How do you make a decent-sounding, low-priced acoustic guitar sound like a more expensive instrument? If you’re eager to get started learning the guitar but only have a modest budget, fret not. You can go for an acoustic guitar model that costs less than $200 and you won’t regret it. It may not have the sound quality of high-end acoustic guitars made of premium materials, but there are things you can do to improve its sound.
Here are some simple, affordable and effective ways to make your guitar sound its absolute best.
Change the strings every few weeks
Strings do wear out over time. If you play your guitar regularly – say, an hour or two every day – the strings could be in need of a replacement every three to four weeks depending on how aggressively you play. Daily playing can make dirt, sweat, oil and grime accumulate on your guitar strings and corrode them. Corrosion can make strings prone to breakage and unpleasant to play. It can also affect the tone of the guitar.
Old and dirty strings can also be difficult to get in tune and make a guitar sound dull, flat or lackluster. Changing the strings is one way to make sure your guitar produces the best tone. A new set of strings can instantly brighten up the tone of your acoustic guitar.
Replace plastic parts
Acoustic guitars at the lower end of the price tier would often have plastic bridge pins, saddles and nuts. While these plastic components get the job done, upgrading them to quality materials can make a huge difference in the tone of your acoustic guitar.
For instance, a bone or synthetic bone nut, bridge pins and saddle can give a guitar a warm and soft sound. On the other hand, when you use brass, your guitar would tend to have a bright and punchy tone. Do some research on other materials to determine which type can give you the tone you want.
Upgrade your tuners
Tuning machines don’t directly affect how an acoustic guitar sounds but they do affect the guitar’s ability to stay in tune. Tuners that often come loose can have a frustrating effect while you’re playing – imagine going flat while you’re strumming or picking because one or more tuners won’t stay put.
Some tuners on low-cost guitars can feel flimsy and unreliable. This is why it’s often recommended to upgrade tuning machines to more sturdy ones. With quality tuning pegs, you won’t have to adjust your tuning every so often, allowing you to have a more enjoyable playing experience.
Have it professionally set up
No matter the kind of guitar you have and regardless of the cost, it’s ideal to take your guitar to a guitar technician or luthier for a setup. If you are a beginner, it’s best to leave this to a professional because they would have the tools and know-how to make the right adjustments according to your preferences and playing style.
An acoustic guitar setup would involve adjusting the string action to make the guitar more comfortable to play and eliminate fret buzz, filing the nut and frets, and making other modifications to the guitar. Setting up your guitar would make it easier to play, and the easier it is to play the better you will feel when playing. This would ultimately translate to a better sound overall, so take time to set up your guitar properly.
We hope these tried-and-tested methods will work for you in improving the sound of your guitar. Give these a try and let us know how it goes!