People, especially the beginners are often confused to decide what to buy and what to learn? An acoustic guitar, or an electric guitar or a classical guitar or any other types? In this tutorial, I am gonna show you the detailed overview of each type of guitar to make you understand Which Type of Guitar is Best for Beginners.
Since the 11th century, people all over the world have been playing stringed instruments similar to the guitar, and it has become an integral part of the uncountable musical tradition for generations. The guitar is one of the best and most popular music instruments you will ever find in the world. Singing and playing the guitar predates the European Renaissance by several centuries, and as a portable music, it is simply matchless. While the look and function of the guitar have undergone facelifts and alterations over the centuries, their soul and primary function remain the same.
Common Types of Guitars Those are Very Popular
In case you are a complete newbie in the guitar world and you don’t know much about guitars, I would like to take you through the most common types of guitars. There are three main types of guitar. They are:
- Acoustic Guitar
- Electric Guitar
- Classical Guitar
But, you may find another thousand types of the guitar, which are mainly based on the above three. Among them, these five are also very popular:
- Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Bass Guitar
- Resonator Guitar
- Archtop Guitar
- Twelve String Guitar
Which Guitar is Best Suited With You?
Choosing the guitar, especially in American culture, is almost second nature by now. So much of our culture is ingrained with guitar music, from old folk and western music to the rhythm and blues and rock n’ roll. It’s almost a rite of passage for many to pick up the guitar and learn to play. The difficulty arises when a new player has to choose what sort of guitar they want to play. They spend much time thinking about which guitar is best for beginners. OK, I am gonna show you some tips about the guitars, features available and pros & cons of each type of guitar to help you choose the first guitar.
Each type of guitars comes in many different shapes and sizes, but they are all the same where it matters. Each has benefits and drawbacks for beginners, so you’ll need to consider carefully what it is you plan to get out of playing the guitar. Let’s look at the differences that set each type apart from each other.
#1 Acoustic Guitar
Unlike other guitars, acoustic guitars depend on the body structure and shape. All the sound produced comes from the guitar itself. Acoustic guitar main features are as follows:
- They are mainly made of wood
- Their neck is made of mahogany while the fret is made of rosewood. This to enhance sound quality
- Comes with either steel string or nylon string
- Loud enough to accompany singing
- Often comes with built-in amplification capabilities
- The sound/tone is more consistent with popular music
- Portable and durable
- Easier to maintain annually or semi-annually without professional help
- Long term durability is excellent with proper care
- It can be converted into an acoustic-electric guitar by having a pickup of your choosing put in
- Vulnerable to humidity damage if stored improperly
- Steel strings are harder on fingertips, making learning fingering more difficult
- Internal pickups often require battery power
- Finished surfaces scratch easily depending on materials
- Typically more expensive to purchase
- Less variety of available sizes
#2 Electric Guitar
Electric guitars are guitars that take the vibrations from the body of a guitar and amplify it through electronic pickups. Its features are:
- They have either a solid or a semi-solid body type
- They have a control knob which is used to change the volume and tone of the guitar
- They have whammy bars which are used to manipulate and also shift sound without switching the position of the fingers
- Can be played and be heard in every type of venue from a small club to Madison Square Garden
- Can be adapted or run with multiple effects to duplicate any tone or style of music
- The volume is much easier to control for accompaniment
- Can be played more easily at the same time as other instruments such as drums, bass, and keyboard.
- Lighter gauge steel strings and lower action make for a much more playable guitar that is easier on the hands and fingertips
- Manufactured in every shape, size, and finish imaginable
- Suitable for both the professionals and the beginners
- Must have some kind of amplification to practice or perform
- Connectors and switches require regular maintenance to keep the operation as noiseless as possible
- Lighter gauge strings more prone to breakage during heavy play
- Tuning machines and hardware require regular adjustment to keep a guitar in good working order
- Setup for action, intonation, and overall sound often requires professional assistance
- Techniques for playing require coordinated use of both hands when picking, fretting, and muting, making specific styles of play tricky to learn
- The need to purchase some form of amplification makes this a slightly more expensive starter purchase
#3 Classical guitar
Classical guitars are one among the best guitars for beginners. Classical guitars are very common for the experienced players because of their classic look and the style of a modern guitar. The following are features of a classical guitar:
- They are made up of nylon strings
- They are always played in a sitting position
- The combination of nylon strings and other guitar structures produce hearty, inviting and comfortable sound
- Lightweight and small
- Available in many sizes
- Softer strings make learning fingering easier
- No need for amplification to practice
- Usually inexpensive to purchase and maintain
- Beautiful sound for a low cost
- Less versatile for playing in different venues
- Neck and frets are vastly different from standard acoustic or electric guitars
- Switching from nylon to steel strings can be a painful transition later on
- Often too quiet to accompany singing
- Long term durability can be problematic
- Generally, do not have built-in amplification capabilities
- Difficult to do annual or semi-annual maintenance without professional help
#4 Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Acoustic-electric guitars are the special kind of popular, versatile guitar where you may feel both the test of an acoustic and an electric guitar. This type of guitar also might be called as electro-acoustic guitar. These are the special features of an acoustic-electric guitar:
- Pickup installed in the bridge (inside the body)
- Usually, they have a slightly thinner sound than an acoustic guitar
- Can be played with or without any amplifier, mixer or recording equipment
- Most suited for any environment & live performance
- Easy to plug in like an electric guitar
- Can be played louder and produce better electronic effects than a regular acoustic connecting an amp
- Offers more in-depth systems and functionality
- Might have pre-amplifier
- More expensive than an acoustic guitar
- Might have problems with the electronics & make the sound terrible
- Usually, they need batteries
- Quality of sound might be slightly less when playing unplugged
#5 Bass Guitar
A bass guitar is another special guitar you would love to know about. Here are its special features:
- They have a long neck
- They have thicker strings to enhance bass sound
- Mostly they have 4-6 strings
- Produce a cool sound
- Easy to control and manage the low-end
- Easy to play and sing simultaneously
- Less expensive to buy
- Easy to start; requires fewer notes
- Low sound compared to electric and classical guitars
- Hard to play popular music styles such as pop and jazz
- Hard to master
- Requires constant attention to master
- Require a powerful amp compared to other guitars
#6 Resonator Guitar
They are unique guitars with distinctive features as listed below:
- They have a large and perforated cover plate
- They mainly have metal bodies to increase their durability
- They have a resonator cone made of aluminum. This enhances loud and bright sound
- Stronger compared to other guitars
- Variety of neck shapes to choose
- Louder compared to other types
- Produce a metallic quality sound
- Play a variety of music genres
- Less fret access
- Low volume and tone compared to classical, electric and acoustic guitars
- Expensive to purchase
- Difficult to learn with
- Have fret-boards facing away from the player
#7 Archtop Guitar
It is an electric semi-hollow guitar. Here are its special features you may love to know:
- They have a steel string
- They can be either full-bodied or thin line to increase acoustic volume and resonance
- They have f-holes and a violin style
- Are very comfortable to play
- Sound cool and pretty when using higher strings
- Quality ones have an internal mic used for sound amplification
- Have a good shape compared to electric and acoustic guitars
- Best designed for jazz music
- Lack a unique tone property
- Heavy compared to other types of guitars
- Sound dull and awkward when using lower strings
- Lower quality ones have relatively low sound compared to acoustic and electric guitars
- Lower quality ones have no mic for amplification
- Are less versatile
#8 Twelve string Guitar
Another popular type of guitar having the following features:
- They have 12 strings (6 regular and 6 normal strings)
- They are aimed to produce both bass and treble sounds
- They have twelve pegs and double truss
- Rich and quality sound compared to 6 string guitars
- Used for a variety of music genre
- No need to amplify
- Have twice the number of string and make tuning difficult
- Expensive compared to 6 string guitars
- The tuning is time-consuming
- Hard to learn for beginners
- Not suitable for rock and pop music
Recommendation to Select the Guitar
So Many Options, hah…
You might be very much confused to think of which guitar is perfect for you as a beginner.
After all this analysis, advice, and conjecture, what is your best option?
How do you choose between the many, many options that are out there?
If you have considered design, brand, the style of music, budget and ease of playing, now it’s your time to choose the best guitar. How do you do it?
I’m so glad you asked: go to a guitar shop and try out as many different guitars as you can. Don’t ask for a recommendation of what to buy: instead tell the salesman/owner what you are looking for and what you are looking to spend, and then see what they suggest.
Are you still confused???
OK, then I am gonna make it easier for you in the next few points.
► If you want to start playing guitar to entertain yourself and others, or you want to start getting out opening mic nights, the acoustic steel-string is probably your best option. And also, for the beginners who are standing with a fixed and low budget, the acoustic guitar is the best though it offers fewer features compared to the electric guitar.
► I’m going to recommend that you start out with an acoustic electric guitar to start out on your guitar journey. It lets you learn the basics while offering the greatest versatility in terms of where and how you can play. If you are worried about tender fingertips, there are little silicone booties you can buy very inexpensively to help protect your fingers while you learn and develop the muscle memory and coordination you will need to play what you want. Please keep in mind that I am making the recommendation of an acoustic/electric based on my personal preference for its versatility.
► On the other hand, if you have a need to rock those heavy riffs and feel like a rock god, your first purchase should be an electric guitar. For a beginner to whom money is not a problem, I would like to recommend an Electric guitar. It offers the beginner a motivation on the learning process getting rid of all learning obstacles. And also I would like to strongly recommend buying a solid 20-watt amplifier with a headphone jack and commence with the rocking out though if you are in a shared living space or an apartment, as the growing pains for an electric guitarist can be somewhat hard to listen to regardless of the time of day. There are few peak experiences in life like learning to play a three power-chord riff with heavy distortion and feeling like one of the heroes of heavy metal whom you worship and honor.
► Ultimately, If you are going to keep the guitar out and by the couch and pick it up now and then to jam out a little or try to learn the fingering for chords or play the melodies of songs, a classical style guitar is probably a fine choice for beginning learners.
The Bottom line
Play around at the guitar store (or as I like to call it, the big kid music store) with various guitars, and find one that feels and plays just right for you. Hopefully, you are not like me and always seem to find the one that feels just right before looking at the price tag. Play every day, and play what you want to play. Take lessons if you want, but keep in mind that playing the guitar is a gift to yourself that will keep on giving for the rest of your life with practice and dedication. Go out and play, and may you enjoy many years of joyful noise with that guitar that speaks to you.
The key to getting a beginner’s guitar of any type is picking something that will always keep you motivated. Learning to play guitar can be very difficult, but once you choose your best type it can make your learning process simple. The right guitar for you won’t give you an extra obstacle in your learning process.
So, choose wisely… !!