The acoustic guitar remains to be a favorite instrument for music lovers around the globe. This is because it does not rely on external amplification like the electric guitar: Instead, it mainly uses the traditional wooden soundboard that makes up its soundbox. You would be able to carry it anywhere without limitations and the strings can be easily tuned to play diverse genres and styles. Generally, there are two broad classes; the classical and the folk guitars. Under the two classes are variations that are differentiated by notable characteristics.
Classical acoustic guitar
It is quite small but with a wide fretboard and nylon strings. It is normally a better choice if you would like to play Spanish, flamenco-style, or other adaptable classical jazz. The strings are easy on your fingertips and one can easily play it with fingernails. The classical guitar is the preferred choice for starters.
Folk guitar/ Steel string
It is larger compared to the classical acoustic guitar and uses either steel or bronze strings. It is strummed using a guitar pick and produces a higher volume with clearly varied rich sounds due to the larger sound-box. It is adaptable to different genres such as folk music, pop, blues, and rock. The size of your choice would depend greatly with the type of music; for instance, you could have a giant dreadnought for an orchestra or a small parlor which can be strummed by a little child for a solo performance. From the above two classes, variations and types of acoustic guitars include:
The Resonator is characterized by its steel sound-box instead of the traditional wooden one. On its inception, it was meant to produce a higher sound that couldn’t be swallowed by percussion instruments during performance. You can use it for different genres including country, bluegrass and pop. It has steel strings which produce a metallic sound against its metallic soundboard.
The 12-String guitar
Each of the traditional strings is paired with another string in order to produce a full-bodied sound. The four bottom bass strings have partners that are thinner and higher by an octave. The top two have partners that are tuned to the same octave to achieve unison. Strumming the instrument results into bell-like chimes and the variety of full sound makes it a good choice for solo folk performers. You would however have to deal with string tension and warping which may hamper your performance.
This is the predecessor of the modern electric bass guitar and has only bass strings. The soundboard is large and hollow and produces a deep sound that would require a pickup to avoid being drowned by other instruments. They are a preference by soft rock and jazz performers.
This variation has an arched top and the traditional six strings. It also requires a pickup to avoid being drowned by higher instruments. It is not the best choice if you are a starter. If you are a pro, you could work magic with it.
Its main characteristic is the large size, round bottom and shoulders, and a broader large volume soundboard that produces the deep sound. It is a favorite of jazz players as it gives a smooth combination of rhythm.
You can easily identify this type due to its unique square bottom and shoulders. It could either have an open fretboard or not depending with the designer. You could easily play it by plucking or strumming and it produces a variation of sounds that can be tuned precisely to your tune. It is the most popular guitar and has been used for all types of genres since the 1960s.
There are other lesser known acoustic guitars around the world used by minority players in various cultures. Such include the harp guitar, the baroque, and the flamenco.