Guitar Advice

Guitar Advice

Unread postby Disco LT » 23 Apr 12, 6:47 pm

Gentlemen, just a quick question for those who play guitar (I know there are a few here). I'm intending on purchasing a cheaper acoustic guitar in the near future, and tossing up between various models which to me don't sound or feel exceptionally different.

I've looked at steel vs nylon, solid top vs laminate, and found that the combination of steel+solid top starts bumping up the price and admittedly the sound as well, but I'm really on a budget here.. I realize that a cheap guitar wont sound as good as a more expensive model, but I'm really just looking for something to learn on with with the intention of upgrading later if I stick to it.

So, any suggestions on any particular guitar or model I should be looking at?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby cyclobs » 23 Apr 12, 7:33 pm

any acoustic that can make an in tune note will be good, as for strings. I much rather the feel of steel strings over nylon, can't stand playing on nylon strings.

if it's just for practice cheap guitars would be good just get one that feels good to you, If you were going to perform with it you could get away with it or get an more expensive guitar just for performances.
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby tranquil » 23 Apr 12, 8:46 pm

What's your budget Disco? And would you consider importing or prefer local?
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby yiker » 23 Apr 12, 8:51 pm

Ultimately how the guitar feels should be the most important factor. It has to be comfortable. There are varying sizes of fretboard (nut)width and neck profile. I sold my first guitar simply because the nut width was too small and I had a hell of a problem forming chords. I bought a Seagull S6 and it was a vast improvement. It wasn't cheap but the point is I could play it. Also consider body shape. Dreadnaughts and jumbos are big guitars and may also affect your playing comfort. Try as many as you can.

Steel or nylon? Nylon will undoubtedly be easier on your fingers, but they generally have a wider nut and may be harder to form chords on. What style of playing are you looking at? You can bash out a 3 chord singalong song on just about anything, including a nylon. There will be pain involved with learning on a steel string but it will disappear once the calluses start to form. Nylons are a lot easier to fret. Solid tops do produce a better sound, inclusive of nylons and steels. If you see strumming as any part of your playing future, go for the steel.

I can't recommend any make or models. Yamaha, Fender, Cort and Ashton are a few brands off the top of my head I know make beginner's models.You should be able to pick up a starters pack with a bag and stuff sub $200. Might even get a solid top for that price too.
Hope this helps
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby Mearehear » 23 Apr 12, 9:03 pm

Ashton make nice beginner level guitars.

All Yiker said is pretty good info - And put your fingers through the initial early pain and go for a steel string guitar, it only hurts until you are used to it, and you will have to go through that pain at some point anyway.
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby DarkMellie » 23 Apr 12, 9:12 pm

It comes down to the kind of music you want to play. Unless you really dig on classical, nylon strings have a too-soft sound in the hands of beginners as well as having a wide neck which means longer practice hours required to get a clean sound.

Steel-strings are versatile and capable of many different sound types depending on how you attack it. It suits far more styles of music as well.

I'm unsure of brand names but it is worth paying a little more than you can comfortably afford because a better sound can make you feel better about your playing.

I've been smashing my Seagull cedar-top for maybe 12 years and thanks to how the wood softens over time it just sounds better and better. Its natural tone is quite a deep mellow sound but I can really spark that up with some twangy strings and sharp string attacks.

Have fun either way man, and if you're just into playing for funzies (because it is a LOT of fun) I also recommend grabbing a few sheet music books so you can learn to play songs you like straight away.

Glad to see someone picking acoustic over electric :)
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby MunchY » 23 Apr 12, 10:29 pm

I started off with a dreadnaught size SX. Reasonably cheap, steel string of course and great for me to learn on. As others have said, nylon is great for some specific styles of playing, but it's usually classical and probably a bit of awhile off before you'll consider trying to learn anything in that area.

Look around for SX/Ashton etc. Smaller brands that have cheap starter packs (usually well under 200$). I banged around on my SX for a long time before I upgraded to my Washburn when I started taking my music to a more serious level. It will get you by and sound alright :)

Also, make sure you get picks you're comfortable with. I'm extremely fussy with my picks hahaha..
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby DarkMellie » 23 Apr 12, 11:07 pm

Try to get use to heavy picks, I've found they can replicate thin picks easily as well as being great for booming chords or fast runs... whereas thin picks require more player extertion to deliver those sounds.

Or just get rid of picks altogether, fingerstyle is far more fun than anything else :D
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby discobrad » 24 Apr 12, 12:02 am

my beginner guitar was an Ashton, cost me $400 and worked a treat. had an inbuilt tuner which is handy, and it kept me going for years until i decided i had earned something decent and got a Cole Clarke Fat Lady 1

my advice, just head to a music store and have a bit of a play with guitars in your budget, make sure it feels comfortable (both the neck and where you arm rests to strum it) and you will find one you like. there is not a lot of science for a cheapy
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby yiker » 24 Apr 12, 7:39 am

Forgot to add leave enough in your budget for a chromatic tuner and a string winder. About $50 should cover both.

Strings are another thing to consider, totally forgot to mention string gauge and durability. Strings will vary in thickness and your guitar will be set up for a particular gauge. So when testing, be very careful not to choose one setup with mediums. They sound better but are much harder on the fingers. New guitars should have a recommended gauge, so stick with that.

When buying new strings you can either choose coated or non-coated. Coated strings will last for ages. You'd easily get 6 months out of a set. I haven't used non-coated for years but from memory if I got a month out of them, I wasn't playing enough. Coated will cost more but they will pay for themselves.

I use phosphor/bronze strings because I find it gives the guitar a more earthy sound and takes away the brightness, but these are things you shouldn't be too worried about just yet. Just find a guitar you're comfortable holding, suits your hand size and sounds decent first.

And then we can help with technique (what's that?)

Oh yeah, aren't they great guitars darkmellie.I sold mine last year because I just bought a Taylor and had a glut, but they are totally suited for picking. I do miss he warmth of a cedar top, but I'm happy with the replacement.
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby Disco LT » 24 Apr 12, 7:55 am

tranquil wrote:What's your budget Disco? And would you consider importing or prefer local?


$200 is the max I'm willing to part with (i.e its the max my fiance has told me I can take out of the savings fund :oops:). So I don't think there will be anything imported in that price range.

mclaren7703 wrote:Ashton make nice beginner level guitars.

All Yiker said is pretty good info - And put your fingers through the initial early pain and go for a steel string guitar, it only hurts until you are used to it, and you will have to go through that pain at some point anyway.


I think I will, I do prefer the sound of steel strings and I'm looking to play a bit of rock, country and jazz and from what I've read steel is the way to go.

DarkMellie wrote:It comes down to the kind of music you want to play. Unless you really dig on classical, nylon strings have a too-soft sound in the hands of beginners as well as having a wide neck which means longer practice hours required to get a clean sound.

Steel-strings are versatile and capable of many different sound types depending on how you attack it. It suits far more styles of music as well.

I'm unsure of brand names but it is worth paying a little more than you can comfortably afford because a better sound can make you feel better about your playing.

I've been smashing my Seagull cedar-top for maybe 12 years and thanks to how the wood softens over time it just sounds better and better. Its natural tone is quite a deep mellow sound but I can really spark that up with some twangy strings and sharp string attacks.

Have fun either way man, and if you're just into playing for funzies (because it is a LOT of fun) I also recommend grabbing a few sheet music books so you can learn to play songs you like straight away.

Glad to see someone picking acoustic over electric :)


I have no plans to be in a band, and I can't sing for ****.. but maybe I can work on that too. I just want to learn an instrument, and my Uncle was a big guitar player before he was killed. My grandparents actually have two of his old Yamaha guitars (guess they'd be from the 60's or 70's) in their back shed.

I never knew guitar strings would be so complicated :o

I'm heading to Landers after work to see what they have in stock, and will go from there :D
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby yiker » 24 Apr 12, 8:09 am

You're welcome
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby Disco LT » 24 Apr 12, 8:17 am

yiker wrote:You're welcome


D'oh, I meant to add a thank you line :( I do appreciate the effort :)
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby wayne19540 » 24 Apr 12, 8:59 am

Hi do you mind this old boy to give you some advice;

So you are just going to start out bye one from a second hand place a cheap acoustic you do not need a ex-specif one if you are just starting out as far as strings my personal teast is steel strings;
I wish you the best.
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Re: Guitar Advice

Unread postby Disco LT » 24 Apr 12, 9:24 am

I was wondering if you would comment Wayne, I've seen your awesome collection and am in awe.

I might check out the second hand guitars too, I think as long as I get something that I like with steel strings it should meet my basic goals for a while and down the track I can spend a bit more if I stick to it!
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