Looking for Advice for buying first Acoustic Guitar

Want to talk about music hardware or software that doesn't include Reason?
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Mistro17
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Joined: 04 Jul 2017
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Post 10 Nov 2022

Hi. I'm really enjoying playing the keyboard. I love making polyphonic music so I'm very interested in getting my hands on an acoustic guitar. A good thing will also be that I can use it anywhere and not just at my computer. I'm also viewing this as a possible opportunity to invest in another hardware instrument vs a VI this year. Before I take the leap I have some questions.

Should I rent one first (if there's such a thing)?
Does it matter if I get a cheap one in the $100-$249 range or save up for a particular brand for quality sake?
Will I have a better advantage in making guitar parts into a DAW and if so, how is this usually done with acoustic guitars?
How would you rate the difficulty between learning guitar vs piano?
Anyone know some really good guitar lessons for beginners to get me started? I'm already familiar with music theory so my main beginning goal is to learn how to make scales and chords right away if that's ok to do.

Thanks in advance.

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Jackjackdaw
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Post 10 Nov 2022

I recommend Yamaha for budget acoustics. Micing will sound better than direct from the piezo pickups. But I have heard you can use acoustic guitar impulse responses to give life to guitars recorded direct. I have been using a fishman rare earth soundhole humbucker to record into amp sims lately which is really nice but costs nearly a much as a cheap guitar. Difficulty depends how much you practice!

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MrFigg
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Post 10 Nov 2022

Get a steel string acoustic with a pick up so you can just plug it straight into your audio interface for instant results. $200 dollars plus.
Hundreds of lessons on YouTube.
There’s not really any way to say how easy or hard you’re going to find learning an instrument. I guess it’s down to a combination of aptitude and dedication.

Edit: just checked. Thomann have got a whole load of Squier acoustics for around €150. Probably fine. Harley Benton are pretty good for the money too.
See if you like playing and then get yourself an American Fender Jazzmaster Ultra. S’what I did :).
丰2ॐ

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Mistro17
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Post 10 Nov 2022

MrFigg wrote:
10 Nov 2022
Get a steel string acoustic with a pick up so you can just plug it straight into your audio interface for instant results. $200 dollars plus.
Hundreds of lessons on YouTube.
There’s not really any way to say how easy or hard you’re going to find learning an instrument. I guess it’s down to a combination of aptitude and dedication.

Edit: just checked. Thomann have got a whole load of Squier acoustics for around €150. Probably fine. Harley Benton are pretty good for the money too.
See if you like playing and then get yourself an American Fender Jazzmaster Ultra. S’what I did :).
Thanks! Would something like that steel string play well on it's own without being plugged in? Like if I wanted to just play some tunes in the park?
Jackjackdaw wrote:
10 Nov 2022
I recommend Yamaha for budget acoustics. Micing will sound better than direct from the piezo pickups. But I have heard you can use acoustic guitar impulse responses to give life to guitars recorded direct. I have been using a fishman rare earth soundhole humbucker to record into amp sims lately which is really nice but costs nearly a much as a cheap guitar. Difficulty depends how much you practice!
I have a Yeti mic. Would that work?

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Billy+
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Post 10 Nov 2022

The biggest problem/difference between the reality and recording is very surprising.

What you're hearing and what a mic is recording is amazingly different so it's not about what's better or what you can do with what you record, it's more about what you're prepared to do with what you have.

Personally I'm digital because every time is different with analog and rooms and recording every mic in every room on every day is different so digital is easy (not necessarily better) but understanding analog is different and worth the extra effort is worth embarrassing however if time is not available then digital just makes the compromise easy to accept and cheaper.

Personally I would buy a vst but if you're interested in learning to play and recording what you're playing then either expect to be buying extra mics or buy a di capable guitar because you're not going to enjoy learning how to record the room at the same time as learning how to play.

As for what's easier umm if you're dedicated then it's all easy because you enjoy the challenge, wanting to give up is natural, pushing through it because you're not prepared to be beaten is the recipe for success ;)
Remember this - freedom of expression does not exist in this dojo.

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Mistro17
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Post 10 Nov 2022

Am I gonna have to sacrifice my clean fingers? I always took pride in not having calluses. I have to really think about this one. So at least when learning piano, there's no pain and body part adjustments lol. But if I really want to play guitar, I'll suffer through. I read that guitar callus goes away the longer you stop playing.

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MrFigg
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Post 11 Nov 2022

Mistro17 wrote:
10 Nov 2022
Am I gonna have to sacrifice my clean fingers? I always took pride in not having calluses. I have to really think about this one. So at least when learning piano, there's no pain and body part adjustments lol. But if I really want to play guitar, I'll suffer through. I read that guitar callus goes away the longer you stop playing.
You get thick pads on your fingers. No way out.
Yeah, guitar will play just the same as a guitar without a pickup.
I’m only saying to line it as opposed to mixing it because it’ll be easier for you starting out. I’d get a decent guitar to start with becasue I never look at instruments as money thrown away. Buy quality from the outset.
丰2ॐ

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selig
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Post 11 Nov 2022

Going against the grain here to suggest a cheap gut string guitar. I found, as a non player, nylon strings FAR easier to deal with than steel strings. You gotta build up your calluses which takes time, and you can potentially progress faster if you don’t need to build calluses first. I also found running the pickup through electric guitar pedals gave me nearly the same sound as an electric which made it a versatile first guitar for me in addition to a more easy way to build calluses if you decide to continue down that path.
Side note: guitar is a unique instrument in that you ideally have to develop a physical change in your body before you can effectively play it - which makes it difficult for a beginner to know if its’ for them or not because you first have to go through this somewhat painful stage before you can actually play it for more than a few minutes at a time. At least that was the case with my tender fingertips (I DO have calluses from drumming, but I didn’t need them to learn drums!).
As for cost, I got a $100 guitar and it sounded fantastic. Side note: working for Tony Joe White (Poke Salad Annie, Rainy Night in Georgia) I asked about his guitars. “This one was from Clapton” he casually commented, “I got this one from Mark Knopfler” he added. He had a fantastic nylon string acoustic guitar and I assumed it had a similar story, so I asked about it. His reply: “that was $50 at Cotten Music, and they tried to sell me the more expensive one but before I left I saw it and asked about it. They figured I didn’t want it because it was cheap, but I played it and it sounded fantastic”. So it DID have a cool story, just not the story I expected. It DID sound fantastic, demonstrating price isn’t always a factor…
Selig Audio, LLC

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MrFigg
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Post 11 Nov 2022

selig wrote:
11 Nov 2022
Going against the grain here to suggest a cheap gut string guitar. I found, as a non player, nylon strings FAR easier to deal with than steel strings. You gotta build up your calluses which takes time, and you can potentially progress faster if you don’t need to build calluses first. I also found running the pickup through electric guitar pedals gave me nearly the same sound as an electric which made it a versatile first guitar for me in addition to a more easy way to build calluses if you decide to continue down that path.
Side note: guitar is a unique instrument in that you ideally have to develop a physical change in your body before you can effectively play it - which makes it difficult for a beginner to know if its’ for them or not because you first have to go through this somewhat painful stage before you can actually play it for more than a few minutes at a time. At least that was the case with my tender fingertips (I DO have calluses from drumming, but I didn’t need them to learn drums!).
As for cost, I got a $100 guitar and it sounded fantastic. Side note: working for Tony Joe White (Poke Salad Annie, Rainy Night in Georgia) I asked about his guitars. “This one was from Clapton” he casually commented, “I got this one from Mark Knopfler” he added. He had a fantastic nylon string acoustic guitar and I assumed it had a similar story, so I asked about it. His reply: “that was $50 at Cotten Music, and they tried to sell me the more expensive one but before I left I saw it and asked about it. They figured I didn’t want it because it was cheap, but I played it and it sounded fantastic”. So it DID have a cool story, just not the story I expected. It DID sound fantastic, demonstrating price isn’t always a factor…
I learned to play on a cheap nylon strung acoustic with a £3 Tandy condenser mic stuck into the body through the sound hole and then plugged into an old National Panasonic radio/ tape recorder for an amp. Velvet Underground songs never sounded so good :).
Incidentally, my 2nd favourite guitar is an old, cracked Bjärton acoustic which my friend found thrown away under a bridge. It’s rattly as hell but it’s great for playing blues.
丰2ॐ

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motuscott
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Location: the New York

Post 11 Nov 2022

selig wrote:
11 Nov 2022
I DO have calluses from drumming
I did have an ugly callous between my LH thumb and index finger when using standard grip. Aside from accompanying troops into battle, I haven't had a use for standard grip in years.

It's still all about me, y'all
Vlad "ReasonTalk Life Coach" 🧂

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Mistro17
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Post 11 Nov 2022

I'm gonna make a trip to guitar center as soon as the weather improves here and start sampling what they have to get my first feels. I'm also going there because someone left an old guitar out in the hallway of my building a few years ago and I took it in. It only have 2 strings on it and some minor damage on the front body. It's a little hole so not sure if that will affect the sound or maybe even give unique character. (I should've mentioned this in my first post). I'll see if it's worth getting repaired or strings placed on it. Likely probably better to just buy a cheap new one as it would cost around the same thing lol. I'll report my experience here after.

And as far as calluses go, I'm hoping it's the same enjoyment I have learning on the keyboard as I do go through carpal tunnel syndrome from over-playing. Perhaps I might go through the guitar callus with enjoyment on purpose as long as I feel like I'm making progress successfully.

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DaveyG
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Post 11 Nov 2022

Good beginners steel string acoustics:
Epiphone DR-100
Yamaha F310

Both relatively easy on the fingers, but it is relative. You'll still need to persevere for a few months to harden up those wussy soft fingers.

Alternatively, go for a budget electric (Squire, Epiphone, Yamaha). Easier on the fingers than any acoustic, especially with barre chords, but obviously you'll need to budget for a small practice amp (get one with a headphone socket!), or there are small dongle-like guitar headphone things that plug directly into the axe and make it that bit more portable. Example:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/AP2AC-amPlug-G ... 00NAUHX1G/

(non-brand ones can be had for about half that. I have a Chinese-made "metal" one that is surprisingly palatable on the ear.)

Whatever you choose, be prepared to push through both pain barriers. The easy one is the physical one. Your fingers will hurt - it's good for the soul. The harder one is getting through the mental barrier - the one that makes you feel that your fingers are traitors and that you'll never "get it". You will get it, but it takes time and discipline. You don't need to learn heaps of theory or scales and modes but you do need to develop finger strength and coordination and that takes practice and then some more practice.

Practice tip for the first few weeks. Rather than spending hours on scales and stuff find some songs you like playing and learn them, minus the solo initially. I cut my teeth on songs by like AC/DC, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath - easy riffs that make you smile. Once you have them under your fingers play them along with the real track. Much more fun than playing along with tedious metronome.

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Mistro17
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Post 11 Nov 2022

Holy Cow!! Remember that old guitar I mentioned I found in my hallway years ago? Well turns out after digging it out and dusting it off, taking a serious look I think I already have a very nice guitar! It's not a hole but actually some minor cracks/buckles on the front. It's an Aria A558 which seems like a classic. All I need is some new strings, a tuner and get it all set up properly and I think I'm set. Here are some images of it.
Guitar2.jpg
Guitarcracks2.jpg
GuitarLabel2.jpg
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MrFigg
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Post 12 Nov 2022

Mistro17 wrote:
11 Nov 2022
Holy Cow!! Remember that old guitar I mentioned I found in my hallway years ago? Well turns out after digging it out and dusting it off, taking a serious look I think I already have a very nice guitar! It's not a hole but actually some minor cracks/buckles on the front. It's an Aria A558 which seems like a classic. All I need is some new strings, a tuner and get it all set up properly and I think I'm set. Here are some images of it.

Guitar2.jpg

Guitarcracks2.jpg

GuitarLabel2.jpg
Great!!!! Now go and learn some chords.
丰2ॐ

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Dabbler
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Location: Louisville, KY

Post 12 Nov 2022

Sweet.
Looks a lot like my 70s era Yamaha G-100A

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DaveyG
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Post 12 Nov 2022

Mistro17 wrote:
11 Nov 2022
Holy Cow!! Remember that old guitar I mentioned I found in my hallway years ago? Well turns out after digging it out and dusting it off, taking a serious look I think I already have a very nice guitar! It's not a hole but actually some minor cracks/buckles on the front. It's an Aria A558 which seems like a classic. All I need is some new strings, a tuner and get it all set up properly and I think I'm set. Here are some images of it.

Guitar2.jpg

Guitarcracks2.jpg

GuitarLabel2.jpg
Excellent, get some new nylon stings on it and see if it will tune up.

Yonatan
Posts: 1529
Joined: 18 Jan 2015

Post 12 Nov 2022

Yeah, for sure, use what has already been given to you! I love nylon stringed guitars in its own right. Use it to learn and later when you know what to look for in a guitar soundwise and eyewise, then you can invest in a second one with steel strings. Often times you feel the vibe or chemistry or not when testing in a music store or second hand. It is like dating, nice plastic package is not worth it, look for true connection, but no use choose a guitar that is too damaged and wont want to tune and that needs far more work while still not rewards in nice vibes and harmony. As your guitar seems mostly need new strings and minor tweaks, try it out if it might become your first love. :)

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Mistro17
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Post 12 Nov 2022

Thanks for the encouragement! Hoping for the best. I'm on my way to Guitar Center now to get a final verdict and praying it's playable. I don't really care about the minor buckles, as long as I can pluck some chords out of it. I'll report back.

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BananaSkins
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Post 12 Nov 2022

Buy a cheap acoustic with no strings and frets missing - best thing I ever did - I learn't to fit new frets and tune it from scratch with just a tuning fork - from that I became a guitarist - although I mainly play piano now :puf_bigsmile:

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Mistro17
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Post 12 Nov 2022

Good news is the guitar is fixable and in the shop. I'm even getting the minor cracks fixed and replace the tuners because they are really rusty. The technician told me it's a great find and a rare and very nice Japanese made guitar worth putting some money to fix since they don't make these anymore. It will cost me somewhere around $130-$140. I think this will be the best investment I made all year.

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BRIGGS
Posts: 1978
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Location: Orange County California

Post 12 Nov 2022

If you can, find a classical guitar teacher.

Taking classical guitar in high school, was a huge deal for my education. Jazz band and classical guitar, gave me a huge boost to get where I wanted to be, musically.
r11s

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Mistro17
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Post 13 Nov 2022

While I wait for the guitar, I would like to join a guitar forum or 2 so I can interact with guitarists with any questions etc. Does anyone here know a good active guitar community you would recommend? I see a few but not sure where to invest my time.

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littlejam
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Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 13 Nov 2022

hello,

here is nylon classical acoustic guitar concert





cheers and no callouses,

j
littlejamaicastudios
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Mistro17
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Post 17 Nov 2022

BRIGGS wrote:
12 Nov 2022
If you can, find a classical guitar teacher.

Taking classical guitar in high school, was a huge deal for my education. Jazz band and classical guitar, gave me a huge boost to get where I wanted to be, musically.
Classical guitar seems to have a certain discipline when it comes to education like the footstool and I see people using sheet music. Reminds me of classical piano lessons. What would you say is a great advantage you got from your teaching? I actually skipped any classical piano lessons. But I do find myself wanting to learn how to write so I can get better at rhythm.

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BRIGGS
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Location: Orange County California

Post 18 Nov 2022

Mistro17 wrote:
17 Nov 2022
Classical guitar seems to have a certain discipline when it comes to education like the footstool and I see people using sheet music. Reminds me of classical piano lessons. What would you say is a great advantage you got from your teaching? I actually skipped any classical piano lessons. But I do find myself wanting to learn how to write so I can get better at rhythm.
Learning to read music was a big advantage. Before Jazz band and classical guitar, I only knew chords.
r11s

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