Last Updated on December 14, 2023 by AG
When it comes to purchasing an acoustic guitar, there are several mistakes that you can make that can affect your playing experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced musician, avoiding these mistakes is crucial if you want to find a guitar that is comfortable to play and produces great sound.
Purchasing an acoustic guitar is an investment, both in terms of time and money. If you make a mistake when purchasing a guitar, it can affect your playing experience and potentially cost you more money in the long run. By avoiding mistakes, you can ensure that you get a guitar that is the right size, produces great sound, and is comfortable to play.
Overview: the 5 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid
When buying an acoustic guitar do NOT:
- Choose the wrong size guitar
- Sacrifice quality for price
- Neglect sound quality
- Ignore the importance of wood quality
- Prioritize appearance over functionality
In the following sections, we will take a closer look at each of these mistakes and provide tips for avoiding them.
Choosing the Wrong Size When Buying an Acoustic Guitar
The size of an acoustic guitar affects its playability and comfort, making it important to choose the right size for your body type and playing style.
One of the most common mistakes people make when choosing a guitar is selecting the wrong size. Many beginners assume that bigger is better, and they opt for a guitar that is too large for their body type. Others may choose a smaller guitar based on price or appearance without considering the impact it will have on their playing experience.
But a guitar that is too big can be difficult to reach across, making it challenging to play certain chords and notes. While a guitar that is too small can feel cramped and uncomfortable, making it hard to play for extended periods.
Additionally, playing too big or too small guitar can lead to bad playing habits, like poor posture.
Tips for Choosing the Right Size Guitar
When choosing a guitar, consider your body type and playing style to find the right size. Here are some tips to help you choose the right size guitar:
- Measure Yourself: Measure your arm length and the distance from your wrist to the tip of your middle finger to determine the best size guitar for you.
- Try Different Sizes: Visit a music store and try out different sizes of guitars to see which one feels the most comfortable for you.
- Consider the Body Shape: Different body shapes can also impact the playability and comfort of a guitar. For example, a dreadnought guitar has a wider body than a concert guitar, which may affect your ability to reach certain chords.
- Get Advice: Consult with a guitar teacher or experienced musician for their opinion on what size guitar would be best for you.
By considering these tips, you can choose a guitar that is the right size for you and improve your playing experience.
Sacrificing Quality for Price
The price of a guitar can have a significant impact on its quality. In general, higher-priced guitars are made with better materials and construction methods, resulting in a superior sound and feel.
One of the most common mistakes people make when choosing a guitar is basing their decision solely on price. While it can be tempting to opt for a cheaper guitar to save money, sacrificing quality for price can result in a frustrating and disappointing playing experience.
Some common mistakes people make when choosing a guitar based on price include:
- Opting for a guitar with a low price tag without considering the quality of the materials and construction.
- Choosing a guitar based solely on appearance rather than sound and playability.
- Ignoring the recommendations of experienced musicians and music teachers in favor of a cheaper option.
Tips for Finding a High-Quality Guitar at a Reasonable Price
While it’s important to invest in a high-quality guitar, there are ways to find a good instrument at a reasonable price. Here are some tips for finding a high-quality guitar without breaking the bank:
- Consider the Materials: Look for a guitar made with high-quality materials, such as solid wood, rather than cheaper laminates.
- Buy Used: Buying a used guitar can be a great way to save money while still getting a high-quality instrument. Just be sure to inspect the guitar thoroughly before purchasing it to ensure it’s in good condition.
- Shop Around: Don’t be afraid to visit multiple music stores or browse online to compare prices and find the best deal.
- Get Recommendations: Consult with experienced musicians and music teachers for their recommendations on high-quality guitars at a reasonable price.
By following these tips, you can find a high-quality guitar that fits your budget and enhances your playing experience. Remember, investing in a good instrument is a worthwhile investment that will pay off in the long run.
Neglecting Sound Quality
The sound quality of a guitar is perhaps the most important factor to consider when making a purchase. Sound quality can affect the enjoyment of playing the guitar, and a poor-quality sound can quickly lead to frustration and disappointment.
A guitar’s sound quality is affected by several factors, including the type of wood used in construction, the size and shape of the body, and the quality of the hardware and electronics.
Common Mistakes Made When Neglecting Sound Quality When Purchasing a Guitar
One of the most common mistakes people make when purchasing a guitar is neglecting to consider the sound quality. This is often done because they choose a guitar, based solely on appearance or brand, purchase a guitar without playing it first (or having someone play it for them) or focus too much on technical specifications and features.
Tips for Evaluating the Sound Quality of a Guitar Before Purchasing
When evaluating the sound quality of a guitar, there are several factors to consider. Here are some tips to help you evaluate the sound quality of a guitar before making a purchase:
- 1. Play the Guitar: The best way to evaluate the sound quality of a guitar is to play it yourself or have an experienced musician play it for you. Listen for tone, sustain, and resonance.
- 2. Consider the Wood: The type of wood used in the construction of the guitar can have a significant impact on its sound quality. Look for guitars made with high-quality tonewoods, such as spruce or mahogany.
- 3. Check the Hardware: The hardware and electronics of a guitar can also affect its sound quality. Look for guitars with high-quality pickups and tuning machines.
- 4. Consider the Body Size and Shape: The size and shape of the guitar’s body can also affect its sound quality. Consider the type of music you want to play and choose a body shape and size that complements that style.
By considering these factors when evaluating the sound quality of a guitar, you can make a more informed decision and choose an instrument that will provide an enjoyable playing experience. Remember, sound quality should be a top priority when purchasing a guitar, and neglecting it can lead to disappointment and frustration in the long run.
Ignoring the Importance of Wood Quality
When it comes to purchasing an acoustic guitar, one of the most critical factors to consider is the quality of the wood used in its construction. The wood used in a guitar affects not only its sound quality but also its playability and durability. Unfortunately, many buyers overlook this factor when making their purchase, which can lead to a less-than-ideal playing experience. In this section, we’ll explore the importance of wood quality and common mistakes to avoid when evaluating the wood of a guitar.
How wood quality affects sound quality, playability, and durability
The type and quality of wood used in a guitar affect its sound in numerous ways. The density, stiffness, and resonant qualities of the wood can all impact the guitar’s tone, sustain, and volume. Higher-quality wood generally results in a richer, more balanced, and more resonant sound, while lower-quality wood can produce a dull, lifeless, or unbalanced sound.
The wood used in a guitar can also affect its playability. The weight and balance of the guitar can impact the comfort and ease of playing, while the quality of the fretboard and neck wood can impact the feel and responsiveness of the guitar.
Lastly, the quality of the wood can affect the guitar’s durability. Higher-quality wood is often more resistant to warping, cracking, or other forms of damage, which can extend the lifespan of the guitar.
So instead of focusing solely on the appearance, brand, or price of the guitar, consider the type and quality of the wood used in its construction. Otherwise, you can end up with a guitar with a subpar sound, uncomfortable playability, or a short lifespan.
Also, don’t assume that all guitars made of the same type of wood are of the same quality. Different manufacturers may use different grades or cuts of wood, which can greatly impact the guitar’s sound and quality.
Tips for evaluating the wood quality of a guitar before purchasing
There are a few things to look for, to evaluate the wood quality of a guitar before purchasing.
Step 1: Check the type of wood used in the top, back, and sides of the guitar. The most common types of wood used in acoustic guitars are spruce, cedar, mahogany, and rosewood. Each wood has its unique tonal characteristics and quality grades, so do your research to understand what to look for in each type. And also consider what you are looking for tone-wise. As an example of how wood affects the guitar, you can read all about Adirondack vs. Sitka spruce.
Step 2: Inspect the guitar for any imperfections, such as cracks, warping, or knots in the wood. These can impact the guitar’s durability and affect its sound quality.
Step 3: Consider the brand and reputation of the manufacturer. A reputable manufacturer will typically use high-quality wood and have strict quality control measures in place to ensure the consistency and quality of their guitars.
Because wood affects the sound quality, playability, and durability of the guitar, overlooking its importance can lead to a subpar playing experience. Take it into consideration to ensure that you choose a guitar that sounds great, feels comfortable, and lasts for years to come.
Prioritizing Appearance Over Functionality
When it comes to purchasing a guitar, many people make the mistake of prioritizing appearance over functionality. While it’s understandable to want an instrument that looks great, it’s important to remember that appearance should not be the only factor to consider. In this section, we’ll discuss the importance of functionality and provide tips for finding a guitar that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Why Appearance Shouldn’t Be the Only Factor in Purchasing a Guitar
While appearance is certainly important, it should not be the only factor considered when purchasing a guitar. An instrument’s functionality is just as important, if not more so, than its appearance. A guitar that looks great but doesn’t play well or sound good will ultimately be a disappointment. Unless you want to use it as deco only. On the other hand, a guitar that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional will provide years of enjoyment.
So purchasing a guitar simply because it looks good s not the way to go. While this may be tempting, remember that a guitar is a musical instrument first and foremost.
It needs to sound good and play well to be worth the investment. Another mistake is paying too little attention to important features, such as the type of wood used or the quality of the hardware.
Tips for Finding a Guitar That Is Both
So, how can you find an aesthetically pleasing and functional guitar? The key is to strike a balance between the two. Here are some points to consider:
- Your playing style: Before purchasing a guitar, think about your playing style. Do you prefer a certain type of sound or a specific type of guitar? This will help you narrow down your options and find a guitar that suits your playing style. You can start by looking up what kind of instrument your favorite musicians play, not the exact model, but rather the body size, type of guitar, wood, or type of pickups used on this guitar.
- Research: Do your research before making a purchase. Read reviews, watch video demonstrations, and talk to other guitarists to get an idea of what to expect from different brands and models. And to find out what you are looking for in a guitar, and what’s the perfect guitar for you.
- Test it out: Always try out a guitar before making a purchase. Play it in the store, preferably through an amp similar to the one you own (or want to buy), and see how it feels and sounds. Make sure it’s comfortable to play and that it produces a sound you like.
- Consider the build quality: Look for a well-built guitar made with high-quality materials. Check the wood type, hardware, and overall construction to ensure it will last.
- Consider the resale value: While it may not seem important when you’re making a purchase, considering the resale value of a guitar is important if you ever decide to sell it in the future. A well-built, quality guitar with an attractive appearance will likely retain its value better than a guitar purchased solely for its looks.
So appearance is certainly important, but it should not be the only factor considered when purchasing a guitar. By finding a balance between appearance and functionality, you can ensure that you’ll end up with a guitar that not only looks great but also sounds and plays great, providing years of enjoyment.
The Bottom Line
Purchasing an acoustic guitar can be a significant investment, and it’s essential to avoid the biggest mistakes that people make. By taking the time to research and make an informed decision, you can end up with a high-quality guitar that produces great sound, is comfortable to play, and is made of excellent-quality wood.
To recap, the most significant mistakes to avoid include: choosing the wrong size guitar, sacrificing quality for price, neglecting sound quality, ignoring the importance of wood quality, and prioritizing appearance over functionality.
Investing in a high-quality guitar that is the right size, produces great sound, is comfortable to play, and is made of excellent-quality wood can bring years of enjoyment and satisfaction. We hope you now can make a more informed decision and avoid the biggest mistakes often made when purchasing an acoustic guitar.