Buying an acoustic guitar is one of the most exciting prospects for any budding player. It's the critical 'make or break' stepping stone that sets you up for certain success or potential disenchantment through an unsuitable instrument. Brands like Yamaha, Stretton Payne, Epiphone and Donner all build beginner guitars with success solely in mind.
We've compiled ten top-notch beginner guitars from Amazon, eBay and Argos, to suit both buyers on a budget and those wanting to invest in something special. From dreadnaughts to classical guitars, there's a perfect beginner acoustic for everyone's unique size and story. Many of our picks also come with all the accessories needed to hit the ground running!
Acoustic guitars are generally recommended for beginners as they are cheaper, easier to transport and unlike electric guitars, they don't require you to buy extra equipment like amplifiers, cables and pedals in order to play them. These things can always come later if your new hobby becomes more serious.
Even if you would like to eventually master playing electric, it is still recommended to learn the basics on an acoustic before potentially going down the plugged-in route. So for these reasons, we have chosen to focus on acoustic guitars for beginners in this article.
Choosing an acoustic guitar can seem a bit daunting at first, with different playing styles being dictated by the unique design features of each guitar. In this buying guide, we've included the most relevant factors to consider. Understanding these key aspects will mean you won't end your learning journey early by being put off from a guitar that simply isn't designed for you.
Guitars come in all shapes and sizes. This size ratio is determined by the guitar type, first and foremost. Classical, dreadnaught and parlor guitars are all great choices for beginners. Knowing what type of guitar you should be searching for will be guided by your body size and what style of guitar playing you wish to do.
Picture Flamenco music echoing down a cobbled street in the Seville sunshine – these are the origins of the classical guitar. People these days love to buy a classical guitar as their first, though some do so without even realising it is one. This is because of two defining reasons, both of which enable ease of learning.
The first is that classical guitars always have nylon strings which can be a real godsend when starting out as your fingers won't be in as much pain, ensuring you'll be able to play for longer.
The second reason is that classical's are small-bodied guitars. This can be a huge advantage as you won't have such a hard time reaching the frets, especially if you're not exactly blessed with an NBA-worthy stature. It also won't seem like such an impossible prospect to wrangle the guitar into a comfortable, easy position to play.
The dreadnaught is a widely popular, all-round guitar design that will give you a good base coat of knowledge and experience before potentially specialising further down the track. It is a steel-string guitar that produces a clean acoustic sound with good volume projection and strong bass.
Dreadnaughts are full-sized, so if you're still growing and subsequently don't have enviable, elongated fingers then maybe it's not the ideal first acoustic for you. However, due to it being such a popular choice of guitar it benefits from easy interchangeability, so any friends or other players will be able to pick it up and start jamming straight away.
There's a wide range of dreadnaught guitars these days that are priced well for starting out. So if you want to get straight into a legitimate-sounding piece of kit then the dreadnaught is for you.
A parlor is simply any guitar that is less than a full size. 3/4 and 1/2 size guitars are common along with guitaleles and ukeleles. These smaller guitars can suit children as they will be able to reach all the necessary elements of the guitar with ease, and hopefully, style!
Parlors typically come equipped with steel strings. If this doesn't sit well with you, there's always the option of the aforementioned guitaleles or ukeleles, which usually have wound strings. Wound strings have a nylon core and flexible metal exterior, which makes them easier on the fingers and good at producing lower notes.
Parlors can also be a clever choice if you're on the move, whether that's on the tube to a lesson or on the school bus home. However, due to their smaller size, they won't have the same full sound as a dreadnaught.
When starting out this could potentially be a good thing, and if it's a decent guitar then keeping a parlor in the arsenal is never a bad idea, especially when you become more proficient and fancy trying to impress on weekends away and camping trips. The perfect travelling companion indeed!
The action of a guitar is the distance between the strings and the fretboard, typically measured on the 12th fret. A low action guitar is a good idea as it will make the strings easier to press down. This will help to stem finger soreness and hand fatigue which can be key to a beginner's success and longevity, as they won't become fearful of their guitar and the pain it may cause.
However, having action that is too low will result in an incessant buzzing when strumming chords, as the strings will be pressing down on other frets ruining the sound completely. So, it's important to buy a guitar with the correct low action for learning.
Everyone has a different opinion on what constitutes 'low action' and it really comes down to the type of guitar and how it feels and sounds for a particular player. You can rest assured that all models from the reputable brands on our list have built guitars with low-medium action suited for learning.
The neck width, or 'nut width' as it's sometimes referred to, is the width of the neck measured at the nut of the guitar, which is at the end of the fingerboard. Neck width can again come down to personal preference but generally, a smaller neck width would suit a player with smaller hands and arms.
For steel-stringed acoustic guitars, the neck width usually starts at 41 mm with the larger end reaching 48 mm.
Classical guitars, meanwhile, most commonly have a neck width of 52 mm to suit the style of playing for this specific guitar type. Nonetheless, the smaller body size allows for classical guitars with wider necks to be played by beginners as reaching the top frets is still achievable.
Acoustic guitars are made from a variety of different wood types. These woods are termed 'tonewoods' as they give the guitar a certain tone and resonance. Ensuring an acoustic is made from recognised, tried and tested tonewoods is going to ensure its longevity and the quality of sound that it emanates.
If budget is important, then you will be more limited as to which tonewoods are available. Laminated wood may also be used for the sides and the back of the guitar.
This laminate will not mature with age, meaning the guitar's sound will not evolve over time. Starting out you won't necessarily notice this, but it's still something to be aware of and maybe to opt against if a higher price isn't an issue for you.
Some popular tonewoods to look out for are mahogany, cedar, sitka spruce and rosewood. These quality tonewoods will give your guitar a desirable and appreciated sound that will beckon for a crowd wherever you start strumming.
Hopefully, by now, you've started to formulate an idea of the type of guitar you may be looking to buy. Through style, design and price we have found the crème de la crème of acoustic guitars for beginners online within the UK. This top 10 is sure to include your next partner in sonic crime, and we are truly excited for you to find it.
|Neck Width||5.5 cm|
|Body Wood||Swamp ash|
|Neck Width||42 mm|
|Body Wood||Sitka spruce and laminated mahogany|
|String Material||Nylon string set (3 nylon/3 metal wound)|
|Neck Width||47.6 mm|
|Body Wood||Sitka spruce and meranti|
|Neck Width||50 mm|
|Body Wood||Spruce and meranti|
|Neck Width||45 mm|
|Neck Width||43 mm|
|Neck Width||43 mm|
|Body Wood||Spruce and mahogany|
Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar
Full Size Steel String Acoustic Guitar
3/4 Size Beginner Acoustic Guitar Pack
Full Size Dreadnaught With Starter Pack
Full Size Classical Guitar
Cutaway Acoustic Beginner Guitar Package
Rocket Full Size Classical Guitar Starter Pack
Full Size Acoustic Guitar With Accessories
1/2 Size Classical Acoustic Guitar
A Vintage Design With Quality Tonewoods
Yamaha's Award Winning Beginner Guitar
Get on Your Way With a 3/4 Parlor and Impressive Starter Pack
A High-Spec Dreadnaught With an All-Spruce Tonewood Body
The Supremely Built Classical to Invest In
The Perfect Travelling Guitalele With an Emphasis on Quality
A Beginner's Dreadnaught With the Whole Kit and Caboodle
Great Kid's First Full-Sized Classical Guitar
A Cheap Dreadnaught That Comes With All the Trimmings
Lightweight, Easy to Handle, and Ideal for Children
|Type||Dreadnaught||Dreadnaught||3/4 Parlor||Dreadnaught||Classical||Parlor (guitalele)||Dreadnaught||Classical||Dreadnaught||1/2 Classical|
|Length||106 cm||103 cm||96.5 cm||111 cm||102 cm||71 cm||104 cm||100 cm||99 cm||86 cm|
|String Material||Steel||Steel||Steel||Steel||Nylon||Nylon string set (3 nylon/3 metal wound)||Brass||Nylon||Steel||Nylon|
|Neck Width||43 mm||43 mm||Slim||45 mm||50 mm||47.6 mm||Slim||Unknown||42 mm||5.5 cm|
|Body Wood||Spruce and mahogany||Rosewood||Mahogany||Spruce||Spruce and meranti||Sitka spruce and meranti||Sitka spruce and laminated mahogany||Linden||Basswood||Swamp ash|
If you're in the market for more instruments, yearning to become a multi-instrumentalist rock god or goddess, then why not have a look through a couple more of our recommendations for digital pianos, ukuleles and MIDI keyboards? They're all inexpensive options to give your sound more scope.
Every musician needs to start somewhere, and their first guitar is an integral part of that somewhere. We hope that this article has brought you a little closer to your goal of becoming a proficient player. It's a very exciting prospect buying your first guitar, and now that you're all clued up on the best ones, there's really nothing more to say except good luck!
Author: Connor Macanally
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