If you don’t already have an acoustic guitar in the corner of your room, you’ve probably considered getting one. The allure of the sweet, sweet sound of acoustic strings ringing out is almost too much for anyone to withstand. Regardless of whether you’re 6 or 60, it’s never a bad idea to give-in and pick up an acoustic for the first time.
Learning something new is fun – and also daunting. Sure, there’s a lot of potential enjoyment, but first you have to make sure you spend your limited hobbyist funds the right way. After all, nothing makes you want to quit more than feeling like you got a sour deal right out of the gate.
This buyer’s guide is here to make sure that doesn’t happen. With this information, you’ll have everything you need to start your acoustic guitar journey out right.
Tips for Getting a Good Starter Acoustic
Don’t Just Buy Anything, Anywhere!
A lot of people are under the impression that they can pick up whatever cheap acoustic guitar they see at their local big box retailer and it’ll be the same as a name brand that costs just slightly more. But, while many of those bargain guitars are indeed affordable, they’re also lacking in quality, and low quality guitars are prone to a number of problems.
The wood they’re made with doesn’t afford good sound. The cheap, assembly line construction leads the instrument to feel uncomfortable when played, as well as respond poorly to your hands. This causes beginners to think they’re doing something incorrect, when in fact they’re not—it’s the guitar. Cheap guitars will also not stay in tune very long or hold up after being played for years.
Get Something That’s Affordable, Not Cheap
Here’s the trick—you can get a guitar that isn’t very expensive and is also quality enough to give you a chance to get good at it. The best way to do this is to find the starter models from some of the brands which also make the most expensive, highly-regarded guitars in the world.
For an extra $50, $75, or $100, over the cheapo, no-name guitars, the quality you can get drastically increases. Often times, the entry-level models from brands like Fender, Ibanez, or Martin, are still made with excellent materials, as well as with their tried-and-tested manufacturing processes.
Acoustic or Acoustic-Electric?
Acoustic guitars sometimes have discrete electronics systems in them. This means they can be plugged into an amplification system so their light, acoustic tone can be made louder. This is great for live venues. They can also be plugged straight into a computer system to record.
Having electronics doesn’t affect the guitar being an “acoustic,” but it does give you these other options, so it’s definitely a worthwhile feature to look out for if you want to do more than play alone in your room.
How to Choose Your Instrument
- First, go to a reputable instrument retailer. One where all the employees are musicians and they carry a variety of guitars. Tell the sales people that you’re looking for your first acoustic guitar. They will point you in the right direction.
- Take a look at all the beginner models. Ask the sales person questions, tell them what music you like, and hold as many as you can in your hands. Consider if you want to have the option to plug the guitar in with an acoustic-electric. And while looks aren’t the most important aspect, they do matter. You have to like what you’re playing and feel cool playing it.
- Set your price range. I know you may want to do this before you hit the store, but it’s helpful to be slightly flexible because: a) you can get a lot more quality for a little more money; and b) you may not have accounted for the other accessories that are necessary to start playing. To that end, many beginner guitars come in “starter packs” which also gets you a strap, picks, a tuner, and some other extras you’ll need.
Then take it home and play your heart out. The biggest challenge in becoming a proficient guitar player is playing consistently—and the more time you put into it, the more you get out of it.
Well, what are you waiting for?
Now that you’ve got all the know-how, there’s nothing holding you back from acoustic supremacy. So head over to your local Sam Ash and see all that we have to offer.