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Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitars can be mainly broken up into two separate main categories. Steel string acoustic guitars and Nylon string.

Here we're looking at a few tried and trusted favorites, including some pitfalls to avoid if you are buying your first acoustic guitar.

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Acoustic Guitars - Steel String

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Steel stringers sound very much different to their more rounded and mellower nylon stringed/strung? cousins. They can be heard on all types of music too, from swampy old bottle-neck blues licks to the mighty Travis , Waterboys, Oasis and loads more.

Great for bangin' out moving tunes or droppin' it down to subtle finger-style chicken'-picking. They are versatile to say the least, and the most common amongst bedrooms I would imagine.

Even with just a few chords under your belt, the Acoustic Guitar is a powerful ally if you're a singer. The fastest way to start off is to learn all the basic chords in a least one inversion. For further tips and chord families see our Guitar Chords help.

 

  • Beginners String Tips Strings are the lifeblood of any instrument - start off with a set of medium gauge (12's or 13's) E .013 - B .017 - G .026 - D.038 - A. 048 - E .058 and see how you get on. The heavier the gauge the more "body" in the sound. The price? Harder on the oul digits!
  • Beginners Guitar Tips It's important to choose a good model to start off with, because as you progress it won't limit your playing. A cheap and hard-to-play guitar will slow you down and discourage you.
  • Beginners Tip Make sure to get an Acoustic Guitar that has a good playable Action. This relates to how high the strings come up of the fretboard. A cheapo and badly made guitar has a very high action, and is therefore very hard to play. This is to be avoided like the plague! If you simply lower the action on a cheap guitar it will buzz and fret out (not sound) all over the place.
  • Beginners Tips Try out a few different gauges and brands but do stick to a good make and not Lee Changs 50c special dragons! :-).
  • Tone Tips Try the Steel and Bronze types for a different sound.
  • Guitar Tips Try Fender for good basic entry level models. Industry Standard, they SOUND cool, play well and they don't cost an arm and a leg to buy.
  • Acoustic Guitar Tips Check out Flatpicker Tony Rice

Acoustic Guitars - Nylon String

Nylon stringed guitars are typically suited to and heard in Classical, Spanish and Flamenco style music. These guitars are also to be heard in many popular styles, such as Sting's wonderful but simplistic fret work in Fragile.

  • Did U Know? Flamenco Guitars are slightly smaller than their Classical cousins which gives them a brighter sound.
  • Study Tip If you want to play classical or flamenco style, get a good graded teacher ASAP. It's a hard style to learn on your own due to the many techniques used and required to learn.
  • Study Tip For 2 masterful examples of nylon-stringed magic check out Paco De Lucia or John Williams.
  • Classical Master Andre Segovia is one acknowledged master in the Classical Guitar field with a seriously long career spanning decades.

Semi - Electric Guitars


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These as their name suggests are simply Acoustic guitars with the ability to plug into a suitable amplifier. This just means that they can be heard over say, a noisy pub racket of cheering...yaahhh. Normally this feature is used for live gigging. In the recording studio it's usual to use the studio's recording facilities to capture a guitars sound to tape. It's far superior, but feel free to experiment in your own time, as an engineer might tell you.

  • Gigging Tips If you can't pickup your tuning signal thru the Electronic Tuner because of external noise, try covering the soundhole with a beermat while you tune up. You can buy the real McCoy for this job and sometimes it's helpful with a guitar that tends to feed back a lot... careful with that pint tho' and mine's a Guinness ta' ;-).
  • Tone Tips In general, get a FULL bodied semi-electric for the best tone. One that doesn't rely on the electronics to get a good sound. A semi-electric Acoustic Guitar should sound good even when it's not plugged in.
  • Tone Tips Some players like the sound of Ovation guitars which are unusual guitars with their own unique sound - possibly worth sussing out.

Finding a good, well priced Acoustic-Electric Guitar can be difficult. I gigged with a Yamaha guitar in Ireland and sunny Mallorca for few years, and it survived many a season in an Irish bar and that's sayin' somethin'. Yamaha tend to make good sounding models at all levels. There pretty reliable workhorses and sound good.

  • Steve Vai has contributed to Acoustic Guitar design too, aswell as the fab Gem Electric
  • One of the most used and famous top of the range Acoustic Guitars that has it all is Takemine. These don't come too cheap but it's a guitar that many aspire to owning. A very unique sound.

Recording Tips

  • Recording Tips Try recording your Acoustic Guitar with a Capo up around the 7th fret or higher - it gives you a nice Mandolin type sound.
  • Tone Tips Try a Dobro Guitar for a different sound.

Acoustic Guitar - Repairs

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I have an old nylon string (it's belongs to the Missus actually) and it fell over one day and the tuning head snapped off - disaster! It's a very special guitar for sentimental reasons. Anyway, the same thing happened to a friend of mine's bass a while back, and to my amazement he had successfully repaired it with a epoxy-resin glue (I think it was called Araldite). It played perfectly - good man yourself Frank.

So I had a go at fixing our old Nylon and it's back in tip-top shape again and still going strong. So don't chuck it in the bin if your unfortunate enough to live through this little nightmare.

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So with that I'll say adios for now - Here's a link to some Acoustic Guitar Resources and Recommendations

Byeee


 

 

 

 

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