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Assess A Guitar By Its Playability And Size

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If you would like to learn to play the guitar, the very first step is choosing the one that is just right for you. Everyone knows they should pick a quality instrument, but how do you do that when you are a complete novice?

Well, the playability of a guitar is an important factor, but it can be rather difficult to assess an instrument correctly only after a couple of minutes of handling it in a store. Note that playability refers to how easy it is to play a specific guitar, and not how good its sound is.

Even if you are a complete beginner, you can still test the playability of an instrument by going to the store and pressing the strings down on as many guitar necks as you can; see which strings are more difficult to press down, and compare results. Try both the lower and the upper frets (those metal strips on the neck), and make sure the strings run at constant height throughout.

Guitar size and weight considerations

The other important consideration is size, weight and shape, and their bearing on the sound. You should know that acoustic guitars are much lighter than electric ones due to their hollow bodies, but this does not necessarily make them better for beginners.

The right shape and size matter particularly in the case of petit people and children, because you should be able to hold the instrument comfortably and perform each movement correctly, especially when you must play standing rather than sitting. Some instruments are too large for some people to play them while they are seated. The jumbo guitar is one of the largest guitar styles, which makes it all the more difficult to play when sitting. Another example are most steel string acoustics, particularly the dreadnought style played in country music, that must be large for the sound to come out right.

Acoustic guitars with steel strings and classical guitars are considerably larger than electric guitars; while classical instruments are suitable for most adults, electric ones may be a little large for small children. However, children after the age of 12 should do fine with most guitars, except for steel string models.

While larger guitars focus on the bass notes and have a lot of volume, smaller ones are better at yielding high and mid-range tones which they are able to balance better; smaller guitars also have less volume.

Finally, take into account looks and price. You may wish to own a unique guitar made from rare wood, such as the Hawaiian Acacia Koa or Brazilian Rosewood, but these are very expensive and hard to get, so try setting more realistic goals, especially if you are just learning. Nowadays it is possible to get a quality acoustic guitar at a reasonable price, and websites like can guide you through the process.