Nowadays, the cello is gaining popularity for those who want to learn a new musical instrument. Avoiding the norms of popular musical instruments like guitar and piano, choosing cello is the right decision. There are a lot of considerations in purchasing a cello and one of them is the brand.
The materials and construction of a cello are crucial for the overall sound quality of the instrument. Therefore, choosing the right brand can save you hundreds of dollars from buying a low-grade cello. With a plethora of options in the market today, finding the best brands is important before you settle with your final choice.
The following are the ultimate brands you can choose from in terms of quality, durability, and convenience:
Cecilio. This is a great option for beginners. Aside from sounding great, they also offer affordable cellos that suit the needs of students. With solid tonewoods and quality craftsmanship, Cecilio cellos are generally designed to match beginners.
D Z Strad. If you are an intermediate player, you can confidently choose D Z Strad cellos. These instruments are mid-tier cellos that cater to the requirements of intermediate cellists. Also, they have great designs that provide classical pieces with the best sound quality and performance.
Eastman Strings. Professional or advanced cellists choose Eastman Strings because of their guaranteed quality and playability. When it comes to the tone and performance, the handcrafted spruce top and maple back, scroll and ribs are modified to suit all advanced players. This is simply the ultimate brand if you want excellent performance and experience.
Primavera. Another perfect choice for intermediate players, the Primavera cellos offer affordable instruments with great features. Some of the quality woods used are ebony, spruce, maple, and other solid tonewoods. It’s a good investment if you’re looking for an intermediate cello at a very reasonable cost.
Stentor. Beginners require a good cello so that they can keep up with their practice sessions. This affordable beginner cello provides high-quality features without the expensive price tag. In addition, it’s designed to help develop cello skills, sound mastery, and playability.
Choosing to play cello requires extra patience due to its size and you need to use your full body to play it while supporting the instrument. You must choose the right cello that will suit your level and skills, be it for a beginner or for a pro.
It’s not easy to find the best brand for a cello, but with these known brands in the music industry, you are guaranteed to get the perfect instrument you exactly need. No matter how great your skills are and knowledge in playing cellos, you deserve a reliable brand that can keep up with your performance and passion. There are quite a myriad of cellos for sale available and the brands above are just some that offer good quality instruments.
You can ask around for the best cello in the market if you’re a first time buyer. However, no one can give you the best advice other than cello teachers and players. So, do you have a specific brand in mind yet?
The Yamaha FG830 has gained a reputation for being one of the best guitars for beginners. It’s reasonably priced, has a good build and is definitely something you won’t have trouble with when you’ve just started learning to play the guitar. Plus it’s made by a brand that’s been in the business for decades and is trusted all over the world.
The FG830 is part of Yamaha’s best-selling FG series of guitars. Yamaha took wildly popular FG730 and improved on it, adding scalloped bracing to make the top durable while bringing out the volume. The company has also streamlined the neck and rounded out the fingerboard edges – all while keeping costs relatively low.
Basically, the company made some improvements on an already-great guitar. The result of course is the FG830, an all-around acoustic that not only sounds and plays better but also offers great value for money.
The Yamaha FG830 isn’t just for beginners, however. Even pro musicians would find that this unassuming acoustic has prime equipment potential, something they will be proud to have in their gutar arsenal and use for live performances and recording sessions.
Specs and Features
The folks at Yamaha’s R&D Division outdid themselves with the FG series, for which they developed a new cutting-edge technology for acoustic analysis. According to Yamaha, the engineers made use of analysis and simulation to come up with the best internal bracing design for the guitar lineup without depending on guesswork or tradition.
Their science-backed experiments resulted in the development of a new bracing pattern. The unique scalloped bracing serves two purposes: maintaining the durability of the guitar’s top board and making sure the guitar’s projection is the best that it can be. The new internal bracing makes the FG830 sound not only punchier and louder but “fatter” as well with a boomy low-end voice.
More on the sound later – for now, let’s take a look at the guitar’s physical specs.
The Yamaha FG830 dreadnought has a 25.6-inch scale length. The body measures 19.875 inches long; with the neck and headstock it’s 40.875 inches. The width of the body is at 16.25 inches.
Solid Sitka spruce is used for the top. Solid wood is already a win – it has a more balanced, warmer tone and it will improve as the wood matures. The back and sides are made from rosewood laminate, giving the guitar a more sophisticated, “expensive” look. Rosewood is also used for the 21-fret fingerboard and the bridge. The spruce top is finely grained and flecked and has a toned look. The natural gloss finish on the guitar is durable but thin enough to allow the grain to show through.
The FG830 is also available in Tobacco Brown Sunburst and Autumn Burst color variants.
The guitar’s tapered nato (also known as eastern mahogany) neck is coated in a nice, smooth satin finish for fast playing. The neck of the FG830 is also slimmer than its older sibling the FG730 to make it easier to make chord shapes. In addition, the rounded fret edges make the guitar easy and comfortable to play. The slim and fast neck, rounded fret edges and comfortable body shape with a tapered waist definitely make playing the guitar effortless.
The FG830 is fitted with die-cast chrome tuning machines and Urea saddle and nut, which measures 1.69 inches wide. The guitar also features a cream body binding that accentuates the guitar’s shape and color, round-nosed heel shaping, a tortoiseshell pattern for the pickguard and an abalone inlay around the sound hole.
The overall build quality is superb. Yamaha has always been known for making quality instruments that the masses can afford, so we’re not really surprised the craftsmanship on the FG830 is top-notch.
Simply put, the Yamaha FG830 is beautiful, in a boy/girl-next-door kind of way. It’s probably not going to win any contests based on its looks alone, but that’s not really what it’s for anyway. It has a certain understated appeal visually, but there’s actually more to it than meets the eye.
The new scalloped bracing on the FG830 gives it a loud, punchy sound – like any proper dreadnought should, really. But once you hear the sound that the guitar produces, you wouldn’t think it’s in the mid price range. Guitarists who have tried the FG830 say it has to cost somewhere around $700 at least – not that they’re complaining, of course.
The projection surely is impressive, but what about sound quality?
The solid spruce top and rosewood back and sides are a great combination that gives the guitar a wide dynamic range. The rosewood used in the guitar gives it warmth and a powerful yet balanced tone. Coupled with the solid spruce and with a bit of fine-tuning, the FG830 produces rich overtones – a sound is full, balanced and versatile, so you can play riffs and single notes with each melody being articulated clearly.
Bass tones are loud and clear, and the sustain is certainly more than you’d expect from a guitar in the $300-500 price range. If it’s acoustic power and tonal clarity you’re wanting, this dreadnought is just what you’re looking for.
Why buy the Yamaha FG830?
The Yamaha FG830 is a perfect example that shows quality guitars need not be pricey. Even if $500 is your limit for a starter guitar, it’s money well spent with this model. The construction, especially the scalloped bracing, will make sure the FG830 serves you well for many years. The classic dreadnought look is timeless. The shape of the body and the smoothness of the neck allow for great playability, which is a must for beginners.
Affordability and physical qualities aside, the sound quality also makes the Yamaha FG830 an acoustic guitar worthy of the honor of being your first.
The FG830 offers plenty of projection with a clean, balanced tonality. You will have no problem articulating notes, and you can expect a louder and stronger sound particularly in the low- to mid-ranges.
Intermediate and advanced musicians would also benefit from having a guitar such as the FG830 in their collection – for jamming, recording sessions, live performances, teaching their kids and whatnot. It’s a great all-around acoustic that suits any player. This Yamaha is a great alternative to more expensive acoustic guitars and you definitely won’t regret buying it.
The “GS” in the Taylor GS Mini stands for Grand Symphony. This mini but mighty acoustic guitar is shaped just like Taylor’s Grand Symphony guitar but on a smaller scale. This cuter, lighter, more compact version delivers the same quality as that of its bigger sibling.
Taylor describes the GS Mini as a “modern-day parlor guitar.” However, you’re not limited to just playing it around the house or in small, intimate venues. Thanks to its weight and size, you can take the GS Mini along with you anywhere you go.
The Taylor GS Mini may look like a tinny toy, but we assure you it’s a true-blue, full-voiced Taylor. Here’s all you need to know about this little acoustic that could.
Specs and Features
The Taylor GS Mini body measures just 17.625 inches long, 14.375 inches wide and around 4.44 inches deep. The body is actually just a quarter of an inch shallower than the Grand Symphony, so somehow it still feels like a full-size guitar.
The guitar has a scale length of 23.5 inches, which is a couple of inches shorter than the scale length of the GS. The nut width is just around 1.687 inches. The shorter scale length makes it easier to play open chords, and even though the body is small, it’s comfortable to play. It’s not too small that you have to hunch over it.
The body shape also lets your strumming arm relax more because it doesn’t have to extend as much as when you’re holding a dreadnought. Plus, because it’s shallower, shoulder extension is decreased, adding to playing comfort. It’s a great match for players of all ages, sizes and skill levels, and it surely makes learning to play the guitar fun and pain-free.
The X-braced top of the GS Mini is made from Sitka spruce while the back and sides are made from layered sapele. The body has been given a nice, thin satin finish. For the 20-fret fingerboard and the bridge, Taylor used real ebony wood from West Africa.
The GS Mini actually has the same action and feel as that of a full-size Taylor guitar, thanks to the patented NT neck. The company finds it important that despite its size, the GS Mini should have the playing feel of a full-size guitar.
The guitar also features a Nubone nut and compensated Micarta saddle as well as die-cast chrome tuners, a three-ring rosette design and a faux tortoiseshell pickguard. The GS Mini comes with its own protective gig bag. This is Taylor’s way of telling you to take the GS Mini out for a ride.
There’s not much to the GS Mini in terms of decoration aside from the pickguard and pearloid dot markers on the fretboard. However, we’ve known Taylor guitars long enough to say that the GS Mini’s visual appeal lies in its simplicity, and you have to hear it to be truly impressed. Whatever it seems to lack in cosmetics it more than makes up for in build and sound quality, which we will discuss later.
Being a purely acoustic guitar, the Taylor GS Mini doesn’t come with an onboard electronics system but there is an aftermarket pickup that’s been designed just for it. Called the ES-Go, this passive magnetic soundhole pickup is based on Taylor’s Expression System, or ES technology. It can be installed in minutes using a screwdriver.
The black pickup is visually discreet. The GS Mini is equipped with a pre-fitted bracket inside it – just under the fingerboard – where you can clip on the ES-Go. Once connected, the pickup floats in the soundhole. Taylor recommends pairing the pickup with the V-Cable cord, which comes with a built-in volume control.
The depth of the Taylor GS Mini’s body doesn’t only make it feel like a full-size acoustic guitar. It also gives the GS Mini a volume that exceeds its size. Aside from impressive projection, the GS Mini is also capable of producing a warm, balanced and clear tone, thanks to the tonewoods used in its construction. It’s got a wide dynamic range and is suitable for various playing styles.
Bass and trebles are rich and bright, but where the guitar really shines is in the midrange, making it ideal for solo players or those who like jamming in small groups.
Of course, the GS Mini doesn’t really have the full harmonic capability of the Grand Symphony or other full-sized guitars, but for its size it performs beyond expectations. It definitely offers more than what other made-for-travel guitars have: a good bass and volume, with the tone and playability of a standard-size model.
Articulating melodies across all strings can be an issue with small acoustic guitars. Not so with the GS Mini, which delivers crisp, clear notes without a hitch. This means that whether you’re playing single-line riffs or complex melodies, every note will be heard loud and clear. It also has a good sustain for a small guitar.
Other guitars in the GS Mini series
Ever since the first GS Mini was released in 2010, Taylor has kept on adding models to the series. Yep, there’s an entire family of GS Mini guitars out there. Check out this lineup of the other models Taylor released for its GS Mini series:
● GS Mini Mahogany & GS Mini-e Mahogany
● GS Mini Koa, GS Mini-e Koa & GS Mini-e Koa FLTD
● GS Mini-e Walnut
● GS Mini Bass & GS Mini-e Bass
● GS Mini LTD RW
● GS Mini-e QS
● GS Mini-e RW
● GS Mini Blackwood
● GS Mini Rosewood
● GS Mini Maple
All of the GS Mini models are available in a left-handed configuration.
The GS Mini-e models come equipped with a Taylor ES-B pickup and preamp system. The onboard electronics features tone and volume controls, a tuner and a battery indicator. Some models, like the GS Mini Blackwood and the GS Mini Koa, are now considered Legacy Models, which means Taylor does not manufacture them anymore. If you’re interested in these discontinued models, you can get in touch with an authorized Taylor dealer to check if they still have any left in stock.
Why buy the Taylor GS Mini?
With travel guitars, players would often settle for one characteristic over another. Portability gets substituted for tone, or construction for affordability. This is why many guitarists end up with travel guitars that simply fail to wow. Some even end up inadvertently amassing a collection of these small guitars, many of which simply end up as wall decor.
The Taylor GS Mini is not one of those guitars.
With a Taylor, you really get what you pay for: quality, durability and an excellent tone that players and their audiences find irresistible. It’s priced at around $500, gig bag included. If you’re looking for a great guitar at that price range, one that will not let you down whether you’re practicing by yourself or playing in your neighborhood cafe, one that will serve as your reliable companion for years, the GS Mini is definitely worth checking out.
The Seagull S6 Original guitar sports a new look for 2018 while retaining its classic appeal. The S6 Original is the Canadian brand’s flagship acoustic, the one that helped put Seagull in the list of the best guitar makers in the world today.
The S6 has been known to be one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners because of its excellent craftsmanship, sound quality and affordability considering its overall quality. It has also received praises from seasoned musicians, something that not every beginner guitar can achieve.
Let’s take a closer look at what the Seagull S6 Original has in store for musicians and why it would be a good purchase for players of all skill levels.
Specs and Features
For the S6 Original, Seagull modified the classic dreadnought guitar shape to reduce the boominess that comes with big-bodied dreadnoughts. The S6 looks like a dreadnought but it’s not – at least, not completely. The guitar has rounded, narrow shoulders and a wide waist, which allows for a richer, more defined midrange output. The result is a unique body style that somewhat retains the traditional look of classic dreadnought guitars.
Handmade in Canada, the 2018 model of the Seagull S6 Original features a pressure-tested solid cedar top. Its neck is made from silver leaf maple for a brighter sound, while the three-ply laminated back and sides are now made from wild cherry wood and given a darker stain. The guitar has been given a semi-gloss custom polished satin finish that is durable yet thin enough to allow the guitar to vibrate and breathe freely for superb projection.
The combination of solid cedar, wild cherry and silver leaf maple give the S6 Original a crisp midrange tone. Cedar as a tonewood creates a warm, crisp and full sound, which tempers the brightness from the maple and cherry. The pressure-tested solid top provides durability, stability and volume as well as thinner bracing. This acoustic’s look and sound will no doubt get better with age.
The guitar’s tapered headstock is a bit smaller than those on other acoustic guitars. This is meant to keep the strings straight and stable, resulting in them staying more consistently in tune for a longer period of time. This is definitely ideal for beginners because they wouldn’t have to keep on adjusting the tuning every time they need to learn new chords or practice their strumming patterns. It’s also beneficial for advanced guitarists who play gigs and may not have the time to tune and re-tune their guitar every time they perform a song.
The 2018 revamp of the S6 also features a smooth, comfortable rosewood fingerboard and bridge, paired with a GraphTech Tusq nut and compensated saddle for improved tone and playability. Also new for 2018 is a 1.8-inch wide nut – wider than most, but better for fingerpicking styles because you have more room to move around.
The 2018 Seagull S6 Original has die-cast chrome tuners, black binding with a white accent and a herringbone rosette around the soundhole. The pickguard has a tortoiseshell pattern.
The guitar has 21 frets and a 25.5-inch scale length. The body is 4.9 inches deep and 19.8 inches long, while the waist measures 10.54 inches. The upper bout is at 11.38 inches and the lower bout measures 15.87 inches.
The overall structural integrity of the Seagull S6 Original 2018 makes it durable and robust. Aesthetics-wise, this guitar has a simple yet impressive look that many musicians are drawn to. It may not look as fancy or embellished as other acoustics, but the dark, bold stain, beautiful wood grain and no-nonsense cosmetics just make the S6 all the more appealing.
It’s a subtle, unassuming beauty to be sure, but how does it sound?
The tonewoods used in the Seagull S6 Original and the overall construction make for a great guitar that can easily compete with other acoustics on a higher price range. The resonance of the S6 Original is full-bodied and the guitar has impressive sustain.
The S6 Original delivers a rich, warm and bright tone, leaning toward the higher end of the scale. Think chimes rather than bluesy notes, but there’s still a good tonal balance that works well for most musical pieces. The basic dreadnought body shape produces a loud and clear sound. And because the guitar projects excellently, you can play it in intimate settings without the need for electronics to amp up the sound.
Other models in the S6 Original Series
Aside from the S6 Original, Seagull also offers the following models in the S6 series:
● S6 Cedar Original Slim – this is basically the S6 Original but with a smaller nut width (1.72 inches).
● S6 Original QIT – this variant comes with custom Godin QIT electronics. QIT stands for Quantum IT, an acoustic guitar system that really brings out the tonal clarity of the guitar, resulting in a rich and full sound. The Godin QIT system features volume, bass and treble controls along with auto shut-off and an onboard tuner.
● S6 Original Burnt Umber QIT – this S6 Original model boasts a striking, vintage look. It features a solid spruce top and a custom polished finish, and is equipped with Godin Quantum IT electronics.
● S6 Original Left – this one has the same specs and features as the S6 Original but for left-handed players.
● S6 Cedar Original Slim QIT – this is the same as the S6 Cedar Original Slim model but equipped with custom Godin QIT electronics.
● S6 Original Slim Concert Hall Burnt Umber GT A/E – this S6 not only sports a burnt umber finish but also a gloss top of solid spruce and semi-gloss sides and back. This variant is just a little bit smaller than the S6 Original, with a body depth of 4.13 inches, a body length of 19.38 inches, a lower bout measurement of 14.93 inches and an upper bout measurement of 11.19 inches. The scale is still at 25.5 inches but the waist is now at 8.92 inches. The S6 Original Slim Concert Hall Burnt Umber variant also comes with a Fishman Sonitone pickup system. The onboard preamp is soundhole-mounted and comes with rotary controls for tone and volume.
● S6 Classic M-450T – this variant’s nut width (1.72 inches) and scale length scale length (24.84 inches) differentiate it from the S6 Original. It also comes with a preamp and pickup system called the B-Band M-450T, which has a 4-band equalizer. The EQ includes slider tone controls for presence, treble, bass and mid. It also features a built-in digital chromatic tuner and a separate knob for volume.
● S6 Mahogany Deluxe A/E – the Seagull S6 Mahogany features a solid mahogany top and mahogany back and sides. It also comes with a Fishman Sonitone Onboard Preamp System.
Why buy the Seagull S6 Original acoustic guitar?
When learning to play a new instrument, the rule of thumb is to buy the best that you can afford to avoid unnecessary expenses down the line, such as repairs or even a new guitar because the first one broke or never keeps in tune.
Seagull’s S6 Original guitar retails for less than $500. And while that’s not exactly cheap, for the quality of the guitar the S6 is surely one of the top models to beat at this price range. It’s actually quite inexpensive if you think about it, thanks to the abundance of the materials used for the guitar in Canada where it’s made.
The price tag on the S6 is reasonable if you want to have a great first guitar that will make learning to play fun and will last you for years. It looks good and sounds awesome, and will definitely perform better as the years go by. The construction quality makes the S6 feel like a more expensive guitar. You can stick with the S6 even as you become a more advanced player and even when you start recording your own music.
The Seagull S6 Original is not just a great guitar for beginners; it’s a great guitar for everyone.
Big things come in small packages. The Martin LX1E, the acoustic-electric model of the Little Martin, is a fine example of a mini wonder. Make no mistake – it is a Martin, and it’s everything the Martin brand is known for: a fine instrument with outstanding craftsmanship and exceptional tonal quality.
The Little Martin is the company’s smallest guitar but there is nothing small about its performance. Its size makes it ideal as an everyday companion – you can bring it to school, work, camp or a coffeehouse gig.
The smaller, more comfortable size also makes it a great guitar for beginners, especially children or teens who may find larger guitars too bulky or cumbersome to play.
It’s a favorite of Ed Sheeran – there’s even an LX1E Ed Sheeran Edition!
But what really makes the LX1E great? Let’s take a look.
Specs and Features
At just 34 inches in length, the Martin LX1E is hands down one of the best compact guitars in the market today.
The body of the LX1E is 15 inches long, 12 inches wide and 3 inches deep. The top is made of a solid piece of Sitka spruce, which contributes greatly to the guitar’s amazing tone. The back and sides are made of a mahogany pattern high-pressure laminate, which gives the guitar the ability to withstand changes in temperature and humidity, which you will surely come across when you’re traveling.
The neck has a low oval profile and is made with a rust-colored Stratabond birch laminate, making the neck strong and stiff while keeping costs low. Stratabond necks are actually compressed pieces of wood stacked on top of each other, creating a hardwearing and tough material. This is one of the many reasons why Martin guitars make for great companions no matter the weather. A nice, hand-rubbed satin finish gives the guitar a clean look.
It’s interesting to note that the 20-fret fingerboard and the bridge of the LX1E are made from FSC-certified Richlite. Richlite is a material made from post-consumer recycled paper. Since it’s not wood, it guarantees no wood shrinkage and once it is polished, it looks like the more expensive ebony. As a bridge material, the hard and dense Richlite is highly efficient at transmitting the vibration of the strings to the soundboard.
The X in the model name refers to the X bracing pattern used in the guitar, which makes the guitar sturdy. The bracing is also made from Sitka spruce.
The LX1E has a 23-inch scale length. The scale length on most guitars is a couple of inches longer. The shorter scale length means the frets are also placed closer to each other. This makes the LX1E ideal for beginners or those with small hands, because it will be easier to form chord shapes without having to stretch the fingers too much.
In addition, the guitar has a low action for added comfort and playability. The neck is tapered – the width of the fingerboard at the white corian nut measures 1.69 inches. At the 12th fret, this increases to 2.69 inches.
The LX1E also features a compensated white Tusq saddle and chrome enclosed gear tuners. The overlay at the headstock is high-pressure rosewood pattern laminate. Except for the multi-stripe rosette around the soundhole, there are no other notable embellishments on the guitar. It looks simple – austere, even – but many guitarists like it that way.
For the electronics, Martin equipped the LX1E with a Fishman Sonitone pickup and preamp system so it’s always performance-ready. The Fishman Isys T system on the guitar features a battery indicator light, a built-in 7-segment chromatic tuner, a volume control switch, phase reversal switch and a contour button for EQ tone shaping.
Small as it may be, the guitar is nonetheless robust, thanks to the top bracing and Martin’s high standards when it comes to build quality. Durability and resilience are important in a guitar, especially one that’s designed for travel. Martin’s use of sustainable materials – Stratabond and Richlite – that feel and respond like solid wood but don’t warp and shrink ensures that their guitars remain sturdy.
The guitar comes with a padded gig bag so you can really take your LX1E anywhere you want to go.
The top bracing on the LX1E is instrumental in the guitar’s projection, giving it a full and loud sound for its size. Of course, if you’re wanting more volume, the LX1E has the electronics for that.
The Sitka spruce top gives the LX1E a good dynamic range and bright sound, while the sturdiness of the Stratabond neck coupled with the structural integrity of the Richlite fretboard helps in making the guitar stay in tune.
The compensated saddle also aids in tonal accuracy, so you needn’t worry about constantly fiddling with the tuning machines. There is also a good tonal balance up and down the neck as well as across the six strings.
The only downside we see with the entire setup with regard to sound quality is that you don’t get enough resonance unplugged. This is pretty understandable because it’s a small guitar and the back and sides are made of laminate and not solid wood. Again, you have the Fishman Isys T to address that, and if you really want to take guitar playing seriously it would be a good idea to invest in a good amp anyway.
The Sonitone pickup works as well as it should. The contour switch on the Fishman electronics proves useful in cleaning up the midtones and adding a crisp and brighter sound.
Why buy the Martin LX1E Little Martin?
The Martin LX1E offers a great sound and top-notch quality in a small package. Like the other Little Martins in the lineup, it’s durable and easy to play. The build is tidy – too tidy for some – but it has all the features you need in an electro-acoustic. Oh yeah, it sounds phenomenal too.
The LX1E is built to withstand the rigors of travel – from getting stuffed into plane cabins and hot car trunks to being jostled through crowds. If you have dreams of becoming a great musician (who doesn’t?), the Martin LX1E can help get you there.
The LX1E Little Martin is a straightforward guitar designed not only for travel but also for practice, jamming sessions and live performances. Martin built it in such a way that you don’t have to pay for things you don’t really need. The use of sustainable materials keeps the costs down and makes the guitar resilient, something that can’t be said for other travel guitars that compromise quality for cost.
For a budget of just a little more than $400, you get tons of power in a compact instrument. The LX1E is definitely one of the best guitars you can buy today.
Can you have a Fender even if you’re just a beginner guitar player? The answer is a resounding YES.
Many people think that a Fender (or other big-name brand) guitar is better suited for professionals. And that a Fender guitar is extremely expensive for beginners. Well, they couldn’t be more wrong.
Take the Fender FA-100. It’s an dreadnought acoustic that’s highly recommended for those learning to play the guitar. Even if you take the “Fender” from its name away, this guitar still delivers. For just $150, you get a well-built guitar with great playability and tone, along with all the accessories you’ll need to get started.
The FA-100 is so affordable you wouldn’t think it’s from Fender. If you’re interested in learning to play the guitar, the FA-100 could get you started on your musical journey straightaway.
Here’s a look at what it offers.
Specs and Features
The Fender FA-100 acoustic guitar has a 25.3-inch scale length. This full-size dreadnought has a laminated spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, basswood back and sides, C-shaped maple neck and a rosewood bridge with synthetic bone compensated saddle and die-cast chrome sealed tuning machines. The nut is made of synthetic bone and measures 1.65 inches. The guitar comes with Fender Dura-Tone coated phosphor bronze strings.
Spruce is commonly used as the tonewood for acoustic guitar tops because of its strength. It also gives a bright sound and dynamic range, and it is perfectly suitable for any acoustic playing style because of its responsiveness. The X bracing underneath the top adds to the guitar’s stability and projection. A sturdy guitar is just what you’ll need to power through hours upon hours of practice.
The 20-fret rosewood fingerboard and the rosewood bridge give the guitar a striking appearance. The dark wood provides a good contrast against the lighter-colored spruce. But it’s not all about the looks, however. Rosewood is known for providing excellent tonal quality and a smooth feel when playing. It’s also mighty strong, which aids in keeping the strings in tune.
The Fender FA-100 has a low string height, which means the strings are very close to the fretboard. This contributes to the guitar’s easy and fast playability. Your fingers won’t have to press down so hard on the fretboard when playing chords, which can be painful when you’re a beginner. This low action lets you play comfortably for hours.
Fretting will be an effortless and more enjoyable affair, which greatly helps in keeping you motivated to improve your guitar playing skills. And if you need to make some changes to the neck and string action, it’s easy with the hex adjustable truss rod.
The body of the Fender FA-100 sports a shiny polyurethane gloss. A concentric ring pattern for the rosette, black pickguard as well as pearloid dots on the fretboard add a nice classic touch. It’s available in Natural, Natural Satin, Black and Sunburst finishes. Nothing flashy, but that doesn’t mean the guitar won’t blow you away.
The FA-100 Acoustic Pack comes with medium picks, an extra set of strings and a padded nylon gig bag for safe storage and transport. Fender also included a electronic clip-on tuner and a Fender strap to make holding the guitar easier when standing. The strap buttons are already installed so you just need to clip the strap on.
The physical setup of the FA-100 is crucial in how it sounds. Because it’s sturdily built using quality materials, after being properly tuned it manages to stay that way for a longer time than other entry-level guitars. The combination of spruce and rosewood gives the guitar a great sound with a bright, warm and resonantly rich tone.
There is very good projection thanks to the tonewoods and the X bracing. Notes and melodies are also articulated clearly, helping beginners develop an accurate “ear,” which makes the learning process faster. It actually sounds like a more expensive guitar. It can get a little buzzy around the higher frets, so a little truss rod adjustment is in order if you encounter this issue. No biggie for beginners, really.
The overall tone of the FA-100 is just right for an acoustic guitar, leaning toward a mid-to-low sound. For an acoustic in its price range, it’s definitely impressive. It has a nice full sound when strummed and it also does well in articulating individual notes. The sound quality and sustain may not be that incredible (the guitar’s got a laminate top after all), but as a beginner instrument it gets the job done.
The responsive spruce top makes the guitar suitable for beginners trying out different acoustic playing styles. Whether you’re learning hard strumming patterns, developing speed for flatpicking or concentrating really hard on songs that require delicate fingerpicking, this guitar’s got your back.
Why buy the Fender FA-100?
Budget acoustic guitars for beginners would often have a reputation for breaking easily, constantly going out of tune, sounding muddy or all of the above. The Fender FA-100 breaks away from that mold with quality that rivals that of guitars twice its price.
The Fender FA-100 is one of, if not the best option for budget- and quality-conscious beginners.
It’s not easy finding an acoustic guitar that offers the kind of quality the Fender FA-100 has for $150. This is what makes the FA-100 a keeper and a good starter guitar. Of course there are lots of other guitars out there that are better-sounding than this model, but again for that price the FA-100 can’t be beat.
The Fender FA-100 would also appeal to intermediate or professional guitar players. These are the ones who may already have a number of guitars in their arsenal but would still appreciate having an all-around acoustic they can fiddle with at home or take to the beach without worrying about cosmetic damage. The FA-100 fits the bill as it’s not expensive but still sounds good. Fender wouldn’t have it otherwise.
Here’s our tip for beginners: learn to play the guitar with the FA-100, hone your skills and develop your playing style. You’ll know when you’re ready to buy your next guitar, one that will be a better fit for the musician you’ve become.
The CD-140SCE dreadnought is part of Fender’s new Classic Design Series of acoustic guitars. It’s an electro-acoustic that’s been fitted with an upgraded Fishman Presys pickup/preamp system. The added electronics enhances the quality of the already great Fender acoustics in the lineup, offering an all-in-one, stage-ready guitar package that beginners and pro musicians alike will surely appreciate.
Fender debuted the Classic Design Series at the National Association of Music Merchants trade show in winter 2017. The new models in the company’s acoustic guitar catalog are designed and built to offer premium features and deliver a gutsy yet comfortable playing experience for beginners.
Some of the upgrades include a novel easy-to-play neck shape, solid spruce or mahogany tops, rolled fretboard edges and the addition of the Fishman Presys preamp, like in the case of the CD-140SCE.
As a result of all these improvements, Fender was able to offer a lineup of acoustic guitars that are not only extremely playable but affordable as well. All of the CD-140SCE variants are priced at $400, which is actually a steal because they’re Fenders.
The company aims to show that you can have a high-quality instrument at an accessible price point, which is really important for those dreaming of becoming musicians like the great Jimi Hendrix, who used a number of Fender electric guitars.
Let’s take a closer look at the Fender CD-140SCE and see if it’s really as good as it looks.
Specs and Features
The Fender CD-140SCE has a solid spruce top with scalloped X-bracing to keep the guitar sturdy and stable as well as prevent it from collapsing under the tension on the strings. In addition, a solid top made of spruce responds very well to a variety of acoustic playing styles.
The Fender CD-140SCE has laminated rosewood back and sides for added resilience and a mahogany neck with black binding for increased strength. Rosewood is also used for the headstock overlay or the headcap, the bridge and the fingerboard, giving a striking contrast.
The neck of the CD-140SCE is comfortable and easy to play, largely thanks to the rolled fretboard edges. Rounding off the edges of the 20-fret fingerboard removes the sharpness, making it more comfortable to play especially when you need to wrap your thumb around the neck. Classy pearloid dot inlays adorn the fretboard.
The guitar has a 25.3-inch scale length.
The guitar is also fitted with chrome die-cast tuning machines that hold pitch very well, a dual-action truss rod for adjusting the string action, a Graph Tech NuBone nut (1.69 inches wide) and saddle to boost the sustain and tonal clarity as well as keep the strings consistently in tune.
The Fishman Presys pickup/preamp system has controls for volume, mid, treble and bass. It also has a phase button. The side-mounted preamp also has a built-in electronic tuner.
A tortoiseshell pickguard and the gloss body finish give the guitar a really classic look. The pearloid rosette design around the soundhole is exclusive to the CD Series. Another striking feature of the CD-140SCE is its cutaway body, which makes it easier to access the upper frets for practicing those high-register chord progressions.
You can choose between a Natural or Sunburst finish. The guitar also comes with its own protective hardshell case so you can store or transport it safely.
Overall, the Fender CD-140SCE doesn’t look or feel like a $400 guitar but something that costs much more. With a premium build and advanced features, it definitely rocks. How does it sound though?
No worries – there was never really any doubt about the sound quality of the CD-140SCE. The dreadnought body shape and overall build of the Fender CD-140SCE give it plenty of volume as well as a full-bodied, clean tone. Spruce is a material of choice for acoustic guitars because of its dynamic range, brightness and responsiveness to various playing styles.
The scalloping on the bracing of the guitar also shapes the sound of the guitar. This is because scalloped braces work with the strings in such a way that midrange frequencies are scooped out to bring out the bass, high-treble frequencies and overall volume. The result is a well-balanced tone with plenty of projection.
For beginners, this means more productive lessons and practice sessions when you’re fingerpicking, flatpicking and strumming – you’ll be able to hear the nuances among notes and chords more properly.
Guitars with solid tops, like the CD-140SCE, also develop better tonal quality the more they are used over the years. This means that the more you practice and become a better musician, the better the guitar sounds too!
Unplugged, the guitar produces a vibrantly rich and pure tone with a lot of resonance. It’s all crisp, clear and clean. Plugged in, the Fishman Presys system works as well as it should, amplifying the sound coming from the guitar without muddying the tone.
Tonal quality is consistent up and down the neck, which is important if you’re new to the guitar and are only just beginning to develop your ear for pitch. The strings stay in tune for a long while too.
All in all, the Fender CD-140SCE delivers – just like Fender promised.
Other CD-140SCE models
There are two other guitars that carry the CD-140SCE mark: an all-mahogany variant and a 12-string option.
● CD-140SCE All-Mahogany – this variant, available in Natural finish, is structurally the same as the CD-140SCE except that it has a solid mahogany top, laminated mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck and mahogany headcap. Yep, it’s all mahogany alright.
● CD-140SCE 12-String – you’ve guessed it – this is the same model but with 12 strings, offering that bell-like jingle-jangle for a classic sound. It also sports a Natural finish.
Why buy the Fender CD-140SCE?
The features are a win, the sound quality shines, the price is just right – what more can you ask for?
The Fender CD-140SCE hits the right notes, is sturdily built and won’t break the bank. We’ve taken at the specs in detail and judged the sound, and we say this guitar is definitely a good – nay, great – buy. It’s possibly the best entry-level acoustic-electric guitar you can buy for $400. This puts the guitar in the midrange price category.
That said, this guitar is for aspiring musicians who are keen on taking the guitar seriously. The best way to do that is by learning on a quality instrument right from the beginning.
Convinced? The Fender CD-140SCE is ready when you are.
When you first see the Hummingbird acoustic guitar, you get the feeling that you’ve seen it somewhere before. And you probably had, with the sheer number of celebrated music artists counting the Hummingbird as one of their favorites and using it for composing songs, recording music and performing live. Notable Hummingbird players include Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Brian May, Chris Cornell, Sheryl Crow, Thom Yorke, Michelle Branch and Noel Gallagher.
Now, there are basically two kinds of Hummingbirds: one made by Gibson and another made by Epiphone. The two companies used to be fierce rivals until Epiphone became a Gibson subsidiary. Epiphone now has a reputation for producing Gibson-quality guitars at a not-so-Gibson price – like the Hummingbird, which was introduced in the ‘60s.
Epiphone reintroduced its version of the Gibson Hummingbird in 2012, calling it the Hummingbird Pro. It’s what we are doing a review of because at less than $400, it’s what most of us can actually afford at the beginning phases of our music career. Check back again for a review of the Gibson when we’ve scrounged enough money from gigs for it (it can take a while, though).
Gibson dreams aside, we’re not regarding the Hummingbird Pro by Epiphone as a second placer. After all, comparing a high-end Gibson with a pocket-friendly Epiphone is hardly fair. So we’re taking a look at the qualities that make the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro acoustic-electric guitar great on its own. Let’s get started!
Specs and Features
The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro has undergone a number of improvements over the years. The latest upgrades to the square-shouldered dreadnought guitar include the Shadow ePerformer preamp and the Shadow NanoFlex pickup system for better performance on and off the stage.
The top of the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is made of solid spruce while the neck, back and sides sport laminated select mahogany wood. The solid spruce top improves with age – with some proper TLC of course – so you can be sure it sounds as good as it looks.
The neck has a SlimTaper profile with a comfortably playable D shape. This neck profile became famous during the Sixties and is meant to promote speed and reduce fatigue when playing.
The top of the guitar sports a 5-ply black and white binding, while the back and the fingerboard have a single-ply white binding. The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro comes in a striking Faded Cherry Burst finish.
Pearloid parallelograms serve as markers on the rosewood fretboard. The guitar inlays are effective as a visual aid so you can easily guide your fretting hand to the notes you want to play. With the pearloid inlays, you can more quickly tell which fret you are playing when looking down the guitar neck.
The scale length of the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is at 24.75 inches and the nut width measures 1.68 inches. The guitar has a rosewood reverse belly bridge with a compensated imitation bone saddle, sturdy Grover tuning machine heads, adjustable truss rod and an imitation tortoiseshell pickguard.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a Hummingbird guitar without the traditional hummingbird-and-flowers artwork, which very nicely stands out amid the dark pickguard. The guitar also has the trademark sloped dovewing headstock, which bears the Epiphone logo in white letters.
As for the onboard electronics, the controls for the preamp are located on the upper bout. Aside from a low battery indicator, there are controls for Master Volume, Mute and Treble and Bass EQ. There is also a Dynamics control slider. The pickup system, hidden away inside the soundhole just under the saddle, picks up the vibration of the strings with no problems at all.
What’s missing in the system is a built-in tuner. On the bright side, this means you have a choice of using your preferred tuner.
The overall build quality is impressive. It shows fine attention to detail and good craftsmanship. It’s easy and comfortable to play, and with its vintage appeal, you’ll find it hard to look away.
The tonewoods give the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro an amazing sound quality. The solid spruce top gives the guitar plenty of resonance, making it sound big indeed. The guitar’s tone is bright, warm and rich, with a good balance across the registers.
This versatile guitar does well when playing different music genres, from rock to blues and jazz. There’s enough low-end heft for heavy strums and rock riffs. Notes are crisp and clear for fingerstyle playing and flatpicking.
Now, let’s take a moment to dig a little deeper into the Hummingbird Pro’s electronics. According to Epiphone, it has been working with Germany-based electronics company Shadow for more than a decade, looking for ways to amplify an acoustic guitar without it losing its acoustic sound. This partnership resulted in the development of the NanoFlex pickup and ePerformer Preamp.
The preamp does very well in amplifying the acoustic sound naturally. When the guitar is plugged in, bright tones sound brighter and the lows sound deeper without taking away the acoustic-ness. The controls are also pretty straightforward so you can easily tweak the output to come up with the sound you’re going for.
All in all, the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro sounds perfectly good, especially for its price.
Why buy the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro?
The Hummingbird is a classic guitar trusted by a multitude of musicians the world over. The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is a great modern version of this legendary instrument, and it’s something you’ll be proud to have as a musician whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro.
Is it worth the buy for beginners? Well, yes. It’s a beautiful guitar you may not even want to put down – which is good for those who may need the motivation to practice every day. It’s comfortable and fun to play, equipped with good-quality electronics and built to last. It’s something you won’t be embarrassed to take out of the house for lessons, jamming sessions or a couple of hours of practice in the park.
If you have $300 to spend on a guitar, this is one of the best models you can buy.
If Taylor’s smallest guitars were real human babies, the Big Baby Taylor would be the one that probably got the most milk growing up. Big Baby, or BBT sports the largest of the company’s small guitar bodies. This 15/16 scale dreadnought may be smaller than full-size guitars but it can definitely jam with those big boys.
If you’re looking for a beginner acoustic guitar to start your musical journey with, the Big Baby Taylor is one you should consider. It’s portable but doesn’t compromise on volume and tone. It has also received a lot of raves from guitarists of all skill levels, so it’s definitely a good buy worthy of your hard-earned money. Why, exactly? Check this big baby out and see for yourself.
Specs and Features
At 19.5 inches long and 15.1 inches wide, the Big Baby Taylor is just a few inches away from being called full-size. It’s the plus-sized sibling of the Baby Taylor and has the same arched back, which not only makes the guitar sturdy but is also a factor in producing an impressive, robust tonal output.
Because it’s smaller than a full-sized acoustic, the Big Baby Taylor is definitely more portable and travel-friendly. And because it’s larger than a travel guitar like the Baby Taylor, it has a greater volume output and bass response.
Taylor’s Big Baby features a solid top made of Sitka spruce, which gives the guitar a broad dynamic range and makes it versatile no matter your playing style. Whether you like to rock it out with some hard strumming or enjoy delicate fingerpicking, Sitka spruce is there to help articulate your music clearly. Sitka spruce is not only strong but elastic as well, making the BBT a great all-around acoustic guitar.
The sides and back are made from layered sapele. The middle core is made of poplar and it’s sandwiched between veneer sapele layers. The use of layered sapele adds to the guitar’s strength, resilience (helpful if you travel to places where humidity levels and temperature change all the time) and durability as well as its overall look. It also makes the Big Baby more affordable, so thanks for that, Taylor!
The neck of the Big Baby is made from solid sapele, while the 20-fret fingerboard is made from authentic African ebony. The fretboard has simple dot inlays that add to the simple-yet-striking appeal.
The top, back and sides all have a matte finish for a clean, sophisticated look. The soundhole is adorned by a single ring rosette and complemented with a tortoiseshell pickguard.
The BBT’s non-cutaway dreadnought body is 4 inches deep, which is just half an inch shallower than a regular dreadnought. It does, however, have the same 25.5-inch scale length. Size and scale length combined, the Big Baby translates to an acoustic that is smaller than a traditional dreadnought but with a richness and projection of one. The slim profile contributes to the guitar being extremely player-friendly, making it a great choice for young guitarists or those with a small frame.
Taylor’s Big Baby also features die-cast chrome tuners, Nubone nut, Micarta saddle and African ebony bridge. The materials and construction show quality, something that Taylor guitars are known for.
The low action is great for fingers just starting to learn, making learning to play the guitar a lot more comfortable and fun.
The guitar comes with a snug Taylor padded gig bag for musicians on the go, and with the BBT you will surely find it easy to go anywhere. It’s lighter and a lot easier to hold and transport than the other dreadnoughts on Taylor’s lineup, plus it’s more affordable too.
The Big Baby Taylor doesn’t come with electronics, which is all fine for most players. If you do want to have a pickup installed, it’s also possible with the help of a local Taylor dealer.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Big Baby Taylor has a greater volume output than the smaller Baby Taylor. It’s as close to a full-size body as it can get without being “too big” after all. Aside from projection, the Big Baby also offers loads of sustain and resonance for its size.
The combination of Sitka spruce and sapele woods results in a rich, well-balanced sound. The X-brace on the solid Sitka spruce top delivers that signature Taylor crisp sound. It may not be as loud as a regular dreadnought, but the projection is certainly the best you can get for a guitar of travel size.
The responsiveness of the guitar makes it great for different playing styles, particularly fingerpicking.
And because the top is made of solid wood, the sound quality of the BBT will improve as the years go by.
The Big Baby Taylor has a good, strong mid-range, so you will find it easy to hum and sing along while playing. This is a plus for beginners who are starting to develop both their note-listening and singing skills.
Taylor Big Baby Review - How does this acoustic guitar sound? - YouTube
Why buy the Big Baby Taylor acoustic guitar?
Many guitarists, both aspiring and advanced, are always on the search for the best instrument that would go well with their playing style. Most of them also look for a sturdy guitar that isn’t too heavy and bulky, something that they can take along to school, the music studio, gigs, their favorite camping grounds, the beach – anywhere.
There are also intermediate players who want to upgrade to a better instrument, something that they will hold on to as they continue to hone their skills.
At under $500 – gig bag included – the Big Baby Taylor fits the bill. Sure, it may be a bit more expensive than other entry-level acoustics, but it’s a Taylor. If you’ve always wanted a Taylor but have only less than $500 to spend, consider the Big Baby.
And with a Taylor you can be assured that your investment is worth every penny.
The overall build and sound of the Big Baby Taylor makes it a must-have for those looking for a quality instrument at a reasonable price. The Big Baby is a wise buy because with it, you would seem to have two guitars in one: a near-full-size dreadnought and a portable travel guitar.
The Big Baby Taylor plays like a dream and is a guitar kids will grow up with and even grownups will enjoy – a guitar you won’t regret buying.
Buying your first guitar involves taking several factors into consideration, such as the kind of music you want to play and your budget. To help you avoid making a hasty decision and purchasing the first guitar you come across (and probably regretting it a few days later), here are our tips for buying your first guitar. If you’re thirsty for more info, then be sure to check out our comprehensive acoustic guitar buying guide for the latest in buyer info.
Get the right sound
What music style do you enjoy listening to? More often than not this is also the kind of music you want to play, so get the type of guitar that fits your musical taste. If you like classical, Spanish or flamenco music, nylon-string classical guitars are your best bet. If you’re a fan of folk, slow rock, country and pop music, you’d better go with an acoustic guitar. If you like to rock it out with music from the Foo Fighters or AC/DC, there’s no harm in starting out with an electric guitar.
Get the right size
Guitars come in all shapes, weights and sizes. For instance, electric guitars may be smaller than acoustic guitars but they’re generally heavier. We recommend heading over to a music store to try out different guitar sizes and see which one you feel most comfortable with. Don’t rush–really get a feel of the guitar. Trust us, you’ll know which one is right.
Get the one you’re attracted to
For us, guitars aren’t all about the sound–they’re about the looks too. If you have a guitar that pleases you appearance-wise, the likelier you are to spend more time practicing or have it always by your side. The better you get at playing, the more you’ll want to be seen with the guitar you fell in love with the first moment you saw it.
Get the right string action
String action refers to the measurement of the space between the guitar strings to the top or surface of the fret. If the action is too high, the guitar will be difficult to play and it can get very painful for beginner fingers. Look for a guitar with a low action of about 1-2.7 millimeters for electric and acoustic guitars and 3-3.6 millimeters for nylon-string classical guitars.
If the guitar you really want to buy is a bit high on the action, you can have it adjusted or set up professionally. A proper setup would also include sanding down sharp fret edges, a proper tuning and checking the machine heads. You’ll have to pay a little extra though, but the entire process does make your first guitar more playable so you’ll enjoy it more.
Compare guitars in your budget range
Your first guitar is an investment you shouldn’t take lightly. While you may find plenty of guitars for sale at extraordinarily low prices, be warned that not all of these are of good quality–some can hardly stay in tune, others break easily. If you’re a beginner, it’s important to have a good, sturdy and reliable guitar right from the start.
When it comes to buying guitars, you get what you pay for. However, there are decent guitars and even beginner kits in the below-$100 range if that’s what you can afford at the moment. We recommend reading guitar reviews and watching product demos online to see which guitars in your budget range perform best. You can always move up when you’re ready!
Those are our top five tips for buying Guitar No. 1. Remember, take your time in choosing so you’ll have a more enjoyable time playing! Once you have figured out which axe you want, be sure to check out Guitar Secret’s free online guitar lessons which will come in handy for any new guitarist.