Are you taking face-to-face or online guitar lessons and have decided to purchase your own guitar so you can practise every day?
What type of guitar are you after — bass, electric, classical ... or perhaps acoustic?
And what brand is on your wishlist? There's plenty to choose from — Yamaha, Epiphone, Fender, Gretsch, Ibanez, Gibson? Or maybe you want to go the whole way and get a custom made guitar?
Finally, are you after a brand new guitar, or are second-hand guitars more appealing to you? Maybe a classic vintage guitar?
There's plenty to think about when you're ready to buy an acoustic guitar, isn't there! And that's only the beginning.
What is an Acoustic Guitar?
The acoustic guitar is often overlooked in favour of its more showy cousin, the electric guitar. However, the versatility of acoustic guitars run rings around electric and, for that matter, classical guitars.
The acoustic guitar's sound is generated from the strings vibrating above the hollow chamber in the body of the guitar. These vibrations do not require electric amplification, although many acoustic guitars also function as electric with amps as accessories.
While the brands, like Yamaha, Epiphone, Fender and Gibson among others, are of interest to many, it is really the guitar's body that you should be trying to understand, for not all acoustic guitars are the same.
The types and aspects of guitar bodies vary and include:
- grand auditorium.
The body shape and design affect the sound of the guitar.
Another difference is that, unlike classical guitars with their nylon strings (which are easier on the fingers), an acoustic guitar has steel strings. The steel strings help you hold your fingers on the strings and they also resonate differently to nylon strings, again, producing a different sound.
While an acoustic guitar looks similar to a classical guitar, there are subtle differences (in addition to the string material). Classical guitars are larger than acoustic and don't have a rounded neck.
Out of acoustic, classical, bass and electric guitars, acoustic guitars are the most versatile and can be used to play many different music styles, such as rock and hard rock, flamenco, blues and classical.
What is the Price Range of Acoustic Guitars?
You probably started learning on a classical guitar as this is the one often recommended for beginners to learn basic techniques and because of the ease of playing with nylon strings.
But now, you may be ready to add to your repertoire and have an acoustic guitar upgrade on your wishlist.
Before you start comparing acoustic guitar prices, you may want to borrow a guitar from your music teacher so you can get a feel for the strings and the difference in sizing of the body, neck and fingerboard.
Begin by checking out average guitar prices online. You will quickly see that acoustic guitar prices range from less than $100 to well over $10,000.
The product and model range may be a bit overwhelming, so just stick to two or three reputable online shop sites. You can also start to add a guitar or two to your wishlist.
A few recommendations to add to your wishlist include:
- Karrera 40 inch cutaway — currently considered the best acoustic guitar for beginners (price: $89)
- Alpha 41 inch dreadnought — reliable and easy to play (price: $89.95)
- Yamaha GL Series — trusted brand (price: $199)
- Fender FA-125 Dreadnought — another trusted brand (price: $219)
Once you have your wishlist, pop along to your local music shop and see what they have available.
There may be others you can add to your wishlist as well, particularly after you've had a chance to play them and get advice from shop staff who, more often than not, are experienced guitar players themselves.
If you have been playing for a while and want an acoustic guitar with a few more features, beyond the basic beginner product, look for guitars by the trusted brands (Yamaha, Fender, Gibson, Epiphone, Gretsch, Ibanez) in the price range of $500 to $800.
If your budget does not stretch that far, you may need to wait for the sale period — remembering it is not just traditional sale periods like Christmas and EOFY, but a shop will often have a sale for their own random reasons.
In the meantime, also check out what is available in the pre-owned marketplace. You can get some amazing bargains when you shop around for second-hand guitars.
Where Can You Buy Second-hand Acoustic Guitars?
Second-hand does not mean second best. You can buy a pre-owned, second-hand guitar of equal quality to a brand new acoustic guitar.
Your first step is to know what the guitar prices are for new stock. Then check out the price independent sellers are asking for their second-hand guitars. Regularly scan online listings on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace and add items to a wishlist.
You can add filters for location — a good idea as you will want to see the condition and play any pre-owned instrument before you hand over your money.
Second-hand markets are another place where you might find treasure in the way of top condition, or even vintage, pre-owned acoustic guitars (as well as classical, bass and electric guitars, and accessories like amps, stands, and a case or bag).
Finally, you can often find a pre-owned, second-hand section in your local music shop. It might be tucked in the back corner, but it will be there.
Before you rush out, get a few tips for buying your second-hand guitar from an experienced player.
Consider Your Goals When Buying Your Guitar
What are your goals for your future guitar playing?
This is an important consideration as it is natural for players with dreams of going pro to want a guitar at a higher price point, whereas an amateur or intermediate player may be perfectly happy with a mid-price guitar.
The bottom line is this — if you're a beginner, don't spend big on a guitar until you're sold on playing and it becomes a natural part of your life.
Whatever your goal, and whatever your price point is, you will be able to find an acoustic guitar to suit your budget in just about any brand, style or model of acoustic guitar.
- Yamaha series: $149 — $2479
- Fender series: $219 — $1149
- Gibson or Gibson Epiphone series: $279 — $11,599
- concert: $209 — $3549
- dreadnought: $199 — $9999
Remember that if you want to play on stage, you will need to add an amp to your wishlist.
An acoustic-electric guitar is essential in this case as they have a port to add the amp. Some acoustic-electric guitars come with an amp, but a true pro will buy a quality one separately.
Another key consideration is the look of your guitar, which can also vary the sound. Acoustic guitars can be:
- solid wood (two pieces glued together) — mahogany, cedar, ebony, cherry ...
- laminated wood (sheets glued together).
Body styles include:
- round-shoulder dreadnought
- auditorium and grand auditorium.
Acoustic guitar prices vary greatly according to these elements, so how do you choose?
Shop around. See what you're drawn to in your price range.
Alternatively, if you have the budget, engage a luthier for a custom design.
Getting Advice Before and During the Purchase
The best places to seek advice about your guitar purchase are your music teacher or music school, or your local music shop staff who specialise in guitars.
A good music shop will offer a range of guitars, including:
- student guitars
- classical guitars
- electric guitars
- bass guitars
- acoustic guitars
- acoustic-electric guitars.
Make sure you ask plenty of questions. All guitar enthusiasts will be only too happy to talk about guitars, music and guitar accessories.
Speaking of accessories, a music shop should have everything you need, such as:
- strings and string sets
- guitar stands
- guitar case or bag
- tuning forks or other tuning devices
- scores and tablatures.
In store, you can also ask about guitar lessons. It is likely they will have a tutor database or even their own music classes. They may also stock learning packages, such as 'how to' books.
Alternatively, you may like to look for online guitar lessons.
When and why should I buy a new guitar (rather than a second-hand one)?
Purchasing a new guitar is certainly an investment but you need to make sure your budget can accommodate this expense.
You also need to know that you are committed to ongoing lessons, practice and playing.
If you're a lover of music, and you know you'll be playing your guitar for many years, now may be the time to invest in your dream guitar.
Learning Acoustic Guitar: Online Lessons and In-Person Classes
An acoustic guitar has a feeling quite different from classical, bass and electric guitars and other string instruments.
All guitars, in fact, all musical instruments, bring joy to both listeners and players. However, the acoustic guitar sits firmly at the top of the scale with its sheer versatility, giving players the ability to play a huge range of styles.
If you want to be able to play any music style, with any technique, you can do this on your acoustic guitar — but you will probably need to take lessons.
For students who are complete beginners, it is likely your music teacher will recommend starting with a classical guitar, however, if you are set on acoustic, starting your learning journey with this string instrument is not impossible.
As long as you are committed to practising regularly, you will not be limited by any obstacles. You can achieve your goals with the right teacher and the right attitude.
Playing and engaging in music has myriad benefits, so with your interest in guitar, you are setting your future up well.
Proudly hold your new Yamaha, Ibanez, Gibson, Fender, Epiphone or Gretsch acoustic guitar as you commit to your music lessons and daily practice. It will pay back in kind.
And then, when you're ready, what about trying online bass guitar lessons?
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