Guitar is most definitely on your mind and the excitement is building! You just found out that you have a child, relative, or friend who wants to learn acoustic guitar. Or maybe it’s you that wants to be a star! That, or you’re looking to start up a new hobby to fill the time. Wherever future endeavors may take you - the stage, the studio, the comfy living room couch - the first step in embarking on a wonderful journey is purchasing a guitar. The first question you’re thinking is ‘How do I know which acoustic guitar to buy?” With all the various options and styles to choose from, it might seem overwhelming trying to decide what would work best for a beginner. Never fear - with a bit of information and a few guided tasks, you’ll have your answers and be strumming your way to the stars in no time!

Closeup of an acoustic guitar

First, what determines if a guitar is meant for a beginner?

When buying a guitar, the materials used during its construction are the primary factor when it comes to pricing. Entry-level guitar bodies are made with a pressed plywood, commonly called laminate. This material is created when multiple layers of thin, treated wood are pressed, secured, and bonded together with adhesive. The upsides of a laminate guitar are durability and consistency. Since you’re not dealing with any solid pieces of wood in the body, there won’t be any changes as the wood ages and dries. Because of this, they are also much easier to maintain. However, the same process that makes them consistent also means they are only capable of a limited, more basic tone. Weekend hobbyists, causal players, and young beginners who want an instrument nearby to play without the worry of demanding expectations will have everything covered with one of these beginner guitars.

As you move to the next level up, you will see acoustic guitars with a solid top. There is a noticeable difference in tone between a fully laminate guitar and one with a solid top. A solid top will draw you in with its fuller body of sound and increased resonance. Lastly, your professional models use full solid wood throughout and the highest quality components, adding even more vibrance, stability, and personality. If you’re looking to have the guitar become a steady presence during your schedule along with goals to play out or record music, one of these advancing guitars is just the thing for you!

It's important to know that temperature and humidity extremes need to be avoided, and that the solid wood instruments are affected the most by their environment. A guitar humidifier helps maintain a steady moisture level inside the instrument and its case to combat those intense weather conditions. Polish, conditioners, and cleaning cloths will keep your instrument free of unsightly fingerprints, dirt, and debris. A toolkit with string winders, cutters, screwdrivers, and allen wrenches is essential and will help with changing strings and making simple adjustments. AMS has all of the necessary Guitar Accessories and Guitar Care products to help keep your guitar plays its best, while staying protected and maintained.

Young man playing an acoustic guitar

Next, a few questions…

If you’re the one ready to buy, are you looking for a simple no-hassle instrument or something a bit more? Do you want to play on occasion around the campfire, during an outdoor get-together, or around the house? Or have you been thinking about making the guitar a regular part of your days, with aims to play some gigs and record your own songs? These same questions can be asked to students and parents of young children. Is this a new, exciting hobby or are they looking to take the next step and pursue their musical dreams?

Starting small for young players…

There are two main varieties to choose from: The steel-string acoustic and the nylon-string classical. Steel-string is a blanket term for guitars that can use a variety of metal strings, including phosphor bronze, 80/20, silk-and-steel, and options with coating. Steel-string acoustics are the standard in the music world and the smaller ones are basically scaled-down versions of the models you see and hear in nearly all popular music.

Nylon-string guitars have their roots in classical and folk music. They are also going to be a bit more comfortable to play. This is primarily due to the more relaxed feel of the nylon strings against the fingers. The necks on nylon-string models are also going to be slightly wider than their steel-string counterparts.

So where do you begin? Start by listening to various styles of music. Be sure to include the finger-style and world music of a nylon-string classical guitar alongside the singer-songwriter tunes of an steel-string acoustic. There is no set-in-stone progression that a beginner guitar player needs to follow, they can start with what they like and branch out from there!

Our selection of Yamaha, Ibanez, and Cordoba 1/2 and 3/4 guitars all make great choices at budget-friendly prices. The majority of smaller acoustics are laminate instruments, but AMS also has a selection of solid-top small acoustic guitar that takes it up a level. Both the Little Martin and Baby Taylor lineups are small-scale instruments that provide big time possibilities for any player!

Many acoustic guitars on display

…and moving to full size!

As students move into middle school and high school age, they commonly proceed to full-sized acoustic guitars of their liking. There isn’t just one type of full-size instrument, you can choose from a wide range of options in terms of sound projection and comfort based on the player’s physical stature. Here is a more detailed list and layout of the different full-sized body shapes and sizes. As a student progresses and sizes up, they’ll still be able to continue using their smaller instrument as a travel guitar or secondary option at home! Fender, Ibanez, Epiphone, Yamaha, and a number of other great Acoustic Guitar brands all make excellent models that meet the needs of beginners.

Acoustic Beginner Guitar Packages

AMS offers a huge selection of great priced, educator-approved Acoustic Guitar Packages of all sizes from the top brands. That makes picking the right gift for the aspiring guitarist in your life straightforward and easy. Fender, Ibanez, Epiphone, and Yamaha are just a few of the brands we carry that offer packages. These contain everything you need to get started right out of the box, including a gig bag, strap, and picks. Now there will be no delay in getting underway!

Man playing an acoustic guitar

AMS is here to help guide you on your musical journey!

We look forward to serving your needs and are here to assist you in finding the right beginner acoustic guitar. Looking for more information? Our complete collection of supplementary guides, articles, and videos can be found here at our content hub, and we’re regularly adding new material. You can also give us a call at 1-800-319-9043, our gear experts are standing by - we’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.