Acoustic guitars hold a significant place in our generation as an iconic symbol. They have achieved widespread recognition in pop culture, leaving an indelible mark comparable to that of the piano and the violin. These instruments are renowned for their beginner-friendly nature, while simultaneously presenting a formidable challenge to master, with intricate strumming techniques, unique chords, and more.
Unfortunately, we often overlook the importance of guitar quality. While it is true that the music ultimately relies on the player’s skill, it cannot be denied that the guitar itself plays a crucial role in defining the sound quality. This holds particularly true for acoustic guitars, as they do not rely on electronic amplification.
Now, what should you consider when searching for the perfect guitar? Whether you are a beginner in India seeking the best entry-level option, or you simply want to find the finest acoustic guitars available, it is essential to ponder over a few factors before making a purchase.
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Types Of Acoustic Guitars
Acoustic guitars come in a variety of types, which can be differentiated by the wood used, the shape, and, most importantly, the type of strings.
Based On String
The strings of a guitar play a crucial role in determining its sound quality. Factors such as string tension and the need for a pick impact the playing experience. Playing steel-stringed guitars without a pick can be challenging, while classical guitars are typically played using fingernails.
Steel Stringed Acoustic Guitars
These guitars are the modern evolution of acoustic guitars and have replaced their nylon-stringed counterparts. Steel strings produce a brighter sound with enhanced amplitude. They are the most commonly used type of acoustic guitar. Steel-stringed acoustic guitars were particularly prominent in the blues and country music of the 1970s. They offer a skill level that is relatively easy to grasp but challenging to master.
Nylon Stringed Acoustic Guitar
Also known as classical guitars, nylon-stringed acoustic guitars are the original acoustic guitars that predominantly use nylon strings instead of steel. Classical guitar playing rarely involves the use of a pick; instead, players commonly use their fingernails or fingertips.
Based on Shape and Size
The shape and size of a guitar significantly affect its sound quality. Guitars come in various shapes, and it’s important to consider the kind of sound you desire and whether the size is comfortable for you.
Dreadnought guitars are characterized by their large size and relatively undefined waist. They are the guitars that most people envision when thinking about the instrument. Due to their size, they produce a loud and bass-heavy sound. The size of the soundboard leads to sound reflections within the chamber, creating a reverberating effect. The neck of a dreadnought guitar is relatively narrow, making it suitable for both chord playing and fingerpicking.
Parlour guitars are smaller in comparison to their dreadnought counterparts. They have a smaller waist and a more compact body. Due to their smaller size, they produce sound with lower amplitude but higher pitch and frequency. These guitars gained popularity in 19th and 20th-century America, especially in country folk and blues music.
Jumbo guitars, as the name suggests, are large-sized guitars that offer a grand volume and deep, sustaining tones. They are often associated with a “cowboy” guitar sound. With their larger inner chamber volume, they provide extended sustain. They share similarities with dreadnought guitars in terms of sound characteristics.
Classical guitars are the iconic instruments commonly recognized in Spanish and Latin American music. They use nylon strings, similar to their nylon-stringed acoustic guitar counterparts. Classical guitars have a long history, dating back to the Baroque era, and have evolved over time in terms of construction techniques, wood selection, materials, and playing styles.
As the name suggests, baby guitars are smaller-sized instruments that offer a surprising amount of volume for their size. They are compact, sophisticated, and easy to carry during travel. These guitars are particularly suitable for individuals with smaller hands, as they provide enhanced playability. The body of a baby guitar is typically made of spruce or mahogany.
Hybrid guitars are electric guitars that aim to replicate the sound quality of acoustic guitars while also providing the typical electrical signal from a magnetic pickup. They bridge the gap between acoustic and electric guitars, similar to how electric pianos simulate the sound of acoustic or classical pianos.
Based on Construction
The construction of a guitar impacts the level of reverberation generated by the vibrating strings, which affects the instrument’s loudness,sustain, and dampness.
Flattop guitars, as the name suggests, have a flat top bridge. These guitars are commonly seen in modern steel-string acoustic guitars. The thickness, density, and material of the top surface are responsible for the guitar’s tone and overall sound quality. The strings vibrate along the lateral axis in these guitars.
Archtop guitars feature a distinct arched shape on the top. They typically have six strings, a 14th fret neck joint, and a hollow body. The middle of the arches where they meet the top of the guitar has a noticeable dip. The base plank needs to be slightly thicker to maintain stability after carving the dip into it. Due to the skilled craftsmanship required for this carving process, archtop guitars are generally more expensive than flattop guitars.
Based on Tonewood
Tonewood refers to the wood used in the construction of a guitar, which significantly influences its base musical tone. Various factors, such as wood density and intermolecular structure, contribute to the overall tonal characteristics.
Solid Wood Acoustic Guitar
Solid wood acoustic guitars are constructed using solid pieces of carved wood for the body. These guitars offer realistic sound quality and unique grain patterns that affect the musical tone. Solid wood acoustic guitars are often more expensive and favored by professional players. Each guitar has its own individuality due to the effects of tonewood aging and variations in grain, making them unique and remarkable instruments.
Laminated Wood Acoustic Guitar
Laminated wood acoustic guitars incorporate plywood in their construction. Plywood is added as an additional layer over the inner body using adhesive. These guitars are more cost-effective and durable, capable of withstanding varying temperatures and humidity. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, laminated wood guitars are a suitable choice.
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Top Guitar Brands in India
In India, the top guitar brands align with those available internationally, although there may be slight variations in relative cost. Several factors should be considered when choosing an ideal brand.
Firstly, each brand has its unique manufacturing methods and specialties in guitar models. Secondly, brands differ in recognition, quality, price range, and availability.
Yamaha is the most popular guitar brand in India, renowned for providing excellent quality instruments at an affordable price. They are particularly well-known for their nylon string guitars. Yamaha guitars are the go-to choice for beginners who want a high-quality instrument without breaking the bank. They are also praised for their comfortable playability and ease of use. With numerous Yamaha stores in India, it is convenient to find and maintain a Yamaha guitar.
Kadence is an Indian musical instrument brand and a part of Cresurge E-Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd., based in Bangalore. Their best-selling products include guitars, ukuleles, amplifiers, and other musical accessories. Kadence is highly regarded for offering affordable beginner guitars without compromising on sound quality. Their instruments fall within a budget-friendly price range.
Fender has a rich history and a strong reputation in the guitar industry, particularly in the United States. While their native-built guitars can be quite expensive, Fender also offers more affordable options that are not manufactured in the US. Fender is well-known for its acoustic guitars that utilize lighter tonewoods, resulting in a rich and bright sound compared to other brands in the market.
Ibanez, a Japanese brand, is famous for producing reliable guitars of high quality at reasonable prices. While they are primarily recognized for their electric guitars, their acoustic guitars are also highly regarded. Ibanez focuses on accessibility rather than pioneering new designs, which allows them to offer more affordable options. Although the company has faced legal battles over design copyrights, these issues are irrelevant to the consumer market.
Cort is one of the largest guitar companies globally, although it has yet to establish a strong presence in India. It is on par with Fender as an internationally recognized brand for professional guitarists. However, as a foreign company that mainly produces professional guitars, the cost of Cort guitars can be relatively high in the Indian market. Additionally, these guitars may have limited availability in online markets.
Top Guitars in India – Review
Before purchasing a guitar, there are several factors to consider. Let’s explore these factors and review some of the best guitars available in India.
Quality: Sound quality and tone vary greatly among guitars, so it’s crucial to keep this in mind when making a selection.
Design: Different designs of acoustic guitars have their own advantages, disadvantages, and quirks. Consider these factors when buying a new guitar.
Aesthetic: While looks play a less important role, feeling good while playing the guitar can enhance the overall experience.
Size: Choose a guitar that is appropriate for your body size to ensure comfort and ease of play.
Comfort: Personalization and comfort are significant factors. Playing an uncomfortable guitar can hinder performance in the long run.
Now, let’s review a shortlist of the best guitars in India.
1. Fender CD-60 SCE NAT Dreadnought Semi-Acoustic Guitar
This higher-end guitar offers the best sound quality on the list and is popular among high-end dreadnought acoustic guitars. Made of mahogany, it features a neck with a rolled fingerboard for easy playability. However, it is not recommended for beginners due to the initial investment and its heavier weight.
2. Kadence Slowhand Series Premium Acoustic Guitar
Despite its appearance, this guitar is not as heavy as it seems, as the weight includes additional gear. It is known for its fantastic sound quality, comfortable playability, and comfortable fretboard. The guitar comes with an inbuilt equalizer and a demi cutaway, allowing users to experiment with different techniques. Although its design may be lackluster, the sound quality more than compensates for it.
3. Ibanez PF15-BK Acoustic Guitar
Considered one of the best guitars for fingerstyle playing, this acoustic guitar offers exceptional comfort and a traditional vibe. It comes with a glossy finish, providing an appealing aesthetic, and produces a rich sound comparable to the Yamaha models. Although it is relatively costly, it is durable for a solid wood guitar. The nylon strings make it unique for fingerstyle playing, but they may lose flexibility over time.
4. Yamaha FSX80C Acoustic Guitars
This mid-range Yamaha guitar stands out with its black and white contrast. It maintains a natural look while offering functionality. The humbucker configuration adds thickness to the audio quality. With open chrome tuners and 14 playable frets, it is easy to handle. It is slightly heavier, but the other features make up for this trade-off.
5. Kadence Frontier Series Semi-Acoustic Guitar
Known for its reliability, consistency, and beauty, this semi-acoustic guitar delivers incredible sound quality and features additional amplification capabilities. It has cutaways on the fretboard for easy chord reach and a comfortable rosewood finish. While it is one of the best semi-acoustic guitars, it’s important to note that steel stringed guitars may not be the most beginner-friendly option.
6. Cort Acoustic Guitar AD810
Considered an iconic acoustic guitar model, the Cort AD810 offers excellent quality at an affordable price. It is comfortable to use and excels in strumming techniques. The “Dovetail Joint” feature allows clear transmission of reverberations and vibrations, resulting in a distinct sound.
7. Fender Dreadnought
As one of the lightest acoustic guitars in this list, the Fender Dreadnought weighs around 3 kg. It features a natural gloss finish and is user-friendly, despite being a steel-stringed guitar. The sound quality and visual aesthetic are impressive, with a slight difference in audio quality and clarity compared to the cheaper Yamaha models.
8. Hertz HZA-7000 Acoustic Guitar- Black
This sleek black guitar from Hertz is visually appealing and receives high marks for style. While not the lightest option, it offers top-notch audio quality for experienced players who can appreciate its nuances. However, it may be less beginner-friendly and require some expertise to fully utilize its potential. The guitar offers excellent value at an affordable price.
9. Yamaha F310, 6-Strings Acoustic Guitar
This popular Yamaha model is a dreadnought with a deep resonance. Made entirely of spruce wood, it is lightweight and features a rosewood fingerboard for enhanced playing comfort. It is also budget-friendly, making it ideal for beginners. However, some may find it a bit generic in appearance and potentially unwieldy for those with small hands or torso.
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Acoustic Vs. Electric Guitars
Guitars are commonly classified into two main types: acoustic and electric.
While both guitars share similarities, they also have significant differences. They both feature a long neck with six strings divided by frets and use tuning pegs for tuning. However, the most noticeable distinction lies in the construction of their bodies.
Acoustic guitars were first developed in the 1500s. They have hollow bodies with a soundhole located beneath the strings. When the strings are strummed, vibrations travel through the bridge to the soundboard. The soundboard then amplifies these vibrations, projecting the sound through the air inside the guitar chamber. The soundhole plays a vital role in projecting the amplified sound from the hollow body.
On the other hand, electric guitars were introduced in the 1920s. They have solid bodies with a thinner profile and lack soundholes for natural sound amplification. Instead, electric guitars utilize pickups, which are transducers, to convert string vibrations into an electric signal. This signal is then sent to speakers or amplifiers for amplification.
Acoustic vs Acoustic-Electric Guitars
Traditional acoustic guitars do not require any amplification and rely solely on the natural projection from the guitar’s body. For recording sessions, microphones are used to capture the sound produced by traditional acoustic guitars.
Acoustic-electric guitars, on the other hand, come equipped with built-in pickups and amplification features, making recording sessions easier. They also have a jack for attaching an amp cable, and some models even include built-in tuners.
When it comes to stage performances, acoustic-electric guitars are preferred due to their ability to produce louder sounds, which is crucial in live settings.
For recording purposes, both types of guitars can deliver satisfactory results. However, acoustic guitars are often preferred as they offer a more natural sound and reverberation.
Acoustic Guitars – Buying Guide
The acoustic guitar has a rich history, dating back to the 16th century, and has since evolved into various forms, shapes, and sizes. When buying an acoustic guitar, it’s essential to consider different criteria. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the buying process.
Acoustic guitars are constructed using either laminated/layered woods or solid woods, primarily influenced by budget and brand. Lower-cost guitars typically feature laminated wood, while more expensive ones are made of solid wood.
Solid wood guitars are made from stacked sections that add up to the same thickness as solid wood. They offer a more resonant sound but may be less durable than laminated wood.
Lightweight and strong, spruce is a popular choice for acoustic guitars. It provides a flat frequency response, allowing the backwoods to shape the sound.
Mahogany is often used as a back wood and sometimes as a top wood. It produces a warm sound that can balance a bright top or enhance the sound of a smaller guitar.
Maple offers a bright sound with excellent attack. It is commonly found on jumbo-sized guitars to emphasize the high-end tones. Maple also adds an aesthetic appeal to the guitar.
Considered the most expensive wood, rosewood creates a scooped mid-range sound that enhances both lows and highs. It pairs well with spruce and suits both strumming and fingerpicking styles.
This classic shape, developed by the Martin Guitar company in the 1920s, features a square shape without prominent curves. It has a robust sound but can be a bit bulky.
Increasingly popular, the grand auditorium has a larger body that enhances tonal depth. Its narrow waist provides comfortable playability.
Smaller in size and lacking physical depth, the grand concert offers a loud sound but may lack warmth compared to other body types.
The largest body type, popularized by Gibson, offers the most resonant sound. However, it can be uncomfortable for individuals with smaller torsos.
There are other niche body shapes. Some of them are-
- Parlour Guitars: Narrow-bodied with standard depth and a narrow neck with 12 frets.
- Travel Guitars: – Small and ideal for traveling, such as the Baby Taylor.
- Slim-Bodied Guitars: – Typically found in electro-acoustic guitars, these guitars have a shallow body, providing comfort but may have reduced performance when unplugged. Pure acoustic slim-bodied guitars are rare to find.
Style of Music
Consider your preferred style of playing when choosing an acoustic guitar. Fingerpicking and using a guitar pick are two distinct techniques. Beginners often start with a pick, but many experienced players opt for fingerpicking.
By taking these factors into account, you can make an informed decision when purchasing an acoustic guitar that suits your preferences and style of playing.
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Guitars – Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s take a look at the most common questions customers may ask about guitars.
Which are the best acoustic guitars?
- Yamaha F31 6 String Acoustic guitar
- Ibanez GA16-NT 6 String Classical Acoustic guitar
- Cadence Frontier Series Semi-Acoustic guitar
- Cort Acoustic guitar AD810
- Fender FA-115 Dreadnought
How much does an acoustic guitar cost?
A beginner-level acoustic guitar usually costs around INR 7,000 to 15,000. Higher-quality guitars suited for intermediate or advanced players can range up to approximately INR 30,000.
What is an excellent acoustic guitar for beginners?
Based on our research, the Yamaha F310 6-String Acoustic Guitar is the best for beginners. The guitar is made of spruce with a rosewood fingerboard, which gives it a deep resonance. It is straightforward to pick up and play and causes minimum stress to the fingers.
How to choose a good acoustic guitar?
Several factors should be considered when choosing a good acoustic guitar, including body material (wood or laminate), body type, style of music, player skill level, and price. For more information, refer to the Buying Guide section above.
Which type of acoustic guitar is the best?
Many modern musicians prefer steel-stringed guitars over classical nylon string guitars. Steel-string guitars produce a more transparent and ringing sound.
Is a more expensive guitar more comfortable to play?
Price often reflects the quality, resonance, and durability of a guitar, resulting in clearer, more resonant sounds. However, the comfort of playing is not necessarily determined by price. Mid-range guitars can offer excellent playability without the discomfort sometimes associated with high-end guitars.
Which acoustic guitar is the easiest to play?
The Yamaha F310 6-String Acoustic guitar is the easiest for beginners to pick up. Moreover, the wood texture and the weight and build of the guitar make it one of the most playable guitars currently on the market.
What are the top 5 acoustic guitar brands?
The highest-rated acoustic guitar brands are:
Are Gibson acoustic guitars worth the money?
Gibson guitars are known for their quality, efficiency, and aesthetics resulting from extensive research and development. While they come with a higher price tag, Gibson guitars can be a worthwhile investment for intermediate to advanced or professional guitarists. However, they may not be the best choice for beginners.
Are acoustic guitars better than electric guitars?
Acoustic and electric guitars serve different purposes and produce distinct sounds. Electric guitars may be slightly easier to learn, but they require an amp and are less portable. Acoustic guitars have firmer strings and offer their unique sound. There is no definitive answer as to which type is better; it depends on personal preference and the style of music you intend to play.
Do guitar strings get worn out? How can I prevent this?
Yes, guitar strings do wear out with use. While you can’t prevent this, you can purchase new strings and easily restring your guitar when needed.
How often will I have to restring my acoustic guitar?
The frequency of restringing depends on how much you play and the intensity of your plucking. Generally, restringing should not exceed twice a year. If you notice a decline in sound quality or clarity, it’s a good idea to check if the strings are wearing out and need replacement.
Does an acoustic guitar need an amplifier?
No, acoustic guitars do not require an amplifier. However, an electro-acoustic guitar does need an amp to amplify the sound.
Will painting an acoustic guitar change the quality of the sound?
Painting an acoustic guitar is not recommended as it can muffle and dampen the resonant qualities of the sound.
The brand, size, weight, and material of the guitar you choose can significantly impact your experience and the music you create. Considering various factors can help you make an informed buying decision. Yamaha guitars are recommended for their affordability and quality.
We hope this article has provided options in the acoustic guitar market and assisted you in making the right choice for your needs.
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