So you’re interested in buying an acoustic guitar for a beginner - a child starting to learn or yourself - but you don’t exactly know what to look for. Yours is a valid concern as the quality of a guitar, especially an acoustic one, can determine whether the beginner will enjoy learning to play or end up throwing the guitar into the furnace.
To help you get on the right track to buying a good acoustic guitar for a beginner, here are some top points to consider.
Appropriate size and body style
One thing a beginner’s acoustic guitar needs to provide players is comfort. After all, you wouldn’t want to give up on your guitar study program simply because you find your instrument difficult to hold and play. Size is especially important when you’re choosing a guitar for a child. In general, it’s recommended to get a half-sized guitar for young children up to around 11 years old. For older children, young teens and petite adults with small hands, there are 3/4-sized guitars that they would find more comfortable to play than full-sized guitars. Older teens and adults can start learning on a full-sized instrument.
Good construction and design
Acoustic guitars are made up of several parts, all of which have an effect on the guitar’s appeal, sound, durability and playability. When shopping for a beginner’s acoustic guitar, you need to make sure that the guitar is well-made, easy to set up and tune and can withstand hours of practice sessions.
Acoustic guitars come in various body styles - you have Concert and grand Concert, auditorium and grand auditorium, jumbo, dreadnought, as well as travel and mini acoustic guitars. Each body style produces a different sound. Whichever body style you choose, it’s important that you are comfortable playing the guitar. Some points to consider are:
How the guitar body feels between the player’s body and strumming arm - it should not feel too big or too small. For children, it’s okay to use something that’s on the slightly bigger side because they would eventually grow into it.
How the chord hand feels around the neck - the neck shouldn’t be too wide and too long that it would be difficult to fret different chords.
How the body style meets the player’s preference - some people like the classic dreadnought shape, while others prefer the narrow waist of the auditorium.
Comfortable action and good intonation
When looking for an acoustic guitar for a beginner, consider the action and intonation. The strings should not be too high off the fretboard so that fretting chords will be easier, especially for young fingers. The intonation should also be spot-on or easy to adjust to make learning the correct pitch easier. Some guitars already have a comfortable action straight out of the factory, while others require a professional setup before they’re playable.
Those are the top factors to take into consideration when looking for a beginner’s acoustic guitar. A good piece of advice is to go around to music stores to get personally acquainted with the different types and sizes of acoustic guitars so you can determine which one meets your preferences. This could be difficult if you want to buy for someone else, so seek the advice of music store personnel. Once you’ve settled on a guitar, it’s now up to you to buy it and have it set up then and there or order it online so you can look for the best deals.