Recommendations for buying a good acoustic guitar
Buyers guide to purchasing a good quality acoustic guitar. Written by a professional guitarist and creator of instructional DVDs rather than any one manufacturer. The article considers what you are using the guitar for, type of woods available and budget.
These days with Far East production methods getting better and better,
you can buy a quality instrument far more cheaply than ever before. However,
two rules of thumb still apply – 1) You get what you pay for and 2) Buy the best
quality instrument you can afford as it will pay off in the long run.
When choosing a steel string acoustic guitar, the price differentiation often pays for the woods used and the construction method. Cheaper instruments often use laminated woods (small veneers of woods glued together) whereas more expensive ones tend to use solid woods (a single piece). If you can afford to, go for a solid wood instrument as the sound will be much better.
Sometimes intermediate priced guitars have a solid wood top (where the sound hole is) and laminated back and sides.
Good cheap instruments these days can start as low as £150. If you are using something regularly at church it is best to spend at least £400 and if you are looking for a serious guitar that you can cherish you can get a fabulous instrument for about £800 upwards.
If you are playing live you will need to budget for a pick-up system rather than trying to mic the guitar. The two best known types of systems are the under saddle (or under bridge) ‘piezo’ system or the sound hole pickup. There are loads of Piezo systems out there that produce really good sounds but need a battery operated pre-amp to get the best results. If you are buying a guitar with a pick-up system its probably got this lot included already. The sound hole systems have come a long way in the last 15 years. I use the most basic of the Fishman Rare Earth sound hole pickups in my own guitar and I love it.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andy Chamberlain (firstname.lastname@example.org) has played guitar for worship leaders Brenton Brown, Tim Hughes and Matt Redman. He is co-founder of Musicademy, a music school that produces DVDs, online lessons and practical training in contemporary instruments particularly for church based musicians. Go to the website for DVD and online instruction in worship guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and singing.
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