Acoustic Guitars Buyers Guide
Buying your first acoustic guitar?
Make life easier with this handy guide to buying your first acoustic guitar.
Whether you are a student looking to make music your career, a hobbyist looking to take up the greatest instrument in the world, or that non-musical parent, buying your first guitar can seem daunting. Fear not, we at Scan Pro Audio have a wealth of knowledge and experience to guide you through the tricky process of buying that all important first guitar! Unlike “Buying your first electric guitar”, acoustics can seem almost identical, but there are some key differences and considerations to make when purchasing an acoustic guitar.
For most the first step into the world of guitar playing is best taken with an entry level acoustic. Acoustic guitars don't require any electronics in order to be audible, therefore making the learning process less expensive - a genuine and important consideration, particularly for parents who may facilitate several hobbies for their children. Entry level acoustics tend to be robust and despite the small cost still have great value features, such as good hardware and tone woods. All guitars (with very, very few exceptions) are made from what is referred to as tone woods. These woods tend to transfer and shape vibrations from the strings as they are played, in a way that produces pleasant sounds across a range of frequencies.
Size is everything. Picking the correct acoustic guitar for your or your child’s age is critical. Some acoustics such as Dreadnoughts would be cumbersome for small children. Classical, ¾ or travel acoustic guitars would be ideal for pre-teens, while teenagers and older might be more comfortable with a grown-up steel string acoustic of a larger, louder size.
Let’s dive in with some entry level acoustics perfect for the aspiring guitar player. One of the features of taking up guitar in comparison to other hobbies is you get access to the biggest brands at the best prices. Companies like Fender are always looking to help the new guitar player. They not only provide great entry level acoustic guitars, electric guitars and guitar packs, they also provide substantial support in learning through their Fender play subscription service.
Fender - ESC80 Educational Series, Satin Vintage Natural Finish
The Fender ESC80 is a perfect starter guitar for younger students or players of a smaller frame. Producing warm mellow tones, the ESC80 is great for the Classical/Spanish guitarist. However, it will also provide a great start for any beginner looking to learn open position chords and barre chords without breaking the bank, or your hands!
The softer more pliable nylon strings make building calluses and learning difficult chords that little bit easier, with the larger frets helping to hit notes accurately. The guitar is also is made from a great mixture of tone woods! First off, a spruce top - spruce is a tone wood that you will find featured on many acoustics, from entry level up to professional acoustics worth many thousands. It provides a clear, bright tone that tends to hold well over the life of the guitar and is often accompanied by a mellower body wood to provide balance. The back and sides of the ESC80 are made from okoume - a softer hardwood ideal for classical acoustics, having a slightly mellower tone than the spruce top but still retaining a bright personality. Lastly, the walnut fingerboard has a tight snappy sound that helps the player to articulate every note. The fingerboard itself is effortlessly playable, with the accompanying simple, but reliable hardware will hold tune well. With a decorated sound hole, the ESC80 will have good sound projection perfect for showing off your new skills at home, parties or even at school.
Tanglewood - TWCR O, Crossroads Series Acoustic Guitar, Whiskey Barrel Burst Finish
The Tanglewood TWCR O is part of the crossroad series of Tanglewood acoustics, harking back to the very beginnings of acoustic blues. Tanglewood is a British based company with an extensive history of producing a range of exquisite acoustic guitars. The TWCR O is a standard steel string acoustic with minimal decoration and fuss - the crossroads acoustic focuses on playing, learning and writing.
With all mahogany back, sides and top this acoustic will have a warm mid tone that will over time mellow with the guitarist. Mahogany provides excellent projection, and the larger sound hole means the beginner guitarist won’t fail to be heard when the time is right to show off their new skills. The rosewood fingerboard is a great way to get used to what is ostensibly the most popular wood for fretboards in the world. Rosewood while not as snappy as walnut provides a solid foundation for clear articulate notes, whist providing good sustain and transfer of sound to the body for clear bright chordal play.
Finally, with the chrome plated machine heads, this guitar will provide steady reliable tuning. An all-mahogany acoustic with a whiskey barrel finish is incredibly unique at this price point, with some all-mahogany acoustics costing many hundreds of pounds! If you are a beginner looking for a long-term acoustic this is ideal, and even if you have been playing a while this is a great addition to your musical arsenal.
Takamine have been building incredible acoustics for a very long time, becoming very popular among rock guitarists and a staple of the power ballad. The Takamine GD11M is a large-bodied dreadnought - with incredible projection this guitar is ideal for the aspiring party guitarist, busker or performer who doesn't necessarily want to go electro-acoustic.
With similar tone woods to the crossroads above the GD11M will produce a very warm tone with a crisp, bright high end supported by a strong low end and incredible sustain. When you marry this to the extreme projection you get a perfect performance acoustic that will not only aid the beginner/student but will stay with you for a lifetime.
The 3 per side chrome diecast machine heads will provide performance level tuning stability. The Takamine GD11M is at the slightly higher price point for an entry level acoustic, but with the premium tone woods, greater size, projection and reliable hardware this is SO much more than a beginner acoustic.
Whatever you decide to choose, know that as a beginner you can't go wrong picking any of these ideal acoustics - each will provide a solid foundation for most musical styles.
Should you need any more assistance in deciding which acoustic guitar is right for you, email us at [email protected] and our team of Pro Audio professionals will be happy to help!