Acoustic Guitar Buyers Guide
One of the most common questions we are asked is the about the difference between acoustic and classical guitars.
Classical Guitars, also known as Spanish guitars, have 6 nylon strings stretched over an acoustic box with a sound hole to amplify the vibrations, these are often used for children to learn on, they rarely come in left handed, so we normally recommend younger children learn to play right handed.
Acoustic Guitars are similar in construction to classical guitars but are strung with steel strings and are therefore much louder, with a bulkier build to accommodate the extra tension.
The amplification of string vibrations by the hollow wooden body mean that these guitars make enough sound that they do not need to be amplified electronically.
Electro acoustic guitars do have microphones or magnetic pickups in the sound hole which makes them useful for recording or playing via an amplifier for a louder sound for performance reasons.
If you are interested in acquiring either of these styles of guitars then it would be a good idea to study the differences between them and decide which would be best for you. Have a look at the table below to weigh up the advantages /disadvantages
|Nylon - the 3 lower strings are wound with Nickel/Silver. Lower tension and much easier on the fingers but harder to tune up as they are more elastic and take more stretching.
|Light weight and a wider neck - good for exact finger styles, but not really designed for chord strumming.
|Complex but subtle tones through lighter construction of body. Less treble twang with a more soft and mellow sound.
|Easier for finger picking and classical style playing. Lower volume and sustain than steel strings make them unsuitable for strumming/ rock riffs.
|Popular with Primary School children as they come in 1/2 and 3/4 sizes, very cheap models are common, but we'd recommend spending a little extra to get a good quality instrument.
|Steel - higher tension, louder and a more full bodied tone. The strings can be sore for untrained fingers but this will get easier with practice!
|Slightly heavier weight to the instrument, generally bigger bodied, but the neck is slimmer and easier for strumming.
|Steel strings give a more rocky twang and large body gives a booming, full bodied volume with heavy strumming.
|Harder for finger picking due to tough steel strings but with practice this can be overcome. Better for strumming and lower string height can make it easier for beginners to play chords.
|Huge variation in styles and colours. There is a great deal of quality even in the sub £100 market, so you don't need to spend very much to get a very nice guitar!
If you're after a budget classical guitar for a child, the Valencia Classical Guitar Kits are our best for quality and value, including a bag, foot stool, pitch pipes and string winder. They come in 3 sizes, 1/2 size would be suitable for children up to 6-7, 3/4 up to 9-11, and a 4/4 sized guitar for older children or adults.
We also have a good budget range of Ashton Classical Guitars. The come in a choice of sizes and, most importantly, colours, so if you're after a purple, blue or black instrument, take a look at these.
We also have a range of full sized classical guitars by Yamaha, and Valencia, including some popular electro versions.
For a traditional acoustic guitar, the 'Dreadnaught' shape is most common. We have a large range here starting from just from £49 for our hugely popular Falcon, available in 4 bright colours and a left handed version as well!
For beginners, the Lorenzo L449 at £99 is an award winner, the Yamaha F310 at £119 is of excellent quality and comes with a strap, strings and DVD, the Ashton D25 is £119 and is one of the UK's fastest growing brands, while the Washburn D10S starting at £149 is the worlds best selling dreadnaught!
If you can stretch the budget, view the Tanglewood TW115ST at £243, Lag Guitars have a good range starting at £139 or the Yamaha FG Series start at just £159, one of my favourite guitars is the FG700MS. All of these would be a great guitar to learn on.
A smaller bodied acoustic guitar is the Folk, and they are very popular, easier to manage, especially for smaller people, and they generally give a nice bright sound.
Our most popular folk guitar is the award winning Vintage V300 at £119, a great buy.
Check out also the Tanglewood TW170 from £269, or the Yamaha FS Series at £219, both lovely guitars that are a joy to play.
Electro Acoustic Guitars
Fundamentally the same construction, an Electro Acoustic lets you plug your instrument into an amplifier, effects pedal or recording equipment.
These have really come into fashion recently and Tanglewood Guitars are the masters of these instruments, the Tanglewood TW45 from their Sundance Pro range starts at £504 and is their biggest selling guitar worldwide. For a more affordable version, take a look at their Evolution TF Folk Electro, at £234 a really good choice.
We also have a very good choice of Yamaha electro's, the APX500 is a very well known guitar, and the CPX700 is similar but has a slightly larger body.
We've recently added Takaimine Guitars to our range, they are one of the worlds most popular acoustic guitar brands, practically inventing the electro acoustic, and they start at under £200. Excellent quality and value.
Washburns Festival Series is another good value Electro, and of course, the ever popular D10S also come in an electro version.
The Acoustic Kit
If you are looking to invest in a quality classical or acoustic guitar then our Acoustic Kit is the perfect accompaniment to your instrument.
Offering all the accessories you need to enjoy your guitar at its best and leaving you free to pick an instrument that really suits you, the kit includes an electronic Qwik Tune tuner, padded Ritter gig bag, 'A' frame guitar stand, a set of Martin Acoustic guitar strings as well as plectrums and strap!