How we test beginner acoustic guitars

Man testing an acoustic guitar
(Image credit: Future)

At Guitar World, our passion lies in exploring the best six-string innovations. From high-quality acoustic guitars to classical nylon-string instruments, electric guitars, and amplifiers, our expert team meticulously assesses each product to ensure we only recommend the best in our buyer's guides. Our rigorous testing process allows us to endorse top-quality guitars confidently, providing you with the assurance that you're investing in a superior instrument.

Today, we're going to detail our testing method for beginner acoustic guitars. We fully understand that selecting your first acoustic guitar can be scary, but we're here to simplify it. We've outlined the criteria we use to evaluate beginner acoustic guitars. This guide will help you navigate the selection process and find the perfect instrument to meet your needs.

Michael Astley-Brown
Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

Paul Riario
Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.

Daryl Robertson
Daryl Robertson

As a Senior Deals Writer, Daryl helps create and maintain the 200+ buyer's guides on the Guitar World site. He also spends a lot of my time getting hands-on with the latest guitars, amps, and pedals - with his gear reviews being published in prominent publications, including Total Guitar and Future Music magazines, as well as on During his career, Daryl has also interviewed many of his musical heroes, including Slash and members of Sum 41, Foo Fighters, Feeder, and more.

In a past life, Daryl worked in music retail. For a little under a decade, he advised everyone from absolute beginners and their parents to seasoned pros on the right gear for their needs, which has equipped me perfectly for my current role.

Guitar World author Matt McCracken
Matt McCracken

Matt is a Junior Deals Writer at Guitar World and has been playing guitar as his main instrument for well over 20 years. He also plays drums, bass, and keys producing out of his home studio in Manchester, UK. He has previously worked for Dawsons Music, Northwest Guitars, and freelanced for various magazines and blogs, writing reviews, how-to's, and features. When he's not downloading the latest VSTs or justifying yet another guitar pedal purchase, you'll find him making a racket with Northern noise hounds JACKALS

Chris Corfield author image
Chris Corfield

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands, including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World, Total Guitar, and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths to microphones and music production hardware.

Richard Blenkinsop profile pic
Richard Blenkinsop

After spending a decade in music retail, Richard is now a freelance writer for Guitar World, MusicRadar, Guitar Player, and Reverb, specializing in electric and acoustic guitars, bass, and almost anything else you can make a tune with. When his head’s not buried in the best of modern and vintage gear, he runs a small company helping musicians with songwriting, production, and performance, and he even plays bass in an alt-rock band.

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Daryl Robertson
Senior Deals Writer

Daryl is a Senior Deals Writer at Guitar World, where he creates and maintains our 200+ buyer's guides, finds the best deals on guitar products, and tests the latest gear. His reviews have been featured in prominent publications like Total Guitar, Future Music magazine, and

During his career, he has been lucky enough to talk to many of his musical heroes, having interviewed Slash and members of Sum 41, Foo Fighters, Feeder, Thrice, and more. In a past life, Daryl worked in music retail. For a little under a decade, he advised everyone from absolute beginners to seasoned pros on the right gear for their needs. 

Daryl is also a fully qualified sound engineer, holding a first-class Bachelor's degree in Creative Sound Production from the University of Abertay.