Music is one of the great things about being alive. And being able to pick up an acoustic guitar and make your own music —anytime you want—is a skill few folks ever regret or grow tired of.
While anytime is fine to start learning to play guitar, summer is especially great for kids since they have a little more time on their hands.
With that in mind, here are three highly rated and inexpensive acoustic guitars for beginning players. Why these three guitars?
1. The ratings come from the owners of the instruments themselves, so you’re getting their take, not some sales spin.
2. Expensive is relative but if you want a beginner to succeed, they need an instrument that will work with them, not against them. As with making cars, automation has helped make beginner guitars better. So they’re ready to drive off and stay away from the repair shop except for regular maintenance, like changing strings.
3. Just like people, guitars come in all shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, acoustics range from travel and parlor sizes (the smallest) to jumbos (the biggest.) The guitars in this list are in the small to medium size so it’s easier to loop arms over the instrument and see where the strings are and where those fingers go. If you’re an adult or very tall, long limbed or have big hands, a bigger guitar might be more comfortable. If that’s the case, shoot me a note and we’ll discuss it. And if you check out the Yamaha below, you can see a video of the next size up—a dreadnought.
Once you buy an instrument, you’ll want to protect it when it travels. For most beginners, a soft gig bag will do fine. All of these guitars will need a gig bag.
Finally, while there are those folks who can pick up a guitar and make music from day one, many people benefit from lessons. There are a lot of videos and such that show you how to do things, and they’re helpful especially once you pick up steam, but having a knowledgeable person who can help you make the music you want can both speed up your learning curve and make it a lot more fun.
On to the guitars!
If this axe looks like a bit of a throwback that’s because it is. It’s a modern reimagining of the Gretsch “Rex” guitars of the 30s, 40s and 50s.
It’s parlor sized, so it’s on the smaller side (for the reasons I’ve given above) but it’s a classic for a reason. People enjoy playing them.
You get a lot for your money with the Jim Dandy—a solid wood body made of Agathis, a “C” shaped neck for comfort and a Rosewood bridge for better sound.
This guitar comes with a dual truss rod and wrench. A truss rod allows you to adjust the amount of relief in the neck to adjust it as seasons change. If you’re handy with tools, you might try it but go slow. Otherwise, if your guitar needs a little love, ask a luthier or guitar shop for help.
32 reviewers gave this Gretsch Jim Dandy a high rating of 4.7 stars, noting it was fun to play, had a rich sound and stayed in tune.
This is a concert sized guitar, one of the most popular and versatile shapes of guitars. It’s a little longer and wider than a parlor guitar but not as big as a dreadnought.
This Yamaha is solid wood with a a Spruce top and a Nato back, sides and neck with a Rosewood fingerboard. Nato is a type of Mahogany and valued for the warmth of its sound.
For those who would prefer the next body size up—a dreadnought— you can see a video of what that guitar looks and sounds like on the same page.
16 reviewers gave this Yamaha FS700s a high rating of 4.8 stars, commenting on its good feel, that it was fun to play and stayed in tune.
This is another sweet-sized guitar, on the smaller side. But it packs plenty of punch.
This Recording King brings you a solid Spruce top, bone nut and saddle and a great-looking old-style matte sunburst finish. She also features vintage-inspired tuning keys and the historic Recording King headstock.
Beginners will especially appreciate the extra large fretboard dots that help you see where you are and find where you’re going next.
27 reviewers gave this Recording King a high rating of 4.6 stars, noting it was fun to play, stayed in tune and had a good feel.
Have fun and play on!