Which acoustic guitar is best?

Stringed instruments are some of the oldest musical devices in the world, with evidence pointing to their use as far back as 3,000 years ago. Through the ages, they have evolved from simple chordophones to the complex modern guitar we know today.

But before electric guitars became a staple of jazz and blues in the 1930s, musicians could only use acoustic versions, and folksingers still love them for small, intimate gigs. One of the most recognized brands for guitars is Fender, so you can’t go wrong with the FA-125 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar if that’s your jam.

What to know before you buy an acoustic guitar

The guitar’s shape is important for comfort

The sound of an acoustic guitar is important, but you must be comfortable when playing it. This is where the shape and size of the body come in. The standard full-size guitar is around 38 inches long, with a 25.5-inch scale length. Three-quarter guitars are perfect for smaller musicians and children. The inside construction of the guitar also varies depending on the sounds you’re after, ranging from the classic and dreadnought to the jumbo. 

Decide between nylon or steel string

An acoustic guitar, depending on the model and the headstock, can be played with nylon strings or steel strings. Both have a distinct sound, and it will come down to personal preference for which works best — if the guitar is compatible. For beginners, nylon strings are easier on the fingertips, but steel strings can be easier to play. Electric guitars only have steel strings.

Would you ever want to connect it to an amplifier?

Guitar amplifiers aren’t just reserved for heavy metal or rock instruments. An amplifier is simply used to make the guitar louder, and this can also be done with acoustic models. Keep in mind that most acoustic guitars need to be converted to electric acoustic if you didn’t buy it that way. So, if you ever need a bit more volume, that’s the way to go. 

What to look for in a quality acoustic guitar

Great construction for the perfect sound

The guitar’s ability to produce clear, crisp sound is equally as important as the strings. Acoustic guitars can be made from a variety of materials, but affordable or budget guitars tend to skimp on this a bit. A good-quality acoustic guitar is made from tonewood that can be ash, cedar, spruce or rosewood. The best tonewoods for acoustic models are mahogany and maple.

The fretboard can influence your sound

The fretboard is the part of the guitar’s neck you press on to play a note or chords. Generally, there are two types of wood used for fretboards: rosewood and ebony. The former is more common but can have a rough playing surface. Ebony is much smoother, but also more expensive. 

Smooth fret edges

Once you have checked that the guitar body is the right size and made from the tonewood of your choice, one more crucial aspect will determine how much enjoyment you’ll get. All guitars have frets, but a good-quality acoustic guitar has smooth fret edges on the neck. When you slide your hand over the fret edges, there shouldn’t be any bits sticking out. If it’s rough, you’ll have difficulty playing chords without scratching yourself.

How much you can expect to spend on an acoustic guitar

The average price of an acoustic guitar largely depends on the manufacturer, the size and the tonewood used in construction. Entry-level guitars retail for $100-$150, while more complex or professional models sell for $300-$500.

Acoustic guitar FAQ

Can you change the strings yourself?

A. Yes, and it’s relatively simple. But first, take it to a musical instrument shop and watch them do it a few times. If you try it yourself and do it incorrectly, you could damage the strings and the guitar.

How often should you change the strings on an acoustic guitar?

A. This depends on how vigorously you play but it’s a good idea to change them out every 3 months or after 100 hours of playing. Even when the guitar isn’t being used, the strings can lose integrity. 

What’s the best acoustic guitar to buy?

Top acoustic guitar

Fender FA-125 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Fender FA-125 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

What you need to know: Fender is a well-known brand, and this guitar is the perfect instrument if you want to make a career out of music.

What you’ll love: Its body is made from spruce at the top and basswood at the back. The neck is made from nato wood and the fretboard is walnut. It has a classic 3+3 headstock and the scale length is 25.3 inches. As the name implies, the body shape is a Dreadnaught. It comes with factory-standard Fender 880L strings ranging from .012-.053 gauges.

What you should consider: It is designed for right-handed players. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top acoustic guitar for the money

Yamaha FD01S Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha FD01S Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

What you need to know: This six-string guitar is perfect for beginners who want an affordable instrument with great sound.

What you’ll love: It uses mahogany for the body, back and neck, while the top material is spruce. It is designed for right-handed players, has die-cast chrome tuners and ships with steel strings.   

What you should consider: It has no pickup, so you won’t be able to connect it to an amplifier.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Yamaha 6 String Series AC1M

Yamaha 6 String Series AC1M

What you need to know: With a rocking sunburst design, this acoustic guitar delivers a great sound that can be amplified.

What you’ll love: Yamaha’s guitars are made from excellent materials, and this model is no different. The top material is spruce, while the body, neck and back are made from mahogany. This six-string has a piezo pickup with a fixed bridge system and rosewood fingerboard. On the headstock, there are die-cast chrome tuners and the guitar ships with Elixir Nanoweb 80/20 Bronze Light strings.

What you should consider: The price might make it inaccessible to most beginners.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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