something even better then consider one which costs more, like a Taylors.
Learning to play the acoustic guitar can be a lot of fun. However, it may also turn out to be pressuring and painful if it is done with an under-informed attitude. If you’re really serious in picking up an acoustic guitar, there are a few tips and techniques that would appear essential, especially if you’re looking forward to an experience that is more fun and less stressful.
While practicing, relax and ensure no part of your body is under unnecessary stress. Unnecessary tension in any part of your body while playing may result in discomfort. Too much of tension at your elbows, wrists and fingers are also not welcomed. If you do feel a sense of discomfort while playing, you may be practicing with the wrong posture. This indicates that you should adjust the way you position yourself with the guitar.
You may want to avoid playing the guitar standing up too. This is especially unsuitable if you’re not comfortable with the weight and positioning of your guitar.
Start small in terms of guitar sizes. Avoid starting up with a Dreadnought or an Auditorium, as much as you would avoid learning to swim in deep waters. Instead, try a smaller, scaled down version for starters. This would be more comfortable to handle, giving you more confidence in the game. Check out my guide on picking the right guitar size for you.
Holding the Pick
When using a pick for plucking, it may be especially helpful to hold the pick the right way, with its sharper end plucking the strings of your guitar. It is also advisable to watch instruction or study diagrams that show the right methods for plucking and strumming with a pick. Diagrams and videos are very helpful, especially if you’re totally new. It is never a good idea to try an error while practicing, as this may lead to the process of learning wrong techniques. When picked up, these bad playing habits are difficult to drop, resulting in under-professional techniques becoming the norm.
If you prefer heavy plucking as compared to strumming, you may also want to consider tuning your guitar a little more frequently. Strings that are plucked more frequently tend to get out of tune faster. You may need to check on the tune a little more often if that is the case. Ignoring slight variations in tune that slowly accumulate may result in a lack of sensitivity towards bad tunes, especially if you’re a beginner. Don’t get yourself used to the wrong tunes, even if it is a matter of slight variations.
Finally, if you’re truly serious in picking up the acoustic guitar, you may need to seriously consider getting guitar lessons. An instructor is a good place to start, especially if you tend to get confused with diagrams and written instructions. Besides, a real instructor may be able to hand down a few personal tips that are of extreme value. After all, experience does result in greater quality.
Guitar Sizes Explained
If your search for an acoustic guitar comes to a confusing halt due to the variety of guitar sizes to consider, you’re not alone. The fact is, even professional guitarists find this an issue. The size and shape of a guitar is essential in the determining the quality of its final sound. For the beginners who are unsure of what size to get, here are some factors you’ll want to consider.
Sound and Volume
To begin with, I must tell you that a larger guitar means a better volume. So you can expect bigger and harder sounds with bigger sizes. The optimum effect of the size to volume is however subject to the materials and design of the guitar. Furthermore, if your guitar has a large, thick waist, you can expect the sounds to have a more open mid range. Guitars with smaller waist tends to produce sounds that are more focused, with solid overtones. The overall size of your guitar, together with the size and shape of its waist are strong determining factors that influence the type and quality of sound.
Apart from sound and volume quality, picking a guitar size also depends very much on practicality and ease of use. If you’re planning to have your guitar with you when traveling, it is very much suggested that you get something smaller and more compact. Though it may sound like a compromise on sound and volume, there are smaller guitars that behave very similar to their scaled up counterparts. A compromise in size is not necessarily a compromise of quality.
If you’re planning to get a guitar that sizes well for professional showcasing, you may prefer to lay your hands on something much bigger, as you will need a good volume and performance. The Concert or Grand Concert may be some of the ideal sizes to pick from. These also provide astounding tonal responses across the bass, treble and mid ranges. An even bigger option would be the Dreadnought or perhaps the Jumbo. These are even bigger and provide even better quality and power when it comes to sound and volume. However, bigger guitars may pose difficulties in handling them.
Ease of Play
If you’re looking for ease of play without compromise in high performance volume and tonal quality, you may prefer to pick an Auditorium or a Grand Auditorium. These are slimmer than the Dreadnought, and even slightly smaller, so they may be easier to handle as compared to the latter. There are quite a number of expert guitarists who prefer the Auditorium or Grand Auditorium over the Dreadnought or Jumbo.
If you’re especially concerned of style, you may be interested in having a guitar with a cutaway design. such guitars have a “decorative” removal of a portion of the body, allowing easy access to upper frets. Though it may affect the volume and tone, such options are becoming more and more popular due to trends of style. In fact, these varieties are becoming more and more spotted on stage performances.