Acoustic guitars are some of the most versatile instruments and can be used to play anything from soft pop to hardcore rock. Whether you want to pick up the guitar as a hobby or become the next Jimi Hendrix, everyone starts at the beginning. As someone who has been playing for years, I can confidently say that the best acoustic guitar is not necessarily the best acoustic guitar for beginners. That is why we are here to help you navigate this new world of guitars to help pick out the best acoustic guitar for beginners to get you started.
Guitars have many aspects that will affect the sound, reverberation, and tone. Advanced guitarists choose guitars by the type of tonewood or the soundboard and resonance. You will eventually know the science behind whether to choose flatwound or roundwound guitar strings. The materials, spacing, sizing, and other features of a guitar all affect the sound and style of music that is played with the acoustic guitar.
As a beginner, you will not need to worry so much about a specific sound just yet. Instead, you will want a relatively affordable acoustic guitar that will be most versatile as you explore different music styles and find your niche. As you become acquainted with your guitar, you will understand better what exactly you want in a guitar and can better invest in the best guitar for your needs.
Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners Top Choice:Yamaha FG800
The Yamaha FG800 wins by a mile over all the other acoustic guitars for beginners. Nothing can rival the high quality of the guitar while still having a beginner guitar price tag. This is what makes the Yamaha the best acoustic guitar for beginners.
Yamaha has made a name for itself in the music industry and many know them for their pianos. But, their over 50 years of business has spread their fame and they are now one of the largest names in guitars as well. They are used by beginners and professionals alike and can be seen in footage of famous artists such as country star Joe McDonald.
The Yamaha FG800 has one of the only solid wood tops. Solid wood has better resonance than laminate and other mixes of wood. Among the woods, spruce is known as the best wood for sound in a guitar.
The Yamaha FG800 has a solid Sitka spruce top. Note that the top of the guitar affects the majority of the sound from the guitar. This is why it is the most important part of the guitar when it comes to material.
The back and sides are made from nato. Nato is a cheaper material, which is one of the ways that the guitar keeps its costs down. The back and sides, while they do have an influence over the sound and resonance, are not as important as the top. Because of this, it is better if the sides are made cheaply than the top. Nato is very similar to mahogany in effect, but not quite as high quality.
This is a classic six-string guitar. The fingerboard and the bridge are made from rosewood, one of the more expensive woods. It tends to be slightly heavier, but it produces better sounds.
The entire body of the guitar has a hand-sprayed finish. The finish helps protect the wood and helps with the resonance.
The Yamaha is best known for its lower and mid-range tones. The bracing of the guitar helps with the backing and holding the soundboard in place. The placement of the soundboard helps promote the lower overtones of the guitar, creating a nice, smooth sound and placing it on our list as the best acoustic guitar for beginners.
Yamaha offers more than just the guitar. Since the Yamaha FG800 is a beginner’s guitar, they offer a package for beginners with a collection of accessories that will help get you started on your musical journey.
This accessories package bundle includes a large, black, hard case. It has room for the guitar as well as storing small accessories so that they are easy to access when playing the guitar. The hard case will protect the outside of the guitar from scratches and bumps as well as more serious injuries that would affect the quality of sound.
The inside of the case is lined with plush so the guitar is cushioned while you travel. There are latches around the side that keep the lid closed while traveling. A handle makes it easy to carry the case with you wherever you may go.
In addition to the case, the beginner’s kit also includes five additional helpful accessories. First, there is a basic A-frame stand that can hold nearly any acoustic and electric guitars. The kit also includes picks, a guitar strap, a polishing cloth, and a clip tuner. Tuners are very important for making sure your strings are tightened properly in order to produce the best quality sound.
Things to Consider
While this guitar is one of the highest quality guitars for an affordable beginner’s price, there are some areas that will need to be adjusted. It is not a four digit price tag guitar, so not every part of the guitar will be performance-worthy quality.
One of the first areas that will most likely need to be changed are the strings, which are very thick. This may work for more advanced players, but those starting out will want to begin with lighter strings then adjust from there depending on their style.
The other area that you may want to consider getting examined is the saddle and nuts. You can have these examined by a professional and adjusted as needed to enhance the sound of the guitar. Be sure you are getting the ultimate quality possible with your guitar.
You will also want to eventually replace the other items that are part of the beginner’s kit. These items are not the highest of quality but will work while getting started with the best acoustic guitar for beginners. You will eventually want to find a stand with more secure holdings and padding as well as a strap that will be more comfortable. Also, investing in better quality picks will go a long way when it comes to the sound produced.
Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners Runner Up: Jasmine S34C
The Jasmine S34C has made one of the top three because it has quality that cannot be rivaled by many all for a great beginner’s price. As mentioned previously, you do not want to start out with a $1,000 guitar. As a beginner, you do not know if you will be staying acoustic or going over to electric. You do not know if you’ll want a body style that’ll help you play blues, or one for rocking with.
Until you decide on just what you want, you need a good guitar with a quality sound that will help you learn the guitar basics and last for a good few years. The Jasmine S34C has all this, which is what makes it the runner-up as the best acoustic guitar for beginners.
This guitar has the dreadnought body style. This is one of the most common and versatile of body styles. If you think of an acoustic guitar, you are probably picturing a dreadnought body style. This body style will allow you to play all styles of music. As a beginner, this is ideal.
For this specific guitar body, they have a cutaway design. This means there is a dip near the neck of the guitar on one side so you can access the higher frets easier. The regular dreadnought body style is available in the Jasmine’s S35 style.
The top is a laminate spruce, while the back and sides are sapele. Spruce tops usually provide the most balanced sounds due to the wood type, which makes it good for those who do not have a unique style yet. This will help achieve more versatile sound options when you play versus other woods that may lean specifically towards one style or another.
The top of the guitar is where most of the sound is produced, so the material that is on the top is the most important to consider. A laminate is a cheaper version of the wood as the real wood is mixed in layers with cheaper wood. This is how they save on costs for the beginner guitars.
As you advance, you will want to eventually replace this guitar with a solid wood guitar for the best sound. The neck of the guitar is made from rosewood. This is a higher quality wood, which helps with the overall quality of the sound and guitar. It is a regular-sized, six string guitar.
The entire guitar has a smooth, natural gloss. This helps with the sound and appearance of the guitar. It mainly helps with the resonance when you are strumming or plucking. The guitar also has a strap button right at the base of the neck so that you can easily attach a guitar strap which will make it much easier to hold your guitar while playing.
Jasmine also offers superior bracing (the bracing is what helps support the back of the guitar). It also is what reinforces the soundboard. The better the bracing system, the better the sound of the guitar.
Jasmine has an “X” style bracing system that is more unique than other bracing systems. They placed their “X” style bracing system closer to the sound hole. This helps with the quality of the sound produced by the guitar. They also designed their braces to be lightweight as to not interfere with the sound quality.
Things to Consider
Since this is a beginner guitar, it will be a cheaper guitar. This is something to keep in mind when using it – you will eventually be replacing it with a higher quality guitar. That being said, it is great quality for an affordable starter guitar.
It does have a laminate top, which is not preferable. It can break easier and does not quite have the same quality of sound as solid wood. A solid wood guitar will be twice as expensive at least but is worth the investment when the time comes.
The strings that come with the guitar may not be the best strings to start with. Try replacing them soon after purchase with new strings from a guitar store. Try starting with a lighter string and then moving towards a more heavy string if you tend to strum more than pluck.
Some have found that this guitar can be difficult to tune because when they have tightened the strings, some have seen that the neck will bend slightly. This is not the case for all Jasmine guitars, but it is a common theme for many and should be something to watch out for when tuning.
Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners Honorable Mention: Fender FA-100
The Fender FA-100 comes with not just the guitar, but an entire package of starter items. This is a great package deal that will get you started on your beginner guitar journey.
It is a good quality guitar that is made out of very similar materials as the Jasmine guitar. The high quality, as well as the great package deal, makes it worth a mention as a runner-up for the best acoustic guitar for beginners.
The Fender FA-100 also has a dreadnought body style, which is the most versatile and widely seen acoustic guitar body style. The front of the guitar is made out of a laminated spruce top. The laminate refers to how it is layered between the real spruce wood and cheaper woods in order to make the guitar more affordable for beginners.
The neck of the guitar is made out of rosewood. There are the full 20 frets along the fingerboard with dot inlays. The neck comes to a synthetic bone saddle. This is a regular six-string guitar, which is easiest and therefore one of the reasons it is one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners.
The bottom of the neck has a small knob for attaching a guitar strap. The strap will help you hold the guitar in a more comfortable position when playing. The entire guitar has a gloss finish. This helps with protecting the wood and creating a better resonance when playing.
This guitar is available in a beginner’s package with all you need to get started. The main item is the Fender FA-100. It is not Fender’s best guitar. Their best guitars can range in the thousands of dollars (many professionals use Fender guitars). What they offer is the Fender name and quality in a slightly cheaper model.
You will also receive a guitar case. The case will help keep the guitar from scratching or being bent. It also has some small outer pockets for storing your guitar accessories. The case is a soft case with zipper sides. It also has a carry handle to make it easier to take the guitar to lessons or perform for family and friends.
The guitar also comes with a strap that is great for starting out until you decide what type of strap you are wanting. The strap is a basic, black adjustable strap with very little padding. You will want to look at replacing it soon, especially if you’re carrying your acoustic guitar to lessons.
A digital chromatic clip tuner comes with the guitar as well. Having an in-tune guitar is very important to learn how to properly play. While this tuner is free, it still works great for starting out with your best acoustic guitar for beginners.
For actually playing, the guitar comes with a pack of picks and guitar strings. The strings are slightly cheaper in quality, so you may want to look at replacing them immediately with better quality strings. Otherwise, you may find the strings breaking after a short time or difficulty keeping your guitar in tune. The picks are a basic design that will help with both strumming and picking.
For the care and maintenance of your guitar, the package includes a polishing cloth. Last but not least, the package includes an instructional DVD for getting you started on your learning journey.
Things to Consider
As with most beginner guitars, this guitar is far from the highest quality. However, the sound is very good for the price and for learning. It also has the famous Fender name to back it up.
Where the quality is lacking is in the laminate wood versus the solid wood of better makes. That being said, it does use spruce in the laminate which is one of the best woods to use in a guitar for the highest quality of sound. It also uses rosewood for the fingerboard, which is another more expensive wood.
The beginner package does have all the items you will need to start out, but do not plan on keeping those items long-term. All the accessories are not the highest quality and you will soon find yourself replacing them. One of the first items you should consider replacing would be the strings of the guitar because they will have the biggest influence on the sound.
Accessories Needed For the Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners
When starting to play the guitar, buying the actual guitar is only the first step. As you have seen, some beginner guitars do offer value packs that have many of the necessary items for starting out. If you do not buy a value pack, you will need to purchase each item individually. Here is a general guide of items and accessories you will want to purchase for your new guitar hobby.
Accessories for the Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners: A Case
First and foremost, you will want to purchase a high-quality case. There is no use purchasing a nice guitar if it will get bumped, bent, and beaten within weeks of the purchase. Without the proper protection, you will find your guitar will soon lose its good quality sound.
A case not only helps protect your guitar, it also makes it easy to travel with. You may be going to weekly guitar lessons, taking it with to play at a friend’s party, or simply moving from one floor of your house to the next. Whichever your reason, you will find a carrying case will make the move easier without the risk of hurting your guitar.
A case also provides a way to easily store other guitar necessities close by. Nearly all cases have some sort of pocket or cubby for storing small items like picks and a tuner. This will help keep the necessities with the guitar no matter where you are playing.
Types of Cases for Your Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners
There are two main types of cases for guitars. You can either purchase a soft case or a hard case. A soft case is much lighter. It is also easier to store when it does not have a guitar inside. The soft case can have more pockets and storage space depending on the brand.
They are normally sealed with zippers. A soft case is much easier to carry with you. The lightweight, plus the fact that they oftentimes have a shoulder strap in addition to a carry handle make them one of the easier cases to travel with.
The hard case is the second type of guitar case. This case’s main positive aspect is that it offers more protection. The hard exterior keeps your guitar safe from all bumps and bruises. It has latches that seal the guitar safely inside.
Many times they will even have a key lock for extra security. If you are flying on an airplane, a hard case is a much better and safer route to go with for your guitar. It is heavier and usually only has a carry handle, so it can be more awkward to travel with.
Accessories for the Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners: A Tuner
The quality of the wood in the guitar is only half of what makes a guitar sound good. A well-tuned $100 guitar will sound better than a poorly tuned $1,000 guitar. A tuner will make sure that you have your strings tightened to the precise tone that is desired.
You will also be able to adjust the tuning on the fly if you decide to play on a different tune while out and about. The most convenient tuners will most often clip to the neck of the guitar so that you can see them easily hands-free as you tune the strings.
Accessories for the Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners: A Strap
A guitar strap will tie around the top of the guitar neck and at the base of the neck. Most guitars do have a knob at the base of the neck for the strap to attach easily to the guitar. The strap is mainly for your comfort and ease of use.
A guitar can become heavy after playing for a while. Having a strap will hold up the guitar so you can focus on your hand placement. It will allow for more flexibility of your playing as you do not have to worry about propping up the guitar as well as finger placement.
A good strap will have secure ends to connect to your best acoustic guitar for beginners. You do not want a strap that will easily get unraveled or fray easily. Instead, get a strap you can trust with the weight of your guitar. You will also not want a strap with sharp edges that could scratch the gloss of your guitar.
You will also want to look for a strap with some padding or a comfortable, wide shoulder area. If the strap digs into your shoulder, it will become uncomfortable fast and may hinder your playing or distract you from practicing.
Accessories for the Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners: A Stand
This is not quite essential but will make playing your guitar much easier. It is highly unlikely that when you play your guitar, you will have it constantly in hand. You will need to set it down for a few minutes to look at notes, or even run an errand. If you are playing for people, you may leave your guitar out and ready for a performance.
A stand allows you to do this. Otherwise, you would need to package your guitar away in its case each time you set it aside, which can be a time-consuming hassle.
Accessories for the Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners: Picks
Picks are another accessory that is not a necessity as they are only used for some styles. Those who play more classical music or do fingerpicking are less likely to use a pick. Playing rock or jazz music is better suited with a pick. They can produce sounds that are impossible to replicate with finger picking or strumming.
The opposite is also true. There are some playing methods that are very difficult to achieve when using a pick. At the beginning stage, it is best to try all types of styles before settling with one specific sound.
You can find different shapes and weights of picks. Each pick will affect the sound quality and will depend on what style you are trying to go for. Note that many picks can be bought in a variety pack. This will give you the flexibility to experiment with different sounds to find the best pick for your style.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What type of strings should I use?
When you start off, you will want a lighter string. This will be easier to play with and still produce a good sound. You can start with strings that range from .011 inches to .052 inches. You can also start with bronze strings. They are light and metallic.
Q: How do I start learning to play guitar?
Each person’s guitar journey is entirely their own! You do not need to feel like you have to learn one way or another. You can be self-taught through internet videos, purchase a DVD course, or attend professional guitar lessons. Whatever suits your needs will work. All that matters is your commitment.
Commit to practicing regularly. Regular practice will help stretch the muscles in your hand so they don’t hurt as much. Calluses will build on your fingers which will be holding down the strings. Most importantly, practicing will help you learn much faster.
Q: How much do I need to know about music to be able to play the guitar?
You can learn anything you want! You are never too old or too young to learn. Having a basic foundation in music will definitely help you with your guitar journey, but it is not necessary. You will pick up basic music theory as you learn about the guitar.
Learning guitar may even open up the door to learning other instruments. The theory that you learn from playing the guitar is not limited to just the guitar. You could use it to learn the trumpet or piano. If you are interested in learning the piano as well, you can check out Krystle Dickerson’s article on the best keyboard pianos.