Acoustic guitar

Buying an acoustic guitar

Buying a guitar can be quite an investment, so you should make sure to get the kind of guitar you really want and make sure it's a good one. In this section, youll find several reasons why an acoustic guitar might be your best option, as well as what to look for when buying one.

Who should buy one

Opinions differ on whether or not learning the guitar is easier on acoustic or electric, but the prevailing consensus seems to be that it's a little more difficult to learn on an acoustic guitar. That said, it still might be the right move for you. The first guitar I bought was an electric guitar, but I never worked up the motivation to learn until I bought my acoustic. This kind of guitar suits those who are interested in playing folk, country or just generally softer music. It is the ideal guitar for people who want to just pick up the guitar and play anywhere.

Benefits

The benefits of an acoustic guitar are fairly obvious. First, all you need to play is the guitar itself. It doesn't require any cables or amplifiers or anything — you just pick up the guitar and play. Another plus is that acoustic guitars can be very cheap. The flat cost can be much lower than that of an electric guitar.

Drawbacks

Acoustic guitars have their disadvantages, as well. First, they're much larger than electric guitars. If you're a small person, it may be difficult for you to hold it and play. Also, it is widely reported that acoustic guitars are rougher on the fingers for a first-time player. So if you can't handle a little more soreness, stay away from the acoustic guitar. Trust me, though, it's nowhere near unbearable. To me, it's more of a signal for when I should put the guitar down for a little while. Acoustic guitars are a bit more difficult to maintain. Stringing can be somewhat difficult until you've done it a few times.

Things to look for

If, after considering your options, you've come to the conclusion that an acoustic guitar is indeed the instrument for you, there are some things you should be aware of when looking for a guitar. First, make sure it's a respectable brand. If you're not sure, ask employees at the store. I have an Ibanez, and it works great. Second, test out the guitar. Make sure you like its sound. You should also check it to make sure it has no defects. Test out all of the notes — every string at every fret. Sometimes guitars can be slightly warped, and they won't play exactly right. You want to know this before, not after, you've bought it. A cutaway might be something you'll want to consider as well, although it's probably not going to be necessary for what you'll be playing as a new guitarist.

Price range and recommendations

If you think you're serious about playing guitar, you may want to consider buying an acoustic-electric guitar. It plays and sounds just like an acoustic guitar, but it has a few extra features. First, it can plug into amplifiers or speakers (although it's a really bad idea to try to use distortion). Second, There are volume and sound controls on most, so when it's plugged in you can control the treble, middle and bass tones. Finally, most of them come with onboard tuners. To me, this is worth the extra cost by itself. All you do is turn it on and pick a note, and your display will tell you what note it is and whether it's sharp or flat. It's extremely convenient.

Now for the price range. A decent, affordable standard acoustic guitar will likely run you somewhere around $200. Add in a case, a stand and some strings, and it's likely to reach close to $300. An acoustic-electric, all else equal, generally tends to run about $100 more. My guitar is an Ibanez AEL10LE left-handed acoustic-electric guitar (pictured here). I bought it for about $350. Lefty guitars tend to be more expensive. If you have the resources, guitars in this price range are excellent for the amateur guitar player.