Ok, so you fancy the sound of an acoustic guitar? Great! In this section of our Buyer's Guide we're going to show you some of the different shapes, sizes and types so you can buy the best acoustic guitar for you.
A question we get asked time and time again is 'what's the difference between an acoustic guitar and a classical guitar?'. And, it's a good question, as technically they are both acoustic instruments. However there are a couple of fundamental differences which you should know about as it could influence your instrument of choice. So, let's start with talking about the differences between these two types.
One of the main differences is that Classical guitars use Nylon plastic strings, whereas acoustic guitars use steel metal strings. Classicals sounds soft & smooth, this can be heard in Spanish and classical guitar music. Steel strings are much brighter, louder and are much more modern. Classicals are much easier on the fingers for beginners so we would recommend this type to children. The steel strung type much more popular and 'in fashion'.
Keep reading below to see classical & steel guitars in more depth.
Like we mentioned above, this type of guitar has Nylon plastic strings and thus has a very mellow sound. It's easy on the fingers and is generally used for playing classical guitar music without the use of a plectrum. The fingerboard on this type of guitar is also quite a bit wider than on a steel strung which makes them great for finger picking styles.
For children aged 8-11 we would recommend a 3/4 size package as they are easy on the fingers which makes it easier for them to learn. They come in a variety of colours and include all the necessary equipment to get play right away. A lot of guitar teachers recommend these for their students. For people aged 11 and over we would recommend a full size version.
So why should you buy a classical guitar? Well, if you are buying for a child that's just starting out then this is a great option. Or, if you are into spanish or classical guitar music then this would be the type to go for. If you want to play modern chart style music then we would recommend a steel strung acoustic guitar instead.
Listen to artists such as: Rodrigo Y Gabriela, José González, John Williams
So, now we enter the realm of the Steel String acoustic guitar. We start with one of the most classic, recognisable shapes, the Dreadnaught. This is often referred to as the Country & Western guitar, a classic American acoustic guitar that is widely used in the USA.
With a deep body, square shoulders and fat hips, they have quite a large shape. The size can sometimes make it hard to get to grips with for beginners, younger players or smaller players. However, with a big size, comes a big sound and they have a very balanced, fantastic tone that really you can only get with this size of guitar or bigger.
Why should you buy a Dreadnought? If you want a big sound with plenty of life and character and don't mind the instrument being big then this would be a great choice. These guitars are also a number one choice for recording as they allow a very full, well balanced sound. Or simply, if you love Country music or American acoustic music and want to keep it authentic then go for this type.
Some artists that use this type of guitar are: The Eagles, Coldplay, KT Tunstall, McFly
Folk guitars, the guitar of the moment, the singer songwriter's best friend! This type of acoustic guitar is smaller than a dreadnought and is much easier to hold and play. The ideal shape for smaller players, younger players or beginners over 11 years old. They're not as deep and as boxy so they're very comfortable to play.
The Folk shape guitar is very popular at the moment. A very large percentage of acoustic players, famous or not, use this type. Firstly they look much cooler on stage and they're just a bit more modern and up-to-date than a dreadnought.
One of our most popular models, pictured below, is the Vintage V300. A simple straight forward folk guitar that's easy to play and comfortable to hold. A fantastic choice for your first acoustic guitar. Some brands we offer are:Vintage & Washburn.
Just look at anyone busking in town, playing on TV or on YouTube and nine times out of ten they'll be playing a folk guitar!
Electro acoustic guitars are hands down the most popular, best selling acoustic guitar at the moment. They come with a built in electronic pickup so you can plug it in to an amplifier to make the sound louder. This is specifically handy for live gigs where you need to plug your guitar in to be heard over the drummer and lead guitarist!
Even if you don't really have a desire to use a built in pickup at first it can just sit there not affecting the sound of the guitar until the day comes when you may want to plug it in for a gig or to record your latest masterpiece. Most models feature a built-in tuner too which is very handy!
This type of guitar very often features a 'cutaway' body design where the underside of the guitar is literally cut away to make way for your hand to play the higher frets. This adds to the playing comfort and makes for a very easy going guitar that's a joy to play. It also looks pretty cool! You can see this shape in the picture below.
Very in 'fashion' at the moment, everyone is playing this style of guitar! We sell great brands such as Sigma, Washburn, Yamaha & Ibanez. Click the link below to view our range.
There are, of course, many more styles and shapes of acoustic guitar. You may come across shapes such as Jumbo, Travel or Parlour. These aren't as popular as the choices above but could be worth looking at. Click to view our entire acoustic guitar range.
Below is a direct comparison between Classical and Acoustic guitars:
Nylon - the 3 lower strings are wound with Nickel/Silver. Lower tension and much easier on the fingers but harder to tune up as they are more elastic and take more stretching.
Light weight and a wider neck - good for exact finger styles, but not really designed for chord strumming.
Complex but subtle tones through lighter construction of body. Less treble twang with a more soft and mellow sound.
Easier for finger picking and classical style playing. Lower volume and sustain than steel strings make them unsuitable for strumming or rock riffs!
Popular with Primary School children as they come in 1/2 and 3/4 sizes, very cheap models are common, but we'd recommend spending a little extra to get a good quality musical instrument, not a toy.
Steel - higher tension, louder and a more full bodied tone. The strings can be sore for untrained fingers but this will get easier with practice!
Slightly heavier weight to the instrument, generally bigger bodied, but the neck is slimmer and easier for strumming.
Steel strings give a more rocky twang and large body gives a booming, full bodied volume with heavy strumming.
Harder for finger picking due to tough steel strings but with practice this can be overcome. Better for strumming and lower string height can make it easier for beginners to play chords.
Huge variation in styles and colours. There is a great deal of quality even in the sub £100 market, so you don't need to spend very much to get a very nice guitar!
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Guitarbitz Guitar Shop is based in Frome, on the Somerset & Wiltshire border, 10 miles south of Bath. Pop into the shop or buy through our online store for next day delivery of the latest guitars, amps, effects, bags, straps, etc. We have for sale top brands including Fender, Martin, Tanglewood, Orange, Sigma, & Blackstar. We have cheap deals on guitar strings & accessories from brands including Ernie Ball, D'Addario, Rotosound, Elixir and many more, with bulk discounts available on guitar strings.
We also stock a wide range of replacement spare parts for all types of electric, acoustic & bass guitars.
All instruments are tuned & fully checked before dispatch to make sure they play properly so you can be sure you are getting the best guitar possible delivered to your door.
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