Acoustic Guitar Tuition

Ralph Bown gypsy jazz guitar

Most people wanting to play guitar start with a steel string acoustic. Acoustic guitars are light, portable and sound good. They are also extremely versatile, being well-suited to all types of music from Blues to Zydeco.

Choosing an Acoustic Guitar

In many ways, there has never been a better time to buy an acoustic guitar. The market is flooded with a huge variety of instruments and it can be something of a minefield for the novice. Wherever possible, take someone along who already plays and get them to strum a few chords while you listen from a few feet away. This is the best way to judge the true sound of an instrument. Hold the guitar yourself - is it comfortable? Play every string on every fret and listen for buzzes, rattles and dead spots. Also, use some common sense - if you are a small person, don't buy the biggest guitar in the shop! If all else fails, don't be scared to ask for advice. If you're not satisfied with the stock or the service, go somewhere else.

Steel or Nylon Strings?

If you want to play classical guitar, like John Williams or Andres Segovia, buy a classical guitar with nylon strings. If you want to play folk, rock, pop, blues, swing, bluegrass or just about any other style, buy a steel-string acoustic guitar. It is possible, though not desirable, to put nylon strings on a steel-string guitar. Due to the difference in tension, the guitar will be very quiet and dull-sounding. Never put steel strings on a classical guitar, they will do irreperable damage due to the tension of the strings.