Recording King

Acoustic guitar brands, types, etc? Explain the difference between guitar brands and types?

Ive heard of something like "dreadnought, F, Jumbo" or Alvarez Yairi or gibbson etc....

THANKS!

Hi Orange Juice,

The first part of what you're asking are the different body shapes for acoustic guitars. Dreadnoughts are among the largest of the acoustic guitars, and are typically the most common shape to find in a beginner guitar. While they produce a lot of sound, they can also be somewhat uncomfortable to play because they are so big, particularly if you're not a particularly big person. Here's an article that shows (and explains) all the different body styles (http://www.acousticguitar.com/article/default.aspx?articleid=22872). For female players and people of smaller stature, you may want to check out a guitar with a 000 shape (a body size coined by Martin Guitars).

There are many, many guitar brands out there, some produced by large manufacturers and hundreds more produced by smaller shops and individual builders (luthiers). Among the largest acoustic guitar brands, Martin (http://martinguitar.com/) and Taylor (http://www.taylorguitars.com) are the two that are generally at the top of the heap, in terms of popularity and respect. Other big brands:

Alvarez - Affordable, fairly well made guitars. They have guitars ranging from about $150 - $3000 (the Alvarez Yairi is their high end and are around that price range).

Blueridge - Good guitars for the money.

Dean - You'll usually find these in most guitar stores. And for the most part, they aren't good at all. I would avoid buying a Dean.

Epiphone - Part of the Gibson family. Epiphone is their affordable line of guitars, many built in the style of famous Gibson guitars, but built with lesser quality materials in their factory in China. Their quality can be inconsistent. There are some good ones and some pretty poor ones, too.

Fender - While their electrics are considered some of the best around, their acoustics are generally unimpressive.

Gibson - Made in their factory in Montana, their starting price is close to $2000. Great blues guitars, and popular in among country and bluegrass players too.

Guild - Now owned by Fender, this is a brand that's been around for over 50 years, with a reputation of well-made, workhorse guitars, and their dreadnoughts are particularly popular.

Ibanez - Despite being a brand more respected for their electrics, Ibanez does a fairly good job of making low-priced acoustics that play well and sound pretty good.

Martin - The holy grail for many people, Martin is known for making outstanding guitars. Granted they have a wide price range, going from $299 for their Little Martin, up to $50k. They are consistently good guitars, particularly once you get into their all-solid wood guitars, though you do pay for it.

Recording King - An affordable guitar brand that is not very well known but make some of the best of the very cheap ($250 and under) guitars on the market.

Seagull - One of a few brands under the Godin Guitars umbrella, their S6 is an almost legendary guitar because it is such a great sounding guitar for the money. It's been a staple of the Seagull line for years. At a little under $400, it continues to be a top-notch guitar in its price range.

Takamine - They generally make pretty solid guitars from top to bottom, and are particularly popular as stage guitars.

Taylor - Wildly popular among singer-songwriters and acoustic rockers, Taylor makes consistently good guitars. Some would even say great. As with many incredibly popular things, they have their die-hard fans and their die-hard detractors, but Taylor Guitars got where they are today for a reason.

Washburn - Few acoustic guitar brands have been around as long as Washburn, and they've had a fairly tumultuous history. Unfortunately, their guitars have gone through as many ups and downs as the company and are inconsistent, to be nice. There are a few nice ones in the mix, but there are some bad ones too. While I wouldn't avoid them completely, I would certainly make sure to play it (and give it a thorough look over) before you buy it.

Yamaha - They manufacture a TON of acoustic guitars, starting with some very cheap guitars that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. But they also have some guitars (like the FG700S) that are impressive instruments for the money. Not high end guitars by any means, but they're a brand worth checking out for the beginning player. Just make sure to get a solid top.

There are many more high-end boutique brands that I didn't like Breedlove, Collings, Santa Cruz, Goodall, Froggy Bottom, Huss and Dalton, Bourgeois and more that make expensive hand-made guitars, but produce amazing instruments that are out of many people's price range (with the exception of Breedlove who does have a line of affordable guitars that are ok). And there are also a number of very low-end brands like Rogue, Jasmine, Aria and Samick that just aren't worth mentioning.

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