Learning to play the guitar is a tremendously cool thing. The only thing that’s not cool is to let people know that we’re just starting out. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for beginners to get an old school guitar.
That means an acoustic guitar of the classic dreadnought body. It’s a bigger guitar so if you’re a young kid you might want to consider something smaller.The guitar has got to sound good so it ought to have a solid wood top. It’s arguably more important for a beginner’s guitar to sound good or he or she could well lose interest – when you’re an accomplished player you can play with any guitar just to show off.
What about electric? Forget about it. When you’re starting out, you play the same thing whether it’s acoustic or electric. Only difference is trying to play an electric guitar is a dead giveaway that you’re a beginner, not to mention you’ll need an amp and speaker and electric guitars sound better in a band.
Fender is a top name in electric guitars so it’s no surprise that they make one of the best entry-level acoustic-electric guitars. For a beginner to play on an acoustic-electric guitar doesn’t contradict what we said about electric guitars at all because an acoustic-electric guitar sounds just like an acoustic guitar. It has an electronic pickup and preamp built-in for sending the sound signal to an amplified system so you wouldn’t need a mic to perform in a big venue.
At this price point Fender had to cut some corners so the CD-60CE is built with laminated spruce top and laminated mahogany sides and back. The neck is Nato and the fretboard is rosewood. It has the dreadnought body with a cutaway for easy access to the inner frets.
Fender made up for all that laminate with their Scalloped X bracing. Thismakes the sound quality deeper and stronger. The overall tone is on the side of clear and crisp. You can easily alter the sound when amplified with its built-in Fishman IsysIII preamp and tuner that comes with a host of tone and volume controls.
The good quality electronics and attention to details such as pickguard, crushed acrylic rosette, compensated saddle, dual-action truss rod and 3mm dot position inlays raises the status of the Fender CD-60SE as if it’s a more expensive guitar.
Grand Symphony Mini
Taylor is one of the industry captains and the GS Mini is their affordable masterpiece. The GS Mini is not a mini guitar or anything like that, just a scaled-down version of Taylor’s famous Grand Symphony guitar. It’s basically a classical body with a wider lower bout. The compact size makes the GS Mini a great travel guitar. In all seriousness, traveling around with a guitar legitimizes all sorts of endeavors.
The sides and back are laminated Sapele but the rest is solid wood. The neck is Sapele, the fretboard is African ebony, and there’s a choice of Sitka spruce or mahogany for the top. The high quality compensated saddle and nuts are of the highly regardedTUSQ material.
Like all Taylor guitars the GS Mini is highly playable and the sound is brilliant in the treble and taut in the bass with beautiful midrange. This compact guitar plays loud and strong like a full-size acoustic guitar.
The only drawback is that the Taylor GS Mini at the high-end of affordability. We’re coming to a really affordable one next.
The Yamaha FG-series needs no introduction really. It proved once and for all that a great-sound guitar can blow your mind without blowing out your wallet. Fifty years later we have this Yamaha FG830.
It has a solid Sitka spruce top, Nato neck, and rosewood back, sides and fretboard. This guitar is eminently playable, for both strumming and fingerstyle. It is smooth, solid, comfortable and easy to hold. The rest is up to you as you build those callouses which you’d wear like badges of honor on your fingertips.
The sound is rich and clear with a bloom in the midrange and full, taut bass. The Yamaha FG830 has an impressive dynamic range for an affordable guitar. It sounds articulate when you play softly and you can easily kick it up to full-throated loudness and back again. When you’re done practicing alone in your room and ready to play in public, the sound out of this guitar projects well in the open and fills a room nicely.
This latest FG uses scalloped bracing which Yamaha claims to enhance the bass and make the midrange richer and louder. They have data and charts to back that up too.
This guitar is put together in robotic assembly lines and painstakingly finished by hand. The Yamaha FG-series is a perennial bestseller and the FG830 is the best one yet. It comes in a variety of veneer and painted finishes.
If you’re on a shoestring budget or not entirely sure that playing guitar is for you, just go with the Rogue RA-090.
If you’re into rock or metal and you’re certain that electric is in your future, go with the Fender CD-40CE.
The Yamaha FG830 is a way solid pick for beginners. The only compelling reasons to spend $200 extra for the Taylor GS Mini is if you are smaller in stature, wish to bring the guitar with you to places often, or if you’re hell-bent on buying American brands.