The acoustic guitar is a highly popular starter instrument.
It’s affordable, easy to transport, quiet enough not to disturb others during practice, relatively easy to get a nice sound, and doesn’t need any additional equipment like amplification.
It can also been seen as a more ‘serious’ instrument to learn on first if a child ultimately wants to play electric guitar, as the skills and techniques can be transferred.
There are two types of acoustic guitar; classical (or ‘nylon strung’) and ‘steel strung’ which is what is most often meant when someone refers to an acoustic guitar.
The classical guitar is considered to be best for beginners as it uses nylon strings, which are much easier to play than steel - the lighter string tension makes it much easier to press the string down onto the fretboard to sound a note.
What To Look For
- Guitars come in a variety of sizes and a full size one is generally suitable for ages 10 - 12 and upwards. Smaller sizes are available for younger students.
- If you are a beginner ask the advice of your tutor and don’t buy the cheapest, spend a little more and get a quality one with a solid top if possible.
- Take a guitarist with you when you go to buy it, someone who will be able to tell a if it’s a good one or not.
- You should buy the guitar that plays, sounds and looks the best for you. The expertise of the maker and the degree to which an instrument is hand made are of major significance for the development of tonal quality.
- Visit several music shops before you buy and find the salespeople who are enthusiastic and knowledgable. Ask to talk to someone in the shop who plays guitar.
- Take your time, don’t rush out and buy the first one you see, you have to live with it for years so make sure it is the right one.
- Buy guitar magazines that have reviews or get catalogues on the models you are interested in to research thoroughly.
- If there is a music trade show or convention in your area visit it, as there will be a variety of products to see and there there will be people there with a wealth of knowledge you can talk to.