Discover The Best Acoustic Guitar For Playing Fingerstyle Guitar.
Which one is best for me? Is it a something by Martin Guitars or Taylor Guitars? What is the ultimate-guitar for me?
Deciding which guitar is best for you is a very personal question. What suits one person perfectly may be entirely wrong for someone else.
How do you decide what's best for you?
How to Choose
There are several things to look at when deciding which is the best acoustic guitar for you. All guitars used for fingerstyle playing will have some things in common, though.
Some of those factors are ease of playing, a fast response, tonal balance and clarity. Lets look at all of these qualities.
Ease of playing is exactly what it says. Your best acoustic guitar will be easy to play. Ease of play does have to be balanced with tone.
On acoustic guitars, string size and the height of the action will figure into how the guitar sounds. Extra light strings and low action will make a guitar easy to play. But this doesn't mean that it will sound good.
Light strings may not produce enough vibration to move the guitars top. No vibration equals no air moving inside the guitar. No air moving inside the guitar means very little sound from the guitar.
Having the strings close to the fingerboard makes the guitar easy to play. It may also mean that the strings buzz against the fingerboard. So this may not be the best acoustic guitar for this use.
A fast response means the time between when a note is plucked and when it sounds. Fingerstyle guitarists play melodies on the guitar.
For the melody to sound right, the notes have to sound for only the right length of time. Too long and it sounds funny. Too short and it sounds funny. So the best acoustic guitar has to instantly do what your fingers are telling it to do.
Fingerstyle guitar players are a one person band. This means that all of the parts that they're playing need to be clearly heard. The only way that this can happen is if the guitar is balanced.
If the notes on the 5th and 6th strings are real loud but the ones on the 1st and 2nd strings aren't, this could be a problem. When you're "auditioning" a new guitar make sure that all of its strings are balanced in volume.
The best acoustic guitar will have a clear sound. This means that the notes won't be muffled or thuddy sounding. Most guitars will have a clear sound in the treble strings. A good acoustic guitar will also have a clear, full sound in the lower pitched strings.
The best acoustic guitar will have a clear sound on the lower pitched strings when the string is fretted. Especially when it's fretted higher up the neck. That's a tough thing to do for many acoustic guitars.
The best acoustic guitar for one person may not be the same one for someone else. That's because we're all different. You also have to consider your personal tastes and how you will be holding the guitar. Here's an example.
Suppose that you've always played a dreadnought guitar. And that you always hold it on your right leg. Let's also say that you're 6' tall. This may be the perfect setup for you.
Now let's put a different player in the same situation. But this player is 5'2" tall. This probably won't work out too well. For this player a smaller bodied instrument would work better.
Here is some general info on what makes the best acoustic guitar for the fingerstyle player.
1) A small sized guitar. Small bodied guitars are more lightly built than large bodied guitars. This means that they sound good with light guage strings.
They also have a faster response than larger bodied instruments.
All of this combines to make a guitar that's easy to play. These guitars will be called folk, OM, OOO, or concert guitars.
Some players will want to play a large bodied guitar like a jumbo or dreadnought. In this case, a model that's very evenly voiced will be the best acoustic guitar.
2) The guitar's fingerboard will be 1 11/16" or wider at the nut. Any narrower and it is hard to fret and do hammer-ons and pull-offs on. Many players like a 1 3/4" width. This is a very common fingerboard width on smaller bodied guitars.
3) Guitars with spruce tops will have a brighter sound than those with cedar or redwood tops. If your budget allows, always get a guitar with a solid top. On inexpensive guitars the top is sometimes a laminate.
A laminate is like plywood. There may be a layer of wood on the top that looks like spruce. The layers underneath will be other less expensive woods that aren't normally used in guitar making.
On a guitar with a laminate top the wood at the edge of the soundhole looks chopped off. On a solid top guitar the wood tapers as it goes into the soundhole. You can see the grain of the tops wood extend into the soundhole.
4) In general, guitars that have sides and back of mahogany or maple are brighter and clearer sounding than rosewood. Some of that brightness and clarity is a result of how the manufacturer constructs the guitar.
Martin and Taylor guitars both offer several models in these woods.
The notes on a maple bodied guitar decay a little faster than notes made of other woods. This makes it less likely to feedback. A good choice for acoustic-electric guitars.
5) The best acoustic guitar will have a back made of solid woods. The wood on the sides isn't as important. The sides mainly work to hold the top and back together.
To sum it all up, the
best acoustic guitar
for most fingerstyle players will be a small bodied guitar of mahogany or maple with a fingerboard 1 11/16" or 1 3/4" wide at the nut.
It will be made of solid woods or at least have a solid top. Have fun with your new guitar!
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