For first time buyers, getting the right first acoustic guitar comes with memories that will last a lifetime.
I think you will agree with me in saying that nothing beats the first time…right?
But what do you do if you lack the right experience to make a well-informed buying decision?
Luckily, we’ve done the hard part for you and in this post, we’ve put together everything you need to know as you embark on your musical journey. Read our buyers guide and check out our list of the top 10 best acoustic guitars for beginners available in the market.
Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners of 2018
10. Cordoba C5-CE Iberia Series Acoustic Electric Guitar
The Cordoba features a solid Canadian cedar top while the sides and back are constructed from mahogany. The fingerboard and the bridge are made from Rosewood and the strings are Savarez Cristal Corum.
Cordoba C5-CE features a soft cutaway and comes with a Fishman’s Issy’s system which is designed to provide maximum output while also being small. The preamp has tone settings as well as volume, phase control, and pickup. The nuts have a width of 50mm.
The guitar shows off a traditional and well-made Spanish design and gives out a warm and pleasant sound. This instrument reflects its price, being very comfortable to hold and play. The bridge is well placed and there are really no imperfections to be found anywhere on the body.
Another reason that this guitar feels so good to play is the neck. It is thin which allows the fingers to easily grab the strings. The tuner is well made and very effective at doing its job.
The only downside that we noticed with the guitar is the nuts. They seem like they would need replacing after some time.
- Mahogany sides and back
- Produces a loud yet warm sound
- Comfortable to hold and play
- The nuts are not the best and may need replacing
9. Yamaha NXT700 Acoustic Electric Guitar
The Yamaha features a solid spruce top and a nato neck. The sides of the guitar, as well as the back, are made from nato while the fingerboard is made from Rosewood. This is a lightweight and very comfortable guitar weighing just 6.8 pounds.
There are strap pins on the neck and bottom of the guitar allowing the user to attach a strap for playing when standing up. The thin neck makes the guitar easy to play. The fret is also very well made. Overall this is a very good-looking instrument.
Yamaha NXT700 produces a warm sound and the electrical system allows the player to connect to an amplifier. The downside is that the body is quite thin which means that the city doesn’t produce very loud sounds. For that, you will need to make use of the preamp. If, however you want to use the guitar at home for entertaining family and friends, this guitar will perform just fine. The Yamaha NXT700 is well made and very pleasant to look at.
- Beautifully crafted guitar
- Comfortable to play
- Strap pins allow users to add straps
- A bit too thin.
8. Rogue RA-090 Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar
Are you on a tight budget but want to strike the right balance in an affordable and good quality guitar? The Rogue RA-090 is an excellent well-made instrument. It has a nato neck and its dreadnaught body is made from white wood.
The ratio between the length of the body and the width allows the guitar to produce an even tone and the dreadnaught design ensures optimum projection. The finger bridge and bridge are constructed from maple and the neck is thin which makes it comfortable to practice playing on.
It comes with steel springs, however. If you are a beginner guitarist, your fingers could get hurt thus the need for using picks. This is however a very durable musical instrument and can be expected to last a long time under proper care and management.
It still offers an excellent first-time guitar for practicing thanks to its comfortable use, and a thin neck.
- Good looking guitar
- Comes with a very affordable price tag
- Comfortable to hold and play
- Steel strings are not the best for novice players
7. Donner DAG-1C Acoustic Guitar
The Donner DAG has a dreadnaught body and can be used for different music styles. It produces loud and vibrant sounds. The top is constructed from spruce while the back and the sides are made from mahogany which results in a rich sound. This guitar is designed for right handed players.
The guitar has 20 bass frets and also comes with a gig bag, guitar capo, strings, polishing cloth, and picks. It also features a slim neck which makes it very comfortable to hold on your hands and play. A smooth finish composed of satin boosts the guitar’s resonance and features bronze strings which also boost the resonance. The strings feel very soft on the fingers.
The tuning pegs of this guitar are made from an alloy and the unique design of the bridge makes it possible to easily and conveniently change the strings when need be.
The main downside is that the strings tend to unwind easily and require a lot of tuning.
- Beautifully designed guitar
- Thin neck for comfortable play
- Produces warm rich sounds
- The bronze strings require a lot of tuning.
6. Jasmine S34C Nex Acoustic Guitar
The Jasmine S34C is a stylish and well-built guitar which produces warm and rich sounds. If you are in search of a good playing guitar that is also affordable and easy to use, then the Jasmine S34C is worth a look. It features a smooth satin finish which combined with the guitar’s body helps to resonate the sound.
The strap button is well positioned allowing users to achieve a comfortable play whether sited or standing up. The cutaway design enables the user to easily access the top frets.
The top of the guitar is made from Spruce with Sapele sides and back. The bridge and board are made from Rosewood and the neck is slim.
A special feature that we noted with the Jasmine S34 is bracing. The guitar has an X bracing system that is forward shifting which brings the bracing near the sound hole. This results in a more open sound.
While the action is good the strings could have been better if they were a bit lower.
- Well-designed guitar
- Thin neck which makes it easy to play
- Comes with a specially designed X bracing system
- The guitar could have benefited from a lower action.
5. Jameson guitars Full Size Acoustic Electric Guitar
The Jameson guitars come in both a right-handed and left-handed model. It also features a variety of colors to suits your tastes such as black, blue, natural, red, green and pink. You can choose to play it acoustically or when you want even more resonance, plug in the amplifier.
This guitar also comes with a free gig bag as well as guitar picks. The Jameson has a thin line body which allows for a much more comfortable playing. The high gloss finish adds to high resonance of the guitar.
The guitar weighs in at 8.45 pounds and produces good sound. However, there is an issue with the lower end. It may not be very loud mainly due to the fact that this is not a dreadnaught style guitar.
The same can be said of the pickup which sounds passive. To get the bets output from the guitar, you will need to use the amplifier. The strings are good quality and will last a long time. The action of the Jameson guitar is the right distance which makes this guitar comfortable to play.
- Comfortable to play
- Comes in both right-handed and left-handed models
- Comes with a free gig bag
- It is not very loud
4. Oscar Schmidt OG2SM Acoustic Guitar
The Oscar Schmidt has a dreadnaught design which means the sound is loud and bright. This is a very well-designed guitar with an excellent finish. The top features a spalted maple. The back and the sides are made from mahogany with a smooth glossy finish.
This guitar has an X bracing which turns it into a good sounding instrument and it also comes with a truss rod that is fully adjustable. The bridge, as well as the fingerboards, are constructed from Rosewood.
The guitar is a bit on the smaller end with its size but this is a good thing for young players. It felt very comfortable in the hands. The neck is thin and the high-quality strings look durable.
One of the best features with the Oscar Schmidt is that it comes preset from the box which takes away most of the work. As a novice player, this is a major benefit.
However, we found that while the action is decent, it is not as low as we could have wanted.
- Comfortable to play
- Well designed and beautiful guitar
- Small sized for novice players
- The action could be lower.
3. Fender CD-60S Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar
The fender has a scalloped X-bracing which results in a warm and bright sound. It has a dreadnaught design enabling the guitar to produce loud sounds. The sides and back are made from mahogany and the neck is thin making it easy and very comfortable to play.
This is a well-constructed guitar with an all wood finish. The neck is black and white and the tuning knobs are made from chrome. The Fender CD-60S also comes with a hard-shell case for better storage, guitar strings and well as guitar picks.
The fender is a very comfortable guitar to play especially when the action is lowed. Its strings are not tough on the fingers and we could play for a long time without the need for picks. Tuners are simple and very effective to use.
For the price, the guitar produces great sound. One of the main downsides that we found is the accessories that come with the package. The strap is not the best quality and looks like it would wear out quite quickly.
- Good looking guitar
- Produces clean warm sounds
- Comes with a hard shell for better storage.
- The strap is not the best
2. Glen Burton GA204BCO-NT Acoustic Electric Guitar
The sides and back of the Glen Burton are constructed out of Basswood. The guitar features a flame top. The neck is made from Catalpa while the bride is Rosewood. Strings are made from steel which means that there may be a need for acquiring picks as a novice guitarist.
One of the great things is that the package comes with extras which include the picks, straps, gig bag, truss rod, a digital Clip-on tuner and a 10-watt amplifier.
The guitar has excellent intonation and once the strings are broken in, holds well and will not require regular tuning. However, it would be more comfortable to play the Glen Burton GA204BCO-NT if the action was a little lower. That said the neck is thin and it’s easy to get around with the fingers.
- Good looking guitar
- Comes with a thin neck
- Produces good quality sounds
- The action could be lower
1. Luna Gypsy Grand Auditorium Acoustic Guitar
Luna Gypsy has a grand auditorium body style with mahogany back and sides. The neck is also constructed out of mahogany and the fretboard is Rosewood. Unlike some of the models we’ve looked at, this one doesn’t feature a preamp.
We found the action to be quite comfortable and requires little adjustments. The guitar is able to produce deep bass and loud sounds.
The design of the neck and the size makes the Luna Gypsy a very comfortable guitar to play and once tuned up the wires hold perfectly. There will not be a need to regularly tune the guitar. The Luna Gypsy is well designed and pleasing to look at.
- Beautifully crafted guitar
- Comfortable to hold and play
- Produces good quality sound
- The neck has a slight buzzing sound
There is all likelihood that after you buy your first guitar, you will move on to buy other guitars as you progress in your musical journey. This very first instrument will however remain in your memories for a long time to come, perhaps throughout your life.
The memories may be found as you recall how sweet music came from striking those strings, or you may have such bad memories about the many times you wished you could just bash that guitar to the floor or throw it into a fire because of how difficult it was to practice on. All this depends on whether you choose the best beginner guitar now.
But worry not. That is where we come in to guide you as you make a choice on your very first acoustic guitar. In this post, you will learn everything you need to know about guitars including the different materials used in constructions as well as learning about some reliable brands.
When you progress to more advanced models, the skills you learn here on how to choose the best guitar will serve you then as it will now. So, sit back, relax and let’s get straight into it.
Understanding your budget:
Something to keep in mind when deciding how much you want to spend is that you want to avoid spending too little or too much when buying your first acoustic guitar. You are aiming to strike the right balance here.
For most first-time buyers, they will normally stay away from spending too much on a first guitar. There is logic in this. Some however have deep enough pockets to spend a considerable amount of money on that guitar and believe that they will stick to it for a long time to come.
Most of the times however, you might not have enough cash and may not stick with it for a long time. Still, you will need to buy the best guitar that you can afford. Perhaps you are a parent and you want to buy one for your teenage son. Considering how quickly they can change their minds; an inexpensive guitar might seem like the better option.
The main drawback to getting a cheap guitar is that it will very likely be made from poor quality materials, will not produce the best sound and will also not last very long. Other times, the strings may be a large distance from the fretboard which makes it very hard to play. As a beginner guitarist, a bad first start may quickly demoralize the player and might even cause them to quit their plans of learning to play the guitar.
The big question now becomes, how much should you spend on your very first acoustic guitar? While there is nothing wrong in spending more, anywhere between $200 and $300 should do well. In this price range, you will often find a good guitar that plays right, is good quality and sounds good. Note that there are still models that are priced at around $100 that will still offer you what you are looking for.
Choosing between an Acoustic and a Classic Guitar:
As a first-time guitar buyer, you probably have this image of an acoustic guitar which has steel strings. Often, you’ve seen this with rock musicians. However, there is another version of an acoustic guitar that comes with nylon strings, with much smaller bodies and the internal bracing is lighter. As a consequence, these types of acoustic guitars are not as loud as their steel stringed counterparts and are referred to as classical guitars. This is also because they are the common type of guitar when playing classical music.
But which of the two between the normal acoustic guitar and the classical guitar should you go for? Let’s take a look at some few considerations.
While this is not a strict rule, classical guitars are designed to be picked with the bare fingers while acoustic guitars are meant to be played with a pick. However, it’s not uncommon to see guitarists playing acoustic guitars with just their fingers.
On the other hand, you will not often see guitarists using a pick on a classical guitar. If you intend to buy and use a pick, then this is definitely something to consider.
If you are buying a guitar for your kids, getting a classical guitar with nylon strings will be easy on their soft fingers. However, keep in mind that this is not a standalone reason to choose a classic guitar over the acoustic model.
The sound from a classical guitar is much gentler compared to the acoustic which is loud. If you want something for personal entertainment then this could be a good reason to get a classical guitar.
Always note that there are no strict rules between classical and acoustic guitars. If you enjoy the sound that the guitar produces then roll with it.
Size and Body Type of the Guitar:
The most common body type with guitars is the dreadnaught. It produces loud sounds and most beginner guitarists will easily go for it. Due it’s popularity, guitar manufacturers will design both mid budget and expensive guitarist with this body type.
The much smaller guitars might come with good sound, but they usually lack projection and bass. The great thing with the dreadnaught body is that it produces good projection and bass while still giving a great sound which further emphasizes on the popularity of the dreadnaught shape.
There are still other shapes and sizes so it’s important to know exactly what you are looking for. There is also the jumbo size which true to its name, is particularly large. Go for one that you feel suits you best.
As a beginner guitarist, you’ve probably spent your fair share of time reading about different guitar specifications online and noticed that the type of wood used seems to be a big deal. Indeed, the quality of output of the guitar very much depends on the type and quality of wood used in the making of the guitar.
The different wood types come with different sound qualities. Sometimes a guitar can be built with one type of wood while others may have a combination of different types of woods. Manufacturers do this to enhance the sound.
There are a few parts of the guitar that you need to consider as far as the wood is concerned. These are the neck, the back, the sides, the top and the fingerboard and bridge.
The different types of woods used in the making of a guitar are referred to as tonewoods. The best quality guitars are constructed out of high quality tonewoods. This explains why they will also come with a high price tag.
The opposite is true with budget guitars. They will likely not be made from the high quality tonewoods and this is why they are much more affordable. What’s more manufacturers will also use other materials such as laminates on the back and sides. Some will use composite and synthetic materials.
When you are considering the specs of your chosen guitar, some things to consider include:
- The top of the guitar should always be made out of wood. The most common types are Spruce and Cedar. Spruce produces a bright sound while Cedar produces a warm sound.
- The neck should mainly be made from mahogany. For the sides and the back, Rosewood is a common tonewood. Mahogany is also used and both tonewoods are fairly loud. For a budget guitar, the laminate is a common material for the back and sides.
- As for the bridge and the fingerboard, Rosewood is often used.
In summary, the guitar you choose must have a wood top. Don’t be surprised when you learn about other types of materials used in the making of the guitar to keep the price down.
What About Acoustic-Electric Guitars:
Some buyers wonder whether it’s a good idea to purchase an acoustic electric guitar. But what exactly is this type of guitar? Well, this is simply an acoustic guitar that comes with electronic additions that allow the player to boost the sound by connecting to an amplifier.
Without the connections, these guitars play and sound just like a normal acoustic guitar. However, if you are performing in front of a large audience, you can make use of the handy features to amplify the sound. The great thing is that there is really no need to use a microphone.
One of the main factors why a beginner may not want to consider an acoustic electric guitar as their first choice is due to the fact that the electronics will push up the prices. Besides, why not get a better acoustic guitar without the electronics for the same price. Considering you are on a budget and are just starting to learn the guitar you really may not require all the gadgets.
At the end of the day, what matters is what inspires you. If you feel that an acoustic electric guitar is best for you then go with this.
Evaluating the guitar for the first time:
You might think that you need expert advice to evaluate the best guitar for you and to some extent that is true. However, you do not need to be an expert to check the quality and workmanship of your chosen guitar.
Logic will be your friend and the things you need to look for include:
Does the guitar feel solid and firm in your hands or does it feel flimsy to the touch? Are the joints put together well? You will also need to check the guitar neck by running your hands around it to see if the frets are sticking out.
Hold the guitar straight and look through the length of the neck. You should be able to tell if there are any bends or twists. How about the tuning pegs, are there any misalignments? Check the distance between the fretboard and the strings. The further away the strings are the more difficult it is to play.
When you walk into a guitar shop, and you lack the skills to play a tune, you can always ask the sales person to play it for you. This way you can judge for yourself how the guitar sounds. While you may not yet have the experience to select the best guitar based on how it sounds, your ears will still guide you in choosing one that sounds good for you.
But what if you are buying the guitar online? The best thing to do is to purchase from a seller who offers a good return policy. In this way, in case the guitar gets to you but you notice something is not quite right, you can return it.
As soon as you buy a guitar, you want to ensure that it is set up correctly before you try it out. Most guitar shops will gladly do this for you at no additional cost. If you are buying online however, you can get someone who is more experienced to set the guitar right for you.
Top Acoustic Guitar Brands:
Now that you know what to look for when buying your first acoustic guitar, you should be in a position to make a good purchase. However, to take things a step further, we are going to consider some well-known brands. Picking a guitar from a good brand will often mean a high-quality product and save you the hassle of having to sieve through countless models.
Some of the best-known brands include Yamaha, Fender and Epiphone and Martin.
One of the best and most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make is when you decided to learn how to play the guitar. Learning this skill will stay with you for life.
Getting the first acoustic guitar is only the beginning. You will also need to learn how to play and become proficient at it. Decide whether you will learn how to play the guitar by yourself or you will require assistance from an expert.
When in search of the best acoustic beginner guitar, why not choose any of the awesome models we’ve put for you in our list? They’ve been carefully analyzed by our expert team to provide with just the best.