What is an Acoustic Guitar
An Acoustic Guitar is an instrument
that uses only acoustic methods to project the sound
produced by the strings of the guitar.
The sound in a guitar is produced
by vibration of the strings as it is played. In an
Acoustic Guitar the volume of the sound is increased
by using a soundboard and a resonant cavity (the
What are the bits of an Acoustic Guitar called and how is it
The Body: The back, sides, and top.
Types of construction and the type of wood(s) used have a major
impact on the way a guitar sounds. The body style and size will also
have an impact on the guitar's sound.
The Bridge: Anchors the guitars strings to the
The Top: Front facing board of the guitar.
The single most important element in the
way an acoustic guitar will sound. When you strum the strings vibrations are transferred through the
to the top. When the top vibrates, so does the air within the body
of the guitar. This amplifies the sound of the strings. Tops can either be
solid wood (generally better quality) or
(usually cheaper). Solid tops will offer a better sound.
The Neck: Where your non strumming fingers go...Includes the
tuners, and an internal truss rod.
The Fretboard: long, thin
piece of wood that is glued to the neck. The frets are actually the
long thin pieces of metal on the wood. The fretboard is divided into
half-step increments of the 12-tone scale. When you hold down a
string on a fret different notes are sounded.
The Tuning keys: Located in the headstock, usually metal
pegs that turn around to adjust the tension of each string and
Common Acoustic Guitar Woods
There are a number of different woods used in the making guitars.
Different woods will have an effect on the quality and tone of the
- Cedar: soft wood used mostly for classical or fingerstyle
- Ebony: excellent wood for acoustic guitar
Preferred fretboard material for many players.
- Koa: Hawaiian wood with a distinct golden colour. Found on
more expensive acoustic guitars.
- Mahogany: Most often used for backs and sides.
Occasionally used as a top wood. Adds snap and a general boost to
the middle range of the spectrum while reducing the boominess
sometimes found in dreadnoughts.
As a top, mahogany tends to emphasize the high end. Mahogany is also
used frequently for acoustic guitar necks and
- Maple: Often used for the back and sides. It tends to
generate a dry tone that emphasizes the upper end of the tonal
- Ovangkol: African wood used primarily for the back and
sides. Tone resembles the warmth of rosewood with the sparkling
midrange of mahogany or koa.
- Rosewood: Used for the back and sides, as well as the
fretboard and bridge. When used for the back and sides of the
guitar, rosewood provides warm low end, enhanced mids, and added
- Sapele: African wood often used for the back and sides of
an acoustic guitar. Like mahogany, it adds to the midrange and
overall projection of the top wood.
- Spruce: Most common wood used for acoustic guitar tops.
Tonally, spruce is resonant and provides good sustain and clarity.
- Walnut: Used as an alternative to mahogany in acoustic
guitar bodies. Its tonal properties are comparable to mahogany with
a focus on the midrange, and it enhances projection of the top
Acoustic Guitar Types:
12-string Acoustic Guitar
Acoustic Electric Guitars
Body Style Characteristics
three common body styles (left to right)... Dreadnought:
the Martin D-28; Jumbo: the Gretsch Rancher; Grand
Concert: the Taylor 30th Anniversary Limited Edition.
Attempting to apply strict definitions to acoustic guitar body
styles can be difficult since many styles are manufacturer-specific.
The most important thing to remember is that you should find a style
that is both comfortable for you to play and produces the tone you
A good rule of thumb to follow is the larger the soundboard,
the more low-end tone and volume the guitar will generate. The
body style provides a large soundboard, while narrow-waisted styles
such as grand
concert and jumbo
combine a large soundboard with increased playing comfort. Most
manufacturers make acoustic guitars to accommodate smaller players,
as well as travel or backpacker guitars that are more convenient to
This Babicz Identity Series Acute
Auditorium illustrates the upper bout cutaway.
Another important body feature is the cutaway. An acoustic
guitar with a cutaway in
the upper bout allows the
player to easily reach above the 12th fret
of the instrument. If you plan to do a lot of lead playing on your
acoustic or are used to playing an electric guitar, you may prefer
an acoustic with a cutaway.
Buying an Acoustic Guitar
You should consider what your
plans are for your new acoustic guitar. Then you
should decide how much you can afford to spend on
Are you are a beginner who wants an inexpensive
instrument to learn on? or, are you an experienced
player looking to move up to a higher-quality
Most likely, the more you spend on an acoustic
guitar, the higher the quality of the instrument.
But this doesn't mean that all inexpensive acoustic
guitars are low quality. Thanks to modern
manufacturing techniques, there are now a wide
selection of highly playable, low-cost acoustic
guitars to choose from.
By knowing something about the
most important elements that contribute to a
playable, nice-sounding acoustic guitar, you can
maximise what you get for your budget....
Buy an Acoustic Guitar:
Learn to Play an Acoustic Guitar: