3 Steps to Follow When Choosing an Acoustic Guitar
you should have a clearer idea of which type of guitar (Acoustic or Classical) is suitable for you after reading 3 Things to Consider Before Learning and/or Purchasing a Guitar. If you have yet to read that article, perhaps you might find it useful – 3 Things to Consider Before Learning and/or Purchasing a Guitar. Now that you are sure to go down the route of learning an acoustic guitar, what should you take note? Aimlessly going into a music instrument store and having a paradox of choice? You are not alone in this matter! Follow these three steps to filter out the different type of guitars, and your decision making process will be a breeze.
Step 1: Choose the Right Guitar Shape
There are four common acoustic guitar shapes that can be found at a music instrument store. They are respectively Concert, Auditorium (also known as Orchestra), Jumbo and Dreadnaught. Every shape brings different things to the table, and there is no such thing that a certain shape is more superior than the other. Tone and comfort should be the top two priority whilst deciding on the shape of the guitar.
This shape is suitable for guitarists who are looking for a soft and balanced tone that is compatible with their playing styles. Guitars with this shape usually has a bright sound with a punchy mid-range. It is excellent for softer fingerpicking styles and strumming with quick changes.
This shape is suitable for guitarists who are looking for an overall balanced tone, as the width of the upper bout and the lower bout is the most similar in size. Guitars with this shape usually have lesser bass emphasis.
This shape is suitable for guitarists who are looking for a percussive, full-sounding and clear tone. Guitars with this shape usually have excellent projection and resonance due to its heavy lower bout.
This shape is suitable for guitarists who are looking for a boom bass and low midrange tone. Guitars with this shape usually are able to project plenty of volume and depth.
After understanding how the shape of a guitar affects the tone projected, do not jump the gun! Comfortability should also be considered whilst choosing the appropriate shape. Different shapes will definitely cause different ratios between the upper bout, lower bout, body length and depth. As all individuals are unique and have different body shapes, different shaped guitar will cause different comfort level. Hence, trying out different shapes to compare the comfort level as well as to weigh out the pros and cons if a shape is not as comfort but the tone is preferred, vice versa.
Step 2: Choosing the Right Wood
The two main guitar parts that are affected by the type of wood are known as the Top wood and Back and Side wood. Different types of wood will produce different tones, this is due to the density and the curvature of the woods. Just like human’s fingerprints, there are no two woods that are the same, even if it came from the same tree. For easy reference, we have came up with a figure that makes the whole concept easier to digest.
The most common woods that are used for guitar manufacturing has been marked out in red. As usual, the tone of a music instrument always lies on a spectrum. Depending of the type of music that the guitarist plays, different wood will suit the genre differently.
Step 3: Is the Guitar Action Suitable for You?
Guitar action might not be a familiar term to guitarists that had just started learning guitar not too long ago. Broadly speaking, guitar action refers to the distance between the strings and the fretboard. It is a factor that is commonly overlooked at whilst choosing for a guitar. However, it may totally revolutionize the way the guitarist feels about the guitar. A guitar with a high action might cause discomfort as more finger strength is required to push the strings down and might also slow down the speed of chord changing. A guitar with low action might cause the strings to produce a buzzing sound as the guitarist plays the guitar. This buzzing sound. The height of the action is dependent on the playing style and its correlated requirement. Most guitarists prefer their guitar action to be as low as possible without causing the buzzing sound. However, this is still specific to individual preference.
Every manufacturer has their algorithm that engineers the functionality of the guitar, which may or may not be suitable for you. As mentioned, different playing styles will require different height of action. Right off the bat, there are two ways to solve the issue if the guitar’s action is not desired. Firstly, change another model or brand into something that fits you. Otherwise, have a professional guitar technician to inspect and fine-tune the action. It is crucial to not fine-tune the fretboard until it has been taught, this is due to most acoustic guitars using a set neck (glued to the body of the guitar), and mishandling will lead to unrepairable damage.
A concept that has been presented throughout this article is preference. Music is highly subjective and there is no such thing as one size fits all shape, wood and action. Different shape, different woods and different action is suitable for different playing styles. The questions to ask yourself are – What type of tone are you looking for? Do you prefer a bolder and more powerful tone? Do you prefer tones with higher bass or treble? What is your playing style? Is the guitar of choice able to fit into all these criterias? Instead of focusing on the guitar shape – It can only be jumbo shaped, nothing else, or focusing on the type of wood – It can only have a solid cedar top, your preference should be at the core of the consideration.
Looking for Guitar or Guitar Lessons?
Cristofori Music has always been there for their customers throughout their music learning and we strive to provide aid whenever needed.
If you are looking for guitar lessons, why not consider from our 35 music schools across the island?
If you are looking for guitars, we have showrooms at Bedok Industrial Park, Bishan Junction 8, and at Funan for you to try the guitars before your purchase! Our welcoming colleagues at these outlets will provide their professional opinion and aid your decision making journey!
If you are looking for professional guitar technician to inspect your guitar and fine-tune? Head down to the Bedok Industrial Headquarters to have it checked by our friendly guitar technician!