Black Friday Ultimate Guitar Buying Guide

You just looking for a guitar on a black Friday? Not sure just what all those terms mean in determining the quality of a guitar? Instead of just making sure that you have an instrument that plays in tune, frets easily, and doesn't collapse like a house of cards if you breathe on it, you also need to make informed decisions. Don't worry - that's not as grave as it sounds. The following guitar buying guide will clue you in.

How a guitar is built defines what type of guitar it is and (generally) what type of music it's used for. Consider just two examples: A solid-body electric guitar is used for rock. It has no holes in the body - which adds to its sustain (the guitar's ability to increase the amount of time a plucked note rings). An acoustic archtop is used for traditional jazz because it has a carved, contoured top, which produces the mellow tones most associated with that style.

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Solid wood versus laminated wood: your guitar buying guide

A solid-wood acoustic guitar is more desirable than a laminated acoustic guitar (where, instead of using a solid, thicker piece of top-wood, the guitar maker uses several layers of inexpensive wood pressed together and covered with a veneer). Guitars made completely out of solid wood are very expensive - costing more than $619 pounds.

The guitar's top is the most critical element in sound production; the back and sides primarily reflect the sound back through the top. So, if you can't pick up the tab for a solid-wood acoustic guitar, look to various configurations in which the top is solid and various other parts are laminated. A good choice is a solid-top guitar with laminated back and sides, which can cost as little as 217 pounds.

Another very popular configuration, just a step higher in quality, is a guitar with a solid top, a solid back, and laminated sides. You can find a wide variety of acoustics constructed this way at around the 619 pounds-mark and even slightly less.

Because the sides have a negligible effect on the sound (even less so than the back does) and because laminates are structurally stronger than solid woods, this setup equates to a win-win situation for both manufacturer and buyer. Some people argue, therefore, that the cheaper manufacturing process (using laminated sides) is also the superior one (because the laminates are stronger than the solid-wood construction).

If you're unsure as to whether a guitar has solid or laminated wood, go over a guitar buying guide (there are tons for every type of guitar player), or ask the dealer or consult the manufacturer.


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