Category Archives for Acoustic Guitars

Can a Cheap Guitar Like the Fender FA-100 Be Any Good?

Do you see the price of this guitar? As guitars go, that’s practically nothing!

I find it a little bit odd that Fender even has a guitar at this price. As a general rule of thumb, their intermediate to professional level instruments carries the Fender name, whereas their cheaper guitars, aimed at beginners have the Squier brand slapped on the headstock.

Fender FA-100 | MSRP: $149.99

 

I did little checking, and found that I some places the Squier beginner pack is being sold for more than this!

Fender has never seemed as precious about their acoustic offerings, so I guess it’s easier to lump this in with the Fender brand name. I’d love to see the research and boardroom reasoning behind it! In saying that, there have been a few electric models coming from China in the past few years. They must have performed well!

Anyway, let’s take a look at the actual guitar!

Core Features and Specs

As you can probably guess, at this price, the FA-100 doesn’t have much in terms of specs that makes it fancy at all.

In fact, even on Fender’s own marketing materials, the things they highlight are so ordinary. IT seems the biggest selling point for the FA-100 is just how ordinary it is.

Style Dreadnought
Body material Sitka spruce top and basswood back and sides
Neck Maple
Fingerboard Rosewood
Frets 20
Pickup None

Yeah, definitely nothing too exciting there. Probably the most interesting part is the basswood back and sides. Basswood is best known for its use in electric guitars, typically Superstrat-style ones.

Probably the stand out thing with this guitar is that you’re not just buying the guitar. It’s sold as a pack which also includes a padded gig bag, a few picks, a strap, and a tuner.

This will work well for…

I can think of two markets for whom this would appeal to.

Firstly, and probably most obviously, is beginners. Fender is a well-known brand that even beginners who have never held a guitar in their life will be familiar with. It’s the sort of things where if you say “Jimi Hendrix used to play Fender,” you invoke images of rock stardom. That’s half the sell right there.

Add in the pack status of this product, and it is pointing squarely at beginners.

The other candidate for owning the FA-100 is intermediate or professional guitarists. Players who have a few guitars in their collection, but just need something for knocking around, either for the living room or bringing to the beach or on road trips. Essentially they’ll be looking for something that’s not expensive, but that won’t be completely awful to play either.

Does it do what it should?

As with a lot of Eastern-made guitars at the cheaper end of the market, the parts of the FA-100 are all unbranded.

What does this mean? Well, as with most guitar companies, production practices in relation to location are kept pretty vague, so I can’t tell you for definite. But, there a good chance this is mass produced, with Fender, or any other company who wants, able to buy the guitars, and put whatever logo they want on the headstock.

Eek, that sounds a little negative. But, if that keeps costs down when you’re looking for a cheap guitar, well, you’re  not really in a position to complain, but it may be worth thinking about how much of the FA-100’s price tag you might be spending just on having Fender printed on the headstock.

It’s also worth remembering that, as one of the leading instrument manufacturing brands in the world, Fender will likely pay a little bit more attention to quality control, more so than a lot of brands. Even if these are being churned out of a factory, I’d wager 50 American dollars on them keeping an eye on what they’re putting their name on.

Construction

Despite some misgivings about the parts used in constructing this guitar, it’s actually a fine instrument.

I mean, not “fine” as in “a work of art that’ll replace the Mona Lisa at the Louvre,” but fine as “it’ll do fine.”

I’ll go over key points that should be looked at on any guitar.

Firstly, looking at the neck joint, and it really is a very tidy piece of work. I’m very impressed by it. It’s better than neck joints of seen on premium Fenders from its dark days in the seventies, that’s for sure! There are no scratches or globs of excess glue, and nothing looks forced. Good job!

The rest of the parts share this level of build quality. The machineheads seem good and tight, with no concerning rattles. Looking down the neck, the fingerboard looks as even as you’d like. Taking a closer look at the frets, and it’s as good as can be. In line with the rest of the instrument, it’s fine. No alarm bells anywhere.

The body has been finished with a black binding. It’s fine, but I’m not sure it adds anything to the guitar, visually. But in saying that, I do have a personal bias towards favoring a nice white or cream binding.

Tones

I’m reviewing this guitar in what I would describe as an average sized living room area. It’s got carpeted floor and curtains, and the usual soft furnishings, as well as harder furniture.

Why do you care what my living room is like? I honestly hope you don’t, but I wanted to give you an idea of the room I’m reviewing from, because that will influence the sound, especially on acoustic guitars, which don’t have distorted amps to hide behind.

The room I’ve just described should give you an indication that it’s really a dull sounding room from the carpet and soft furnishings, but not completely dead. There’s no danger of any kind of reverb affecting the sound.

I went straight into this playing a few chords: mid-tempo, and a relatively relaxed strum. No more than my comments on the build of the guitar, it was fine. It’s far from the brightest or most resonant guitar I’ve played. While the higher strings rang out fine, the overall tone is definitely geared towards a mid-to-low sound.

If you’re after an instrument with sustain that’ll ring out for four days, it probably won’t come as a surprise that this $150 guitar isn’t it.

It’s not a bad sound if you just need drunken strums around a campfire where nobody knows what a Martin D-28 sounds like, this will make relevant noise to keep people happy.

Playability

I find that in terms of playability, cheaper guitars are more of a fight if that makes sense. The action is rarely particularly low. The FA-100 is no exception.

For an inexperienced player, this is actually a good thing. Having to press that bit harder will strengthen your fingers, and get you used to play with a bit of effort and precision. If you learn to on a guitar with a bit of fight, any guitar after that will seem easy.

The other thing I noticed playing through the FA-100 is that it doesn’t seem as finished as other instruments. It come with a gloss polyurethane finish, which is fairly standard, but I don’t know if it’s that it hasn’t been given many coats or whether it’s a thinner coat than more expensive instruments.

I’ll chalk that up to being one of the cost cutting measures that keeps the cost of this guitar nice and low. It’s not that it creates any discomfort when you’re playing or anything, but it is noticeable.

If you’re an intermediate or professional guitarist, who has been used to playing better finished guitars with lower action, this might be a bit uncomfortable, but it’ll remind you of the importance of getting back to basics in your playing.

Pros Cons
  • So cheap!
  • Everything you need to get started in the pack
  • A decent instrument for beginners to learn on
  • It’s not an exciting guitar
  • Seasoned players might find the feel and action to be a challenge

Alternatives to try

Epiphone PR-150

Never in a million years will Gibson produce a new guitar as cheap as this. Their Eastern-made Epiphone’s brand is renowned for exceptional quality at affordable prices. They are a common choice for beginners and intermediate players on a budget.

The PR-150 is a straight up brand equivalent of the FA-100. On surface-level, the only noticeable difference is the name on the headstock. The Epi comes with mahogany back and sides, and a mahogany neck. Ordinarily, mahogany is a more expensive tonewood to use, but at this price, you can guess that it’s not going to be any kind of exceptionally high-end stuff.

Yamaha F335

If you’re looking for something a little bit different but in a similar budget, the Yamaha F335 might be an option. Rather than the classic natural finish, you can get one of these in a high gloss black finish, with gold hardware.

Its top is regular old spruce, but its back and sides are made from a wood called Meranti. It’s called Philippine mahogany but isn’t actually mahogany at all, but it does look like it.

Conclusion

If you’re a beginner but want to take comfort in the familiarity of a well-known brand, the FA-100 from Fender is an excellent option. As it’s a pack, it comes with the few extra bits you need to get you up and running.

It would probably be an OK choice for intermediate guitarists as a backup guitar for messing around with, but personally, I’d spend a few dollars getting the action lowered.

Stay In Tune! The Five Best Clip on Guitar Tuners on the Market Today

If you are a guitarist who plays on stage often, whether it be for a small venue or a large crowd, keeping your guitar in tune is imperative. Using a clip on guitar tuner makes tuning your instrument on stage easy and convenient. You’re not going to have to stop the whole concert just to tune down to a drop D; instead, with a clip on tuner, you’ll just need to take a few seconds to drop your tuning and you’re all set to go.

However, using a clip on guitar tuner from just anywhere isn’t going to do you any good. You are going to need a reliable, lightweight, accurate, and easy to use clip on tuner if you want to purchase yourself a clip on tuner that will really put in work. All of the clip on guitar tuners that I have listed here have all been put to the test by myself personally, based upon their accuracy, durability, weight, and functionality.

Clip on guitar tuners are the most popular types of tuner on the market because they are easy to use and are very flexible when it comes to their versatility. A guitar player will clip the tuner onto the headstock of their guitar, which allows the tuner to use its piezo sensors that pick up the vibrations from the notes your guitar is playing. This means that you won’t have to become completely dependent on a microphone to tune your guitar; so if you’re in a crowded venue where there’s a lot of noise around you, you will still be able to use a clip on tuner without it interfering with the quality of your tuning. The biggest complaint that a lot of people have about clip on guitar tuners is that they happen to be fragile, which is understandable considering that these tuners are very small. As long as you handle your tuner properly, you’re not going to have any problems with the tool breaking.

How do clip on guitar tuners work?

Unlike other tuners, clip on guitar tuners work by picking up vibrations. When these types of tuners were first released, they really didn’t work as efficiently as they do now. By using the vibrations that the guitar produces, clip on tuners don’t need to have a microphone or a signal chain in order to function.

If you are a baritone guitar player or a bass guitarist, I would suggest that you stay away from using clip on guitars. Since the vibrations of lower strings are slower compared to higher strings, clip on tuners struggle to pick up the vibrations, which means that the tunings on lower notes aren’t very accurate. Clip on tuners have no problem with accurately reading the low E string on an acoustic or an electric guitar, but any note lower than that, they struggle with. If you are just an average guitarist, clip on guitar tuners are outstanding, especially if you’re used to playing with a tuner that uses a microphone.

Snark SN-2

The Snark SN-2 clip on guitar tuner is one of the most popular guitar tuners on the market today, most likely because of its affordable price tag at $15. For the inexpensive price tag, this tuner packs a lot of unique features into it. The Snark SN-2 comes with pitch calibration which is great to have when you’re trying to match your tuning with another instrument. It also comes with transposition for you to use when you’re trying to change your instrument’s tuning from a standard tuning. Also, this tuner comes with a tap tempo metronome which is great to have around when looking to practice.

It should also be mentioned that this tuner comes with a built-in microphone that helps to support the internal vibration sensor, which assists in assuring a more accurate tuning. One of my favorite features about the Snark SN-2 is that you can use it all average guitars and not so average guitars. You can tune your bass guitar, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar all just with this tuner!

Korg AW2G Tuner

The Korg AW2G is a clip on tuner that has been designed to be able to fit a variety of different sized instruments. This tuner also comes with a clip that has the ability to fit several different types of instruments, all the way from wind instruments to stringed instruments such as guitars. Out of one battery, you can get up to 150 hours of tuning, which is pretty incredible! There is also an internal backlight on the AW2G, which allows players to see the screen, even if playing on a dark or dimly lit stage. The biggest complaint about this tuner is that it isn’t as functional at the Snark tuner, but the Korg AW2G does a much better job tuning low E strings compared to the Snark.

Peterson StroboClip

For $80 you can use a clip-on tuner that’s so precise that it’s used by famous professionals. This tuner is so accurate, that it has a 1/10 cent accuracy. Peterson designed this clip on the tuner to be able to tune acoustic guitars, electric guitars, ukuleles, dobros, banjos, and mandolins with little hassle! Another cool feature that comes with this tuner is the capo setting, which allows players to quickly tune their instrument in between live performances. If you are a professional guitar player who is looking to invest in a high-quality clip-on tuner, the Peterson StroboClip is your best bet.

Boss TU-10 Tuner

If you’re familiar with pedal tuners, then the Boss TU-10 clip-on tuner will be easy for you to work with, especially if you’ve never used a clip on tuner before. The TU-1O has a lot of the same features as a pedal tuner; for example, this clip on tuner has the ability to support flat tuning and has five semitones. One of the best features on this tuner is that the screen is easily viewable, no matter what type of lighting you are in, even if it’s bright sunlight. The biggest complaint that people have about the Boss TU-10 is that the clip and tuner are one solid piece, which makes it impossible to swivel. Since this tuner doesn’t swivel, you will have to put in extra work to be able to find the best angle for you on your guitar.

TC Electronic Poly Tune Clip

This is one of the most expensive guitar clips that we have listed in this list, but it is one of the best clip-on tuners on the market today. This tuner is produced by TC Electronic and will cost you around $50. The main reason that this clip on guitar is more expensive than other tuners is that the TC Electronic Poly Tune Clip on tuner uses polyphonic tuning that allows you to strum your guitar once and it will accurately tune each string. This means that you only have to strum your guitar once and you will have all of your strings tuned. The polyphonic tuning cuts down on the amount of time that you spend tuning, which can really help when you’re trying to move onto your other set.

If you’re not interested in having the clip on tuner tune all of your strings at once, you can also tune your guitar using the traditional chromatic tuning, which allows you to tune your instrument string by string. You can also tune your guitar using the strobe method, which is a very precise method that’s only ever flat or sharp by .02 cents.

Conclusion

It is strongly recommended that if you are a guitarist who plays a lot of live gigs and needs to quickly tune in between each song, you should purchase a clip on the guitar tuner. However, if you are someone who plays bass guitar or a baritone guitar, using a clip on guitar tuner is going to nearly be impossible for you to properly tune your instrument since the vibrations are so low. If you are an average guitar player, you aren’t going to have any problems getting accurate tuning results with your clip on guitar tuners.

The Full Martin DX1AE Acoustic Electric Guitar Review

If you’re looking to purchase yourself a quality Martin guitar without having to pay the Martin price tag, the Martin DX1AE is an acoustic electric guitar you’re going to want to check out. For just under $600, you can purchase yourself an instrument that will provide you with an amazing sound quality and high-quality sound projection. The tone that the Martin DX1AE delivers a loud and bright tone that has the ability to blend in with basically any music genre.

Especially considering the price tag, the materials that Martin used to comprise this guitar are absolutely beautiful and have incredible quality. The DX1AE has a dreadnought body, which helps to ensure that this guitar produces the maximum amount of volume that it can. It also has an A frame X-1 top bracing with solid Sitka spruce top braces. Also, the satin finish has been completed by hand, which really adds a nice touch of authenticity to the guitar.

The back and sides have a high-pressure laminate that has a textured finish, that really helps to balance out the sound of the instrument. The nut width of the DX1AE is 1 and 11/16 inches and is comprised of white Corian.

Why I Love the Martin DX1AE

Personally, I love the sound quality of the Martin DX1AE; it’s my favorite part of the entire guitar. The spruce top of the DX1AE is a bit thicker than most other guitars and having this extra thickness really allows the guitar to produce a loud and bass sound. Martin also made sure to install quality tuners, which helps to ensure that the strings stay in tune for long periods of time, without having the need of constant re-tuning. The tuning pegs are chrome and are enclosed with small buttons.

There are some complaints about the overall build quality of this guitar, but in my personal experience, I have found that it withstands against a decent amount of abuse. By the decent amount of abuse, I mean that I accidentally hit my guitar against a music stand or against a wall. I have heard a few of my friends talk about how they have dropped their guitar and how there was a lot of damage left on the instrument. Just make sure that you’re careful with your instrument, no matter what you buy!

DX1AE has twenty frets in total, with fourteen that are clear for use. The width of the fingerboard is 2 1/8th inches, which really helps to make playing to be comfortable; having this extra width also makes playing tricky maneuvers and progressions to be easier, since you have extra room to work with. The bridge is made from Black Rich Lite, which is what the fretboard is also made from.

The bridge and end pins are white with black dots, but you also have an option to pick a tortoise color. As for the electronics placed in this acoustic electric, Martin installed Fishman electronics, which really helps to add a decent amount of versatility to the guitar, making it great to use for a variety of gigs.

Core features of the Martin DX1AE

The Martin DX1AE is a part of the Martin X Series of Guitars; each and every guitar manufacturer has their own unique naming system for their guitars. Martin tends to name their guitars after their size and body style. Here is a breakdown of the DX1AE title:

D – Dreadnought body style

X- X series from Martin guitars; there are fifteen other models in the X series

1 – This basically means that this is a basic acoustic electric that doesn’t come with any frills and has a basic A-frame.

AE- Acoustic Electric

What are the best genres to play the Martin DX1AE with?

Since the sound that the DX1AE produces is bright, loud, and warm, there is no one specific genre that wouldn’t pair well with this guitar. There are an unlimited amount of genres that would pair really well with the DX1AE; however, I wouldn’t go and say that you play thrasher metal on this acoustic-electric (that would just sound silly).

Does the Martin work as advertised?

Yes, the Martin DX1AE does work as advertised. This is an affordable guitar that produces a professional sound and doesn’t require a lot of skill in order to make the instrument sound amazing.

Pros of the Martin DX1AE:

  • Very light weight
  • Easy to transport
  • Has a balanced sound
  • Provides amazing resonance
  • Produces large, clear sound
  • Built to withstand abuse and doesn’t show a lot of signs of wear and tear
  • Affordable
  • High-quality sound

Cons of the Martin DX1AE:

  • The bottom strap is shallow, which sometimes makes playing uncomfortable
  • I hated having to remove all of the strings in order just to access the battery of the guitar

Some other alternative acoustic-electric guitars to consider:

Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar

The Seagull S6 original acoustic guitar is a cheaper option compared to the Martin DX1AE but is only an acoustic guitar. However, while this only is an acoustic guitar, it produces a very similar bright and warm sound compared to the Martin DX1AE. This is slightly cheaper, mainly because it doesn’t have the Martin name attached to it.

Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

If you’re looking to spend the least you possibly can, the Yamaha FG800 is an acoustic guitar you should look at. This is also an acoustic guitar, without any electronics attached to it. While this guitar does have a warm and bright sound, it does sometimes have some intonation problems, which is why this instrument is aimed towards beginners.

Conclusion

For the price tag on this instrument, I would highly suggest that you purchase this guitar. You can have yourself a name brand instrument that comes with amazing craftsmanship and even better sound for under $600. Not to mention that the Martin DX1AE stands up very well against humidity, temperature fluctuations, and changes in climate. Overall, I would recommend this instrument to players of all levels; I highly recommend that beginning guitarists give this instrument a checkout, but I also believe that intermediate players and advanced musicians give the DX1AE a chance without passing judgment.

acoustic vs classical guitar

Acoustic vs Classical Guitars: What’s the Difference?

Beginning guitarists who are doing research before purchasing their first guitar will probably become confused when trying to make a decision between purchasing an acoustic guitar or a classical guitar. It’s not uncommon to confuse these two instruments, especially since because you can play the same genres and styles of music on each guitar. However, there are still differences between the two instruments and you should care about these differences.

Classical guitars are instruments that use nylon strings; classical guitars are commonly used in classical music. Yes, there are acoustic guitars, but to clarify the difference between classical and acoustic guitars, we identify classical guitars as classical.

On the other hand, acoustic guitars are guitars that use steel strings; acoustic guitars are more commonly found in today’s music compared to classical guitars. Most beginning guitarists tend to choose acoustic guitars over classical, but this decision often isn’t the best one to make for every beginning guitarist out there.

The differences between classical and acoustic guitars can be sound in how easy they are to play, the sound that they produce, how they are constructed, and what materials they are constructed from. At the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of what the differences between a classical and an acoustic guitar are.

Let’s Discuss the Differences

When just glancing in the direction of a classical guitar and an acoustic guitar sitting right next to each other, the inexperienced guitarist will have a hard time spotting the difference. Classical guitars have an older design compared to acoustic guitars; as our technology and times have evolved, the appearance of instruments have changed to fit a faster production time. If you are looking for a guitar that appears to look traditional, you’ll want to think about the classical guitar.

classical vs acoustic guitars

Some other differences are:

  • The size of the bodies. Steel stringed acoustic guitarshave larger sized bodies and take up more space; that is if we’re not including parlor guitars. Parlor acoustic guitars have a similar size and shape to classical guitars.
  • Strings are another component that changes between classical guitars and acoustic guitars. Classical guitars use nylon strings and ONLY nylon strings; any other type of string puts too much tension on the neck and will warp the neck. Nylon strings produce a softer, more mellow sound, which plays a large role in the sound difference between classical and acoustic guitars. Also, nylon strings are gentler on fingers compared to steel strings, which makes them great to use if you are a beginning guitar player. Acoustic guitars tend to use steel strings, which are a bit harder to play because they require more finger strength to manipulate.
  • Classical guitars have wider fingerboards that tend to be flatter; classical guitars also have a wider spacing for strings. Having this wide amount of space for your fingers makes playing a classical guitar more comfortable, especially if you have large hands. However, if you have smaller hands and fingers, you’ll have an easier time playing acoustic guitar.
  • Acoustic guitars with steel strings have strong, more solid bracing; this allows the guitar to have better resonance and projection. The better projection and resonance is caused by a high amount of tension of the strings, which is only found on acoustic guitars. Classical guitars have a lighter bracing, which means that this instrument does not project it’s sound as far as an acoustic guitar.
  • If you don’t know what a truss rod is, it is a steel rod that runs the entire length of the neck on all steel stringed instruments. Steel stringed instruments need the truss rods in order to reverse the amount of tension that the strings put on the neck. Nylon strings don’t put much tension on the neck and therefore, classical guitars don’t need truss rods.
  • Take a moment to look at where the neck and body fuse together. If there is a joint at the 14th fret, this is a newer guitar; however, if there is a joint at the 12th fret, this is an older guitar with a more classical guitar.
  • Classical guitars are also a lot cheaper compared to acoustic guitars. Hence, this is why a lot of beginning guitarists unknowingly tend to purchase classical guitars when making this first guitar purchase.
  • Better to use for strumming
  • Has a thinner neck
  • Better to use for a wide variety of musical genres
  • Has a larger and louder sound
  • Has truss rod in the neck
  • Metal/steel strings
  • Has a solid headstock
  • A lot of modern day music is played on acoustic
  • Produces immense volume
  • Longer neck makes playing higher registers easy
  • Steel strings are very heat resistant
  • Don’t need to tune the strings often
  • Since these are pieces of steel, you will need to apply a lot of pressure on the strings, which can be painful
  • Brand new steel strings need frequent tuning
  • Steel strings are larger than nylon strings, which can cause trouble for smaller players
  • Nylon strings are very easy on the fingers
  • Have smaller sized bodies
  • Wide neck
  • Does not come with a truss rod
  • Produce a soft sound
  • Nylon strings
  • Has a cut-out headstock
  • Produces a soft, mellow tone
  • Really allows players to romanticize their music
  • Has a gentle and mellow sound that’s perfect for Latin music, as well as many other genres
  • Nylon strings don’t require callouses to add character to the music
  • Easy to travel with
  • If you’re looking to complete a lot of covers of today’s pop music, don’t purchase this guitar
  • Lack volume and power
  • Playing higher registers on the neck are difficult to do
  • Nylon strings need consistent tuning
  • Nylon strings are not heat or humidity resistant

The shape of the bodies serves as a subtle difference between the two instruments; classical guitars do not come with a scratchplate, whereas acoustic guitars do. A scratch plate (also called a pick guard) is a piece of plastic that is placed right next to the sound hole to prevent a pick from scratching up the finish and body of an acoustic guitar.

Which guitar is better for beginners?

Whether you choose an acoustic guitar or a classical guitar, learning to play guitar is going to require a decent amount of work and at times, learning will become frustrating. However, starting out with the right type of guitar makes the learning process a lot easier. A lot of beginning guitarists tend to quit playing because of the struggle learning the actual instrument, not the music.

Nylon strings (which are found on classical guitars) are very gentle on the fingers and make a great choice for children who are learning how to play. Acoustic guitars with steel strings are harder to play, but allow musicians to cover a larger genre of music. You can strum acoustic guitars with your fingers or with a pick, but you cannot strum classical guitars with a pick.Classical guitars are mainly made for finger picking, as these guitars are mainly featured in flamenco music. You should solely base your decision off of what types of music you would like to play and your musical goals, not by choosing which guitar is easier to play.

How do I choose my guitar?

You should choose your guitar based upon your musical interest. Before you go and make any official purchases, you need to do some research about the guitar you’re interested in. If you are interested in playing finger picking style only or you are someone who has sensitive skin or sensitive fingers, I would personally suggest that you go with the classical guitar.

On the other hand, if you want to play a combination of strumming and finger picking, play a variety of music genres, and are looking for a louder sound from your instrument, you may end up preferring the steel stringed acoustic.

No matter what guitar you end up choosing, you’re going to need to adjust your guitar. Most guitars are sold in the box and are not taken out before shipping to be adjusted to ensure that playing the instrument is easy. Guitars that are mass produced all have a basic set up; the mass production of these instruments ensures that there the price tags are lower. The lower price tags on these guitars means that there is not an extended period of time spent on each guitar to ensure that it’s easy to play as soon as you receive it. The more you practice, the more your fingers will get used to playing the string, whether it be nylon or steel strings.

The pain that strings cause doesn’t last a long period of time. When you first get your instrument, make sure that you gently start to tune the guitar. While at first, it may seem more comfortable to begin playing on unadjusted nylon guitar strings, they will actually bring you more pain over time. Adjusted guitar strings are the most comfortable strings to play on.

Acoustic Guitars

Steel stringed acoustic guitars tend to have a fingerboard that is more on the thinner side; steel stringed acoustics also typically tend to join at the 14th fret.

Here, I have a small list of a few fast facts about acoustic guitars that will make your shopping experience a bit easier:

  • Better to use for strumming
  • Has a thinner neck
  • Better to use for a wide variety of musical genres
  • Has a larger and louder sound
  • Has truss rod in the neck
  • Metal/steel strings
  • Has a solid headstock

Acoustic guitars can also be referred as folk guitars, steel stringed guitars, acoustics, or dreadnaught guitars. You may hear an acoustic guitar be called these names and they mean all are referring to an acoustic guitar.

The steel strings on an acoustic guitar allow the instrument to be able to play a whole span on musical genres, from rock, to soft rock, to blues, to country, folk, jazz, and many more genres. If you are seriously looking to become a performing artist, you should own an acoustic guitar. You can always compose with the instrument and perform acoustic covers of any song you write with this instrument.

If you’re looking to quickly build up your tolerance to the strings on a guitar, playing the acoustic guitar is a great way to do so. The steel strings on the instrument allow players to quickly build up callouses; once you have callouses, playing any other type of guitar becomes incredibly easy. Acoustic guitars are also very popular in the music world, which makes finding them very easy to do!

Acoustic guitars come in a variety of different sizes and can be made for people of all heights, weights, shapes, and sizes. On top of that, Acoustic guitars can also be converted into different types of guitars, so the sizing of acoustic guitars are pretty inconsistent.

Pros of Steel Stringed Acoustics:

  • A lot of modern day music is played on acoustic
  • Produces immense volume
  • Longer neck makes playing higher registers easy
  • Steel strings are very heat resistant
  • Don’t need to tune the strings often

Cons of Steel Stringed Acoustics:

  • Since these are pieces of steel, you will need to apply a lot of pressure on the strings, which can be painful
  • Brand new steel strings need frequent tuning
  • Steel strings are larger than nylon strings, which can cause trouble for smaller players

Classical Guitars

It is a common misconception that playing the classical guitar will be easier because your fingers won’t have to do as much work compared to playing a steel-stringed acoustic guitar. However, it doesn’t matter which guitar you choose; as a beginner, your hands and fingers are going to need time to adjust to playing the instrument.

Classical guitars are commonly used in some types of pop music, jazz, folk, Latin music, and Brazilian music. It is very important for you to understand that if you are looking to produce a different sound from your instrument, you must NOT interchange strings. You cannot play nylon strings on an acoustic guitar and you absolutely cannot play steel strings on a classical guitar.

Nylon strings will need to be tuned more frequently than steel strings and that is because nylon strings are more sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. Steel strings are more stable than nylon strings and don’t need to be tuned as often. Despite this, both types of strings require frequent tuning to take care of your instrument and your strings.

Here, I have a small list of a few fast facts about acoustic guitars that will make your shopping experience a bit easier:

  • Nylon strings are very easy on the fingers
  • Have smaller sized bodies
  • Wide neck
  • Does not come with a truss rod
  • Produce a soft sound
  • Nylon strings
  • Has a cut-out headstock
  • Produces a soft, mellow tone

Nylon strings don’t work well with acoustic guitars because nylon strings don’t apply enough tension on the neck to produce a decent sound; nylon strings on acoustic guitars produce a sound that is too thin and weak. Nylon strings were designed to fit smaller sized guitars, thus if you place steel strings on a classical guitar, you will warp and break the neck on the instrument.

No matter your build, height, or age, classical guitars are an instrument that any person can learn and play on. Classical guitars are also a great instrument to learn on, because of the thickness of their necks; since these guitars have thick necks, players must be spot on with their technique. Also, classical guitars tend to be a lot cheaper than acoustic guitars, but they are harder to find because they aren’t as commonly played.

Classical guitars are very consistent in their sizing, as these types of guitars can never be changed into a type of steel guitar.

Pros of the Classical guitar:

  • Really allows players to romanticize their music
  • Has a gentle and mellow sound that’s perfect for Latin music, as well as many other genres
  • Nylon strings don’t require callouses to add character to the music
  • Easy to travel with

Cons of the Classical guitar:

  • If you’re looking to complete a lot of covers of today’s pop music, don’t purchase this guitar
  • Lack volume and power
  • Playing higher registers on the neck are difficult to do
  • Nylon strings need consistent tuning
  • Nylon strings are not heat or humidity resistant

In Conclusion

Which guitar is the better choice for you? When making your decision between the two, the price point should not be your main focus, as they both are almost equal price wise. You can purchase an inexpensive model of the classical guitar or an acoustic for under $100 or you could invest in your musical career and spend thousands of dollars on a classical or an acoustic that will last you a lifetime.

guitar options - classical or acoustic guitar

You should base your purchase decision solely off of what your musical interest is; if you want to play a lot of rock music, purchase yourself an acoustic guitar. Don’t feel pressured to choose a certain guitar because one is easier to play than the other; both guitars have their own pros and cons. Every guitar or music store that you go to, they will let you test out instruments to help better make your decision. Take the time to play both a nylon stringed guitar and a steel stringed acoustic to see which one you like better.

The Top 10 Microphones for Acoustic Guitars

Sound engineers in venues have it relatively easy with acoustic guitarists: they generally rock up with an electro-acoustic that can be just plugged in.

Granted, this can also be done in a studio setting, but studio engineers are going to want to make use of such a setting to get the nuances of an acoustic guitars properties. It generally offers a much fuller and warmer sound.

Here, we’ll take a look at the best microphones for recording acoustic guitars, across a range of budgets, to suit everybody from bedroom guitarists tinkering about on laptops, to the chief engineer at Abbey Road.

IK Multimedia iRig Acoustic | MSRP: $49.99

It’s going to be difficult to find an acoustic guitar mic that’s cheaper than this, that isn’t completely terrible.

This is a very tiny mic that you can clip onto the soundhole of an acoustic guitar or ukulele. It might be a useful piece of kit for sound engineers in venues to have on standby, should somebody rock up with a regular acoustic guitar.

IK Multimedia have very much been at the forefront of gear that’s firstly very small, and secondly, designed to work in tandem with mobile devices.

With the second aspect of their work on mind, the iRig Acoustic is intended to be used with their Amplitube app, giving the user access to a host of amps and effects before the signal hits their audio interface.

It’s ideal for beginners messing around with the recording process, especially those who don’t have space for a more traditional mic and stand setup. It’s important to remember though, that at $50, you’re going to get what you pay for.

It’s important to note that the Amplitube setup will only work for iPhone and iPad.

Alternatives

  • CAD GXL1200BP – a good option for those who’d prefer a more versatile mic in a similar price range
  • Behringer C-4 – a go-to name in terms of budget brands, for $10 more than the iRig Acoustic, you can get two of these condenser mics – remember that you get what you pay for though
  • Audio-Technica AT829cW – a weird looking hybrid of a condenser mic and a clip on mic


Audio-Technica AT2020 | MSRP: $99

I think this offering from Audio-Technica is a very cool offering for home recording enthusiasts on a tight budget, or who want to get a bit of experience working with microphones before investing in a more “serious” piece of kit.

Like quite a few others on this list, this is a small diaphragm condenser microphone. Unlike the others though, this costs less than $100.

As I always say, you get what you pay for, so while this won’t be the same quality as some of the other mics on this list, it’s a step up from clip-on mics like the iRig Acoustic, because the user can get a feel for positioning the microphone around the acoustic guitar being used, and develop an understanding of how the different positioning of a mic like this can influence the recording.

For a $99 microphone, it’s a very sturdy piece of gear. It feels like you could throw it about a bit. Obviously, that’s not to say you should! It’s noted for its particularly bright output.

Alternatives

  • MXL 770 – a large diaphragm condenser, priding itself on the clarity of its highs and solidity of its low
  • AKG P170 – like Audio-Technica, this is AKG’s effort at delivering an affordable small-diaphragm condenser

sE Electronics 2200a II C | MSRP: $349

This reviewer’s most-used mic, but I’ll try not to be too biased! I first came across one of these working with a studio engineer who was using it for literally everything: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals, percussion… whatever!

When I was writing more songs than I could afford in studio time and wanted to invest in some home recording gear, this was the microphone I went straight for.

This is the cardioid version. It comes in a solid metal casing and a dedicated shockmount for your mic stand. It has a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and a pre-attenuation of -10dB, and a whole bunch of other numbers that will only give away so much about the quality of its sounds.

I’d recommend this for intermediate home recording enthusiasts who are prepared to spend a few dollars on a decent sound. Let’s not pretend your recordings with the 2200a II C are going to leave Rick Rubin worried about his job, but for listenable tracking at home, this is the only mic you’ll need.

Alternatives

  • Audix CX112B – a very similar vein to the 2200a, this should cover a lot of bases, and comes with a bass filter
  • Aston Microphones Origin – designed and made in England, this brand is only a few years old, but their mics have won a serious amount of praise
  • Audio-Technica AT4040 – again, very similar specs; touts itself as being exceptionally low noise

AKG C214 | $399

Like the Neumann mic that we’ll take a look at later, the C214 is best associated with vocal recordings, but man, it definitely holds its own for recording acoustics guitars too!

AKG actually tout this mic as an affordable version of their C414 model. That kind of aim is always tricky or brands to do – if they can make the same mic more affordable, why don’t they just make the affordable version?

The C214 is particularly respected for its ability to handle loud strumming, making it ideal for players like this reviewer. It also has noteworthy rugged construction, making it ideal for the mobile engineer, or for hobbyists who might want to bring it to the practice room.

In terms of actual practical performance, the C214 is generally regarded as provided much more bang for your buck than a mic at this price really should. That makes it well worth a look.

Alternatives

  • Sennheiser MD 421-II – similar style and approach, with a five position bass roll-off switch
  • Rode NT1000 – highlights include ultra-low noise and full frequency response
  • Heil Sound PR40 – seems to be designed with the sole intention of being the only mic you’ll need

Shure SM81 | MSRP: $436

Probably one of the most mainstream brands of microphones in the world, Shure haven’t sustained their business since 1925 by making garbage.

Their SM range is one of their most popular, due to the affordability, and the variation of mics in it, and it has built up a solid reputation for being very reliable mics. All of these aspects point towards it being an ideal mic for those just getting started in home recording, as well as one for professionals to have on standby.

The mic is lighter than ones like it, making it good if you bring your recording rig to the musicians. It’s designed to handle a range of sounds, particularly loud ones: ideal if you’re recording an acoustic style more akin to Frank Turner than Damien Rice!

Its smaller diameter will, of course, limit it a little bit in picking out an acoustic guitar’s lower range of tones. But it still retains the warmth of the sound. It makes it good in the right scenario.

Alternatives

  • Audio-Technica AT4022 – a very similar style of microphone, priding itself on its flat frequency response
  • Lauten Audio LA-120 – you can pick up a pair of these for the same price as the SM81 – useful if you’re recording drums as well as acoustic guitar!
  • Rode NT6 – comes with an unusual remote capsule for placing in hard to reach spots

Aston Microphones Starlight | MSRP: $449

OK, this is one of the coolest microphones I’ve ever come across. It’s a mic with a laser on it! A laser!

Readers of a certain age have just made quotation marks in the air with their finger while saying “la-ser.”

Aston Microphones have been on the go for only a few years, but everything they come out with has been phenomenally well-received.

The laser on the Starlight won’t blow up the planet, but it will help in positioning the microphone in the studio. You can mark where it was pointing when you position it where it achieves the sound you want. Mega.

Like a couple of the microphones here, the Starlight comes with a few switches to increase its versatility, and essentially cramming as much as possible into what they can offer you in a single mic, at this price. The main one is for voicing, with setting labeled as Vintage, Modern, and Hybrid, depending on what you’re recording.

All in all, a very tidy mic. I don’t think the laser is too gimmicky either, but I would advise considering your actual practical and realistic needs.

Alternatives

There are no other microphones with lasers, but you can probably find lasers for a couple of dollars that you can duct tape to one of these.

  • sE Electronics sE5P – similar idea, but you can get a pair of them for a little more than what the Starlight costs
  • Lewitt LCT 340 – besides the options made available by the switches on the mic chassis, you can change the top capsule for different uses

Rode NT2A | MSRP: $699

Don’t be alarmed by the price tag – it won’t take much research to find these much cheaper online. And the price quoted here is for a bundle with some other stuff – it seems impossible to just buy the mic by itself.

Like the AKG C214, the NT2A from Rode is particularly renowned for the quality it offers at its price point. If you’re reading a listicle on a review website as part of your research, that’s probably the kind of thing you want to hear. You’re welcome.

I mentioned that this is a bundle with a bunch of stuff. More specifically, the stuff is:

  • shock mount
  • pop filter
  • XLR cable
  • instructional DVD

That’s right. A DVD.

The big and cool thing about the NT2A is the amount of variety in sounds that the user has. So many choices!

  • Three-way selection of direction: Omni, Cardioid, or figure-8
  • Three-way selection of high-pass filter: Flat, 40Hz or 80Hz
  • Three way selection of PAD: 0dB, -5dB or -10dB

That’s fantastic. But it does lead to it being quite a weighty mic. I’d love to investigate whether all these options make it a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none, but alas, that won’t be today.

Alternatives

  • Audix SCX25A – an ideal mic for utilizing the acoustic properties of the room as well as the instrument
  • Aston Microphones Spirit – a similar approach to the NT2A in terms of the flexibility of tonal options

Neumann TLM102 | MSRP: $700

If you’ve ever done any kind of research into microphones before, you’ll be familiar with the Neumann name. You’ll also be aware of how pricey they can be – their best-known model, the U87, retails at the other side of $3k.

In recent years, they made some effort to produce microphones that will be a bit more accessible. Production is retained in Germany, rather than the east, like most companies do when they aim for affordable models, which is why the TLM102still retails at considerably more than other well-known mic brands.

This is a large diaphragm condenser mic. There’s no doubt that this is primarily aimed at vocals, either speaking or singing, but it can definitely pull its weight for acoustic guitars too. Personally, if I was spending $700 on a microphone, I’d like it to be pretty versatile!

This is a smaller scale mic than most Neumann offerings – perhaps this is where the savings come from? It has transformerless circuitry, and it claims a slight presence boost above 6kHz.

Alternatives

Royer Labs R-121 | $1,395

Moving away from the condenser mic for a minute, here we have a ribbon mic. We’re also moving into higher end territory in terms of pricing. Royer tout the 121 as their flagship model. Between that and the price, you should expect a fair amount of awesome to be delivered.

If you’re still reading, this mic is probably best recommended for professionals and advanced intermediate home recording enthusiasts.

Once you pass the $1k mark, you’re going to want a versatile mic, and that’s something the 121 has nailed and is very much one of the things it receives most praise for. The other thing it’s most lauded for is its solid construction, which, when you spend that amount of money on a microphone, is definitely something I like to see.

This mic comes with a figure-8 pattern and is intended to deliver a warmth in recordings that will also capture the ambiance and unique sonic qualities of the instrument being recorded. That sounds cool.

Alternatives

Interestingly, this is the only ribbon mic that seems to be recommended for acoustic guitars, meaning it doesn’t really have any direct alternatives – everything goes back to condenser mics.

Telefunken C12 | MSRP: $8,495

There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Telefunken. That’s because of the price, they’re only used by the very top engineers who are making megabucks from their work. It’s certainly not a brand that would be familiar to home recording hobbyists. They’re almost as much of an investment piece as they are a studio tool!

Anyway, the C12 was actually originally made by AKG, but Telefunken has been making them for some time now. Those original AKG C12s change hands for around $20,000, making this contemporary working of it look pretty affordable!

There are a couple of things setting this mic above others on this list, name that it comes with its own power supply and a tube-driven mic cable. Those are kind of the essentials you need to make it work, but the kit also includes a shock mount, a wooden case, and a flight case that will hold the lot.

A cool feature of the C12 that greatly contributes to its versatility, is that you can decide whether it will operate as an Omni-directional, cardioid or figure-8 mic from the power supply.

Alternatives

This is the first time I can’t suggest an alternative. The bottom line is that if you can afford to spend this amount of money on this microphone, you have peaked. There are no other routes for you to go at this price point.

Comparison Table

Model IK Multimedia iRig Acoustic Audio-Technica AT2020 sE Electronics 2200a II C AKG C214 Shure SM81
MSRP $49.99 $99 $349 $399 $436
Mic type Plectrum-shaped clip on Fixed-charge back plate, permanently polarized condenser Hand-crafted true condenser Large diaphragm condenser Small diaphragm condenser
Directional pattern Omni-directional Cardioid Cardioid Cardioid Cardioid
Frequency range 15 Hz – 10 kHz 20 Hz – 20 kHz 20 Hz – 20 kHz 20 Hz – 20 kHz 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Signal to noise ratio 63 dBA 74 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa 80 dBA 81 dBA 78dB

 

Model Aston Microphones Starlight Rode NT2A Neumann TLM102 Royer Labs R-121 Telefunken C12
MSRP $449 $699 $700 $1,395 $8,495
Mic type Small diaphragm condenser Large capsule condenser Large diaphragm condenser Ribbon Condenser
Directional pattern Cardioid Omni-directional, cardioid or figure-8 Cardioid Figure-8 Omni-directional, cardioid or figure-8
Frequency range 20 Hz – 20 kHz 20 Hz – 20 kHz 20 Hz – 20 kHz 30 Hz – 15 kHz 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Signal to noise ratio 79 dB 87 dB 73 dB n/a 16dB

Conclusion

So there we pretty much have it. A round-up of some of the best microphones on the market for recording acoustic guitars, across a range of price points.

I could only list ten here, but remember that there are literally hundreds of microphones on the market. Some may not even be promoted as being good for recording acoustic guitars, but that doesn’t mean to say you won’t like it!

Which leads to another very important point: the concept of a great acoustic guitar sound is entirely subjective. Here, I can only give my opinions. It’s so important for you to get to your local guitar store, talk to the staff, try out some microphones, see what gently caresses your eardrums.

These days, most guitar stores have a department and person for recording. Make use of that!

Get Strumming: The Full Yamaha F325 Acoustic Folk Guitar Review to Love

The Yamaha F325 is an acoustic folk guitar that’s an affordable option for a beginning guitarist to learn on. Out of all of the series that Yamaha has, the Yamaha F325 is one of their most popular series, partially because the F series is comprised of mostly beginning level guitars.

For the price range, I really enjoyed several things about this guitar. For the physical appearance of the guitar, the dreadnought shape was appealing and wasn’t too heavy while holding the instrument. The sound is more on the mellow side, but sound production is neither too loud nor too quiet; perfect if you are someone who enjoys performing in front of small audiences.

Small budget guitars are easy to find too, but finding a quality guitar on a budget isn’t always the easiest thing to do. If you are a beginning guitar player looking to find a guitar that’s going to last you a few years while you grow, the Yamaha F325 is a guitar you should really take some time to look at.

A Little About the Yamaha F325

The feel of the F325 is very rich and luxurious, especially when compared to other guitars in this price range; other guitars that share the same price tag as the F325 and come with an average finish, don’t stay in tune for a long period of time and have very flimsy plastic pick guards. However, this Yamaha F325 stays in tune for long period of time, a sturdy pickguard, and an elegant finish; this guitar has a classic dreadnought shaped body that comes with a non-cutaway with a laminate spruce top that is topped with a glossy finish.

As for the construction of this guitar, the top of the guitar is crafted from the spruce top and the neck of this instrument is of Nato wood; sides and back are made from Meranti wood. There is a dovetail joint that is found on the standard 14th fret.

The biggest complaint that I have about this instrument is the size of the neck. I am someone who has smaller sized hands and I found that playing on this guitar became very strenuous on my hands. After playing for a little while, my hands became tired and achy and I had to stop playing. The F325 width is 11/16 inches wide, there are fourteen free frets, twenty frets in total, and the dot position inlays with a 25 ½ inch scale.

While this guitar is inexpensive, it doesn’t look it! The bridge and fretboard are made from rosewood; the fretboard has an adjustable truss rod. On the end of the neck, Yamaha placed chrome plated die cast tuners, which really makes the guitar look classy.

One of the reasons that the Yamaha F325 stays in tune for long periods of time is due to the truss rod that can be found at the neck of the guitar. As for the tone of the guitar, the rosewood finger board is to name for that; the rosewood finger board really adds to the overall warmth of the sound the Yamaha F325.

If you are someone who is an experienced musician and are looking for a guitar that is an affordable instrument to practice on, the Yamaha F325 will get the job done. While I do suggest this guitar to my beginning guitarists, I also recommend it to my experienced musicians. This is the ideal guitar to practice all of your finger techniques on.

Personally, I would highly recommend this guitar as it’s very versatile. While this guitar has been created with beginners in mind, those who have been playing guitar for years will also enjoy playing this instrument. As an experienced guitar player, you will notice that the action is pretty high on this guitar. However, if you spend an extra $40, you can go get this fixed at any local guitar store. Also, while this instrument doesn’t come with an electric amplifier, this guitar still does produce an incredible amount of volume.

Core Features/Specs of the Product

  • -Weighs 6 pounds and 4 ounces
  • -41.9 X 20.8 X 5.5 inch dimensions
  • -Meranti sides
  • -Meranti back
  • -Nato neck
  • -Rosewood bridge
  • -Rosewood fingerboard
  • -Die cast chrome tuners
  • -Dreadnought body
  • -Gloss finish
  • -Available in three different color options: tobacco, natural, and sunburst
  • -Tortoise shell pickguard
  • -Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
  • -With your purchase of your guitar, you also will receive extra strings, extra picks, a digital tuner, DVD guitar lessons, and a gig bag
  • -Amazing sound production
  • -Stays in tune for a long period of time
  • -Very stable and consistent
  • -A lot of fun to play with
  • -Feels very sturdy
  • -Doesn’t need a lot of tuning when first pulled out of the box
  • -Doesn’t come with an electric output option
  • -Doesn’t come with a strap on the side of the guitar
  • -Doesn’t come with a case

Best Music Genres For

The Yamaha F325Folk Acoustic guitar works the best for folk music, as listed in its description. However, this is a very versatile guitar, so it’s really great for any genre that you choose to play on acoustic guitar.

Does it Work as Advertised?

Yes, it does! This is a very useful guitar that has a beautiful appearance that has a body that has been well built and is certain to withstand some abuse. The glossy spruce top really makes the guitar stand out from the crowd. The wood that Yamaha used on this guitar also makes it very durable but also ensures that it has incredible sound quality and tonal qualities.

Pros of the Yamaha F325:

  • -Amazing sound production
  • -Stays in tune for a long period of time
  • -Very stable and consistent
  • -A lot of fun to play with
  • -Feels very sturdy
  • -Doesn’t need a lot of tuning when first pulled out of the box

Cons of the Yamaha F325:

  • -Doesn’t come with an electric output option
  • -Doesn’t come with a strap on the side of the guitar
  • -Doesn’t come with a case

Other guitars to consider:

Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Acoustic

This guitar is also really popular among beginners, mainly because of the color choices that is offered. This guitar does pronounce the bass more than the Yamaha F325, but it still plays easily and is very affordable.

Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic Guitar

This guitar is one of Epiphone’s best-selling beginner’s guitar, as it’s very affordable and has incredible tonewoods that make this instrument sound balanced and warm. At an affordable price range, ($118 compared to the Yamaha’s F325 $150 price tag) this guitar has a classy appearance.

Conclusion

The Yamaha F325 Folk Acoustic guitar is a well-rounded instrument that is great to use as a guitar to learn off of. Due to the shape of the neck, this guitar really helps beginners learn how to place their finger on the neck of a guitar, how to properly move their fingers on the neck, how to hold a guitar, how to show emotion through the music, how to stand while playing, and how to play while standing. The price tag on this instrument is also unbeatable, considering the quality of sound and feel of the F325.

Top Nine Best Parlor Guitars That You Will Still Love to Play

What is a parlor guitar?

The parlor guitar’s name (also is spelled parlour guitar) originated from wealthy homes playing guitar for guests in their parlor rooms as a form of entertainment. Unless you’re an experienced guitar player or teacher, you’ve probably never have heard of a parlor guitar. Which is actually pretty crazy, considering that parlor guitars have been around since the mid-18th  century and had a peak in the late 19th century.

Parlor guitars were created by guitar makers who didn’t have the machinery to produce very sophisticated guitars; there weren’t different types of strings available for players to choose from, as it was only the 18th century. Matter of fact, the only type of string that was available to string playing musicians were gut strings, which were weak and didn’t take much to break. Guitar makers also didn’t hold volume production too much importance, because most musicians weren’t playing in front of incredibly large crowds with a sizeable band standing alongside the parlor playing guitarist.

A parlor guitar is a guitar with a smaller sized width, a neck-to-body junction, twelve frets, and an elongated lower body. Some people describe a guitar as a parlor when the body is smaller than the average standard size acoustic guitar. However, while this is a definition that describes a large portion of parlor guitars, there are still a few exceptions. Not all parlor guitars will fit into this description and we will talk about that later on this article!

What should I look for when purchasing a Parlor guitar?

When looking to purchase your first parlor guitar, you should look for a guitar that’s solid wood. Guitars that use solid wood compared to laminate sound much, much better. When shopping online for a solid wood guitar, you will need to look for the words “solid wood, solid top, solid back and sides”. These words mean that your guitar is solid wood; if the guitar description does not say these words, then the guitar is made out of laminate.

What’s the difference between a Travel guitar vs a Parlor guitar?

A lot of people assume that travel guitars and parlor guitars are the same thing. However, this is not true! There are several details that make it easy to distinguish between travel guitars and parlor guitars; these details are:

  • The parlor guitar body is longer and thinner compared to a travel guitar
  • Travel guitars have a smaller nut width compared to standard size guitars, while the parlor guitar has a standard nut width
  • Parlor guitars have a smaller amount of frets compared to the travel guitars; parlor guitars typically have 18 eighteen frets

If you aren’t a guitar expert, you will see these as small differences, but they are what make the travel guitar and the parlor guitar different from each other!

So, if there isn’t a huge difference between parlor guitars and travel guitars, why have parlor guitars regained their popularity?

While I don’t think parlor guitars will ever become as popular as when they were in the 1900s. However, over the past decade, they have increased popularity and a large portion of this popularity is due to folk singers! A lot of main stream folk singers use parlor guitars when performing live.

But, why should you choose a parlor guitar?

You should purchase a parlor guitar because of the way that it makes you feel. Parlor guitars have an almost vintage feel to them and they certainly do travel well. The main complaint that a lot of people have with parlor guitars is that they tend to lack in volume production and dynamic range.

If you’re afraid you’re going to be unhappy with choosing a parlor guitar, I would highly suggest that you go out to a guitar shop and try out playing a travel guitar and a parlor guitar. Decide which one you like better and go from there. Which guitar feels better in your hands? Which one sounds better to your musical preferences?

Did you know that parlor guitars were originally created with women in mind? Since women have smaller hands and a smaller frame compared to men, having a smaller sized guitar allows women to grip and play the guitar more comfortably, as well as allowing women to have, their fingers reach higher up on the scale.

Let’s talk Parlor Guitars!

Now that we’ve finished talking about all of the details that involve Parlor guitars, let’s start talking about some actual guitars. Not everybody has the same price range when it comes to looking for guitars, so I have created a list of ten of the best parlor guitars that fit budgets of all levels.

Fender CP-100

If you’re looking to spend less than $500 on your guitar, the Fender CP-100 is a parlor you should look at. However, I should advise you that you should not expect high-quality sound and volume production from this guitar, as it is an inexpensive instrument. With that said, Fender did a really good job at producing a decent parlor guitar that’s great to play on if you’re on a budget.

A lot of players talk about how much they like the sunburst finish, as it adds a vintage look and feel to the parlor guitar. This instrument has a fitting sound and is actually a lot of fun to play! You’re going to be purchasing a laminate wood guitar, which means that the tone quality isn’t going to be as good as a guitar that’s made out of solid wood. However, if you’re a beginning guitarist, this isn’t going to make a big difference to you!

Overall, I would really suggest that you check out this guitar is you are a beginning guitarists who is looking to try out a parlor guitar. This is an amazing first step guitar that’s easy to practice to play on; the Fender CP-100 would also make a great gift for young children looking to play acoustic guitar for the first time. The only main downside about this guitar is that it does not come with a case, so you will have to purchase a bag or a hard case to keep the guitar in separately.

Breedlove Passport

For $500, you can purchase yourself a really nice guitar that comes with a highly reputable name attached to it. This instrument has been built with a solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany back, and mahogany sides. The Breedlove Passport also has a solid top, which is a step up from the laminate top of the Fender CP-100.

This guitar does come with a gig bag, so you’re not going to go out of your way to purchase a bag or case to carry your instrument around in. Also, the Breedlove Passport also comes installed with Fishman electronics, allowing you to either play in acoustic mode or acoustic electric for live performances.

Larrivee P-09

With a street price of $1,500, the Larrivee P-09 is a pricey parlor guitar. Check out the latest prices here! One would think that with a price tag that high, the Larrivee would come fully equipped with a hard case, electronics, and mahogany. However, that is not the case with the P-09; the P-09 does come with a soft case. Instead, this parlor guitar sports a solid spruce top, solid rosewood sides, and solid rosewood back.

The rosewood that is used on the P-09 separates this parlor guitar from the Cordoba C10, as the rosewood really allows this instrument to produce a large dynamic range. You will also find that the P-09 is a bit heavier on the bass side compared to other parlor guitars, which are known to highlight the treble.

If you ever get the chance to play the Larrivee P-09, please do so. It’s very easy to play, feels very luxurious in your hands, and has stunning looks!

Gretsch Jim Dandy

Gretsch is a brand that not many people have heard of; it certainly does not have the same level of fame like Fender, Yamaha, or Gibson does. Just because Gretsch isn’t as famous as Fender or Yamaha doesn’t mean that the quality of the instrument is any different!

The Jim Dandy is an excellent beginner’s guitar that has a remarkable vintage sound that’s almost impossible to find in laminate guitars. The Jim Dandy is a parlor guitar that’s made from laminate. While the sound that this guitar produces is amazing, there are some tonal attributes that aren’t very pleasant to hear.

One of the largest complaints that people talk about when discussing the Gretsch Jim Dandy is how over a period of time, the finish begins to show green streaks; in the more recent years, Jim Dandy has tried to fix this problem by applying a thick finish on top of the guitar.

Overall, if you are looking for a parlor guitar that can withstand some abuse and has a vintage voicing, the Gretsch Jim Dandy is a parlor guitar you should look at. On the other hand, a lot of people talk about how much they like the “C” shape the neck has, as it makes the neck very comfortable to hold. I would not suggest that you purchase this guitar if you are looking to do a lot of fingerpicking, as the nut width is sized more modernly.

Gretsch decided to put a truss rod into this guitar, which is rare to come across on guitars at this price point. There are a lot of “high end” perks that come with this guitar, such as vintage style frets, Pearloid dot inlays, and a warm sound. And as to be expected with any parlor guitar, the Jim Dandy doesn’t have an incredible amount of volume production.

Fender CP-100

Fender is really famous for their electric guitars, but this entry level parlor acoustic guitar is one of the best values on the market today, especially for beginners. If you are someone who is looking for a parlor guitar that has a very refined tone, I would suggest that you look somewhere else.

Due to the way that Fender built this guitar, the Fender CP-1OO really makes a wonderful travel guitar or a guitar that’s great to use for beginners (especially because beginning guitarists don’t know how to take care of instruments). This guitar is made from laminated spruce top, sides, and back; laminate is a great wood to have when using a travel guitar because laminate doesn’t react to changes in humidity and temperature.

At the same time, laminate wood does not provide the same tonal characteristics that real wood does. The laminate wood also does not produce as much volume as a guitar with solid wood does; there is a smaller dynamic range with laminated wood guitars, especially when compared to solid wood instruments. The main purpose of the laminate is to protect the guitar against major damage and to cut costs for the manufacturer.

While Fender did decide to use laminated wood on the guitar, they also placed a compensated saddle in the instrument to help eliminate problems with intonation.

Personally, the most impressive part about the whole guitar is the tuners; for a parlor guitar in this price range, the tuners are very easy to hold while tuning and they tune rather smoothly (as long as your string your parlor correctly). A lot of other users talk about how impressed they when it comes to the durability of this parlor guitar; reportedly, this guitar holds up very well when put under regular playing and traveling. This is very uncommon to find in guitars at this price range, which is why it’s so impressive.

Recording King RPH-05

The Recording King RPH-05 is a great parlor guitar for modern day blues players. When I say that, I mean that the only purpose that this guitar was built for was to fulfill the needs of a blues player who is looking for an affordable parlor guitar. While you can use the King RPH-05 for other genres, I would suggest against it; that is because this parlor guitar has a more hunkier side to it that’s perfect for playing the blues. At the same time, this guitar doesn’t have a milder tone that is popular among many instruments today that is commonly found in modernly produced music.

If you’re looking for a parlor guitar that’s perfect for your blues playing, this is a guitar that I would strongly suggest that you look into purchasing this parlor guitar, as the manufacturer has perfectly captured the sound of an early blues parlor acoustic playing in this affordable instrument.

While the physical appearance of this guitar isn’t anything that you should write home about, the makeup of this guitar is incredible. The Recording King RPH-05 has a solid spruce top, white wood sides, white wood back, forward X-bracing, rosewood bridge, and rosewood fretboard.

Cordoba C10 Nylon

You can purchase yourself the Cordoba C10 Nylon for $1,000; Cordoba is famously known to be an incredibly classic guitar manufacturer that leaves many players happy with their guitars. The Cordoba C10 Nylon is the only Nylon stringed parlor guitar on this list, which makes it special!

The Cordoba C10 Nylon is a solid wood guitar that’s best feature is Indian rosewood on the sides and the back of the guitar. If you’re looking for a moderately priced guitar that has an incredibly pure sound, the Cordoba C10 is a great guitar to look at.

This parlor is very similar to a classical guitar and like most classical guitar, the Cordoba C10 does not come with any electronics installed in the instrument. However, there is the possibility to add electronics after you purchase your guitar- it’s all up to you!

Alvarez AP70

Even if as a professional guitar player, I haven’t heard much from the brand Alvarez. With that said, I did have the opportunity to test out a few of their guitars and the Alvarez AP70 was one that I was most impressed with. This is a mid-priced parlor guitar that is a good guitar for intermediate players.

A unique feature about the AP70 is the slotted headstock; the slotted headstock delivers a different type of effect on this parlor guitar that greatly increases the sustain and resonance of this beauty.

As for the physical makeup of this guitar, the AP70 sports a solid spruce top, laminated rosewood sides, laminated rosewood back, an option to add electric to this instrument for a larger price tag, and a uniquely designed bridge that helps to increase the volume on this parlor.

This parlor guitar is great to use if you are looking to play a wide variety of genres of music, as it has the ability to sound equally great while being strummed and fingerpicked, as it is a very articulate parlor guitar.

Out of all the guitars in this list, this is the parlor guitar that I would highly recommend; this was my favorite guitar to play on and I found that it is an incredible sounding instrument that had a very inviting tone. The only complaint that I had about the Alvarez AP70 was that the nut job was on the shabbier side, but this is an easy fix!

Art and Lutherie Ami

Before we get into reviewing this guitar, you should know that this is a guitar that can be played by all levels of musicians; guitarists who are just getting their start, intermediate musicians, and even highly experienced professionals. The physical make up of the Art and Lutherie Ami is comprised of a solid cedar top, laminated wild cherry sides, laminated wild cherry back, silver leaf maple neck, rose wood finger board, rose wood bridge, compensated saddle, and a truss rod.

The only complaint that I have about this guitar is that it does not come with a case, but it does come with a gig bag. After you purchase this instrument, you will have to purchase a hard case separately; however, considering the price range for this guitar, it is to be excepted.

The overall tone for the Art and Lutherie Ami has a very deep tone, especially for a parlor guitar. Also, this instrument has incredible resonance and doesn’t have the typical bass sound that’s typically found in dreadnought bodies.

If you are looking for a parlor guitar that has a darker, deeper voice compared to other parlor guitars, the Ami is where you want to go. This instrument does a mellow tone and pairs very well with a vocal accompaniment.

Conclusion

As with searching to purchase any type of guitar, it’s highly suggested that you go to a guitar or music store and try out the instruments you’re looking into. Each guitar has a different feel to it and you’ll want to find one that feels the best in your hands. Parlor guitars are great to play with, especially if you are a beginning guitar player with a smaller body, have a small child who is looking to play guitar, or want a guitar that’s easy to travel with but sounds great! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading today’s article.

We Think You Might Love the Yamaha FG370S

Yamaha touts the FG370s as the best-selling acoustic guitar of all-time.

Cool story, but I’m bugged by the lack of a source being cited for this fact.

At the same time, this guitar has been around since the 1960s. It would not have done so if it wasn’t achieving some kind of a sales target.

It sounds like I’m being mean before I’ve said anything about this guitar. Call it a fear of the unknown: this guitar is a kind of a hybrid of regular dreadnought acoustic, and something a bit smaller. I’m curious about comfort and sounds.

Core specs

Going through the specs of the FG370s doesn’t throw up any real surprises. It reads exactly like the spec list of any other acoustic guitar.

The one thing that threw me a little was the neck material: nato. That was a new one to me – I’ll elaborate on that later.

I think considering the face value of the guitar, one thing that stood out is the range of finishes available for it: your regular natural, and two sunburst options – tobacco brown and cherry.

Style

Small-bodied dreadnought

Body material

Sitka spruce

Neck

Rosewood

Fingerboard

Nato

Frets

20

Pickup

None

This will work well for…

Based on the price and the absence of electronics, the FG730s looks to be aimed at casual home strummers, rather than professional gigging musicians.

I’d regard it as a good option for beginners with a reasonable budget, or perhaps intermediate or professional musicians who just need an instrument for knocking around. It seems like a likely candidate for the kind of guitar someone would have in the corner of their living room: fine for a casual strum, and there for entertaining during house parties or grabbing to bring to the park.

It has a generally relaxed presence in the context of guitar models.

Does it do what it should?

With the parts involved in this guitar, there’s nothing fancy or groundbreaking. They’re essentially the unbranded parts you’ get on a lot of such guitars made in the east. With this in mind, you can take that the reason it costs a little bit more, is the Yamaha logo on the headstock, and the quality control Yamaha needs to keep such value in having that logo on the headstock.

Earlier on when I was going through this guitar’s specs, I mentioned its neck was made of something called nato. Being honest, I had to do a little Googling for that – I had never heard of it either. I think it’s important that I’m honest about these things!

According to Wikipedia, nato comes from the Mora family of trees. It’s totally not related to mahogany, but it has a similar density and color, so it gets used a lot in guitar manufacture.

As it isn’t endangered and doesn’t look weird, it’s a good solution. Having a similar density to mahogany means it shouldn’t affect things too much in terms of tone. It’s all good in the ethical guitar-building hood.

The most eye-catching part is the tortoiseshell pickguard, and on closer inspection, other subtle design features like the abalone rosette and binding along the neck. These minor points feel like they’re trying to give the guitar just a bit of an edge.

Construction

As always, I go straight for the neck joint when I want to examine the construction of a guitar.

In the case of this instrument, the neck has been attached to the body using a dovetail joint. It’s a perfectly clean joint – a good example of quality craftsmanship. It holds hands with one of Yamaha’s prominent brags!

The FG730s has been put together with the standard X-bracing construction. It’s not exactly a unique construction method, but it’s a standard because it works if that makes sense.

Next, I peered down the length of the instrument, from the body towards the headstock. What I could see was just further testament to the aforementioned Yamaha craftsmanship. Not even the littlest whiff of warping, or anything short of quality work and finishing.

I mention the finishing there, because looking at it as closely as peering down the length of it, the guitar doesn’t look or feel “over-finished,” for want of an expression to describe it. Like, of course, it looks shiny, and has that new guitar smell, but the finishes don’t feel like overkill, which you do find on some guitars.

With the construction in mind, Yamaha certainly holds their own with the rest of the high-quality manufacturing coming from the east these days.

Tones

I’m more of an electric guitarist, and I always find it funny when thinking about how to describe the sounds of an acoustic guitar in comparison, especially the likes of this Yamaha, which doesn’t have any electronics.

It will sound like what it sounds like: no fiddling with amps and EQ settings, or various pickups selections.

In saying that, the sound coming straight from an acoustic might be more sensitive to the actual room that it’s being played in, and the acoustic properties of the room. I’m in a carpeted lounge-style room, relatively big, with plastered walls and some furniture. There’s going to be a little bit of natural reverb in this room. I’m also using my preferred 1mm pick.

Getting stuck in though, I started taking things pretty easy, a few gentle chords and relatively light strumming. The overall sound is well-rounded. No super-dull lows, or piercing highs. Letting the chords ring out, and the sustain is fine. If you’re a sustain nut as some guitarists are, you might be disappointed.

Even laying into the strings a little more, it still held its tone. Cool!

I felt that all the tones pointed towards my initial perception of the guitar: a good all-rounder for having around the house.

Playability

Between its price and tones, all signs point towards this being a generally fun guitar to have around to play, and the FG730s hits that spot.

And “fun” is the word that any description of the playing experience of the FG730s will keep coming back to. It’s going to take a lot of effort on my part to not continually repeat it!

My concern in approaching this review was that the body shape might be a bit weird, a bit much of something trying to keep everyone happy, to the extent that the end result would mean nobody was happy. But the bottom line is that if you have a comfortable body shape – like the FG370s – and a pleasant sound – again, like the FG370s – if you have much to complain about, it will sound like you’re making things up just for the sake of being negative.

These points all come back to the playability of the FG730s, and that comes from how enjoyable it is to play. If a guitar is enjoyable to play, that means its owner will keep wanting to play it, and that’s its playability right there.

Personally, I have a preference for older guitars that have been broken in a little bit, so I find the fact that this one isn’t over-finished to be a massive plus.

Pros

  • Fun, fun, fun!
  • Basic parts with high craftsmanship
  • Comfortable body size
  • Balanced tones
  • It’s an overall good offer for the price

Cons

  • No left-hand version available
  • It lacks an aesthetic “wow” factor that some players would prefer
  • Some may be even more cynical of the body shape than I was

Alternatives to Try

As you can imagine, there are plenty of alternatives available at this price. Incidentally, most of them are electro-acoustics, but in the interest of keeping most comparable instruments, I’ve stuck to pure acoustics.

Takamine GD-20

Allow me to introduce you to the Takamine GD-20. No more than Yamaha, Takamine is one of the big hitters in the world of acoustic guitars, particularly since the brand transcends budgets, and caters for every level of player.

Looking at it, it’s hard to miss the aesthetic similarities to the Yamaha, namely the rosette and the binding, but also that Takamine cut some cost by eliminating any kind of a pickguard. If you’re keen to get the worn-through look a lá Glen Hansard or Damien Rice, maybe that’ll help you!

The other thing worth noting is that it comes with a cedar top. It’s alleged that combined with the mahogany sides, you’ll get a warmer tone.

Ibanez Artwood AC240

It’s so far removed from what you associate the Ibanez brand with, but they actually have a sizeable and certainly respectable range of acoustic instruments. The AC240 from the Artwood range is a fine example.

It’s hard to miss the darker wood on the top. That’s mahogany, and it’s a very odd place to have some, but it’s a great guitar. It seems even less finished than the Yamaha, which I love. It’s also nice to see the Grover tuners – a subtle piece of outsourcing to upgrade the parts used beyond the unbranded generic ones normally used at this price.

Conclusion

I think I’ve covered everything you need to know if you’re looking at the Yamaha FG730s.

I’d recommend this if you’re looking for a decent instrument without breaking the bank. If your playing ambitions don’t really go beyond playing for your own pleasure or enjoyment, this is a great little guitar to have around the house.

It strikes a good balance between being a well-priced but good quality instrument, so if somebody was interested in learning some guitar, it’s not prohibitive, and it’s better than paying less for a worse instrument.

There’s nothing fancy in terms of its parts or construction, but that’s the whole point.

Top Five Best Guitar Capos on the Market Today

Some people think that using a capo to play the guitar is cheating. If you are someone who can play the guitar without a capo, you deserve a countless amount of high fives. Playing the guitar without a capo is incredibly difficult and requires a crazy amount of practice in order to be able to play in difficult keys.

However, I find that instead of wasting all of that time practicing those difficult keys, you can just use a capo! Using a capo adds a whole new range to your playing, without having to add any extra practice time into your day. Not to mention, using a capo is a whole lot of fun! With added enjoyment comes a larger desire to practice, which means you’re going to become a better guitar player.

But, before we even get into talking about the best capos on the market today, we need to talk about what a capo actually does and the different types of capos that you can purchase.

Quick Guide to Guitar Capos

Before you can fully understand the different aspects that different types of capos can bring to your technique, we need to have a talk about what the capo does on the guitar and how to properly use the capo.

Guitar capos are used by guitarists all around the world, as the capo allows the guitarist to change the key of the guitar. If you are a singer and use your guitar to introduce the key of the song to your ear, capos are incredibly useful; by using a capo, guitarists don’t have to tune their guitar every time they change songs and also don’t have to learn complex chords that are on the lower part of the neck.

How to Use Your Capo

Capos also allow a guitarist to produce different tones on the guitar without having to learn any difficult chord structures; matter of fact, with the help of a capo, you can use the same basic chord shapes that most guitarists use when they first learn how to start playing.

Capos don’t come with instruction manuals, so when you first get yourself a guitar capo, you’re going to need to know how to properly use your capo. If you are a guitarist who uses sheet music or tabs, you may notice at the beginning of certain pieces, it tells you to barre or capo on a particular fret. Take your capo, slide it over the desired fret, and clamp your capo down over the fret.

Depending upon the size of the capo that you purchase, your capo should hold down all six (or twelve) strings on your guitar. The capo will act the same exact way that your index finger does when you use your finger to barre chords.

If you have never used a capo before, I would suggest that when you first use it to start playing, you use it on your first, second, and third fret, just to give yourself an idea of how your guitar sounds with the capo. Make sure that you’re cognitive of the capo changing the tone, key, and notes when you’re playing.

When applying your capo to your guitar, make sure that to tighten the capo close behind the fret you have it clamped on. By applying your capo in the middle of the fret, you will can tension the be unevenly disturbed across the neck of your guitar. By applying uneven tension across the neck, you may receive a buzzing sound or a muted sound when you are trying to play. In order to prevent this from happening to you, apply your capo as close to the edge of the fret as you possibly can.

Once you have enough of a basic understanding on how to properly introduce yourself to a capo, it’s time you actually use it! Before you actually apply your capo to your guitar, make sure that your guitar is tuned. Even if you want to change the key of your guitar, you still need to tune it; without tuning your guitar, no matter where you place your capo, your guitar is going to sound bad. The standard tuning for a guitar is E, A, D, G, B, E. If you aren’t experienced enough yet to be able to aurally tune your guitar (tune your guitar by ear) purchase an electric tuner.

Before you start to heavily use a capo, make sure that you know how to play the fundamental chord shapes. Basic open chords like C, F Major, e minor, and A should require little thought to you; make sure that you understand how to play these chords before moving on to chords that are more difficult, such as b minor, D7, C# Sustained 4.

If you are already proficient at playing open chord progressions, having a capo won’t cause you much trouble. In fact, having a capo will make you more versatile on guitar. If you’re a beginning guitarist or an intermediate player, I would suggest that you purchase a chord map at your local music store or print one off online. A chord map is great to have around if you’re struggling to remember how to play a chord or if you’re looking for alternative ways to play the chord.

When beginning guitarists first learn about the capo, it’s common for them to ask if the capo can hurt their guitar. Don’t worry for one second! The companies that manufacture capos have the same worry in mind, so they ensure that their capos are well padded, which minimizes the risk to your guitar. However, if you leave a capo on your guitar while your guitar is being stored, you’re going to put your guitar out of tune and you also risk damaging your guitar over a period of time.

How do I play with a capo on my guitar?

Before you start jamming out, you want to make sure that when you put your capo on your guitar, it’s tight. If you put the capo on the fret too loose, your strings are going to produce a buzzing noise. Also, if you put it on too loosely, the capo could slip off the fret when you are in the middle of a song, which is something that you definitely don’t want.

When I put on a capo, I make sure that the capo is parallel with my fret, to ensure that it doesn’t bend the strings on my guitar. If you happen to place the capo on uneven, you risk the chance of bending your strings, which will make your guitar sound out of tune. I also make sure that I put it right behind a fret, which helps to keep the capo sturdy on my guitar.

Once I got the hang of properly applying the capo to my guitar, it took me a lot longer to truly understand how to play guitar with the capo. For me, it was difficult to re-think chord progressions. Once you have a capo on, you need to remember to subtract half of a step from each chord. This sounds super confusing, so I’m going to explain it with an example.

If you have your capo on the first fret, Ab is going to now become a G. While a G chord is much easier to play finger wise, you’re still going to have to learn how to re-think the chord progression while you are playing. For about a year, I carried around with me and used a cheat sheet. I would always try my best to think of the answer myself and double check with the cheat sheet; doing this really helped me to allow the re-thinking of the chord progression to become second nature to me.

Below, I have the same chord progression chart that I used to help me learn!

How should I go about purchasing a capo?

When first going shopping for a capo, you’re going to want to determine how you want to play your guitar and what type of capo you want. If you plan on using a capo at home while you practice, consider purchasing a screw capo, because it’s the most durable capo and it’s incredibly precise. However, if you plan on using a capo during live performances, you’re going to want to purchase a trigger capo; this is because trigger capo can be adjusted quickly.

There is no set price for capos; if you plan on shopping online for your capo, search around a little bit to determine a price that you feel comfortable with. If you think you’re going to want to purchase your capo in store, make sure you ask to try out the different capo options they have (remember to bring your guitar to test the capos out on). If you are a new guitarist or you have never used a capo before, I would personally suggest that you purchase a cheap capo; that way, if you don’t like using a capo, you don’t end up wasting a lot of money. You can find capos as cheap as $4!

What different types of capos can I purchase?

If you have never purchased a capo before, you have yet to learn the lesson between good capos and bad capos. Yes, whether you believe it or not, there is a difference! Bad capos tend to slide off frets, cause buzzing because of their poor construction, and end up taking your attention away from playing.

So, today we’re going to cover different types of capos and the capos that I really suggest you purchase.

Trigger capos

Trigger capos are the most popular capos out of all of the designs that are on today’s market.

Trigger capos use a spring loaded clamp in order to hold their tension. Trigger capos are popular because the allow players to quickly and easily adjust and reposition the capo only using one hand.

You apply a trigger capo by squeezing the handles and releasing the handles on the desired fret. Trigger capos use resistance to hold down guitar strings, which means that you don’t need to adjust any straps or loosen any screws in order to use the capo. Trigger capos are commonly used in live performances and this is because it’s super easy to move it up and down the neck of the guitar.

If you happen to purchase a capo that’s poor quality, you will find that the capo is too loose, which results in a buzzing sound when the guitar is played. On the other hand, if the capo is too tight, unnecessary tension will be put onto the guitar neck and you’re going to have a really hard time tuning your guitar. The only downfall with trigger capos is that you can’t adjust the tension of the capo, so you really have to make sure you’re purchasing a capo that’s high quality.

However, all of these problems are potential problems. It’s not guaranteed that you’re going to run into them. Trigger capos are the cheapest and easier capos to use, out of all of the competition on the market. This is why they are the most popular capo on the market and why they are perfect for beginning capo users.

Best trigger capo

My favorite trigger capo is the Kyser KG6B 6 String capo; it’s a simple trigger capo that doesn’t have a whole bunch of bells and whistles. I love all of the different color options and themes that the Kyser KG6B offers. My only complaint that because I have smaller, weaker hands, I have a hard time moving this capo around.

Trigger capos are known to give your instrument a harsh, thin sound and bending strings out of tune. That’s a common problem with trigger capos and the Kyser KG6B is no different. However, I do have to say that for a trigger capo, it’s super durable and consistent. If you are someone who doesn’t need to constantly switch keys all the time, I would suggest the Kyser KG6B 6 String capo for you.

Screw capos

If you have a guitar that has a thin neck or a guitar that has high action, I personally have found it to be a lot more efficient to use a screw capo. This is because you can fine tune the tension that the capo exerts onto your guitar, making it to be personalized and more efficient. The only complaint that I have about a screw capo is that they take longer to adjust compared to any other capo. Screw capos allow you to put the perfect level of tension on a guitar regardless of the guitar’s neck size, string action, or fret position.

While the screw capo is personable to each guitar, this design does come with its fair amount of disadvantages as well. Repositioning the capo takes a lot of time, especially compared to the trigger capo; every time you go to move the screw capo, you have to loosen the tension and then tighten it in order for it to stay at its new position.

Using a screw capo on stage isn’t highly recommended and this is because the screw capo takes time to re-adjust and if you’re in a rush and don’t apply it correctly, you’re setting yourself up for poor tension levels.

Best screw capo

The best screw-on capo that I have ever used is the Planet Waves NS Classical Capo. There are a lot of screw capos that are available on the market today that are outrageously expensive and for no good reason. I personally enjoy the Planet Waves NS Classical Capo because it’s the perfect choice to make if you have a classical guitar. As someone who often plays classical guitar, I know that it’s hard to find a capo that will fit your wider neck. This capo is inexpensive and it’s been crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum, meaning that the capo is built to withstand some abuse.

Toggle capos

The toggle capo is the simplest capo design out of all of the different capos on the market; the toggle capo applies tension to the strings with an adjustable strap. There are several increments that can be tightened along multiple notches on the back of the capo. I know several of my friends who like the toggle capo because it’s small and lightweight. However, while I think that’s an okay benefit, it really doesn’t make up for the fact of how problematic the design is.

When you secure the capo over the neck of the guitar, the strap tends to lie in between two notches; either one notch happens to be too loose and the other notch is too tight. Even if it’s a perfect fit when you first purchase it (which it was when I first purchased a toggle capo), it stretches over time. I also have found that if you accidentally stretch the toggle capo too much, it breaks super easy. I would say that this capo is not my favorite.

Best toggle capo

I am personally not the biggest fan of toggle capos. However, I do feel like they are a decent capo to try out if you are a beginner and you’re looking to try out the different types of capos that are available on the market. The Dunlop 14C Curved Professional Toggle Capo is less than $10 and is built to withstand some abuse. I think that the price for this capo is cheap, which means that it’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg to replace in case yours breaks. I love using the toggle capos on ukuleles, because it’s so easy to move around and doesn’t get in my way when I’m playing ukulele.

Partial capos

Partial capos are rare to find in a guitarist’s gig bag, no matter what their level of playing is. Partial capos are occasionally used, but when they are used, it’s such a unique experience that people usually get hooked. I love using a partial capo, because the partial capo allows you to create sounds that are normally possible to create on a standard guitar.

The only thing that I have to say about partial capos is that I would only suggest advanced players get into using them. While you don’t have to be an advanced player to use the partial capo, being an advanced player allows you to truly unlock the full capability the partial capo has.

Shubb capos

Back in 1980, the Shubb capo was born. The design of the Shubb capo was created in order to give the user the speed of trigger capo, along with the precision of a screw capo. The only complaint that I have about the Shubb capo is that they are more expensive compared to other capos. However, they do have capos that have been specifically created for different instruments and different playing styles, which I think it unique.

Best Shubb capos

The Shubb C1 allows the user to apply a unique tension on the fret of the guitar, while also providing users with a quick release lever. If you are someone who has a curved fretboard, the Shubb C4 is a great capo for you to purchase. My only complaint about the C1 and C4 Shubb capos is that because of the adjustable tension, you can’t clamp the capo onto the headstock of your guitar. You’ll have to keep it in your pocket or keep it in your gig back. However, I love the slim profile of the Shubb capos!

G7th capos

The G7th capo is still considered a brand new capo in the guitar world, even though it was built in 2004. I have a love-hate relationship with the G7th capos; I like them because they’re easy to move around because all you have to do is flip the lever to move it. I also like the G7th capo because it’s very gentle on my guitar because the inside of the capo is lined with rubber and the outside of the capo doesn’t have any sharp metal edges. This capo is also to easy to customize the tension levels on the guitar, as all you need to do is squeeze the capo over the neck and it automatically locks into place.

A lot of people say that they feel like the G7th capos are unobtrusive when it comes to playing. However, I do feel like they get into the way just a bit when I play. I also feel like it weighs down the neck of my guitar, because the capo is a lot heavier than other capos that I’ve used.

Bet G7th capo

Out of all of the different G7th capos that I’ve ever tried, the G7th Performance 2 Capo is my favorite capo to use. As someone who plays acoustic guitar and electric guitar, I hated having to purchase two different capos for my guitars. I never could find a capo that fit both of my guitars. One day, I stumbled upon the G7th Performance 2 Capo and I found that it fit both my acoustic guitar and electric guitar! I also like that it’s not obstructive on either instrument, because of the small and sleek design.

Are there capos available for electric guitars?

It’s not very common to see capos used on electric guitars. This is because playing on an electric guitar is more about playing singular notes rather than whole chords; this means you aren’t going to need any fancy pieces in order to play electric guitar. Also, the strings on electric guitars are much easier to depress (play barre chords) with rather than the strings on acoustic guitars. However, if you have decided that you’re going to be playing more rhythmically rather than singular notes on the electric guitar, you can use any standard capo that’s made for an acoustic guitar on an electric guitar.

Conclusion

There are a few more things that we should talk about before we wrap up this article. When playing in a group setting, whether be in a band or with other guitarists, determine what key you are playing in. You’re going to want to play in the same key as other people because you’re going to want your music to sound cohesive to the group. For each key, there are seven different chords. The position that you place your capo in will change the chords that you are playing; this means that every time you change the position of the capo, you are changing the key that you are playing in. The progression of chords within a scale go as follows:

  • – Major
  • – Minor
  • – Minor
  • – Major
  • – Major
  • – Diminished

Using this pattern will allow you to figure out the chords that are in the key of C, C Major, c minor, d minor, e minor, F Major, G Major, A diminished.

There is some basic music theory that you should know when using a capo. For example, moving your capo one ONE fret will move your chord up a half step; moving your capo up on the neck of the guitar TWO frets, you will move your guitar up one full step.

While getting used to using a capo on your guitar, you should also being to learn how to transpose your music while using a capo. You can get a chart online and these charts will tell you exactly what chord you are playing based upon where your capo is positioned.

You can also use a capo to brighten the tone of your guitar. Did you know that if you move a capo further down on the neck of your guitar, it will brighten the tone of your guitar? By moving the capo further down the neck, you brighten the tone of your guitar, making it easier to create upbeat and happy music; doing this can also help you to match your vocal registry.

That’s a wrap for the top five best guitar capos on the market today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article!

Top Seven Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitars

If you are thinking about learning how to play the acoustic guitar, you should totally go for it. As a beginning guitar player, the learning process can be equally frustrating and confusing. However, sticking to the learning process isn’t going to be something that you regret! Years from now, you’re going to be grateful that you stuck with it and learned how to play.

Before you even begin to start learning how to play acoustic guitar, you need to first have an instrument. I personally always recommend Yamaha guitars to my beginning students or any parents who ask me what guitar they should purchase for their child. Yamaha’s FG series is one of the most consistently affordable instruments, while still being quality guitars. I’m constantly recommending the FG series because the instrument in these series are built to grow with you; as a professional guitar player, I often find myself telling my co-workers and peers about how much I enjoy using the FG series.

There are a lot of different guitar brands that are available on the market, but in my professional opinion, Yamaha offers a top quality guitar for beginning guitar players, all at an affordable price.

Why choose Yamaha?

I recommend beginners to purchase a Yamaha guitar because Yamaha guitars are easy to play. As a beginning guitar player, I know it’s tempting to purchase a cheap guitar kit off of a website and call in the day. However, if you want to grow with your guitar, I would advise against that. It’s a common trait over lower priced, no-name guitars to have design issues that ensure that the guitar produces a poor sound and that it doesn’t withstand much abuse.

With Yamaha, it all comes down to the build quality that they produce. Guitars that mass produced at a low price range make the learning process difficult and frustrating for beginning guitar players. If you plan on sticking with your guitar for several years and have the desire to become a good musician, a quality guitar is going to send you a long way on the road to your success. That’s what make Yamaha guitars stand out from the rest!

Another amazing quality of the guitars that Yamaha produces is the overall sound quality of their guitars. One of the most popular guitars out of the FG series is the FG800, which is a guitar that’s well suited for both beginning guitarists and veteran players. The most important part of finding a guitar that’s suitable for a new player is finding a guitar that sounds good; if your guitar sounds good, you’re going to be inspired to play more often and enjoy the learning process.

Yamaha is a brand that knows that their target demographic is beginning guitar players. When you start doing your research on Yamaha guitars, you’re going to find that they have a lot of different options for beginning guitarists. Here is a list of some of Yamaha’s best acoustic guitars for beginners!

Acoustic Guitar Starter Pack

If you want to purchase an acoustic guitar that comes with all of the bells and whistles, an acoustic guitar starter kit from Yamaha is available. For around $200, you can purchase a Yamaha guitar kit that comes with:

  • A Yamaha guitar
  • Neck strap
  • Guitar picks
  • Gig bag
  • Extra strings
  • Guitar tuner
  • An instructional DVD that also comes with lessons

This starter kit is actually a money saver; instead of having to purchase every single item separately, you can get all of the items that you need to get started all for a lump sum. Not to mention it totally saves you time and hassle!

There are two starter packs that Yamaha offers that you should consider- both of these options are budget conscious. There two starter packs are:

The Gigmaker Standard Starter Pack

This is the basic package out of the two, which means that it is also more affordable. This starter pack comes with Yamaha’s F325 acoustic guitar; the F325 is one of the least expensive acoustic guitars that Yamaha has in their lineup. The F325 sports a laminate top, which is part of the reason why the guitar is less expensive than the Deluxe Starter Pack.

The Gigmaker Deluxe Starter Pack

In the Gigmaker Deluxe starter pack upgrades your guitar selection from the F325 to the FD01S. Instead of featuring a laminate top like the F325, the FD01S has a solid spruce top, Rosewood fingerboard, Rosewood bridge, and Nato sides and back. For just a small change in price, you’ll receive an instrument that’s better quality. Both of the starter packs come with other accessories such as picks, a gig bag, extra strings, etc., but the main difference in the starter packs is the guitar build and quality.

However, if you aren’t looking for a starter pack and you just want to get yourself a guitar, there are still affordable options out there that are perfect for you!

Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar

 The FG800 is a guitar that’s popular all around the world, because of the full sized features that are more commonly found in expensive guitars. While the Yamaha FG800 is intended for beginning guitarists, it definitely is a guitar that’s a fit perfect for both beginning and intermediate guitarists.

For under $350, you can purchase yourself a solid Sitka Spruce top that has a Rosewood fingerboard, a Rosewood bridge, and Nato neck, sides, and back. Nato is a wood that shares several similarities to Mahogany, which helps to ensure that the FG800 has not only solid construction and sound quality, but it also produces similar resonance and depth. The Spruce top on the FG800 finishes the sound that the guitar produces off with crispness and definite articulation. Having a solid top on a guitar at this price is a rarity, but it certainly does the FG800 justice.

The most loved part of the FG800 is how easy it is to play. As a beginning guitarist, you’re going to want to find yourself a guitar that’s easy to play. The student guitars that Yamaha produces truly are worth the small investment; while they are budget friendly, they are easy to play, have amazing craftsmanship, and produce a balanced tone.

The only complaint that I have about the Yamaha FG800, is that it tends to have a very high action. However, this does tend to be a problem for guitars that are on the lower end of the price range. I am a guitarist who enjoys playing the guitar that has a lower action, but there are people out there who enjoy playing the guitar that has a higher action. Don’t let the high action make you second guess this guitar; if you love this guitar and the price tag on this guitar, you can always spend a little bit of extra money and get your guitar adjusted to fix the action.

The FG800 can be purchased individually or in a bundle pack; the bundle pack comes with a hard case (which can cost several hundred dollars by itself), a tuner, string winder, a capo, stand, tuner, and an instructional DVD. Whether you want to learn how to play guitar in order to perform covers, want to play in a band, or you truly want to learn how to read and play guitar music, you’re going to need a small collection of accessories to progress with you as you continue playing. If you’re looking to start out with everything you need and not have to make continual purchases as you continue playing, a bundle pack truly is the way you should go.

Summary:

  • Dreadnought body
  • Solid Spruce top
  • Laminate Nato Sides and Back
  • Scalloped X Bracing
  • Laminate Nato Neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • 25 9/16 inch scale length
  • 1 11/16 inch nut width
  • Urea Plastic Nut
  • Rosewood Bridge
  • Urea plastic saddle
  • No cutaway
  • No electronics
  • Four color options: natural, brown sunburst, sand burst, black

Yamaha FG820 and FG830

The Yamaha FG series is truly a great series for beginners to choose from. If you are someone who is truly serious about learning how to play guitar and have some extra money you are willing to spend on your guitar, I would suggest that you take some time to check out the FG820 and the FG830. Both of these guitars are an improved version of the FG800; while they do cost a bit more than the FG800, they are still in an affordable price range.

For under $300, you can purchase yourself a high-quality guitar that will last with you for years to come; the only reason you’ll ever need to change out from this guitar is if you want to upgrade to a pro-quality guitar. Both the FG820 and the FG830 sport a solid Sitka Spruce top. The FG820 has Eastern Mahogany sides and back. However, the FG830 has Rosewood installed on the sides and back. Rosewood is often favored more prominently among acoustic guitar players because it is amazing tone.

You have the option to purchase either guitar in a Vintage Cherry Sunburst finish or a Tobacco Brown Sunburst finish. As a beginner, which one should you choose? Since you are a beginning guitar player, you probably don’t know all that much (or even care) about tone woods. Both make a great choice and you can’t go wrong with either.

As a personal preference, I prefer the FG830, only because I prefer the sound of the Rosewood over the sound of the Eastern Mahogany; Eastern Mahogany is often referred to as Nato. For the same price, the FG830 has a slightly better quality and sound quality, because of the use of the tone wood.

Summary for FG820:

  • The FG800 and FG820 are similar but have only two main differences. Difference number one is that the FG820 has a laminate Mahogany sides and back. Difference number two is that the FG820 has a cream plastic binding, which is really just a cosmetic difference.
  • Has a warmer tone than the FG800
  • Comes in five finishes: natural, black, autumn burst, sunset blue, brown sunburst

Summary for the FG830:

  • Comes in three finishes: natural, autumn burst, tobacco brown sunburst
  • The Rosewood on the FG830 helps to ensure that this guitar produces more sustain compared to the FG820
  • Rosewood also helps to produce more clarity when the guitar produces high and low pitches, especially when compared against Mahogany
  • Brighter sound compared to the FG820
  • Abalone inlay around the sound hole, which is different compared to the FG820L, but this is merely a cosmetic difference

Yamaha FGX800C

Maybe you’re looking to be an acoustic guitar player, but you’ve heard about acoustic electric guitars. If you don’t know what an acoustic electric guitar is, it’s an acoustic guitar that you plug into an amplifier to produce a larger amount of sound (just like with an electric guitar). If you have ever been to a live performance that used an acoustic guitar, you’ve probably heard an acoustic electric guitar being played. If you have the desire to play in live performances in front of a crowd of people, an acoustic electric guitar is the way to go.

Whether you choose to go with an acoustic electric guitar or just a regular acoustic guitar, the learning process will be the exact same. When the acoustic-electric guitar is unplugged, it’s the exact same as a regular acoustic guitar.

The FGX800C has a very similar build to the FG800 acoustic guitar that we talked about earlier; however, these two guitars do have some very distinct differences. The first big difference that you will notice between the two guitars it the single cutaway design; this type of design allows the guitar player to reach higher registers on the fretboard with more ease.

Another major difference is the electronics system that is placed in the FGX800C guitar; acoustic electric guitars need a preamp and a pickup in order to send their signal over to the amplifier. The FGX800C has a System55T with a Piezo 3-band EQ in it, which allows you to adjust your volume and tone right on your guitar, instead of on the amp.

Yamaha FG700S Folk Acoustic Guitar

This is the first acoustic guitar that I recommend to beginning left handed players. Matter of fact, the FG700S has been a favorite among left-handed players for more than fifty years. The FG700S is a unique combination of both a classical design and a modern guitar build. Yamaha made sure to focus on creating a guitar that produces excellent tone, in order to provide their left-handed players with an exciting experience.

While this guitar has not been specifically made with left-handed players in mind, this guitar does come with a left handed option. You can purchase a bundle for the FG700S that comes with the guitar, picks, capo, string winder, hard case, strap, tuner, extra strings, a hard case, and an instructional DVD. The physical build of the FG700S consists of a solid Sitka Spruce top, diecast tuners, and Rosewood fingerboard.

Yamaha JR1 and JR2

If you are shopping around for your child, you’re not going to want to purchase a full sized guitar. In fact, you’re going to want to purchase a ¾ size guitar. A ¾ size guitar is a guitar that’s body and neck is scaled down from a full sized guitar; this is in order to make the guitar playable for small bodied children.

The JR1 and JR2 are ¾ sized mini folk acoustic guitars that are based on the Yamaha FG series. The JR1 and JR2 are the best acoustic guitars for kids that I’ve ever used; these guitars aren’t made specifically for children either. If you are someone who has a small stature or small hands, you can also use this guitar! Another cool feature on the JR1 and JR2 is that you can choose the visual design of the guitar; for example, we have a JR2 Sunburst pictured above!

Don’t be alarmed by the small size of these guitars- they aren’t toys! These guitars have been created with the same standards that all other Yamaha guitars are made with. Specifically, the JR1 and the JR2 guitars are popular among professional guitarists, because they make great travel companions. While their bodies may be smaller, the sound quality and the size of sound that they produce is the same as a full sized guitar.

The Yamaha JR2 sports a Spruce top, Nato neck, Rosewood fingerboard, Meranti side and back, and Rosewood bridge. Meranti and Nato are woods used in budget guitars as a replacement for Mahogany; while the richness that these woods produce aren’t the exact same as Mahogany, they are still really close.

As for the Yamaha JR2, it’s a guitar that has a little bit of improvement over the JR1. The JR2 has a Mahogany Finish UTF sides and back, instead of the Meranti that’s used on the JR1. The JR2 also offers the sunburst finish, which doesn’t make a difference in the sound produced, but it does make the guitar look great.

Whether you are shopping for your student, you’re shopping for yourself as somebody with a small body, or a veteran guitarist looking for a small guitar along with you or to stash away in your office, the JR1 guitar and the JR2 guitar both make amazing choices. These guitars also come with a bundle option, so don’t forget to look at that!

Summary

In this article, we talked about several different Yamaha acoustic guitars that stand out from the rest of the competition. Which one should you go about choosing? Below, I have listed some general advice to use when shopping for your new guitar, in case you’re unsure about which to pick from!

  • If you or your child or student is not certain that they are going to stick with their instrument for years to come, the FG800 is one of the top acoustic guitars that are student level on the market today. If you/ your child/ your student is big enough to play a full sized guitar comfortably, this is the best option for them.
  • However, if you/ your child/ your student is truly serious about playing guitar and wants to stick with it for years to come, the FG820, FGX800C, and FG830 will all make great guitars for the new guitarist to stick with. These guitars all have solid tonality and sound projection, even though they are at an affordable price. Any one of these three guitars will be an instrument that they won’t outgrow to years to come.
  • If you are looking to purchase a full sized guitar but are worried about the pricing of additional accessories, the starter packs that Yamaha offers are amazing choices.
  • The JR1 and JR2 Yamaha acoustic guitars are guitars that have been built with smaller bodied people in mind; these guitars make great instruments for children. Once they outgrow this guitar, your guitarist can keep this guitar and use it as a travel instrument.

If for some reason you aren’t finding yourself to be super impressed with the starter packs that Yamaha offers, there are other guitar brands out there that do offer starting packs for beginning guitar players. However, Yamaha is always the brand that I recommend to people who are looking for purchase an affordable guitar for their new guitar player.

Good luck finding your dream guitar and I hope you have fun learning how to play!

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