1. The anatomy of an acoustic guitar
A guitar can be divided into 3 sections – head, neck and body. As you can see in the image, each section has different parts.
2. Purpose and Budget
What is the reason for you to use your guitar? What’s your budget? Answer these questions before you look into brands or body styles. HEX Guitar is the best budget guitar brand in Nepal for beginners and professionals. It’s excellent value-for-money guitar compared to the other brands.
3. Body Styles – Comfort and Resonance
Once you look into the market for a guitar company, you will find zillions of companies that manufacture acoustic guitars. Before making a purchase, you should choose the one that creates the sound you want. You can also choose a guitar that can be comfortable for you to play when you are either standing or sitting.
The top portion of the body of your guitar is the sound board. Generally, a large sound board creates a deeper and louder sound. You can find styles that come in a narrow waist with a large soundboard, their purpose is to provide better comfort.
Guitar measurements vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some popular acoustic guitar body shapes include:
- Concert and Grand Concert
- Auditorium and Grand Auditorium
- Travel and Mini-Acoustics
Concert and Grand Concert
Concert guitars offer narrower waists widths than Grand Concert guitars. Concert guitars generally are 13-1/2” at lower bout width while Grand Concert guitars are sized “00”. Concert guitars are smaller in size, which provides comfort to the player and also offers a bright sound with a punchy mid-range.
Auditorium and Grand Auditorium
The lower bout of the Auditorium style usually has the same width as a dreadnaught but a smaller waist. It is a standard mid-sized acoustic guitar. Also known as the “orchestra” body, the auditorium style provides a better balance of volume, tone and comfort than smaller body types.
Dreadnought is the most common acoustic guitar that has a large soundboard. It has distinctive features like square bouts, wide waists and a 14-fret neck. First developed in 1916, the guitar’s popularity continues to rise. The powerful and driving sounds of dreadnoughts have become popular among bluegrass guitarists.
Up to 17” at the lower bout, Jumbo acoustic guitars provide loud & bass, rich focused mids and clear highs and easily pair with vocals.
Travel and Mini-Acoustics
Ideal for shorter musicians, or those who travel a lot, or even parents buying a guitar for their kids consider travel and mini-acoustic guitars as the favorable choice due to the comfort and convenience such guitars offer. Today, a lot of manufacturers invest heavily to make sure that these guitars are quality in product and uncompromising in sound.
4. Tops – Solid vs. Laminate
Any acoustic guitar’s top impacts on the tone quality. The quality of wood for the top determines the quality of tones of the guitar. The bridge transmits the sound generated by the strings to the top where it is amplified. And we have already discussed above, the size of the sound board determines the volume of the sound.
The tops of acoustic guitars are made of solid wood or laminate. Due to cheaper materials used on a laminate top, it offers less vibration in comparison to solid wood. However, this is also the reason why most beginners opt for it as their first acoustic guitar.
Guitar tones vary with different types of wood used on the guitar top. While Sitka Spruce is a commoner, Spruce is the standard. Guitar costs are also determined by the rarity of the tonewoods. On the other hand, manufacturers have succeeded in making guitars with other materials without compromising on the sound.
Some common woods used on acoustic guitar
Mahogany, Rosewood, Sapele, Cedar, Spruce, Walnut, Koa, Ebony, Maple etc.
Many acoustic guitars have built-in pickups and preamplifiers. Some come with installed preamps while others can be found inside the sound hole. Systems with a combination of preamplifier, microphone, piezo pickups, EQ and tuners are also found.
7. Bridge and Fingerboard
In comparison to the body of the guitar, the materials of Bridge and Fingerboard have negligible influence on the sound.
8. Neck Width and Length
The size of the guitar body determines the thickness and width of its neck, which affects your comfort.
Acoustic necks are 12- or 14-fret necks. That is the number of frets above the guitar body. For example, the 13h and 14th frets of a 12-fret neck have a difficult reach than on a 14-fret neck. Our advice is, go for an acoustic guitar with a smaller neck if you have small hands.
As you move up the neck while playing and the fret distance (typically above the 12th fret) is off, the guitar cannot be played in tune. This is what intonation determines.
10. Nylon vs. Steel Strings
If someone tells you to use nylon strings as a beginner guitar and play with steel strings after you gain some experience, then you are being misled. Nylon and steel strings are not interchangeable on the same guitar! Choose strings according to the music you want to play.
While nylon strings are mostly used by classical or flamenco-style musicians for a softer and mellow tone, rock, country and pop musicians prefer steel strings for their louder, brighter tone. Acoustic guitars that use steel strings have narrower necks than classical guitars.
If you have any queries related to guitar, contact Treasure Music Store. Our experts will guide you to choose the best guitar for you.