Getting the best acoustic guitar might not seem like a challenge because every guitar store is lined to the ceiling with them. However, there are certain attributes that make some acoustic guitars better. Those include a cutaway that gives access to upper frets, softer strings to save on finger wear, thinline body to allow for easier playing or even a slide to simplify chording and scales. All can help to improve the beginner's playing experience.
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Single Cutaway Acoustics
A single cutaway guitar allows easier access to the upper register of frets on the treble side of the guitar. The benefit to a guitar with a single cutaway is the fact that your hand can reach those frets for easier learning of lead guitar soloing. If an acoustic does not have a single cutaway, it is much harder to reach the upper register frets, which makes it harder to learn how to play solos. Single cutaway guitars are plentiful and can be found at most guitar retailers.
Classical acoustic guitars are beneficial for novice guitar players because they use softer nylon strings as opposed to the metal strings made for standard acoustic guitars. Because the strings are softer, there is less pain in the fingers as you build dexterity and callouses on the fingertips. This makes it easier on learning finger technique. Classical guitars come in a wide price range but quality instruments can be obtained at the beginner price range.
Thinline Acoustic Electric
A thinline acoustic electric or "jazz" guitar gives you the feel and sound of a standard "country" style acoustic but it also has guitar pickups installed. Because of this, electric guitar strings are used. The string tension on acoustic-electric guitars is much less then a traditional acoustic and, because of this, the distance of the strings from the fretboard is less. This limits fatigue in the hand and wrist and allows the player to focus more on technique. An example of a thinline acoustic electric would be an ES-335 from Gibson, a Gretsch Country Gentleman and an Ibanez Talman.
National or Dobro Slide Acoustics
A National guitar, otherwise known as a Dobro, is an acoustic guitar played with a guitar slide. The music made with this type of acoustic is common in the bluegrass and country genre. Instead of pressing the strings against the fretboard, a metal or glass slide is used to change the pitch of the string. Many people find this method of playing easier because of the simplified chords and scales.
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