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


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.



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.

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