Acoustic guitars rank as one of the top instruments that beginners want to learn how to play.
The only snag is that you have to first choose the right guitar before you are able to delve into your lessons.
It takes many years and a great deal of experience to really be able to differentiate between mediocre and great guitars.
So, if you are just starting out, you might have a bit of a tough time trying to figure out which brand and model is best for you.
Well, we figured that we would save you some time and effort and just ask the experts themselves.
So, we contacted musicians, guitar techs, and guitar teachers and asked them:
“From your experience, what is the best choice of acoustic guitar? Also, what makes it such an awesome choice?”
These experts have been honing their talents for years and are in the perfect position to tell us – and you – what they feel is the best acoustic guitar.
Let’s take a look at what they had to say:
As you are probably aware, there are hundreds of brands and models of acoustic guitars to choose from.
This is why you will notice that our professional musicians had a great deal of variety in their responses.
After years of trying out various brands, they found the ones that suited them the best.
That being said, there was one model that stood out – the Martin D-28.
Three of our experts, Steve “Chinner” Winstead, Jeff George, and Sarah McQuaidmentioned that this was their top pick.
What many of our expert musicians could agree on, however, was the guitar brand. A number of them agreed that Martin was the clear choice for anyone looking for an acoustic guitar.
Manufactured by the C.F. Martin & Company, one of the things that make these guitars stand out is the considerable attention to detail that goes into constructing them.
As a result, musicians are able to produce a higher quality of sound as well as excellent tonal transfer and a more classic sound.
It doesn’t hurt that some of the more popular musicians in the world like Noel Gallagher and Ed Sheeran use Martin guitars.
If you are not a serious musician, there is a good chance that you aren’t looking to spend too much money on your guitar.
This is why it is so helpful that one of our experts, Kip Brockett, told us his pick for the best budget option – the Yamaha C40.
This model boasts a simple yet timeless design which produces a clean and crisp tone, along with a nice balance.
This makes it useful for those looking to play classical music or finger style re-vamps of newer songs.
If you are on the lookout for a guitar that is suitable for a budding guitarist, then you are in luck.
Casper Esmann cites the Yamaha entry-level guitars to be the superior choice, zeroing in on the Yamaha F310P, in particular.
What makes the Yamaha F310P really stand out is its playability, and even those who are not used to guitars will find it easy to produce a clear sound every time.
It is also quite affordable, which means that you will not be spending too much money on your first guitar.
So, at this price point, the F310P is a great guitar if you are just starting out.
Some of the professionals that we reached out to offered no specific models to buy, but did provide something incredibly valuable – their advice on how to choose the right acoustic guitar for you.
So, before getting into any details, here we take a look at the tips and tricks that you should heed when making your choice:
Bio: When it comes to music, Ron wears many hats. He is a well-known session guitarist who has worked with musicians and companies all around the world. Ron is also a songwriter and a music producer. His experience has come from learning from some of the best including John Scofield, Alan DeMausse, and Joe Pass. You can check out his website on www.ronzabrocki.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel to see what he’s all about.
“I can say that I go for ease of playability above anything else – even tone. The tone, of course, must be acceptable, but if it is hard to play – high action, too fat or wide a neck, uncomfortable body – it is a deal breaker.
That being said I tend lean towards 20-30 year old Avarez Yairi acoustics. Necks are close to electrics, comfortable and easy to play, record very balanced with great strings like Martin 80/20's or Elixir's. Even the new Alvarez line are uniformly good.”
Bio: Georgie began performing at a very young age and within the span of his musical career, he has been a part of a number of bands. He is also known for his solo acts and musical numbers. Georgie is a songwriter that continues to perform at events in Austin through his company, Eclipse of Austin Productions. You can find out more about his work on www.eclipseofaustinproductions.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“I don't have any preference. All of them are different and have different sounds. My advice to budding guitarists is to acquire as many guitars as you can. Diversity of sound is the recording artist's ideal situation.”
Bio: Mojo Collins has a lot of stories to tell considering that he has opened for or performed with Muddy Waters, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Grateful Dead, and Santana to name a few. Mojo has won the NC Arts Council Fellowship in Music for Songwriting award and is still a professional musician and songwriter in North Carolina. To get a taste of Mojo’s talent, subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“I am sponsored by Zager Guitars, they have a great line of handmade acoustics. On the other hand for slide guitar I am also sponsored by Twisted Wood Guitars. I just acquired an American-made Gibson called STARBURST only made in 1997 and 1998, mine has electronics built in with sliding controls for adjusting volume treble bass and middle.
I also play a 1937 Harmony f hole acoustic for slide, it was made before the Second World War. I recently acquired a Yamaha acoustic cutaway that I use for a second guitar on my live shows, and recording. Yamaha acoustics are the best buy today for the money in my estimation.”
Bio: John has quite the resume indeed, having played with The Ramones, Guns N’ Roses, and Pat Travers. He has performed at some prestigious venues including the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, Count’s Vamp’d, and Hard Rock. While John has played a number of solo shows, he is currently a part of Count’s 77. You can check out his music at Reverb Nation or follow him on Twitter @zito_john.
“I use a Gibson LGO but they do not make those anymore. Now, my sound is different, raw and unique, however, I would recommend a Martin or Taylor guitar for acoustic because of the craftsmanship and quality sound they produce.”
Bio: Sergio designs and develops custom electronic gear for musicians so that they can enjoy the ultimate experience when gigging or recording. This is something that Sergio has a great deal of experience in as he has an electronics degree and been practicing guitar for many years now. His love of music led him to the building of high-quality gear. You can check out Sergio’s website on sergiosena.com or follow him on Twitter @_SergioSena.
“The best choice of guitar is the one that will do the best job for the musician. Yes you can use one type of guitar to do something it was not meant to do, but if you chose the appropriate one, it will help a lot when performing.
For example, if you are a classical musician, you will go for a classical/Spanish guitar. If you are a folk musician, you would prefer a folk acoustic. If you are pop/rock, you will go for a folk/general acoustic probably with a cutaway.”
Bio: Johan Madsen wears many hats as a guitarist, composer, and teacher. His formative guitar-playing years focused on rock and heavy metal, but these days he can be found playing instrumental acoustic guitar. To see what he can do, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Twitter @johan_madsen75.
“There’s many builders who offer great guitars for any price range, but I think my personal favorite builder is Furch, as they offer such a great tone and quality at a very reasonable price. Certainly the best you can get for your money, at least in Europe. Their guitars are highly responsive and projective, but also have a huge dynamic. That being said, for me, playability matters more than tone, and you should be aware that 90% of the brand new guitars usually need the action to be adjusted to fit the player’s needs. I like it to be as low as possible, and I feel really comfortable with Furch’s Vintage Line neck shape.”
Bio: Samir is a guitarist, producer, and teacher. He was classically trained but he plays a wide variety of genres. Although he had humble beginnings, he ended up playing at the second largest concert hall in France – Park Suite Arena. He is currently a teacher, teaching guitar to students all over the world. You can check out his website at www.timebendstudio.com or follow him on Twitter @timebendproject.
“When it comes to choosing an acoustic guitar, I choose what serves the song or what fits the situation best. So if I have a studio session or for live, I would show up with a Martin guitar or a Gibson acoustic if possible. These guitars give the classic acoustic tone that everyone expects. And they are definitely great guitars.
For an unplugged version I might go for a smaller model. However for my personal use and for recording applications I would choose the new Zeus acoustic model from Kiesel guitars. I find them game changing because they are a bridge between electric and acoustic guitar. I'm not a fan of the often bulky acoustic bodies, and look for playability, especially for more technical songs.
In addition to the models in the market there also a lot of luthiers who offer custom made guitars for a reasonable price. Customisation is great if you have a specific idea of how you want your guitar to be. If you are more specific about wood choice and neck profile then custom guitars could be for you.”
Bio: Rene Martinez has had quite the career, having been a guitar technician for Prince, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Moody Blues, and Carlos Santana, to name a few. Now, he creates his own guitar accessories after acquiring an acute knowledge of the instruments. You can check out his website at www.texasguitarwhiz.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“The acoustic guitars that I would recommend are Martin, Guild, Gibson, Epiphone, etc. My favorites are the Spanish guitars. These include flamenco and classical guitars. The best brands are Ramirez, Fleta, Barbero, Conde, etc. - so many today that are excellent!
My advice to beginners is to purchase a good inexpensive one but don’t buy toy guitars. If you don’t know how to choose one, ask a friend who plays guitar. It has to be easy to play. Otherwise you will lose interest. Have fun!”
Bio: Steve began playing the guitar at a young age, which is what led him to be a part of two bands – Dozer and GrimStine. He released a GrimStine album which was well-received worldwide. Despite his constant composing and touring, Steve has always been an eager teacher too, teaching kids of all ages to play guitar. You can check out his website at https://guitarzoom.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“For me, the most important part is finding a guitar that fits both your hands and your body (for strumming). A guitar may look great and sound incredible, but if it doesn't "feel" right in your hands and your lap, it's not going to make things any easier. Once you have found a body style and neck width that fits your body and playing style, then you can begin looking at various brands that fit your interests and wallet! I always recommend a trustworthy local guitar store to help you find what works best for you.”
Now let’s hear about the models suggested by our experts – here is what these pros had to say, in order of their responses:
Bio: Grant’s claim to fame was as the lead vocalist of the phenomenon Feeder. After years of sold-out albums and shows he decided to go his own way, writing largely acoustic music. Of course, he still tours with Feeder and continues to play to fans all over the world. You can check out his website grantnicholas.net or subscribe to hisYouTube channel.
“I tend to use my Gibson 1967 J 45 to write most of my songs as well as Feeder stuff nowadays. I love the sound and feel of the guitar in general and I think the best songs always work on acoustic guitar.”
Bio: Steve “Chinner” Winstead hit the jackpot when he was asked to be the guitar tech of Mike Campbell who toured with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Chinner taught himself everything he knows about guitars by learning on the job. He has been working with Campbell since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter @chinnersw.
“Martin Acoustics - they’ve been around since the Civil War so they must be doing something right. [I would recommend] the Tom Petty model [but it] depends on what you want tone wise. OO-18 is a great little guitar with a brighter tone while the D-28 is a fuller richer tone.
Guitars are alive, they have a soul so find one that speaks to you. Like with a relationship - marry the one you can’t imagine living without.”
Bio: Erich’s love of music started off quite early and this graduated in him learning to play the guitar. Over the years, he even joined a couple of bands and played a number of shows. However, his true passion lies with teaching others the guitar. This is why you can find lots of useful lessons on his website www.yourguitarsage.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“For the money, the best buy is an Epiphone Masterbilt. I have played several of these over the years, and they all play/sound like a $1000 or more guitar. As [for] the best acoustic guitar, my vote is for the Gibson SG 200, also known as the “king of the flat tops”. These guitars are loud, balanced, sound beautiful and play very nicely.”
Bio: One of Andy’s greatest ambitions is to provide tutelage and guidance to all those who want to learn to play guitar. This is why he takes in students of all stages and tutors them to advanced levels in various genres. He also offers free online lessons to all. You can see his tutorials onwww.andyguitar.co.uk or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“I play Faith guitars these days, a Neptune with a gloss finish and a Saturn Nomad with a natural no gloss. I prefer the no gloss finish. These guitars don't have inlays at 3rd, 5th, 7th frets etc., which can be annoying as it makes it harder for people to follow on video. Other than that, these guitars are perfect, and any specific thing that I like can be found on these!”
Bio: Assaf Levavy is a passionate guitarist who is always ready to teach anyone who is willing to learn. He runs a website where he shows guitar enthusiasts all the tricks of the trade. Assaf keeps things fresh by catering to people’s favorite songs and tunes. You can catch it all on his website www.licknriff.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“I used to play a Takamine, but their quality differs greatly between series. The N series was amazing. Nowadays I play a Taylor GS Mini, which is both comfortable and great-sounding. The pickup system on the Taylor guitars is, IMO, the best among acoustic brands. Most other factory-installed pickup systems sound too thin and tinny to me, and that includes Martin's pickups.
Of course, if you have the money for it, there's nothing like a Martin acoustic, but not everyone wants to spend that kind of money. My absolute favorite guitar though, believe it or not, is the Taylor Baby. Although it lacks in bass, the sound coming out of that small thing is incredible. Dry, full-bodied, and enchanting. It's super comfortable, and I always lose myself - and track of time - while playing it.”
Bio: Gretchen Menn embodies classical and rock music with equal measure which has led to her solo work on her albums Abandon All Hope and Hale Souls. She is probably most well-known for her tours with Zepparella, a Led Zeppelin tribute band that tours the country. You can see what Gretchen is up to at www.gretchenmenn.com or subscribe to her YouTube channel.
“To paraphrase Frank Zappa, if a guitar says, “I’m yours,” that’s a good indication it’s the guitar for you. Such was the case the first time I picked up a Stephen Strahm Eros. It played so comfortably and the sound was gorgeous—balanced, responsive… it was love at first chord. On further inspection, one could easily see the intention and artistry in every detail.”
“I don't actually have my own acoustic guitar, but I have used many from other musicians so I can tell you my preferences. One thing that is very annoying in most acoustic guitars is the high action that makes it very uncomfortable to play fast. So, every time I need to use acoustic guitar I am searching for one with lower action.
The other important thing for me is the ability to play on the highest notes, on most acoustic guitars it's impossible. The best acoustic guitar that I have used is the one in my "Dust in the Wind” video – a Fender Newporter Player.”
Bio: Marco is well-versed in the art of playing guitar. He has music degrees in both classical and electric guitar, giving him all of the tools that he needs to train others. This is precisely what Marco does with his talents – he teaches guitar to anyone who is willing to learn. You can learn more about his work at www.marcocirillolondonguitarlesson.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“The guitar I have been using the most is an Eko Massimo Varini Signature which I used to record over 300 YouTube videos. The guitar is quite cheap but beautiful. The sound is amazing and the guitar has a two amplification system. It also has a pickup and a mic inside the body. I prefer this guitar over my Martin D-35.”
Bio: Drue has been a musician for most of his life and has been in eight different bands. His most notable one was The Nocturnals and it resulted in a full-length album. However, what brings Drue real joy is the ability to pass on his gift to others which is why he teaches. You can visit his website www.learnguitarinlondon.com for more information or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“The best brand of acoustic steel string guitars is Furch (or Stonebridge is the USA company name). From my experience they all have amazing resonance and make fingerstyle playing sound bold and natural. The model I recommend is the Furch d31-SR. I even did a review on my YouTube channel.”
Bio: Although Josephine is quite young she already has an impressive online following. She produces covers of popular music on her acoustic guitar. Perhaps what is truly remarkable about Josephine is that she has taught herself many of her skills. You can subscribe to her YouTube channel or follow her on Twitter @jp_alxndr.
“The best choice of acoustic guitar, in my opinion, is the Yamaha FS-TA TransAcoustic guitar. This guitar sound makes me happy and sometimes it makes me forget about the time. It is also comfortable to play.This guitar can produce echo and reverberation sounds without needing any external amplification or effects so it is ready to perform or can be used to make a vlog anywhere.”
Bio: Adam Rafferty was talented enough to play with some of the jazz greats like Buster Williams, Tal Farlow, and Bob Cranshaw. He soon learned the ways of fingerstyle guitar, though, and never looked back, going on to tour the world. He even released several tutorial DVDs on the subject as well. You can see his teachings at his website www.adamrafferty.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
Adam has actually created an entire guide that shows you how to choose the best acoustic guitar for you. He suggests a Maton Michael Fix guitar for stage purposes and an Andre Kibin handmade guitar when playing in the studio. You can read his guide on his website.
Bio: Agustin was actually encouraged to play solo acoustic guitar by the great Ulli Boegershausen when he was quite young. Ever since then, he has recorded five albums and over a 100 songs. He is often praised for his beautiful and unique sound. You can check out his website www.agustinamigo.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“My best choice of acoustic guitar is a Lakewood A-31. It has a small auditorium body, rosewood back and sides, European spruce top, short scale and 44mm nut. It has an LRBaggs anthem StagePro onboard preamp and pickup. The sound unplugged is big and balanced, you wouldn't expect from a small body guitar.
Its reduced size and weight is perfect for travelling. The onboard pickup make it perfect for live performances, the sound is very good and the preamp has all the tools that you would need embedded (tuner, EQ, blender, notch filter, etc...).”
Bio: Casper has earned himself the title of being one of the best fingerstyle guitarists in Denmark. He has performed on live television and at big music festivals as well. So far, he has released three solo albums and works as a session guitarist for various other artists. You can go to his website www.esmannmusic.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“First of all, it's very important that finding the right guitar is all a matter of taste, and taste being subjective thing - it's very much up to the individual what he or she likes. However here's some brands I think that a great which suits my requirements for a good guitar.
Maton - The SRS series are good, if you don't feel like spending crazy amounts of money. The guitars in that series are built very strong and works AWESOME for touring! If you feel like spending a bit more I'd recommend the EBG or Messiah series.
Baton Rouge & Yamaha - These brands are both suitable for the semi-professional/professional as well as the beginner. I own several of these guitars both expensive and inexpensive and I think you're getting some serious good value for the money with these brands.
For Baton Rouge, The Auditorium/AR series is a great lineup of guitars, perfect if you want to get into fingerstyle without spending huge amounts of money. With Yamaha, all of the entry models are nice. My first guitar ever was a Yamaha F-310P which was only around $150 when I bought it around 10 years ago.”
Bio: Savio is a multi-instrumentalist that has released a number of singles that have reached acclaim both at home and in other countries. He has also released two albums – All I Want and Someone to Tell. What sets Savio apart is his unique fusion of various genres. You can check out his website at saviorego.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“Martin OMJM John Mayer The sound of the Martin OMJM John Mayer is truly stunning. Pressureful basses, differentiated mids and high-pitched heights make it a pleasure to play. Unbelievable what the guitar produces on "Martin-typical" sound. Despite the price this is a very well made instrument that makes it a great investment and lifelong acoustic guitar. For its small size it projects the sound very well and boldly. The string spacing is wider which is useful for someone who has big hands as it works perfectly for finger picking. The guitar is very comfortable to play either standing or sitting.”
Bio: Lachlan Horne released three albums which were a critical hit and it isn’t difficult to see why, with a talent that is hard to ignore. In addition to making his own music, Lachlan has also written music for commercials, video games, and more. You can sample his songs on his website lachlanhorne.net or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“I have always used my trusty Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar for both recording and live work. It has a truly robust yet crisp sound and is great to play. It's bit of a timeless classic in the acoustic guitar world so I won't be letting go of it. It never lets me down. The FG140 is apparently the cheaper version of the Yamaha FG180 and my model is getting pretty old now but it just seems to sound better with age.
Sadly Yamaha don't make the FG140 anymore but I would certainly recommend a Yamaha acoustic guitar for both the professional and the not so serious guitar player. That have a good range of models and I'm sure you will find a good sounding acoustic no matter what your budget.”
Bio: Lucas began playing the guitar at a very young age which is what led him to release several original songs. He continues to work on his music while also offering his services as a session and recording guitarist. Lucas also provides lessons to those that are eager to learn. You can check out his website at lucaslecompte.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“The Taylor 114e is one of the best acoustics I have used. It sounds great and has an awesome neck for the price. Acoustic guitars can get very expensive since the woods that are used to make it can add up quickly. The 114e feels and plays like a higher end guitar but at half the price.”
Bio: Kip Brockett is an incredible player, well-versed in classical, instrumental rock, and traditional-based rock guitar. After a break from the music scene, Kip has re-joined the industry and is now focused on instrumental guitar. You can check out his talents on his website kipbrockett.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“Although I play more electric guitar than acoustic these days, I studied and played classical guitar for many years. My recommendations for acoustic guitars: For a beginning classical guitar on a budget, I would recommend the Yamaha C40. At a little over $100, Yamaha makes a very good starter guitar. You should be able to get through the first few years on one of these guitars.
Once you have a good grasp on your classical technique, you may want to move up to a more professional model. There are a lot of different models out there and they vary considerably in price. Takamine makes some excellent models, but the one I ended up getting was their handmade Hirade H5 model. This is their lowest priced handmade model and it is an excellent guitar. Beautiful tone, exquisite workmanship, and easy playability. The sound projection is good, but may be a little quieter than other models.”
Bio: Sarah has had quite an impressive career thus far, releasing five albums, which have all been successes. She has also collaborated with some truly remarkable individuals like Michael Chapman. One of Sarah’s greatest awards to date, is the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ards International Guitar Festival in Ireland. You can find out more about her on her website www.sarahmcquaid.com or subscribe to her YouTube channel.
“My main guitar was custom-made for me by Andy Manson and in my experience there's no better way to get exactly what you want in a guitar than having a guitar custom-made for you. That said, I'm still very fond of my 1965 Martin D-28, and I also play an Ibanez Artist electric kindly loaned to me long-term by Michael Chapman.
And I still have my very first guitar, a Yamaha FG-375S that my mother bought for me secondhand when I was 13 years old. It's actually a really lovely instrument -- for a factory-made guitar, you'd be hard put to find a better one!”
Bio: Bruce led quite the rock n roll lifestyle having played with the legendary KISS for 12 years. His stint as a musician didn’t end there, however, as he also collaborated with ex-Motley Crue singer John Corabi to create Union. He has also worked alongside other artists like Billy Squier and the Good Rats. You can check out his website www.kulick.net to learn more or follow him on Twitter @brucekulick.
“I love Martin guitars for the tone, and craftsmanship. I own many of their models, from D18 to HD28V to a 000-28VS that is amazing in tone. Gibsons, are generally easier to play, and I love my LG-1 and two LG-2 both vintage one from the 50's and one from the 60's. Also I own and love my Gibson Southern Jumbo from 1968 and a 2005 Elvis Black Dove that records magically.
I also love a Lennon style J-160E from Montana, and my Montana J-185 in Blonde with all amazing maple sides and back. Sometimes that Beatle tone is more Gibson, but even they recorded with Martin guitars. It's a personal thing, what acoustic is best. But I love both these brands and they do get recorded!”
Bio: Jeff gained fame as the guitarist for Sebastian Bach. These days, though, he has set out on his own and is now in a band called We Are Harlot. He is an incredibly skilled guitarist that continues to leave his mark on the music scene with every new song. You can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Twitter @jeffgeorgemusic.
“Acoustic guitars like electric guitars are very, very personal things and each guitar can have totally different characteristics from one to another. Myself, I am a true lover of Vintage acoustic guitars and I love Martin and Gibson guitars. From Martin it would be a D-28, D-35, or an ever elusive D-45. The bass repose on these guitars is unparalleled. Super even sound across all strings and that Martin heart right in the middle - just awesome.
Gibson acoustic from this period are also downright amazing, but are definitely different animals. My choice from this era would be a Banner Era J-45 from the mid 40's or a Southern Jumbo from the 50's. These two guitars literally wrote the book for country western music for that entire era. They are spanky, boomy, bright and slightly angry all at the same time.
For the modern acoustic guitar, I feel that Taylor Guitars is hands down the finest acoustic guitar brand available. They use all the right woods and are crafted in the ways that the old guitars. They are super durable and have spectacular pickups and electronics and there is a model for any price range from beginner to pro to collector. I hope this helps a little and give you all an insight into my world of acoustic guitars. Keep on pickin’!”
Bio: Thomas is a legend in his own right. He has been a guitar tech for some of the most notable names in the rock world including Frank Zappa, Dweezil Zappa, Steve Vai, The Pretenders, Jimmy Page, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, and more. He has been the go-to guy for guitars for some of the most groundbreaking guitarists in the world. You can find him on his YouTube channel or sharing his rigs and knowledge as a guest on countless channels.
Thomas recommended the electro-acoustic guitar model known as the Atlantis HexFX by Willcox Gutiars. This model is equipped with the LightWave Optical pickup system that this expert especially highlighted for us.
Bio: Nate has a lot of experience with selecting guitars. Much of his childhood was spent in guitar stores with this dad. Later he went on to sell the instruments in one of the highest volume music stores in America. Now, he can be found teaching his invaluable skills to students. You can check out his website at natesavage.com or follow him on Twitter @guitarlessons.
“I own a Taylor 814ce and my oldest and dearest guitar is an Alvarez Yairi GY-1. My mom gave that guitar to my dad on their 25th wedding anniversary and my dad turned around and gave it to me when I graduated from university. I play both those guitars a fair bit, but the Taylor is my main workhorse guitar for a lot of the lessons I do. However, the best acoustic guitar I’ve ever played has got to be a Collings D1.”
Bio: Inspired at a young age to play music, Jim has gone on to become an incredible performer at events. He has even won awards such as Weddingwire.com Couple’s Choice for a number of years in a row. Jim also performs his own concerts and has released four albums so far. You can check out his website at www.jimfalboguitar.com or subscribe to his YouTube channel.
“The best acoustic guitar is really a matter of personal taste, and what kind of style you are trying to play. I play a wide mix of music from classical, to pop classics, gypsy jazz, Latin/Spanish, and contemporary arrangements, and find the Cordoba Fusion Orchestra model to be the most versatile guitar for these styles.
As any classical guitarist knows, a guitar made from a single craftsman costs a lot of money, and doesn't come with a pickup inside, so finding a classical guitar that I could use at gigs was a challenge, until I found the Cordoba Fusion. The Fishman pickup helps project the warm sound of the guitar in the many different settings I play in. It also has a smaller nut width, which helps out for soloing with a looper pedal set-up, and makes playing for extended periods easier on my hands.”
Bio: Mark has lived a life in the music scene for as long as he can remember. This included having a number of bands throughout his teen and adult years until he hit it big with Wishbone Ash. Mark isn’t just a master guitarist, he also a lot of experience with them from his retail days, when he owned his own guitar shop Vision Guitars. You can check out what Mark is up to on www.mark-abrahams.com or follow him on Twitter @WishboneMark.
“I spent 20 years prior to joining Wishbone Ash working in music retail selling guitars, during those years I played many great acoustic guitars but the brand I always steered people towards was Yamaha. Yamaha to me represents quality, they don’t put their name on just anything, so, whether you buy a beginner’s guitar or something high end, you can always be sure you’re buying a great instrument for its price.
The Yamaha acoustic guitar I always recommend is the A3R model, it’s a high quality solid wood workhorse electro-acoustic guitar with an amazing pickup system. These guitars, and Yamaha guitars, in general, are so consistently good that I would not hesitate to recommend anyone to try one in their local music store. I can almost guarantee it will play great. When we introduced an acoustic section into our Wishbone Ash set I followed the advice I’d given other people for years and bought 2 Yamaha A3R acoustic guitars and couldn’t be more pleased with them.”
Bio: As a guitarist, Michael has mastered a number of musical genres, which has led him to open for a great many of the greats, including Herbie Hancock, Tom Scott, and Scott Cossu. He is a gifted lyricist, even earning a CMAA Golden Eagle Award for "Songwriter of the Year" for his efforts. Michael has also released six CDs to date. To learn what he is up to, you can head to www.mmccabe.com or follow him on Twitter @mgmccabe.
“For the money I would suggest Seagull. I am the original owner of a 1987 Taylor 712W. This guitar fits me perfectly. One must do their own research and play many makes and models to find their own fit.”
This brings us to the conclusion of these great artists’ wisdom. All of their responses are truly incredible, providing guitar enthusiasts and beginners alike with some much needed guidance and advice.
So, now that you want the pros recommend, what do you think? What are some of your favorite acoustic guitars to play? Let us know!
While the bass guitar may not take center stage in bands, there is no denying that this one of the most important instruments in any music group.
This means that you have to be incredibly careful about the instrument that you do choose.
However, as you have probably already found out, this is a vast market.
Even with experience, it can be tough to pick one out of the numerous brands and hundreds of different models available.
Since we faced a similar issue, we figured we would turn to the people who knew best about this kind of thing – professional musicians.
We contacted the top candidates and asked them:
“What is the best bass guitar that you have ever played and what makes it the best?”
Based on the replies that we received, this is what we found out…
As you can imagine, there were some brands and models that stood out from the rest. These were the ones that our experts really liked:
Honestly, we weren’t too surprised when we tallied the results and discovered that the musicians chose Fender as one of the best bass guitar brands.
Since 1946, Fender guitars have been used to create music for all kinds of genres.
Of course, it isn’t just iconic status that continues to make this brand so popular; the quality and playability also ensure that it will be used by future bassists for quite a while too.
And, it doesn’t hurt that some truly legendary musicians like John Paul Jones and Geddy Lee have used Fenders in their performances.
Narrowing it down further, we learned that the most preferred models were the Fender Precision Bass and the Fender Jazz Bass.
Again, considering the fabled status of these models, we weren’t all that shocked at what the musicians had to say.
One of our experts, Phill Court, also pegged the Fender Jazz Bass as the best guitar for beginners.
Now, if you want a good bass guitar but don’t want to have to shell out too much for it, then you are in luck.
The illustrious Bjorn Englen recommended the Ibanez Talman Bass 600 as an affordable yet high-quality option.
We found that it was the cheapest bass guitar on our list.
Here are what our bassists had to say about what their favorite bass guitar is, in the order that we received them:
Bio: In addition to being a guitarist, Grzegorz is also a session musician and a composer. He is best known for this unique ability to play classical music and rock, especially metal. He has played at theatres, festivals, and open-air stages both in Poland and abroad. You can find out more about Grzegorz on Facebook or listen to his music on YouTube.
“I [have] played many basses in my life and I think the best one was [the] Mayones Victorious V. Very solid, light, comfortable to play, and good looking. If you want to see how I played with this bass [you can see it on YouTube by searching for]: Grzegorz Kosinski Mayones Victorious V.”
Bio: John has led quite an illustrious career as a musician and a composer. He has worked with individuals such as BB King, Aaron Neville, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Bon Jovi, and more. John has also been commissioned to write for a number of orchestras and quartets and has performed with many as well. You can find out more about John at johnpatitucci.com or follow him on Twitter.
“… [Apart from my] custom made Yamaha six string semi-hollow bass (which is not yet available), [I] recommend the Yamaha TRBJP2 6-string. We designed this bass so that it would function well in all styles of music, for live gigs and recording sessions. The bolt-on neck design gives the bass a full and punchy sound with the warmth one might expect from a 4-string bass. In addition to that, its practicality for the working bassist, combined with a singing high register for solo work, make this bass an ideal choice.”
Bio: Corrin is a bassist, vocalist, pianist, and songwriter. Her career got a rather unusual start with the U.S. Army Band program as a soldier and musician. Since then, she has been a part of bands like Dash|Ten and PRYM. She continues to release singles and play at a number of festivals like the Warped Tour. You can learn more about her at www.corrincampbell.com or follow her on Twitter.
“I'm a diehard Pedulla fan. They're a smaller, boutique company but their basses are beautiful. They have custom Bartolini pickups in most models and sound amazing. I have a ’94 Rapture, as well as a more modern custom Thunderbolt that serve me well and stay in tune even with travel and temperature changes.
Lightweight, super reliable instruments and their necks are so quick and thin that a 5-string is still totally manageable for my smaller hands. Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay 5s have a little more girth. Definitely heavy and make you work harder, but they have a cool gritty sound and work great for that vintage indie pop that is super trendy right now. They also just look cool, if you care about that.
For a more “budget-friendly” solution, I've actually loved Schecter basses. They're also really reliable, hold their tune, and can take a serious beating. My first one was in the Diamond Series, but more recently their Stiletto series has impressed me quite a bit. I definitely prefer neck-through designs in general, so those basses give you great value for the price.”
Bio: Not only is Marcus undeniably one of the best bassists in jazz, soul, and R&B, he has also collaborated and played with some true legends. The artists he has worked with include Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, and more. Marcus has also won two Grammies and received the winner of the 2013 Edison Award for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz. You can find out more about his career at www.marcusmiller.com or follow him on Twitter.
“I've been playing a Fender Jazz Bass since I was 14 years old. It's got an “old school”, classic sound and you can play it in just about any situation. I've used it on hip hop records, soul, R&B, rock, jazz, reggae, pop records; all types of music.
I particularly like the Jazz Basses from the ’60s and ’70s. They really provide great deep, “growly” support for a band - although if you find a good one, it might be expensive. If you're working on a budget, then I would proudly recommend my Marcus Miller SIRE basses www.sire-usa.com. They are pretty inexpensive and compared to the Fenders give you a similar, slightly more modern sound.
They've been by far, the best-selling basses for the last couple of years; everyone seems to love them. Of course my name is on the basses, so you have to take it for what it's worth - but bass players are going nuts over these instruments. The quality/price ratio makes it pretty hard to resist.”
“At the moment, I am using a Music Man StingRay 5 black body, black pickguard, and maple neck. Such a nice sound comes from this beauty! I do love the Fender Jazz Geddy Lee custom bass as well!”
Bio: Darrell has experienced being a bassist in a number of different groups all over the world. He has played with groups such as the Cirque du Soleil, QUEEN Rock Symphony and artists like Billy Preston and Frankie Avalon, all over the world. You can learn more about his work on www.darrellcraigharris.com or listen to his music on YouTube.
“I think the best bass guitar considering pricing, quality of materials and build is the new Yamaha Broad Bass. They are well made, easy to play and very versatile so you can use them [for] many different styles of music! [I recommend the] Yamaha BB735A.”
Bio: Phill started playing the bass guitar at a rather young age. His talent ensured that he was soon playing at some of the biggest music festivals in the world like Glastonbury and The 02. Phill has also gained a considerable amount of recognition as a bass guitar teacher and even has his own practice. To find out more about Phill you can go to www.phillcourtmusic.com or listen to his music on YouTube.
“My recommendation for the best bass guitar based on my experience would be a Fender Jazz Bass. A nice slim easy to play neck, body contours to aid in comfort while playing [and] two great sounding pickups. The amount of varied sounds [and] tones you can get out of a passive Jazz Bass is huge! Just rolling the treble off and selecting the neck pickup will get you a great, old school smooth P Bass style tone.
Selecting the bridge pickup and maxing out the treble will give you a cutting Jaco-esque tight grooving tone. The Jazz Bass has been used in genres [like] Metal, Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop, [and] EDM. You see them all over the place in all different musical scenarios. That must mean something!
It’s a phenomenal instrument [and] a great workhorse. I’ve been using two of them as my main instruments for 10 years without complaint. If it’s for a beginner I’d say a Fender Jazz Bass Made in Mexico. [For a] more advanced player it would be a Fender American Professional Jazz Bass. I play a 1972 Fender Jazz Bass [and] a Fender American Deluxe Jazz Bass V.”
Bio: Mira is an incredibly talented bassist who has found in his place in the popular Savage Messiah. He has released several albums with this band and continues to travel the world on tours and playing at well-known music festivals. To find out more about what Mira is up to, you can follow him on Twitter or listen to his music on YouTube.
“Through my career I've been playing mainly Yamaha basses and I must say that Yamaha BB2024X is a top bass… If you want to compare price/value, then this is one of the top instruments to go with. If you don't want to spend so much, you can choose the lower model - BB1024X which [is] an amazing bass. I've been playing this one for over 5 years and I have owned 2 of these.
If you want to use an active bass, Yamaha [has] recently come up with a new BB series, so try BB734A and you can switch between active/passive and get the best of both worlds. That is the only bass I play these days, I highly recommend this model to every bass player out there! Try it, you'll love it! I find Yamaha BB basses better sounding than Fender Precisions so I have been with them throughout my entire career.”
Bio: Franccesca has an impressive number of talents including being a skilled bassist. She has led a rich and varied life which is what steered to become the bassist for The Dreaming as well as KUZA. Franccesca has performed at a number of musical events and festivals. You can see what she is up to by following her on Twitter or checking out her Facebook page.
“Throughout my years of playing bass, I have tried my fair share [of bass guitars]. I started with the classics but I found that every bass I tried was just missing that something special. I found that oftentimes the classic basses were too big and bulky to do the jumping around I like to do on stage. I wanted something with a thinner neck so I could play faster, a smaller body so the instrument was more manageable, and with a gritty tone that compliments the metal and hard rock I like to play.
Then I found Schecter basses and it was like everything I had ever wanted was answered. The first time I held the Hellraiser Extreme-4 - I was in love. It plays like butter, it’s compact and easy to carry, the neck feels like glass and the intense tone of the 18v EMG pickups were like crunchy heaven to my ears. I have also dabbled with their Stiletto model which is smaller still, and packs just the same punch. I love the through body neck design, and it holds tuning impeccably. Honestly, I could never go back to anything else.”
Bio: There is no denying that Michael is one of the top solo bassists in the world. He has played at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, and Yamaha Hall. He has also released a number of albums and has claimed two gold records, Grammy and Bammie nominations. Michael has also won a number of awards over the years. You can learn more about him on www.manthing.com or follow him on Twitter.
“I'm biased because I have a long relationship with the company, but my favorite bass guitar brand is Zon. They have a rich, focused sound and an almost supernatural playability. All Zon basses are extremely high quality, but in my opinion, the Sonus models are [the] finest instruments made.”
Bio: Dave’s career has really taken off and he is currently one of the most sought-after bassists in the region. In the studio and on the stage, he has played with worldwide sensations such as Shawn Mendes, Camilla Cabello, and Jonah Marias. Dave has also performed at some amazing venues including Madison Square Garden and the Wembley Stadium. You can find out more about him on www.davehaskettbass.com or follow him on Instagram.
“My personal choice for the best bass guitar, based on my own experience, is the Fender Precision Bass. I suspect a lot of bassists will give you the same answer, and there's a reason for that! The Precision Bass (or P-Bass) has really become one of the absolute standards in the world of bass guitars.
Since it was invented in the early ’50s, the P-Bass has been widely used by bassists in all genres of music, to the point that its sound is so recognizable and familiar that it is arguably the definitive bass sound. These basses are very versatile - I've played P-Basses on pop, rock, country, jazz, and funk gigs (to name a few), and they always just sound “right”. There's something magical about the design that allows it to sit beautifully within a mix, enough presence to cut through, but wonderfully warm and round.
I've owned a number of P-Basses throughout my career, and my favourite is probably my vintage 1973 model. However, vintage instruments can be more expensive and difficult to find. If I were to recommend a current, readily available instrument, I would suggest the Fender American Professional Precision. This is the new “standard” line of guitars and basses from Fender, which replaced the American Standard series in 2017. The American Professional is a well-built, rock-solid P-Bass, and it's going to give you exactly what you’re looking for in terms of sound, feel, and classic design. This is my go-to bass on my current gig with Shawn Mendes, and it covers the majority of the music in that band.
If you're on more of a budget, I would recommend either the Squier Classic Vibe or the Squier Vintage Modified P-Bass. These two are a step up from the standard Squier basses (Fender's less expensive, budget line of guitars and basses). I have a super cool Classic Vibe in Fiesta Red that I played for years, and it got me through countless gigs. These instruments sound and feel great for the price. They would make a great first bass guitar, or just a fun addition to your collection!”
Bio: For over 15 years, Victoria has been recording and touring with a number of well-known artists. Playing for The Ramonas, Will Wilde, McQueen, and more, she is definitely one of the favored bassists in the country. This is what earned her a nomination for best bassist at the 2013 British Blues Awards. You can find out what she is up to on www.victoriasmith.info or listen to her music on YouTube.
Bio: For over 15 years, Victoria has been recording and touring with a number of well-known artists. Playing for The Ramonas, Will Wilde, McQueen, and more, she is definitely one of the favored bassists in the country. This is what earned her a nomination for best bassist at the 2013 British Blues Awards. You can find out what she is up to on www.victoriasmith.info or listen to her music on YouTube.
“For me my favourite and most used bass model is the [Fender] Precision Bass. Playing many different genres of music I’ve found it very easy to play and super versatile. My first ever bass was a Precision, I’ve played and owned many different makes and models of basses but always go back to it. As well as being one of the most iconic bass designs they're also very reliable and there's a range to suit all budgets.”
Bio: Bjorn has been a part of a number of successful bands during his career including Quiet Riot, Soul Sign, Rising Force, and Dio Disciples. He is also a well-known sessions bassist. Throughout his time as a musician, he has played with phenomenon bands like Kiss, Deep Purple, Guns n Roses, Alice Cooper, and Judas Priest. You can learn more about him on www.bjornenglen.com or check out his music on YouTube.
“My choice is the Ibanez Talman Bass. The craftsmanship, playability, tone and look is all there in one beautiful package! A wonderful rockin’ bass that is [very] versatile and suited for all styles of playing. My main bass is the TMB 2000 (Prestige) sunburst. But I also play the TMB 600, which is the natural finish. They are both amazing. For anyone who doesn’t want to spend the money for a Prestige the TMB 600 is fantastic!”
Bio: It is Rhonda’s immense talent that has led her to work with some of the most incredible artists of our time. Most notably, she spent almost a decade playing with the legendary Prince. She has also worked with Chaka Khan, Beyoncé, and Little Richard although she has also released her own music. She even received a Juno award for her musical contributions. Check out rhondasmith.com for more information or listen to her music on YouTube.
“If I had to choose one bass guitar, it would be a Fender Jazz Bass 4 string. I think that every bassist should have one in their arsenal. It's a recognizable and accepted sound/tone that always fits in any genre of music.”
Bio: While Viačeslav can play a number of instruments, his real passion lies with the bass. This is what led to him joining the Jancee Pornick Casino and playing over a hundred gigs each year. Viačeslav also plays with the der Weg which focuses on Middle Eastern folk music. He can be found recording with various artists in Cologne-Dusseldorf studios as well. You can follow him on Twitter or listen to his music on YouTube.
“I have more than 10 different basses (short scale, long scale, extra-long scale, with single- split-coil and humbuckers, solid body and semi-acoustic) and use all of them, but if (just if) I had to choose only one, it would be [Fender] Precision Bass. With split-coil pup and a classical thick wide neck.
In my opinion it´s the best sounding bass in mix. Precision alone, without [a] band, sounds quite “boring”. And it is not so easy to play fast, or stretch [your] fingers for chords or intervals, so if you want to play solo, then StingRay, Jazz Bass or one of those boutique basses with [a] wide sound spectrum, ergonomic body and fast neck, would be better choices for that.
But if you are playing in a band or do recordings in [a] studio, then Precision sound is the shortest way to get the best mix. Precision takes exactly its place without conflicting with other instruments. So, since I make [a] living playing bass for live and recording-sessions, if I had to choose only one bass, it would be definitely the Fender Precision [Bass].”
Bio: Despite being so young, Anna has already gained quite a lot of fame. Although she was classically trained, she took up playing the bass at 15. Since then, she has garnered quite a lot of attention for her YouTube channel where she has covered popular songs. Some her videos have gotten tens of millions of views. You can listen to her music on YouTube.
“In my experience, the best bass guitar I've played has been Kiesel's Aries bass. It's the smoothest bass I've ever played, and can be custom made however the artist wants it. Several years ago, I [had] back problems due to playing basses that were too heavy for me, but since I started playing Kiesel, those problems have gone away. I think what I appreciate the most [about] this bass is how many different tones you can get from it, which makes it perfect for every live or studio scenario.”
Bio: Joe’s talents include being an incredible bass guitarist and writing music. He puts both of these skills to good use as bassist in the Eye on Attraction band. They have logged in over a hundred gigs all around the country and have played with bands such as Adelita's Way, Through Fire, and All That Remains. You can check out their website on www.eyeonattraction.com or listen to their music on YouTube.
“If I had to choose one bass, I would choose a Schecter Stiletto bass. A huge factor for me is how the bass physically feels in my hands. The Schecter Stiletto has a fast/comfortable neck, a lightweight body, and a well-balanced design. The bass feels like it is an extension of my body; it's easy to put on a high-energy show day after day after day.”
Bio: Timothy was a founding member of the band Stryper, touring with them for 35 years. He has also toured with musicians such as Richard Marx, and Ashley Cleveland while recording with musicians like King James and Tourniquet. He was also a member of SinDizzy. You can find out more about him on www.timothygaines.com or listen to his music on YouTube.
“In my opinion, my favorite bass guitar choice would be the G&L L2000. I am a huge fan of Leo Fender and own Fender P basses, Jazz basses and Musician StingRays. All of them are staples. Leo took something from all of these designs and added to them with his Magnetic Field Design humbucker pickups and electronics.
The L2000 is still reasonably affordable and hand built in Leo's shop in Fullerton CA. The L2000 has a multitude of sounds available by utilizing different preamp and pickup configurations through the use of 3 mini toggle switches. A quality American made instrument that plays and sounds absolutely amazing.”
Bio: Mike has been a bassist for Kissing Candace for several years now and has released several albums with the band. It has also provided him with the chance to tour with some other notable names including I Set My Friends on Fire, Psychostick, and Twiztid. They have also played at various festivals including the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. You can find out more about them on www.kissingcandice.com.
“My personal favorite bass guitar is the Schecter Stiletto Custom. I love this bass for its unique look, durability, and sound. I have taken this bass along with me on every tour I have done in Kissing Candice. I’ve botched guitar spins and accidentally slammed it into walls and it has never once been overly damaged by it.
A lot of people will assume due to the price that this would [play like] a cheap bass... However, Schecter uses great materials and equipment in their basses and this bass has killer versatile sound. The five string version allows for me to stay perfectly in tune even when we play in our low tunings. I always get compliments on both the look and tone from this instrument. This is the one bass I will never part with.”
Bio: In addition to being a well-known bassist, Francis has also gained fame as a DJ and a musical director. He currently plays bass with his long-time band Incognito, with whom he's played for well over a decade. He has also worked with artists like Lynden David Hall and Gloria Gaynor. He has even been featured on movie soundtracks. You can find out more about Francis on www.francishyltonbass.co.uk or follow him on Twitter.
“One important thing about getting a new instrument is how easy it is to play. There’s nothing worse than fighting with a musical instrument if it’s getting in the way of what you’re playing. Quality of sound is obviously important but there are also specific bass tones that have become classics over the years and many manufacturers make their own versions of these basses. I’m talking about Fender Jazz and Precision basses, Music Man StingRay, Gibson EB3, and others.
If you’re a session player then it’s always good to be able to offer these well-known bass sounds, although there are of course many newer choices too. I primarily play Atelier Z basses from Tokyo. They are mostly Jazz style basses and they’re built exceptionally well and play and sound incredible, I can’t speak too highly of their M245 and M265 4 & 5 string basses. I also rate a London based luthier Andrew Taylor-Cummings who is responsible for the brand Anaconda Basses, once again they are a joy to play and the attention to detail is very impressive.”
Bio: Yves started playing the bass at 17 and since then, has never looked back. He has released a number of albums and EPs both by himself as well as in collaboration with his group, the Yves Jean Band. Yves has received critical and public acclaim for his music, garnering numerous followers on his Pandora station as well as on his social media channels. You can see what he is up to either at www.yvesjeanmusic.com or on his YouTube channel.
“For my older/vintage sound I go with my older Leo Fender 4 string (pre Ernie Ball) 1974 Musicman. It’s a maple neck that has that round, as well as 70’s treble funk tone. It’s my main live instrument. The only downside is that it’s a heavy instrument in weight. As for my current recordings, I go to my diverse, modern sounding Warwick 4 string P-Nut series bass. It has a rosewood fretboard, for a tone that is warm and has a bit of modern growl to it.
Recording with it has been a dream, because you can hear every nuance being played. The bass is extremely light as well. Lastly, for my [most] recent purchase I bought a Modulus 4 string Flea series bass. This bass has an awesome tone with a distinctive bite. I have not had much time to play with it, since it’s new in my arsenal. However, I do look forward to playing with the modulus bass overseas and [am] not too worried about the neck getting warped on flights, because of its graphite neck. If I had to only choose one bass out of the three that I described, [I would suggest the] Warwick P-nut Series bass.”
Bio: In addition to being a vocalist, bassist, and guitarist, Russell also has a very unique sound. He manages to effortlessly combine blues, rock, and country, drawing influence from his Louisiana roots. Russell has released albums that have been a mix of his original works as well as covers. You can see what he is up to on his Facebook page or by following him on Twitter.
“I recommend the 4 string SDGR by Ibanez. As [someone] who plays over 200 shows a year, this is my go-to bass guitar. It's not only affordable, but it's always in tune and easy to work on. It's a workhorse bass for sure.”
Bio: Tony has led a rather illustrious career alongside some of the best names in rock history. Nicknamed the “Fretless Monster”, he first gained fame as a member of The Firm, which included Jimmy Page. He then went on to tour with other notable names like Whitesnake, Roy Harper, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Kate Bush, and more. Tony can also add an instrumental bass album and video series to his resume. You can see what Tony is currently up to on www.fretlessmonster.com or follow him on Twitter.
“I will unabashedly say that the Fender Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass is the best bass guitar in my personal experience! Why? Because I have used this instrument in its current form since 1983, and it evolved through personal experience, experimentation, trial and error, and real world usage. To me the Precision Bass has the perfect neck and body shape. That's my personal taste. I don't own any other basses!
I wanted to play Fretless Bass after hearing Jaco Pastorius in the late 70's, and I purchased a stock Fender Fretless Precision Bass in 1979. As time went on I realized I would need to add a Jazz style bridge pick for me to get the growly tones, and harmonics that I wanted to hear. So I added a DiMarzio Model J bridge pick. I wanted to keep the P Bass aesthetic with the master volume and master tone, so added a 3-Way Fender [Stratocaster] pick up selector switch. This proved to be the perfect combination, as the DiMarzio had the same output volume as the stock Fender P Bass pick up, so there was no volume drop when switching between the two pick ups. The DiMarzio is also noiseless (though I didn't realize this at the time), which means there is no hum when using the pick by itself.
In 2006, Fender released the Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass, which was modeled after my original '79 Fretless P Bass, but with the ebony fingerboard like the 2000 bass. The signature bass is still in production. I use a 2006 TF Fretless as my main live bass, and certain recording situations. I still use my original 79 Fretless for recording sessions.”
Well, all of these musicians have certainly given us a lot to think about. What’s great about all of these responses is that they offer so much more than just suggestions.
Here, you can find out just why some bass guitars will suit you better than others. Now, you should have no trouble narrowing down what you should look for.
So, what did you think about what these experts had to say? Let us know in the comments!
Let’s face it, the real reason that anyone picks up an electric guitar is because they want to play great music. Of course, you first have to get through the process of learning all the chords and techniques before you can get started. This can be rather frustrating if you are just looking for easy electric guitar songs that you can start playing now.
Well, the good news is that there are actually quite a few songs that fall into this category. Even better, they may what you love or you grew up listening to. Before getting started, though, let’s take a look at how you can play hundreds of different songs with little effort.
Are you ready for an insane statistic? Well, here it is:
Most popular songs are made up of the same four chords. The chords responsible for this miraculous phenomenon are E, B, C# minor and A.
Yes, you read that right and no, it isn’t a joke. Mind you, not all songs contain just these four chords but a startling number of songs do. Now, before you start going through every song that you’ve ever heard, let’s take a moment to analyze why this is so.
Basically, you have math and human biology to thank for this. The human ear finds the vibrations caused by these chords to be the most pleasing. Not to mention, people have a tendency to hear these chords as ‘familiar’ when played.
So, when you put these chords together in a song, it isn’t hard to imagine that a hit single is too far off. The music industry has put this knowledge to good use. The benefit here is that if you want to learn to play hundreds of songs, you just need to master these four chords.
In this section, you will find songs that you can learn easily on the electric guitar. They don’t necessarily follow the four chord theory but they still shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for you:
This is the ultimate, modern anthem. Regardless of what genre or type of music you prefer, Seven Nation Army will have you standing up and stomping your feet. Needless to say, this is why it is blared from speakers at sports stadiums so often.
This is actually a rather easy song to master because the opening riff is played on just one string – the A string. However, you should be prepared to move your fingers around quite a bit on the fretboard, though. You will be playing the following frets in this particular order:
Looking for something more contemporary or just not a big fan of rock n roll? Well, that’s not a problem because Shake It Off played on an electric guitar sounds absolutely awesome! Don’t believe this? Go ahead and give it a try.
What makes this a relatively easy electric guitar song to play is that there are just three chords involved. These are Am, C, and G. They are also the same all the way through so you don’t really have to worry about the song switching up as it goes along. Oh, as an added bonus, you need just two fingers to learn this song as well!
There are quite a few guitarists who can attribute this song to kick-starting their desire to learn to play the guitar. This isn’t surprising, considering that Smoke on the Water’s opening riff is one of the most recognizable in the world. It is also one that many novice guitarists cut their teeth on, considering that it is so easy to play.
So what makes this iconic song such a breeze to learn? This would be the fact that the riff consists of just two notes per chord. The progression ensures that your fretting hand just needs to focus on one particular section of the neck. So, prepare to start jamming in no time at all.
Speaking of iconic, Sunshine of Your Love is right up there as one of the more identifiable songs in the world. What many people are amazed to learn, though, is that this classic riff can actually be managed by less experienced guitarists as well.
While it does require you to strum several strings and chords together, it relies on just one-note picking. Furthermore, it isn’t too fast and so, you will be able to keep up rather easily. Since you will be relying on the A, E, and D string, here are the frets to familiarize yourself with:
Let’s end this list on a high note – with the ever-relevant Stones. Satisfaction is more than just recognizable, even to the untrained ear, it is also downright catchy. Once it’s in your head, you aren’t going to stop humming it any time soon. Therefore, you can practically owe it yourself to learn how to play this song.
Now, did you know that to recreate the opening riff (and chorus) you just need to play one string? That’s right! Just keep strumming that A string and you will come close to sounding like Keith Richards. There are also just three notes: E, A, and D.
As you can see, you don’t need hundreds of guitar lessons to sound like the pros. Instead, with some insight and a couple of tricks, you can play your favorite songs without too much trouble. Best of all, you get to impress your friends and act like a total rock star in the process!
When naming the best metal bands of all time, you simply have to place Metallica near the top. This is a band that does more than just make great, meaningful music. Metallica has also managed to stick around for almost four decades, entertaining audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
The band has also inspired quite a few musicians to recreate their music. Half the fun is in trying to figure out just what makes them such a metal staple. If this is something you are trying to do as well, you could certainly use some guidance with the Metallica amp settings.
If so, this article will help you dissect all things Metallica amp-related. So, without further ado, here is what you need to know.
If there is one thing that defines Metallica, it is evolution. This isn’t a band that was satisfied with simply doing the same things over and over again. Sometimes, the results were pure magic and other times, well… perhaps those are best forgotten.
Regardless of what the outcome was, Metallica has never been afraid to take chances. This is why you find the raw, adrenaline-driven Kill ’Em All followed by the almost symphonic Ride the Lightning. As such, it can be tough to narrow down the exact ‘sound’ of Metallica.
At the same time, this does give provide you with more opportunities if you are trying to get their sound just right. Depending on your capabilities – and gear – you have a lot more options to play around with.
Now, if you are so inclined, you can find the same amps that James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett actually relied on when recording songs. After all, most guitarists will readily share this information at interviews and their sound guys are only too happy to help as well.
For most of their careers, both Hetfield and Hammett worked with Mesa/Boogie amps. They used the Mark IIC+ when recording both the Master of Puppets and And Justice For All albums. This is what gave them that tight and saturated distortion.
Hetfield has been known to switch things up with the Diezel VH4 amplifiers and he worked with this a lot on St. Anger. Another favorite was the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus. Use this and you will be able to recreate the opening riff for Welcome Home (Sanitarium). These days, though, James tend to stick with the Mesa TriAxis preamps and pairs it with Simul-Class 2:90 power amps.
Hammett has graduated from using the Mesa/Boogie amps. This, of course, is largely to do with the fact that he has his own signature line with Randall. So, he mostly uses these now.
Now, what you will realize about the Mesa/Boogie amps is that they come with a hefty price tag attached. As you can imagine, if the members of Metallica can afford them – you probably can’t. The silver lining here, nonetheless, is that you don’t actually need that gear to recreate these songs.
See, the real magic is with the Metallica amp settings. Technically, you can pick up virtually any good amp and be able to play One, Nothing Else Matters, or any other Metallica song without too much difficulty. That, of course, is provided that you know how to tune your amps.
While the members of the band may have been forthcoming about their gear, they didn’t actually take the time to write down the amp settings. So, for the most part, people have had to use a lot of guesswork and a bit of luck to get the settings down right.
Fortunately, a few guitarists have been successful in narrowing down the settings. As such, there is a general consensus of what they are. Here are the settings, ordered by album:
… And Justice For All (Clean Sound)
So, there you have it, the amp settings for your favorite (and not-so-favorite) albums. Now, remember, depending on the amps you are using, the resulting sound might not be an exact match. However, this just gives you the chance to put your very own spin on it, much like Metallica has been doing for all of these years.
One of the reasons music is so powerful is because it can be used to express intense emotions. Sometimes, when words simply won’t do, guitar chords in just the right progression can take their place. This brings us to the topic of sad chord progressions and how you can use them in a song.
First, though, let’s tackle the idea of ‘sad’ chord progressions. Much like grief, the concept of sad chord progressions can be intensely personal. Therefore, what may sound emotional to one individual can actually be a soothing sound to someone else. This is something you will need to keep in mind when constructing a song based on these chord progressions.
That being said, there are some universal ideas associated with chord progressions. This article will explore them closely so that you will find it easier to create a song that is melancholy in nature.
Before going any further, you need to familiarize yourself with what is considered the saddest key. For the most part, people in the western world tend to associate minor chords with sorrow. While this doesn’t hold true for all songs, most musicians will use minor chords to strike a more somber tone in their music.
Interestingly enough, scientists have discovered that humans tend to use this tone in their speech as well. However, it becomes a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg issue when trying to discover whether this chord appeared in speech or music first. Regardless, this is the most common way to communicate sadness musically.
Now, when playing the guitar, this theory will give you a starting point. By sticking to minor chords, you will be able to construct a progression that will make it easier to get a softer or sadder progression going. As a result, the song will sound more sorrowful, as a whole.
The next step, of course, is to know how to play minor chords. To do this, you will need to learn a bit more about how they should be played.
Perhaps the first thing you should know about minor chords is that there are three types. These are natural, melodic, and harmonic minor. Now, there can be some confusion since these types are often used in combination with one another. So, to get a clearer idea of what’s going on, you first need to understand what the natural minor is all about.
To avoid any mix up with this idea, let’s break down the main points that you need to understand about the minor chords:
Now, the scale formula for minor chords is as follows: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
This means that the scale shares the same notes as those of the major scale, except three semitones above.
So, if the major scale is this – A B C# D E F# G#
Then the minor scale will look like this:
A B C D E F G
As you can see, to change the scale, you will need to flatten the scale degrees of the major scale.
To see why people refer to minor chords as the saddest, you need to do a little experimenting yourself. You will then be able to comprehend how to adjust the chords so that they are more melancholy.
It is simple enough to do this. First, find a major-based chord progression and play this on your guitar. After this, turn this major chord progression in a minor one by using the formula mentioned above. Once you play it, you will able to hear the clear distinction and the emotions that arise from playing in the minor chord.
Below is a list of some of the saddest songs and the beginning chord progressions. By testing these out, you should be able to get a better idea of how to play such a tone:
The notes and songs above should point you in the right direction of the style sad that songs typically are constructed in. Of course, one of the reasons you might be curious about such chord progressions is because you want to know how to compose your own song. In this case, there are a few more pointers that you need to learn.
For instance, feelings of sadness or pain are usually depicted in deep tones rather than high tones. Due to this, you should be mindful of your where your fingers are on the fretboard. To get a deeper sound, make sure to stay on the lower end of the fretboard. To give this sound even further depth, opt for the lower strings as well.
The other tip to focus on would be in terms of composition complexity. While sadness itself can be a rather complex emotion, this trait doesn’t have to be mirrored in your chord progression. This is because when you think about it, some of the saddest songs have the simplest composition.
To this end, keep the chords simple and by extension the chord progression as well. These uncomplicated melodies will tend to strike a more honest chord when you play them. On a similar note, don’t worry about doing anything too drastic either. Many musicians have used repetitive chord progressions to elicit a melancholy reaction from listeners.
So, to wrap things up, this is what you need to understand about sad chord progressions. First, minor chords are your friend when you are trying to play or compose something on a more grief-stricken note. Then, when playing sad songs try to create a deeper sound while also keeping it simple.
Now, it may take you some time to wrap your mind (and fingers) around the concepts mentioned here. However, with time you will be able to master them and make any listener tear up without too much effort on your part.