Can you imagine the world without acoustic guitars? I, personally, cannot, since they are such an integral part of any kind of music. They have been around for quite a while now and have changed a lot since the development of their first representatives. With this changes came the versatility, nowadays you can purchase all sorts of bodies, sizes and shapes. This article will discuss different types of acoustic guitars that vary according the sound they produce (For specific model reviews click here). Knowing what is what is crucially important, since it determines which one will be best suitable for your music and playing techniques. Let’s dig deep and find out what the world of acoustic guitars has stored for us.
Classical guitar is a sort of an acoustic guitar. It is often referred as Spanish guitar, concert guitar or nylon-string guitar. The latter is due to the nature of this instrument: typically, it is used with nylon strings and is designed for such kind of utilization. It has twelve frats and is played in a sitting position, which is represented in all the cuts and curves. Classical guitars can be used with any musical style and genre. They are very useful for finger picking and can be employed for strumming as well.
Dreadnought is the most ubiquitous out of all the shapes. What defines this type of guitar is its square, straight shoulders and the body that does not have deep curves. It was first developed by C.F. Martin in 1916. Dreadnought is huge in size and produces louder, more defined sound compared to others. This shape is particularly suitable for Bluegrass and Country players, however, it can be used in any way imaginable. Dreadnought requires more aggressive approach due to its bulky design. It needs to be strummed harder because of the massive soundboard. Dreadnought is the chosen one for many guitarists since it emphasizes bass frequencies, lets the mids shine and offers tremendous highs.
Parlor guitars catching on more and more these days. They have unique sound properties that make them stand out in the crowd. Due to smaller body and more compact design, Parlor guitars are very popular among those musicians, who are always on the road. This type of guitar is good for fingerpicking and will be a lifesaver for solo artists. However, with the right skills, Parlor guitars will shine even with the band.
At first glance, this bad boy might seem identical to Dreadnought, but the truth is they are far cry from each other. Auditorium has square shoulders just like the aforementioned fella, but it has deeper curves that accentuate its hourglass shape. This shape of acoustic guitars offers high volume along with perfectly balanced sound. Unlike Dreadnought, that must be strummed hard as hell, Auditorium can be played lightly with the same results. If you want to grasp fully what I am talking about, just listen to Eric Clapton or hold this baby and check it out yourself!
Jumbo was developed in 1937 by Gibson. This shape of the guitar is particularly useful for those who like playing in the sitting positions. It has rounder shoulders than Dreadnought and deeper curves that will hug your laps. What makes Jumbo so special is its volume. It is among the loudest guitars, has the largest sound cavity among all the shapes and will make your ears bleed (in a good way). Jumbo is great for both strumming and fingerpicking and produces sound with defined bass, as well as deep bottom end. If you are looking for something that will smash your windows, you should definitely check this one out.
Steel guitar is a Hawaiian acoustic guitar developed by Joseph Kekuku sometime between 19th and 20th centuries. In my book, it has the strangest shape among the acoustic guitars we have mentioned. Steel guitars are typically played horizontally by plucking the strings with one hand and changing the pitch with the other (using a slide or a metal bar). If you are adventurous and are looking for something unique and different, you should get your hands on this shape.
This article covers some of the acoustic guitar shapes existing on the market. There are a lot more, but I tried to discuss the ones that are the most common. These shapes have an impact on the overall sound and will change the way you perceive your performance. Contemplate on your playing style, the message you want to deliver and the goal you want to achieve. Pick out your preferred shape after. I would recommend trying out all of them, because who knows which one will speak to you the most (it might even be the one you would not think about)! Good luck on your journey to the world of acoustic heaven!
If you are on a quest of choosing between different types of guitars, the chances are you are having a hard time. I am sure you are wracking your head about which one is better. You have probably made a decision a hundredth time but have changed your mind because you came across yet another badass acoustic, acoustic-electric or classical guitar. If you can relate to what I have just described, you are in the right place, my friend. The battle between the three has disturbed numerous musicians but there are ways to make it a bit easier. And that’s what I am here for. So today we are going to compare acoustic, acoustic-electric and classical guitars, list down their properties and downsides and try to help you in making your final decision. Shall we begin?
The major difference between acoustic, acoustic-electric and classical guitars
Even though all three of these instruments belong to one big happy family, one of them tends to lean towards other families as well. And that traitor is acoustic-electric guitar. When it comes to the idiosyncrasies of build mechanism, classical and acoustic guitars are basically the same. They have body, neck, fretboard, headstock, strings and soundboard. While acoustic-electric guitars have the same constituents, they have something else and that is electronics. They utilize transducers, a.k.a. pickups in order to amplify the signal. For this reason, they are basically the best of both worlds and fall somewhere between acoustic and electric guitars.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s move on to more specific similarities and differences.
This not seem too significant at first, but trust me, the type of the strings basically shapes the sonic outcome of each of the instrument. Classical guitars generally employ nylon strings, while acoustic and acoustic-electric are more of a steel-string-type-of-guys. In this sense, the latter two are easier to play. Even though steel strings have harsher feel and will ruin your soft fingers at the beginning, their movement can be felt more vividly. You can easily pluck the chord and lock it with your fingers, but nylon strings do not offer this much flexibility. Let’s be honest, they are soft and easy to press in, but their sound is not as defined as that of steel strings.
Body shape, size and portability
When it comes to the body shape, acoustic-electric and acoustic guitars are extremely similar. They can be built with the same tonewoods and look exactly the same. But the body shape of classical guitar is a bit different. It is smaller with rounder edges and is way more lightweight than its acoustic and acoustic-electric siblings. If you are a beginner, you will definitely enjoy the coziness and comfortability of classical guitars.
When we are talking about the portability of these guitars, the most convenient to carry around is the classical guitar. The next in line will be acoustic guitar. And the least portable is acoustic-electric guitar, since it requires an amplifier to be played plugged in.
And we have reached the most important part – the sound. Here we have way more differences than similarities. Classical guitars have softer, mellower tone that is great for classical music (even though you could make the majority of the genres work). If you are into some Flamenco or Gypsy King, you will definitely need a classical guitar to create those sounds. When it comes to acoustic guitars, they have more sustain and crispness, as well as well-defined brightness and low-end punch. Even though acoustic-electric guitars sound a lot like acoustic ones, the main difference here is defined by the pickups. Well, of course, acoustic-electric guitars are way louder, can be more versatile and can even be paired with effects pedals. Consequently, they offer way more sonic options than classical and acoustic guitars. They are also more flexible during live performances and can even cover large audiences when paired with proper gear.
Which one is the best fit for beginners?
The answer to this question does come down to personal preferences, but there are some pros and cons each of the instrument possesses. Acoustic guitars are great for beginners, but they are a bit bulky, awkward to hold and their strings will make your fingers bleed. The same goes for the acoustic-electric guitars in terms of disadvantages, however, the extensive versatility they can offer will help you figure out the direction of your music and aid the formation of your professional qualities. And finally, classical guitars are way easier to play due to their softer strings, however, their airy sound will make every single mistake audible to everyone. Yes, beginners learn on their mistakes, however, the abundance of those incorrect notes might lead to frustration and eventually result in giving up the instrument.
Regardless of everything I have listed, you should make the final decision depending on your own taste and vision. I would suggest trying out each of them and figuring out if they work for you or not. After all, the path of every guitarist is basically the process of trial and error. But do not be scared and don’t you dare to give up. Good luck!
Essential Guitar Accessories
When you are just getting started with your guitar, you have the illusion that the only thing you will need is the instrument itself. You spend so much time picking the right one that you do not really think about anything else. But as the time passes by, you start realizing that something is lacking in your gear. That is when you understand how important guitar accessories can be and how much difference they can make. If you do not know what exactly you will need, you might end up spending excessive time and money. Don’t you worry, though, I am here to help. Today we will be talking about all the essential guitar (regardless of the type) accessories so that you can find what you are looking for. Let’s get started!
No matter what kind of guitar you play, at some point in life you will probably need a pick. Many musicians prefer to feel the strings with their fingers and perform that way, however, to me, picks are the way to go. They make your sound more audible, accentuate your notes and define everything pretty well. Picks are rather inexpensive and generally come in all the shapes and sizes. What thickness, texture or material you choose is completely up to you. For starters, you will most likely get the first thing you encounter, but as you mature as a musician, you will switch to more tailored picks. And the most important piece of advice: just go on and buy several, maybe even the whole set. Picks have the ability to vanish in thin air, so make sure you have extra just in case.
If you play acoustic-electric or electric guitars, you will probably have to experiment with different pickups. They “read” the vibrations from the strings, “translate” them into electric language and transfer it to the amplifier. For this reason, they can impact your sound a great deal. The most common types of magnetic pickups are single-coil and humbuckers. The former is noisier than the latter. When it comes to electric pickups, you are most likely to encounter piezo pickups that have their own distinctive sound. More often than not, guitars have pickup configuration – a combination of single-coils and humbuckers. Either way, these small accessories are very easy to experiment with and can even be the tools you have been missing.
If you have ever dealt with screwed up connection and that nagging hum that appears to come out of nowhere, then you already know how significant quality cables can be. The main beauty of guitar cables is not rooted into their length – shorter cables deliver greater accuracy and clarity. The most important thing here is durability. Cables are generally thrown, dragged, stepped upon, shoved carelessly in the back of the van… and they are likely to fall apart. To avoid buying new cable before each and every performance, I recommend investing in the material that will last you for a long time. And do not forget to pay attention to the connectors – they can wear out easily as well.
Guitar Straps and Strap Locks
If you have ever performed or rehearsed in a standing position and have held your guitar for several hours, you will know how much the guitar straps can simplify your life. Plus, they are the easiest to choose. The only determinant here is their convenience. They might be thick or thin, built with nylon or leather, and have dull or fancy appearance. Which type you choose is completely up to your preferences. Just consider to invest in sturdy material so that it will not rip mid-performance. The rest is the matter of taste. When it comes to the strap locks, they make sure that your strap will not come off unexpectedly. I do not wish anyone to experience the heartbreak even a scratch on your dropped guitar can cause. It is always better to pay a bit extra in the beginning and secure everything in place,
Guitar Cases and Gig Bags
The battle between guitar cases and gig bags comes down to your budget and the level of protection. The former is more expensive than the latter but will safely store your instrument no matter what. The latter, of course, is cheaper and does not offer that much protection. But if you get the one with padding, it will work perfectly unless you want to drop your guitar from the roof. Gig bags are also more lightweight than cases and are way more portable.
Capos and Slides
If you want to achieve more versatility without too much fuss and headache, you should definitely consider capos. They can change the key of your guitar by altering the pitch, allowing you to use the same exact chords but still receive different sounds. Capos can cover several strings or all of them, depending on what you are looking for.
As for the slides, these glass, ceramic or metal tubes are utilized to add certain depth to your sound. This technique is generally used in blues, but you could experiment with it and see, if it suits your style. Depending on the precision, you might want to get thin or thick slides. And make sure they are wide enough to fit your fingers.
Guitar Tuners and Metronomes
Well, no matter how professional you are, you need some sort of tuner in your rig. It can be in any shape, but you have to own one. It makes tuning so much easier and saves quite a lot of your time. If you are on a budget, you can easily find an affordable version that will work just fine.
And if you are a beginner, I would highly recommend getting a metronome. It helps you develop the sense of rhythm and play in sync with others. Metronome is a great practice tool and can affect your craftsmanship a great deal.
I will not waste too much of your time on this, because everything is quite straightforward here. If you do not want your guitar to be shoved here and there and get in everyone’s way, you need to invest in a guitar stand. The most basic type is A shape that can be folded and carried around. You can also purchase a hanging version so that no one bumps into your guitar. And if you own several instruments, a guitar rack might be the best option. But if you choose to go with stands, consider the finish of your guitar, so that the materials of the stand do not ruin your guitar.