Looking to start playing the guitar? Have trouble choosing your first instrument? With so many fantastic options out there, it can be hard to pick your first guitar. Our top picks for the best beginner acoustic guitars is here to help you decide! We cover a range of brands and price points so you’re bound to find an acoustic guitar that fits the bill.
Choosing Your Guitar
Acoustic guitars are a very popular starting point for first-time players. Unlike an electric guitar that requires an amp, a cable and – most importantly – electricity, an acoustic guitar is totally self-contained. They don’t rely on anything else to make a great sound. Another thing that’s great about the acoustic guitar is its immediacy. There’s no hassle with plugging in cables or anything like that with an acoustic guitar. All you need to do is pick it up and start playing.
No matter how much you want to spend on an acoustic, it should meet these three criteria. Feel comfortable to play, sound good and look appealing. If your first acoustic guitar does these three things you’ll want to play it more. And the more you play, the quicker you’ll improve!
Of course, if you can afford a high-end Taylor or Martin that costs thousands of pounds then go for it! That guitar is sure to sound and feel superb. Plus, if you decide to sell it down the line it’ll probably retain most of its value. However, we are living in a Golden Age where high-quality acoustic guitars are more affordable. You don’t need to spend tonnes to own an acoustic that plays and sounds top-notch. This is great news for beginners on a budget or if you’re uncertain about the guitar being your go-to instrument.
Shapes and Sizes
Acoustic guitars come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each one has its own tonal characteristics and advantages. It’s well worth coming down to the store and trying some different ones out. That’ll help you get a feel for what acoustic body shape is right for you. For example, if you’re a fingerpicker or want something portable you might prefer a smaller-bodied model. If you’re an aspiring singer-songwriter and want to accompany your voice, a dreadnought could be the one for you.
In the meantime, we’ll break down the major acoustic guitar body shapes. Our The Acoustic Guitar Buyer’s Guide is worth a read if you’d like to learn more about shapes and tonewoods.
The dreadnought shape is probably the one most would picture if you asked them to imagine an acoustic guitar. It’s often considered the “all-rounder” acoustic body shape so it’s the one we’d advise trying first. Dreadnought guitars can handle both strumming and fingerpicking with ease thanks to their balance of solid bottom-end and clear highs. Hard-hitting strummers will love the amount of volume a dreadnought body can put out.
We also recommend going for a dreadnought model if you aren’t sure about the style of music you want to play as it can cover a lot of sonic ground. If you find the dreadnought size too large, smaller-bodied acoustic guitars are also available.
Famous Dreadnought players include – Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, John Martyn
Parlour or parlor acoustic guitars are the smallest acoustic guitar type. A parlour acoustic guitar’s smaller size makes it portable and very comfortable to play. This makes parlours a particularly good choice for smaller-sized and travelling guitarists. The compact size isn’t this model’s only advantage! They’re fantastic for fingerpicking, blues and folk styles thanks to their crisp, light tone and focussed mid-range.
Famous Parlour players include – Joan Baez, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Sting, Robert Johnson
OOO / Auditorium
An 000 or Auditorium acoustic guitar sits between a dreadnought and a parlour size-wise. These models balance the comfortable form factor and portability of a parlour with the power of a dreadnought. Like dreadnoughts, these guitars are adept at both strummed and picked styles (though their basses don’t go quite as deep as a dreadnought).
They’re also favoured by fingerpickers due to their strong mid-range definition, which helps individual notes sound nice and clear. On that note, we recommend an OOO or Auditorium guitar if you’re a singer-guitarist, love fingerpicking or want something easier to wield than a dreadnought.
Famous OOO /Auditorium players include – John Mayer, Graham Nash, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton
Jumbo acoustic guitars are amongst the largest body type available. Because of their larger size, they boast a full, rich tone with a powerful potent bottom-end. Jumbos also output a lot of volume when strummed hard. Don’t mistake the Jumbo’s powerful bass for lack of clarity, though. The Jumbo’s tight-waist ensures there’s plenty of presence and high-end jangle. We recommend trying a Jumbo if you’re a songwriter or rhythm guitarist and can get on with the larger size.
Famous Jumbo players include – Johnny Cash, John Lennon, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan
Classical or Spanish acoustic guitars are one of the oldest instrument designs still around. They tend to be smaller than your standard dreadnought and are strung with nylon strings. Compared to a steel-strung acoustic, a nylon-strung Classical has a more rounded, softer tone. This quality combined with the deep body cavity means Classical guitars are incredibly dynamic. You can coax a wide range of timbres from this type of acoustic depending on how hard or soft you play.
Famous Classic players include – Andres Segovia, Paco de Lucía, Gabriela Quintero, Al Di Meola
Top Acoustic Guitars For Beginners:
- Easy playability and great sound at an affordable price.
- Available in a wide range of eye-catching colours.
- Comes with the essential accessories that you need to start playing.
Tiger’s acoustic guitar range is a simple and great place to start, with a range of different Acoustics to choose from as well as different colours, each with nice tonal quality, projection and comfortable sizing. Whether it’s a dreadnought, electro-acoustic, or even just a size-down guitar for your little one, then Tiger is worth your attention. Sitting at under 100 pounds, you get quite a lot out of that price! From a bag, strap, strings, and picks, you can kickstart your guitar journey as soon as it’s out of the box.
Mad About Acoustics
- An ideal choice for kids ages 9-11, or to take with you on your travels.
- Uncompromised sound and playability all at an amazing price.
- Accessories like a gig bag, pick and guitar strap all included with this acoustic.
The Mad About Acoustics focuses on accessibility for kids and students to have the sound quality of a full-sized guitar in a smaller body. The compact sizings these guitars offer are great for young kids wanting to let out the inner guitarist in them, as well as being a convenient size for on the road jamming. Its price point of under 100 pounds makes its selection of accessories such as strings, strap, bag, and picks make this guitar a great starting acoustic, with everything you need at a low cost.
Bottom Left: Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Acoustic, Sunburst
Bottom Right: Fender FA-125 Dreadnought Acoustic, Sunburst
- A well-known, reliable brand known for high-quality craftsmanship.
- Offered in both acoustic/electro-acoustic versions.
- Comfortable playability with easy-to-play neck and various tonewoods.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 50 years, you would’ve definitely have heard of the guitar company Fender. You might see it as quite an expensive brand, due to its high-quality construction and very distinct sound, but what if I told you that Fender has a line of conveniently priced acoustics that still sound great?
Sitting under 200 pounds, the Fender FA-125 Dreadnought Acoustics combines both cost-efficiency and uncompromised sound quality, as well as the option of choosing a regular acoustic or electro-acoustic. With an overall comfortable body and easy-to-play neck, these acoustics are a great option for bucking guitarists and those who’re a fan of big music brands like Fender.
Bottom Left: Taylor Academy 10e Dreadnought Electro Acoustic
Bottom Right: Taylor Academy 12 Grand Concert Acoustic
- A more affordable option of the highly respected Taylor Acoustics.
- Available in a range of body shapes to match your style of playing.
- Premium design, sound and playability.
The Taylor acoustic guitars are one of the biggest acoustic distributors out there, known for their premium guitar design and exceptional sound. For a beginner that wants to invest in a higher-priced guitar for long-lasting reliability and durability, then Taylor is worth your attention. With the variety of different shapes, sizes, and hardware, you have a variety of acoustics to choose from to suit what you’re looking for. Whether it’s a guitar you easily travel with like the Taylor GS Travel Acoustic, or a guitar that’s ideal for fingerpicking and offers onboard pickups like the Academy 12e GS, this range of Taylor acoustics will have you covered for premium playability and beautiful tones.
- Focuses on high-performance and quality while still being accessible at a low price.
- One of the best-selling and well-respected beginner guitars on the market.
- Delivers a powerful amount of volume and tone.
When Gibson obtained the Epiphone brand (which before then were competing with each other range of acoustics), their premium hardware and construction only improved from there. Epiphone has a wide variety of different acoustics available, from the Songwriter dreadnoughts to the Jumbo electro-acoustics, both sitting under 200 pounds while offering the high-quality features and hardware Epiphone are own for.
- A more alternative take for beginner players.
- An array of tones and controls to work with.
- A smalled bodied guitar with comfortable playability.
If you’re looking for an acoustic that’s a bit out of the ordinary, then these Ibanez acoustics may be just what you’re looking for. Ibanez has a reputation for delivering a hard rock and metal guitar aesthetic, design, and sound. These Walm Slim Line Electro Acoustics achieve a quality acoustic sound as well as allowing to switch up to an electric sound. Its design and finish will really let you begin your acoustic journey in style, and only for under 200 pounds!
[VIDEO] The Tiger Guitar Range!
Check out our video on the Tiger Acoustic Guitars, perfect for beginners!