How to Choose the Right Acoustic Guitar
By Farhat Moiz
If you are well-acquainted with the instrument and wish to hone your guitar-playing skills, you can invest in a solid wood, semi-acoustic or electro-acoustic guitar.
Here are some things you can look at when selecting the ideal acoustic guitar:
When you are shopping for an acoustic guitar, you will notice that parts of a guitar are often made from different kinds of tone-woods. The tone-woods used in the construction of a guitar determine the quality and projection of the tone. It is key to remember that investing in a guitar with a quality top assures great tone. You must also know that the best instruments are made from solid wood primarily because they sound better as they age, while a guitar with a laminate top will not resonate as well as a solid tone-wood. However, if you are a beginner it is advisable to buy a guitar with a laminate body as it is sturdy and easier to maintain.
The type, quality and combination of woods used in the construction of a guitar all help determine its tone. Generally, intermediate guitars feature solid wood tops combined with laminated back and sides. These instruments are made of solid wood, produce a richer and more resonant sound.
Spruce and Cedar are most commonly used for the construction of guitar tops, while Rosewood, Mahogany and Maple are used for backs and sides.
Spruce – is most common wood used for an acoustic guitar top. It has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio that allows the top to be comparatively thin while maintaining strength and making it resonant. Spruce tops stays responsive and agile, making it ideal for styles like strumming and flat-picking.
Cedar – Cedar responds nicely to a light attack and is often chosen for finger-picking and lowered tension tunings. As it is softer and does not share the strength like spruce, cedar can be over-driven if it is harshly played with and will the compress the sound.
Mahogany – This is an excellent wood that falls in the middle of the tonal spectrum, perfecting the balance as it exudes a bright and warm sound..
Maple – A maple body produces a bright, dry tone with a very distinct and a well-defined high-end.
Intonation, Fret Buzz, and Tuning Stability:
Always look out for a fret buzz, even the best luthier has his worst days. Try playing chords and single notes to confirm that the fretboard has been carefully constructed, the chords should sound in tune and accurate. Professional musicians like their action higher for a stark, dynamic sound, but if you are a beginner or buying your first acoustic guitar, you will find a low action befitting your needs. Try to look for a guitar with a double truss-rod in the neck so the action can be re-adjusted if the neck warps.
An easy trick to check a guitar’s intonation is to strum an open D chord and then play the same D chord at the 14th fret of the guitar. If these sound out of tune, you know that, that guitar is not the one.
At the time of trying your guitars, you may notice that the tuning drops frequently, this could be a result of faulty Moto-heads. You must be certain that the tuning pegs are set right before you purchase the right guitar.
As you walk around and try a number of guitars, you will be quick to realize that the guitar that caught your eye and sounds just like what you imagined the ideal guitar to be is not the best fit for you. Guitars come in different shapes and sizes and bigger guitars are not necessarily the best match for you, it is best suited to know and find the right acoustic guitar body style.
The most common types of acoustic body style range from Dreadnought, Classic, Travel Size, Jumbo, Super Jumbo, Auditorium, and Concert. The sound and tonal emphasis of these guitars are distinct and something you would like to research and look into before you settle for a guitar. The play-ability of a guitar also depends on the cutaway design of the guitar, if you are a lead guitarist or wish to be a lead guitarist you may want to look at guitars with a single cutaway or perhaps a double cutaway design in the bout. This design lets you access the higher frets on the guitar neck.
As a guitar player, you may overlook the significance of the sound of the guitar when recorded and heard from a distance. A good trick to keep at hand is to listen to the guitar played by someone else to assess the difference in the sound and the texture. You can take notes as you compare the guitars that interest you the most, as this will help you find the best sounding guitar. Often guitars at music store are not re-strung and a profound sounding guitar may sound dull because of the worn out strings and you could have missed out on a great guitar.
Think music, think Furtados. This is an apt description for the music house of Furtados. Established in 1865, Furtados has always been the vanguard in the field of Western music education in India. From print music to digital equipment, we have a complete spectrum of musical instruments in the Western and Indian categories.
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