No matter how good your lyrics, you’re going to need a good guitar as your songwriting partner to get the melody down. While some songwriters focus on lyrics and bring in a partner who specializes in creating music, you can actually do it all yourself if you want.
Of course, you’ll need to learn how to play guitar if you don’t already know how, but honestly you can get by with just a few basic chords.
When you’re writing the music for your own songs, you need an instrument that really lets you bang it out the way that you hear it in your head. While some people prefer a keyboard, we think you can’t go wrong with a quality acoustic guitar.
Plenty of singer-songwriter types have used the humble guitar for this very purpose for years and we tend to agree with them. Below, we’ll share some of our editor favorites when it comes to the best acoustic models for strumming along as you write your songs.
Top 10 Best Songwriting Guitars for the Money
What To Consider
While pretty much any model will get the job done, there are a few tried and true things for you to consider before picking up the first six string that catches your eye. We’re assuming that you’re a singer-songwriter and will be humming or singing along as you strum. So, keep that in mind as you consider our recommendations and shopping tips.
The number one most important thing to remember when shopping is that you need an instrument that you are comfortable with. And we’re not just talking about something that feels comfortable in your hands. You need to be able to sit or stand with it – and you probably need to be able to lean over toward your notebook and jot down some lyrics while it is sitting your lap. Basically, it needs to be a comfortable extension of your body so that it doesn’t interfere with the process.
Always go with a small-body model instead of something bigger. Sure, that dreadnought is a beauty and the sound is amazing, but it’s also large – too large to be comfortable for your songwriting needs. Those small body guitars aren’t just for people with small hands! There’s a reason that singer-songwriters like Ed Sheeran prefer those smaller models, and you should too.
It goes without saying that you want a model that delivers a good sound. However, you don’t want something that is too loud since you’ll be trying to sing over it. This is another reason that small body models are your best choice since their volume won’t overpower your singing. Or, maybe you have a big voice and you can handle a louder Taylor that can compete with your singing voice.
The style of music that you’re writing also plays a small part in which guitar you should choose for your songwriting sessions. For instance, if you write folk music, then you may prefer a classical guitar. If you’re not sure, then you could get a steel string and a nylon string model so that you can switch back and forth between the two.
Do You Play Open Mic Nights?
If you play any gigs, like songwriter open mic nights, then you might want to go with a model that you can use on the stage. In this instance, we’d recommend something with built-in pickup, like one of the acoustic/electric models by Ibanez.
It might not seem like a big deal, but the wood combo used to make the guitar should also be considered – especially if you are primarily a vocalist. If you tend to have a somewhat quiet singing voice, then you’ll wanna skip the rosewood models because your voice will get lost in the heavier overtones. Maple and mahogany are good options for most singers looking for a good guitar for songwriting. In fact, we think vocals tend to sound the best against the maple tones.To give you a good idea of the differences between the various wood combinations, check out the video below which shows you the same model in three different wood variations. We think you’ll find the differences quite interesting.
Here’s are the basics on the differences:
- Maple: clear, punchy sound
- Rosewood: good sustain and overtones
- Mahogany: growl in the bass and strong fundamentals
Now that we’ve given you tips on find the best model to meet your songwriting needs, it’s up to you to get yourself one and starting banging out new music.