Acoustic guitars are awesome.
They’re the source of historic American music from the über-twang of deep south pseudo-yodelers to the soft-and-casual mumble-singing of California stoners.
But which one do you get if you’re just starting?
I feel like I can talk about this because my dad, brother, and I own a grand total of 13 guitars. More than half are acoustic, one is a 12-string, and another one is a bass.
We’ve all played our fair share of hollow-body, folksy-wolksy melodies in our times, and we all started somewhere.
So with that in mind, these are the five best guitars to get for beginners!
#1. Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic Guitar (Right Hand)
The Jasmine S34C NEX acoustic guitar is a solid starter because it has a similar build to most high-grade guitars, but without the crazy-high price.
We say that because this Jasmine guitar is designed with a dreadnought body, which is just as awesome as it sounds.
Basically, that means that the body of the guitar — not the fretboard — is oversized. It gives the guitar a deeper, richer tone, especially when you pair it with the right strings.
Better yet, this whole guitar is made of wood. That may sound like an obvious thing to say, but a lot of beginner guitars are actually made of plastic or wood laminate.
This affects the sound of the guitar as a whole. Wooden guitars produce a deeper and more satisfying sound. Plastic and laminate tends to sound tinny or artificial, which generally isn’t the go-to sound for someone who wants an acoustic guitar.
It’s worth mentioning that there are two non-wood part to this guitar though — the saddle / bone nuts and the top.
The saddle is the brown part toward the back of the guitar that holds the strings in place. The bone nuts are the individual weights that press the strings into place to provide tension on the neck.
Without that tension, the guitar can’t produce any sound. In fact, if you leave a guitar without strings for too long, the neck will warp and prevent you from playing it.
That’s because all stringed instruments are designed to have constant tension on their necks. Banjos, violins, guitars, cellos — they all need that tension to make music!
Aside from the guitar’s size and materials, this is just an all-around solid guitar choice for a beginner.
It may take some time to get used to the size, but it’ll be easier to transition to more advanced guitars later!
#2. Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar (Right Hand)
Fender is probably the best-known name in guitars.
They’re most famous for their beginner electrics and their signature basses, but they also make acoustic guitars.
The FA-115 is actually designed for individuals who are starting to learn the guitar. It’s also made of wood, and it actually has the same artificial parts that the Jasmine guitar has.
With a full-sized dreadnought body — again just like the Jasmine — why would you shell our $40 more for a Fender?
First, there’s name recognition. We can’t repeat enough that Fender is just a well-known name.
They’re the Google of the guitar world. They’re the Microsoft of American rock instruments.
Musicians and non-musicians alike just know Fender.
Second, Fender actually put some thought into this guitar to make it beginner-friendly. It comes with a gig bag, strap, picks, spare strings, and more.
In other words, it’s beginner-ready!
#3. Donner DAG-1C Acoustic Guitar (Right Hand)
The Donner DAG-1C is an acoustic guitar that looks and plays a lot like the previous two guitars on our list, but with a few notable exceptions.
First, the Donner DAG-1C guitar doesn’t have a pick guard. That means it’s easy for beginners and experts alike to mark up the area of the body just under the soundhole.
You’re practically guaranteed to have scratches, scuffs, and maybe even cracks on this guitar after a year or two of use.
(It does come with an optional pick guard, but still — it’s weird not to have that on a beginner guitar.)
Next, this guitar is only full size in comparison to the dreadnought size of the previous guitars. Interestingly enough, that means the Donner is actually smaller than the Fender and the Jasmine.
Still, this guitar comes with a gig bag, strap, picks, and all of the other stuff you could need to get started.
It’s probably $119.00 — the same price as the Jasmine — because Donner isn’t quite as recognized of a name. That’s not to say Donner is bad.
Instead, it’s probably accurate to say Donner just doesn’t serve the same market as Fender or other well-known companies.
In fact, they may cater exclusively to the beginner market with guitar kits instead of straight-up guitars.
#4. Yamaha FG JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar (Right Hand)
Yamaha is interesting.
At first glance, you wouldn’t expect a company that makes everything to make a decent beginner acoustic guitar.
But somehow, Yamaha absolutely nails it.
Yamahas are some of the most affordable and best-sounding beginner guitars on the market.
They use authentic wood as much as possible, which is always a plus, but they also cater their guitars to the size of the musician.
That’s why this guitar is 3/4 size. It’s designed to be played by a child or adolescent who’s just learning guitar.
As a result, this Yamaha is ideal for someone under the age of 14 who’s playing guitar for the first time ever.
So why does a guitar made for children cost $140?
First, it’s important to remember that $140 is still dead cheap for a guitar.
Second, Yamaha is a well-known and recognized brand in the music world. They can almost get away with charging whatever they want for their instruments.
Last, and most importantly, the guitar comes with a gig bag. That probably jacked the price up about $20.
If you want a guitar that’s going to last a long time and play well with kids, then this Yamaha is right up your alley!
#5. J&Z 3/4 Size Classical Guitar (Right Hand)
This J&Z classical guitar is a strong alternative to the more well-known, steel-string guitars. (Read our review here.)
A classical guitar is defined by its strings (nylon), sound (soft), play style (fingerpicking), and tuning pegs (perpendicular to fretboard).
Classical guitars are used in most music classes because they emphasize melody over chords. Classical guitars can still sound good when playing chords — they just sound better when they’re picked by finger.
You can also tell this guitar is made for younger beginners because, like the Yamaha, it’s 3/4 size.
That means this guitar is pretty much perfect for an elementary school student who wants to try guitar for the first time.
Complete with picks, a cleaning cloth, and a strap to get started.
All told, you’re looking to spend about $90 on this guitar.
For one, you can use common woods — like maple — to make classical guitars without the threat of losing sound quality.
For two, acoustic guitars just tend to be cheaper (except high-end models).
For three, it’s truly for beginners who are at an age where this may be the first guitar they’ve ever seen before.
Somethin’ will probably break on it.
But hey, you only spent $90.
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