The acoustic guitar is hollow-bodied and uses only acoustic techniques to produce sound which means it does not have electric amplification. Its name is a retronym of the electric guitar to differentiate them from each other. Its strings could be made of steel or nylon while its top plate could be made of cedar or spruce. At the top is a circular hole with a diameter of 3.25 inches to 3.5 inches which strengthens and reinforces the produced sound.
Generally, guitars produce sound through the strings’ vibration. The increase of volume is done by the sound box consisting of a resonant cavity and a soundboard. The vibration of the strings also causes vibration of the soundboard. It has a much larger area than the strings which means that is also produces a louder sound.
Sound waves are created coming from the back and front panels as the soundboard is vibrating. The sound box serves as a resonant cavity and reflects the sound waves produced. The sound volume increases greatly compared to the primary volume created by the strings. Some sound is then projected out of the hole.
Acoustic guitar qualities
The acoustic guitar has eight basic qualities – volume, balance, dynamic range, cutting power, tone, presence, sustain, and separation.
Some guitars have a higher volume compared to others but it does not mean that these guitars produce better sound output. There are many other qualities to consider. Calling a guitar balances means that all of its notes have the same level of power. The guitar should not have too much midrange.
The dynamic range is the ability of the guitar to easily switch from very loud to very soft. The cutting power is the capability of the guitar to be audible even when accompanying other instruments. This does not mean that a guitar must always be loud but it means fitting and filling dry areas instead.
The variation of tone depends on the acoustic guitar’s material and method of construction. Even if two guitars are from the same manufacturer and are the same model, these do not have exactly the same sound. The presence refers to the quality and distinguished sound produced when playing the guitar both softly and loudly.
The sustain is how long a note will sound well after picking the string while separation is hearing the individual notes distinctly.
Different playing styles
A few guitar styles aside from the regular guitar playing are bluegrass playing, blues, jazz, big band, lap style, flamenco, and classical playing. A guitar style has a suitable type of guitar. Smaller guitars made of mahogany are very good for blues while nylon string guitars made with rosewood are for classical playing.
Flamenco playing is best with nylon string guitars made with Spanish cypress which are thinner than the classical guitar.
Acoustic guitar care
The best way to keep the acoustic guitar from accumulating dirt is using a case for storage protection but you could also use a cover. Choose a guitar cover that is easy to take off and put on and has a fabric material.
To avoid sweat marks on your guitar, you could wear a sweat band when playing. Place it below the elbow or wherever area in your arm that rests on the guitar’s side. Use a brush to buff and remove light scratches on the pickguard. If the scratch is deeper, use water sand and sand paper and micro mesh sand papers and buff the pickguard after.
Use a tiny piece of thin cardboard folded in half to clean stings and frets every week. Hook the folded cardboard under a string and slide it up and down to remove the dirt and oil that has built up.