The headstock on this model has an angled design to let you apply more or less pressure on the strings as needed. You’ll also find that it offers better sound quality than some more expensive models do.
Though this guitar does cost more than others do, it offers great sound and is suitable for performances. Made from rosewood and other types of natural wood, it has a clean and traditional finish.
With a truss rod that you can adjust and an included strap, this guitar lets you play for hours. The interior uses a scalloped bracing that adds to its strength and overall longevity.
Some reviews claimed that the guitar arrived with broken or loose strings. A few customers complained that they couldn’t tighten the strap.
Suitable for budding musicians, this guitar comes with a number of various accessories such as a carrying case and a digital tuner. The guitar itself is wood and features metal strings that let you play different notes.
This set comes with a wood guitar with a black finish and everything you need to play some of your favorite songs. An included digital tuner makes it easy to tune it the first time and whenever you play.
Your guitar might arrive with some rusting on or around the strings and other minor issues. A few shoppers had problems tuning or keeping the guitar tuned.
The best acoustic guitar for those who have endless money on hand is the Martin D-28. This dreadnought model uses both East Indian rosewood and real ebony for a striking look.
Not only do you get this guitar, but you also get a pack of strings to set it up the first time you want to play. The D-28 is a classic guitar that uses real wood and has a durable construction.
This model is much too expensive for most players and better suited for pro or performance use. It does not come with any accessories and may suffer some damage during shipping.
The Fender name lets you know that this guitar has a good quality and that it will produce the clear sound that you want. It comes with both a strap and a carrying/storage bag.
With an adjustable truss rod and an included strap, this guitar makes it easy to get into position and play the music that you love. The Basswood top in a light tan color gives it a classy look.
A few wish that the included bag had at least one pocket. Others found that it was difficult to change the strings or that their models lacked a strap.
With a great vintage style, this guitar looks like one Elvis or another star played years ago. It uses different types of wood for added strength and quality, including mahogany and spruce.
The headstock on this model has an angled design to let you apply more or less pressure on the strings as needed. You’ll also find that it offers better sound quality than some more expensive models do.
Depending on how you play, you might risk damaging or even cutting your hands on this guitar’s strings. A few reviewers said that the strings produced a loud buzzing sound too.
When some people think of guitars, they instantly think of the electric models that produce a loud wailing sound. Acoustic guitars are just as popular with pros and beginners though. You may even find that the best acoustic guitar of 2021 can help you learn the basics and get a good grasp on the fundamentals before you move onto an electrical model. Though you may think that only folk artists use acoustic models, rockers such as Kurt Cobain used them too. The best acoustic guitar will let you play whenever and wherever you want. You can even pull one out to play some tunes at your next party.
There are many different things to consider when looking at the top acoustic guitars of 2021. You need to know how much you want to spend because we saw models that sell for well over $2,000 and others that retail for less than $200.
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We included a section on average prices to give you an idea of how much you should spend. Our shopping guide to acoustic guitars goes over everything you need to know about these instruments, including which features you should look for and how you can care for the guitar that you buy.
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When it came time to find the best acoustic guitars of the year, we wanted to find instruments that you can play today and those that you’ll still want to play years from now. Far too many other shopping guides focus on either the most expensive guitars or the cheapest models. While we recommend that you spend less money as a beginner, we managed to find guitars that will last for a year or more. This helps you save money because you’ll get an instrument that meets your needs as you gain more experience and become a better player.
Finding the top models required checking with experts to find out what shops and players recommend. The websites that we used and the research that we did lead to use finding more than 20 capable models. We then checked with Amazon to both make certain that those models are still available and that each one had good reviews and ratings from the people who actually bought them. Those reviews helped us identify the pros and cons that you will see in the product matrix above and in all our in-depth reviews. Our shopping guide to the best acoustic guitars will help you find one suitable for the way you play.
If you close your eyes and imagine yourself rocking out to songs from the 1970s or more modern years, you’ll want to stick with an electric guitar. These models require that you have an amp to play. You must plug the guitar into the amp with the right cords and also have the amp plugged into an outlet. Electric guitars can produce a large number of tones and sounds that match some of your favorite songs. The downside to an electric model is that you must have an amp nearby to play. Acoustic models give you a little more freedom regarding where you go and how you can play.
Even rock stars have a fondness for acoustic guitars. They often learned how to play on one and still keep one around to practice and play with friends. As long as you have strings and a pick, you can sit down and play whenever you want. You can play songs while sitting around a campfire or on stage in front of a crowd. These guitars often have hex nuts along the board that you can adjust to get the clear notes that you want. Both acoustic and electric models are popular with a number of guitar players.
Yamaha has more than five decades of experience producing some of the best guitars around, but its FG830 is one of the top models for modern players. As part of its 800 Series, this model offers the same great sound quality that you need for performances but costs much less than some of the other instruments made by the company. Though the 830 comes in two different versions, we recommend the dreadnought for those who want the most for their money. You can also choose from some different finishes, though most of the more popular finishes have a natural look that works with the folk music design.
One look at the 830 and you might hear your favorite folk song running through your head. This model looks exactly like the guitars that Bob Dylan and others played in the past. The back and sides, as well as the bridge and fingerboard all, use rosewood in a deep shade of natural brown. Yamaha chose Sitka spruce for the top and used a lighter shade of tan. Those two colors work together to create a simple and classic look. This guitar is available as a basic instrument with included strings or as a value pack that comes with a case and other accessories.
One thing you may want to consider as you look at different guitars is the type of wood used in its construction. The type or types of wood used will often depend on the cost of the guitar. Some of the cheaper models use ash, which isn’t nearly as strong as other types. Using ash keeps the cost done and produces a number of lighter notes. If you’re rougher on your instruments though, you may find that the wood cracks in the middle of a gig. Many of the top models use rosewood, which is a much stronger type of wood. With rosewood, you can play both lighter and deeper notes with ease. Most models use rosewood just on the fret or on other parts of the guitar and not on the top or sides.
Most of the acoustic guitars available today use one type of wood on both sides and back and a second type on the top. You may prefer one that uses the same stain or finish on all parts or one with a different finish on the top. Acoustic guitars often use spruce on the top because it can handle constant playing with a cheaper type of wood on the sides.
An acoustic guitar consists of some of the same parts as those found on an electric model. Some of those parts and what they do include:
Even if you never played guitar before, you should know that these instruments require the use of strings. Most of the models we considered and put on our list come with at least one set of strings. You may find companies that give you a replacement set too. All strings are not equal though, which is why you should look at the different types. The most popular choices are usually nylon or steel. Steel strings are often heavier and thicker. They allow you to play rock songs and any music that has deeper notes such as rockabilly or bluegrass.
Some players prefer using nylon strings. Nylon is the best option for those who play folk music. Though the strings produce a lighter note and tone, you can more easily transition between notes in a song. Those who play classical music often prefer nylon. Some companies now make strings that have a metal core with a lighter material such as silk wrapped around them. You’ll also find strings that have a unique coating added to the top of a core made from metal or nylon. It’s important that you know what type of strings you want to use and that you pick a guitar that works with that type.
Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced musician and want to save some money on a new acoustic guitar, this model from Best Choice Products is worth the price. The guitar uses real wood in its construction and comes with steel strings and a shiny black finish. If you don’t like black, you can pay extra for a different finish. The manufacturer offers this same guitar set in bright shades such as pink and in classic wood tones. As long as you predominately use your right hand, you shouldn’t have any problems accessing the fretboard and switching between notes.
This is a good buy because it is a complete set that comes with both a guitar and some nice accessories. You get a carrying case that lets you keep the guitar free from dust and take it with you to gigs. A strap on the back of the bag makes it easy to carry. The set comes with a strap that lets you hold the guitar and keep it close to your body as you play too. You also get a pick that you can use with the guitar and steel strings as well as a digital tuner.
One thing you may not think about is body style because you assume that all acoustic guitars are the same. The body style will usually fall into one of three categories. There is the classic body style, which is popular among many different players. Beginners especially like these models. A classic guitar will have a simple bridge near the center and interior support posts. Those posts will usually run the length of the guitar and have extra pieces around the base. No matter how much pressure you put on the guitar or how quickly you play, it shouldn’t break.
The dreadnought is also popular with some players. Several of the top acoustic guitars that we found have this body style. Dreadnought guitars have nearly the same amount of support inside as the classic style does, but these models change the placement of those posts. You can put extra pressure on the top, bottom or any other area of the guitar. There are also some models that have a jumbo body style. This refers to guitars are larger in size. They have supports inside placed at an angle to the guitar that provides more support as you play.
One of the more important things to consider when buying a guitar is its overall size. In the same way that manufacturers use the terms jumbo and classic to refer to body style, they use those same terms to describe the size of the instruments. A classic guitar has a traditional size that most players can use. If you have a larger body size, you may want to go with a jumbo model. These guitars have a larger body and may have a longer neck too. If you buy a guitar online, you can get an idea of how large it is with a look at the dimensions listed by the manufacturer.
There are a few things to look at in terms of size. The first time that you use the guitar, you’ll want to hold it in your dominant hand and either sit or stand. You need to use the same position that you would usually use when playing. We recommend looking at whether you can easily reach each spot on the board to play different notes and that you can reach each string too. You may want to see if the guitar feels too heavy or puts too much pressure on your body too.
Martin was the first company to assign different sizes of guitars with model numbers. The company uses those same numbers today. If you want a smaller guitar, you’ll want to choose a 00 or 000 model. The numbers 1, 2 and 0 correspond to larger models.
You may hear players use the term action, which refers to the string height of their guitars. Those with a low action have strings placed closer to the fret and other parts of the instrument. A guitar with a high action has a greater space between the fret and the string. The best string height for you depends on how you want to play and the songs that you want to play. When you play the guitar, you might use the hammer feature as you transition between notes. To use the hammer action, you’ll want a model with a lower string height.
A low string height is generally best for beginners and those who previously played electric guitars too. These models recreate the feel of an electric instrument and help you use the same skills you learned on that model on your new one. A low string height can produce a slight buzzing sound though. Some of the reviews we read came from shoppers complaining about those sounds. Models with a high string height will produce fewer noises but can make switching between notes a little more difficult. Those with more experience often prefer a higher string height over a lower string height.
When many people think of acoustic guitars, they think about brands such as Martin. Martin has more than 100 years of experience making some of the top guitars on the market. Though it offers some cheaper models, one of the best of the best from this instrument manufacturer is its D-28. The D-28 uses both East Indian rosewood and some Sitka spruce, which is one of the most durable types of wood. You’ll also notice some accents and pieces made from ebony too. Those woods work together to produce all the clear notes that you want and to make the guitar last longer.
The D-28 has a classic design because it mimics the original design used by Martin for its guitars. One issue that some players had was with the forward bracing used inside. A few thought that this changed the sound quality and kept the guitar from producing heavier notes. You also need to consider the price because this is easily one of the most expensive acoustic guitars on the market. While it’s not a great choice for beginners, many pro players think that it’s the best. The D-28 strikes a good balance between design and function because it provides good sound with a great design.
If you want to play a set at the local bar and want to make sure that every eye remains on you, you’ll care more about the look and style of the guitar than others might. When you want one that lets you learn the fundamentals as you take lessons with a teacher though, you may not care what it looks like. Each manufacturer of acoustic guitars today offers different designs. Martin offers styles such as its Vintage Starburst, which looks similar to the guitar that the King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley used himself.
Some players prefer those that use more natural shades. You can easily buy a guitar that uses rosewood and other types of wood in their natural states. The manufacturer will apply a clear coating that adds some gloss and shine to the instrument while also added a layer of protection that keeps moisture and other hazards from damaging the wood. If you want something simple that still has some style to it, you might look for those with a painted finish. These guitars come in some bright colors such as a hot pink and royal blue. You’ll notice a clear coat added to the top of the paint too.
Though we already covered some of the features to look for and will go over more later, we wanted to make sure that you understand how much experience you have before you begin shopping. As a beginner, you can get by with a basic guitar that costs less than $100 and one that uses a lighter or cheaper type of wood. It will help you get through your early lessons and do you well as you begin performing in front of others. Ash and other types of cheap wood are suitable for adult beginners as well as kids.
If you consider yourself an intermediate guitar player, you’ll want to look for one that is stronger and costs a little more. Some of these models have features that you can customize as you gain experience and become more confident in your playing. Those that have steel strings are usually better for more experienced players too. Metal strings produce more twang and can wail more, but you’ll have an easy time figuring out how to adjust your fingers to tone down those notes. The amount of experience you have and how often you’ll play and use that guitar may determine which one you buy.
Fender is one of the top names in the guitar world and makes a number of more expensive models. If you want a quality acoustic guitar that fits your budget, you’ll want to take a look at the FA-100. This model has the classic look that so many players love, including the Fender name on the top and inside the guitar. The Basswood used on the top has a soft and light finish that pairs nicely with some of the darker wood accents across the front and sides. This model comes with strings and instructions that show you how to string the guitar.
The adjustable truss rod is another nice feature on this model. This rod has multiple hexes that you can easily adjust to change the way notes sound as you play. Fender provides you with an Allen wrench that will work on each hex nut. You also get a carrying bag. While some wished this bag was a little thicker or stronger, it will keep your guitar safe from dust and let you take it with you to gigs. Fender offers a limited lifetime warranty on this guitar that covers some of the parts that might break as you play.
Nut size is important because it determines the distance between each of the strings. The size that is best for you depends on how much experience you have and whether you played an electric model before. Electric guitars typically have more space between the strings, which means that the nuts are spaced out further on the neck. Some manufacturers make acoustic models that have the same amount of space between the nuts and strings. This makes it easier for you to transition from one model to the next and allows you to play both types of guitars with ease.
Looking at your own fingers and hands is one of the easiest ways to decide on the nut size or width that you need. If your fingers are wider or larger than others, you’ll want a guitar with a wider distance between the nuts. This will keep you from accidentally hitting the wrong string as you play and will prevent you from grabbing two strings at the same time. If you have smaller fingers, you can play a guitar with smaller nuts that are close together. You need to make sure that you can easily transition between notes and hit the right strings as you play.
Depending on how and where you want to play your guitar, you might want to look at a hybrid model. While an electric guitar requires an amp and power, an acoustic model lets you play anywhere. A hybrid model is one that combines an electric guitar with an acoustic one. If you want to record yourself playing on an acoustic guitar, you must work in a studio or space with a microphone. You usually need other accessories that amplify the sound and help the microphone pick up your notes. This can add much more to your overall setup costs than you expected.
A good alternative to an acoustic model for those who want to record and play in front of others is a hybrid model. Also called electric and acoustic guitars, they have the electrical components inside that you need when playing live. You can plug a jack from your guitar into an amp to make sure that the fans in the back row can hear you as clearly as those in the front row can. These models will also work with microphones and other accessories. You might just feel like a rock star when you set up and play on one of these models.
Guitar Hero, Rock Band and similar video games allow you to become a rock god at home. When you use the guitars that come with those games, you must attach a strap to them before you play. Acoustic guitars use a similar strap that allows you to keep the guitar on or against your body as you play. Let’s say that you plan on performing a live set at a local bar. You may want to take breaks between songs to talk to the audience or to explain why you chose the songs on your set list. The strap lets you use one or both hands as you talk without pausing to put the guitar down first.
No matter where you want to play, you should make sure that the model you pick has strap buttons. The buttons are usually located on the neck of the guitar, though you may see one on the body too. Most players prefer neck buttons because those on the body can impact the notes produced by the guitar. You’ll use this button to attach the strap before wrapping the piece around your neck or body. Some models do not have a strap and are not compatible with one.
Epiphone has a long history of making guitars that look just like more expensive models but cost much less. Those looking for an entry-level acoustic guitar that is also affordable should look no further than its DR-100. Though this model comes in different designs and finishes, we highly recommend the Vintage Starburst model, which has a darker finish around the top of the sides and a lighter finish in the center. That design would look right at home in the hands of your favorite musician from the 1950s or the 1960s.
Many players like the combination of woods used in its construction. You’ll find rosewood used in the fingerboard and mahogany around the sides. It also uses spruce on the top, which will keep the guitar from splintering or suffering other damage as you play. The DR-100 is a popular choice for beginners and for teachers who want to explain the guitar basics to their students. Some pros even use it as a practice instrument at home. If you live in an area with less humidity, you may find that it suffers some warping. As long as you properly care for the instrument though, you can prevent the wood from warping or cracking.
Buying the wrong size guitar is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make when choosing an acoustic guitar. When you buy one that is too large for your hands and body, you risk dropping it in the middle of a set or fumbling to find the right chords. Those that are too small can cause just as many problems because you struggle to hit just one note or string at a time. Some also purchase guitars with strings that are the wrong size too. Strings that are too heavy cause issues because you need to use more force to push down on them. This makes it hard to transition between notes and to find the right chords. If the strings are too thin or light, you might use too much pressure, which adds a rough edge to those notes.
Some shoppers also make the mistake of thinking that they should buy the most expensive guitar or that they should buy a model from a top company such as Martin or Fender. Those companies make guitars that might cost as much as you make in a month and won’t suit you any better than one that costs less does. You should really buy a guitar based on what you can afford.
Knowing how to maintain your new guitar is just as important as knowing how to store it, which is why we came up with a list of tips that any player can use.
The best thing to use when cleaning an acoustic guitar is any old cotton tee that you have lying around the house. You’ll want to make sure that it’s 100% cotton though because any other materials can scratch the finish. Some companies make soft cloths that will both remove dust and polish the finish at the same time. You can run that cloth over the surface and along the sides and back to remove any debris trapped on the surface. If you see smudges or other marks, try taking a deep breath and exhaling on the spot before wiping it down. The moisture from your breath should be enough to remove those marks.
A toothbrush is a great tool you already own that you can use to clean the fret. You’ll want to use a clean and dry toothbrush with a little bit of conditioner. Though some recommend using steel wool, you can seriously damage the fret because you used the steel wool with too much pressure. When it comes to the bridge, you can use a cotton swab with a little conditioner or polish applied to it. The cotton swab will remove months of gunk without damaging the wood or metal.
One of the more common injuries that can occur as you play is one that happens when a string breaks. Depending on the length of that string, it can smack you right across the face or hit your arm/body. You also risk suffering from something called tennis elbow, which occurs when you remain in the same position for too long and overwork the muscles in and around your elbow. The symptoms of this condition can include swelling around the elbow and pain when you move your arm. Players often suffer from tendonitis too, which will cause a ringing or a humming sound in your ears. You also risk developing carpal tunnel syndrome. The symptoms of that condition include:
Guitar players suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome typically have symptoms in their wrists and the fingers that they put on their instruments.
No matter how much pain and/or discomfort that you feel, you might want to grab your guitar and get right back to playing again. We recommend that you follow the RICE method to care for that injury and that you give yourself time to get better before you grab that instrument again.
Some of the guitars played by professional artists sold at auction for millions of dollars, but you can get a solid model for any beginner at a much lower price. The most important thing to keep in mind is that an entry-level model will cost more than one designed for a professional player. We saw plenty of acoustic models priced at less than $100. When buying an instrument though, you really get what you pay for in the long run. These cheaper models are great for kids because you can see how much your child will really play before you make a more serious investment. You can also purchase a cheap model to see if you like playing yourself before spending more.
We recommend looking at guitars in the $200 to $500 range once you feel more confident and after you decide that you want to play regularly. There are a handful of acoustic guitars that retail for more than $500 and some that cost more than double that amount. Martin makes several acoustic models that can cost more than you spent on your first car. You can look at the chart below to see how much some of these guitars sell for before buying one.
A: A synthetic guitar is essentially an alternative to those looking at wood models. Manufacturers use a combination of materials to create a synthetic compound and then use that compound to create the guitar. Some models also use a light layer of wood with the compound added to the top. Though synthetic models are often cheaper, they do not have the same quality that wood does.
A: There are a number of different guitars designed just for kids. While these models feature the same fret boards and other elements that adult-sized models do, they reduce the size of those components. This makes it easier for kids to learn the basics and play the guitar. Kids’ models are suitable for younger children in elementary school and junior high, but teenagers can use a full-size model.
A: The smallest type of acoustic guitar is a parlor guitar. Originally used during the 1800s, these guitars are several inches shorter than classic models are and have a thinner body too. While kids have an easier time learning how to play on one, they really aren’t suitable for most adults. Adults can use one to accompany another player though.
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