Cheap? Inexpensive! The Top Rated Cheap Acoustic Guitars Under 200 Bucks!

I should’ve known that I wanted to be a guitarist. I used to use my tennis racket more as a pretend guitar, than ever using it to play the game. I remember a classmate in elementary school bringing in his guitar to show and tell and being so jealous that I didn’t have a guitar myself. I didn’t buy my first until I was a teenager. Why did I wait so long to go get one on my own? Because, I didn’t know what was involved. Let us help you make the right decision.

We can help you find the instrument to get you started. We’ll compare the top acoustic guitar models in this price range, give ratings, and links to extended reviews to find out some more. After that we’ll give you some good tips and tricks to finding the instrument that is right for you.

Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $200

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AR RATING 73/100

  • One of the most classic acoustic guitar models out there.
  • Features great materials and tonewood as well as build quality.

AR RATING 72/100

  • A rock solid build quality that ensures consistency.
  • Great looks for such a budget model.

AR RATING 72/100

  • An impressive level of build quality across the board.
  • Great choice of materials starting with a solid sitka top.

AR RATING 72/100

  • A classic body style which ensures comfort.
  • Good build quality all around.

AR RATING 71/100

  • One of the most unique looking budget options.
  • Great build quality with a decent choice of materials.

AR RATING 71/100

  • An awesome model for beginner and those with smaller hands.
  • Great build quality and choice of materials by Fender.

AR RATING 70/100

  • Classic body shape ensures a familiar sound.
  • Good choice of materials all around.

AR RATING 70/100

  • Great sound for a budget dreadnought.
  • Good choice of materials paired with good build quality.

AR RATING 69/100

  • Decent build quality and attention to detail.
  • One of the most cost effective starter kits out there.

AR RATING 69/100

  • Good build quality ensures reliable performance.
  • A proper 3/4 design which is comfortable to play.

AR RATING 72/100

  • Cordoba's awesome manufacturing practices that extend to the budget range.
  • Great choice of tonewood all around.

AR RATING 71/100

  • One of the best value packs available at the moment.
  • The guitar is built incredibly well considering its price.

AR RATING 70/100

  • Proven Yamaha build quality, fit and finish.
  • Great choice of tonewood which really compliments the sound.

AR RATING 69/100

  • A truly impressive affordable guitar that meets expectations.
  • Great choice of tonewood which works great.

AR RATING 68/100

  • Simple yet robust build that works great for beginners.
  • One of the most playable guitars in this market segment.

AR RATING 73/100

If there is one family of acoustic guitars which is recognizable all around the world, it is Yamaha's FG series. Without being too dramatic, FG is to acoustic market what Strats are to the Electric. Yamaha FG800 is the entry level model which has a lot to offer, much like most of its cousins. It is an awesome guitar overall.

You are looking at a sitka spruce top paired with nato back and sides. Yamaha's manufacturing processes are perfected to a point where these guitars have a really solid feel to them. On top of that, you also have the sound. Being a dreadnought means that it's inherently rich in sound, but there is definitely a bit more to it.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    One of the most classic acoustic guitar models out there.
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    Features great materials and tonewood as well as build quality.
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    Great sound that is full of depth and warmth.
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    Attractive aesthetics making it look quite refined.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    You will definitely have to dump the strings.

AR RATING 97/100

Ibanez acoustic guitars are pretty straight forward. Compared to most other, they come across as a beacon of safety and security. Especially in the budget segment. Ibanez IJV50 starter kit may not be the most exciting one available, but it offers that does of consistency and reliability you want when you are just starting out. This makes it quite attractive.

The kit includes an Ibanez V50 acoustic guitar that offers a solid spruce top, great build quality overall and an aesthetic that is easy on the eyes. When it comes to sound, you can count on a pretty regular dreadnought experience overall. Now, add to that a gig bag, a tuner, picks, a strap and you have a winning deal.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    A rock solid build quality that ensures consistency.
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    Great looks for such a budget model.
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    Decent selection of tonewood and materials all around.
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    Good sound that has that standard Dreadnought vibe.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    A proper setup is a must for this model.

AR RATING 72/100

One of the best proofs that Yamaha is on point with their beginner guitars comes in form of Yamaha FD01S. This is another awesome dreadnought from their collection and it brings a whole lot of great things to the table. You have the solid spruce top, a proper nato back and sides, all of which results in an awesome sound.

What we really appreciate about FD01S is the build quality. It shows just how good Yamaha's mass production abilities are. The sound and feel of this guitar makes it a worthy choice for beginners, but that's only the beginning of its true potential. This model won't have issues keeping up with you as you progress into a seasoned, intermediate player.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    An impressive level of build quality across the board.
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    Great choice of materials starting with a solid sitka top.
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    A well balanced and rich tone.
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    Good hardware which retains the key quite nicely.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Arrives with a single strap button.

AR RATING 72/100

Yamaha's line of starter guitars includes a lot of different models. It all depends on what kind of guitar you are looking for. Yamaha F235D is another dreadnought which really brings a good bang for your buck. This model is meant for those who are on a very tight budget. With that in mind, it is quite competitive overall.

F235D features a dreadnought body with a spruce top. As you can probably tell from these two pieces of info, F235D is pretty much up there with the rest of the guitars in this price range. What we cared about the most is the fact that it packs a good sound. Plus, Yamaha ships these with a bunch of accessories.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    A classic body style which ensures comfort.
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    Good build quality all around.
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    Pretty rich sound coming from a budget guitar.
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    A decent selection of accessories.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    The gig bag comes across as too thin.

AR RATING 71/100

Oscar Schmidt isn't the most popular name when it comes to acoustic guitars. However, they offer one of the most interesting beginner models on the market. Meet Oscar Schmidt OG2SM. It is a unique dreadnought which is bound to stand out from the rest. Just one quick look at its body reveals why we have made such a bold statement.

In an effort to stand out, Oscar Schmidt went with a spalted maple top over a mahogany shell. On top of all that, they have included binding all around the body and the fretboard. Being a dreadnought, there wasn't really much doubt that this guitar was going to sound good. However no one expected these levels of details from OS.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    One of the most unique looking budget options.
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    Great build quality with a decent choice of materials.
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    An amazing attention to detail all over.
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    Great sound which packs plenty of power.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Those factory strings are a weak point.

AR RATING 71/100

Fender’s entry level acoustic guitars hide quite a few surprises. That much is apparent when you look at Fender FSR MA-1. This is a 3/4 scale concert guitar that defines value for the money. Since playing comfort is a priority, 3/4 acoustic guitars are perfect for kids and those with smaller hands. However it's also a great backup.

In terms of materials and build quality, this Fender is pretty much on point. You have an Agathis top paired with sapele back and sides. Fender went with a proper X bracing setup for this model, thus giving it plenty of robustness and potential. In terms of sound, you really can't tell that it is a 3/4 scale model.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    An awesome model for beginner and those with smaller hands.
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    Great build quality and choice of materials by Fender.
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    X bracing adds adds reliability and improves sound.
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    Great tone for a 3/4 model with good projection.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Fender's stock strings aren't the greatest.

AR RATING 70/100

Affordable 12 string guitars sound like something that shouldn't really exist. However, they exist and they are awesome. The one we want to show you today comes from none other than Oscar Schmidt. Oscar Schmidt OD312 is a pretty interesting model. You're looking at a dreadnought body that features a spruce top, mahogany back and sides and a nice finish.

That on its own isn't really impressive, but it becomes impressive when you add the 12 strings setup as well as lifetime warranty. Overall OD312 brings you a very decent sound as well as that sparkling vibe that only a good 12 string can offer. If you want a 12 string acoustic but you're on a budget, OD312's the answer.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Classic body shape ensures a familiar sound.
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    Good choice of materials all around.
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    Great build quality for such a budget setup.
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    Authentic sound that gets you into the 12 string territory.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Pretty much requires a proper setup job.

AR RATING 70/100

Epiphone is known for their electric guitars. However, their acoustic program also has quite a bit to offer. Epiphone DR-100 is one of the better beginner guitars you can find at the moment. It also happens to have that classic Gibson vibe to it. Chances are that most of that resemblance comes from the Vintage sunburst finish they went with.

Underneath the cool finish lies a dreadnought body made of a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. That ensures a warm but pretty sharp tone that has no trouble filling up a room. The build quality makes it feel pretty solid when you pick it up, which inspires confidence. Overall this is one good looking and great sounding guitar.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Great sound for a budget dreadnought.
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    Good choice of materials paired with good build quality.
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    Comfortable to play both in terms of body and neck.
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    An impressive value at this particular price.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Could use a change of strings out of the box.

AR RATING 69/100

Looking at budget acoustic guitar kits, Fender FA-115 stands out as one that really offers a lot of value for its price. The deal is pretty much similar to most. You're getting a dreadnought guitar along with a strap, a number of Fender's premium picks and a set of spare strings. Not the most comprehensive kit but it works fine.

The guitar itself is quite decent. Fender went with a spruce top but paired it with basswood back and sides. That gives this guitar quite an interesting sonic profile. Since basswood is generally soft, you're looking at more warmth across the range. For a budget beginner guitar, that is quite alright. All things considered, this guitar is worth checking out.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Decent build quality and attention to detail
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    One of the most cost effective starter kits out there.
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    Warm sound combined with plenty of volume.
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    Decent hardware and strings are a good sign.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    A basswood shell isn't the most recommended setup.

AR RATING 69/100

Luna is a brand that is much more popular among the ukulele players. However, they have a pretty solid line of acoustic guitars to offer as well. If there is one thing you should know about Luna instruments, it is that they are definitely different. Luna Aurora Borealis shows you what we mean. Lune has a unique approach to style.

As you can see, the Teal Pearl finish is quite something. Aside from that, the guitar is fairly decent. It's a 3/5 scale model which makes it great for those with smaller hands. On top of that, Luna went with a basswood build all around. That gives it a very warm and smooth tone but still plenty of projection.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Good build quality ensures reliable performance.
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    A proper 3/4 design which is comfortable to play.
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    Great sound with plenty of warm overtones.
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    Quite a decent price for such a deal.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    The finish definitely takes some getting used to.

AR RATING 72/100

The market for classical guitars is much less diverse than that for steel string acoustic ones. That can be attributed to the fact that building a good classical guitar is a much more difficult task. With that said, Cordoba is one of the brand who dominate this domain. The Cordoba C3M is an affordable model which still meets most expectations.

As usual, Cordoba went with a solid cedar top while the back and sides are mahogany. What really makes this an awesome deal is the fact that Cordoba handcrafts most of their guitars, including these budget ones. Not only does this ensure great overall fit but you can definitely feel it in the sound too. This guitar's worth checking out.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Cordoba's awesome manufacturing practices that extend to the budget range.
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    Great choice of tonewood all around.
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    Warm sound which has that authentic classical vibe.
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    Impressive build quality for the price.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Quality control can be spotty at times.

AR RATING 71/100

Yamaha's classical guitars are definitely a popular choice if you're on a budget. Models such as the Yamaha CGS103A offer a good explanation as to why. The cool thing about Yamaha is that they've more or less perfected a way to mass produce acoustic guitars with a very impressive level of precision and quality. This extends to classical models too.

This particular guitar is built very solid. You are looking at a solid spruce top paired with a meranti body. As a result it has a very warm and mellow sound. It is also worth mentioning that this is a 3/4 scale model. On top of that Yamaha ships these with a gig bag, tuner and other awesome accessories.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    One of the best value packs available at the moment.
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    The guitar is built incredibly well considering its price.
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    Includes rare accessories such as the string winder.
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    An amazing mellow sound which is easy to work with.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    Factory strings aren't all that great.

AR RATING 70/100

Another great guitar we want to show you from this manufacturer is the Yamaha C40II. Unlike the previous model, this one is actually a full size classical guitar. With that said it still features all the goodies Yamaha is known for. In other words, you're getting a well designed, built and packaged classical guitar which meets and exceeds most expectations.

When it comes to build quality and construction, Yamaha went with a spruce top paired with a mahogany back and sides. This gives it a bit of a punchy tone which works great with nylon strings. On top of that, having a spruce top also brings a fairly blonde finish for the top, making it aesthetically exotic in a way.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Proven Yamaha build quality, fit and finish.
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    Great choice of tonewood which really compliments the sound.
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    Very playable and comfortable guitar for beginners.
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    Overall impressive performance and sound.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    It could really use a change of strings.

AR RATING 69/100

Although Cordoba has a number of affordable models in their offer, they also build affordable classical guitars through Protege. One such model that is really worth checking out is Protege by Cordoba C100M. This is basically a perfect setup for a beginner. Especially if that person is limited by a budget. You are getting a pretty decent guitar for cheap.

When it comes to specifics, it is worth noting that Protege by Cordoba C100M features a spruce top paired with mahogany back and sides. Naturally the shell is going to be laminate, but that doesn't really impact the sound of this guitar all too much. Especially considering the Savarez premium strings it comes with. Also, you get plenty of accessories.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    A truly impressive affordable guitar that meets expectations.
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    Great choice of tonewood which works great.
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    Awesome sound with plenty of volume.
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    Comes with great accessories.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Might need a full setup out the box.

AR RATING 68/100

Ibanez is definitely a brand you can turn to if you need a good, affordable classical guitar. One of the models which come to mind is the Ibanez GA3. What you are looking at here is a full sized classical guitar that features a spruce top, catalpa back and sides as well as a mahogany neck. However, there is more.

Ibanez went with a great natural gloss finish which gives the GA3 quite an amazing look. Overall build quality is pretty decent considering the price. Where GA3 stands out from the rest is playability. This has got to be one of the most playable affordable classical guitars on the market. Since comfort definitely matters, that is not a bad deal.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Simple yet robust build that works great for beginners.
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    One of the most playable guitars in this market segment.
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    Great sound with plenty of warmth and range.
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    Decent selection of tonewood all things considered.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

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    These sometimes arrive with messed up intonation.

And so it Begins…

This is a beginner’s instrument so do not expect too much from it. This is not a guitar that will stay with you, because of its sound and playability. It will stay with you more for nostalgia, or because it has no value in the secondary market.

There is no reason to spend a thousand dollars on your first guitar. Will an expensive guitar be easier to play and look nicer? Of course, but if playing guitar isn’t for you, then you just bought a nice piece of wall art. You will lose more on your investment in an expensive instrument, then you will buying a beginners model, if you do not continue to play.

This will either be your first guitar or your last. If it is your first, then you will learn what you like about this instrument and it will inform your next purchase. If it is you last, then you aren’t out too much money and will have a better idea where your muse is leading you. If you have realistic expectations that your first guitar is a stepping stone you will be much happier in the long run.

What You Need

Have your guitar set up properly before taking it home. A poor set up on a guitar at this price range will make it unplayable. Before you buy see if the set-up is included in the price, or how much it will cost.

The next most important thing you should buy is a tuner. Clip-on tuners are easy to use, and will make learning a much more enjoyable experience for you, and those that have to listen. The nice part about buying an acoustic is that you don’t need an amp to get started. Even the cheapest amps will double the amount you have to spend to get started. Consider that a bullet dodged.

One way to get more out of your new guitar is put a new set of strings on it. If you have no idea what kind to buy talk to the salesperson at the music store, and get their help. The thinner the gauge the easier it will be to play, but you lose some in sound quality. It is a fair trade-off to make. A good set of strings will go a long way to make your playing experience even better.

A music stand is good for holding lesson books open, and putting them in your sight line. Practicing will be made easier without having to struggle to find a place set your lesson book so you can see it. A guitar stand will give you a place to set your instrument when you’re not playing. It works much better than leaning it against the wall.

Buy a plethora of picks, it only will cost you a couple bucks. Try different sizes, materials, and thicknesses, to find what feels best for you. You might even find that a pick isn’t for you, and become a fingerpicker.

The Price You Pay

If you invest a little more into your first guitar (acoustic guitars around the $300 mark) you will get a nicer instrument that will take you farther into your musical journey. You could get a solid top instrument which will go a long way in improving the sound. Playability will be much better. Just remember in the bigger scheme of things those instruments are also very good beginner/entry-level guitars as well.

Guitars are like anything else, you will get what you pay for. A Kia isn’t going to drive like a Cadillac, but if you are just trying to get from point A to point B the less expensive option might be the best choice. Do you need an expensive guitar to start out with? No. It doesn’t hurt to spend more, if you have the money.

What matters most is your passion to play. Guitarists don’t quit playing guitar because they have an inexpensive instrument that is a challenge to play. Those that don’t really have a passion for the instrument will find an excuse to give it up. A guitarist will keep playing no matter what.

Some tips

Try different styles of guitars to find the one that feels right for you. At this point do not worry about the price tag, worry about the feel. Try different sized guitars to see which fits your body size. Younger or smaller framed players will feel more comfortable with a smaller instrument.

Once you know what kind of acoustic guitar you want and the size that is right for you, then look to see what is available. Take your time, no one says you have to buy your first guitar on the first day.

When you find the one that is right, then turn the tuning machines. If they have a lot of play when you move them, then the tuning stability of the instrument will be very poor. Set the guitar down and move to the next.

Check the action, this is the distance of the string from the fretboard. You should be able to push down without too much effort at the first fret and get a clean and clear note. Try this up the strings and listen for buzzing, and if it takes too much effort to keep the note fretted. This could be fixed with a good setup, or it could be indication of poor craftsmanship.

Take advantage of your local music store. My local store offers a free lesson with every instrument they sell. If you haven’t already found a teacher to help you get started this would be a really good way to test the waters.

The Author’s Conclusion:

This could be the first step into a lifelong journey, or it could be a side step in the wrong direction. You won’t know until you take that first step. Maybe you think you want something more than a first time instrument, then take a look at some of our other comparison articles. Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with what we are keeping up on. Stop by often since we are adding new articles all the time. Until next time, keep working on your B chords and practice those scales.

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The appropriate research can do wonders if done properly. We are here to help you and save your time and money at the same time. In our website you will see our personal recommendations based on our knowledge and extensive research. What we base our rating using the product details and customer feedback.