Welcome back, Acoustic Guitar Addicts; I’ve covered a lot of instruction and advice in this blog, but I thought this time I’d help you with one of the main purposes of this site, which is how to select only from among the good acoustic guitars, and not get stuck with junk.
The first thing you need to know is, be patient. Don’t run out and buy what you can afford right now, unless it is one of the acoustic guitars reviewed well on this site, like the Seagull S6, the Yamaha FG700s, or maybe the Yamaha Gigmaker Starter Pack if you have to. The Jasmine S35 is okay, if you absolutely cannot wait, but I promise if you will be patient, and save a little longer, you’ll be happy you did, because you won’t miss out on the noticeably finer sound and features of the better guitars reviewed here.
Second, pay attention to the feature list. If one maker calls your attention to their special truss rod design, which holds the neck firm, and sets the height of the action, then there’s a decent chance that it is an improvement, that the guitar will be more stable in its tuning, the intonation of its scale, and in the playability of its action. And what about all those spiffy-sounding woods they brag about using? Does that actually mean anything, or is it just good acoustic guitars’ parlance for an excuse to charge more? Fact is, the wood used can mean a lot. In fact, as long as it’s not all veneer over nondescript plywood, the choice of wood stock will determine the tone of the instrument: whether it’s bright or dark, bold and projecting, or mellow and intimate.
A big concern with consumer-level acoustic guitars is the quality of the stock strings that come with them. These factory installed strings can be absolute garbage or real gems, depending on the manufacturer. If a company makes a big deal about how good their stock string are, then you can buy confidently. Otherwise, you’re likely going to need to replace the strings if you want a good sound, and tunings that don’t readily slip. And, by the way, that good set of guitar strings can save you $15-$30 over the cost of buying a cheaper guitar, and replacing the strings in three weeks.
Along those same lines, you may find the bridge or fret height is flawed is the cheaper guitars, problems which are, thankfully, rarer with the more expensive guitars. This sort of repair (bridge or fret work) can add up quickly, and get quite expensive before you know it. So, you have to ask, are you really saving any money buying the lesser guitar, when a couple more weeks of saving might get you an acoustic guitar that plays beautifully right out of the box?
Those are just some things to consider. I hope you will check out the reviews on this site for the guitars above, read the comments of actual users you will find there, and be a little patient, so you end up with one of the good acoustic guitars for beginners, rather than a guitar-shape toy.