Acoustic guitars have a soulful, simple sound that is great for producing authentic tunes that are full of heart. Singer-songwriters often use an acoustic guitar over electric for the more earthy, natural and connected noise they make over their amped-up counterparts. If you’re looking for an acoustic guitar, it need not be expensive to be great. This article will point out what to look for when purchasing one so that you can find the right fit for you.
- Bridge Pins
- Guitar Materials
The body of the acoustic guitar is one of its most important components. The sound profile is heavily influenced by the shape, the size and the materials used in the construction of the body. There are a few unique designs even in this price range, as seen with the body design of the Yamaha guitar above. However, most cheap acoustic guitars have a standard body design which is why they have a standard sound profile.
Cut-out designs might also be easier to play, allowing a great note range for the guitarist. But the body of the guitar is also where most customization options take place. Most acoustic guitars have a straightforward look and they can’t be customized. Others are simply made with different colors. They can be matched with other instruments or they can simply represent a design which is friendlier to the guitarist, which is essential when starting with any instrument.
The body of the guitar can be made from laminate or solid wood such as rosewood. Its panels are then glued together and they create the space for the sound. This is why some woods are better than others. But it’s not so much about the wood at a low price point as it is about how the entire guitar comes together.
The neck of the guitar has its benefits. It is the only solid grip point the guitarist has with the instrument and as a result, it is made from durable yet lightweight wood. For most users, it is the perfect opportunity to test out the feel of the guitar as the neck can offer different levels of comfort for all players. Those with short fingers have different preferences compared to those with long fingers.
Sealed turners can make the headstock a good design to keep strings in tune. Some guitars come with turners which are only operated with a tool. But cheap guitars have turners which can be operated by hand. This means that there should not be too many reasons for concern with the headstock, but only if the design is right. Sealed turners are seen on cheap guitars and most guitarist can learn how to use them immediately if there’s an included tuner in the guitar pack.
Those who might not receive a guitar tuner have other options at hand as well. For example, some of the best cheap acoustic guitars will work with free or premium smartphone apps dedicated to string tuning. Without too many synchronization issues, even these free solutions can work if there’s no alternative product to count on. However, a digital tuner is cheap as well and guitarists will need to purchase one eventually.
Strings can be made from different materials. Steel and nylon strings are mostly seen in these categories. They have their strengths and weaknesses. While nylon strings don’t sound as good, they are affordable to replace and they can be a solution for learner guitarists.
Most cheap acoustic guitars don’t come with any additional strings. Users will need to purchase them, separately. Bulk purchases are recommended for strings, especially since they might need replacement soon, especially with those who are just starting out and may damage them. In most cases, strings might only be available to purchase online as there are now fewer shops to find them in brick and mortar stores.
The height of the string is given by the bridge. This height affects the sound profile and this is why even the same strings might sound slightly different on another acoustic guitar. There are other reasons to consider extra strings but the good news is that at least the basic set is offered by most guitar manufacturers.
A typical guitar has up to 19 frets. However, most cheap guitars have fewer frets. Move up towards an electric guitar, users can even find designs with 24 frets. Some of the guitars with the most frets count 27, but they are rare and not affordable.
Made from different materials, bridge pins help carry the sound. They have to deal with vibration from the strings and this is why different materials respond differently.
Guitar nuts are situated before the first fret. They control the spacing of the strings and the height right above the first fret. Like most pieces, it is made from different materials. These materials impact the vibration quality of the strings as well.
The fingerboard is where the frets are situated. There are various types of wood or plastic used for this component. With a few designs, guitarists will find the fingerboard is laminated for extra durability, at least towards the front.
The guitar bridge anchors the strings and it transmits vibrations to the body of the instrument. Mainly made from a single piece of wood or plastic, the guitar bridge needs to be reliable as it will deal with the tension of the strings.
Most guitars are made with no pickguard as many guitarists prefer not to use a pick. They can also be purchased and installed at a later time.
There are so many guitar materials to consider that it may even prove difficult to tell the difference between them. Even if manufacturers claim their guitars are made from rosewood, buyers should know there are different types of rosewood.
Brazilian rosewood used to be considered the best. However, due to the availability issues of the wood, other types of rosewood are now used in the production stages. Indian rosewood seems to be the first alternative to the Brazilian wood. The good news is that the material is similar in terms of sound quality, even if it may not look as elegant as the Brazilian rosewood.
Rosewood insertions are also used on different pieces of the guitar, such as those listed above. Not all pieces are made with this material for most guitars at the moment. Maple is another type of wood seen in guitar production. It might not be as elegant, but maple has its recognized characteristic of actually being strong. With dense fibers, maple is perfect for durability. This is why even some of the most durable guitar elements of cheap designs are made from maple, to deal with the vibration and tension specific to the instrument.
Are All Cheap Acoustic Guitars the Same Size?
Acoustic guitars are available in various sizes. Form kids’ size to full size suitable for adults, acoustic guitars need to meet the needs of the guitarists in terms of size. However, most adults can comfortably play a kids’ acoustic guitar, but kids cannot comfortably do so with a full-size guitar.
Can I Play a Kids’ Acoustic Guitar?
Adults can play a smaller acoustic guitar. Some adults prefer to use smaller guitars when traveling or simply when practicing at home. Smaller guitars are more practical and easier to hold for those just starting in the guitar world.
Which Acoustic Guitar Material Is the Best?
Acoustic guitar materials vary considerably and their price is what eventually dictates the chosen materials. However, as seen with the guitars above, it is not all about the price of the product as some brands can offer reliable guitars made from wood. In many situations, guitarists can rely at least on some type of material quality, even if not entirely made from solid wood.
When Do I Need to Change the Strings of an Acoustic Guitar?
The strings of an acoustic guitar will eventually fail in time. As the string of any other instrument, a sign of wear will start to become visible. Having an extra pack of strings at home is considered good practice at all times.
How Do I Use a Digital Tuner?
A digital tuner is sometimes included with a cheap acoustic guitar. Manufacturers can add them to the pack as many guitarists use them as learner instruments and because they need to be able to use the device on their own to get the guitar ready.
Some of the best cheap acoustic guitars are made for beginners. Even if they look the same with professional guitars, they are made for the average user. But even in these conditions, they sound good and they can even come with unique designs.
Those starting with acoustic guitars should also know there are other involved purchases. One of them is the pick. Strings are needed as well. A carry case or a protective case might be needed too. There are multiple cheap acoustic guitar brands which offer no case at all. This is why it’s easy to damage the instruments, especially when traveling.
Digital tuners have been included with several guitars, even if they are not the best. Those who are looking to get into the guitar world will need to purchase a digital tuner of their own. On the other hand, a guitar can also be tuned from other instruments, for those who might already own other musical instruments.
In terms of the warranty, most products are not covered by this type of protection. This is why it’s up to the user to only play the guitar properly, without excess force or any types of drop accidents which can damage the wood.