What Guitar Should I Buy?

Note: We don’t teach electric guitar lessons at the Apple Valley location. If this is your interest, we have an associate teacher nearby who can help you.

First, it’s important to know that the two types of acoustic guitars–classical and steel-string–are very different. Please click following button and read the content before making a decision.

Many of our customers ask us about guitars they found on the Internet. In most all cases, we have never evaluated their selections, and can’t recommend them. Of greatest concern are low-quality “plywood top” guitars whose soundboards are made from layers of wood rather than solid pieces. This results in a very poor tone, limited sustain and a narrow volume range. Thus, the chances that the child will be disappointed by playing it, and give up on lessons prematurely, are greatly increased compared to a quality solid-top instrument.

In sum, student success and practice-motivating satisfaction requires a home instrument that rises to an reasonable standard of quality. Below is a list of the least expensive, entry-level models that qualify.

SOLID TOP NYLON-STRING (“Classical”) GUITARS

Cordoba C-5 (full size) for mid-teens to adults (~$300)
Cordoba Dolce (7/8) for tweeners and short teens/adults (~$300)
Cordoba Cadete (3/4) for typical children (~$300)
Cordoba Requinto (1/2) for very young children (~$300)

SOLID TOP STEEL-STRING (“Acoustic”) Guitars

Fender CD-60S solid-top steel string guitar, large dreadnought body, mid-teen to adult ($200)
Fender CC-60S solid-top steel string guitar, smaller “concert” body, tweener or short teen/adult ($200)
We also recommend any Martin steel-string with a solid top, as long as its the appropriate size for the student.

Note: Fractional size steel-string guitars (e.g. 1/2, 3/4)–even among name-brand models–typically have a thin, wiry tone. A similar-size solid-top Cordoba classical typically sounds better, and is a more practice-motivating choice for a beginner. It’s also significantly less expensive.

GUITARS THAT LIMIT STUDENT PROGRESS AND ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR LESSONS

These include guitars with plywood (laminated) tops (as noted above), department store toys, and old hand-me-downs with darkened/corroded strings, warped necks, etc. All of these have poor tone, and those in the latter two categories may buzzing notes or won’t tune up properly.  In some cases, older guitars can be “set up” by a technician, a process that can correct most problems.  However, the cost of this work is usually $100+. 

REPLACEMENT GUITAR STRINGS

Nylon strings: Savarez Corum-New Cristal, high tension*
Steel strings: Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze light gauge
* Essential for child-size classical guitars. Otherwise, some strings may buzz, especially when played loudly.

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