Looking For An Electric Guitar Starter Kit? The 5 Best Starter Packs For You-2021

best electric guitar starter kit

This is our review of the Best Electric Guitar Starter Kit

I began ‘playing’ guitar many years ago with a starter pack. In fact, the amp I used is in this review!

It’s very important to choose a reliable starter pack. Buying nasty cheap products will ultimately end up in the beginner guitarist quitting. Cheap guitars won’t stay in tune, they’re set up badly and some woods bend after a year or so.

…but that’s what I’m here for.

After reviewing many starter packs for the electric guitar, my recommendation for the best beginner guitarist starter pack is the Squier Stratocaster Electric Guitar Pack

I’ve made my decisions on the following criteria:

  1. Budget
  2. Quality
  3. Essential Extras
  4. Longevity
  5. Suitability 

Now there are hundreds of packs out there today, and 85% of them are garbage. I understand we all have different needs and budgets to think about. So, I’ve whittled my review down to 5 trustworthy starter packs that will see you on your way. 

Quick View-The Best Electric Guitar Starter Kit

  1. Squier Stratocaster Electric Guitar PackBest Overall
  2. LyxPro Electric Guitar Starter PackBest Budget Deal
  3. Epiphone Les Paul Electric GuitarBest Sounding
  4. Ibanez IJRG220Z Electric Guitar PackageBest Midprice Pack
  5. Epiphone Slash “AFD” Les Paul-PerformanceBest Premium

8 Tips To Consider For Beginner Buying

  1. Pay attention to the neck size and weight. Look out for the term ‘Slim Neck’. This is perfect for children and beginners. If the guitar is too heavy a child won’t be comfortable.
  2. Look out for poorly made guitars, you’ll end up buying twice. We’ve reviewed plenty of suitable guitars for your needs above. 
  3. You don’t need to spend a small fortune but set aside some money for essential extras like spare strings and a decent tuner
  4. Online Lessons vs Tutor? If you can’t stretch for a personal tutor then that’s the perfect option, but use all resources available. There are some good beginner guitar videos online at justinguitar.
  5. Have a place in mind for practice. A decent upright chair, with no arms. A quiet place away from distraction (if possible). If you’re starting out, give yourself the best chance to succeed.
  6. Get the best guitar for your budget. Don’t go any lower. Poorer quality instruments often don’t stay in tune and won’t last long. They may end up bending or becoming completely useless. 
  7. Stay away from the overly decorated guitars, the more paint, and rubbish they’ve splashed over it, it’s probably hiding the cheap nasty build. If it’s too good to be true, IT IS.
  8. Check for Warranty, in general, my recommendations have a safety net in case something happens. Click my links to check for the Warranty.

Let’s get on with the reviews:

1 – Squier Stratocaster Electric Guitar Pack 

Best Overall Electric Guitar Starter Kit

The Best Electric Guitar Starter Kit
  • Free 3 Month Fender Play
  • Rights to Use The Real Fender Strat Build Specifications
  • Comes with Awesome Fender Frontline Amp
  • Perfect For Rock, Blues, Country, Folk & Funk
  • Great Build Quality and Lastability

Beginners can now get their hands on the legendary electric guitar without having to spend big money on a ‘Fender’. 

There are lots of Stratocaster-shaped copies out there on the market, but none are in partnership with Fender. Squire is ‘true value for money’. 

Squire provides budget versions of Fender guitars. Squire has the rights to use the real Fender Strat specifications. So, although you won’t be getting the hardware and perks of the authentic Fender Strat. You’ll still be guaranteed the outstanding build quality and blueprint of a real Fender guitar. This in itself is why Squire is the most popular entry guitar in today’s market.

“If you’re looking to take the guitar seriously, then this Fender Squire guitar is hands down your best choice”

A major benefit for me is the inclusion of the Fender Frontman Amp. These are by far superior to any other ‘starter pack amp’. With the combination of the amp and the Squire, and this pack is within your budget. I would strongly recommend it. 

Authority Guitar have a more thorough review on the Fender Frontman 10G Electric Guitar Amplifier here if you’re interested? See no. 7 in our 12 Best Low Priced Reliable Mini Amps.

With an added FREE 3 month Fender play lessons, you can’t go wrong. What a superb package to start your journey with. 

Pack Includes: 

Stratocaster Electric Guitar/ Squier Frontman 10G Amplifier/ Padded Gig Bag/ 10′ Instrument Cable/ Fender Guitar Strap/ Fender Guitar Picks/ Free 3-Month Fender Play Subscription

 


 

2- LyxPro Electric Guitar Starter Kit

Best Starter Guitar on a Lower Budget

  • Great For A Tight Budget
  • Lots Of Accessories
  • 20W Meaty Amp
  • Solid Wood Build
  • Comes In Black, Blue, Natural, Pink, Red & Sunburst

If you are looking for the ideal ‘straight outta the box’ gift for a budding guitarist, then the Lyx Pro guitar pack is an easy option. Six stunning colors in which to choose from, with a bag full of essential extras. All this for a very affordable price. 

As the body is produced from solid wood, it’s easily my no.1 choice of starter guitar around this price. Solid wood gives the player so much more depth in a tone that no other manufacturer can compete with.  

The tones of the amp are of good quality. The clean channel is crystal clear and carries pretty well. The drive switch allows you to get your heavy riffs out and act like the Rock God that we all want to be. 

A real nice gift for the beginner guitarist looking for a foot in the door. A very popular product in today’s market. It’s no-nonsense, straight out of the box, plugin, and play starter kit.  Fun value=10/10.

Note to any parents: The 20W amplifier is LOUD! 

Pack Includes: 

39 inch Electric Guitar/ Lyx AGL 20W Amp with Cable/ Tuner (Clip On)/ Instruction Book (Teaching how to tune)/A Pack of Strings/ x2 Picks- Shoulder Strap 

 


 

3-Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Pack

Best Sounding Guitar At Mid Range Price

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  • Free Online Lessons from eMedia
  • Epiphone Electar 10-watt amp with a 6” speaker
  • Suits: Rock, Blues Rock, Punk Players
  • Big Seller
  • Great Dual Humbucking Tones

This standard Les Paul Epiphone kit is among the most popular and almost came out as my favorite overall. 

A Beautiful looking sunburst guitar that also comes in ebony with a good array of extras.

You’ll get a 10W ‘Electar’ 62 speaker amp, which is more than enough to smash out those meaty rock riffs. A clean and overdrive button for different styles of playing when the household has had enough of your beefcake riffs. 

The guitar itself is an Epiphone Les Paul Special II and is famous for its monstrous tones thanks to the double humbuckers and its solid wood body build. 

It’s worth knowing the humbuckers are pretty damn good considering the cost of this overall package. The Epiphone Les Paul can cover a variety of styles and tones. It’s the workhorse of the Rock World.

You can see the classic Les Paul body which is one, if not the most popular guitar shape in guitar history. If you love rock music, Les Paul rock music, this is where you start.

Epiphone is a reliable and huge manufacturer in the starter to intermediate guitar world. Definitely my favorite sounding guitar in the review. 

Pack includes:

Epiphone Les Paul Special II LTD electric guitar/ Epiphone 10 watt Electar Guitar Amp/ Guitar Lessons downloadable from eMedia-Covering every style of guitar/ Easy to carry Gigbag/ 10 foot Guitar Cable/ Clip on guitar tuner/ Guitar Strap/ Medium Picks

 


 

4-Ibanez IJRG220Z Electric Guitar Package

Best Guitar Pack For: Punk Rock, Chugging, Heavy Metal & Rock 

  • Sweet 10W Ibanez IBZ1G amplifier
  • Value For Money
  • Trem Bridge & Whammy Bar
  • Great Looking Guitar
  • Jumbo Sized Frets

This is by far the best looking guitar in the review. An absolute slab of rock guitar in the form of this classy glossy black, well-built ideal starter kit for the heavy rock ax-wielding riffmeister.

As far as getting your money’s worth the Classic double-cutaway RG bodied style guitar comes with a 10 watt Ibanez IBZ1G Amp. Comes with a headphone jack so you can play as long as you like into the night without upsetting anyone. 

Unlike the guitars before, the Ibanez comes fitted with smoking humbuckers which are suited for the player who loves the lightning-quick power chords, overdriven riffs, and face-melting lead solos. 

Don’t forget the tremolo Bridge and whammy bar. This allows you to bend and create some pretty space-like guitar sounds. The Jumbo frets are ideal for complete beginners and will aid big-fingered players. 

The jump start package is more than a convincing starter package for the beginner who’s into punk rock and metal. 

Pack Includes: 

Electric Guitar10-Watt Amplifier/ Gig BagTuner/ Strap/ Cable/ Picks/ Accessories Pouch

 


 

 5-Epiphone Slash “AFD” Les Paul Performance 

Best Premier Starter Guitar Pack

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  • Designed By Slash Himself!
  • Flamed Maple Veneer Finish
  • Upgraded Accessories 
  • Amp has a Mid Control
  • Built-In E Tuner

The Slash AFD (Appetite For Destruction) is inspired by the custom Les Paul (which is one of the Daddies of the Les Paul electric guitar). The stunning amber finish, maple veneer finish and single layer of ivory binding, and dark cherry back and side are the same as the original. 

The ceramic plus zebra coil humbuckers are modeled on the late 50s Les Paul and sought-after vintage models. Unlike any other guitar in this review,  the bridge pickup mounting ring has a built-in E tuner. This will certainly be a benefit for a starter player. You won’t be needing to unplug and get your handheld tuner out between every song.

Built-In Shadow E-Tuner 

The Epiphone AFD features premium all-metal hardware with the legendary tune o matic bridge and tailpiece. By far the best-made guitar in my article. But that reflects in the price of the little beaut. 

The amp is also not to be ignored. With the Custom designed ‘Snakepit’ logo, this 15watt, 8” speaker can deliver a cool midrange crunch, just like you get on many Guns N Roses tunes. It also supports some pretty chimey clear tones and the full-on ‘lets go mental’ classic over-driven sounds. 

A superbly made, tasty looking RIFF machine. Another big seller and reputable Epiphone guitar if you’re looking for that something a little more special.  

Pack includes:

Electric Guitar15-Watt Combo Guitar Amplifier/ Premium gig bag with Slash’s “Snakepit” logo3/ Dunlop Tortex Slash signature picks in three colors (white, black, and purple)/ Guitar strap/ Epiphone 1/4″ standard guitar cable/ Free online lessons from eMedia

 


 

Something To Remember

Are Starter Packs Worth The Money?

Yes!  they serve a purpose most definitely. 

These days the quality of build of starter kit equipment is improving all the time. A starter pack is an ideal way to get a beginner into making some noise and enjoying learning the guitar. 

Bear in mind, guitar starter packs are generally low in price. You shouldn’t be expecting amazing tones of equipment worthy of a more expensive model. But they’re certainly good enough for live shows and move you forwards in the correct manner.

Buying an expensive guitar doesn’t automatically mean you’ll succeed any quicker.

It’s like anything, you have to build your gear up as you go along. Buying a decent starter kit is the first step to succeeding.

Give yourself or a loved one the best possible chance of succeeding from the very start. 

How Do I Choose The Right One For Me?

Within the first few seconds, you’ll know if you like the guitar visually. You get that gut feeling.

What guitar do your heroes play? You can find a less expensive version of their guitar. Playing the guitar you really like the look of is very important. You always want to get to the stage where you can’t walk past it without picking it up. That’s how you get good at guitar.

What type of music do you like? If you want to sound like a certain genre or style, do some research and look at what brand of guitar is being played on that record. For instance, here are some basic examples of guitars that play certain genres best:

Blues: Stratocaster, Les Paul

Rock: Stratocaster, Les Paul, Ibanez,

Heavy Metal: Ibanez, Les Paul

Punk: Stratocaster, Ibanez

Don’t Overlook The Small Print

Pay attention to what people are saying about a certain guitar. Watch videos of ‘real people’ playing that guitar. Do you like the tone?

You’re looking to play this guitar every day in the beginning, so make sure you do your research before parting with your hard-earned cash (that’s what we’re here for!).

The Guitar is the most expensive part of the pack, so make sure that is the one you want. The extras aren’t generally great in starter packs but can be replaced for a small price at a later date. Don’t be swayed by the number of accessories in a kit.

Overall

Find a balance between what you can afford, what you like, and what you think suits your needs.

Go with your gut instinct, thats how ive always decided.

The Easy Way, But Not The Smart Way

The easy route would be to save up enough money to buy a well-known branded guitar, visit the local store and buy it. Surely this is the best way, as I’m paying for a quality branded instrument? Actually no! just because a manufacturer produces the best most popular (adult) guitar. That doesn’t automatically mean they build a good beginner or child’s guitar.

Is It Better To Buy The Guitar And Amp Separately? 

Buying a kit separately will cost more. I would recommend buying a ‘starter kit’ to see if the player is going to stick to the task of learning the guitar first.

There’s no harm in looking around and comparing amplifier prices. But this might become a little overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. 

Generally, the starter kits are ideal for you to plug in and play. Not having to worry about anything else. No hassles, just concentrate on learning and having fun.

 After 6 months if you fancy a tone upgrade, then look around for a better amp. I would safely say buying a starter pack is definitely going to be cheaper in the long run. 

Dreadnought Vs Concert: 8 Beautiful Guitars, But What Are The Differences?

Dreadnought Vs Concert Header

This is my comparison of The Dreadnought Vs Concert Guitars

There are some distinct differences and playing qualities you may be unaware of.  

To tell them apart, I’ve analyzed 8 truly beautiful acoustic guitars to give you the best idea of what to look out for before buying. 

I’ve been playing both types of guitar throughout my 25 years of strumming. They both have very different unique uses.

I’ve got some really stunning acoustic guitars for you to look at

Let’s get straight into it…

At A Glance, Dreadnought vs Concert

Let’s start off with the main differences in appearance. Here are two classic types of Dreadnought and Concert Guitar:

Dreadnought Vs Concert

Although you may not see much between the two models, there really is a lot to consider. 

Here are the different characteristics between the Dreadnought and Concert guitars:

The Dreadnought Guitar

Guitar Body Shapes

The Dreadnought is the more common style of guitar on the market. It’s larger in size and exhibits a boxy shape. 

This is a major factor when considering the tonal values of both types of guitars.

Tone

The Dreadnought shape gives the player a nice delicate midrange scoop. You get more depth and low end. The top-end mid-tones are notably much snappier than a Concert. 

There is a great deal of difference in clarity between the guitars. The Dreadnought has a far more transparent sound due to the straighter body shape. This results in a wider proportional EQ.

A Dreadnought Guitar is suited to:

The benefits of the midrange scoop on a dreadnought are ideal for singer-songwriters or acoustic guitarists in bands. This is exactly where the vocal frequencies sit in the mix. 

As a Dreadnought can project its volume more efficiently in comparison to the Concert models. This attribute makes it perfect for the chord strummer and live musician. 

The Concert Guitar

Guitar Body Shape

The main difference you’ll notice is the size. A Concert guitar is smaller than a Dreadnought. It has a more rounded shape and a much deeper waste taper. 

The dreadnought on the other hand has a wider waist and displays a straighter longer body style.  

Tone

The Concert sized guitar is suited to more complex chords and voicings. As it’s smaller in size, it has a more controlled bottom end.  

The Concert gives you a better mixture of mids and treble tone. It’s coherent and more expressive with chords, especially higher up the fretboard. 

A Concert Guitar is suited to:  

As a Concert guitar is lighter and shorter, it instantly appeals to smaller players. In a sitting position, it is considerably more comfortable than a dreadnought. Especially for children and beginners. 

Concert guitars are suited towards a finger playing style or the articulate chord guitarist. A perfect choice for the musician looking to play alone. 

Dreadnought Vs Concert Acoustic Guitar: Pros n Cons

Dreadnought GuitarConcert Guitar
Louder Lighter & Shorter
Far More TransparentGreat For Fingerpicking Style/ Articulate Chord Playing
Ideal For Singer/Guitarist or BandsMore Expressive with Chord Sounds
More Depth and Low EndPerfect For Children & Beginners
Top-End Mid-Tones Much SnappierGentle Bottom End
Better Suited For The Chord StrummerVery Comfortable

Getting your ‘Value For Money’ is Important when considering purchasing a guitar.

Dreadnought Vs Concert Cost Chart

Our Product Review: Dreadnought vs Concert Acoustic Guitar

The Best Dreadnought Guitars

Fender CD-60S Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Best Entry Level Dreadnought Guitar

This stunning all-mahogany easy-to-play Fender acoustic guitar is a very popular choice for beginners.

Its design combines a solid mahogany top with a laminated back and sides (also mahogany). The Fender ‘easy to play’ neck offers a fingerboard with rolled edges to aid the child or complete novice. Both the fingerboard and bridge are made of Rosewood.

Few other competitors at this price can compete with the Fender CD-60s strength, dynamic range, and tonal brightness.

It is an excellent start for virtually any playing style for acoustic guitar. Including heavy strumming, fast-paced flatpicking, and sensitive fingerpicking.

The CD-60S mahogany back and sides create a balanced tone with an abundance of volume and midrange.

The Fender CD60s comes in sunburst, natural, and black. They really a beautiful style of guitar, and a friendly price range that is great for any starter player.

Absolutely my no.1 choice of starter dreadnoughts in the market today.

Key Features

  • Ideal for chord playing for novices and experts alike.
  • Without any adjustment, this guitar plays well right out of the box.
  • Has a beautiful look and sound quality.
  • Fender is a massive player in acoustic and electric instruments
  • A very popular choice for a reason.

The Electro-Acoustic version of this popular guitar was also reviewed by us. Take a peek The Fender CD 60SCE.

Spec

Body WoodLaminated Mahogany
TopSolid Mahogany
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishGloss
Neck TypeSet Neck
Neck WoodMahogany
Neck ShapeFender® ‘Easy-to-Play’
Neck FinishGloss Urethane
Scale Length25.5″
FingerboardRosewood
Fingerboard Radius12″
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1.69″
Bridge TypeRosewood
Nut & SaddleCrème Plastic Nut
Tuning MachinesChrome Die-Cast
ElectronicsNone

Guild USA D-20 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar (Vintage Sunburst)

Best Standard Dreadnought Guitar

The best bang for buck dreadnought guitar you’ll find around this price tag.

With Martin leading the way, it’s difficult to fit in any other brand of guitar. With the famous Martin D-15 coming in at a similar price point, why did I add the Guild USA D-20 in its place?

Sometimes brand reputation succeeds the quality. Not always, but in this case, the Guild D-20 has a hand-fitted dovetail neck joint, which is why I preferred it.

It’s in line with the traditional American building process. There’s so much more care that goes into a guitar that’s been hand-built. Amazingly, I don’t know how Guild managed to still keep the cost down.

Everything on this model is made from mahogany, bar the rosewood fretboard/bridge, and spruce bracing. This in itself is superior to the Martin D-15.

A beautiful light satin finish really adds to the magnificent look of this vintage classic acoustic guitar.

As the build is of high quality, you’ll get a huge tone and fuller bass resonance. This is a thoroughbred dreadnought. It packs substantial power in comparison to its close competitors.

An extremely playable instrument with has a rich history. What more can you need at this price?

Key Features

  • Built way better than its price tag suggests
  • Big dark tones
  • Versatile and practical
  • Loud and balanced
  • Vintage appearance

Warning! Press play at your own risk. Beautiful tones await.

Spec

Body WoodSolid Mahogany
TopSolid Mahogany
BracingScalloped X
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishSatin Varnish
Neck WoodMahogany
Neck ShapeC
Scale Length25-5/8″
FingerboardRosewood
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1-11/16″
Bridge TypeRosewood
Nut & SaddleBone
Tuning MachinesVintage Style Open-Gear w/ 20:1 Ratio
ElectronicsNone
Other FeaturesMade in California

Martin D-28 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Best Pro Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

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Martin company acoustic guitars have been the crown jewels for over eight decades. It’s difficult to say otherwise with owners ranging from The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Johhny Cash, Neil Young, just to name a few.

They’ve remained faithful to their stunning playability tone and versatility. This should give buyers confidence when considering parting with their hard-earned money. You’re assured of a well-built, traditional-sounding style acoustic guitar.

The Martin D-28 is an enhanced version of the old classics. They still seem to restore their innovation and heritage perfectly.

The new neck design comes after player demand called for it. A new slimmer oval design of neck. Wider nut width and string spacing. This makes for a much more pleasurable playing experience for the simple reason, players want more space.

You get the complete spectrum of a true Martin guitar tone. Crystal clear sustain, booming low end, high mids, and trebles that ring true.

This would make a great studio acoustic as you won’t get let down in any department of tone or projection.

Key Features

  • The classic historical acoustic guitar brand
  • Lightweight
  • Full-spectrum of sound
  • Clarity and Balance
  • Modified Low Oval Neck with High Performance Taper

Heres a helpful video, go on, you know you want to hear it!

Spec

Body Size/ShapeD-14 Fret (Dreadnought)
Body WoodSolid East Indian Rosewood
TopSolid Sitka Spruce
BracingNon-Scalloped Forward Shifted X with 5/16″ Sitka Spruce Braces
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishGloss with Aging Toner Top
Neck TypeDovetail Joint
Neck WoodSelect Hardwood
Neck ShapeModified Low Oval with High Performance Taper
Neck FinishSatin
Scale Length25.4″
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1-11/16″
Bridge TypeEbony Modern Belly with Drop-In Saddle
Nut & SaddleBone Nut/Compensated Bone Saddle
Tuning MachinesNickel Open-Geared w/ Butterbean Knobs

Martin D-41 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Best High End Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

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The Martin D-41 dreadnought is both elegant and traditional. Featuring breathtaking curves, using only the finest East Indian Rosewood and Sitka spruce top. Hand-carved scalloped deep bracings for guitarists who crave powerful and deep-bodied tones.

Martin dreadnought acoustics have become a standard tool for professional musicians. With players like Elvis Presley, Joni Mitchell, and Michael Hedges gracing these iconic guitars back in the day.

The neck gives the player ample room for accurate silky fingering with its 2-inch string spacing (saddle end).

This body style has sometimes been criticized for being too boomy, but not the D-41. The treble sparkles over the deep full bass. The first thing that grabs you is the richness and perfect balance in tone.

A real treat if your love is acoustic guitars. Nobody does it quite like Martin.

Key Features

  • Updated High Performance Neck Taper
  • Rich & powerful voice with exceptional clarity
  • exceptionally comfortable
  • High Build Quality

Just listen to that tone!

Spec

Body Size/ShapeD-14 Fret (Dreadnought)
Body WoodEast Indian Rosewood
TopSitka Spruce
BracingScalloped Forward Shifted X Bracing with 5/16″ Sitka Spruce Braces
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishGloss with Aging Toner Top
Neck TypeDovetail Joint
Neck WoodGenuine Mahogany
Neck ShapeModified Low Oval with High Performance Taper
Neck FinishSatin
Scale Length25.4″
FingerboardEbony
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1-3/4″
Bridge TypeEbony Modern Belly with Drop-In Saddle
Nut & SaddleBone Nut/Compensated Bone Saddle
Tuning MachinesGold Open-Geared w/Butterbean Knobs
ElectronicsNone

The Best Concert Guitars

Yamaha AC1M Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Best Entry Level Concert Acoustic Guitar

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Yamaha is a very well-known brand for manufacturing excellent affordable acoustic guitars.

The reliable Yamaha AC1M is a perfect guitar for someone looking for an entry route into playing.

A well-built, sturdy, user-friendly acoustic guitar. It boasts a warm, all-around tone that follows in the footsteps of the old school Yamaha tradition.

The neck is fashioned from African mahogany. This is a dense wood that gives off a warm superior sound. This feature alone surpasses any guitar within this price category for sure.

Rolled fingerboard edges on the tapered neck ensure total player comfort when moving up and down the fretboard.

The guitar top is made from Sitka spruce. This is the wood that’s selected on guitars on the higher end of the cost scale.

Built with the Yamaha custom-made scalloped bracing pattern. Giving the guitar a powerful yet expressive tone. Perfect for wanna-be fingerstyle players.

The Electrics consist of a three-band analog preamp. SRT Piezo pickups give you the studio-quality sound, great if you’re considering hitting the live stage.

Yamaha has a fantastic reputation for building easy-to-play friendly concert guitars. The AC1M is priced with the beginner or lower-budget guitarist in mind. A very popular choice that won’t be letting you down.

Key Features

  • Very Popular
  • Fantastic value
  • Sturdy
  • Great sounding Piezo Pickups
  • Powerful Sounding

Spec

Body Size/ShapeYamaha Concert (AC Type)
Body WoodMahogany
TopSolid Sitka Spruce
BracingScalloped
CutawayYes
Top/Body FinishGloss
Neck Wood3-Ply African Mahogany
Neck ShapeHigh Comfort Profile
Neck FinishMatte (Satin)
Scale Length25-9/16″
FingerboardRosewood
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1-11/16″
Bridge TypeRosewood
Nut & SaddleUrea
Tuning MachinesDie-Cast Chrome (TM29T)
ElectronicsSYSTEM72 + SRT Piezo Pickup

Yamaha FS Red Label FS5 Concert Acoustic Guitar

Best Standard Concert Guitar

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The eye-catching FS Red Label Concert acoustic guitar captures the true aspects of the Gakki Red Label guitars from the 60s.

It features the classic V-Shaped headstock and tuning fork logo. Built from solid Sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and side gives the player a vibrant tone and excellent projection.

The silky and comforting Concert body style offers a newcomer or lower-budgeted player a reliable guitar. The Solid mahogany side accommodates you with noteworthy bass and powerful punch tones.

Yamaha boasts the Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (A.R.E.). This feature manages heat, humidity, and atmospheric pressure to speed up the aging of the wood. This procedure delivers a rich vintage quality tone as if you’ve been playing it for decades.

The dynamic Yamaha FS Red Label FS5 provides a home player or gigging guitarist a safe versatile option that can be relied on.

Growing up, I always remember there being a Yamaha acoustic around the house. They seem to last forever, as they’re built to such a high standard. This is a real quality feature I’ve always liked.

You’ll be getting your moneys worth with The FS Red Label Yamaha.

Key Features

  • Striking semi-gloss finish
  • V-Shaped headstock
  • bass and powerful punch tones.
  • Yamaha’s Acoustic Resonance Enhancement
  • vibrant tone and excellent projection

Spec

Body Size/ShapeConcert
Body WoodSolid Mahogany
TopSolid Sitka Spruce
BracingScalloped
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishSemi-Gloss
Neck WoodAfrican Mahogany
Neck FinishMatte
Scale Length25″
FingerboardEbony
Fingerboard Radius15.75″
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width44mm
Bridge TypeEbony
Nut & SaddleBone
Tuning MachinesOpen Gear Chrome
ElectronicsNone

Martin 00-28 Grand Concert Acoustic Guitar

Best Pro Standard Concert Guitar

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The Martin 00-28 Grand Concert Acoustic Guitar is yet another accomplished masterpiece.

Once again, Martin shows off their legendary luthiery skill in a Concert sized guitar. A perfect combination of classic and modern manufacturing.

East Indian/Sitka spruce construction will have you dribbling at the mouth. The fretboard has a beautiful silky feel to it as you whizz up and down the neck.

An extremely comfortable small-sized concert guitar that doesn’t skip on the rich compact tones. This Martin model really characterizes the word ‘chime’.

I was surprised how this type of body shape can provide you with such rich deep lows which you should be getting from a dreadnought. If you close your eyes, you really start to question what guitar you’re playing.

The top-end shimmering tone is a joy to the ears. You cannot get this kind of attribute from any other guitar around this price. Scalloped bracing provides a nice resonance and superb projection.

The 00-28 Grand Concert is on another level. Beautifully built and sings like a bird. You wouldn’t expect anything less from the heavyweight manufacturer in acoustic guitars.

Is it time for you to shop for a Martin?

Key Features

  • East Indian/Sitka spruce construction
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Nice resonance and superb projection
  • Rich, deep lows that you should be getting from a dreadnought
  • The King of chime

Spec

Body Size/Shape00-14 Fret
Body WoodEast Indian Rosewood
TopSitka Spruce
BracingScalloped X Bracing with 1/4″ Sitka Spruce Braces
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishGloss with Aging Toner Top
Neck TypeDovetail Joint
Neck WoodSelect Hardwood
Neck ShapeModified Low Oval with High Performance Taper
Neck FinishSatin
Scale Length24.9″
FingerboardEbony
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1-3/4″
Bridge TypeEbony Modern Belly with Drop-In Saddle
Nut & SaddleBone Nut/Compensated Bone Saddle
Tuning MachinesNickel Open-Geared w/ Butterbean Knobs
ElectronicsNone

Taylor Guitars Builder’s Edition 912ce Grand Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Best High End Concert Guitar

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Incomparable playability and master luthiery set this guitar apart from any other on the list.

The stunning ‘Taylor Builders Edition’ is Royalty of the Concert acoustic guitar world. For players with exquisite taste. A real treat for the guitarist looking for a first-class ride.

Crafted from top-notch rosewood and spruce. The frets are a shorter 24-7/8″ scale length. This gives you a smooth and slinky way of moving around the fretboard without having to try very hard.

Incredibly responsive to touch, while offering a surprising sustain and midrange warmth.

Handles like a true champion, exceptional and luxurious. The Taylor has a super-fast response which puts me in mind of playing an electric guitar.

An absolute joy to play due to the skill and mastery of Luthier Andy Powers.

The Taylor 912ce makes a great guitar in most genres, from rock to jazz to fingerstyle acoustic. The tonal response also translates into an easily shapeable amplified sound with the onboard ES2 electronics.

An absolute must if this beaut is in your budget range. You’ll never need another style of acoustic!

Key Features

  • Frets are a shorter
  • Incredibly responsive
  • Built from top-shelf materials
  • Exceptional and luxurious tone
  • Prime midrange warmth

Spec

Nut Width: 1 3/4”

Neck: Tropical mahogany

Fretboard: West African ebony, 24 7/8” scale

Frets: 20 (14 frets clear of body)

Tuners: Gotoh

Body: Grand Concert shape. Indian rosewood back and sides, Lutz spruce top

Bridge: West African ebony with micarta saddle

Electronics: Expression System 2

Controls: Volume, bass, treble

Weight 4.72 lbs.

Built In USA


Carefully Consider Build/Tonewood 

The quality of construction all depends on the cost of the guitar and the manufacturer behind the build. The tonewoods used in the assembly become better quality the more money you spend on the wood type.

Tonewoods all have their unique strengths and weaknesses. Authority Guitar has a helpful in-depth guide to all tonewoods here: The Ultimate Guide to Acoustic Tonewoods and How it Affects Your Tone

There are two types of wood construction that you may need to take note of:

Laminate

Laminated parts of a guitar are various layers of wood glued together. This type of construction is more affordable but doesn’t give the player the resonance and tone a solid wood body has to offer. 

A laminate build gives the guitar a tougher physique. But what you make up for in lastability, you lose in a higher caliber of sound.   

That’s not to say by any means laminate is not a good choice of soundboard material. It has the ability to stand up to various climates much better than a solid wood build. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about personal taste

Solid Wood

A ‘solid’ wood guitar is made with single cuts of wood. Some solid woods (spruce) will improve over time, giving you a better vintage tone. When the wood dries out, the resonance then becomes even better. 

In comparison, laminate wood does deteriorate over time (a long time!).

Solidly constructed guitars hold their price and may sound better. One thing to remember is; if you run into trouble and require a repair to the body. Luthiers may find solid wood harder to work with. This will obviously cost you more if it takes them longer to fix. 

If you’re going to put the money into a beautiful solid wood acoustic, it needs to be looked after with your life. 

Questions Answered

Is a Dreadnought too big?

It all depends on your arm length and hand size.

A dreadnought is the most popular size in the acoustic guitar world. My advice would be to go to your local music shop and sit with a dreadnought. See how you find the length of the fretboard and how the body sits into your middle position.

Children generally work their way up from 1/2 size. A dreadnought guitar is seen as a Full-Size guitar. Children from 10 years old start using full-sized guitars. Click our size guide here: ‘Find The Right Guitar For Kids’

Here is an approximation of Dreadnought guitar size:

Body Length: 20″

Body Depth: 4.8″

Standard Neck Size: 11/16″

Waist Width: 10-3/4″

Lower Bout Width: 15-5/8″

Are Dreadnought acoustic guitars good for beginners?

Absolutely! Dreadnoughts possess ultimate acoustic power and focus of tone due to their unique build.

If you’re looking to get into strumming chords, a dreadnought is a perfect guitar for you.

Dreadnoughts are used by singer/songwriters and live band musicians. As they carry their sound better than any other style of acoustic. The mid-range scoop is also where a vocal sits. So this fits nicely into the mix with solo artists who like to play and sing.

What does Dreadnought mean in guitars?

The Dreadnought body shape was initially presented in 1916 by Martin Guitars

The name dreadnought alludes to the shape and size of the acoustic guitar body style. A dreadnought guitar is one of the largest body shapes available.

It’s distinctive simply because it’s so popular, yet it has relatively indistinct features.

Other acoustic guitar shapes, like the grand auditorium and classical guitar, have additionally striking features, thanks to their narrow waist.

The upper and lower episodes of a dreadnought guitar are similar in size because the waist doesn’t get excessively meager

What is a Concert size guitar?

A concert guitar is slightly smaller than a dreadnought guitar. This gives the smaller hands musicians and children a chance to learn how to play the guitar without having to overstretch.

Here are some approximate concert guitar measurements:

Body length: 19.5″

Lower Bout Width: 15″

Upper Bout Width: 10″

Body Depth: 4.6″

The upper bout is the part of the guitar body that is nearest the neck.

The lower bout is the largest part of the guitar that is nearest to the string termination at the bridge.

What is the difference between a Dreadnought and Grand Auditorium body shape?

In general, a Grand Auditorium guitar has a similar body style to a dreadnought, yet the auditorium has a tighter waist.

Playability is very similar. In many ways, dreadnoughts are designed to be used with medium gauge strings and grand auditoriums, light gauge strings.

A Grand Auditorium can be ideal for a fingerstyle guitarist. If you’re looking to play lead or rhythm parts in a duo, again, the auditorium is suited better to you rather than a Dreadnought.

The dreadnought is the workhorse and backbone

Auditorium Size:

Body Length:19-3/8″

Body Depth: @ End Pin4-1/8″

Upper Bout Width: 11-1/4″

Waist Width: 9-3/16″

Lower Bout Width: 15″

 

We can also help you with:

 

The Fender CD 60SCE Electro/Acoustic Guitar Review

This is our review of the very popular Fender CD 60SCE Electro/Acoustic Guitar.

I’m a guitarist of twenty-five years, I’ve played hundreds of guitars. Good and Bad! I’ve done all the hard work to assist you in finding an excellent guitar to start your journey.

I’m taking an in-depth look at the big seller: The Fender CD 60SCE Acoustic Guitar. An excellent and affordable acoustic made by a huge, trustworthy leader in the industry.   

I’ve taken into consideration the cost and player requirements when starting out. What makes this acoustic guitar so popular? What makes the CD 60SCE better than its competition?

fender-cd-60s

Although you may think Fender is better known for their classic range of electric guitars. The Fender CD 60S series also goes quietly about its business as a huge seller for Fender. The Fender CD60 is basically the same as the CD60SCE, only the SCE can be amplified with a built-in pre-amp. I chose the electric/acoustic over the standard acoustic as it has a built-in tuner, a preamp for the possibility of playing through an amp or P.A. As the difference in price wasn’t a lot I personally felt the CD60SCE was a better all-round guitar with these extra features.

A perfect entry guitar for those wanting to learn quickly, plus with a price tag that’s affordable. 

The CD 60 Acoustic series gives you, the player, a comfortable route forward into learning without the hassle of cheap and nasty alternatives. 

The lightweight dreadnought style sits comfortably in your lap. The ‘Vintage Style Frets’ is great for a beginner, as they’re wide and spacious. With a soft touch mahogany fretboard, this really does give the player a strong element of comfort. 

No other manufacturer can compete with the build quality and spec at this price. In fact, you would end up paying a lot more for a guitar made as well as the Fender CD 60S series. It’s also an electro-acoustic which is another huge bonus at this price.

There is a reason why this series of acoustic guitar is so popular. 

First Impressions: The Action 

When I got to play a CD 60SCE, my initial feeling was: the action has been set up properly to play!

The action is the distance between the fretboard and the string, which determines how easy or difficult it is to put pressure on the strings and make a sound. 

Although my comments may sound ridiculous at first, not all guitars come ready to play. In fact, hardly any suit me at all. 

Some guitars take a lot of tweaking and tightening up in various places in order for you to start playing. Even a visit to the local guitar tech for set up is in order. Not so The Fender CD 60SCE. It comes ready to strum. I was quietly surprised by this. Well done Fender!

At this point, it’s fair to say The Action is a very, very important factor.

The Feel

It’s irrelevant if you’ve just paid $3500 for a lovely new acoustic. If it’s not been set up properly, you won’t be able to play it. If the setup doesn’t suit your playing style or finger strength, then you’ll be trying twice as hard to make a guitar sound like you want it to.   

My first thoughts were: It was soft on the fingertips, the ‘C’ shape neck and low action make it comfortable, and built with ease of use in mind. 

Now, comfort is a major factor you should take into consideration. If you’re just starting out, the last thing you need is a guitar that’s hard to play as the set up is a mess. 

If the action is too high, your fingers and wrist will take a lot of punishment pressing down harder than if the guitar was set up properly. In the early stages of learning, you require your instrument to be ready every time you pick it up.

Build

Some lower-end acoustics around this price doesn’t always give you the build quality, like a Fender. Hence why they’re probably the most famous guitar manufacturer in history. 

As the build specifications are taken from the real Fender classic acoustics, you’re getting the professionalism and workmanship of the more expensive Fender models. 

In my opinion, my first thought was that I really liked the setup and all-round comfort value of the CD 60SCE. 

Our Top Tip: Get yourself a decent set of strings when you purchase your new guitar. Here’s an ideal set we’ve found work for us:

Tone

As the CD60SE is a dreadnought style acoustic, it gives you a nice midrange scoop. This is why this particular model is very popular with vocalists. The vocals also sit in the midrange. 

The fat, bold low end is ideal for powerful bar chords and riffs. It’s not overpowering and ‘boomy’ like its cousin the Jumbo style acoustic. When using a pick you can really get some snappy clarity. 

Dreadnoughts are generally quite a big boxy shape, which, in my opinion, is more comfortable than a jumbo or baritone acoustic. They give the player a larger resonant sound, compared to a classical or parlor guitar. A superb choice if you love strumming big open chords. 

The large dreadnought shape sits back into your body giving you somewhere to lean whilst playing. After all, comfort is key when playing any instrument. 

Value For Money?

There is no acoustic guitar that compares within this price range, and the amount of quality on show. Although I wouldn’t be expecting a top of the range beautiful, crisp sounding acoustic to record an album with or perform at your local football stadium. You’re simply guaranteed a well made excellent guitar to begin your musical journey with.  

The Fender CD60SCE is a perfect entry guitar or a great option for an experienced player with a lower budget. 

The CD60SCE comes in a plain Natural color and black (also full mahogany but costs a lot more). Nothing strikingly beautiful here but still good enough to show off in front of your friends and family. 

The Dreadnought is also the most versatile of shapes when it comes to the different styles of playing. It suits the flatpicker, strummer, chord master or the lead guitarist. It’s the all-round workhorse. 

Our Top Tip: If you are considering this guitar for a child, we have a very helpful article to assist you in purchasing the correct size guitar for your child. There’s more to it than you may think. 

Check out our guide here: https://authorityguitar.com/best-kids-guitar-find-the-right-guitar/

Complete Build Specifications

Fender CD-60SCE

Body

Top Material:Spruce Wood
Body:Spruce, Mahogany
Body Finish:Gloss
Back & Sides:Mahogany Wood
Shape:Dreadnought
Body Binding Multiple:(Laminate)
BracingQuartersawn Scalloped “X”

Neck

Neck:Mahogany
Fretboard:Mahogany
Fretboard Edges:Easy to Play ‘Fender’ Rolled Fret Edges
Fingerboard Radius:12 Inches (305mm)
Fingerboard Material:Walnut
Scale Length:25.3 Inches (643mm)
Strings:6
Neck Finish:Gloss Urethane
Nut Width:1.69 Inches (43mm)
Nut Material:Plastic
Number Of Frets:20

Hardware and Electronics

Bridge:Walnut
Bridge Pins:White with Black Dot
Hardware Finish:Chrome
Tuning Machines:Chrome Die-Cast
Pickguard:1 Ply Black
Special Electronics:Fishman® CD Preamp

Anatomy Of An Acoustic Guitar

Note: This Guitar is not the Fender CD-60S

Alternatives

If you’re looking for an acoustic with similar attributes to the Fender CD-60 series of acoustics, we have reviewed some for you. Take a look:

Ibanez AW54 Artwood Dreadnought Acoustic/Electric Guitar – Open Pore Natural

Ibanez produces good acoustics. They’ve been at it a very long time too.

Nowadays they are one of the leaders in the market for entry-level guitars. They have a huge range of electric and acoustic. 

The AW54 Dreadnought is beautiful and will fulfill your needs if you steer away from the Fender option. 

Washburn Harvest Series Acoustic Guitar, Matte Cherry Burst

Once again, Washburn makes some pretty tasty guitars, especially higher up the budget scale. 

Some guitar techs swear by Washburn as they’re built very very well. Definitely value for money here. You won’t be disappointed.

Great sounding and sturdy acoustics. 

If you have a little more budget to play with, we strongly recommend:

Takamine GF30CE-BSB FXC Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Sunburst

Takamine guitars are both beautiful to look at and rich in sound. If you can stretch your budget to the GF30CE, they are an instrument that can take you from beginner to a serious guitarist.

They have the power and elegance to perform live but you are paying a bit more for that privilege. 

I had a Takamine for 11 years, a real reliable guitar brand. 

The Ultimate Acoustic Guitar Tonewoods Guide: How Does Wood Affect Your Tone?

Acoustic Wood Guide Header

Acoustic Guitar Tonewoods Guide

 

Are you ready to buy a stunning new acoustic guitar with incredible sound? If so, are you confused about which type of acoustic guitar tonewoods are the best for your playing style and skills? Believe it or not, even experienced players can have difficulty selecting the best wood for guitars.

First, check out our ‘Acoustic Guitar Tonewoods Guide’ to learn about different wood species and how they affect sound quality. With this valuable know-how, choose your new guitar with ease and a touch of true expertise.

Experience Sound Quality and Playing Ease of Different Guitar Tonewoods

When you shop for a new acoustic guitar, take time to explore the different tonewoods. Discover how they affect the overall tone and sound quality as well as durability and playing ease.

Whether you are buying your first guitar or you are replacing an older, worn model, you want a new instrument that is skillfully designed. Yet most of all, you are seeking a beautiful new instrument that fully satisfies your current playing abilities, desires, and needs.

Responsible guitar sellers encourage buyers to play different models before buying a new guitar.

Some sellers have full knowledge of the tonewoods, their strengths, and their weaknesses. Yet for best results in choosing your ideal new guitar, you should have this information at your own fingertips.

Acoustic Guitar Tonewoods Guide

 

Know Commonly Used Woods in Acoustic Guitar Production

Many varied wood species are used in the design and production of acoustic guitars. Yet the most commonly used types are mahogany, spruce, cedar, maple, and rosewood.

Designers and manufacturers generally select woods according to their availability, cost, and overall quality.

Hardwoods are usually chosen for the instrument’s framing, back, sides, neck, and fretboard. For acoustic guitar tops, somewhat stiff softwoods with good tonal qualities are the preferred choice. 

Characteristics of these different guitar wood types and their use in making different parts of acoustic guitars include the following: 

Best Guitar Woods for the Top (Soundboard)

The type of wood used for acoustic guitar soundboards has the most effect on the sound quality of the instrument. This is because the notes produced by the guitar strings travel via the bridge onto the soundboard.

The sound’s vibrations are then amplified by the instrument’s top, as any good Acoustic Guitar Tonewoods Guide will explain. For this reason, guitars with larger soundboards have louder sounds when played. 

• Cedar. 

With less density than spruce and some other tonewoods, cedar offers good quality for producing acoustic guitar tops. It provides moderately rich overtones with pleasing warmth and medium levels of brightness.

• Koa. 

This is a more expensive wood than cedar, and its sound quality improves with use. In the beginning, a guitar that has a soundboard made of koa has an extra-bright sound. Yet the more it is played over time, it mellows, converting into more enriched, warmer tonalities. At this point, it offers the richest sound in the middle-range notes.

• Mahogany.

 As a dense wood type, mahogany has a less rapid sound to touch rate. It creates a substantial mid-range sound with strong volumetric quality and gentle overtones. This produces a smooth, earthy sound. Guitars with mahogany tops are ideal for playing blues numbers. They are also recommended for playing guitar with other instruments.

• Sitka Spruce.

 Spruce is the most frequently used top wood for making acoustic guitars. Spruce is a lightweight yet strong durable wood. There are several different varieties, and the most common type is Sitka spruce. Sitka is a versatile soundboard wood, accommodating aggressive and subtle guitar playing equally well.

With its wide-reaching dynamic range, this wood offers fine-caliber resonance for a wide array of tones. The light coloration of this wood looks beautiful when combined with darker tonewoods for guitar sides and backs.

• Adirondack Spruce.

 This variety of spruce wood is ideal for producing soundboards. It provides a dramatic range of tonalities and enables loud, full guitar playing while maintaining good quality sound clarity. This type of spruce soundboard is a good choice for guitarists who favor aggressive playing.

• Engelmann and European Spruce.

 Soundboards created from these spruce wood varieties are best suited for guitar players with a soft touch. If played aggressively, the sound quality diminishes.

Acoustic Guitar Tonewoods Guide

Best Woods for Guitar Backs and Body Sides

If your guitar has a back and sides constructed of tone-sensitive wood, the sound generated via the instrument’s top is enhanced. Various types of tonewood offering different tone qualities when used for guitar backs and sides are as follows:

• Koa.

 As well as making a top-rated soundboard wood, koa is also an ideal choice for constructing a guitar back and sides. Of course, it complements a guitar that has a koa top. Yet it is quite compatible with other tonewoods for guitar construction. This wood is in the more expensive range, and its sound improves with age and use.

• Mahogany.

 With its versatile middle-range richness and character, this beautiful wood is an excellent choice for guitar backs and sides.

If you like enhanced volume and density for mid-range tones, mahogany is a great selection. If you use this wood for a guitar’s top, back and sides, you can create a compressed, warm sound with volume and dominance.

If you combine mahogany back and sides with a Sitka spruce guitar top, the sound produced will have a more mellow, warm tone.

Two Popular Varieties of Mahogany

There are actually two major types of mahogany in use today for acoustical guitar construction, Honduran and African:

Honduran Mahogany.

This type of mahogany is also known as genuine mahogany, tropical mahogany, American mahogany, and Brazilian mahogany. It is considered a high-quality tonewood. However, it is not as hard or durable as African mahogany or Sapele. Yet the Honduran variety is given a higher quality rating than African mahogany.

African Mahogany.

This type of mahogany (Khaya) is harder than Honduran mahogany, yet it is categorized as a lower-quality wood. When African mahogany is used for constructing guitar backs and sides, it can be difficult to determine a tone difference. Instruments made with backs and sides of either mahogany type can sound very much alike.

Maple.

Due to its low rate of response, maple is a good wood for the guitar back and body sides, somewhat similar to mahogany. This reduces overtones, which results in less resonance and prolonged sound. This quality enhances the sound from the guitar top and reduces feedback if you are playing with a group. Maple actually gives focus and attention to individual tones.

For this reason, guitars with maple backs and sides are often favored by lead guitarists who seek note definition. Since maple is a light-colored wood, is frequently stained to create darker guitar backs and sides. Especially when combined with a spruce guitar top, maple backs and sides are usually given a darker contrasting stain.

• Rosewood.

 This tonewood is quite popular for use in constructing acoustic guitar backs and sides. Rosewood differs significantly from maple. It offers a fine quality middle-range similar to mahogany. Yet it can also extend into the high tones and low tones to create deep, full bass notes and bright, bell-toned treble notes. This wood is also a good choice for quality finger-picking, strumming, and flat-picking.

With its enriched overtones and high rate of response, it enables a focused playing attack and plenty of resonance. However, this use of rosewood may contribute to some issues with feedback. A guitar with a rosewood back and sides in combination with a Sitka spruce top is often called the “Holy Grail” of tonewoods. Some guitarists proclaim this to be the ultimate guitar construction.

• Walnut.

 Displaying some of the same qualities exhibited by koa, walnut is altered in tone quality over time. It has a deep, low register that will gain volume and character the more it is played. The top register is bright with more strength in the middle tones. Its mid-range features are considered in between those of rosewood and mahogany.

If a walnut guitar back and sides are combined with a cedar top for a relatively small guitar, the instrument can be ideal for enhanced finger styling. If, for a larger size guitar, you combine a walnut back and sides with a spruce top, it can have a more dynamic, aggressive response for flat-picking and strumming.

• Sapele. 

This tonewood has similarities to mahogany. Both sapele and mahogany are used for top wood as well as back and side tonewood for guitars. They are also both in popular use for making guitar necks. Sapele is actually harder than Honduran and African mahogany, and sapele originated in West Africa.

The tone quality from a guitar made with sapele or mahogany can vary significantly. The sound will differ according to the other construction materials and what part of the guitar these woods are being used for. Guitars that contain sapele wood have a stronger treble register than those constructed with the use of mahogany.

Acoustic Wood Guide Pic2

Guitar Fretboard (Fingerboard)

The top-rated tonewoods for use in producing guitar fretboards or fingerboards are rosewood and ebony. The playing ease of your guitar and be affected by the guitar’s action, the neck size, the strings, and the body shape. However, the material used to create the fretboard (fingerboard) has the greatest influence of all. The surface of your guitar fretboard must be durable and smooth to promote ultimate quality “playability.”

Common Fretboard Woods

• Rosewood.

 A rosewood fretboard can assist you in creating a warm, full tone. This wood’s pores are quite oily, and they lessen some overtones, allowing the enriching warm tones to dominate. These fingerboards need periodic cleaning. Especially if you want to bring more warmth to a guitar with a bright sound, rosewood is a good choice for the fretboard. Rosewood has a slick surface and needs no additional finishing. This wood is susceptible to drying, however, and it needs more ongoing maintenance than ebony. Rosewood is the most frequently used tonewood for fingerboards.

• Ebony. 

This tonewood is also a dense hardwood used to make guitar fretboards. It enables guitarists to create a bright sound that may equal or even exceed the sound quality of maple fretboards. There is an ongoing discussion about which wood supports the ultimate quality sound.

One advantage of ebony is its lack of any requirement for surface finishing. Your ebony fretboard is lubricated naturally by the oil in your fingers as you play. Ebony wood only needs to be conditioned periodically since it maintains good oil and moisture levels.

If you like a dark fretboard and the smooth feel of ebony, it may be your best choice for your guitar fingerboard.               

Best Guitar Neck Woods

The neck of your guitar should attract very little vibration and energy from the strings as you play. As much of this energy as possible should travel down the strings and into the soundboard via the bridge. For this reason, the guitar neck should be made of dense hardwood, since soft or slightly flexible wood can divert energy from the strings and soundboard. 

Mahogany is the best choice for constructing acoustic guitar necks. As a sturdy hardwood with density, it is still relatively light and good for carving. American and African mahoganies are the two primary types used for producing guitar necks. Some acoustic guitars with nylon strings have cedar necks. Since nylon strings create lower tension when played than other string types, cedar necks are suitable for these guitars. 

Summary

Enjoy the Path to Being a Skilled and Fulfilled Guitar Player

It is important for every beginning acoustic guitar player to experience the varied sound tones and playing ease of different tonewoods. The most commonly used woods in guitar production are mahogany, spruce, cedar, maple, and rosewood. All guitarists should become familiar with the qualities, strengths, and weaknesses of each wood species. 

By examining, holding, and playing different brands, styles, and models of acoustic guitars, players become familiar with different woods. They distinguish different sound tones produced by different types of wooden guitar soundboards, backs, and body sides. As a new guitar player, you can soon determine even subtle differences in sound quality and “playability” of different designs.

Since many guitars are made using different wood combinations, you will learn the advantages of different constructions. From soundboard to back, sides, fretboard, and neck, you will acquire valuable knowledge and understanding of the guitar. You will discover your favorite tonewoods and how combining these woods can influence and enhance the appearance and sound of a guitar. 

The more you learn about this beautiful, sensitive instrument as you learn to play, the faster you will advance. You will soon be a skilled and fulfilled intermediate guitarist on your path to becoming an expert. We hope that you have enjoyed this beginner’s Acoustic Guitar Tonewoods Guide whilst gaining some helpful information and advice.

Now it is time to select your new guitar. Happy playing! 

AuthorityGuitar has another detailed article to help you decide on Acoustic Vs Electric A Complete Beginners Guide. Go ahead and click away to see what we think.

Best Ukulele Brands 2021: 5 Affordable Deals

Home Ukulele Brands

This is our review on The Best Ukulele Brands. We’ve scoured the internet to find you the 5 best deals around. 

The Ukulele is an affordable and fun way to get into playing an instrument. There are a huge number of brands, but which are the best Ukulele brands? As you’re here, you must be curious to find out what ukulele brands you can trust.

Through my 25 years of playing instruments, I can assist you with the finer details that’ll make your decision easier. I’ve added some very popular, affordable deals with ideal starter kits.

Let’s take a closer look at the finer details.

What Are The Best Ukulele Brands? 

How do we determine the best ukulele brands? Do we follow the best reviews online? Is it important to check which type of wood has been used in the construction? Do I choose a brand with a long history of producing Ukuleles? I would make a decision based on all of these questions.

Various companies have been around for long periods producing a range of instruments. People continue to buy ukuleles from those brands, validating the price and quality of their instruments.

I’ve chosen a mix of brands based on history, craftsmanship, overall selection for a beginner to a professional player, quality of materials used, popularity, and value for money.

Here is a list of some trustworthy ukulele brands:

  • Caramel
  • Cordoba
  • Kala
  • Lohanu
  • Kanile’a
  • Kamaka
  • Oscar Schmidt
  • Lanikai
  • Ohana
  • Martin & Co.
  • Luna
  • Fender

Playing Ukulele Is For Everybody, It Can Even Improve Your Health!

The benefits of playing the Ukulele are truly incredible. You may be looking for something musical for your 5-year-old. You’re a senior who loves music and would like to try your hand at learning an instrument. The Uke really is for everyone. You can learn so much quicker than any other stringed instrument. Playing a Uke can lead to learning the guitar or bass.

Due to a Ukes size, you are able to take it to school, on your next camping trip, or to a friend’s house to impress them. You can carry it everywhere. Also, a major plus point, a Ukulele is relatively inexpensive.

Here are some inspiring mental benefits to playing the Ukulele:

  • Prolongs Mental Degeneration
  • Counteracts Stress and Anxiety
  • A Powerful Form of Meditation
  • Able To Express Yourself
  • Being Creative
  • Performing Emotion
  • Social Benefits
  • Child Development

Read Authority Guitars in-depth article on ‘The Fascinating Benefits of Playing Guitar

Best Ukulele Brands

Quick Glance: Best Ukulele Brand Deals

A Few Things To Look Out For When Buying

When looking at the materials of a ukulele, you have two types of wood construction. Laminated wood: Layers of wood glued together. This type of construction offers low prices but doesn’t resonate to a high standard. Laminated Ukuleles usually have mediocre tones but are tough. A solid wood body has much superior quality in tone and lastability. The majority of instruments are made from solid wood bodies.

The most common types of wood used are:

  • Mahogany, Koa, Spruce, cedar for the soundboard
  • Mahogany, Koa, Maple and rosewood for the bottom and sides
  • Mahogany and Maple for the neck
  • Rosewood and Ebony for the bridge

Tip: Give your instrument decent strings and it’ll immediately sound better. You wouldn’t buy a Ferrari and attach cheap tires to it.

Make sure the uke is set up properly. It’s worth paying a professional to give it a full health check. Give yourself the best chance of moving forward without any future issues. All musicians regularly set up their instruments. This definitely helps avoid fret buzzing, constant tuning, and snapping strings.

How much is a good quality Ukulele?

I would suggest spending over 50 all the way up to 200. Anything lower than this price wouldn’t be reliable enough.

Most Common Types Of Ukulele

TypeTypical LengthScale LengthFrets 
Soprano21 in (53 cm)13 in (33 cm)12-15 
Concert23 in (58 cm)15 in (38 cm)15–20 
Tenor26 in (66 cm)17 in (43 cm)17–19 
Baritone29 in (74 cm)19 in (48 cm)18–21 

Soprano Ukulele: is the most common and the smallest Ukulele, except for the sopranino. Soprano’s offer the classic unmistakeable ‘ukulele’ tone. It’s the favorite choice for beginners, with 12 – 15 frets.

Concert Ukulele (mezzosoprano): ideal for rhythmic accompaniment, has a fuller sound. Features 15 – 20 frets

Tenor Ukulele: the best one for solo parts, with higher string tension and a fuller sound than the concert type. Features more than 15 frets and the A string is tuned an octave lower than the smaller ukuleles

Baritone Ukulele: featuring more than 19 frets, it is the largest among the ukulele family and uses the same tuning of the first four strings of the guitar (D-G-B-E). It loses, for this reason, the distinctive ‘ukulele sound’, but offers a very full tone and it’ easy to play for the guitarist

Here’s a helpful video of the different tones you can expect from the four types of Ukulele. (2m49s for the tones)

Positives And Negatives

The Beautiful thing about the Uke is that anybody can learn. It’s so easy. You don’t need an amp, leads, or a plectrum. Simply hold the uke in position, learn a chord that uses one finger, and strum. There aren’t many instruments you can learn so quickly, hence the uke’s popularity. If you’re already a player then having the best brand of uke is important. If you play guitar, a ukulele should be easier to learn and a completely different avenue to discover.

The only precautions I would mention are: stay away from cheap ukes from unknown brands. The uke will go out of tune, the wood may bend and the plastic strings are horrific. You’ll grow bored of constantly tuning. The tuning pegs move around a lot and the parts will be made from very cheap materials. A complete waste of your money.

In this day and age, you can teach yourself via youtube. I’m a guitarist of 25 years and I still use youtube for learning. Booking a guitar tutor for a few lessons is definitely a good way to start. If you are teaching yourself and using bad habits, it’s not easy to adjust later on. There really aren’t any negatives to learning a ukulele.

Best 5 Ukulele Brands Full Review

 

Official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele Soprano Starter Kit, Satin Mahogany – Includes online lessons, tuner app, and booklet

  • Pros: Affordable, Comes With Online Lessons, Small Size Is Great For Children, Ease of Use, Surprisingly Good Tone
  • Cons: Build Quality Not Great, Questionable Tuning Issues

Kala is one of the most recognizable Ukulele brands in the world. A perfect beginner instrument for children as young as 5 years old. Comes with a starter kit that includes: a Kala logo tote bag, a 20-page Quick Start Guide with information about your new ukulele, and all the tips you need to get started. You can even jump on their website with the online lessons. A beautiful mahogany finish, a laminated and sturdy construction will last the bumps and scrapes.

Considered to be at the lower end of the price range, the Kala KA-15S Ukulele is more about getting you playing. With that being said, it’s still surprisingly bright and rich in sound. The detail that struck me straight away, was how much lower the action is compared to similar models. I was pleasantly surprised to see this feature. Higher strings make an instrument harder to play.  

If you’re a complete beginner or looking to add a soprano to your collection on a lower budget, this is your next instrument!

>>Click here to check price on Amazon<<

Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele

  • ProsDecent Volume, Super Sustain, Bright Tone. Value For MoneyBeautiful Colour
  • ConsBuild Is Basic, Sharp Frets

The Cordoba 15CM Concert Ukulele would be another good choice for a newcomer. Unlike a lot of the laminate bodied ukes, the cordoba has a clear punchy top-end tone. The string sustain is more than adequate, which boosts the amount of volume for longer. I’ve sometimes found ukes to be reasonably quiet and boggy, but not this one! With a minimum amount of effort, you can get a nice big, clear satisfying tone. A cheaper instrument that mixes woods cannot offer what the 15CM delivers.

In general, Cordoba produces instruments that are built to last. With durable and long-lasting wood, there’s a reason why they sell in large numbers. With a sleek mahogany neck and a honey color wood body, it certainly looks the part. The bridge and fretboard are made from dark rosewood, this fits in nicely with the rest of the elegant stylish appearance.

This is a step up in sound to the soprano, and a good starter instrument for a beginner to intermediate player.

Here’s a helpful clip:

>>Click here to check price on Amazon<<

Luna Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele with Gig Bag, Satin Natural

  • Pros: Very light, Warm Tones, Tattoo Designs Unique, Comes With Free Ukulele Case. Comes Set Up Properly.
  • Cons: Tuning pegs a little loose. Cheap Build

The Luna Tattoo Concert Ukulele has a laser-etched traditional Hawaiian body ornamentation. The patterns and layout were strongly geometric and there were many shapes and symbols representing the natural island world. 

This instrument is made from laminate wood with a mahogany outer veneer, although the Luna website tries to tell you otherwise (that’s a bit naughty). The tie bar bridge is shaped differently from the standard straight block, I quite like this feature. The fret markers have a shark tooth type shape and the fretboard is made from rosewood. In all this is a very light uke to play compared to the others. 

The intonation on the Luna is actually pretty good, giving you easy playability. The tone is warm and subtle (just watch the video below). The sustain is shorter and the volume a little lower than the Cordoba. Comes with a very good gig bag also, which to me, is very important. If you want your instrument to last, you gotta look after it. 

A sweet sounding uke for the price. A perfect gateway instrument to assist you on your way to the next level of playing.

>>Click here to check price on Amazon<<

Check the Luna sounds:

Ukulele Tenor Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-T) 2 Strap Pins Installed FREE Uke Strap Ukulele Case Tuner Picks Hanger Aquila Strings Installed Free Video Lessons 

  • Pros: Huge 5 Star Seller, Closed Tuning Pegs Great For Tuning, Comes With Ukulele Accessories And Step By Step Video Lessons, Amazing Price, Comes In Three Sizes Which Covers Children Up To Adults With Larger Hands
  • Cons: Not For Smaller Children. Simple Basic Look Compared To The Other Ukes.

The Brand name ‘Lohanu’ is a combination of three words: Love (Represents the first 2 letters of Lohanu), Ohanu (A Hawaiian word for Family and Community), and Unity (Represents the last 2 letters of Lohanu backwards). A Canadian-based company that prides itself on the best customer service. They hold the record for the most ‘Total Reviews’ and the most ‘Total 5 Star Reviews’ for a Ukulele. With this outstanding information, I had to check these instruments out. 

The package you get with your purchase includes two Strap buttons installed (costs about 25 in a music shop to fit those), a tuner, padded case, picks, extra Super Aquila Nylgut strings. EXCLUSIVE Leather Pick & Uke hanger! I’ll be honest, those picks are hideous but the rest of the pack is spot on and super useful. It doesn’t matter what size ukulele you purchase from this selection, you’ll receive the same pack. You also receive a step by step video lesson for beginners. This is provided at a good slow steady pace with 15 + tutorials. Very Impressive. 

A very good sounding instrument. It produces a deeper, louder, longer sustained, and fuller sound than a flat back or a cheap solid wood ukulele. Many times the lower price of an instrument reflects the poor quality of build and lacks in tone. Not the Lohanu LC-T. The arched backed body seen on this design is something you’d expect to find on instruments in the upper price range and quality. The Tenor size is aimed at the adult market or children with bigger hands, as the neck is wider (26 inc). With all these added gadgets I’m always skeptical of the sound of the instrument. Not this one!

For the overall price, you’ll find it difficult to beat the quality of instrument within this deal.

>>Click here to check the price on Amazon<<

Oscar Schmidt OU2T-String Mahogany Tenor Ukulele

 

  • Pros: Value For Money, Very Light, Low Action, Come In Two Types Of FretBoardSuperb Tone
  • Cons: Sharp Fret Edges

The satin-finish on the Oscar Schmidt OU2T offers a brighter tone and allows the wood to vibrate. On the other hand, a thick glossy finish seems to dull the tone on some ukuleles. A mahogany, full body that resonates with sparkling highs and warm lows.

I’m impressed with the rugged type of chrome tuners, this really helps the guitar stay in tune. Most cheaper end ukuleles struggle with this feature due to the ‘toy type’ tuning pegs which move around so easily.

I’m yet to see a bad review on any Oscar Schmidt ukulele. Although not as popular as other brands, I really am impressed with the mid-tone on this tenor. Some can be too thin and loud or like a soprano, too cloudy. This is my favorite ukulele tone. The ‘Rosewood Fretboard style’ has an ebony headstock and bridge. This is a major plus and adds to the beautiful mid-tone that I really like. Comfortable and easy to play, a very adequate starter tenor or a second uke to add to the collection. This is 100% worth the price. A hidden gem.

>>Click here to check the price on Amazon<<

Best Ukulele Brands: Review Winner

The Clear winner is the Ukulele Tenor Size Bundle From Lohanu (LU-T).

The closed tuning pegs an arched back body on the Lohanu was the major deciding factor for me. The warranty provides me with confidence, the record number of 5-star reviews by real people make the Lohanu a must. The price is fantastic and the video lessons are essential for beginners. Lohanu covers the whole spectrum of players from very young children of 5 through to the adult. (click the link above and choose your size: Soprano, Concert or a larger Tenor)

I’m not one to buy an instrument because of a nice color or cool design. It makes no difference to the sound whatsoever. The overall tone on the Lohanu LU-T isn’t too loud or boggy, it sounds like….well, a classic ukulele tone! A Lot of the lower end ukuleles sound like toys.

 I’m always doubtful of a product that is affordable and comes with lots of extras. The difference here is, the extras that come with this package really are of use. The strap is solid, the strap pegs are attached, the tuner is ‘ok’. You receive a fantastic warranty from a big brand that proves they sell reliable products. In my opinion, the finish looks beautifully natural, and not too over the top. The package includes a gig bag, which is very thin and will only protect from scratches and dings but you’ll receive the uke in a guitar-shaped box. I would use both the box and bag to protect the instrument. Just remember new strings take a while to warm up and stretch. The strings that come with the Lohanu are mediocre. I have suggested some quality strings above if you want to instantly improve the tone and lastability. 

The arched design on the neck does help with tone and projection. The closed tuning pegs are better for tuning than the pegs fitted on the competitor’s ukuleles. I was really impressed with the extras they’ve thrown in. You cannot ignore this deal for affordability and quality. 

>>Click here to check the price on Amazon<<

Here’s a video of the Lohanu Uke close up so you get a better look at it.

Acoustic Vs Electric Guitar: A Complete Beginners Guide

Acoustic V Electric Guitar

As you set out on your journey of learning to play guitar, you will be faced with dozens of decisions, but perhaps the first decision you’ll have to make is what kind of guitar you want to buy. 

On the one hand, you’ve probably seen the glamorous and glitzy electric guitars played by rockstars the world over. On the other hand, you can’t miss the subtle beauty of a dreadnought style acoustic with its delicate Mother of Pearl inlays. So, how do you decide between acoustic vs electric when standing inside your local music shop?

Acoustic vs Electric Guitar: A Beginners Guide

Ed Sheeran or Eddie Van Halen?

Before we discuss the differences between acoustic and electric guitars, I feel that it is first important to think about your personal goals and musical interests. For instance, if you prefer classical guitar or country music, it is natural to gravitate towards an acoustic instrument. Younger people tend to prefer electric guitars for their flashy appeal and the wide range of sounds they can produce. We need to try and find the best beginner guitar for you and your situation.

There is no right or wrong answer when selecting a beginner guitar, and thousands of talented guitarists have found their way on each side. Just keep in mind that if you’re looking to play grunge rock, an acoustic guitar probably makes little sense for you, and vice versa.

We have a complete guide to finding ‘The Best Kids Guitar’ if you require any further help.

Body Types

The first thing you’ll notice about electric guitar vs acoustic is that they have very different body types. Most notably, acoustic guitars are known for their large bodies and natural wood finishes, while electric guitars feature slim bodies, usually with interesting cutaways that may or may not serve a purpose for playability. So you can see the parts of the guitar are very different in every way.

I always recommend that you go try out a wide range of different body styles to see what feels natural to you, but don’t despair if nothing feels quite right just yet. It does take a while to get your posture perfected, and you will probably feel like some body styles are just too bulky for you. That is totally normal! However, if you are really struggling to find a good fit, you should know that guitars come in many shapes and sizes.

A Quick Note on Guitar Sizing

Guitar shops are mostly filled to the brim with full-size guitars, but that is not the only option available. There are half-scale and 3/4-scale guitars as well. These guitars have been scaled down to fit younger learners while maintaining the proper proportions so you can move into a full-scale guitar with proper techniques already established.

The Difference In Sound

Electric

Aside from the distinct looks of an acoustic and electric guitar, they also differ in the way they produce sound. An electric guitar uses magnetic pickups mounted on the body beneath the strings to pick up the sound of the vibrating strings and send it to the amplifier. In this case, the amplifier is actually responsible for producing the bulk of the sound that you hear.

Acoustic

By contrast, an acoustic guitar is designed to produce a sound all on its own using the vibrations captured through the soundhole beneath the strings. Here, it is the construction of the acoustic guitar’s hollow body that is responsible for producing the sound you hear.

Now, you may wonder how an acoustic guitar could produce enough sound to fill an entire concert venue if it doesn’t use an amplifier? Fear not! Professional acoustic guitar players rely on tiny electric amplifiers built into the hollow body of their guitars. These pickups offer large-scale benefits of amplification without damaging the warm, natural tone that comes from playing acoustically.

For beginners, spending the extra money on an acoustic guitar with a built-in pickup is not strictly necessary, but you can find some affordable options that will give you more flexibility in your playing later on.

Strings

This is a good time to discuss the differences in strings when playing electric or acoustic guitar. Because an electric guitar uses an amplifier to produce a robust sound, it does not require very large strings.

Notes on a guitar are produced by pressing down on the strings at different intervals, changing the length of the string and the sound it produces. So, it stands to reason that the lighter weight strings in electric guitars are easier to press than their acoustic counterparts.

If you find that you are struggling to press the strings down to produce clear sound, or if you have small hands, an electric guitar is a great place to start.

With an acoustic, you need much thicker strings to produce a strong enough sound for the body to pick up. As a result, many young players struggle with acoustic guitars until they build up hand strength.

What Are Best Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners? Click here for our guide.

Playing Technique

Finding the right fit is the most important part of selecting the right type of guitar for you. The right fit has a lot to do with your comfort and strength. Yet there are also some differences in playing style. So far, I have focused on how your fretting hand is affected by the guitar you choose, but now we will look at your strumming hand.

Strumming Differences

The arm you strum the strings with rests on the “shoulder” or “body” of the guitar, and your strumming hand sits over the strings. This will probably feel uncomfortable as you adjust to the edges of the guitar pressing against you. You will become comfortable with practice.

With an electric guitar, the slimmer body style makes it easier to drop your arm over the strings. On an acoustic guitar, you have to prop your arm up at about shoulder height and rest it on the body. From there, you will have to strum across the strings to produce sound.

With an electric guitar, you don’t have to strum too hard because you can artificially change the volume with the help of your amplifier. On an acoustic guitar, the volume of the sound you produce is entirely dependent on how hard you strum. For those with short arms or little strength, producing a strong enough sound with an acoustic guitar can be challenging at first.

Don’t Get Distracted

Electric guitars provide many opportunities to get distracted from the music by adding effects, adjusting your amplifier, and dialing in your instrument. By contrast, the bare-bones nature of the acoustic makes it great for focusing all of your energies on playing technique and perfecting the music itself.

If you feel that you can learn proper playing techniques well on an electric, and you are committed to getting them right, that’s totally up to you. On the other hand, if you really want to be sure you build technique, and hand strength, an acoustic guitar might be just what you need to keep your practice time distraction-free.

Cost

A final consideration you might want to make is the cost. Both acoustic and electric guitars range from a few hundred dollars up to nearly ten thousand dollars. For a first-time guitar player, you can expect to spend at least a few hundred dollars to get started, although you might find second-hand guitars cheaper.

However, there may be one downside of starting with an electric guitar. You have to buy the instrument, the amplifier, and the cables to connect it. Fortunately, there are a few companies like Squier, that offer beginner packages that include a super starter pack that includes everything you need. This is usually a pretty good bargain for any new player and can save you a lot of headaches trying to build a complete setup. In general, you can find a starter kit for around $200, which is comparable to a low-end acoustic guitar.

On the other hand, if you choose to go with an acoustic, all you really need is the guitar itself. Obviously, you do need to purchase a decent tuner with both acoustic and electric guitars. But you may choose to buy a strap as well, which will help you hold the guitar up even when you are sitting, but it is not required.

The Verdict: Acoustic Vs Electric Guitar

The question I hear a lot is “should I start with an acoustic or electric guitar?”

Is electric guitar easier than acoustic to learn? No, they’re completely different animals. Two different instruments. Neither is ‘easier’ to learn than the other. It’s all about personal preference. Hopefully, we’ve helped you more with your decision

For most people and playing styles, the electric guitar is a great beginner option. It is versatile and easy to learn while you’re building hand strength, and more comfortable for new players. In addition, with the starter packs available today, you can find a complete electric guitar setup at a very affordable price. You can even begin to learn the ins and outs of modifying your guitar sound early on.

If you do prefer a more classical sound, you are always free to start on an acoustic instrument instead. You may find that there is a variety of sizes available. If you go this route, be sure to consider changing to lighter strings. New guitars generally come with a poor standard of strings attached. So, give yourself the best chance to succeed when you start and buy some decent strings. Here are some to get you started: ‘Best Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners

Here’s some valuble tips from the National Guitar Academy if you need further advice.

Let your journey begin!

17 Famous Guitar Riffs You Need To Hear

Famous Riffs Header

Sometimes the riff in a song has more effect on the listener than the song itself. Nothing feels better than hearing big fat chunky famous guitar riffs. Or a riff that takes you to a golden memory. Without guitar riffs, the world would be a pretty boring place. Imagine no air guitar! 

To qualify for our 17 Famous Guitar Riffs it’s pretty simple. The melody has to be memorable and make us tap our foot.

It’s almost impossible to write one article on the best riffs of all time (i could create a whole website on it) so let’s look into some of the most recognized and enjoyable to listen to. Being a guitarist of 25 years myself, I’d like to share with you some of the most enjoyable riffs I’ve learned and played along with. Maybe you could share yours?

Let’s get influenced and learn some new riffs. I’ve left out the complete obvious riffs as I’d like to branch out a bit further. But only a little!

What Do We Like In A Classic Guitar Riff?

Firstly, it has to be memorable. Sometimes without even realizing it, we’re subconsciously taking the riff in. We’ll be walking around later humming it to ourselves. That’s where the genius of the guitarist has got you. The hook is what musicians call it.

Classic guitar riffs are a piece of music that is instantly recognizable or enjoyable to listen to. Some riffs are so powerful they can define a generation. Let’s dig a little deeper. A riff doesn’t need to be a sequence of single notes and a melody, it can also be a group of chords. You know Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ right? That’s a riff too. 

It’s scientifically proven that there are major benefits to playing guitar that affect your whole wellbeing. Yes, it’s true, check out the proof ‘The Fascinating Benefits Of Playing Guitar’.

There’s also a very important quality when playing riffs. You gotta look like a god playing them! Look at Jimmy Page, Slash, Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Brian May, Lenny Kravitz, Angus Young, and Marty McFly! Swagger, you can’t be taught that. Let’s plug you into some of the best guitarists doing what they do best. Banging out riffs.

Foot Tapping Rating

I’ve rated the riffs on my foot tapping scale from 1-10. They are in no particular order, just 17 riffs that make you wanna tap your foot or crowd surf through your lounge.

I’ve Separated our Greatest Guitar Riffs into three sections:

  • Acoustic
  • Soft Rock
  • Rock/Hard Rock

That’s enough talk, let’s get into some bangers:

Famous Guitar Riffs: Acoustic

Tears in Heaven-Eric Clapton

Foot Tapping Score: 5/10 

Everybody knows this hook. It’s a very sentimental song for Eric Clapton. The intro riff is so very memorable and the brilliant guitar playing continues throughout the song on his classical guitar. Definitely worth a watch.



Heart Shaped Box-Nirvana

Foot Tapping Score: 5/10

Nirvana could have made it onto all three of my riff criteria. This version of ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ is played on acoustic, unlike the original. Kurt picks through the chords and comes up with a very simple but memorable melody. This is a version that you need to hear. Ladies and Gentleman, the super talented Kurt Cobain.



Use Me-Bill Withers

Foot Tapping Score: 8/10

Trust me, you need this riff in your life.

I’m not sure there is a better groove in music. Although not a guitar riff, the groove and melody on the keys are truly undisputed. What a super talent Bill Withers was. One of my very favorite musicians. Within 5 secs I’ll have you tapping your foot, guaranteed. 

Press play and be enlightened



Shape Of My Heart-Sting

Foot Tapping Score: 4/10 

It’s been covered so many times, but there’s a reason for that, it’s an incredible song with a memorable hook in the intro. This is easily the most beautiful riff on the list. This version is a must-watch. Just Sting and his guitarist. Low foot-tapping score but the most peaceful song on our list. 



Solsbury Hill-Peter Gabriel

Foot Tapping Score: 7/10

What a great riff in the intro, the acoustic continues throughout the song in the same vein. Brilliant 12 string guitar playing by Steve Hunter (on the original record). It was difficult to find a good video of the acoustic, so this clip is perfect to show you how good the guitar playing is on this riff. Enjoy



*Its time to turn up!

Famous Guitar Riffs: Soft Rock

Paperback Writer-The Beatles

Foot Tapping Score: 8/10

In classic Beatles fashion, the fab four begin with tight 3-way harmonies, then burst into this meaty riff. Great tune from the best band ever. 



Crossroads-Eric Clapton

Foot Tapping Score: 7/10

Eric’s got more than a few riffs tucked up his sleeve. I just love the guitar playing on the intro to crossroads. It’s also a good listen for bass players as Jack Bruce is all over the fretboard.



La Grange-ZZ Top

Foot Tapping Score: 8/10

Is there a cooler riff out there? This is the essence of chill. Old School blues riff in A but when the band comes in its high on the foot-tapping richter scale. Texas Finest, these boys are still gigging. Heroes! I just love Billy Gibbons’s voice. 

You’ll need a shower after listening to this. The riff is so dirty:



Crosstown Traffic-Jimi Hendrix

Foot Tapping Score: 8/10

Nearly didn’t make it onto Electric Ladyland! Can you imagine if we’d of never been able to feast our ears on this riff from Jimi? Great tune, guitars doubling up on the intro riff. Did you know Jimi sang the “do do do do do dooo do’ through a comb with cellophane wrapped around it?

The unmistakable Rock God Jimi Hendrix. We’ve got a lot to thank him for.

Money For Nothing-Dire Straits

Foot Tapping Score: 7/10

Probably the hardest one to play (properly) on our list. A mixture of several fingers picking at different times and clever use of pinched harmonics make this riff so memorable and showcases Knopfler’s brilliant ability on the guitar. Truly one of the best guitarists ever. Not many people haven’t heard this beaut. He has a few more but this is probably Knopfler’s strongest riff.



Message In A Bottle-The Police

Foot Tapping Score: 8/10

It helps to have a brilliant drummer when you’re writing riffs in a band. One of the best live 3-piece bands ever. Superbly written, unorthodox riff by Sting. You gotta have long fingers to play this one. Here’s a live version I love. Stuart Copeland is the man on this footage!



HEALTH WARNING: Earplugs may be required for the following videos:

Famous Guitar Riffs: Rock/Hard Rock

Freedom-Rage Against The Machine

Foot Tapping Score: 8/10

Now, this is a riff! Start as you mean to go on. These guys were legendary in the riff department. Literally, one after another, sometimes five or six in one song! What a band, lifting roofs off venues since 1991. This may not be your cup of tea but RATM was the Daddy when it came to the guitar riff. Check out minute 2:34 & 3:40 for more beasty riffs! You get your money’s worth with RATM.

Here’s one beast ive chosen from many:



Beat It-Michael Jackson

Foot Tapping Score: 9/10

The Late great Eddie Van Halen played ‘that’ iconic solo for MJ’s monster hit, Beat it. This Riff is a monster in terms of popularity. Such good fun to play, it’s memorable, chunky and you’ve got the best vocalist ever singing over it. One of the best guitar riffs of all time. Amazing tune and well worthy of a mention. 



Stone Cold Crazy-Queen

Foot Tapping Score: 9/10

In my opinion, the best live band ever. What a belter from Brian. A super-fast riff and certainly no walk in the park to learn. These guys were as tight as a skin on a grape. Possibly the best frontman ever in Freddie Mercury. The man is English royalty. Here’s some powerful Queen footage back in the early days: 



Thunderstruck-AC/DC

Foot Tapping Score: 10/10

You didn’t expect a famous guitar riff article without Angus, did you? Any live footage of Angus is worth watching. The masters of the power chord, AC/DC had riff after riff. I decided on Thunderstruck but I could choose from 75+ riffs. It almost sounds like its played on a violin. If we ever needed a (National) Anthem for planet Earth, here it is. Angus, we salute YOU.



Foo Fighters-All My Life

Foot Tapping Score: 9/10

The more simple it is, the more it resonates with your audience. Dave Grohl starts off chugging on one note but when the band comes in, it’s HUGE. RIP eardrums. I actually prefer the muted riff on the verse but there’s some pretty powerful music here. 100mph band and soooo good live. Foo Fighters have many meaty riffs and are truly worthy of Rock Gods. I mean, Grohl’s been in not one. but two of the biggest bands ever. That’s just greedy.



Kashmir-Led Zeppelin

Foot Tapping Score: 9/10

By far the best band to play riffs along with (if you can!) About 150 riffs to choose from. Nobody can construct a riff like the master Jimmy Page. Undoubtedly one of the best guitarists of all time. Helped along by a brilliant drummer and bassist. They really are the creator of The Guitar Riff. Difficult to find footage suitable enough for this clip as its very old. That shouldn’t take away the fact Zepp was one of the biggest bands in the world. Rightly so. Special mention to Bonzo on drums, without him Zep’s riffs just wouldn’t be as meaty. Riffmiesters Supreme!



Eye Of The Tiger- Survivor

Foot Tapping Score: 10/10

Come on, you know you love it. Who doesn’t bang their head to this brute of a riff? I know it’s cheesy but I love it. Survivor created a riff so good, it’s used in many situations where energy, positivity, and guts are required. Would the Rocky films be as successful without Survivor doing the soundtracks? The 1980s is a gold mine for rock bands and riffs. Great band. There are some really nice mullets in the video. Enjoy



Winner

Lenny Kravitz-Are You Gonna Go My Way

Foot Tapping Score: 11/10 (Amps go up to 11 so why can’t my scoring system?)

From the very first note, you’re tapping your foot, I love this simplistic riff. Shades of Hendrix’s Voodoo Child, which makes me like it even more. 

I used to play this in a band. It was so much fun to play, for all the musicians. The doubled-up riff in the intro is right up there with the best riffs ever. Again, you all know it. Fast-paced, heart-thumping rock guitars and harmony riff. It has all the ingredients of a true rock riff (it helps to look as cool as Lenny too). 

Just a side note, Craig Ross’s guitar solo in this also got voted one of the best in history. Wow, what a tune. Go On Lenny! 

Here’s an awesome live version, it’s worth watching just to see Lenny’s jacket and shiny gold Flying V.  



That’s it, go give your ringing ears a rest! 

I apologize for missing out on so many artists, guitarists, and riffs. As I said, I could build a complete website around famous guitar riffs. These were the riffs that get me going. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on other riffs and musicians. Feel free to add yours. That’s the beauty of music. Opinion. 

If you’re still hungry for more, here’s a great selection of rolling stone top 100 guitarists and 100 more riffs here at 100 Greatest Rock Guitar Riffs

Our friends over at Listening Through The Lens do a great ‘Top 100 Most Essential Folk Songs’. Go check it out 

 

 

 

Best Beginner Mandolin: Everything You Need To Know

Main Header Best Mandolin

This is our review for the Best Beginner Mandolin

There’s a lot more to the mandolin than you may realize. Let’s look at the essentials and guide you towards finding a suitable beginner mandolin. 

Due to the success of the Ukulele and Banjo, the Mandolin has had a surge in popularity. They a widely used in modern-day music, with REM, Led Zeppelin, Jerry Garcia, Grateful Dead, White Stripes, Goo Goo Dolls, Rolling Stones, Steve Earle, The Band, Chris Cornell, and Rod Stewart, all incorporating this historic instrument into their music. Imagine ‘Maggie May’ without it! Or REMs ‘Losing My Religion, unthinkable.

They’re a pretty unique and beautiful sounding instrument. 

 

 

 

 

Beginner Mandolin

 

The 5 Best Beginner Mandolin Review

Hola! Music A Style Mandolin Instrument with Adjustable Truss-Rod Model HM-3TS, Glossy Sunburst Finish

Best A-Style Mandolin

  • Pros: Great Beginner Choice, Very Nice Tone, Value For Money, Hola Has Great Customer Support, Vintage Look
  • Cons: Tuning Heads May Slip After A Little Use

8-string traditional A-Style mandolin in glossy Sunburst finish. Built with a maple top, back, sides and neck. A Walnut fingerboard and adjustable compensated rosewood bridge. Beautifully crafted chrome plated tailpiece. A very popular choice at a reasonable price. I can’t see a better-sounding instrument at this price.

I really love the Hola designed. It looks so traditional. With a crisp vintage sound, the Hola HM-3TS is already a favorite of mine. Just by looking at it, it makes me want to play. 

Check out the video below and you’ll love the tone.

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Listen to the calming tones of the Hola HM-3TS:

Stagg M40S 8-String Bluegrass Mandolin with Solid Spruce Top – Goldburst

Best Lower Price Mandolin

  • Pros: Holds Tuning, Easy To Play, Good Enough To Gig With, Solid Wood Build, Value For Money, Child Friendly, Solid Maple Build
  • Cons: Nut Sits A Bit High

Stagg M40S is a solid performer at a friendly price. A surprisingly loud mandolin that can be used in gig scenarios. It certainly has a bark.

Built from solid spruce wood, solid maple back and sides, a rosewood fingerboard, and an adjustable bridge. Another beautiful nickel engraved tailpiece. A traditional bluegrass style mandolin which gives you a bright tone and lots of volume. Perfect starter instrument, even for children as it’s light and very pretty. At a totally insane affordable price, the Stagg M40S is very popular, a good beginner mandolin. So be quick, as you’ve found your new toy!!

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This girl really can play! Here’s some very clean Irish Traditional music : Stagg M40 S

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin

Best Medium Priced Mandolin (F Style)

  • Pros: Hand Crafted, Smart Buy, Deeper Tones, Perfect For Guitarists, Minimum F Style Mandolin Price
  • Cons: May Need Setting Up

Straight from your first strum, you’ll get a 1920s authentic tone. The Loar Mandolin is a cut above the rest in build and tone. The price does reflect this. It’s certainly head and shoulders above the rest if you have a higher starter budget. 

The thin “V” profile of the maple neck fits comfortably in the player’s hand, easy to strum without getting hung up on the extended upper frets. The action is set up lower, which makes a big difference. The strings are closer to the frets and so much more comfortable. This makes it easier to learn in comparison to the cheaper instruments.

The Loar LM-310 gives you a surprisingly lower, deeper tone. I actually prefer this sound on a mandolin. The Loar has a professional dark look about it, in fact, it looks much more expensive than it really is. If you have a higher budget, it’s worth the stretch in the price difference. If you’re after an F Style mandolin, this would be the best mandolin for beginners at the ‘lowest price’.

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Get a look look at this quality mandolin. Beautiful deeper tones showed right here, wow: Loar LM-310 F Mandolin

Rayzm Traditional Bluegrass Mandolin in Shinny Sunburst Color with Padded Gig Bag, A-Style 8-String Acoustic Mandolin, Linden Body, Walnut Fingerboard, Mahogany Neck

Best Entry Mandolin

  • Pros: Comes With Soft Bag, Budget Price, Child Friendly, Perfect Entry Mandolin, Stays In Tune Well. The Price!
  • Cons: Cheap Wood, Tone on the Tinny Side

Rayzm has produced a starter mandolin for those looking to dip their toe in. A Solid walnut fingerboard & bridge, solid mahogany neck. A beautiful shiny look, with quality ABS binding on the body and fingerboard. Comes with an adjustable walnut bridge. A very well constructed instrument considering the price. A little on the tinny and thin side of tone for my liking.

A really popular instrument worldwide, which tells me a lot. You’re not going to be gigging with this. It’s a small, durable, good-looking style mandolin, so inexpensive. The Rayzm is my choice for a lower-budget player wanting to get into music from home. 

A beautiful option if you’re into traditional folk music. 

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Donner Mandolin Instrument Mahogany Black A Style with Tuner, String, Gig Bag, Guitar Picks (DML-100B)

Best Budget Starter Pack

  • Pros: Accessories, Well Balanced Volume, Brighter Sound, Adjustable Neck, Adjustable Truss Rod
  • Cons: Short Sustain, High Action

Donner produces all sorts of instrument accessories, guitars, and ukuleles. This starter pack comes with a tuner, four picks, spare mandolin strings, a digital clip-on tuner, and polishing cloths. Now, I like this. They are covering a lot of requirements complete beginners may need. Most beginners may break a string, then what do they do? They have to find out the string size and a local shop that sells one string. Once that string has broken a lot of beginners give up. I really like the thought they’ve put into the pack.

A mahogany body gives you a richer and brighter sound. Chrome-plated open-gear tuners and tailpiece, adjustable truss rod inside the neck. The tuner is a 100% must buy for every new musician, and Donner has added one into the mix. This will have the beginner musician in your house strumming away in no time.

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Here’s a great video of the unpacking and playing of the Donner DML series mandolin:

Don’t Forget Your Mandolin Essentials:

Overall Winner: Best Beginner Mandolin

Stagg M40S 8-String

After considering all the options carefully, I decided the Stagg M40S 8-String is the best beginner mandolin. After all, we are looking for a mandolin that is suitable for the complete beginner (or a child). At a friendly price that won’t break the bank, but is good enough to assist you with learning and having fun.

As the Stagg M40S is a solid-bodied instrument, I’ve gone for this. Not only does it last the bumps and scrapes better, but the overall sound is also much superior to a laminated mandolin. It’s very pretty in looks ( and comes in in slightly different models: Black and a Redburst). The Stagg holds it tuning well, it’s easy to play and can be gigged with due to the superb resonance.

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How To Choose A Beginner Mandolin: 

What’s Best For Me & How Much Should I Spend?

It’s a good idea to start with a cheaper mandolin, especially if you are a complete beginner. That’s not to say if you have a higher budget, aim at a better quality of the instrument. Just because a mandolin is cheap, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and learn properly. In fact, it’s a great practice to get a luthier or technician to set up your mandolin when you first receive it. This makes so much difference, this will see you through the learning period without any tuning aggravation.

After 25 years of playing guitar, I still take my instruments to a local guitar doctor to be set up and maintained.

Electric Mandolin Or Acoustic Style?

This all depends on your situation. An acoustic electric mandolin can amplify sound, this gives you total control in a band scenario. You can mix your sound up and down with the other instruments in the band. It’s also handy if you’re playing a gig outside or in a small quiet setting. In fact, they sound amazing through an amp. If you’re looking to learn or play the mandolin from home, then an acoustic mandolin is fine. 

Essential Tips To Consider For Before Buying

Firstly, decide on a budget. If you have 300, then try not to go too far below this amount. Get the best mandolin pound for pound your budget allows.

What Will My Budget Get Me?

Let’s look at what you can expect for your budget:

  • Low Cost (up to 300): ‘A-Style’ mandolins are made from laminate wood. Most likely built in Japan. With a lesser construction reliability comes a lesser quality of tone, compared to the higher-level products. This isn’t to say these are bad, far from it. You can still grab a good starter mandolin around this budget. 

  • Mid Range (500-1000): A step up in the quality of wood used. A much prettier instrument. Most of the time the wood used in the build is solid wood, rather than the laminate pressed construction. Solid wood makes a big difference in tone and will handle dings and bumps much better. If you want to gig with your mandolin, then I would suggest starting at around 600.

  • Top End (2000+): Hand carved instruments, using finer top notch woods, outstanding tones to be had. The finest F Style instruments come within this price bracket. Ideal for live and studio use. Beautiful instruments with the scroll feature on top for the pro player.

Wood

Mandolins are built from a variety of woods. As different parts of the instrument are put under different stresses, certain woods are required in certain places. Now, I could write a whole article about the different types of wood, there are… a lot.  It’s a wealth of information that isn’t important at this particular time, so let’s look at the basics:

Mandolins use different woods for different parts, as mentioned above.

The ‘soundboard’ (top) is the most important piece. Spruce wood is commonly used here. There are also cedar soundboards but are not as common. Before buying a mandolin, look for the wood type of the ‘top’. Be aware, some retailers use the term ‘Select Spruce Top’. This is a bit naughty in my eyes, it’s basically laminate, they just don’t want to write that. 

A simple rule of thumb would be to follow this:

  • Spruce (Laminate: made from various pieces of wood glued together. Vibrates less)

  • Select Spruce Top (Laminate)

  • Solid Spruce (Solid spruce wood, made from one piece of wood. Vibrates better)

  • Maple (Generally back and sides)

  • Rosewood or Ebony (Fretboard)

My last tip is probably the most important but gets overlooked so many times. Buy a hard case with your beautiful new instrument. It’s incredible the number of times I’ve seen musicians turn up to a gig with a soft case and an expensive instrument inside!!

A soft case is 100% necessary for home storage, but not much else. Protect your instrument. The hard case for my guitar costs quite a bit, it’s worth every penny. You’ll also need a good clip-on tuner. This should be your second purchase. Click here for Authority Guitar Best Tuners.

Mandolin Seperator

 

This isn’t for sale, unfortunately!

Mandolin Terminology Made Easy

If you’re reading through a few details regarding mandolins, you might see it advertised as A Style or F Style. Again, it’s important to know what you’re buying. Let’s have a look at the meanings behind the terminology:

  • A-Style Mandolin : A tear-shaped and oval-bodied mandolin

  • F-Style Mandolin : A tear-shaped mandolin with added scroll and points (also known as Florentine). Both A style and F are available with oval or F soundholes

  • Carved Top : The top is carved into the classic arched shape rather than pressed

  • Pressed Top : Pressed by a machine using heat and pressure. Inferior to ‘carved’

  • Arched Back : As opposed to a straight back. The arched back makes the mandolin louder, the sound is pushed outward rather than bouncing around a straight back body.

  • Scroll : You may find it at the top of the mandolin. It serves no acoustic function at all to the scroll, it is purely aesthetic. Hides the strap button, that’s it. 

Is Mandolin Easy To Learn?

Yes! You can play almost any song with three chords.

With all this free time at the moment, now would be the best time to try your hand at learning an instrument. Due to the small size, you have the benefit of taking it everywhere. A mandolin is easier to learn than a guitar or piano. Bear in mind, the best instrument to start with is the one you’re most interested in. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s very true

Ukuleles are probably as easy to learn, but some people find them too small. Mandolins have a far superior overall sound than a uke. 

Mandolins generally come with four courses of doubled metal strings (8 strings). There are five (10 strings) and six (12 strings) stringed mandolins too. Don’t let this put you off, a decent tuner is your best friend. The sound you get from learning a couple of chords will have you hooked within minutes. Get yourself a mandolin chord chart and you’re away.

Mandolins are perfect for a complete beginner and very affordable.

Did You Know?

Ludwig Van Beethoven loved playing the mandolin. That’s right, although better known as a Pianist, Beethoven would hang his favorite mandolin beside his piano. 

 

This was Beethoven’s Milanese mandolin

Beethoven composed at least six works for mandolin, only four of which survived. None were published during his lifetime. It shows the rich history of the mandolin dating back to Italy in the 18th century.  

Other players to rock the mandolin were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Vivaldi.