Archive

Category Archives for "Featured"

How to Paint a Guitar?

As a guitarist, you probably know that while the sound your guitar makes is important, its appearance is equally significant. This is because it is an extension of your creative self. In fact, a lot of artists – from Prince to Woody Guthrie – have made cosmetic changes to their instrument. Of course, if this is something you’re considering, the question is: how do you paint a guitar?

Believe it or not, painting a guitar is actually much simpler than you may have imagined. At the same time, you need to be careful, since it is a musical instrument after all. So, if you want to undertake this project by yourself but also want to ensure that it is a success, this is the information you will need:

Tips to Remember

Before you get started, there are a few things that you will need to keep in mind. The following tips will help to prevent any unnecessary hassle or damage during the painting process:

  • This is an extensive project: while the actual process isn’t too complicated, it is time-consuming. In total, you may spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days painting your guitar. This includes the drying time as well.
  • Have a proper painting environment: you are going to be handling a few dangerous and toxic chemicals. This is why you should take care to paint your guitar in an area with plenty of airflow. Even then, you should make it a point to don the necessary safety wear.
  • Keep it light: when it comes to the coat of paint, less is more. Not only will this help your guitar surface dry more quickly, but it also helps to preserve the tone. Although it is unlikely that paint will change the tone of your guitar, too many thick layers may distort the original sound a little.
  • Follow all the steps: it can be tempting to simply add a layer of paint to your guitar. This technique, however, isn’t going to do you any good. Not only will the finish look sloppy, but there is also a good chance that the paint will begin to peel off within a short time as well.

Can You Paint Any Guitar?

The short answer to this question is: yes, you can paint most guitars. This, of course, doesn’t tell the full story. See, when painting your guitar, you should always check what type of wood it is composed of. The exact type used will often depend on the price tag attached to the guitar. More premium brands will spring for high-quality woods while the cheaper options will have lower-quality materials.

The reason why the wood is important is that it will determine the overall tone of the instrument. Solid wood guitars are made so that they can ‘age’ over time. Therefore, the older that they get, the better they sound. In such instances, too much of paint can obstruct or change this aging process. Therefore, you should keep the layers as thin as possible.

If you are dealing with a guitar with a laminate layer, though, there aren’t quite as many rules to follow. After all, these types of guitars are meant to sound a certain way. As such, you can afford to be less picky about the kind of paint you use or even how many layers you paint on.

What Kind of Paint Do You Need?

When painting a guitar, you will often find that nitrocellulose lacquer is the best. The reason why this is a gold standard in the industry is that even the best in the business – companies like Fender – rely on it. So, by using this type of paint, you can ensure that you are able to get the look that you desire, without doing any damage to the guitar.

Perhaps the main point in the nitrocellulose lacquer is the fact that it can be sprayed on with very little hassle. There are even spray paints made specifically for guitars, that can be sprayed from the can rather easily. Of course, there are some individuals who use even automotive spray paint for this project.

If you want a more unique look, you can always switch over to acrylic paints. These will allow you to hand paint your designs onto your instrument. In some instances, this type of paint may also dry faster. That being said, you should realize that there are some downsides to this type of paint.

Namely, since you will be relying on a brush, you need a great deal of skill to complete this task. If you aren’t comfortable with a paintbrush, there is a good chance that the finished result will not look so great. So this method is often for those that are more artistically inclined than the average guitarist.

Prepping Your Guitar

As mentioned, painting your guitar isn’t as simple as just spraying or brushing paint over the existing layer. Rather, if you want a good-looking guitar, you are going to need to prep the instrument first. In short, this means that you need to prepare the surface to be painted. To do so, follow these steps below:

Step 1: Remove the Hardware

The first thing you are going to need to do is to strip your guitar down. After all, you just want to paint the bass. This means that you need to remove all of the hardware. This includes the strings, knobs, pickups, output jack, bridge, pickguard, strap buttons, and anything else that isn’t going to be painted.

Step 2: Examine the Surface

This may seem like an odd step but it is necessary, particularly if your guitar is rather old. See, during this time, the surface of the guitar may have picked up nicks, dents, and more. While these may not be too noticeable now, this will certainly change during the painting process. To avoid these showing up, carefully examine every inch of the surface.

If the dent is quite deep, then you will need to use a wood filler in those areas. This will even out the holes and can then be sanded so that they will lie flat. Best of all, these fillers can be painted over as well.

Step 3: Sand the Surface

Then, you will move onto sanding the wood surface. This is done to remove any existing paint from the guitar, as well as to even out any imperfections. For the best results, try to use sandpaper with three different grits – 120, 220, and 320. Start with the 120 and then gradually move onto the 320 as the surface gets smoother. Remember to sand with the grain rather than against it when doing so.

Step 4: Wipe Down the Guitar

Due to all that sanding, you will find that there is quite a bit of dust on the surface of the guitar as well as everywhere else. However, you need a smooth painting surface, though, so all this dust needs to be removed. You can use a gentle blower or vacuum to get rid of the dust completely. Wiping down the guitar can give you the same results as well.

Step 5: Masking Bare Areas

Now, there are some areas of the guitar that you may not want to paint on, like the neck, for instance. For this purpose, it is best to use high-quality masking tape to section these areas off. This way, you will be able to protect the surface and also ensure that the tape can be easily removed, when necessary.

Securing the Guitar

The next thing you need to consider is how you are going to secure your guitar while priming and painting it. As you can imagine, one of the simpler options involves placing the instrument on a bench and spraying it. While this does give you a solid surface to work on, it can also double the time for this project. This is because you will need to wait till each side dries completely, before moving onto the other one.

It is due to this that many people prefer to remove the neck of the guitar and to suspend the body from a taut wire. This way, you have easy access to all areas of the guitar, simultaneously. So, while it can be more trying to opt for this position, you may find that you’re able to complete your painting project a lot sooner.

Priming Your Guitar

As with the paint, you have a choice of either spraying or brushing on the primer. Of course, if you want to make things simpler, it is best to go with the spray. You will find it a great deal easier to apply thin and even layers.

When spraying, make sure to keep the nozzle of the can around 8 inches away at all times. After the first layer, let the primer dry for at least 20 minutes. Then go ahead and add another layer. You can repeat this process around 3 or 5 times, with 20-minute intervals in between. After the final layer, let the guitar dry for around 3 days.

The next step would be to sand the guitar again. Here, you can use a grit of around 120. Make sure that all of the areas are even and smooth. If there is any drip residue, you may want to use slightly lower grade sandpaper but avoid anything too harsh.

Painting Your Guitar

Then, it is time to move onto the actual painting process. As far as the spraying goes, you will need to use the same technique as with the primer. However, here you need to go over each section a little more carefully. Unlike with the primer, you can’t really sand off the paint you have put on.

Once more, it is all about even layers when painting. The exact number of layers will depend on the color you are using as well as the finished result that you wish to achieve. So, this could mean anywhere from 3 to 6 coats of paint.

It is important that you wait until each layer has dried completely before spraying on the next level. Otherwise, you will be faced with drips and an uneven finish. After the final layer, wait for no less than 24 hours before moving onto the next stage.

Lacquering, Sanding, and Polishing the Guitar

It is a good idea to add a few layers of lacquer to your guitar. Not only does it add a nice, shiny look but is also essential in protecting your paint job. So, if you don’t want all your hard work to go to waste, this is definitely something you should do.

With the lacquer, a greater number of layers offer you more protection. At the same time, it also means a glossier surface, which isn’t something that everyone wants. So, you may want to find a middle ground here when spraying lacquer on the guitar.

The same rules apply as when priming and painting the guitar. You should always wait for one layer to dry before spraying on another. Once the final layer has been added, let the guitar dry for an additional amount of time. Most professionals prefer to let the lacquer dry for around 2 to 4 weeks for the best results.

After you are certain that the lacquer has dried, you can then sand the guitar down once more. Here, it is best to use the least abrasive grit possible – between 800 and 2000. You should sand down the surface until it feels nice and smooth in all areas.

The final step is to use a cotton cloth and an appropriate polishing compound to polish the surface of the guitar. Rub some polish into the surface and keep working it in until it has been fully applied. Then, move onto another section and continue until the entire guitar has been covered.

This is your ultimate guide to painting a guitar. As long as you are willing to make the effort, this is something you will certainly be able to handle by yourself.

Choosing the Right Guitar Size : 3/4 Guitar vs. Full Size

When buying a guitar, there are quite a few factors to take into consideration. During your shopping expedition, you will realize that size is one of the main decisions you will have to make. More precisely, it will come down to ¾ guitar vs. full size for this particular conclusion. So, which one will you choose?

Now, as you can imagine, the answer isn’t quite as simple as that. There are a lot of different points to consider before you can determine the right size for you. To make this assessment a little simpler, here is what you need to know:

Understanding Guitar Sizes

As you are probably aware, there are actually four different guitar sizes to choose from. Of course, this article is focused on two of the more common options, at least for adults. However, before you are able to make a decision regarding the sizes, you need to understand where the discrepancies lie in the dimensions.

First, let’s take a look at the overall dimensions of these guitars:

  • ¾ guitar = 92 x 34cm
  • Full size = 100 x 38cm

While this does give you some idea regarding length and size, it doesn’t actually paint the whole picture. This is because, when selecting a guitar, these aren’t the only dimensions to consider. You also need to think about the scale length, nut width, and box depth.

In most instances, though, you will find that these measurements correspond with the overall size of the guitar. So, if you opt for a ¾ guitar, then you can be certain that the scale length, box depth, and nut width will be smaller than those on a full-sized instrument.

Is Guitar Size Important?

Of course, one of the top questions people tend to ask when confronted with these two sizes is – does size even matter? After all, with practice, shouldn’t you get used to whatever instrument you have been playing the most? Now, this is a fair point as you should be able to get used to most guitar sizes after a while.

However, there is no need to force yourself to play an instrument that isn’t comfortable for you. If you do so, you will end up taking longer to master the most basic techniques or become an accomplished guitarist. It is a much better plan to simply stick with the size that works best for you.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Guitar Size

With this in mind, let’s move onto how you can select between the ¾ guitar and the full-sized one, depending on your personal requirements.

Your Age

A shortcut to determining what guitar size works best for a player is to take their age into consideration. As a rule of thumb, individuals between the ages of 8 and 12 are encouraged to opt for the ¾ guitar. Those that are older – adults specifically – are usually ushered towards full-sized guitars.

Size

Of course, the age formula can be rather limiting which is why it isn’t the only measuring stick to go by. An additional popular method is to factor in the size of the player. Such a concept follows this schedule:

  • The ¾ guitar is suitable for those between 4’6” and 4’11”
  • The full-sized guitar works for those taller than 5’

Again, though, this suggestion should be taken with a grain of salt. For example, if you are a bit shorter but have long arms, then you may find that a full-sized guitar is easier to play. On the other hand, if you are tall with short limbs, then a ¾ guitar may be more comfortable.

Male vs. Female Guitarists

Now, you may be wondering whether your gender should dictate whether you select a ¾ or full-sized guitar. The answer to this question would be ‘no’. This is because gender doesn’t actually have any impact on which of these instruments is right for you.

Rather, you need to pay attention to your height, the length of your arms and hands, and what weight you prefer. Then, depending on these results, you should select the guitar that lines up most with what you need.

For Beginners

You may have come across a lot of people recommending ¾ guitars to beginner players. So, does this mean that these guitars are easier to play? Well, this isn’t exactly true. See, in most circumstances, beginner players tend to be rather young – teenagers and younger. As such, it makes sense for them to start playing on a smaller instrument that is easier to handle.

In the end, though, the factors mentioned above take precedence. If the guitar appears to be a good fit for you and if you feel comfortable playing it, then it is probably the right size for you. If this happens to be a full-sized guitar, that is what you should opt for.

When Traveling

You don’t need to be told that taking your guitar on the road can be quite a hassle. This is largely due to the fact that most standard or full-sized guitars can be a tad bit bulky. You will notice the size in particular when you need to board a flight and are faced with the prospect of trying to store your instrument.

This is precisely why a number of touring and traveling musicians actually prefer the 3/4th size when they are on the road. It takes up a lot less space, making it easy to stow away when it is not needed. Not to mention, these instruments are often a smidge bit lighter as well. So, when walking around or even performing, these guitars are easier to handle.

As you can see, there isn’t a straightforward answer to which size guitar is better. Rather, it is about discovering which instrument is best for you. So, when choosing your design, think about your own body shape and size, how you like to play, and similar elements. This will help you get a lot closer to deciding between a ¾ or full-sized guitar and making the right choice.

Best Bass Guitar Guide

Bass guitars are often overlooked in the instrument-popularity contest, but they’re vital to the foundation of music. Here’s a guide to buying a good one.

Introduction

Most bass guitarists start off with a regular guitar and then decide they want to play bass in a band. Not a lot of them decide to play bass right from the get-go. Whichever category you fall under, it helps to have a starting point when selecting a bass to buy.

The bass guitar tends not to be as upfront in the limelight as the lead guitarist, but it is integral to the rhythm and feel of the music. Expert bassists do often take the spotlight for a solo every now and then, and many even play on their own because they are like one-person bands. There is a lot you can do with a bass guitar.

It is a common misconception that playing bass is easier than playing guitar, usually because there are traditionally four strings. But this is not really the case. Any instrument takes years of practice to fully master, and the bass is no different. With this guide, you should be able to find a suitable instrument on which you can hone your skills.

Best Bass Guitar

A good bass guitar largely depends on your preference, and expensive does not always mean good quality. That is why the top pick is a mostly inexpensive bass guitar, the Yamaha TRBX 174. This electric bass guitar may not be made of the perfect combination of woods, but it does offer range and versatility. Of all the basses on this list, this one offers the full scale and the full range of frets, all while giving a pure and rich tone, and that’s why it is number 1.

ModelConstructionPickupsIdeal ForRating Check Price
Yamaha TRBX 174Agathis, mapleSplit and single coilRock, jazz9/10 Price
Ibanez GSR 200Mahogany, rosewoodPassiveHeavy metal9/10 Price
Epiphone Goth Thunderbird-IVMahogany, rosewoodHumbuckersDeath metal, black metal8/10 Price
Squier by Fender Vintage SS ModifiedAgathis, mapleSplit and single coilFunk, classic rock8/10 Price
Dean E09M EdgeBasswood, maple, rosewoodPassivePractice, small gigs7/10 Price

Guide to Buying Bass Guitars

Even if you think you’ve found the best bass guitar, don’t just buy it straight off the rack. If you’ve had a guitar before, then you know that you need to see if you connect with the instrument. If this sounds strange or if you don’t know what this means yet, don’t worry. With experience, you’ll come to understand it. If you do have some experience, this guide won’t be totally useless. There are plenty of factors that you need to consider before making a final purchase.

Note: this guide does not go into highly debated issues that tend to be of concern to pros or expert bassists such as those involving traditional and non-traditional, precision and jazz, fretted and fretless, or style and techniques. If you are inexperienced, you should have an expert accompany you when you are shopping.

Types of Basses

It’s important to first understand what kind of bass you really need. Most people would think of an electric bass guitar, which is the kind that is commonly used to play in live bands. There are also acoustic and semi-acoustic basses that are generally used for unplugged or mellower playing. And finally, there are stand-up or double basses, those large, cello-like instruments you might have seen in 1920s period movies and big band or swing music. This guide caters particularly to electric bass guitars, but there is a section for if you’re looking for acoustic bass guitars. Bass guitars also come with typically four strings, with a few people choosing five-string basses, and even fewer choosing six-string basses. The latter two basses produce lower notes.

Purpose

What kind of music do you plan to play and in what setting? If you plan to play chill-out music in a laid-back or sophisticated pub, you might need an acoustic bass guitar or a semi-acoustic bass guitar. If you are hoping to play rock or metal music with a band, then you’ll need an electric. Once you know what you plan to be doing, you will have a good idea of what you’re looking for.

Budget

Once you know what you are planning to buy, you should plan how much you are willing to spend. A high-quality pro bass guitar can cost thousands and thousands of dollars, while new and used bass guitars can be as cheap as a hundred or two. If you are not sure about what you want to do with your bass, consider looking for bass guitars for sale or you might be wasting money if you find you don’t like playing. On the other hand, don’t buy a bass just because it is cheap. A midrange bass guitar will be good for beginners and intermediate players, and sometimes even pros. If you are serious, it is worth the investment.

Woods

Different bass guitars are constructed differently, and the qualities of the wood that they are made of actually have an impact on the sound. For instance, mahogany, my personal favorite, has a warm and full sound. Maple, on the other hand, is very bright. Alder and ash woods offer more resonance. Basswood is a highly versatile wood and beloved by speed demons and technical players.

Pickups

Another aspect of the electric bass guitar to consider is how the sound is amplified. There are active pickups and passive pickups that “pick up” the sound and transmit it to an amplifier and then a loudspeaker. Traditionally, electric guitars and bass guitars had passive pickups, which magnetically pick up all the vibrations produced by the strings. This means that to control the tone you get, you have to cut the frequencies you don’t want.

Active pickups are battery powered and allow you to cut and simultaneously boost the frequencies of your choice. If one seems better than the other now, understand that there is a sound difference as well. Many world-class bassists swear by each of these types, so it is up to you to know what sound you prefer.

Passive pickups tend to have a warmer, fuller sound, while active pickups have a brighter, more trebly sound.

 

Reviews

1.      Yamaha TRBX 174

Yamaha produces everything from motorcycles to guitars, and the thing is that they do all of it really, really well. In the case of the TRBX 174, they’ve done a great job at giving bass guitarists a full range of playability.

This guitar is TGP’s number one pick not just because it looks as classy as it does. It has a full 34” scale with 24 frets, giving you the best range you could as for as a bassist. There is pretty much nothing you can’t play on this bass.

It is made primarily from Agathis, a cheaper woods for bass, which is why it is so inexpensive, but the tone is quite resonant and warm. The neck is made from maple. Yamaha has the same model for a little more money with maple and alder if you are interested.

This Yamaha bass guitar looks vintage, especially if you get the old sunburst finish, and it comes with combination split coil and single coil pickups, which enhances the tonal range. This guitar is ideal for rock and jazz music, but can solidly work for any genre.

+Pros:

  • Full 34” scale length
  • Full 24 frets
  • Wide range and versatility
  • Ideal for rock and jazz
  • Affordable cost
  • High quality

-Cons:

  • Made from the cheaper woods
  • Lacks the deeper tones (too treblish)

 

2.      Ibanez GSR 200

So far, a lot of bass players I know have said that Ibanez produces the best basses. Now, this is largely a matter of preference, but Ibanez does have an impeccable reputation.

This bass is also extremely affordable, but it does sound amazing for the price. The mahogany, rosewood, and maple combination for the construction gives it one of the deepest and warm tones you could ask for in a bass guitar at this price. This makes it ideal for heavy metal but well capable of playing most things you put it to.

The guitar has 22 frets and combination passive pickups with a 34” scale neck. If this bass guitar seems a little underwhelming, wait until you sit down to play it. It packs quite the punch!

+Pros:

  • Full 34” scale length
  • High-quality construction
  • Mahogany, rosewood, maple woods
  • Passive pickups
  • Warm, rich tone
  • Good for heavy metal

-Cons:

  • 22 frets only
  • Not the most tonally versatile

 

3.      Epiphone Goth Thunderbird-IV

Epiphone is also a highly reputed brand and this bass guitar will make you see why. For starters, the mahogany, maple, and rosewood combination of wood are a force to be reckoned with. On top of that, the humbucker pickups will knock your socks off.

The full 34” fretboard has 20 frets, but the whole combination of elements that this baby is made of gives it some immense tonal power. The depth and richness of the sound is a lot to contend with, and truly at a steal of a price.

You might like this bass especially if you are into the heavier genres of metal and rock. It can greatly accommodate anything else, but at first glance, you’d say it belongs at a Black Sabbath gig.

+Pros:

  • Construction quality
  • Mahogany, maple, rosewood woods used
  • Humbucker pickups
  • Full 34” scale length
  • Deep, rich tonality
  • Powerful sound
  • Ideal for those heavier genres

-Cons:

  • Perhaps a little too heavy for its own good
  • Only 20 frets

 

4.      Vintage Modified Jaguar by Fender

I love Fender. I’ve been around Fenders since I was born. Unfortunately, this one makes it a little low on this list because it just doesn’t give as much as the others on this list do. However, that’s not to say it doesn’t give a lot.

This gorgeous axe has an Agathis body (I would have preferred mahogany), with maple and rosewood for the 30” scale and 20 frets. This, along with the combination single and split coil pickups will give you nice, rich tone.

The clearly vintage looking guitar is in its element with some funk or classic rock, but don’t be afraid to venture into any other genre.

+Pros:

  • Maple and rosewood neck/fretboard
  • Classic look
  • Classic sound
  • Ideal for funk and classic rock

-Cons:

  • 30” scale length
  • 20 frets

 

5.      Dean E09M Edge

This bass guitar from Dean has its ups and downs, but for a cheap bass guitar, it’s pretty darn good! Pair it with a good amp and pedal and you can get just about whatever tone you like.

The bass is made from basswood, maple, and rosewood, with a passive soap bar type pickup. Though it seems like a simple setup, this guitar is great for learning, practicing, and playing small gigs. This really is the beginner’s guitar, but it’s a good choice of one.

You’ll get a nice range of tones from the construction as well, so your versatility as a bassist shouldn’t be too hampered.

The fretboard comes at the full 34” scale length, with 22 frets to play on.

+Pros:

  • Full 34” scale length
  • Passive pickups
  • Good construction quality for the price
  • Basswood, maple, rosewood combination
  • Range of tones
  • Versatile

-Cons:

  • Only 22 frets
  • Not so great for gigging

 

Best Cheap Bass Guitars

If your budget is a little tight, then you can easily buy cheap bass guitars online or look for bass guitars for sale. Many people sell their old bass guitars for practically nothing. If you want your very own brand new bass guitar, however, the Dean E09M Edge is one of the cheapest you can find.

Two other great options from great brands are the Ibanez GSR 200 and the Squire by Fender Affinity Series, both of which are the same price and of good quality.

Best Left Handed Bass Guitar

Left handed guitars are hard to find because such a small population requires it. Many people tend to just play righty anyway. Electric bass guitars can’t be restrung and flipped around. If you need a left-handed bass guitar, try the Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass, which might be a bit expensive but is high quality.

If you liked the Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass, you can get it for left handers too. There is also a full-scale Dean E09 for left-handers if you liked that.

Best Bass Guitar for Beginners

If you are a beginner, then you’ll probably be best off buying a starter kit that contains everything you will need in addition to the bass guitar itself. Electric basses will need an amp, cable, strap, and a few other accessories. I would recommend the Squier by Fender Bass starter kit, which comes with a quality Fender amp, a gig bag, extra strings, and plenty more. It’s a worthwhile investment overall.

Alternatively, the Epiphone Toby Bass set comes with all the same stuff with the Epiphone brand and it’s of good quality for a starter. If all else fails, the Crescent Electric Bass set has a good budget kit, also ideal for kids.

Best Bass Guitar for Kids

There are a lot of kids’ guitars and kids’ bass guitars out there for really low prices, but what I would recommend is the Ibanez GSR M20 Mikro, which is a scaled version and it’s a solid buy for a good price. There’s also a great Oscar Schmidt Electric Bass, also scaled for kids and of good quality for a low price. The Dean Hillsboro Jr. isn’t a bad choice either, and is even cheaper but has a great tone.

Best Acoustic Bass Guitar

If you are looking to play unplugged (or semi-unplugged), there are some good options out there. I would suggest the Ibanez PCBE12MH, with mahogany, rosewood, and maple, so you’ll get a great sound. But if you want a semi-acoustic bass guitar, a good one to go for is the Dean EAB, which is also made of mahogany and rosewood, or the Fender CB 100CE Dreadnought, which is made of spruce, mahogany, and rosewood.

Best Five-String Bass Guitar

There are some amazing five-string guitars if you want to take it up a notch or if you’ve had a four-string and want to advance. Metal guitarists often prefer to get the extra lows of the B string on a five-string bass. If this is the case, I would recommend the Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass V. It has a lot of punch and muddiness to it.

If Fender isn’t really for you, check out the ESP LTD B Series B 205, which is made of ash, maple, and rosewood for a great sound. There’s also a 5 string Ibanez GSR 205, made of mahogany, maple, and rosewood.

Conclusion

Whatever your choice might be, it is always best to take your time to figure it out, consider as many factors as you can together, and then decide. Ideally, you should try it before you buy it, even if you are planning to buy online. Look for a nearby store, ask an expert bassist you might know to accompany you, and give it a go to know how it sounds and feels. Don’t just “bass” your decision on only one or two factors or without a lot of thought.

Best Acoustic Guitar Guide

Acoustic guitars are a one the most popular instruments in the world. They can be used to play almost any genre of music, and come in a wide variety. You don’t need to be a pro to impress people or play some amazing music with an acoustic guitar. Even with a few simple chords, you can play a number of popular songs from decades ago to the contemporary tunes of today.

If you are looking to purchase the best acoustic guitar for you, there are several factors to consider before you make a selection. Don’t buy a guitar on a whim. You’ll find yourself much happier with your choice if you take some time to learn the basics and put some thought into the selection.

Best Guitar

It’s hard to really pick a “best acoustic guitar”, because what’s good for you might not work for someone else. That’s why it is always a good idea to take the time to consider all the factors that make a guitar what it is before buying one. When you have some idea of what sound you’d like, what features you need, and what you’ll be doing with your new guitar, you’ll be able to narrow down the list and make a selection.

In this list, the number one guitar is the Fender FA-100 Dreadnought because it is a total all-rounder acoustic. It allows for versatile playing, has a full and rich sound, and is made from quality material by a top guitar maker. It’s also highly affordable, so it makes for an excellent choice.

A Quick Comparison of the Best Acoustic Guitars

ModelFretsWoodExtra FeaturesStringsRating Check Price
Fender FA-10020Rosewood, Laminate spruceGig bag, tuner, strings, strapsSteel9/10 Price
Yamaha FG80020Spruce, Nato, RosewoodNoSteel8/10 Price
Epiphone DR-10020Mahogany, SpruceNoSteel8/10 Price
Martin LXK2 Little Martin20Rosewood, Laminated koaNoSteel7/10 Price
Taylor GS Mini Mahogany20Mahogany, Sapele, EbonyGig bagSteel7/10 Price

Guide to Buying Acoustic Guitars

Choosing the best acoustic guitar for you will depend on your preferences, needs, purpose, and budget. If you have no prior experience with guitars, you might be tempted to just buy the cheapest or the first acoustic guitar that you see. Well, even if you haven’t got a clue where to start, that’s not a good way to go. Because as you learn and play more, you may find yourself unhappy with the sound, look, or construction of the instrument. This guide should help to point you in the right direction.

Deciding on a Budget

Acoustic guitars can cost as little as under $100, and as much as thousands of dollars. It’s important for you to know just how much you’re willing to spend because this will have a huge impact on your options. There are literally thousands of guitars to choose from and hundreds of brands. If you’re an intermediate or pro guitarist, you’ll want to spend a little more to get the kind of quality that will help to showcase your skills. If you’re a total newbie, you may feel better to start with an affordable guitar and move on to better ones as you master the instrument. For a few hundred dollars, you can get some pretty good acoustic guitars. If you’re still on the fence, you can always buy secondhand cheap acoustic guitars and learn the ropes. Also, see if you can find an acoustic guitar for sale online.

Matching the Guitar to the Skill Level

If you’re a beginner just looking to learn, you don’t really need to worry about all of the factors that influence the sound and quality of a guitar. But it’s still a good idea to learn about what makes a good acoustic and choose one that sounds and looks good. That way, when your skills advance, you won’t outgrow your guitar right away. If you can afford to buy a pro guitar, you should, because this will never go wrong for you. If you are an intermediate guitarist looking for an upgrade, then you need to take your time to decide on something that suits your needs.

Considering the Use

What are you going to be using the guitar for? Do you want to be playing open mic nights or starting a band? If so, a semi-acoustic guitar might be a good idea. A semi-acoustic is only slightly different from a traditional acoustic. The difference is that you can plug it into an amplifier directly and still get the rich acoustic sound. You can play it as a normal acoustic too. Don’t go for an electric guitar until you’ve learned the basics on the acoustic and you are sure you want to get into it. If you will be playing in public with an acoustic or semi-acoustic, you should look for a decent quality.

Choosing the Right Size

If you are kind of small made, like I am, you might prefer to find a smaller guitar. A narrower body and neck will be good for small hands and arms, although this is not really a hugely limiting factor. Most standard guitars can accommodate pretty much anyone, but you may be more comfortable with a smaller model. It will help if the action of the strings (the distance between the fretboard and the strings) is relatively low. Beginners will find it easier to learn to play because higher action will be painful on the fingertips and finger muscles. Larger bodies will give deeper sounds, though.

Understanding Construction Quality

This point is actually quite closely linked to sound as well. The shape of the guitar, the sound holes, the wood it is made out of, the strings, and the body type all affect the way it will sound when played.

Usually, beginner guitars are made from laminate wood. A well-made laminated wood guitar will generally keep its sound and be clear and defined. Many players who are serious about the guitar prefer solid woods because laminate does not produce as rich and resonant a sound. Beginners will still benefit from a standard laminate guitar, however. Solid woods tend to be more expensive.

Cedar wood will produce a brighter, trebly tone and is suitable for classical playing. Mahogany is very dense and can produce a very strong sound, and it’s a favorite among blues and country guitarists. Maple will give you a drier sound and is great for playing live with a band. Rosewood is extremely popular among rock musicians because of its rich sound, projection, and bassy tone. Spruce is pretty much a standard and offers clarity and resonance. Walnut will give you good midrange tones.

The strings will also make a difference to the sound. Different guitars come with either nylon or steel strings, and you can’t swap them out for one another. If you want a soft and classical tone, or plan to learn finger picking, you might prefer the nylon stringed guitars. Steel strings produce a louder tone with more brightness and are preferred by rock, pop, and country musicians.

A Closer Look at GuitarPal’s Picks

1.) Fender FA-100 Dreadnought

1

Fender is considered one of the pioneering and top manufacturers of guitars, having been famous in the industry since the 1930s. This manufacturer has been a pioneer in the world of guitar and guitar accessories, so you can be sure that pretty much anything you get from them is good quality. It is a personal favorite, and I have yet to be disappointed.

The Dreadnought model is a type of acoustic body first developed by Martin Guitars but is used by most acoustic guitar manufacturers today. The body is on the larger side, giving a full, rich, and resonant sound every time. Smaller made players may take some getting used to, but any guitar will. It’s low priced (just $150) and a great choice for beginner players.

The FA-100 acoustic is made with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, giving the sound a more bassy tone. The laminate spruce body will give you reliable and clear sound. The steel strings are much closer to the fretboard, so they won’t be too painful at the fingertips of the fretting hand.

There’s a 20-fret board, and no cutaway, so if you’re looking to hit a few high notes, you’re a bit limited. Unless you’re hoping to be a rock god, this will be no problem for you.

If you buy the guitar online, you can get a gig bag (the carry case), an electronic tuner, guitar picks, strings, and a strap. So you can have the full guitarist experience. Simply put, this guitar is the whole package at an affordable price, and that’s why it’s number 1 on this list.

+Pros:

  • Rich, full sound
  • Affordable
  • High-quality construction
  • Good for beginners
  • Comes with tuner, picks, case, strap
  • It’s Fender!

-Cons:

  • Smaller made players may need to get used to size
  • No cutaway

2.      Yamaha FG800

2

You probably know Yamaha for doing a little bit of everything, from guitars to bikes. They’ve been making guitars since the Swinging Sixties and are world renowned for their mostly affordable but good quality guitars.

An upgraded version of one of Yamaha’s most popular acoustic guitars (worldwide!) is the FG800, which has a low price tag but packs a punch with sound. At just $200, you can get a pretty good tone and some solid construction out of this guitar. If you want a Yamaha acoustic guitar, this should be your pick.

The dreadnought body is made from spruce wood and nato, with the fretboard made of rosewood. This means you’ll get a nice combination of bass and brightness. Your guitar will sound crisp, but deep and resonant. It’s an excellent choice for beginners and anyone looking for a bluesy, jazzy sound.

This guitar has 20 frets and no cutaway. Again, this is pretty much standard, so you won’t likely need anything more than this. The only thing that some players might struggle with is the action, which might be just a tad bit high for beginners.

+Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Quality budget guitar
  • Versatile sound
  • Especially good for blues and jazz

-Cons:

  • Higher action on strings
  • Smaller players may struggle with size
  • No cutaway

3.      Epiphone DR-100

3

This guitar is actually one of the best selling products from Epiphone. The company has been in the musical instrument manufacturing industry since the 1870s but moved into guitars after Gibson took over in the 50s. Gibson is largely considered the best guitar manufacturer in the world, and though there aren’t any Gibson brand guitars on this list, Epiphone guitars are all under the Gibson label.

The DR-100 is one of Epiphone’s original and most affordable models, at just a hundred bucks. It’s pretty much as close as you can get to a (very expensive) Gibson acoustic guitar. The spruce top, mahogany body and neck, and rosewood fingerboard make for great sounds overall. If you want a kind of bluegrass, rock, country, or folk sound, this is the go-to guitar. The versatile but budget-friendly DR-100 will serve well as a first-time instrument.

The standard fretboard comes with 20 frets, so you’ll be able to play anything basic or intermediate guitarists might play. The narrow neck and easy action make this a highly playable guitar for most beginners. The steel strings will give you brightness and add to the resonance of the dreadnought body. Epiphone acoustic guitars are usually good, so this if you like the brand, check out a few more options if you can.

+Pros:

  • Excellent brand
  • Super cheap
  • Well suited for beginners
  • Good, sturdy construction

-Cons:

  • No cutaway
  • More geared towards bluegrass, country sounds
  • Somewhat limited to lower-mid to upper range tones

4.      Martin LXK2 Little Martin

4

The Little Martin featured here is a bit on the expensive side compared to most of the other guitars on the list at over $300, but is still an affordable choice for amateurs hoping to get serious. Martin Guitars has been making these instruments since the 1830s! So they know their stuff.

This guitar is ideal for the smaller player and is easy and light for carrying about. Though it’s small, it has the dreadnought body shape to give you a nice, full sound. The laminated koa body offers a dynamic range of sound. Though not as frequently used for guitars, koa wood is used for ukuleles, and it is a durable hardwood to rely on.

The 20-fret fretboard and bridge are made from rosewood, enhancing the koa sound you’ll get as you play. The steel strings will add more brightness to the sound. The action is also easier on the fingers.

This guitar isn’t the kind of acoustic you’d play on stage with. It’s more for practice and learning, and for leisure. It’s the kind of guitar that’s perfect around the campfire with friends and smores. Overall, it is best for smaller hands.

+Pros:

  • Dynamic range of tones
  • Sturdy and solid construction
  • Ideal for learning and practice
  • Especially suited for smaller hands and players

-Cons:

  • Not so great for stage performance
  • Comparatively expensive for a first-time guitar
  • Range still lacking fuller bass

5.     Taylor GS Mini Mahogany

5

Taylor Guitars is one of the top manufacturers of guitars in the US and has been making guitars for over forty years. The GS Mini Mahogany is the most expensive guitar on this list ($500), but it is still of extremely high quality.

The smaller body offers easier carrying and holding, making it well suited for younger and smaller players. The mahogany and Sapele wood work well together for the body, giving a strong and powerful sound. The real ebony 20-fret fretboard and bridge are easy on small and fresh fingers.

This guitar looks beautiful and comes with a soft, padded gig acoustic guitar case. You won’t get as bassy a sound out of this guitar as some others on this list, but you still get a good tonal range.

The best things this guitar is for are portability, smaller players, and people looking to play a range of music types.

+Pros:

  • Solid and reliable construction
  • Powerful sound
  • Light and easy to tote
  • Gig bag provided
  • Good for small players and kids

-Cons:

  • Less bass on the range
  • Expensive compared to others on the list
  • Not ideal for performing at a gig

 

Best Cheap Acoustic Guitars

If you are looking for a guitar solely based on staying under a budget of say $100 or $200, then there are several highly rated cheap guitars. Alternatively, you could buy used acoustic guitars for practically nothing.

  1. Rogue RA-090 Dreadnought – this is a nice mahogany, rosewood, and whitewood guitar that you can switch easily for a lefthander. It has a big sound to it.
  2. Jasmine S53 – this guitar looks almost as good as it sounds, with a rosewood and nato construction, and excellent resonance.
  3. Epiphone DR-100 – this was mentioned earlier on the list for the bright and resonant sound made by the rosewood, mahogany, and spruce construction.
  4. Fender Squier Dreadnought – I know I have a thing for Fender, but this is really a good guitar for such a low price. The maple, rosewood, and basswood create a lovely sound, and the product comes with useful accessories you will need.
  5. Fender FA-100 Dreadnought – this is the rosewood and spruce guitar that was my top pick, and it will serve you well with its durability and its booming sound.

Best Left Handed Acoustic Guitar

Some guitars are made just for right-handed guitarists, and you cannot swap the strings around and play comfortably if you are a left-hander. Other guitars are made to be left-friendly, in that you can string them any way you like. Of course, if you want the same kind of style or shape in an exclusively left-handed version, there are plenty of options. I would recommend the Oscar Schmidt OG1 for just over $100. It’s a good quality and well-suited choice for learning and practicing, especially for people with small hands, thanks to the narrow neck.

Alternatively, you could try the Taylor Guitars Baby Taylor, the mahogany, ebony, and Sapele guitar that’s a nice choice for a crisp tone. It’s also good for smaller players and beginners. You could also try the Blueridge BR-43LH Contemporary Series. The exclusively left-handed guitar is made from spruce, mahogany, and East Indian rosewood. It produces a warm and clean sound.

Best Acoustic Guitar for Beginners

If you need a guitar exclusively catering to total beginners, then you’ll need an instrument with some versatility and affordability. A good beginner acoustic guitar should be long-lasting, sturdy, and of good enough quality to give you a well-rounded learning experience. A popular beginner guitar that I would recommend is the Seagull S6 Original. It’s made from wild cherry, rosewood, and cedar, and produces a big, rich tone.

A couple of other good choices include the Yamaha FG730S, which is about as traditional as an acoustic guitar can get. Then there is also the Taylor GS Mini Mahogany, the mahogany, Sapele, and ebony guitar I talked about earlier. This guitar is a worthy investment for a beginner who hopes to get serious.

Best Acoustic Guitar for Kids

Learning guitar as a child is one surefire way to become a master guitar player quickly. If you’re looking for a guitar for a young child, then a smaller but well-made guitar would be best. My choice would be the Yamaha JR1 guitar. It’s a rosewood and spruce guitar so you’ll get a lovely sound, and the small scale is perfect for smaller players.

Another excellent choice would be the Rogue Starter Acoustic, which is also smaller scale. It’s made from mahogany and rosewood, a rich and gorgeous sound, and it’s quite affordable. Alternatively, the First Act FG1106 is even cheaper and smaller and features a thin fretboard to make learning easier.

Conclusion

Ultimately, when choosing a guitar for you or for someone else, it’s best to consider the needs and the purpose of the guitar. Whatever your budget, you can find good acoustic guitars with some great quality sound and construction to suit the player’s needs. Take your time to figure out what kind of sound you’re going for, what you would like to do with your guitar, and how much you’re willing to spend on it, and they go out to get one.