Acoustic Guitar How to Choose

How to choose acoustic guitar in malaysia

How To Choose Acoustic Guitar In Malaysia

this is buying guide also. don't forget to download the free check list in part 7 in this article.

The acoustic guitar has a range of sounds and not easily replicated with any other type of guitar.

Before you rushing keep searching info about acoustic guitar brand names, body styles, manufacture detail, or maybe a lot of online lesson. Please complete reading this article.

Article Purpose:

  •  Assist beginner to learn more about choose first acoustic guitar (especially in Malaysia)
  •  Revise my own research report/ share my opinion with my student.
  •  To make friend with you (new visitor/ regular visitor)

#1 3 things you need to know before you buy Acoustic Guitar [EPB]

3 things you need to know before you buy Acoustic Guitar

Make sure you consider what you need from a guitar, and how much you have to spend, before you start shopping. Experience, Purpose, Budget. 

Experience - Are you newbie or experienced player?

If you are a new player who is looking for an instrument to learn on, you may not want to spend too much on a high-end acoustic guitar just yet. 

We need to thanks for modern manufacturing techniques (no matter made in USA, Japan, Korea, china or Indonesia), there is a wide selection of good, low- to mid-range acoustic guitars to choose from. 

It is important to know the difference between Tonewoods, and how the soundboard effects resonance for experienced guitar player who intention upgrade a better guitar.

Purpose- plug to speaker play loud?

Will you be playing with a band, or taking your guitar to public events such as stage performs? 

Or maybe record your perform video like post to YouTube or Facebook? 

If so, you may want to consider an acoustic guitar with pickup (mic of guitar). 

Acoustic guitars are equipped with pickups or a pre-amplifier allowing them to be plugged into an amplifier or sound system without distorting their rich, acoustic sound, and without limiting your mobility while you play. 

When not plugged in, they play and sound just like other acoustic guitars. 

These hybrid guitars continue to increase in popularity with performers. 

Whether you’re playing at home or in public, solo or with a band, just starting or upgrading.

Budget-How much your budget to buy an acoustic guitar 

Yes, budget! This is very good filtering to choose acoustic guitar. 

Just tell the shop sale assistant about your budget, they will suggest you the best buy value acoustic guitar. 

Example 1 : RM1,500-RM2,000 getting a solid top acoustic guitar with pick up. 

Example 2 : RM500-RM1,000 getting laminate top acoustic guitar with pickup.

#2 How Acoustic Guitar Work? (Skip this part, if you experience player)

How Acoustic Guitar Work

An acoustic guitar is a guitar that produces sound acoustically (no need plug in to amplifier/speaker )—by transmitting the vibration of the strings to the air.

Strum or pluck the guitar string then get the sound. Remember, guitar is made by wood!

  • The sound waves from the strings of an acoustic guitar resonate through the guitar's body, creating sound.
  • This typically involves the use of a sound board and a sound box to strengthen the vibrations of the strings.
  • The main source of sound in an acoustic guitar is the string, which is plucked or strummed with the finger or with a pick.
  • The string vibrates at a necessary frequency and also creates many harmonics at various different frequencies.
  • The frequencies produced can depend on string length, mass, and tension.
  • The string causes the soundboard and sound box to vibrate, and as these have their own resonances at certain frequencies, they amplify some string harmonics more strongly than others, hence affecting the timbre produced by the instrument.

An acoustic guitar is built is a big deal.

  • Acoustic guitar bodies have a few basic components.
  • The top, back and sides may be made from the same wood, or different species.
  • In entry level guitars some or all of these parts may be made of wood laminates instead of solid woods in order to cut down on cost and still give you a quality instrument.
  • The inside of the acoustic guitar has bracing.
  • This is simply the wood structure within the guitar that helps it keep its form, stay sturdy and produce good sound.
  • Many guitar players debate which kind of bracing is best, but as a newbie it is not something to be especially concerned about.

#3 Popular size/style of acoustic guitar in Malaysia (Orchestra OM, Auditorium, Dreadnought)

Popular style of acoustic guitar in Malaysia

There are many names to the style of an acoustic guitar body as there are companies that create them.
With the larger soundboard come with deeper and louder the sounds.

Other styles combine a large soundboard with a narrow waist to make the guitar more comfortable.
While exact measurements may vary from one guitar manufacturer to the next, some general, popular acoustic guitar body shapes include:

You do need to understand is the difference between styles/Size of acoustic guitar bodies.

The sound board is the top portion of the body of the guitar.

Some famous size acoustic guitars in Malaysia include:

Orchestra OM guitar Auditorium guitar Dreadnought guitar

Orchestra Size/Style (OM)

This mid-sized body shape is not as deep as other full-size guitars, but has a full waist.

Because of the smaller body, orchestra guitars have a more controlled overtone and are often used for its sound projection when recording.

Because of body size close with classical guitar, it produce balance high-mid-low sound quality.

Yes, I like this size so much. Strumming, plucking, with finger or pick also great to go for.

Auditorium Size/Style (seem like bigger size OM)

Similar dimensions to the bigger body shape, but with a much more pronounced waist.

The shifting of the waist provides different tones to stand out.

Fingerstyle guitar player love this size very much, produce bigger bass and low mid sound tone compare om size.

The low mid tone make sound quality warm and saturator. Sweet!

Dreadnought Size/Style

This is the classic guitar body shape. Used for over 100 years, it is still the most popular body style for acoustic guitars. 

The body is large and the waist of the guitar is not as pronounced as the auditorium and grand concert bodies. 

This allows bass-range frequencies to stand out, helping the guitar cut through an ensemble of instruments.

King of Strumming, sing along. If you thinking perform unplug sing a long stuff, buy this!

#4 “They are looking same!” When I brought guitar and show to my dear… … (wood & sound)

acoustic guitar wood and sound

While all acoustic guitars share the same basic construction and design elements, there are important differences that affect their sound.

Each guitar shares those basic characteristics, but now that you know how an acoustic guitar is designed and built, you will want to consider some of the variables that change how each guitar feels and plays.

4.1 Tops - Solid vs. Laminate

acoustic guitar solid top and laminate top

The large Guitar top on the Acoustic Guitar helps balance the natural warmth of its laminate rosewood back and sides by imparting crisp response to the guitar’s treble range.

For sure solid top pricing is higher a bit compare laminate top.

Solid Top (solid wood = solid sound tone)

The top of the guitar has the greatest impact on the tone quality of the instrument.

The sound generated by the guitar's strings is transmitted by the bridge to the top where it is amplified.

As discussed below under Tonewoods, the wood used for the top strongly influences the tonal characteristics of the guitar.

The sound generated by the guitar's strings is transmitted by the bridge to the top where it is amplified. That is why, the larger the soundboard, the larger the sound.

Laminate Top (Laminate wood = Laminate sound tone)

Acoustic guitar tops are made of either solid wood, or laminate.

A solid top is usually made of two, single-ply pieces of wood with their grains matched down the middle of the guitar top.

A laminate top is made of several layers of wood - usually a more high-grade one on top, and several generic ones beneath - pressed together.

4.2 Tonewoods/ wood sound

acoustic guitar tone work and wood sound

As you shop, you will notice a variety of woods specified on different parts of acoustic guitars.
Being able to identify the sound you want from your guitar will help you choose.

Here is an overview of some common woods, how they are used, and their tonal characteristics they are known for:


Cedar is a soft wood that produces a bright tone.

It has a quick response that favors a light playing technique, and is a common top wood for classical or flamenco guitars.

It is also used for sides and backs.


Ebony is strong with a slick feel, which makes it great fretboard material.


Koa is a Hawaiian wood with a distinct golden color that emphasizes mid-range tones. 

It is used for all parts of an acoustic guitar body, but is generally found on more expensive guitars due to its scarcity.


Mahogany is a dense wood, which gives it a slower response rate.

When used as a top wood, mahogany produces a strong sound that emphasizes high-end tones, and is often associated with country or blues playing. 

It is more often used for sides and backs to add snap, boost mid-range tones, and reduces boominess in some styles. It is also frequently used in necks and bridges. 


Maple is usually used for sides and backs, because its low response rate and internal damping doesn't add coloration to the natural tone of the top wood.

It produces a “dry” sound that emphasizes high-end tones.

Its lower resonance makes it great for live settings, especially with a band, because it can still be heard through a mix of instruments with less feedback.


The diminishing supply of Brazilian Rosewood has led to Indian Rosewood replacing it in most markets.

While the two look different, the tonal quality is virtually the same. 

One of the most popular and traditional woods used on acoustic guitars, rosewood has been prized for its rich, complex overtones that remain distinct even during bass-heavy passages. 

It's cutting attack and ringing tones make for highly articulate sound and plenty of projection. Rosewood is also a popular choice for fingerboards and bridges.


Sapele is another highly sustainable African wood, used for sides and backs to add midrange and additional resonance.

Tonally similar to mahogany, it offers a little more treble boost.


Spruce is a standard for acoustic guitar tops. 

It is lightweight but strong, and provides good resonance without compromising clarity. 

There are many species of spruce used in guitar tops including Sitka, Engelmann, Adirondack, and European spruce. 

They each have subtly distinct tonal characteristics and colors.


Walnut is an alternative to mahogany in bodies, emphasizing midrange tones and enhancing the projection of the top wood's tone. 

It has a similar density and stiffness to koa, with similarly bright high-end tones. Its low-end tones start deeper, but fill out after being played-in.

#5 The Term of Acoustic Guitar You Need To Know 

Acoustic Guitar Term

String Action

The distance between the frets and the strings of an acoustic guitar


The initial sound a note makes when struck, between silence and when the note reaches maximum volume


Strips of wood, plastic, or other material used both to strengthen and enhance the look of an acoustic guitars body, neck, and/or headstock

Neck Bout

The curved areas above and below the narrow waist of an acoustic guitar are known as bouts.

The curves above the waist are called the upper bout and those below are called the lower bout.


This internal wooden support structure inside an acoustic guitar gives the instrument integrity.

Well-designed top bracing maximizes the ability of the top to vibrate.

Guitar Bridge

On most acoustic guitars, the bridge is a piece of wood placed below the sound hole.

It is used to anchor the strings and transfer their vibrations to the soundboard.

Guitar Bridge pins

Bridge pins fit into the holes on the bridge, where the strings go in, to anchor them in place.

Most often made of plastic; some are made of ebony.

But I like brass material with pins. ^_^


A capo is a device used to raise the overall pitch of an acoustic guitar.

A capo attaches to the neck at a chosen fret and barres all of the strings. It allows guitarists to play songs in different keys without changing chord structures.


A guitar body style with a contoured upper bout that allows the player to reach the upper frets of the guitar more easily

Decay/ sustain

The level of volume loss from a note's maximum volume to silence


The playing surface of a guitar neck is called a fingerboard, or fretboard.

Typically a thin piece of wood that is glued onto the neck, it has thin metal strips called frets placed at intervals that divide the neck into half-step increments.


The final coating applied to acoustic guitar woods is called the finish.

Flame and quilt are two examples of figuring.


Thin metal strips placed at intervals on the fretboard to divide it into half-step increments

Fret markers

Fretboard inlays on an acoustic guitar that serve as a visual reference of the player's position

Gig bag

A lightweight, soft, padded case used as a more convenient, temporary way to transport an acoustic guitar than a hardshell case


The uppermost portion of a guitar neck, where the tuning keys are placed


Designs on the fretboard, headstock, or body of an acoustic guitar for purely aesthetic purposes are called inlays.

Typically the inlay design is carved into the wood, then filled with one of many materials such as mother-of-pearl, metal, abalone, or plastic.


Intonation is the relationship of tones on different parts of the fretboard.

The note of each string on the 12th fret should match the note of the 12th fret harmonic on the same string. If not, the guitar's intonation should be adjusted.


A woodworker who specializes in making stringed instruments


The inside lining of certain mollusks' shells that is typically used for inlays and other decorative enhancements

Guitar Nut

Located at the top of the fretboard, the nut serves to evenly space the strings as they approach the tuners and transfer vibrations to the neck of the guitar.

Pick /plectrum

A thin piece of (typically) plastic used to strike the strings of an acoustic guitar


A thin plate located below the soundhole that protects the guitar's top from scratches that may occur as a result of picking or strumming the strings


An electronic device that senses the vibrations of the strings and converts it to an electrical signal for amplification

Piezo pickup

A piezo pickup is a crystalline structure that senses changes in compression and converts them to an electrical signal.

Often placed under an acoustic guitar's saddle, the piezo senses the changes in compression when the strings vibrate.

This is the most common pickup used in acoustic-electric guitars.

Saddle / bridge nut

Like the nut, the saddle spaces the strings at the bridge and, along with the bridge, transfers the vibration of the strings to the top.

Soundboard/ Guitar Top

The piece of wood on the front of an acoustic guitar that is largely responsible for an acoustic guitar's tone and projection

Sound hole

The hole in an acoustic guitar's top that aids in projecting the instrument's sound

Truss rod

A truss rod is a thin, internal rod that runs the length of the neck.

It is used to adjust the curve of the neck depending on the tension of the strings being used.


Until recently, most players started out on acoustic guitar.

This trend has largely been reversed in recent years, partly because basic results can be achieved faster with an electric guitar (maybe), but the acoustic guitar remains a popular choice for beginners.

The higher tension of acoustic strings can be hard on the fingertips, but if early practice is restricted to short sessions, protective calluses soon develop, and light-gauge strings can be used to reduce tension, although heavy-gauge strings will ultimately sound better.

If you progress to any music instrument playing, a good acoustic guitar can be a companion for life. and hope you like this sharing How to Choose Acoustic Guitar In Malaysia