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If you’re in the market for an acoustic guitar but are feeling overwhelmed by all of the different options available, don’t fret! We’ve put together this acoustic guitar buying guide to help you find the perfect guitar to fit your needs. Whether you’re a parent shopping for your child’s first instrument or an adult embarking on a new hobby, this acoustic guitar buying guide goes over the key points you should consider when choosing an acoustic guitar.

acoustic guitar buying guide

1. BODY STYLE AND SIZE

The shape of a stringed instrument has a big impact on what it sounds like, making body stylean important factor  when shopping for a acoustic guitars. In general, deeper and larger guitar bodies produce more bass tones and have greater resonance, while smaller or more shallow bodies tend to produce less volume and less low end. Some guitars also have single or double cutaways where the neck meets the body to allow for easier access to the higher frets.

It is also important to take the player’s size and comfort into account when choosing your acoustic guitar. For example, children and those with smaller frames may find that the smaller-bodied guitars are easier to play, while those with larger hands and body frames may find the smaller models more difficult to navigate. Here our acoustic guitar buying guide explains some common acoustic guitar body shapes: acoustic guitar buying guide

¾ Size and Mini Guitars

Many guitars considered ¾ size or “mini” guitars are simply scaled-down versions of larger models, smaller in size and with shorter fret scales. Because they are smaller and more comfortable to hold, ¾ size acoustic guitars are great for children and those of petite frame.

Parlor

Parlor style guitars first gained popularity in the 1800’s when they were used for intimate performances played in the parlors of people’s homes. They remained popular through the 1950s and were used by many blues and folk musicians through the 1950s. These guitars are compact and can be outfitted with either nylon or steel strings. Parlor style guitars tend to produce less volume than larger models and are more well-suited for playing in smaller spaces and as an accompaniment to vocals. acoustic guitar buying guide

Classical

Classical guitars are similar in proportion to parlor style guitars, but tend to be slightly larger in size. They use nylon strings (as opposed to the steel strings found on most modern acoustic guitars), feature slotted headstocks, and are typically used to play classical music.

Concert

Concert guitars are well-suited for lead playing and vocal accompaniment. They tend to produce an even, balanced tone, making them popular for many different applications. As with parlor style guitars, the smaller body size makes concert style guitars a great choice for those of smaller stature without compromising as much volume.acoustic guitar buying guide

Dreadnought

The dreadnought body shape is the most popular for acoustic guitars, with a larger body that lends to more volume and a full, rich sound. Dreadnought guitars are versatile, and though they sound great for strumming, many players use them for fingerpicking as well. These are great for playing with groups, as dreadnoughts tend to be better at cutting through the mix than smaller styles.

Jumbo

As the name suggests, jumbo guitars can be quite large, with bottoms that are more rounded than those found on dreadnought guitars. Having more space in the instrument for sound to resonate translates to more volume, sustain, and bass tones. These are commonly usually used for strumming.

Travel Guitars

Travel guitars are built with the travelling musician in mind, featuring thin, streamlined bodies. The Washburn Rover is small enough to fit into an overhead bin on an airplane while still featuring a full-size 24-inch scale length. Next our acoustic guitar buying guide shows you just how to buy an acoustic guitar: shop acoustic guitars at austin bazaar

2. TONEWOOD AND FINISH

Aside from body shape, the type of wood used to build a guitar is one of the most important factors in determining how the instrument will sound. Woods used specifically in the production of guitars and other stringed instruments are often referred to as tonewoods, and they are typically chosen based on both how they look and what kind of tone they tend to produce.

acoustic guitar buying guide

Hawaiian koa

Mahogany and spruce are commonly used in the production of guitar bodies, though you can also find guitars made of more rare, exotic tonewoods like Koa or Cocobolo. Denser woods generally produce warmer, thicker tones while lightweight woods produce brighter tones. When deciding on the tonewood of your guitar, sound is generally considered the most important factor to take into account. Many guitars have laminate tops, which are comprised of thin layered sheets of wood rather than solid pieces. Laminate top guitars are cheaper to manufacture and are therefore a lot more affordable, but laminate wood doesn’t tend to vibrate the same way as a solid piece of wood (which in turn will have an impact on the guitar’s tone). However, many players prefer laminate because of its reliability in changing climates and temperatures (solid top guitars tend to be more sensitive to the environment they are in, which can affect how they sound.

3. GOALS AND PRICE RANGE

Your goals should ultimately help you the most when deciding which guitar is best for you. If you are a beginner, you may want to spend some time learning on a more affordable model before upgrading to something nicer. If you plan on performing out, you may want to splurge on a flashier model that will tie in with your band’s aesthetics. There are a lot of factors that can make one acoustic guitar more expensive than another. For example, acoustic guitars that are made in America are  likely to cost more than those manufactured overseas. Guitars made of exotic tonewoods such as Koa, Cocobolo, and Zebrawood also tend to cost a lot more than those made of more readily-available woods like spruce and mahogany. That being said, there are many affordable guitars available which are suitable for both beginners and advanced players alike. If you are a beginner, our Acoustic Guitar Packages include essential accessories like picks, strings, and digital tuners, so that you can get everything you need to start playing at little to no extra cost.

Here are some recommended Acoustic Guitar Packages for Beginners:

Fender Starcaster Acoustic Guitar with Gig Bag, Instructional DVD, Strap, Picks, Strings, Tuner, and Polishing Cloth

Fender Starcaster Acoustic Guitar Bundle

Fender FA-100 Ltd. Edition Acoustic Dreadnought Guitar with Gig Bag - Sunburst

Fender FA-100 Ltd. Edition Acoustic Dreadnought Guitar Bundle

Yamaha FG700S Acoustic Guitarwith Hard Case, Strap, Stand, Polish, Tuner, Strings, Picks, Capo, Stringwinder and DVD

Yamaha FG700S Acoustic Guitar Bundle

shop acoustic guitar packages for beginners

acoustic guitar buying guide

Pickup and preamp system on an acoustic-electric guitar

Acoustic-Electric Guitars

If you know you want to eventually play live music or record your own music, you may want to consider getting an Acoustic-Electric Guitar with a built-in pickup/preamp system. These allow you to easily plug into an amplifier or PA system like you would with an electric guitar. Pickup/preamp systems on electric acoustic guitars also typically have built-in tuners which is much more convenient than having to buy an external digital tuner. Aside from being gig-friendly, another benefit of acoustic-electric guitars is that the attached preamps allow you to plug your guitar directly into an audio interface for home recording. This enables you to quickly and easily record your music without having to worry about investing in or setting up microphones. Need help buying an acoustic guitar? Call or email 800-511-1322 or email sales@austinbazaar.com

Casio Privia Series Digital Pianos available at Austin Bazaar

The Casio Privia Series a wide variety of versatile, affordable digital pianos, suitable for students, teachers, and performers alike. We recently published some demo videos focused on the PX-150, PX-350, PX-750 and PX-5S models, to highlight these new additions to the popular Privia line. Here is a brief overview of the aforementioned models so you can get a better idea of what each model has to offer.

 

Casio Privia PX-150 and PX-350

Casio Privia PX-350BK digital piano.

The Casio Privia PX-350BK digital piano.

The Privia PX-150 and PX-350 digital pianos are Casio’s new and improved versions of their now-discontinued PX-130 and PX-330 models. Available for purchase with or without the Privia 2 Pack, (which includes a furniture-style stand and 3-pedal system) these remarkably lightweight keyboards stand out as some of the best available in the under-$1000 category.

The Casio PX-150WE with Privia Pack 2

The Casio PX-150WE, shown here on the optional stand and pedal system.

 

Though similar to the PX-150 in appearance, the PX-350 includes some features not found on it’s simpler and more affordable counterpart, including 180 drum patterns, 250 instrument tones, and a built-in 17-track recorder. In comparison, the PX-150 features 18 instrument tones with a 2-track recorder.

Both models are class-compliant, and feature an 88 note Tri-sensor scaled hammer action keyboard with simulated Ebony and Ivory textured keys that make playing these digital pianos that much more enjoyable. They are also both available in either black (PX-150BK and PX-350BK) or white (PX-150WE and PX-350WE).

 

 

Take a listen to the PX-150 and the PX-350 in the following demo videos, presented by Casio’s Mike Martin;

 

 

Casio Privia PX-850 Digital Piano - available now at Austin Bazaar

Casio Privia PX-850 comes with a matching stand and pedal board, and features a unique cabinet design that can be opened for a fuller concert sound.

 

Casio Privia PX-850

Next up is the Privia PX-850, Casio’s classy new flagship model which includes even more deluxe features, including 256 notes of polyphony and a convenient USB port so you can record practices or performances direct to USB.

The PX-850 also comes with a matching stand and pedal board, making it the perfect addition to any home. It features dual 20w speakers along with a unique design which allows you to actually open up the cabinet to further augment the sound as well.

Check out the following video to learn more about the PX-850, and hear a sampling of the included instrument tones.

 

Casio Privia Pro PX-5S

Finally we have the highly-anticipated Privia Pro PX-5Swhich was unveiled this year at NAMM 2013.

Casio Privia Pro PX-5S Digital Piano

The powerful and super-portable Privia Pro PX-5S weighs in at only 24 lbs, making it one of the lightest digital pianos on the market.

Deluxe features like tone editing, pitch and modulation wheels and sliders, hex layer tones complete with real-time filters, and MIDI controller capabilities make it a truly powerful (and did we mention, portable?) powerhouse that defies the stage piano category. But don’t take our word for it – take a listen for yourself in this thorough introduction to the PX-5S;

If you have been looking to buy a couple of BOSS pedals to add to your setup, now is the time! BOSS is currently running a special offer where you can get a free Pedal Juice 9V rechargable power source (a $149 value) with the purchase of any two BOSS single compact pedals. We thought we would take a minute to explain a bit about Pedal Juice and why you should definitely take advantage of this offer!

 

Power to the Pedal!

Sanyo’s KBC-9V3U Pedal Juice provides up to 50 hours of power to pedals or other devices after just 3.5 hours of charging, and can be recharged hundreds of times – saving you the cost and hassle of constantly replacing 9 volt batteries. For musicians who have dealt with noise and hiss when using AC adapters (due to AC ground loops, spurious noise, hum, etc.) Pedal Juice provides relief in the form of continuous, quiet, clean, stable 9V power. It also comes equipped with two 9V DC outputs so you can power multiple devices- such as pedals, multi-effect units, and portable recorders – simultaneously. Pedal Juice’s compact size (2.5” W x 4.7”D x 1.7”H) integrates seamlessly with your pedalboard, and its water- and shock-resistant enclosure make it perfect for the gigging musician. Find out specifics about Pedal Juice here.

 

How to Get Your FREE Pedal Juice 

To take advantage of this offer, you must purchase two (2) compact BOSS pedals as part of the same order from an Authorized Roland Dealer (which Austin Bazaar is proud to be!) You will need to fill out this coupon and mail it in to BOSS along with some additional proofs of purchase (Terms and Conditions of the offer are listed on the Coupon). So pick out your pedals, mail in that paperwork, and prepare to enjoy the ease of life that Pedal Juice will bring you at home, at gigs, and beyond!

Shop BOSS pedals at Austin Bazaar

Click the banner above to browse BOSS compact pedals which are currently available at Austin Bazaar. With free shipping, seasonal sitewide sales and price matching, we promise that you’ll find the best deal on BOSS compact effects pedals, pedal boards, accessories and more at Austin Bazaar.

 


Thanks again to everyone who made it out to our Fall Fest at the Austin Bazaar storefront on November 17th! This free event included complementary food and drinks, tons of awesome B-stock guitars and gear for sale at closeout prices, and a raffle which benefited the following local music nonprofits and area schools: Rock RaizerKids In A New GrooveMuseum of Cultural Arts Houston (MOCAH), Barbara Jordan Elementary, and River Oaks Elementary.

Along with organizing the raffle fundraiser with proceeds going to the nonprofits, Austin Bazaar also donated nearly $10,000 worth of instruments to these organizations – because we believe everyone deserves to rock!

Special thanks go out to our sponsors and those who donated prizes for the raffle (including ESP GuitarsZildjianSchecter Guitar ResearchYamahaSKBDean Guitars, and Baby Zach’s Hummus), all of the AB staff who volunteered their time and energy that day and leading up to the event, and all of the local bands who performed (Oh No Oh MyMoneywell SpuntJ. Wesley Haynes TrioBIG WORDS, and Doves & Sirens).

Here are some photos from that day:

Hey DJ folks! We feel like we’ve been neglecting you a little bit lately. The good news is, Austin Bazaar is beefing up our selection of DJ and lighting gear.

We wanted to showcase the super cool MiN Laser RBX by Chauvet. This baby projects thousands of red and blue beams that cover a HUGE area that looks great even without fog. You can set the color and rotation speeds wirelessly with the remote. The motor spins in both directions at variable speeds that create a lot of different vibes. For more of a hands-off approach, it’s sound activated and automated to go along with the beats of your music. It basically runs itself. And it’s ready to use right out of the box. How easy is that?!

 

 

It’s time for the first annual Austin Bazaar Fall Fest! This free event supports nonprofits that help bring music and art to children and communities in need across Texas. This is a community event featuring live music (Oh No Oh MyMoneywell SpuntJ. Wesley Haynes TrioBIG WORDSDoves & Sirens + More), free food & drinks, giveaways, contests and more!

Plus Music Gear at LIQUIDATION PRICES!

The party kicks off at Noon on Saturday, Nov. 17th at our flagship store and warehouse at 2306 W. Howard Lane, right off I-35 and Howard Lane. First 100 guests guaranteed a free gift!

And here’s the best part- RSVP on our Facebook event page here by clicking “going”, and you’re entered to win this $500 Yamaha APX700 Acoustic-Electric Guitar in Vintage Cherry Sunburst. That’s nothing to sneeze at!

Additional Event Sponsors include:
PLUS amazing selection of new and b-stock instruments at special sale prices. If you’re in the market for a Taylor guitar, this is the time to buy because we will be offering our entire Taylor selection at blow-out prices. Additional deals include free deluxe gig bags with purchase, great deals on band instruments, and amp and keyboard prices that can’t be beat! Email events@austinbazaar.com for more info.

Our selected nonprofits will have representatives on-hand to accept donations of new musical instruments from Austin Bazaar and get the word out to the attendees. In addition, partial proceeds of the day’s sales will be donated to the nonprofits.

The non-profit organizations Austin Bazaar will be supporting are:
  • Rock Raizer - Nonprofit organization which provides music instruments and lessons to underprivileged kids and schools in and around the Austin area.
  • Kids in a New Groove - Nonprofit organization that provides private one-on-one music mentorship to kids in the Texas foster care system. They provide youth with a consistent weekly mentor, and also present them with a brand new musical instrument which they earn from practicing and meeting program goals.
  • Museum of Cultural Arts Houston (Mocah) - MOCAH uses public art as a tool for community development and social awareness, inviting community members from a variety of backgrounds to participate in the creation of public works such as murals and mosaics. Austin Bazaar has donated over $50,000 worth of musical instruments to MOCAH for their educational programs within schools and for the creation of up-cycled works of art.
  • River Oaks Elementary School  Pflugerville Independent School District, to assist in supporting music in public schools that lack funding
  • Barbara Jordan Elementary Austin Independent School District, to assist in supporting music in public schools that lack funding

We can’t wait to see you there! For more info, email events@austinbazaar.com

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

- Plato

We’re continuing our “AB Gives Back” series of videos highlighting local organizations with a video showcasing Helping Hand Home for Children, a non-profit in Austin that provides residential treatment services, therapeutic foster care, adoption services, and an on-site charter school for children.

The Home is the oldest continuously operating residential childcare agency in Travis County, and serves more than 150 children from all over Texas every year. Children with severe emotional or behavioral problems are referred to the home by Child Protective Services, adoption agencies, or from individual families in order to have a safe place to heal and overcome past trauma and other difficulties.

An Austin Bazaar employee who previously worked with Helping Hand Home (HHH) suggested we donate instruments to the organization. The Home provides a variety of extracurricular activities for the kids – including music classes led by volunteers and supported by local organization Kids in a New Groove. Although the Home provides music lessons for some of the kids, they have a limited number of instruments. Austin Bazaar believes that every child deserves the gift of music, so we donated a truckload of guitars, basses, amplifiers, ukuleles, violins, metronomes, and tuners to the children at HHH.

“They’re going to be so excited when they see that they all can actually have their own guitar, because right now they share one guitar,” said Veronica Meewes, Activities and Volunteer Coordinator at HHH.

Check out the video below for more information about Helping Hand Home for Children and find out how you can contribute to this awesome organization:

The Jupiter-80's colorful design draws from that of the Jupiter-8, Roland's flagship synth which was introduced to the world in 1981.

The Jupiter-80 and Roland’s Jupiter Legacy 

On March 21, 2012, Roland announced the release of the Jupiter-50, a slimmer, stripped-down version of their Jupiter-80 which hit the shelves in 2011. Though the JP-50 was engineered as a more portable and affordable version of its big brother, the JP-80 holds its own as a live performance keyboard and powerful production tool in the studio.

Veteran keyboard players, music producers, and songwriters may recall Roland’s Jupiter-8, which pushed the limits of analog synths back in the 1980s. It’s been widely used by everyone from Stevie Wonder to Duran Duran. Designed around Roland’s SuperNATURAL sound modeling technology, the JP-80 continues that tradition of bringing synthesis to another level while adding a plethora of modern features.

Outfitted with its optional stand, this monstrous synth kind of looks like an alien spacecraft. Just sayin.'

The Jupiter-80′s SuperNATURAL sounds permit maximum expressiveness and realism in producing acoustic instrument tones. Intuitive Behavior-Modeling parameters take this a step further by organically integrating subtle nuances like flamenco guitar strums and multi-mallet vibraphone rolls into your performance. The JP-80 also boasts an impressive virtual tonewheel organ and a wide array of “Supernatural Synths” that are a pleasure to play on its 76-note semi-weighted keyboard.

Jupiter-80 Demo Video Series!

For those of you curious to see the aforementioned features of the Jupiter-80 in action, we have produced a series of videos to showcase some of the synth’s Registrations and SuperNATURAL sounds and also provide an introduction to the JP-80′s screen interface and controls.

In the first two videos of our series, Roland’s Ed Diaz dissects some of the built-in Registrations on the Jupiter-80 and discusses how this synth pays homage to classic synthesizers of the past (such as the Juno 106). Videos 3 to 5 discuss Single Parts, behavior modeling parameters, the semi-weighted action on the Jupiter-80, and the synthesizer’s virtual tonewheel organ.

Here are all five videos in the series, which you can also watch on our YouTube channel:

Check out the Jupiter-80 at Austin Bazaar for more information and great deals on this and other great Roland products.

Austin Bazaar now sells Open Box and Used Gear!

What is Open Box? Open Box products are as good as new and sell at a discount. In some cases, they were simply returned by the customer before being played or they may have been used as display products in our storefront. We also do a lot of demo videos, so they might have seen the light of day for a test run only!

All open box products are fully functional, have been tested, and may even include the original manufacturer’s warranty. There may be minor cosmetic damage such as a scratch or dent, but nothing that will affect the instrument’s integrity.

Don’t like it? Not up to your standards? You can send it back! However, defective products must be reported within 48 hours of delivery. You’ll just need to email us at cs@austinbazaar.com to obtain a return authorization. More details on the return policy can be found on each product page.

Check out some of our Open Box picks for the week!

See more product details and descriptions here:

http://www.austinbazaar.com/Casio-WK-7500-Workstation-Keyboard-p/cas-wk7500-bstock.htm

http://www.austinbazaar.com/Dean-Performer-Koa-Acoustic-Electric-Guitar-p/dea-pe-koa-bstock.htm

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http://www.austinbazaar.com/Fender-Super-Sonic-60-Guitar-Amp-Head-p/fen-2160100410-bstock.htm

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22 years ago the music world lost an incredible singer-songwriter and blues guitarist, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Those of us lucky enough to live in Austin, Texas, are reminded daily of SRV’s impact and legacy. From the radio stations who still play his tunes to the iconic statue of SRV at Auditorium Shores, our city continues to celebrate his life. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen Stevie Ray jam, or have never seen him play, watch the video below. The crowd’s attire may look slightly outdated, but SRV’s ability to make a guitar sing will never go out of style.


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