A Perfect Guide on How to Buy an Acoustic Guitar – Finding the right axe for you

Whether you are buying your first guitar, or you are upgrading, you will feel the frustration of finding the right guitar. There’s a lot of guitar out there and sometimes, it overwhelms you as you have a lot of choices making it hard to look for the right guitar.

There are also some time that you did a researched on what and how to buy an acoustic guitar and when you went to a music store, you find yourself confused as there’s a lot of choices that you did not consider when you are researching and now you don’t know what to buy.

Many acoustic guitars hanging

If you are like that, then this article is for you. I strongly believe that there will never be a perfect guitar that will provide all your needs that’s why many guitarist prefer to have a lot of guitar. But you should not stress yourself out by the many choices out there, you should focus on what will really help you on your playing.

I have a list that can help you narrow down your choices and teach you on how to buy an acoustic guitar if ever you find yourself confused even if you have done your research. There will be two parts:

1. Before Buying –  you need to research and choose what’s right for you
2. Trying the Guitars – you need to have some practical and technical knowledge about guitars.

These article will be the part one. Hopefully you will be able to know what to search for.

How to buy an acoustic guitar (Phase 1)

Before Buying – What to look for

When you are deciding that you are buying a guitar, you should make a research for instead of going to the music store and just try out what looks good to you. But researching can be time-consuming if you do not know what to search for. These questions will help you to spend less time in research.

1. What is your Purpose?

Are you going to play on stage and do some gigs? Then you might consider buying an Acoustic-Electric Guitar instead of the Pure Acoustic. This guitar has preamp and will be able to plug-in so that your sound will be amplified. But if you are not going to play on stage and it is just going to be a home guitar, then you don’t need the preamp. This will save you bucks as the Acoustic-Electric Guitar is pricier than those without preamp.

Steel string or Nylon String? The difference in these two strings is the sound produced. Steel string is brighter and crispier which is good for Rock, Country and Pop style. While the Nylon String is more mellow in tone and good for Folk and Classical style. You should decide now whether you’ll use a guitar with Nylon or Steel String as you can’t use a guitar made for Nylon with Steel String or vice versa.

2. What is your Budget?

I believe this is the biggest factor for most guitar player. Who doesn’t want the best guitar in the world? But QUALITY COMES WITH A PRICE. That’s why we are driven in the corner and left with choices that we are not happy about. But do not worry, there’s still guitars out there that are under priced.

They might not sound like the high-end guitars, but the sound they produced is a real deal. You just need to spend time researching for the best acoustic for a specific price range. I have a list for the best sounding cheap acoustic guitar if you are really tight on budget.

Avoid the 100$ and less Price range. This is just my opinion and you may have a different. What I believe is that we must invest on our guitar and spend a little higher than that.

One thing I can consider is that it should have AT LEAST a Solid Top as it sound better as it age. But it’s your choice, you can always do a research and you may find a decent guitar at this price range but for me, it is not really advisable especially if you are just starting out. The sound will not be good and you might get frustrated.

As long as it is a Solid Topeven it has laminated back and sides, it will be much better to the laminated tops. This is what I will look for a guitar. Of course it is pricier and the affordable ones are ranging from 200$. But I highly recommend that you save for it instead of buying the laminated but cheaper ones. You will not regret it.

If you are just selecting for your first guitar, don’t go for 500$ and up price range as these guitars are for intermediate players and it will be wasted if you are just going to use it for learning the basic chords.

Start with the entry-level guitars, this way you will learn how to take care of guitar and if you have failed to do so, at least you will not waste a one of a kind guitar. So study taking care of the entry-level guitars first so that when you decide to purchase a high-end guitar, it will be carefully be taken care of.

3. What is the best guitar size for you?

Acoustic Guitar comes with different sizes. So if you have a small body, don’t worry, there is a right size for you and you won’t need to be stuck in playing with bigger body guitars.

A. Dreadnought – it is the most popular body size and it’s really big. Because of a bigger body, it has deeper tone and louder volume. This body is for flat pickers and aggressive strummer. One example of that is the Fender CD-60SCE. Check my review here

B. Jumbo – it is almost similar to a Dreadnought in size with a slight difference on its built (e.g Bracing, Round/Square Shoulder). Jumbo body size was made to be a contender for the Dreadnought. As for the sound, it has little but noticeable difference. One example of that is the Epiphone AJ-220SCE. Here is the review of Epiphone AJ-220SCE

C. Concert and Grand Concert – it is a good for smaller musicians who are having a hard time for the dreadnought and jumbo. It has a punchy mid range which is good for light strumming and finger picking. What’s good in this is that even at light strumming, it has power. The only difference between Concert and Grand Concert is the latter is bigger. My recommended Concert size guitar is the Yamaha LS6. Here is the complete review.

D. Auditorium and Grand Auditorium – I would like to say that this is the jack of all trades body size. It has a balanced tone and its size is between the Concert and Dreadnought. This is also the best guitar size that Taylor is making. You can check my review of Taylor 114E that is a grand Auditorium guitar

E. Travel and Mini-Acoustic – These are the smallest body size and it is good for small children. If you are also travelling always for gigs or for whatever reason, travel guitars are easy-to-pack and carry. Many guitar manufacturers now are making this body size without compromising the sound. Two popular choices are the Baby Taylor and the Little Martin.

Ordering Online or Go to Music Store?

As of this time of my writing, ordering online seems to be getting popular. Many online stores like Guitar Center, Sweetwater, Musicians’ Friend, Amazon and many more are offering Return Policy. Meaning, you can return the guitar if you don’t like it.

Just make sure to know their policy before purchasing so that you will not be left with a guitar you don’t like.

You can also go to a music store if you want to and have time to go. It is much easier to try guitars there without risks of the ordering online. It is up to you and what’s good for you depends on your situation as some don’t have accessibility for music store, or you are near a music store.

Online stores tend to have a large stock of guitars compared to a physical store so it is something you might consider. However they lack the limited edition ones or the one of a kind guitars that is usually found in a music store.

What should I accomplish in this phase?

You should be ready and make decision at these phase of buying. You should have at least 3 or 5 guitars on mind that yoi should be picking so that when going on the music store or ordering online, you would not be tempted to try everything.

Being ready will save you time and money. But just like what people are saying, picking your guitar is a personal preference, this is just a guide to help you find the one for you.

If you have decided what to buy, proceed to page 2

12 comments on “A Perfect Guide on How to Buy an Acoustic Guitar – Finding the right axe for you

  1. AV2001

    Hey Vincent,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this article as you’ve provided us with tonnes of valuable information on “Buying an Acoustic Guitar”. I currently own the Epiphone AJ-220 SCE and it’s just an amazing acoustic guitar. I’m really happy that I invested in the right one. Actually, no one had directed me to buy it, I just bought it cause I trusted my gut 😉

    Thanks a lot for sharing this detailed blog post. Can’t wait to share it to a couple of my band members. Well Done Vincent!

    Reply
    1. Vincent Post author

      Wow, the Epiphone you own is a real deal. I’m sure you have invested in the right guitar. Thank you for sharing it.

      Reply
  2. Musbau Shittu

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful review on buying an Acoustic Guitar, this review has enlighten me more on buying an acoustic guitar, you have also shared the astonishing features of the wonderful guitar. I will give it a thought on buying one. I will also make sure to share this with my friend who is a good fans of acoustic guitar. I will love to revisit for more wonderful review like this. Thanks

    Reply
  3. LABULO FUNMILAYO

    There is a saying that if we fail to plan then we are planning to fail, your post will serve as a guideline to lot of people out there like me. Most time I tend to look at the quantity of a product instead of the quality, going for cheap guitar might definitely not last long and in the course of getting another one might even cost more. Permit me to ask you a question Vincent ,any information on how the return policy operate? How long can it take before returning it back ?? Thanks for the beautiful post.

    Reply
    1. Vincent Post author

      Well it is different to every music store out there. Amazon has 30 days return policy while Zzounds has 45 days. I believe that as consumers, we must know this privilege to avoid wasting money on something that we don’t want.

      Reply
  4. Badhan Biswas

    Oh, finally my one weeks research ends up with joy. All of my question are answered in a single post. 

    Well let me notify you I am a entry level, want to be a musician😁. I have just started to learn to play the Guitar. I am trying to learn via youtube. I used to try to play on my father’s Guitar but matter of sorrow my younger sis broke that one. So I’m looking around the internet to buy a new one. 

    After reading your article I have figured it out why need a guitar and which kind of. But as I am a entry leveler and like want to be a musician, 

    🔸”Now which one of those guitar would be the best choice for me?”

    I am asking this because I am little bit of confused. So would you please be kind enough to recommend me one! 

    Thanks in advance. 

    Regards-

    Badhan Biswas.

    Reply
  5. Alex

    Hi Vincent. Thanks to you for writing this great and informative post about how to find the right Guitar. I really love guitar but I don’t have one. I always listen to my grandfather play during the summer. I think I’m going for Mini-Acoustic: Martin LXBlack Little Martin. I fell in love with it on the first sight lol. I’ll be looking forward to new posts from you 

    Reply
    1. Vincent Post author

      That guitar is really awesome. I hope you will enjoy it to the fullest when you have it. But in case you want other options, you can check my other product reviews. There are a lot of good guitars out there.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *