The definitive acoustic guitar buying guide has arrived. Today, you’re going to learn how to feel confident and empowered when buying an acoustic guitar.
By using my 5 step framework, you’ll be armed with a solid series of tests to evaluate any guitar. My goal is to help you feel comfortable when you go to buy an acoustic guitar.
Before we go any further, I want to know you’re thoughts on buying acoustic guitars? Do you have a system or framework? Let me know in the comments!
In addition to talking about the 5 step framework for buying an acoustic guitar, I’ll be using this framework on 3 different guitars in today’s episode. One of the guitars is quite unique, while a pair of other guitars are essentially the same but subtly different.
I hope you’re ready to learn how to buy an acoustic guitar! All that and more is coming up on this episode of Acoustic Tuesday!
As always, you can catch Acoustic Tuesday at 10 am every Tuesday in these four places:
- Acoustic Life YouTube channel
- We Play Every Day Facebook Community
- Get show notes emailed directly to your inbox.
- Listen to audio-only below or in iTunes
The 5 Step Framework for Buying an Acoustic Guitar
Buying an acoustic guitar can be a tricky process. By following my 5-step framework, you’ll have a guitar you feel confident purchasing.
Before you go through this framework, be sure to invite your significant other/partner to watch with you! Having your +1 on board will help during the buying process.
Without further ado, let’s dive right into the acoustic guitar buying guide…
Step 1. Evaluate the Guitar’s Looks
You might be thinking that the guitar’s looks are not that important. Most people think the sound is the most important part of a guitar. However, I want to make a case for the importance of visual evaluation.
You need to be attracted to your guitar visually. This doesn’t mean the guitar needs to be flashy and blingy.
Instead, you want to feel as if the guitar is calling to you and you are inspired by just the “look” of the guitar — whether it’s worn, straight grain, or matte finish.
If you’re drawn to a guitar visually, you’re more likely to look at it and feel the need to play it.
Step 2. Evaluate the Guitar’s Sound
Ideally, you want to be able to play the guitar you’re thinking of purchasing. If you can’t play it try finding a variety of demo videos with high-quality sound.
When you listen or play the guitar, I want you to stop for a moment and ask yourself, “Can I still feel that guitar resonating in my body?”
I want you to find a guitar that feels so amazing, you can’t see yourself without it.
That feeling means something different for everyone. Every guitar player has their own preference on timbre and tone and volume, so just make sure the guitar you pick resonates with you.
Step 3. Evaluate the Guitar’s Playability
When buying a guitar, playability is an extremely important factor. For this step, I want you to take into account the things you cannot change about a particular guitar.
For example, you can change…
- the action
- string height
- strap button placement
Things you cannot change are…
- nut width
- neck profile
- string spacing
- body width
You want to feel comfortable when you’re trying out guitar. If anything feels too big, too small, or just not right, don’t be afraid to move on.
If you don’t feel comfortable playing it, it’ll be that much harder to motivate yourself to play that guitar.
Step 4. Evaluate the Guitar’s Versatility
This might not be applicable to you if you’re looking for a specific type of guitar to round out your guitarsenal.
However, for most guitar geeks, you want to find a guitar that can do a wide variety of playing styles.
You’ll want a guitar that can grow and flex with you as you discover new concepts, styles, and genres of acoustic music!
Make sure the guitar you’re thinking of buying can do both fingerpicking and flatpicking. You want this guitar to be by your side through your acoustic guitar journey.
Step 5. Evaluate the Guitar’s Level of Inspiration
This is difficult to do, but just know that each guitar has a story.
The guitar that inspires you the most typically has a story behind it. Even if your buying a new guitar, the story attached to that guitar is the story of the manufacturer.
The story of a Taylor guitar, fresh out of the factory, is different from the story of a new Martin guitar.
Which story resonates with you the most?
If you’re looking at used or vintage guitars, also take into account the story of the previous owners. You want this guitar to inspire you and bring joy and fulfillment into your life.
What do you think of this 5 step framework? Did it work for you? Are you planning on using this definitive acoustic guitar buying guide? Let me know in the comments below!
The Carbon Fiber Experience
Now, I need to get something off my chest…
I was really, really hesitant about carbon fiber guitars when I first heard about them.
I thought there weren’t any unique distinctions between different carbon fiber guitars. After all, they were all made out of the same material!
But over the last five years, I’ve played carbon fiber instruments from Journey, Cargo Acoustics, Rainsong, Emerald, McPherson, and so many more.
And, although they’re made out of the same material, each company treats the carbon fiber in different ways.
Last week, I did a quick review of the McPherson Carbon Sable guitar (which you can check out here!).
In the review, I applied the 5 step framework for evaluating an acoustic guitar. In the end, I was super impressed with this guitar.
As I kept playing it, I even began to notice some additional qualities that I liked in this guitar.
For example, the textured back on this guitar helped with the playability; the guitar didn’t slip out from under me.
If you want an idea of another carbon fiber guitar that has me drooling, make sure to check out my review of the Emerald X30.