Acoustic guitars as we know them, have been around for almost a century now. This is my all-time favorite stringed instrument, and I play at least one of these fantastic, big-voiced instruments every day. By altering body size, depth and tone-woods, you can accomplish a infinite variety of tones and volume.
The Guitar Has Grown In Popularity
It is one of the most common guitars of all time, and it matters not if you call it a steel string, flattop or bluegrass guitar. Over the years factory production has been led by C.F. Martin Guitars, Gibson, Gretsch, and Epiphone, to name a few. These manufacturers have been around for many years. When you go shopping for a new instruments, be sure to keep these companies at the top of your list.
The Japanese guitar makers started taking over the lower-price market starting in the 1960’s. This happened just as the quality control was beginning to suffer in the U.S. market. The Japanese instruments that were introduced weren’t horrible, but they were considered ‘starter’ models and I sold my share of them. They were rather long-lasting, economical, and sounded okay.
The Foreign Made Market
The backs, sides and tops of those first Japanese instruments were constructed of plywood. This provided the durability part of the equation for these instruments. Often they came delivered with a very high string action and they had to have adjustments before they were in a playable condition. Alvarez were somewhat popular and I sold a number of Yamaha and Takamine instruments back then.
Not only are the guitars that they currently make far superior to their first instruments, they employed solid woods, have great playing setup and utilize industry standard construction techniques. Nowadays these makers have instruments that easily qualify as intermediate level and even advanced level, and they are very fine instruments.
The Depressed American Market
During those same years that the Japanese influx of instruments came to the U.S., the American makers lost their focus in the production of top quality instruments. As a result, their instruments were frequently overlooked for a much less expensive Japanese option, and the quality went downhill.
The American Market Resurgence
The American makers like C.F. Martin and Gibson, to name a few, once again regained their focus to once again produce fine instruments during the 1980’s and 1990’s. They have even introduced instruments that are handmade and are utilizing similar strategies and materials that replicate their pre-war instruments, which is what made them famous.
In your quest to buy an quality instrument, you are likely to see many variations, such as:
Single Cutaway Option: The primary purpose of this option is to allow the guitarist access to the higher frets of the guitar by ‘cutting away’ the body of the instrument.
14 Fret or 12 Fret Neck: This option refers to the length of the neck beyond the body, or refers to which fret location with which the neck joins the body of the instrument.
Variations in Body Size: The body size variations are many, and to name a few you can choose from the smaller 0, 00, and 000 or parlor models, all the way to the big Jumbos and Grand Auditorium Models.
Bracing Patterns: Many models have distinctive bracing options such as scalloped bracing, forward shifted “X” bracing and finally the standard “X” top bracing.
Electronics: Many models now offer built-in acoustic pre-amps and pickups standard from the factory. Many more give you the option to add this option to your new instrument.
Wood Selection: Woods greatly influence tone and volume qualities of an stringed instrument. Selections range from High Pressure Laminate on the low end models to exotic hardwoods on the higher end models.
So as you can see, Acoustic Guitars offer numerous alternatives for the shopper to choose from, depending on your level of skill and picking style there is a instrument that is perfect for you.
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