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Acoustic Guitars information
If you're looking for an acoustic guitar but have no idea what you're looking for, here's a short round up of what you need to know to make the right choice and find the perfect strumming or picking partner for you.
The Difference Between Acoustic and Classical/Spanish Guitars
There are roughly two different kinds of acoustic guitar that beginners can make a comfortable start with: the acoustic steel-string, or the classical (AKA Spanish) guitar. Acoustic guitars have steel strings and classical guitars have nylon strings, which makes a big difference when it comes to sound. Acoustic guitars have a bright and sparkling quality of sound, while classical guitars sound more warm and round.
What's the Best Acoustic Guitar for Beginners?
For a long time, the classical guitar was considered the best choice for any beginner guitarist, but this isn't necessarily true for you. It could be that a steel-string acoustic guitar is a better match. The best way to decide is to think about the kind of sound you like best, then you can be certain that you have an instrument with a sound that inspires you. It's also worth seeing what the strings of an acoustic and classical guitar feel like beneath your fingers. If one feels better than the other, then you'll have a better idea of what to go for - just bear in mind that it can take a little while to get completely used to nylon or steel strings. Finally, make absolutely sure that you love the look of your new guitar since it will only make you want to pick it up and play all the time.
When is it Better to Get a Left-Handed Guitar?
If you do most things with your left hand, then it only makes sense to look at left-handed acoustic guitars. But even if you write with your left hand, that doesn't immediately mean that a left-handed model is the right choice for you. If you know someone with a right-handed guitar then see if you can borrow it, and try resting it on your left and right thigh as if you're sitting to play. If it feels more natural when resting on your left thigh, then there's a big chance that you're a lefty. If your right hand has good grip-strength, then again, it's probably wise to start with a left-handed guitar. The only thing is, there will be a lot more right-handed guitars to choose from, so if the difference in feel when the guitar is resting on your right or left tight isn't that big, then you might simply prefer to go right-handed when picking out your first guitar.
Electro-Acoustic Guitars with Built-In Pickups
If you still want acoustic sound, but want to be able to plug your guitar into an amplifier for more volume, then you can also take a look at our range of electro-acoustic guitars. These are essentially normal acoustic or classical guitars that come with a built-in pickup so the guitar can be plugged into an acoustic amplifier or a sound system on stage.
What Does a Capo Do?
If you've already got to grips with some open chords but you're still struggling to nail barre chords; or you need to raise the key of a song to match your singing, then it might be worth experimenting with a capo. This clever little tool clips onto the fretboard of the guitar at a specific fret to raise the pitch of the strings by a whole note or semitone so you can play the same open chords just in a higher key.
Frequently Asked Questions About Acoustic Guitars
What's a good acoustic guitar?
There are guitarists who'll say that the most expensive guitars are always the best, but this isn't necessarily true. The best guitar for you will be the one that sounds best to you, and the one that best matches your budget. It can definitely be a good idea to go and try out some different guitars or finding some good video reviews so you can have a good listen to some options and get a feel for what you like. Of course, it might be that you need to adjust your budget a little because you've come across a model that not only sounds right, but looks right.
How much does an acoustic guitar cost?
The cheapest acoustic guitars can cost around £40, while the most expensive models we stock can cost as much as £7,000. Luckily, we also stock everything in between, so if you're a beginner guitarist looking for your first model, you can pick up a great guitar for under £100. If you can spend more, then you can start comparing the sound and look of cheaper and more expensive models to figure out how far you're willing to go for what works best for you.
How many strings does an acoustic guitar have?
Largely, both acoustic and classical guitars have six strings, so if you're a complete beginner, a six-string guitar is definitely recommended. Later, if you want the lush and shimmering sound of twelve strings, then you can take a look through our range of 12-string guitars.
What kind of strings do acoustic guitars have?
A standard acoustic guitar will have steel strings. These strings have a steel core and the lower pitched strings will be wound with steel wire or wire made from a different metal. While there are different kinds of steel strings to choose from, steel strings wound with phosphor bronze or 80/20 bronze have a classic sound, so are a good starting point. Classical (AKA Spanish) guitars, on the other hand, have nylon strings. These strings have a nylon core and the lower pitched strings are often wound with silver plated wire or nylon. If you like the sound of the strings that came with your guitar, then you can just replace them with the same kind.
What does an acoustic guitar sound like?
The steel strings of an acoustic guitar have a more sparkling sound than the nylon strings of a classical or Spanish guitar which have a warmer sound. However, one doesn't necessarily sound better than the other. The shape of a guitar also influences the sound: a smaller guitar will have a brighter and tighter sound than a larger guitar, which has a fuller sound with clearer, more present bass to it. Also, a guitar made from solid wood will sound more full and powerful than a guitar made from laminated wood. You can find out why this is in our dedicated blog on the subject.
How do you change acoustic guitar strings?
At the start, it might be a while before you need to think about changing the strings of your guitar. But to make the job a little easier, here are a couple of tips: almost completely loosen each string before cutting them in half (somewhere around the soundhole) and removing them from the bridge and machine heads. Once you've installed your new strings, make sure to tighten them slowly to avoid breaking them. Then, tune up your guitar and carefully stretch each string (by lightly pulling on the middle) before tuning again. Repeat this process until you can stretch the strings without having to tune them again. You can find a more detailed guide to changing your strings here.
What is an electro-acoustic guitar?
An electro-acoustic guitar is either a steel-string acoustic or classical/Spanish guitar that can be played at a louder volume by plugging it into an acoustic amplifier or sound system. Most electro-acoustic guitars have a piezo pickup fitted beneath the bridge, but there are some models that feature a built-in microphone or both, so that the acoustic sound is captured in full. You can find a wide array of electro-acoustic guitars on our site.
What is a semi-acoustic guitar?
It's fairly easy to confuse a semi-acoustic guitar with a standard acoustic or electro-acoustic guitar (which has some kind of pickup and/or microphone built-in), but a semi-acoustic guitar is actually a kind of electric guitar. Semi-acoustic guitars have a hollow body instead of the solid body of most electric guitars, and come fitted with the same kind of magnetic pickups as solid-body electric guitars. The sound is similar to an electric guitar, but because the body has been 'hollowed out', the tone is more warm and round. Semi-acoustic guitars also tend to have slightly larger bodies that standard electric guitars and are sometimes referred to as 'arch-tops'. You can often recognise a semi-acoustic guitar by the two soundholes cut into the top, which usually have the same 'f-shape' as the soundholes of a violin.