Fender, Yamaha, and Seagull: comparing the three acoustic guitar brands

Introduction

Fender, Yamaha, Seagull procude some of the most wanted and popular product lines on the market. Each of these companies tries to aim to a specific crowd for their guitars, so it's highly important that you can identify which crow you belong to and pick for yourself the most suitable guitar brand."

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Buying an acoustic guitar that best suits you is not that easy whether you’re a beginner or an experienced guitarist. There are plenty of guitar brands right now in the market, all claiming to have the best sound and quality. Some of these brands that are well known for their acoustic guitars are: Fender, Yamaha, and Seagull.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and even has unique attributes. Made and manufactured by different company owners in different countries, each has attributes that reflect its manufacturer’s vision and goals.

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Some put more attention to quality, research, and design, while others put more attention to price. Let’s get a closer look at these three brands.

Overall look into the three popular acoustic guitar brands

Fender

Fender is one of the most popular brands in the world of guitars but most especially in terms of its electric guitars showcasing the highly acclaimed Fender Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jaguar, Mustang, and many more.

On the other hand, they do not pay much attention on the quality and sound when it comes to acoustic guitars unlike with their popular electric guitars.

When it comes to quality, sometimes the owners of Fender acoustic guitars spend more money fixing issues on the guitar than the guitar itself. One of the reasons why a lot complain about the quality of the guitars is that the guitars are factory made.

They make the guitars on a different country and then they ship it to the US, which may help Fender save more money in producing the guitars but at the same time it is one of the reasons why the quality not as high as the others.

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One of the advantages of Fender acoustic guitars is that it is reasonably priced, although it will not do well if you compare it with other guitars on the market at the same price range. For example, Fender’s CD280S Dreadnought has a solid spruce top but the quality of the spruce wood is mediocre if you compare it with other spruce top acoustic guitars.

The fine details on the construction are not that detailed like the edging for example. There are guitars on the same price range that will have richer sound and better playability.

Yamaha

Yamaha is a company that has a wide range of musical instruments that their music division produces, and acoustic guitars is just one of the many. Aside from being the largest manufacturer of musical instruments in Japan, they are also a frontrunner in home appliances, furniture, motorcycles and many more.

Yamaha pays great attention to an acoustic guitar’s playability. The body’s shape and dimensions are well calculated, wood is carefully picked, and varied bracing patterns are used for each guitar series.

Yamaha is very transparent on their efforts to really make use of the best wood, materials, shape, and structure, for their guitars. They invest in research and material optimization to deliver their users’ needs.

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Due to careful research, different Yamaha models may specifically cater to a very specific crowd or variety; which may sometimes be a strength or a limitation. It is important for one to carefully examine a Yamaha acoustic guitar before purchasing. At times, it could even be best to try out other Yamaha models if one doesn’t suit your taste.

Seagull

Seagull is manufactured under Godin, from Canada. It is easy to recognize with a headstock that places tuners in line with the nut to deliver better stability. Seagull guitars pay a lot of attention to creating guitars that are versatile and comfortable to suit various kinds of styles and users.

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Recently, they manufactured guitar designs that has a thinner and lightly braced body, as compared to typical flat top guitars that usually encounter problems with sinking sound holes. It is said that they have worked on this new shape for decades.

However, like before, the company still keeps its distinctive cherry color, a solid top, and the unique headstock.

Seagull proudly puts emphasis on stepping the game up in guitar manufacturing as it strives to provide higher quality guitars without the burden of a high price. Most seagull owners are very pleased by how these guitars sound, but a few comments from here and there point out that the guitar’s surface gets easily scratched. To most, however, this is not a drawback.

How are Acoustic Guitars made?

One of the most popular instruments among high school classmates and music enthusiasts, guitars give life to band songs and is also the secret behind every heartthrob lead guitarist in the music industry.

What does it take to produce a guitar, do you ever wonder?

Stringed instruments have been existing in the world to as far back as 3,000 years. Clearly, fondness of music and tones must run in human blood. It all started with singled stringed bows that existed across Asia and Africa, which later on turned to have more and more strings, and later on developed the shape that acoustic guitars have today.

Guitars have continuously evolved through time, experimenting between different types of wood, strings, and shape to create unique sounds. Smaller ones are usually designed to create mellow sounds that is mostly suitable for folk music, while medium to bigger guitars are mostly used for bands and performances, most especially with accompaniments.

The first step to guitar production is materials selection. Components have to be outsourced and chosen carefully from suppliers. They are chosen based on various factors.

Until now, guitars are mostly composed of wood. Choosing a type of wood is thus one of the most important factors to consider in creating guitars. Some of which are made of solid high-quality and genuine wood, while others, for portability, are made of wood laminates. Typical wood choices for a guitar’s body are Mahogany, Maple, Walnut, Spruce, Poplar, and Agathis. Each of which are not only selected for color and texture, but also contribute to the sound that a guitar produces.

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Other parts of the guitar include tuners, bridge, frets, picks, and enhancements that could increase performance and strength. Once all these are gathered from suppliers, they are then put together in one acoustic guitar. There are different brands of acoustic guitars out there in the market. What makes prices vary? The type of wood and supplies used play one of the most important factors, but some brands are even given more value due to the careful planning of the guitar’s shape, that may contribute not only to the sound of one’s guitar, but also to ease of use when playing or carrying it around.

The next step to the production of guitars matters on this part. After choosing the parts, the guitar is now designed. Size and shape are determined to match the target users’ needs.

It is important for one to be comfortable with the size and shape of his or her guitar, and guitar brands have worked hard in researching and crafting guitars that much every possible need that an artist may have. Some prioritize portability, while others prioritize sounds. It is also important to craft a design that will not put the guitarist in any burden, whether for carrying the instrument or playing it.

As part of design, other enhancements to make the guitar sound better or stronger are decided on this stage.

Upon accomplishing the design, the concept and materials are now ready to be forwarded to the manufacturer, where the guitars would be assembled and packaged.  After the assembly of all parts and including all accessories on the package, the guitars are sent for quality control checking before being approved of release to the market.

Famous Guitar and musician clubs that could be joined in US

Music heals and could gather people together for a greater purpose. When more people gather for a specific purpose, more things are achieved.

If you are a passionate guitar strummer looking for a venue to help you enhance your strumming skills, or if you’re just looking for more people to share your overflowing thoughts, and ideas for guitar and music, here are famous organizations around US that you may check out and join.

Why join an organization?

A person may have various reasons for joining an organization, most people join organizations for apprenticeship or to meet more people in their field. Others want a venue to use their talents for humanitarian projects. It’s important to know one’s purpose and goals in joining an organizations before checking them out.

Things to consider when joining a guitar organization:

Location: Is there a branch/chapter near my place?

Guitar type: Do I want to know people who play classical or steel guitars?

Purpose: Do I want to learn more about guitars? Learn about guitar making? Use guitars for humanitarian purposes? Are there perks that I can get from joining a certain club?

Famous and existing guitar associations in US

Thereare various guitar associations in US, and these ones are famous for a reason. They are arranged according to their general purpose.

Guitarists

Guitarists may be playing classical or steel guitars. No matter the guitar type, here are famous organizations for the lost guitarist.

  • Guitar Foundation of America

Guitar-Foundation-of-America

The Guitar Foundation of America is one of the most renowned guitar organizations in the United States. It is an organization, library, publisher, and continuing education support for guitar enthusiasts around US. As mentioned, members are given access to a wide pool of information in their online resources, as well as access for funding in further studying guitar and its science.

  • Cleveland Classical Guitar Society

This serves as an educator and promoter of classical guitar art performance in and outside Cleveland. They not only offer a venue for gathering classical guitar enthusiasts, but also educate other people and promote the art of classical guitar music through free guitar classes throughout schools in the area.

  • All Frets

All-Frets

All Frets is also an organization based in US that has everything a guitarist could need in one place. It offers scholarships, 6 time a year publications, and annual conventions for its members.

  • Guitar Alliance

Joining guitar alliance is for guitarists of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, learn and share knowledge on guitars here. It has regular newsletters and has been running since 2001.

For a cause

Other guitar associations make use of guitar playing for humanitarian purposes.

  • Traveling Guitar Foundation

Traveling-Guitar-Foundation

This organization believes that music is healing, and this makes is accessible for schools around US. They are a non-profit organization that supports schools’ musical programs that lack finances.

  • Guitars not Guns

Guitars-not-Guns

Is another non-profit organization that brings guitar classes to various high-risk young communities across US. The program could be supported by donations or volunteering, and aims to eliminate violence by letting the youth shell out their feelings through guitars.

Distinguishing different kinds of Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitars are really popular in the music industry. The general term “acoustic guitar” refers to a bigger umbrella that envelopes various and more specific types based on body structure and purpose. A knowledgeable person on guitars would be wise to choose the best fit for a guitar buyer’s purpose and body built. The main things to consider in buying a guitar is musical genre and comfort in handling. What are the different types of acoustic guitars and how are they different from each other?

Guitar body parts

To better distinguish guitars, it is best to know its body parts. Each modification on a guitar part has a purpose to generate a specific and unique sound or to fit a body type well. Here are the different parts of a standard acoustic guitar:

  • Headstock
  • Post
  • Machine head/Tuner
  • Nut
  • Fret
  • Neck
  • Heel
  • Side
  • Binding
  • Fretboard
  • Upper bout
  • Body
  • Top
  • Pickguard
  • Lower bout
  • Saddle
  • Bridge
  • Bridge pin
  • Tail
  • Sound hole

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Guitar Size

Smaller guitars are usually generate more mellow sounds and bigger sized guitars are used for louder music, especially if accompanied by other instruments like guitars, piano, and more. Most guitars are classified by size, as the size mostly determines not only comfort for the user, but also the range of sounds that a guitar could produce.

Parlor/Baby Guitars

This is the smallest kind of acoustic guitars and started to be famous in the 1950s. It has an overall smaller body than other acoustic guitar kinds. The upper bout is also noticeably smaller than the lower bout. This type of guitar is best for mellow and folk songs.

O (Concert) and OO (Grand Concert) Acoustic Guitars

These guitars were considered large when they were first introduced, but now serve as a great transition, most especially in size, from parlor size (small guitars) to bigger-sized guitars. The lower bouts range from 13 ½-14 ½ in. Since this is in medium size, it offers the flexibility in sound of smaller guitars, and controlled resonance. Most acoustic-electrical guitars could be found in this size. This guitar is best utilized for users who mostly perform solo, without accompaniment.

Dreadnought

Dreadnought-guitar

The largest among the most popular acoustic guitar kinds, these guitars offer louder sound that comes with a bigger body. The sounds are less flexible compare to parlor sized guitars. However, they create deep and strong sounds that could be used with accompaniment.

Student sizes

There are more kinds of guitars, like the jumbo (largest), auditorium (a little larger than OO guitars, with a 15 in lower bout), and classical (second to the smallest of guitars). However, these terms are too technical and not very friendly for beginners. Some manufacturers and guitar stores divide their guitars in 4 sizes; 1/4 being composed of the smaller guitars, and 4/4 being composed of the biggest guitars. This is easier to distinguish for beginners.

Guitar Price

Guitars could also be classified by price, from low to high-end brands. As a general rule, it is best to try lower range of guitars for starters, and try more expensive guitars as a newbie starts to learn and feel how the different shapes and sizes of guitars affect sound and style in music.

Fool-proof guide to finding the best guitar

Short introduction of acoustic guitars

Acoustic guitars are one of the most popular musical instruments. Although “acoustic” is a kind of guitar, “acoustic guitars” could be further divided into more specific classifications. There’s always the perfect guitar for all types of skill level, body built, and purpose. What’s the best acoustic guitar in the world? What’s the best one for you?

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Distinguish between classical and acoustic guitar

An acoustic guitar is a guitar that creates sounds by merely transmitting vibration from the strings to air. Unlike electric guitars, acoustic guitars don’t need electricity to amplify sound (although some acoustic guitars have evolved to be a hybrid of electric and acoustic). It just needs the fingers or a pick to strum the strings strategically to produce the desired sound.

An acoustic guitar could be chosen based on the following criteria

Design/Body structure

Generally speaking, an acoustic guitar may have varied sizes and shapes for its neck and body. Some acoustic guitars may have longer necks, others may have shorter ones. The body could be big, small, or in varying degrees of in-between, and it could also come in different shapes. Aside from ergonomic comfort, the different shapes and sizes may enable the user to create different kinds of sounds.

For example, based on body size and the power to produce loud sound, dreadnoughts and jumbos are the acoustic guitars that are relatively bigger in size. Consider buying this kind if you aim for a loud guitar, especially if it would be used with a band. This kind is the most popular, loudest, and fit for band music.

There are also the classical guitars. Classical guitars are generally smaller, has a soft sound, and has a wider sound range. These smaller guitars are used for mellow music, and could be used for solo performances or music writing.

Strings

Here goes one of the most frequently asked questions, what string is best for what kind of people? Well, it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an expert. What kind of sound would you like to create?

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Steel strings are generally louder and stiffer. They are also mostly used for pop music. The stiff strings make it easier to create the sound due to limited string movement, but its lack of flexibility may limit the range of sounds that the musician can create. Nylon strings have soft sound that are used for mellow music. Nylon is generally softer and bendable. It could be used for a wider range of sounds.

Personal Preference

Guitars may vary in sizes, neck length, and string material. All created and designed for a specific purpose. However, although it is important to have information on why these variants were developed, it is still best to look around and hear the guitar sound yourself. Aside from the structure and materials, the tightness and thickness of the string may also affect the sound that a guitar produces. It is also important to consider if the size and shape of the guitar allows you to be comfortable playing it while standing or sitting.

The quality of a guitar does not solely depend on its brand, model, structure, or materials. The best guitar could be determined by its ability to reflect its owner’s style and personality.

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