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The Acoustic Guitar
It's the songwriter's best friend!

Do you own an acoustic guitar? If not, you're missing one of the best songwriting tools on the planet.

No matter what your primary instrument is, an acoustic guitar can really get those creative juices flowing.

Why? Because it's portable, doesn't need to be connected to a bunch of equipment before it can be used, and most of all, it's fun to play. Okay, an acoustic piano is cool, too, but you can't take it on a backpacking expedition.

Martin HD-28VE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Martin HD-28VE Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Tip 1: Instead of buying two or three inexpensive guitars, buy just one, but make it the best you can afford. A 'pawn shop special' may seem like a bargain at first, but it'll likely cause you problems down the road. A hard-to-play instrument won't be enjoyed nearly as much as one that is easy to play and sounds great. Pay a few dollars more and get something that you won't outgrow.

Tip 2: If you can, buy a name brand instrument. It will have a higher resale value, should you decide to trade it in at a later time (or sell it outright). Some of the best acoustic guitars are made by Taylor, Martin, Guild, Breedlove, Gibson, Ibanez, and Takamine.

Tip 3: If there's any chance that you might record with your guitar, or play it live on stage, consider purchasing a guitar that is equipped with a transducer and internal preamp. This will allow you to plug your guitar into a PA system, keyboard amp, recording console, or even your home stereo.

Tip 4: Perhaps the best acoustic-electric sound available is from Taylor guitars with the Expression System. Not only do these amazing instruments sound great through a PA system or a specially-made acoustic amplifier, they even sound good when played through a regular electric guitar amp! And if you ever decide you want to sell it, Expression system instruments command higher prices than those with other transducer setups.

Tip 5: Be sure to get a hard case for your guitar. It'll help keep your instrument in good condition while you take it to the beach, on the road, and jamming with your friends. Let your case absorb the bumps and bruises: not your guitar!

Tip 6: Keep your guitar ready to use at a moment's notice. This is easy by keeping your guitar on a guitar stand or a wall-mount guitar hanger. Now when the mood strikes, your guitar will be all set to help you write that hit song!

Tip 7: Don't worry if you can't tune a guitar by yourself. You can purchase an electronic guitar tuner that will make this an easy process, instead of a chore. There are even fairly recent models that will tune by strumming all the strings at once. Now there's no excuse for not being in tune!

Tip 8: If you travel, consider adding a ravel guitar to your music arsenal. These amazing instruments pack small, yet play like a full-sized guitar. Not only will it help pass the time in your hotel room, but it'll be at your beck and call for that 2 AM inspiration that you'd otherwise forget as you get ready for your regular day's routine.

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