Well – you've narrowed it down to a Dreadnaught Acoustic. That's good. I'm sure you realize that “a lot of money” and”good guitar” are very subjective. However, since you are a beginner I think it would be reasonable for me to make some assumptions.
- I'd suggest a price range of $200-300.
- It's tricky buying a used guitar. I'd stick with a new one with a warranty from a reputable outlet.
- The best “bang for the buck” for beginner dreadnaughts are Yamaha, Takamine, Fender. Others include Seagull, Ibanez, and Alvarez. I'm liking the Yamaha FG720S or the FG730S right now. That could change as new models come out.
- Get a case! I don't like hardshell cases cause of the weight. I'd recommend an Access (brand) Upstart (model) or Stage One (a little better model). Bought are fairly inexpensive, lightweight and good protection.
- Solid top vs. the laminated top. Solid means the top of the guitar comes from one slice of wood. Laminated it's several pieces squished together like plywood. The short story is solid is better, but there are lots of factors that go into making a guitar. The Yamaha FG730S is a solid top.
- If you purchase from a store have them look at the action (height of strings from the fretboard). If it's high ask if they can adjust it. If they want to charge it's probably worth it up to about $30. It will make the guitar much easier to play. I don't recommend trying this yourself unless you are exceptional with mechanical stuff and are willing to study how to do it properly and also take some risk.
A couple of additional tips:
- If the strings hurt your fingers put lighter strings on the guitar, or “Silk and Steel” strings. They are much easier on the fingers but don't sound as good.
- Take some lessons – either from a good private teacher or online with a good instruction system. It's the beginning stuff that will either work for you or against you.
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