Thinking of purchasing an acoustic guitar, but know nothing about them

I’m considering buying an acoustic guitar but I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for. The only 2 things I can think of is price and size:

Size:
I’m short, 5ft 4in and I have small hands. I’m afraid a dreadnought sized guitar might be too bulky for me and would prefer something smaller. I know nothing about acoustic sizes, does anyone know a good size that would suit me?
Price:
I’m looking for something cheap, like really cheap. Of course I don’t want bottom of the barrel if I don’t have to but the acoustic would be my secondary guitar specifically for when I want to play some folky stuff that will sound better on the acoustic. I’m trying to spend ~$200-$250.

Other than that, I have no idea what I should be looking for as all of my learning has been on my electric guitar.

Does anyone know of a good guide out there for buying a cheap acoustic or if there are any guitars that match my criteria?

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I’ve been thinking about purchasing a smaller acoustic guitar also. If you have a local guitar store, I’d recommend that you go in and try several. Hopefully, one speaks to you and just feels right. Another option is the used market. I’m a bit reluctant to go that route but others think that is the best way to get a terrific guitar.

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Here’s a rough guide to sizes. Every manufacture calls the guitars sizes different but
I think a 00 or 000 size would be a good fit. The 00 and 000 are also thinner in the body
than Dred so a lot more comfortable to play.
But try before you buy and don’t let the salesman sell you a really cheap beginner guitar
It will be a killer on your fingers.

If your want good bang for your buck Yamaha and Seagull/Simon Patrick make good
Less expensive guitars.

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Hi Alex, I started off with a Yamaha APX600 Thinline. I thought it was a really decent accoustic guitar and would recommend it for consideration. It came really well set up and was good to play.

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another thing to consider is the width of the neck. I started with a narrower neck, 1 11/16" and a friend suggested trying one with 1 3/4" neck, for me it made a significant difference.

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If you have a friend who knows more about guitars, the used market is a great option. Where are you located? Maybe there is a community member nearby?

I have an OM, it is also a good size. I am 5’6” medium to smaller build.

Also, by reputation, Yamaha seems to be a good choice for quality at this end of the cost spectrum.

Try a few higher end guitars out in a store, so you can get a feel for what they should feel like, then look for that in a guitar that fits your price range.

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@stitch @Socio @Jamolay

Based on some of these suggestions I’ve found this: Yamaha FS800 Folk Acoustic Guitar Natural | Guitar Center

Within that size chart where would a concert style guitar fit? Is it around the OM size? I wanted to see if yamaha had a plain old small acoustic and this is all I could find.

If I recall correctly concert size is ‘O’, grand concert is ‘OO’, auditorium is ‘OOO’.

Yes their about the size of a OM. There body depth is tapered 3 9/16 front and 4 5/16 back
this make the guitar more comfortable to hold.
But is thicker than a 00 or 000

It says in the ad “Concert/O”, so I assume it is similar to the “O” size. Are you in Denver like the guitar center ad? Me too. I am no expert, but if there is any way to help, I will.

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Too bad you’re looking for a smaller guitar. A Yamaha FG800 is a great beginner acoustic that goes for $219.99, brand new, with free shipping, at Reverb.com. Unfortunately, it’s a dreadnought. Have you tried holding/playing a dreadnought? I know a couple of smaller stature folks who get along just fine with a dread.

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I’m certainly no expert, so just a comment from personal experience. I’m 6’1", but in my 50s. I bought a dreadnought and had real problems with shoulder discomfort…might just be an age related or personal thing. I ended up with an OM which I love. The reduced depth of the body really helped me.
-Todd

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@Jamolay Nah, I’m in Philadelphia. I think I might just go into a guitar store and try out a bunch of different sizes.

@Todd_B I vaguely remember holding a dreadnought sized guitar as a teenager. I was much less knowledgeable about guitars back then, but I do distinctly remember it feeling huge.

Alexis I’m 5’4” and I ended up getting an Art & Lutherie Concert Size. I bought my son a travel/kids guitar ages ago and I have long fingers, even though I’m not tall, and had a hard time with it. Just started learning but it was hampered by a guitar that didn’t fit. I got the Art & Lutherie post Christmas when they were on sale…but one thing I didn’t think about too much as a beginner was the waist of the guitar. It varies more than I realized from maker to maker so worth trying out for that as well as all the other things mentioned. And the sound. I liked the sound of the Art & Lutherie more than some others I’d tried. My son likes the Yamaha Concert (can’t remember what its called) sound better. Hope you have luck finding it!

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I’m 5’ 3 25⁄32" (162 cm), my hands are not very big and I play a Fender CD-60 which has a dreadnought style. The size never caused any problem/discomfort for me.

Best thing to do, talking about it means nothing apart from giving you ideas of what to try. We are all different so what suits one doesn’t suit another. I am 5’6” and have small hands, I can’t get comfortable with anything bigger than the size of a classical guitar, roughly 00 size, I only found what I liked by playing one.

Ended up getting a concert size. Trying out the different sizes the dreadnought was indeed too big. The parlor felt too small. The concert is a great middle ground.

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That’s about the same size as mine:

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Local shops are the best way. If there are several music stores pick the one with lots of guitars to choose from. The things you should look for are Neck width, both Fret board width and neck thickness. Next is “Tone” of the guitar. If you like the tone consider it good. Loudness is important, especially if you jam with others. New guitars are NOT setup for a good reason. After you own it, you have an expert setup to make the guitar play well in your hands. The height of the strings, the nut and the bridge are all adjustable and will determine how easy it is to play with your fingers and hands. Used guitars are often NOT SET UP, even if they are decades old. Those old guitars might sound well, but they will be hard to learn on. Get the guitar set up by a pro, and it will be great. Make sure the guitar has a trust rod that is adjustable. (important) This might sound odd, but make sure the guitar is made out of real wood. Many are laminent wood or even made with cardboard under thin wood. Ugh. Don’t buy it if you are not comfortable with it and the feel and/or the sound.