Acoustic Guitar Quick Buying Guide – What You Need to Know


Photo credit: Evgueniy Konev

Whether you’re buying your first acoustic guitar or your tenth, the decision is always unique to the sound you want. Have questions? Check out this acoustic guitar buying guide with some recommendations from Sweetwater’s extensive inventory.

The following was created in collaboration with Sweetwater, a company DMN is proud to partner with.

Steel-string acoustic guitars produce a unique sound that originated in the 19th century with a German-born American luthier, Christian Frederick Martin. Martin designed a unique X-bracing system to handle the extra tension generated by the metal strings. The sound produced by modern acoustic guitars has defined the sound of musical genres like country, folk, bluegrass and many more. This quick guide to buying acoustic guitars will help you get to grips with some of the key differences between different guitars and what to expect when buying your first guitar.

How Body Shape Affects Acoustic Guitar Sound

Acoustic guitars come in a variety of body shapes, which greatly affect the tone and volume the instrument produces when played. Guitars with a smaller body will have a mid front sound, making them ideal for recording. Larger acoustic guitars produce a louder song, making them ideal for solo singers and live performances.

The sound of an acoustic guitar is an important part of the selection process, but the feel of the guitar in your hands is just as important. Start by finding the right body shape of the acoustic guitar you want before considering factors like tonewoods. Sweetwater makes it easy to sort through acoustic guitar shapes on its site.

How Tone Wood Affects Acoustic Guitar Sound

Tonewoods are varieties of wood that produce tonal properties, making them a good choice for woodwind or acoustic string instruments like guitars. The most common tonewoods used for guitars are spruce, mahogany, cedar, rosewood, and maple. Some acoustic guitar makers have models that use alternative woods like koa, ovangkol, bubinga, sapele, and myrtlewood. The type of wood used to make a guitar impacts the resonant sound produced by the instrument. You can hear examples of this on the Sweetwater website.

Choosing an Acoustic Guitar – Does Price Matter?

Acoustic guitars are available from less than $200 to thousands of dollars for a single instrument. How important is price when choosing an acoustic guitar? This question has a multi-faceted answer and is highly dependent on how you plan to use the guitar.

Casual play and learners will be well suited to an affordable acoustic guitar. A professional Bob Dylan tribute band may want something with a deeper, richer sound, made from alternative woods, and priced higher. Want to hear what a guitar sounds like? Discover Sweetwater, where you can hear sound clips of every guitar played on their website.

Acoustic Guitar Recommendation – Under $500

Need a great first acoustic guitar that delivers great sound? Look no further than the Yamaha FS800 Concert Acoustics, which features a solid spruce top with nato/okoumé back and sides, nato neck and walnut fingerboard. The free Player Port app for iOS and Android gives beginners the tools they need – tuner, how-to videos – to start playing.

Acoustic Guitar Recommendation – Under $1,000

The Seagull S6 Original is a classic dreadnought acoustic guitar with a solid cedar top with furniture grade laminated wild cherry mated to a silver maple neck. The construction offers a warm, lively tone for fingerpicking and strumming and an extra-large rosewood fingerboard for players with larger hands.

Acoustic Guitar Recommendation – Under $2,000

Tired of carrying multiple guitars to your gigs? The Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster offers guitarists an electric-style magnetic pickup and an acoustic-style undersaddle system in one package. The body features a Sitka spruce top with mahogany back and sides. It is fused with a mahogany neck and features a rosewood fingerboard with a Fishman under-saddle and a Fender N4 Noiseless magnetic bridge.


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