Getting my 1st acoustic guitar - any tips?

Hi everyone, I’m thinking of buying my first acoustic guitar and would like any recommendations (Budget: $100-200).

All along, I’ve been playing classical guitar with a mix of strumming and fingerpicking. I borrowed a friend’s acoustic guitar for a month - a Takamine ED-50C N - and it took me a while to get used to the strings… I found I’ve to press a lot harder to make the notes sound right, and I can’t play as long as my fingers will start to hurt after a while. It’s gotten better after a month but I still need practice.

I do find the sound is louder / ‘harsher’ compared to classical guitar… and maybe 'cause I can’t quite control the strength of my strumming when I’m using a pick, it tends to sound too deafening for me. Still, I’m keen to learn it/challenge myself and hopefully grow more controlled in my playing.

For now I don’t intend to use it at work / for any performances… just leisure/a new hobby at home.

Thanks for any recommendations! (:


Hi Amanda,
Have fun with your search :sunglasses:and there will probably be enough advice, I don’t have much knowledge of acoustic guitars, but with your budget I would definitely go for a 2nd hand guitar to get more guitar for your money :grinning:


Hi Amanda!
I would strongly suggest that you put in as much as you can afford. The very cheapest acoustics is almost not suitable to play, and im afraid you will go straight back to your classical :grin:

As Rogier says. Try 2nd hand market.

There is a lot of great options though. Yamaha is the first that comes to mind, can not go wrong with a Yamaha… Tons of other as well. And try to play it before buying… good luck :grin:


No particular advice on the guitar but go for the thinnest, bendiest picks you can lay your hands on to start with, which should help with the sound. I started with 0.46mm and after a few months with them now play 0.60mm

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Hi Amanda I agree with Rogier going second hand will get you a better guitar for your budget.
A lot of people took up guitar during the lock downs of the pandemic and now are trying to sell them so there are some pretty good deals out there on second hand guitars.

Trond is right you can’t go wrong with Yamaha. They build the best low budget guitars.

Also don’t get a guitar that is to big for you here is a chart of some of the different sizes acoustics come in. It’s best to go play a lot of guitar to find the body size that fits you the best. A lot of people make the mistake of buying a full size Dreadnought then quite because the guitar is just to big for them.


When I was first learning, someone suggested a guitar to me that has a slightly wider nut width, many steel strings have only 1 11/16 width in the nut, the one my friend suggested has 1 3/4 width, only a 16th of an inch difference but to me it make a huge difference. Chords that were seemingly impossible just became challenging. It varys from person to person so try out different ones.

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Great tip Tony… i too prefer 1 3/4» nut. Find that much easier than 1 11/16»
As you said. Its not much of a different, but it makes all the difference for me…

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Hi Amanda - you already have the choice tips and best advice.
Go to a store and ask if you can hold and play some acoustics of different size.
Push your budget as far as you can.
To gain the best guitar for your money without a portion going on things you do not need for your usage, avoid electro-acoustic. Much of their cost is in the electronic components and a reduced amount in the quality of materials and manufacture.
Good luck.


Hi Amanda,

I bought my first Yamaha guitar around 25 years ago and it sounds brilliant. I think it’s was around £150 back then. Every guitarist who has played it thinks it’s brilliant, as do I.

Yamaha do make a quality guitar for your budget. Happy hunting😁

My granddaughter bought one of these. Unfortunately, she didn’t find time in her life to stick with it, but I played it a couple of times, found it very playable with a nice tone. I think it’s quite a bargain.

Hi Amanda. Have a look at the Yamaha range, reasonable prices for good quality. I have found medium jumbo frets much less strain on fingers than high narrow frets and rolled edges are easier on the hands too.

I recently visited a local store and played a range of acoustic guitars brands in OM size. It was surprising how much easier some were to play than others.

I kept returning to a Yamaha Storia III model, and played for over an hour, and found it very easy to play. Playability is a combination of guitar body and neck shape, how well the nut is cut and string height, how well it suits your anatomy, and of course, you have to like the sounds it is ‘capable’ of making.

We are all different sizes and shapes, so the best way to find one that suits you is to visit a store and allow some time for trying different guitars. The good news is that it’s a great way to spend a few hours of your time. Have fun :grin:


I can also recommend Yamaha for a first guitar. Once you get it, I recommend getting the shop to set it up for you. They’ll usually lower the action for you which makes those bar chords much easier to achieve.

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I also think Yamaha is a good choice. I have a Yamaha F310, which over the course of more than 10 years been mainly standing around in a corner of our apartment waiting to be played. In my ears it has a very warm tone. Remarkably, after being unplayed for more than 5,5 years that Yamaha was hardly out of tune when I grabbed it again a few days ago.

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I agree with others here, Yamaha 310 is a brilliant guitar at around £120, I got one and it sounded like it was way more expensive than it was.
Had to lower the action a fraction and polish the frets as they were not that smooth but for the money its a great sounding guitar.

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i just measured mine & found out its 2mm / extra thick (its wooden) >.< it was okay on the classical but on acoustic it was just too loud… will take up your advice on this. thanks! (:

thanks for the chart!!! the one i borrowed frm my friend looks like an As & it felt a little too big…

My advvice would be to try as many guitars as you can! I bought a couple of guitars that ended up selling because I just didn’t go through other options.
And like other folks suggested, spend as much as you can, that for me means, if you find a guitar you really like and are comfortable with but it’s a bit ouside your expected budget, try to go for it. I’ve always thought if you’re excited about your instrument you’ll be excited every time to pick it up and practice or just play for fun.

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Oh wow, if you’re used to a 2mm pick then 0.46mm as I started with will feel really weird! I’ve got some around 1mm and I find those horrible to try and strum with (a more experienced player might be able to do it)


yeah… kind of the reason why i haven’t taken to picks very well… it’s alright on the classical but sounds awfully loud on the acoustic 'cause i can’t control my picking/strumming very well

In addition to the thinner pick suggestions, you might also want to try Silk & Steel strings…at least at first.

They are significantly easier on the fingers, and have a slightly less bright tone that you might prefer.

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