Best Acoustic Guitar for Beginners in 2018
In our search for the best acoustic guitar for beginners, we’ve seen a lot of awesome models that promise to give new guitarists an easy time learning how to play. To help beginners out, we’ve narrowed down our list to six exceptional models. We know how difficult and overwhelming it can be to choose a good beginner instrument, so we’ve selected what we deem to be the best in terms of sound, playability, affordability, build and overall quality. If you’re a beginner looking for a starter guitar, your search ends here.
Our Top Picks for Acoustic Guitars for Beginners
|Takamine GD30CE||The GD30CE by Takamine has everything a beginner needs to get started and level up because it already has an electronics system built in. It features a solid spruce top, complemented by mahogany back and sides. The sound is naturally rich and resonant. The rosewood fingerboard is easy to play, making the Takamine GD30CE a great choice for beginners.|
|Taylor 114e||The 114e is yet another superb acoustic guitar from Taylor. It features a Grand Auditorium body style, solid Sitka spruce top, layered walnut back and sides, sapele neck and genuine African ebony fingerboard. The Taylor 114e is a highly versatile, all-purpose guitar that beginners would enjoy using to explore various acoustic playing styles.|
|Epiphone Hummingbird Pro||Sporting the legendary Hummingbird design but without the price associated with its Gibson counterpart, the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is something beginners will surely love. Other than its iconic vintage look, the Hummingbird Pro by Epiphone has a great build, sound and playability. It’s got electronics built in as well, so it’s both gorgeous and stage-ready. It’s definitely a keeper.|
|Ovation Celebrity||A striking, dark-bodied guitar with a unique design and body shape. The Ovation Celebrity acoustic-electric guitar features a mid-depth Lyrachord cutaway body and bowl, a quilted maple top and ivory white binding. What sets this guitar apart is its multi-soundhole design and exotic Tiger Eye finish. If you want to make a bold statement, this is the guitar for you.|
|Taylor 110e||Here’s another Taylor acoustic-electric guitar that comes highly recommended for beginners. The Taylor 110e is by no means flashy, but what it lacks in embellishments it makes up for in sound. This guitar is perfect for beginners wanting that full-voiced dreadnought sound that can only be achieved by dynamic strumming and flatpicking.|
|Martin DX1AE||There’s no denying that Martin produces some of the world’s best acoustic guitars, which is why we’re including one here that’s definitely more than just a starter guitar. The Martin DX1AE is an acoustic-electric dreadnought that not only wins in sound but also playability. The sustainable materials used in its construction make it environmentally friendly and reasonably priced too!|
The Takamine GD30CE is a dreadnought guitar that has a Venetian-style cutaway for easier access to the higher frets. Its top is made from solid spruce while its back and sides are made from mahogany. The combination of tonewoods gives the guitar a resonant and rich sound that can be amplified through the built-in Takamine TP-4TD preamp system.
Beginners would enjoy and have an easy time playing its slim mahogany neck. The rosewood fingerboard adds to the guitar’s comfortable feel and playability. However, a proper setup may be necessary to get rid of minor fret buzz.
Other notable features of the GD30CE include a rosewood head cap, synthetic bone nut and split bridge saddle, chrome die-cast tuners, pearloid dot inlays and rosette, pin-less rosewood bridge and a gloss finish.
The onboard preamp comes with a three-band EQ as well as gain controls. It also features a built-in tuner to help beginners tune the guitar strings to the proper pitch.
Even when unplugged, the Takamine GD30CE has a great tone with plenty of volume, thanks to its dreadnought body shape. It certainly has the look, playability and tonality of an acoustic that costs a lot more.
What makes the Taylor 114e an excellent choice for a beginner guitar? Well for one thing it’s made by a brand that’s been known to produce the best acoustic guitars in the world. It’s also an acoustic-electric guitar, which means beginners can use it as they advance to recording and playing live.
The Taylor 114e also has a solid top of Sitka spruce, which will make the guitar sound better as the wood ages. Together with the layered walnut back and sides and a forward shift pattern bracing, the soundboard produces a clear, balanced tone with a good projection.
The nut width of the 114e is also narrower than other acoustic guitars. This means that the strings are placed closer to each other, making it easier for beginners to make chord shapes across the fingerboard.
The Grand Auditorium body style is also comfortable to play. The 114e is a versatile guitar that is responsive to different kinds of acoustic playing styles, from light fingerpicking to medium flatpicking and strumming – perfect for beginners who are just starting out.
The Taylor 114e is equipped with an Expression System 2 pickup, which effectively captures the guitar’s dynamic tonal quality in an amplified setting.
- All-purpose guitar, responsive to various playing styles
- Built-in Taylor electronics
- Narrower nut width for easier fretboard navigation
- No built-in tuner
- String action may need to be adjusted for better playing comfort
The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is a reintroduced version of the iconic Gibson Hummingbird, which has gained cult status as the go-to guitar of some of the most revered musicians in the world, including Rolling Stones founder Keith Richards. It’s particularly good for beginners because not only does it come really close to the classic clean sound of the classic Hummingbird, it’s also more accessible price-wise.
Epiphone’s Hummingbird Pro features a solid spruce top and laminated select mahogany wood back and sides. The D-shaped neck with a SlimTaper profile is comfortable and easy to play, something that beginners will surely appreciate because it makes learning chords so much easier.
The parallelogram inlays on the rosewood fretboard are visually appealing and serve as great visual aids, helping beginners to determine where to place their fingers on the fretboard. Other notable aesthetic features are the sloped dovewing headstock, the artwork on the pickguard showing the bird the guitar is named after and of course, the faded cherry burst color that can really make heads turn.
The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is equipped with a Shadow ePerformer preamp and Shadow NanoFlex pickup system, which naturally amplifies the acoustic sound when plugged in.
- Electronics system built in
- Overall design looks superb
- Pocket-friendly version of the Gibson Hummingbird
- Hummingbird design on the pickguard wears off eventually
- Initial setup necessary to check the electronics and eliminate minor fret buzz
This Ovation guitar – the Celebrity Elite Plus CE44P-TGE model – is so striking you will spend a lot of time simply looking at it. One of the first things you’ll notice is the multiple soundholes on the top of the guitar, a design exclusive to the Celebrity Elite series. The multi-soundhole design allows the guitar to produce a balanced bass response with focused lows and crystal-clear highs.
Another thing that catches the eye with this guitar is the remarkably stunning transparent Tiger Eye finish. Ivory white binding gives a beautiful contrast and emphasizes the shape of the guitar. Other physical specs include a quilted maple top, a nato neck with a satin finish and a rosewood fingerboard and bridge.
The Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus CE44P-TGE guitar has a mid-depth body style. This body style is a characteristic of Ovation guitars and helps to enhance the richness of tone and overall projection. It’s also very easy and comfortable to play for beginners.
The guitar also features an onboard Ovation Slimline pickup as well as an OP-4BT preamp system that comes with volume/gain control, a tuner and a three-band EQ for a great sound during recording sessions and live performances.
- Unique multi-soundhole design
- Mid-depth body for greater playing comfort
- Built-in electronics for maximum tonal control
- Rounded neck not for everyone
- Neck adjustment may be tricky to do on your own
The Taylor 110e dreadnought is part of the company’s 100 Series of guitars, deemed the brand’s most affordable full-sized acoustics. Like the 114e, which is also part of the 100 Series, the 110e features solid Sitka spruce for its top and layered walnut for its back and sides.
Sitka spruce is a great tonewood because it gives a guitar a broad dynamic range and crisp articulation. As a result, the 110e is highly responsive to different acoustic guitar playing styles. For beginners, this means being able to explore and practice everything from light fingerpicking to edgy flatpicking and strumming.
The 110e does not have a cutaway for easy access to the upper frets, but if you don’t really tend to play in the upper register it shouldn’t be a problem. Many musicians actually prefer the traditional and symmetrical look of an acoustic guitar, plus the sound can come out as bigger and fuller.
The 110e also has a narrow sapele neck, ebony fretboard and bridge, forward shift pattern bracing, three-ring rosette and the Expression System 2 electronics. The pickup-preamp is the same as as that in the 114e, so you can expect the same quality of acoustic amplification.
- Simple and straightforward design with a solid spruce top
- Can accommodate a variety of playing styles
- One of Taylor’s most affordable full-sized electric-acoustic dreadnoughts
- Sides and back are made from laminated wood
- Narrower and thinner neck not for everyone
A built-in electronics system in an acoustic guitar is a nice plus for beginners. Usually though, an electro-acoustic guitar in a beginner’s hand seldom makes its way past a home studio or small-town cafe. Not so with this guitar, which guarantees that players won’t have to upgrade to a new instrument when they’re ready to take the stage.
The Martin DX1AE is definitely something you can stick with for years even if you have the means to get another acoustic guitar. Featuring a dreadnought body shape, solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany pattern high-pressure laminate back and sides, Richlite fingerboard and Fishman electronics, this guitar has everything beginners and even pro musicians would need in a performance-ready acoustic.
Martin guitars are typically known for many things things: expert craftsmanship, visual appeal, playability, a beautifully deep and rich sound and a price tag that could be considered steep for new guitarists. The Martin DX1AE has all of those qualities except for the last one. The use of sustainable composite materials, particularly HPL and Richlite, is a big factor in making this guitar affordable to a greater number of people. With the DX1AE, beginners can have a quality Martin guitar from the get-go.
- Built-in Fishman Sonitone preamp system
- Use of eco-friendly materials does not sacrifice sound quality
- Reasonably priced instrument from a premium brand
- Laminate materials may put off some musicians looking for an all-wood guitar
- Initial setup needed to adjust action and address fret buzz issues
Our buying tips for the best guitar for beginners
What is the best beginner acoustic guitar for you?
Learning to play the acoustic guitar takes tremendous effort and dedication. One doesn’t become a skilled guitarist overnight. There will be long hours of practice, days where you may feel like you’re not making any progress and nights when you feel so tired you can’t even pick up your guitar. It can take months to accomplish a major goal.
Through this all, you need a sturdy guitar you can rely on. Something that is built well, is comfortable to hold, keeps in tune and sounds like a good acoustic guitar should. The best acoustic guitar for you is the one that meets these criteria as well as your personal preferences in terms of look, feel and tone.
This is why it’s important to get the best beginner acoustic guitar you can afford right from the start. Having a good guitar from the beginning will make the learning experience easier and more fun. For instance, if it holds its tune well, you won’t have to constantly adjust the tuning after every few minutes of practice. If the sound quality is good, you will be able to train your ear to hear even the most subtle of differences in pitch. In addition, a great-sounding guitar will make you feel more motivated to learn and practice every day.
The Takamine GD30CE, Taylor 114e and 110e, Epiphone Hummingbird Pro, Ovation Celebrity and Martin DX1AE are all quality acoustic guitars that look good, feel great and sound awesome. They meet the technical requirements of a great acoustic guitar for beginners so you definitely won’t go wrong with choosing any one of these. The deciding factors would be your budget and personal tastes regarding size, design and tonal quality.
Check out these guitar models in a music store or watch videos of them being played so you can have a better idea of how they feel and sound. Take your time so you can choose the best beginner acoustic guitar for you.
What makes these acoustic-electric guitars great for beginners?
All of the models in this list of best acoustic guitars for beginners are electro-acoustics. Many people may say that you don’t need the electronics if you’re just starting out. While you can certainly stick to a standard acoustic guitar without a pickup-preamp system, we believe that having onboard electronics is a major plus for beginners.
The acoustic guitars listed here are all quality instruments that are built to last and will sound better as the months and years go by. With a quality guitar, beginners won’t have to upgrade for a long time. And once you progress to an intermediate or advanced level and feel ready to perform in a live setting, you can stick with your first guitar because it’s already equipped with the electronics necessary to amplify your sound.
Top Tip for Beginners: Prep the guitar before you play
No matter which acoustic guitar you choose, it’s recommended to have it professionally set up first before playing. Setting up a guitar involves making adjustments to the guitar so that it’s more comfortable to play and produces the best sound possible.
Lowering the action so that the strings are closer to the fretboard is one of the things that makes the guitar more comfortable to play. When the string action is low, you won’t have to exert too much pressure when pressing down on the strings as you form chords. This would reduce the discomfort you will feel in the fingers in your fretting hand – and yes, those fingers will hurt during the first few days. Don’t worry, the pain will go away the more you practice and build muscle strength.
A proper guitar setup also involves addressing any issues with intonation and fret buzz. It also gives you the benefit of a live demo on using the built-in electronics such as the tuner and preamp controls. All in all, taking your guitar to a professional will guarantee that what you have in your hands is truly the best acoustic guitar for you.