Dave Byers

What should I look for in buying an acoustic guitar?

"What should I look for while buying an acoustic guitar?"

This is a question I get a good bit so I’ll share my input with you here. 

Is this your first guitar? If not, take a friend who does or go to a trusted local store. Hoping you can play a few chords. In a nut shell, playability and comfort right off. go into a REAL music store, preferably a local independent (not gc/big box store but a ma/pa store) and sit with as many guitars as you can. First find the size and style that’s the most comfortable for YOU. You're going to sit with this for a long time, so make sure it’s comfortable. Can.I suggest my sonand I’s music store DC Music Store? An acoustic guitar can be like a best friend. You’re going to spend a lot of time with it and tell it stories no one else hears. It’s also going to put up with your playing and possibly singing. lol! Mine does. lol! OK, size - check. Now play others like that and play basic chords etc. and listen to the tone in a quiet room. Listen to the tone. There is no right tone, there’s a tone that’s YOU that YOU like and you need to find it. While doing this, play the guitar up and down the neck and see how it plays. How is it setup. Is it easy to play? If not, ask the store if they can adjust the setup to be better for you. Right, none of what we said will happen online. Because of this, when you find the guitar you like, reward the store that took care of you. Don’t push them aside and buy it online. You’ll then be guilty of pushing away local stores and they won’t be there next time you need them.

Larger bodies like jumbos have big and full sounds but are sometimes tougher to handle for smaller statured people. Thin body and regular depth bodies with vary in comfort and volume/tone. Smaller guitars can be fun to sit on the couch with but will often lack the bass or fullness of sound without an awful lot of $ rubbed all over them.

Most guitars sides/back are mahogany. Darker woods like rosewood are warmer. Cedar sometimes used on the top is a warmer sound. Most tops are made of spruce. Many guitars are laminated wood, where a solid top is known to warm up and age better.

Check the quality of the tuning gears. How does the neck feel up and down? Some are fatter, wider etc. Compare the necks.

Those are the basics. Don’t look over brands you don’t know. They often make some nice guitars that won’t have the $ for the brand you know at the top of the headstock.

Buy what sounds good to you, feels comfortable to hold and to play.