Acoustic guitars have been a staple of American music for more than a century. They’ve been used by some of the most famous musicians in history, from Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan. Whether you want to play folk or rock and roll, blues or country, there’s an acoustic guitar that will work for you. In this article, we’ll explore what makes different types of acoustic guitars unique and how those differences affect the way they sound as well as their price point.
What is an Acoustic Guitar?
Acoustic guitars are a type of string instrument that is played by plucking or strumming the strings. Most acoustic guitars have a hollow body, which means the body of the guitar is an enclosure for multiple resonance chambers. The purpose of these resonance chambers is to amplify the sound produced by the strings when they are plucked or strummed.
There are three parts of an acoustic guitar that have a direct influence on its sound: the top, or soundboard; the back and sides; and the bracing, which is located between the top and bottom of the body of an acoustic guitar. Different types of guitars will produce different sounds due to variations in these components.
Different Types of Acoustic Guitars
Dreadnought – A dreadnought is a style of acoustic guitar that has been around since the early 20th century.
- They are large, loud guitars that have a very full, rich sound
- These guitars typically feature a strong bass and a bright treble tone
Classical – A classical guitar is much smaller than a dreadnought and features nylon strings.
- Classical guitars produce a very mellow sound because of their small size and nylon strings
- They are usually played using fingerpicking techniques rather than strumming or Flatpicking like other styles of acoustic guitar.
Folk- This guitar is used for playing folk music.
- They are the smallest acoustic guitars, usually featuring a very thin soundboard and soft treble tone.
- These guitars are perfect for fingerpicking because their small size makes it easy to fret chords with your left hand while picking individual strings with your right hand.
Features to Consider When Buying an Acoustic Guitar
One of the most important things to consider when buying an acoustic guitar is your budget. Guitars don’t remain in good condition forever, so you should buy the best acoustic guitar you can afford with money that is set aside exclusively for purchasing a new instrument. The price point of an acoustic guitar varies greatly depending on the brand and type of guitar. There are cheap acoustic guitars for sale under $200, like the Rogue RA-090 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar, but there are also expensive acoustics, like Taylor’s 612ce Grand Concert Acoustic-Electric.
The best way to figure out what you can afford is to set your budget and research different guitars within that price range. There are a lot of inexpensive guitars out there, but just because a guitar is affordable doesn’t mean it will be easy to play or produce good sound.
The next thing you should consider when purchasing an acoustic guitar is whether or not you want an electric model. In the example used throughout this article, we’ve been talking about acoustic guitars, but an electric guitar can still be referred to as an “acoustic-electric.” While the term may sound redundant, there is actually a very simple explanation: all acoustics are electrics since they produce sound when strings vibrate and that vibration is sent through an amplifier. However, not all acoustics are equipped with electronics that allow them to be plugged into an amp. The significance of this distinction will become more clear later in the article when we talk about guitar amplifiers, but essentially the main difference between acoustic and electric guitars is whether or not they can connect directly to a PA system by way of a jack.