Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners - Ultimate Guide 2020
The decision to learn how to play guitar is usually sparked when a person watches a guitar hero play amazing licks, a need for a new hobby, and even sometimes just a parent suggesting a child learn an instrument.
In most cases, the first guitar that is picked up to get going is something really cheap and far from the best acoustic guitars for beginners!
I mean what if its not for me and i quit, i don’t want to then be stuck with an expensive guitar, right?
While logically this makes sense for the budget, the reality is, the cheaper and beat up the guitar is, the less inspiring it will be to pick up and keep trying to learn on.
If the tone is lifeless, the action way too high and the body simply uncomfortable, why would you want to keep learning to play?
I mean at this point in your mind, playing guitar is kind of boring, maybe rather painful and just sounds bad. Why would anyone want to do that?
Is Budget the Only Factor In Selecting a Guitar?
Luckily in this day and age, we have a rather large selection of entry-level acoustics made by some of the worlds top pioneers and manufacturers that solves this dilemma.
I would suggest that when it comes to selecting your first acoustic, you keep the amount of money closer to the bottom of the check sheet if you are seriously thinking of learning how to play the guitar.
Obviously budget is a deciding factor, just don’t make it the main factor, because your chances of really getting started might be squashed before you even really get going!
In this article, we have put together some information that we hope brings you value and makes selecting a guitar a bit easier.
There are many acoustic guitars on the market that are absolutely incredible for the money.
Acoustics that will offer you an incredible experience in tone, feel, play-ability and give you a great opportunity to get you to the next level as you learn to play.
So don’t jump at the first cheap acoustic you see, spend some time doing some research and choose a guitar that you feel will fit you well.
On that note, lets explore the concept of beginning to play the guitar, there are a few things you should probably consider first.
Is Acoustic or Electric Guitar Better for Beginners?
This is a question that comes up quite a bit, and one that deserves some attention as we get started. There is a rather big difference between learning to play on an electric guitar versus an acoustic.
You see, either of the two can get you started, its where you end up that could be the deciding factor between continuing and calling it quits!
An electric guitar, while being an excellent option, comes with a few
extra bells and whistles which is great! I mean who wouldn't want to
start with some huge amplified overdriven tone with some great effects and
play amazing solos into the night?
Well, for one, maybe your neighbors, or parents, or anyone else that might be living in the same building as you are.
The electric guitar is an amazing tool for those who are perhaps intermediate to advanced, but when your just getting started, there is a lot of extra stuff that you will need to figure out to getting started on an electric guitar.
I mean, the guitar itself will need an amp because its a bit too quiet on its own to keep you inspired to play.
Now you will need to find the right amp that isn't too loud because, can you imagine what it will sound like being a beginner, and now amplifying that? Yikes!
And that's not even considering the other variables that come into play when now you also have to deal with tone controls, selector switches and the list goes on. At this point, i think you know what i'm trying to get across to you. Being overwhelmed before you even get started is usually what happens to most people that begin learning to play on an electric guitar.
And while its not impossible, because many have done so, the exception is that a lot of people stop learning because of this choice.
Many teachers will tell you this as they have first hand experience in this area. In time, moving to an electric is a given, but if you want to stay motivated to learn, you may want to consider starting on an acoustic!
An acoustic guitar, while also being an excellent option, has a few draw backs of its own. For example, the string tension might not be as easy to play as an electric. The strings might be farther apart, the action on the guitar might also be higher then on an electric and the body a bit bigger then an electric.
And while this is all true, i would like to let you know, that it all comes down to the selection of the right acoustic guitar for you!
That's right, not all acoustic guitars fit all players! And when your a beginner its even more difficult to just jump into any acoustic and get playing!
There are many many acoustic guitars on the market today that are all different in so many ways. Body shape, neck size, neck taper, string gauges materials and so much more!
But the good news is, there is an acoustic guitar that is made for you out there, now you just need to find it!
And when i say acoustic guitar, i mean a steel string acoustic guitar, which you will find in the acoustics we recommend later on!
Learning how to play on a steel string acoustic will take out the overwhelming choices that an electric guitar would present when starting. It really needs to be about keeping it simple, and an acoustic guitar will offer you this.
All of the acoustic guitars in our top 5 for beginners will give you amazing sound, a body size that best fits you, an easy to play and comfortable neck and the right string action and spacing. Key elements to keeping you inspired to play for the long haul, because learning to play the guitar takes time.
Steel String or Nylon String Acoustic Guitars best for Beginners?
The comment was made earlier that steel string acoustic guitars are the better choice for a beginner to learn on, and it is important to look at why that is the case.
For a new comer to guitar, a steel string guitar and a nylon string or classical guitar, sort of get lumped into the same category as simply an acoustic guitar.
But there are some rather large differences between the two that should be considered as this choice can also have an effect on your motivation to stay focused on learning and enjoying the process.
Lets look at some of the similarities and differences.
Classical Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Now, it isn't impossible to learn on a nylon string or classical guitar and some people might prefer it.
The sound of a plucked nylon string is very pleasant and warm and for certain types of music this is the go to acoustic guitar. There are many people who have started on a classical guitar and are very talented players as a result.
And while you may choose to start on a classical guitar, the purpose of this guide isn't to tell you not to. It is to introduce you to the instrument and then allow you to decide if its a good fit for you to get started.
The nylon string when plucked, has a large vibrational amplitude.
As a result of this, more area on the neck is required to prevent one string from hitting another. This means that the width of the neck on a nylon string guitar must be larger.
This extra width will then require the player to extend their reach to accommodate the thicker neck and thus change the technique. For some people this may be fine, especially if smaller hands is not an issue for you, but for others, this extra reach could be the deal breaker.
The classical guitar is a great sounding instrument and should be something that every beginner works their way into with time as the technique can take you to a whole different level.
But as a beginner there is a good chance that starting here will increase the difficulty by 25% and won't quite fit all genres of music.
And a word of advice, never try and adapt steel strings onto a classical guitar, the string tension of steel is so much greater, the classical body is not made to handle the extra force.
Steel String Acoustic Guitar
The steel string acoustic has some differences from its cousin the nylon string acoustic.
Some of those differences are a thinner neck, the head stock being a different shape as the steel strings don't need a larger barrel to wrap around like nylon strings, and the bridge is different as well.
The steel strings are normally mounted to the bridge with pins inserted, where as the nylon strings are wrapped around and tied.
And then of course the obvious difference of steel strings that are more metallic sounding to the warm sound of the nylon.
The steel string acoustic with its thinner neck will allow you to lessen your reach and add more comfort and control to make it easier to adapt your motor skills to the requirement of playing the strings.
The steel strings will also fit more genres of music allowing you to start with and enjoy learning songs from blues to rock! But again, just make sure to select the right steel string acoustic that will fit you!
Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners Overview
We have explored some of the pros and cons of guitar types for beginners and for us here at Killer Rig, we believe that the steel string acoustic is the best place to start for a beginner.
As players ourselves, we too have struggled through the beginning phases of learning just like anyone else and so we hope that our insight will help you get going and progress to play your first chord, then song, then solo!
The reward of playing guitar and the enjoyment of great tone can not be explained, it can only be experienced and we want to help get you there!
We have selected 5 acoustics that we feel are a great choice for a beginner.
The list of acoustics features guitars of many sizes, neck shaped and widths and great tone. These are the type of guitars that will keep you motivated to keep learning as they are some very good acoustics for a good price.
And not only that, these are guitars that are made by brands that will hold their value, so if one day you need to let go of the guitar, you will get a good chunk of your hard earned money back!
These acoustic guitars were also selected based on what beginners ask when searching for their first acoustic guitar. Some of those questions are:
Which brand of acoustic guitar is best?
There are many great brands producing quality acoustics! Our list of top 5 acoustic guitars for beginners are from Top brands that you can rely on!
There are obviously many more but lets look at the ones that produce the guitars we recommend for beginners!
Seagull guitars are a sub-brand of Godin Guitars. They are producing some amazing guitars in quality and sound. You can rely on these guitars in both sound, build quality and just over all experience.
Yamaha produces many different instruments. They are a house hold name when it comes to quality instruments and people have come to recognize them for this.
You can rest assured that if you have chosen a Yamaha acoustic guitar, you have chosen quality!
Epiphone is a brand name that carries some weight. The guitars produced by Epiphone are some of the most well known and appreciated in the world!
There are many large artists that stand behind their Epiphone instruments, and you will too!
Taylor, another house hold name when it comes to guitars! Taylor guitars are considered to be some of the best acoustic guitars in the world!
Players from all around aspire to own a Taylor because of their tone and build quality. No “best of” list would be complete without a Taylor guitar on it! Thankfully, you can get into one even as a beginner!
What's the best sounding acoustic guitar?
So this one is a bit harder to answer, but this is why we have created a top 5 list and guide. You see, each acoustic has something of its own to offer a player. And so there are a lot of variables to consider!
Ultimately, you are the only one who knows this best, and so all we can really do is help you understand. So lets take a look at those guitars so that you can see what they are and what they each have to offer.
Scroll down to see a deeper look at our pick of best acoustic guitars for beginners!
How Much Should I Pay for a Beginner Guitar?
Or, what should a good acoustic cost? For a good acoustic that is going to give you the best experience when learning to play, the amount you should pay for your first guitar really comes down to what you can afford.
Not what the value of the instrument is going to be.
Anyone who can afford an acoustic worth $2000 should go and buy an acoustic worth $2000 to begin!
The message we are trying to send is that the quality of your instrument is a key element in learning to play and so the better the quality, the better experience and pride you will have in your guitar, even down the road!
However, you do not need to spend $2000 on an acoustic that will offer a great experience, if you can only spend a few hundred bucks then select a good quality guitar in that price range because they do exist and are plenty!
Even the DR-100 by Epiphone, a great acoustic for pretty cheap, can give you a great experience for a beginner looking to start.
The list we have compiled consists of 5 acoustic guitars in a price range we feel most players are going to appreciate! While the list keeps things affordable it also provides a quality acoustic that will provide a great experience.
One thing we would suggest, is that no matter who you buy your guitar from, make sure that you are also offered great support!
It is very important that the guitar is set up correctly, you want to make sure you are beginning with the instrument at its best right from the start.
And should something go wrong, you will have a tech available to repair it quickly!
Acoustic Guitar Sizes
In our list of top 5 acoustic guitars, we have a few different body sizes available that may or may not fit you better then any of the others.
The most common body shape found today in an acoustic guitar is a dreadnought body shape which has dimensions of 20 inches long, 4.75 inches deep and 15 inches lower body width.
This body shape is a standard because of the tonal characteristics it offers but also because this guitar body fits a majority of people including some children.
Then there other guitars like the Seagull S6 that is designed to be a bit different then a regular size dreadnought.
The S6 comes in at 19.8 inches long, 4.9 inches deep and a 15.8 lower body, that might fit a person a bit differently but still offers the same great tonal characteristics to compensate for the smaller length.
While 2 inches doesn’t seem like much, once you have tried each guitar under your arm, 2 inches feels like a lot!
Our recommended guitar body shapes for most players would be the dreadnought guitar.
This body shape will fit most players even young adults and some older children. While for younger children, this would be a good place to try the GS Mini guitar by Taylor.
This guitar has a body shape modeled after their Grand Symphony style guitars but in a smaller package coming in at 17.6 inches in length, 14.4 in width and 4.45 in depth.
This guitar, while it makes a great travel guitar for its size also makes a great small children’s guitar.
For a great guide on acoustic guitar body sizes, please see our blog post where we really dig in to acoustic guitar sizes here!
So I Found an Acoustic, Should I Teach Myself to Play the Guitar?
One of the things about the internet is that knowledge is as easy as right at our fingertips and it is wonderful! There are many websites that offer information that can help get people started.
And while it is possible to learn to play on your own, it is also very beneficial to get the help of a good instructor.
While a lot of the information you find online can give you a rough idea of where to start, it leave the potential to miss key techniques that can be very helpful to learn in the early stages.
There are many guitar players who have taught themselves to play, but one of the many things we hear from players who did, is that they missed out on things that would have helped them in later years.
Experienced instructors and well built programs have the ability to give you new challenges as you progress that are fabricated in an order that is designed to keep you learning key techniques that are very beneficial later on.
If your really only interested in learning a few chords and playing some of your favorite songs then you can normally get going with some practice and a few good blog posts or videos online.
But if you interested in really learn how to play and progressing into reading music, solos and the like down the road, then learning from a good instructor or well built program is really the best way to get going and will deliver you more value as you begin your journey with big results down the road.
Every town or city normally has plenty of music schools that can provide an exceptional instructor that can not only give you great information and training, but also a feel for the music that rubs off on the student.
We suggest you search your area for an instructor and at least give it a try to point you in the right direction if your budget allows for it.
Guitar Program Online
But if you can’t find a good music school in your area or just can’t get out to meet with a teacher, there are also great online programs that can allow you to learn at home, or even on the road if you travel frequently for business, this can offer you more flexibility to learn on your time as it permits.
In this case we have used a few programs ourselves that we feel are incredibly well built that can give you this comfort of learning from home.
They also have thousands of other players who have used these programs that sing high praises towards the quality of the instruction.
And for the cost of some of these programs, its normally not worth the hassle and difficulty of trying to piece it together yourself.
Final Thoughts on Our Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners Guide
Learning to play the guitar is difficult when you begin to get started, there are many things that can be overwhelming at the start for sure!
But we encourage you to keep going, as it is one of the most rewarding experiences and a hobby that will bring you much joy. Playing music is also a great way to have fun, unwind, de-stress and so much more.
It also comes with some great opportunities to connect with fellow players, form bands, even sometimes great careers and so much more! It will enrich your life with a challenge that is also really good for the brain!
And so we hope you were able to find some value and encouragement from our guide that will help you to kick start your journey into learning to play the guitar!
We will continue to add more and more information on our site and we also encourage you to reach out to the Killer Rig community to find other helpful information from experienced players and great encouragement!
Let us know what you think! We would love to hear from you! Do you agree that these are some of the best acoustic guitars for beginners?