Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners (2016)
Choosing the Right Guitar
Most guitar players starting out tend to choose acoustic guitars. This choice makes sense—you don't have to buy addition items like a guitar amp or a cable to amplify the sound of the guitar. However the variety of great and affordable acoustic guitars is so vast that a beginner player can easily become confused with which acoustic guitar to buy. Taking all these things listed above into consideration I have chosen five guitars that I consider the best for beginner guitar players. Below, in no particular order, you find a detailed review of the:
- Epiphone Hummingbird Pro (*My top pick of these five)
- Yamaha FG730S
- Takamine G Series Dreadnought Solid Top
- Taylor Baby Taylor
- Washburn WD 10SCE
For each of the guitars listed, you'll find my personal commentary, a list of the guitar's general specs/features, and its rating on Amazon and/or Ultimate-Guitar.com (UG), one of the largest online guitarist communities on the Internet. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments below.
Note: This article will focus on acoustic guitars. You can also check out my other article for electric guitars for beginners.
Common Guitar Terminlogy to Know
Here are some guitar terms that will appear in this article:
- Frets: Frets divide the fretboard into segments that go up and interval with each next fret. For guitars, each fret goes up one semi-tone. For example, if the guitar has standard tuning, then the open sound on the sixth string will be E, the first fret will be F, the second fret will be F# and so forth. 22 fret guitars go up 22 semitones and 24 fret guitars go up 24 semitones (or two full octaves.)
- Action: This refers to the string height to the fretboard. The lower is the action is on the guitar, the easier it will be to push strings against the fretboard.
- Pickup: Pickups amplify the sound of an acoustic guitar. Some common types will usually be attached under the bridge saddle of the acoustic guitar, then it will be plugged into a mixer or amplifier to enhance the sound.
- Preamp: Short for preamplifier, a preamp basically works like a pickup in amplifying the sound of your guitar. It takes a tailored signal and then drives it through the amp. This then enhances the signal level through the speaker.
Epiphone Hummingbird Pro
- Price: ~300 dollars
- Specs: The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is the entry-level version of the famous Gibson Hummingbird. The body of this guitar has a dreadnought shape and is made of a solid, one-piece spruce top with a select laminated mahogany back and sides. This gives the Hummingbird Pro a warm, rounded out sound to it. There's also a spruce top which helps to add brighter and clearer high sounds. The neck has a slim d-neck shape and is made from selected mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard with 20 frets. The bridge is also made from rosewood, with 6 bridge pins that holds the strings and has a synthetic bone saddle. The Hummingbird Pro also has grover tuners and synthetic tortoise pickguard.
- Weight: This guitar weighs around 5 pounds (2.3 kg).
- Colors: Comes in a faded cherry burst color.
- Electronics: This acoustic guitar has a built-in pickup, with a Shadows ePerformer preamp system that allows you to connect this guitar to an amp or PA system. The preamp system has treble and bass controls, a master volume control, and is powered by 2032 round batteries.
Overall, this is one of the best guitars for any beginner guitar player to start on. The playability is great, the tone is warm and clear, and you can also amplify the sound with the pickup and preamp system.
Sound Clip of the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro
- Price: ~300 dollars
- Specs: The Yamaha FG730S has a dreadnought body shape, with a solid spruce top and a laminated rosewood back and sides. The neck is made from nato wood, with a rosewood fretboard that has 20 frets. This combination of woods gives you a great all-around sound, with a balanced low, middle, and high frequencies. The neck has a slim d-neck shape and feels great in your hands. The bridge of this guitar is made from rosewood that has six bridge pins for holding the strings and a synthetic bone saddle. Yamaha own guitar tuners stays in tune well and it also has a tortoise pickguard.
- Weight: It weighs around 4.6 pounds (1.9 kg).
- Colors: Comes in three colors: natural, tobacco brown sunburst, and a vintage cherry sunburst.
- Electronics: This guitar doesn’t have any built-in electronics. So if you want to amplify the sound of this guitar, you will have to buy a pickup or play with a microphone.
Overall this is another great acoustic guitar for beginner players with good build quality, a comfortable neck, and a great sound.
Sound Clip of the Yamaha FG730S
Takamine G Series Dreadnought Solid Top
- Price: ~280 dollars
- Specs: Takamine G Series Dreadnought Solid Top or shorter GD30 guitar has a dreadnought body shape with a solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides, slim mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard that has 20 frets. The sound of this guitar is nice and warm with pronounced upper tones. The bridge is made from rosewood is string trough meaning that the strings are going trought the bridge not hold into place by bridge pins. Another unique feature for this acoustic guitar is 2 piece saddle. The tuners are takamines own and does a great job of staying in tune.
- Weight: The weight of this guitar is around 5 lbs (2.3 kg).
- Colors: Comes in two colors: black and natural.
- Electronics: This particular model doesn’t have any built-in electronics, so you will need a pickup or microphone to amplify the sound. However there are also GD30CE models that have electronics built into them already.
Overall, this is a really simple but solid acoustic guitar with a great sound and a very comfortable neck
Sound Clip of the Takamine G Series Dreadnought Solid Top
Taylor Baby Taylor
- Price: ~300 dollars
- Specs: The Baby Taylor has a ¼ smaller dreadnought shape than the regular dreadnoughts. This makes it a great beginner guitar for kids or those with smaller frames. The body has a solid spruce top, with a laminated sapele back and sides, and a sapele neck with an ebony fretboard that has 19 frets. Sapele wood has the tonal qualities of mahogany, with extra treble (high) tones. Combining that with a spruce top gives you a great sound, with lots of mid-range and upper frequency responses—which Taylor guitars are known for. The ebony bridge has 6 bridge pins for holding the strings and a Tusq nubone saddle.
- Electronics: This model doesn’t have any built-in electronics, but the Baby Taylor E model does have a built in pickup.
Overall, while this acoustic guitar may be smaller, the tone is still fantastic and it plays really well. This one is a great choice for kids or those with smaller frames.
Sound Clip of the Taylor Baby Taylor
Washburn WD 10SCE
- Price: ~300 dollars
- Specs: This acoustic guitar has a cutaway dreadnought shape, meaning that a part of the body has been cut out under the neck to make higher frets more accessible. The body of this guitar is made from a solid spruce top, with a laminated mahogany back and sides. The neck is also made of mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard with 20 frets. The sound is round and warm, with more pronounced middle and high frequencies. The bridge is also made from rosewood, with six bridge pins for holding the strings together, and a bone saddle.
- Weight: It weights around 5 pounds (2.3 kg).
- Colors: Comes in a natural color.
- Electronics: This guitar has a pickup and preamp system ISYS+ from Fishman, a world known acoustic guitar preamp makers. The preamp system has both bass and treble controls, a master volume control, and includes a tuner for tuning on the spot. It is powered with a 9V battery.
Overall, this acoustic guitar will be a great first choice for a beginner guitar player. It sounds great, plays great, and contains some greats features like the built-in preamp and tuner.
Sound Clip of the Washburn WD 10SCE
I know how difficult it can be as a beginner looking to choose the right instrument. It seems like only yesterday when I chose my first acoustic guitar.
All the acoustic guitars in this list are great starting instruments with great quality. They'll all play great and sound great. I can only suggest which acoustic guitars I think are the best in the market right know—the final choice is yours to make. Good luck with that and have a great time playing! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments below.
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© 2013 Chris Whiter