So ok, you’ve decided to take on the challenge of learning how to play the guitar. First off, congratulations! You’re about to head on a journey that will lead to a great deal of personal gratification—being able to play guitar may be one of the most satisfying things that you’ll do. If you haven’t yet decided which guitar type is right for you, great, let’s look at all popular guitar types available.

That being said, there’s no doubt that there’s a lot to learn. One of the first things you’ll ask is ‘What type of guitar do I need to hit the ground running? It may be a bit more involved than you think. There are numerous styles, enough to make you dizzy. Picking the best guitar for you may seem like a hard decision to make.

Guitar types

No need to let yourself get overwhelmed – we’ve got you covered! Let’s take a few minutes and look at all of the different available types of guitars. So, Once you are well informed, you can make the best decision as to which guitar type is the right one for your needs.

Make an informed decision.

Our guide will give you all the information you need to make your buying decision. In addition, you will find even more details in our guitar buying guides that dive into more points for your chosen guitar type. At any rate, you will see them listed lastly at the end of this guitar types guide.

Take notes

Notes

Take notes

When buying a guitar, we always say write down all your requirements. Especially if this is your first guitar. Having your notes on hand is particularly useful if you plan to try a bunch of guitars in various stores.

Your Budget

Dollars and guitars.

Consider your budget

Decide on a budget, set your minimum and maximum spend. We say buy the best guitar you can afford. For the most part, the law of diminishing returns does apply here.

Your Playing style

It’s helpful to know the playing style that you are after. Some guitars lend themselves better than others for specific musical styles.

Are you going to play:

  • Fingerstyle, Flatpicking, or just strumming.
  • Are you seeking a specific tone?
  • Do you plan to sing and play the guitar?

Acoustic guitars | Steel-string acoustics

Acoustic guitar beautiful top

Steel-string acoustic

We’ll start where it all began – the time-honored acoustic guitar.

This is where the rubber hits the road. Various guitar types suit different requirements.

Acoustic guitars are extremely popular guitars. Compared to electric guitars, the acoustics are as simple as possible. In essence, there is an acoustic for every playing style imaginable. There’s no need to buy amplifiers, effect pedals, cables, etc. Acoustics are incredibly versatile, there honestly pick up and play. If your budget is tight, they are a great choice; no additionals need to be purchased.

“When you play the 12-string guitar, you spend half your life tuning the instrument and the other half playing it out of tune. – Pete Seeger”

Acoustic guitar – 6 string

Acoustic guitar components

Acoustic guitar components | six-string

An acoustic guitar is about as simple as you can get from a construction standpoint. The overwhelming majority of models are made entirely of wood. However, a select few use more modern materials.

Overall construction consists of a wood ‘neck’ and a hollow ‘box’ called the ‘body.’ The body has a top, back, and formed sides that can be found in a wide variety of sizes and shapes—each with its characteristics.

For example, a dreadnought style tends to be bigger, giving more volume projection and deeper sound. In contrast, you can also get much smaller parlor models. Parlor guitars are potentially better to play for those with smaller hands. In addition, they are easier to transport as well.

There aren’t many options other than using steel as far as strings are concerned. Furthermore, other metal materials are used, such as nickel and bronze. For the most part, you’ll hear acoustic guitars referred to as ‘steel-string acoustics.’

Acoustic guitar – 12 string

Acoustic 12 string Guitar

12 string acoustic

12 string acoustics are perfect for strumming; they have great depth and sparkly sound. There not miles apart from six-string acoustics, however. However, they play very much the same; the strings being so close together might take some time.12 Strings are used for the most popular genres of music, pop, rock, and Country especially. In addition,12 strings are tuned a little differently, giving that unique sound.

Popular acoustic manufacturers are Martin, Taylor, and Yamaha. Each has a complete line of various acoustic guitar types with different sizes, features, and options.

Acoustic lap steel guitars (Hawaiian guitar)

Cole Clark acoustic lap steel guitar

Cole Clark acoustic lap steel guitar

Typically played across the performer’s lap in a horizontal position. The pitch of the string is changed by pressing a polished metal bar onto the plucked strings of the instrument. This instrument does not have frets. However, position markers look very similar to frets. The acoustic lap steel should not be confused with a pedal steel guitar. Unlike the pedal steel guitar, the acoustic laps stell does not use a pedal.

Acoustic guitar sizes

Acoustic Guitar Sizes

Acoustic Guitar Sizes

There are a wide variety of acoustic guitar body types available from manufacturers. There are plenty of variations to choose from; let’s look at the main types now. Generally speaking, the larger the guitar’s body, the louder the volume.

The 00, double-O is also known as the grand concert body. The Grand Auditorium acoustic guitar is also referred to as the triple-O (000). Very is much like the ‘Grand Concert.’ Many of the 000-guitar types come with a convex back to enlarge the physical volume of the soundbox.

The result is a balanced tone similar to the 00 but with more dynamic range and volume and a little more low-end. It’s those features that have made this classic-shaped body extremely popular.

Martin’s 000-xxx series and the Taylor guitars type x14 series are much-appreciated examples of the Grand Auditorium style.

The Jumbo acoustic

Jumbo acoustic guitar

Jumbo acoustic

They are generally the most prominent acoustic guitar of them all. Jumbos suit players who have are strong strummers. They have a big, powerful sound.

The Dreadnought

Fender Dreadnought acoustic guitar

Fender Dreadnought acoustic guitar

Dreadnoughts are a prevalent guitar because they have a lot to offer. They suit various strummers, fingerstyle, bluegrass, and flat pickers. Furthermore, they also provide big strong bass and are loud. Dreadnoughts are also very popular with more prominent framed people and much less for smaller framed people. Smaller, framed people often complain about the discomfort of draping their arms over the instrument’s body.

Parlor

Fender Parlor acoustic guitar

Fender Parlor acoustic guitar

Parlor is old-style and popular with guitarists seeking a smaller guitar. The Parlor guitar is a narrow-waisted and compact guitar often used as travel guitars. Its name is derived from the rooms often played in the late 19th century. They are appreciated by players who seek a lightweight and small guitar.

Travel acoustic guitars

Taylor travel acoustic guitar

Taylor travels acoustic guitar.

A small and light guitar for people who travel a lot. Not known for their tonality or high volume output. A popular guitar for people who travel often is the Taylor GS Mini; it is smaller without sacrificing its sound.

Mini acoustic guitars

Mini guitars - children sizes

Mini guitars – children’s sizes

Designed with children in mind, they are 3/4 to half the average size of most guitars—a popular choice for kids learning to play.

Guitar manufacturers have variations of guitar types and sizes.

Acoustic-electric guitars

Acoustic-electric guitar

Acoustic-electric guitar

  1. With an acoustic electric (A/E) guitar, you’ll have the ability to take the classic steel-string acoustic (not to be confused with a ‘classical’ guitar…more on that later) and add the ability to amplify the sound easily.
  2. A/E guitars have some pickup and preamp systems installed right off the shelf. This allows you to plug it into a guitar amplifier or a direct box to a PA for live performance. You can also use it directly into an audio interface if recording a guitar is your thing.
  3. Pickup types differ from units that fit under the bridge saddle and transfer the vibrations to models that use a tiny microphone inside the guitar’s body. Some of the best setups have both, as each provides its unique tones that can be blended into a very rich, complete, and defined tone.
  4. A/E guitars are typically extended models of traditional acoustic guitars, so all significant manufacturers offer them as part of their product lineups.

Acoustic guitars | Cutaways

Acoustic cutaway guitar

Acoustic cutaway guitar

Acoustic-electric guitar allows access to the upper frets on the neck of the guitar by designing a “cutaway” into the guitar body. Some traditionalists frown upon cutaway acoustic guitars; some say it’s abominable. However, if you plan to play up the neck, we won’t hesitate to say get an acoustic cutaway.

Archtop  acoustic guitars

Gibson L9 archtop guitar

Gibson L9 archtop guitar

An Archtop guitar is usually a full-bodied semiacoustic guitar or hollow-bodied; they have been named Archtops because of their distinctive arched top. The Archtop is very popular amongst Blues, rockabilly, and jazz players. They are loved for their sound, which is punchy with enhanced projection. There are many variations of Archtops and typically have the following features.

  • As with most guitars, the guitar’s top is arched rather than flat.
  • An Archtop is usually a semi-acoustic or hollow body.
  • It has six steel strings.
  • F-holes in the body, not unlike a violin in style.
  • It has a moveable adjustable bridge.
  • A rear-mounted tailpiece, a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece, or stop-tail bridge.
  • The neck is joined at the 14th fret.

Flat top acoustic guitars

Acoustic guitar

Flat top acoustic guitars

A Flattop guitar is a guitar that uses a flat top as opposed to a carved top or an arched top. The majority of your traditional acoustics are constructed with a flat soundboard. The term “flattop” is sometimes stated to clarify that the guitar uses a flattop.

Selmer (Maccaferri)

Selmer Maccaferri guitar

Selmer Maccaferri guitar

Often associated with Gypsy Jazz, the acoustic Selmer Maccaferri Style guitar has a distinctive D-shape soundhole.

Semi-acoustic guitars

Semi-acoustic guitar

Semi-acoustic guitar

The semi-acoustic (Thinline or hollow-body electric)guitar is different from a standard acoustic guitar in the following ways:
It uses a pickup. However, it can be played with or without amplification.

Classical guitars (Nylon Strings)

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Resources

1. Outline of guitars | Wikiwand. Wikiwand. https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Outline_of_guitars. Published 2020. Accessed May 1, 2020.‌