How To Choose Your Acoustic Guitar

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Acoustic guitars come in a pretty wide variety of styles. From the wood it's made of, to the shape of its body, to the strings on it, to the pickup, there are many differences between the guitars out there. In this lesson, we're going to go over these differences so you can learn how to choose your own acoustic guitar.

Body Styles

First, we'll start by talking about the different body styles available for steel-string acoustic guitars. The acoustic guitar Nate is playing in this video is called a "Concert" or "000" body style. It's a little bit smaller than a "Dreadnaught", which is considered the standard acoustic guitar body style.

Since Dreadnaughts are a little bit bigger, they tend to also sound a little bit bigger as well. Some people might find it hard to get their arm around the larger body, which makes a 000 more desirable for smaller players. If you want something even bigger than a Dreadnaught, you could go for a "Jumbo". If you need something even smaller than the 000, there are also "00" and "0" body styles.

Classical or nylon-string guitars tend to only come in one body style. The body of these guitars tends to be even smaller than the 000 steel-string guitars. You can, however, occasionally find a classical guitar the same size as a 000 if you are looking for a bigger sound.

Woods

Next, we'll talk about the most common types of woods you'll find acoustic guitars made out of. There are two main types of wood you'll find for the tops of the guitar. These are Spruce, which tends to be brighter sounding, and Cedar, which tends to be a little darker sounding. Tops for acoustic guitars can also be broken down into two other categories. These are laminated and solid tops. Laminated tops tend to be more prevalent on affordable guitars and solid tops tend to be more common on expensive guitars.

For the back and sides, you have the same options of laminated and solid wood. Again, laminated tends to be more common on lower-end guitars and solid wood on higher-end guitars. You have three main options for the type of wood for the back and sides: Rosewood, Mahogany, and Maple. Rosewood tends to sound big and boomy in the bottom-end and has rich highs. Mahogany is the most even sounding wood with the most mids. And Maple tends to sound quite scooped with present highs and lows, and less mids.

Acoustic vs. Acoustic/Electric

A lot of people ask whether or not they should get an acoustic guitar or an acoustic/electric guitar. An acoustic/electric guitar is the exact same as an acoustic guitar except for the fact that it has a pickup so it can be plugged into an amp, computer, or sound system. This isn't a function everyone needs, and you can always install a pickup in a regular acoustic as well.

Strings

There are two main types of steel-string acoustic strings. 80/20 Bronze strings are quite a bit brighter sounding than other strings. The other option, Phosphor Bronze strings, are on the warmer side and tend to be better for fingerstyle playing.

Nylon strings, as the name suggests, are quite different from steel strings. The top three strings are pure nylon, and the bottom three strings are nylon strings wound with metal.

You should now have a firm understanding of the main differences between the different types of acoustic guitars out there. Hopefully, when you are choosing your acoustic guitar, you will feel less overwhelmed by the many options that are out there.


This lesson is just a small excerpt from Guitareo. There, you can fast track your progress on the guitar with step-by-step video lessons, fun play-along songs, and all the community support you need. If you want to watch the rest of the series that this lesson was taken from and continue to build on your momentum, you can head over to Guitareo.com and try it risk-free for 90 days.