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Best Acoustic Guitar for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide 

 April 19, 2021

By  Zen Chung

Choosing to learn any musical instrument is always exciting, including and especially an acoustic guitar. Whether you dream of performing on a big stage someday or you simply want to strum a few chords around a campfire with your friends, starting with the right equipment gives you a solid foundation on your imminent journey.

Buying your first acoustic guitar is always a remarkable moment, one that you'll probably hold close forever. This is why you need a guitar that makes playing far easier and equally enjoyable in the long run. The only problem is, a novice might struggle to distinguish good beginner acoustic guitars from a bad ones. For this reason, we've compiled a list of the best acoustic guitar for beginners to ensure that you find an acoustic that's fun to learn and play, sounds pretty good, and is also nice to look at.

Best Acoustic Guitars

1. Fender CD-60S Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The Fender CD-60S is a large, dreadnought acoustic guitar that delivers plenty of power even without amplification. In true Fender fashion, it sports a solid build quality, not to mention affordably priced too.

Since it's made of mahogany, this acoustic is highly durable. Second, the mahogany construction helps this guitar to deliver a vibrant, bold tone. So much so that the Fender CD-60S appeals to beginners all the way to intermediates. This makes it a great choice if you're looking for a guitar you can use and grow with over a long time. Furthermore, it's just as handy when unplugged or amplified.

More so, it comes with a kit that comes with all the essentials you'll need to get started, making it one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners. This includes a shoulder strap, strings, case, a chromatic tuner and picks.

Pros

  • Balanced sound.
  • Kit includes all essentials.
  • Ideal for all playing levels.
  • Brilliant natural mahogany aesthetics.

Cons

  • Individual looks might not appeal to everyone.

2. Yamaha FS800 Solid Top Small Body Acoustic Guitar

YAMAHA FS800 Small Body Solid Top Acoustic Guitar, Natural
  • Solid sitka spruce top
  • Nato back & sides
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Rosewood bridge
  • Diecast tuners

This acoustic guitar is particularly friendly for beginners with small hands or short arms. The FS800 still delivers a full-bodied, powerful sound even with the small size, making it a great beginner acoustic guitar. As it is made by Yamaha, you can also rest assured that the quality is excellent.

The small body allows for a more user-friendly experience for learners whose stature it suits and definitely more fun. Since it's smaller, it's also lighter and more portable, making it a great travel guitar. You also don't need to worry about extra gear since the kit comes with all the things you need to get started.

Pros

  • Plenty of styles to choose from.
  • Small body.
  • Beginner kit.

Cons

  • The action might not suit everyone.

3. Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic Guitar

Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic Guitar (Natural)
  • Classic go-to Dreadnought Shape
  • Select Spruce top
  • Mahogany Body
  • Premium Machine Heads
  • SlimTaper Neck Profile

If you're looking for a superb beginner acoustic guitar that is equally eye-catching, the Epiphone DR-100 is certainly worth your consideration.

Sporting a vintage sunburst design, the DR-100 delivers a bold, powerful guitar sound that's great for a beginner. The rosewood fingerboard, plus a mahogany body and spruce top, deliver some of the most well-balanced, full-bodied sounds from an acoustic guitar. Its 14-degree headstock is well suited for beginners as it offers just the right amount of give needed to nail smooth chord transitions. Moreover, the tone is versatile enough to suit a wide range of music styles.

Pros

  • Brilliant aesthetics.
  • 14-degree headstock for playing chords easier and less confusion during transitions.
  • Well-balanced sound.
  • Solid build.

Cons

  • Might be difficult to tune at times.

4. Fender FA-100 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Fender FA-100 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar - Natural Bundle with Gig Bag,...
  • Full-size dreadnought body for full and vibrant tone, suited for all styles of...
  • Rosewood bridge with compensated synthetic bone saddle
  • Laminated spruce top with X bracing
  • 20-fret fingerboard with dot inlays
  • Chrome hardware

The FA-100 is meant for a beginner who wants their acoustic guitar to come with plenty of nifty extras, including a digital tuner for those new strings.

The rosewood bridge build delivers visually pleasing aesthetics on this acoustic. It's quite large, thanks to the dreadnought shape. This makes it significantly easier for beginners to learn since the frets are adequately spaced out. It's less probable to hit the wrong note or chord with the FA-100. The bigger body also means it produces a lot more volume, making it suitable for live performances.

As mentioned earlier, the bundle comes with all extras a beginner would need. This certainly saves you some money, hence excellent value for your buck.

Pros

  • Large and easy to play.
  • Visually pleasing rosewood bridge.
  • Plenty of extras.

Cons

  • Size might not suit younger learners.

5. Yamaha FG820 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha FG820 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar, Natural
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top
  • Mahogany Back & Sides
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Rosewood Bridge
  • Diecast Tuners

Yamaha is well known for some of the best acoustic guitars for beginners. The FG820 is yet another excellent entry-level guitar from the brand, featuring their characteristic reliable quality.

The acoustic is made of spruce and mahogany, two high-grade materials that contribute to impeccable sound quality. In fact, it suits one of the widest range of musical genres we have seen on acoustic guitars for beginners. It also features an angled headstock that directly influences the strings' tightness. This makes it a tad easier to navigate the strings and switch chords. It also minimizes the chances of the ever-annoying fret buzz, making it more playable for beginners without compromising the clarity of tone.

If you're looking for a reliable and superb all-rounder, the FG820 is definitely a great choice to get started. More so, there are plenty of colors and designs to choose from, which gives you more choice over the appearance.

Pros

  • Several colors and designs to choose from.
  • Spruce and mahogany finish.
  • Tightened headstock.

Cons

  • Size might be too large for younger learners.

What to Look for in the Best Beginner Acoustic Guitar

As a musical novice, it's often quite easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of options at your disposal. It gets even more difficult if you have to break down the instruments' features as well. Fortunately, finding the best acoustic guitar for beginners is much more straightforward than most others.

Ultimately, all you want is an instrument that you'll keep coming back to again and again. Acoustic guitars generally tend to produce warm sounds with a good deal of volume, thanks to their projection and rich resonance. The key differences lie in what you wish to achieve.

1. Right Fit

The right fit revolves around the body size and shape, which also determines the sound. It's undoubtedly the first consideration you'll need to make when you're looking through acoustic guitars. The most common guitar body styles, from biggest to smallest, include:

  • Jumbo
  • Dreadnought
  • Slope-Shoulder Dreadnought
  • Grand Orchestra
  • 000
  • Classical
  • 00
  • Parlor

Small body acoustics, such as the parlor guitar, are easier to play and also more portable. They also don't have a low end, emphasizing mids and highs more. This makes them great for fingerstyle playing and other similar styles. On the other hand, large bodies, like the jumbo, have more volume and bottom end, producing fuller sounds and bigger tones.

Consequently, the most popular and versatile design is the dreadnought, whose design strikes a fine balance between sound and playability.

2. Playability

This is an important aspect when you're learning how to play an acoustic guitar. The following are the main elements that make the learning process easier (or harder):

a). Action

This refers to the distance between the guitar strings from the fretboard. If the strings are too high or far away, they become too hard to press down; and if they're too low, the strings buzz when struck.

Typically, the thickest string sits 3/32" away from the fretboard, while the thinnest out to be 1/16 away at the nut- the part of the guitar closest to the tuning pegs. Ideally, the action at the middle of the neck (usually at the twelfth fret) should be approximately double the action at the nut. You need not worry about such precise measurements though, since the best acoustic guitars for beginners come with just the right height.

b). Nut Width

As we mentioned earlier, the nut is the section of the guitar where the strings pass through before the beginning of the fretboard. It's comprised of six grooves for the strings to sit in.

Nuts come in various widths. Wider nuts result in the strings spaced farther apart, and the inverse is true. The most common widths you'll come across are 1-11/16" and 1-3/4".

c). String Type

You'll find two main types of acoustic guitar strings:

  • Steel strings: This is the most common configuration, widely used in several music styles. The strings are steel plated with a bronze alloy which makes them harder to press down, hence not too favorable for younger learners.
  • Nylon strings: These are made from nylon, which makes them relatively easier to push down. This makes them an ideal choice for beginners and young learners.

3. Tuning

Tuning can especially be a challenge for a novice. This is why it's incredibly important to get a guitar tuner. This should ease the tuning process and retaining the correct tension. Also, it's worth noting that buying an acoustic doesn't mean that it has to be played un-amplified.

You can always consider buying an electro-acoustic with a built-in pickup.

Your First Few Weeks of Playing the Acoustic Guitar

Buying the best acoustic guitar for beginners is just the start. he first month of learning how to play the guitar is probably the hardest for most people. When you're starting, your fingers are yet to form any calluses. This means playing your acoustic for more than 20 minutes at a go will hurt your fingertips. Sticking with it is the only way to get past this hurdle since it takes three to four months to build up a couple of good calluses.

Overplaying, surprisingly, can also be an issue. It's definitely tempting to keep playing for long periods, especially when you're really enjoying it. But this can be a problem, particularly if you still haven't built up the proper musculature. Therefore, when you get your hands on that great acoustic guitar, take a 15-minute break for every half an hour of playing. The idea is to extend the length of your practice sessions gradually. With that being said, it's not recommended to sit for more than two hours at a time playing the guitar.

Practicing Tips

Ultimately, you have to contend that everyone learns differently. There's arguably no one-size-fits-all approach to go about it. The key to really learning an acoustic guitar is understanding it's a process. Even on days when practicing might be the hardest thing to do, just keep working at it.

Just as critical, if you won't invest in guitar lessons, the Hal Leonard books have been vouched for by plenty of learners and musicians out there. Plus, their collection also features books for advanced playing styles. Furthermore, YouTube can also be incredibly resourceful when you're getting started.

Pro Tip: When you're starting on an acoustic guitar, try learning chords separate from strumming. Mute the strings by putting your palm flat down over them, then transition from chord to chord using your left hand. This should help you get to know the ropes with chord shapes without really needing to worry about your right hand.

Frequently Asked Questions about Acoustic Guitars for Beginners

1. Which are the best guitar strings for a beginner?

This is a question that's hugely debated in the world of acoustic guitars. While the market offers several great products, D'Addario stands out as the best strings for beginners since they are easy to change and don't stretch a lot either.

2. What is a good affordable beginner guitar?

The Epiphone DR-1oo. This quality acoustic offers plenty of volume, a bold tone, and a user-friendly, playable body type for a very reasonable price. With its easy chord transitions, it's no wonder a lot of budding guitarists lean towards the DR-100.

Zen Chung


I'm Zen Chung, a piano and violin teacher based out of Plano, Texas. I started this blog because my students (and their parents) kept asking about the best musical instruments to buy online. Look no further I'm here to save the day! 

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