The Best Acoustic Guitar Brands

We first published this guide to Acoustic Guitars way back in 2010 and now it's time to present you with our annual update for 2016 with some additional advice to help you choose the best guitar for your situation.


This page is sponsored by Sweetwater so you can click through to get the full specifications, the latest price, and purchase any of the Acoustic Guitars stocked by Sweetwater that we have recommended.

The brands and individual guitars that we have selected are based on a combination of our joint 80+ years of experience and the ratings and feedback from people who have bought them. The leading brands are dominated by Martin and Gibson/Epiphone as you might expect, however we now feel that Ibanez, PRS and Guild have earned their way into this list at the expense of Ovation - we had to make the cut somewhere.

There are a number of boutique brands that you could make a strong argument for, however in order to make our recommendations as useful as possible we have decided only to include those brands that are widely available at major music stores - both online and brick and mortar shops.

What to consider when buying an Acoustic Guitar

  • Woods

    The more solid wood there is, the better the overall resonance, sustain and tone of the acoustic guitar. Solid wood, specially those used on the tops of acoustics, also resonate better as it ages. The downside to solid wood is mainly its more premium cost, and not to mention it uses more wood resources than laminate wood. Solid wood is also more prone to damage, so they require extra care especially from changing weather and humidity. Laminate woods are more affordable, and they are also more sturdy and resistant to damage. On the flip side, they will lack the resonance and sustain of solid wood, but this can be a good thing if you're looking for vintage mid-range focused tone.

    In addition to choosing between laminate and solid wood, you also have to consider the type of the tonewood. Of particular importance is the choice of top wood, because it greatly affects the resulting sound. Spruce is popularly used for the tops of acoustics because of its punchy and bright tone. Mahogany tops on the other hand is preferred for its warm tone, with more emphasis on the lower mid frequencies. There are other types of wood that fall between the two, each one bringing a subtly different flavor to the resulting sound.

  • Neck / Nut Width

    Playing feel is an important consideration that many seem to neglect. You have to pay close attention to the scale length and nut width and neck profile, to make sure that the neck feels comfortable.

    Scale length describes the length that string has to be stretched on, from the nut to the bridge. Generally speaking, shorter scale length means softer string tension, making the instrument easier to play. Longer scale length allows for more fret space and more string tension which translates to more sustain. Shorter scale length is advisable for beginners, while experienced players ought to look for guitars with similar scale lengths so the playing feel stays the same even when switching between instruments. Nut width measures how wide the nut is, smaller means easier to play for players with smaller fingers, while wider nut widths allow for more space between each string. Finally, neck profile is the shape or curvature of the back of the neck, and the type of profile you want will depend on your preference, be it vintage style U profile with its fatter neck, or the more modern slim profiles.

  • Brands

    The top brands like the ones listed here typically have more reliable build quality than lesser brands. While there are boutique built acoustic guitars that deserve a spot on this list in terms of quality, we chose to focus on more accessible instruments that anybody can buy and play in the soonest possible time.
  • Price

    We've broken this list into 3 price brackets:

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

Firstly we'll look at a few of the best entry level guitars for beginners. These are affordable instruments that offer great value for your money in terms of specs, reliability and sound - thanks to stiff market competition. You will find that there are many nice acoustics in this segment, some even sporting solid tops and built-in electronics.

Epiphone DR-100

Epiphone DR-100

  This is Epiphone's best selling affordable acoustic guitar and many a young musician has had this as their first ever instrument. Detailed information below
Yamaha JR1

Yamaha JR1

  The Yamaha JR1 is a student-friendly 3/4 size acoustic guitar that's been getting good recommendations and high review ratings. Detailed information below
Washburn WD7S

Washburn WD7S

  The Washburn WD7S comes with solid spruce top and traditional looks that seem far more expensive than its actual price!. Detailed information below
Ibanez AW54

Ibanez AW54 OPN

  An affordable acoustic guitar with solid mahogany top, and the ease of playability expected from Ibanez. Detailed information below
Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic

Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat

  This Fender branded solid mahogany top acoustic offers premium looks and build, along with easy playability at a very affordable price point. Detailed information below
LX1E Little Martin

LX1E Little Martin

  A small travel size solid top acoustic guitar from big name acoustic guitar manufacturer Martin Guitars, put to big stage use by singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. Detailed information below
Guild Westerly D-120

Guild Westerly Collection D-120

  A reasonably priced and elegant looking dreadnought that churns out warm acoustic tones courtesy of its all-solid African mahogany body. Detailed information below
Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

  A true standout and instantly recognizable acoustic guitar with impressive cosmetic appointments, satisfactory specs and built-in electronics. Detailed information below

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000

This is where you will find the best bang per buck acoustic guitars listed, workhorse instruments that are highly rated and proven road-worthy by many guitar players. Whether you are an experienced weekend open-mic warrior or you are just starting get your music out there, this section is for you.
Taylor 110ce

Taylor 110ce

  The 110ce is a true full-sized Taylor guitar that you can get at a more accessible price point, while having the same open and versatile tone. Detailed information below
PRS SE Angelus Alex Lifeson Thinline

PRS SE Angelus Alex Lifeson Thinline

  An acoustic guitar that carries PRS' penchant for build quality, attention to detail and tone, co-developed by Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson. Detailed information below
Cordoba GK Studio

Cordoba GK Studio

  In a list of full of steel-string guitars, the nylon-string Flamenco-style acoustic-electric Cordoba GK Studio provides a refreshing alternative. Detailed information below
Yamaha A3M Cutaway

Yamaha A3M Cutaway

  The all-solid wood Yamaha A3M guitar gives you high-end features at a more accessible price point. Detailed information below

Premium Acoustic Guitars

While you certainly can make do with more affordable alternatives, there really is no replacing the pride and joy that you can get from experiencing and owning premium acoustic guitars. This section features the best acoustic guitars in the high-end market, drool worthy instruments that can be yours with (a whole lot of) hard work.
Takamine P3NY

Takamine P3NY "New Yorker"

  The all solid wood Takamine P3NY "New Yorker" parlor style guitar shows big name brands how premium guitars can be built without jacking up the price. Detailed information below
Martin OM-28 E Retro

Martin OM-28 E Retro

  The Martin OM-28 is the definitive orchestra shape acoustic guitar, featuring true to form all-solid wood specs and aesthetics. Detailed information below
Gibson Acoustic J-15

Gibson Acoustic J-15

  The Gibson Acoustic J-15 is a true workhorse acoustic that features old school looks, handcrafted build quality and premium sound. Detailed information below
Gibson L-00 Standard

Gibson L-00 Standard

  Own a piece of history with this modern reproduction of the '30s era parlor guitar, the Gibson L-00 Standard Detailed information below
Martin D-28 Marquis

Martin D-28 Marquis

  A true American dreadnought that descended from vintage D-28 guitars, which are considered by many to be among Martin's best production line instruments. Detailed information below
Martin 00-42SC John Mayer

Martin 00-42SC John Mayer

  If Bill Gates offered to buy you the best acoustic guitar for your birthday... check this one out! Detailed information below

Detailed Reviews:

Epiphone DR-100

Epiphone DR-100
Manufacturer: Epiphone | Retail Price:$119

Because of stiff competition in today's low-end market, guitar companies are constantly trying to outclass each other by improving the quality and value for money of their instruments. One brand that consistently tops in terms of sales and feedback is Epiphone, a sub-brand of Gibson that specializes in quality mass produced guitars. The DR-100 is a great example of their impressive ability to balance quality and affordability, garnering nearly perfect positive feedback for its build quality and sound.

This cheap acoustic guitar is highly recommended for beginners on a budget. It continues to stand among the best selling acoustics, and many a young musician has had this as their first ever guitar. It features a familiar combination of spruce top, mahogany body and neck, and rosewood fretboard. The guitar's classic configuration and traditional dreadnought shape works well with almost any type of music, from folk to rock and everything else in between.

Unfortunately this guitar does not come with a solid top, but for its price you really can't expect much. Still, it is much better than what guitarists of old had to start out with! If you are looking for a beginner's guitar to test the water or if budget is limited, then you should check out the Epiphone DR-100. It currently comes in 3 colors - Ebony, Natural, and Vintage Sunburst (my personal favorite among the three). The MSRP is 182.00 but most online guitar shops sell it for $109.

Buy the Epiphone DR-100 now or read the latest customer reviews at

Yamaha JR1

Yamaha continues to rank highly in the entry to mid-tier guitar market, thanks to their student friendly instruments. I for one took classical guitar lessons with a Yamaha classical that still plays and sound great up to this day. As expected, they have an entry in this affordable price range category, in the form of the 3/4 size JR1, which is essentially a smaller version of Yamaha's popular FG acoustic guitar.

This guitar is truly a practice friendly instrument, with its smaller body and shorter scale length of 21.25", this acoustic is definitely easy on the hands. The neck profile is specially beginner friendly, great for first timers who are looking to learn the instrument. The parlor style body makes it easy to handle and carry around, ideal for young players and students of the instrument who travel. The downside to having this smaller body design is the lack of low-end, but it does make up with articulation and comfort.

This guitar continues to rake in good reviews and recommendations, even from experienced players who are looking for a compact couch guitar. This says much about its build-quality, tone and production consistency. If you are just starting out and you are not sure what to get, or you're simply looking for an affordable grab-and-go guitar, then checkout the Yamaha JR1.

Buy the Yamaha JR1 now or read the latest customer reviews at

Washburn WD7S

Washburn is known for producing great value guitars, and they take their reputation seriously. While other guitar builders tend to compromise cosmetics, this company does not hold back on visual details even in the entry-level market. The WD7S shows the company's design philosophy in action, featuring elegant body binding and custom wood inlaid rosette that makes the guitar look far more expensive than its actual price.

And its not just about the looks, because this affordable guitar comes with a solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides. This means that you are getting a mid-tier instrument for the price of an entry level guitar, a beginner guitar that will grow with you as your ears become sharper and you learn to play better. Because of its conventional build, this acoustic has a warm and balanced tone that can sound bland to some, but it should make for a great starting point for those who are still discovering their own musical voice.

The playability and feel of this acoustic does not stray from classic dreadnoughts, having a scale length of 25.5" and nut width of 1.69". The WD7S is great bang per buck guitar, and it is my personal favorite in this price point. They really do mean it when they say that "Budget doesn't have to mean boring".

Buy the Washburn WD7S now or read the latest customer reviews at

Ibanez AW54

The Ibanez Artwood AW54 is easily the best bang-per-buck all-mahogany-body dreadnought in the market, for the price you are getting an acoustic with solid mahogany top, back and sides. I am definitely envious of students who have this as their first guitar, with its impressive specs and genuine vintage appeal. And it's not just for newbies, because experienced players appreciate the articulation and warm tones of this all-solid mahogany body guitar.

The AW54 showcases Ibanez' ability to mass produce quality acoustics for cheap, it's impressive how they are able to use premium specs like solid tonewoods and at the same time maintain the quality of each instrument they produce in this price range.

This guitar has a mahogany neck topped by a 20-fret rosewood fingerboard. It has a scale length of 25.62", while the nut width is 1.69". Since the AW54 is from Ibanez, you can expect the neck profile, string action and overall playability to be comfortable and beginner friendly. Wrapping up this affordable guitar's premium-like specs is its Open Pore Natural finish, which gives the instrument an earthy appeal that's easy on the eyes.

Buy the Ibanez AW54 now or read the latest customer reviews at

Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic

Unlike their electric guitar line which have a specific sub-brand Squier for affordable models, Fender's acoustic guitars fall under the same label regardless of the price. This single brand approach is probably implemented to use the brand name as leverage to help their reputation in the acoustic guitar market. The company currently has a number of acoustic guitar products bearing the Fender label, and the Tim Armstrong Hellcat is one of their more popular models at the entry level tier.

Instead of merely being student friendly, the Tim Armstrong Hellcat is a reliable workhorse instrument that can work both for practice and live performance. The comfortable concert shape, low action and slightly shorter 25.3" scale length make it ideal for beginners. While the solid mahogany top, elegant old school appeal and built-in electronics make it great for both casual jams and regular stage performances. More importantly, this guitar comes at a very tempting price point that makes deciding to buy it even more easier.

My only complaint for this acoustic is that it doesn't come in conventional spruce top configuration, but there is a 12-string version that looks just as impressive as this 6-string version. The Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic has been getting consistently great reviews, and we join the many guitarists who find this guitar to be highly commendable in this price bracket.

Buy the Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic now or read the latest customer reviews at

LX1E Little Martin

Small guitars were often looked at as mere travel or couch alternatives, but times have changed and they are making a comeback on big stages. The LX1E Little Martin is at the forefront of this rekindled interest, with artists like Ed Sheeran impressing big crowds with just his humble and small LX1E. Thankfully, its price has remained stable despite the its current worldwide recognition.

Coming from Martin's Travel Series, the LX1E Little Martin has smaller proportions, with a total length of 34", body width of 12", shorter scale length of 23" and 1 11/16" nut width. While it can be a bit too small for some, it is easy to appreciate its impressive workmanship, bearing the same build quality and materials as found on their more expensive models. With the LX1E, you can own an affordable Martin guitar that has been proven to be a true workhorse instrument.

The guitar features hand-rubbed solid Sitka Spruce top supported by Martin's incredibly reliable mahogany HPL (high pressure laminate) back and sides, essentially similar to the configuration found on many of Martin's mid-priced acoustics. If you're looking for an affordable starting instrument that has big-brand backing, or you are looking to get into the parlor-style guitar trend, check out the LX1E Little Martin.

Martin also make a top-rated parlor acoustic as well, but it's a lot more expensive selling for over $3,000.

Buy the LX1E Little Martin now or read the latest customer reviews at

Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

Epiphone Hummingbird Pro
Manufacturer: Epiphone | Retail Price:$329

The Epiphone brand scores another spot in this list with the Hummingbird Pro, a stylized take on the popular dreadnought shape. This guitar is the affordable version of the original Gibson Hummingbird, as seen in the hands of big name artists like Keith Richards, Noel Gallagher, Sheryl Crow and many more. It is a modern and more cost effective take on the guitar that Keith used on many of The Rolling Stones' popular tracks, including "Play with Fire" and "Satisfaction".

The Hummingbird Pro's unique look breaks the typical monotonous appearance of conventional acoustics, and it does so without straying too far from the familiar. It is easily identifiable by its uniquely shaped ornate pickguard, which matches the guitar's faded cherry sunburst finish. Whether you are on stage or just jamming with friends, you can be sure that this acoustic will stand out.

And its not just all about the looks, because this guitar comes with impressive specs for its price point. It has a solid spruce top, mahogany back & sides, rosewood fretboard and built-in electronics, all of which meet Epiphone's quality standards. It would have been nicer if an all-solid body version was available, but I guess it would be a problem for the premium Gibson version. Playability is also one of this acoustics strong points, following traditional specs that include 25.5" scale length and 1.68" nut width. If you're looking for an affordable workhorse guitar that will give you "satisfaction", then check out the Hummingbird Pro.

Buy the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro now or read the latest customer reviews at

Guild Westerly Collection D-120

Guild Westerly Collection D-120
Manufacturer: Guild | Retail Price:$498

First established in 1952, Guild has a long history of building guitars, and they draw from this experience with every guitar they produce. The company was previously acquired by Fender, and was sold to Cordoba back in 2014 - and they have since been making a steady comeback in the market. The Westerly Collection D-120 is a great example of what keeps the Guild brand alive - having impressive specs at accessible price points with Guild's characteristic old school appeal.

The D-120's all-mahogany body strays from conventional spruce top design, which results in a warmer and more articulate tone. This particular tone is ideal for guitarists who sing, and for those who accompany vocals, it also blends well with conventional spruce top acoustic guitars, easily cutting through the mix with its lower-mids emphasized voicing. And since the body is crafted from solid mahogany, you can be sure that the instrument grows with you, sounding better with age.

The neck is also crafted from mahogany, topped by a 20-fret rosewood fingerboard with a standard scale length of 25.5" and a nut width of 1.75". In contrast to its vintage looks, the neck follows a slim "C" profile that is as easy on the hands as it is on the ears. Finally, this guitar is wrapped in a nice gloss cherry red finish that stands out easily on any stage. Check this one out if you're looking for a quality mahogany body acoustic guitar with an old school vibe.

Buy the Guild Westerly Collection D-120 now or read the latest customer reviews at

Taylor 110ce

Taylor 110ce
Manufacturer: Taylor | Retail Price:$799

Taylor's rise to fame has been relatively quick, thanks to their combination of impressive build quality and tone. Their diverse list of celebrity endorsers also helped, which include artists from different musical styles like Tony Iommi, Jason Mraz and Taylor Swift. Founded in 1974, the company has grown to be a major competitor in the acoustic guitar market, challenging older and well established brands in many price points. The Taylor 110ce is one of their more popular models, a mid-priced acoustic with solid spruce top that makes for a great entry point for intermediate players who want a "branded" workhorse acoustic.

Since this guitar is from Taylor it benefits from the company's quality consistency, which applies to all their instruments regardless of price points. While aesthetics and materials are more affordable, it gets the same level of attention to detail and quality as the more premium models. This gives budget limited players the chance to have a true Taylor acoustic that plays like a "dream", and not a watered down version that plays and feels different.

The 110ce features a dreadnought body with modern cutaway that produces Taylor's signature open midrange and clear treble tone, it works really well with various styles of music. And since it comes with their ES-T under-saddle transducer system, this guitar is ready for the stage or for recording. While it may not be as affordable as we want it to be, the Taylor 110ce more than makes up with its quality and reliability. Mark your entry into the real world with this highly recommended acoustic-electric.

Buy the Taylor 110ce now or read the latest customer reviews at

PRS SE Angelus Alex Lifeson

Known for their premium electric guitars, PRS have been expanding into the acoustic realm, applying the same level of quality and craftsmanship into each acoustic guitar that they produce. Released just last year, the SE Alex Lifeson showcases the best qualities of PRS at a surprisingly accessible price point, while benefiting from the playing experience and expertise of Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson.

This guitar is a more affordable take on the more expensive Private Stock PRS guitar, having a slightly shallower body depth that helps alleviate feedback problems and make the guitar comfortable to play with. The top is crafted from solid spruce, while the back and sides are crafted from Dao wood, an affordable alternative to mahogany that grows in southeast Asia. The resulting combination gives the guitar a familiar punchy and open voicing, with added clarity as expected from PRS designed instruments.

The neck is crafted from mahogany with a 20 fret rosewood fingerboard. It follows Alex Lifeson approved specs that include a scale length of 25.35", and a nut width of 1.656". For plugging in, this guitar comes with a PRS undersaddle pickup system with soundhole mounted controls for volume and tone. Wether you're a fan of Rush or not, this is a great choice if you're looking for a slightly thinner acoustic for live performances.

Buy the PRS SE Angelus Alex Lifeson now or read the latest customer reviews at

Cordoba GK Studio

Cordoba is a fast growing guitar builder that specializes in nylon string acoustic instruments, played by artists like the Gypsy Kings and Bon Iver just to name a few. And with their ever increasing reputation, we find it only fitting to give them a spot on this list, specifically for the impressive quality and tone of the GK Studio. This nylong string guitar incidentally provides a refreshing break from the many steel-string acoustics that are featured here.

The GK Studio mixes traditional flamenco construction techniques, a comfortable body shape and modern Fishman electronics, resulting in an easy to play nylon-string guitar that can be plugged in for stage use. My main concern about this guitar is its slightly thinner body depth, neck and nutwidth(1.96"), but these are calculated tweaks that should make this classical guitar play and feel more akin to conventional steel-string acoustics.

Tone wise, flamenco players appreciate the snappy and bright tone that this guitar reproduces, while acoustic guitarists find the playability and feel to be easy to transition to. Whether you want to focus on classical flamenco style, or you are merely looking to the sound of nylon string guitars into your collection, the GK Studio will not disappoint. The combination of its solid European spruce top and Cypress back and sides is a treat to look at and great to listen to. You can visit Cordoba Guitars for the complete specifications. You can also see two more Cordobas in our nylon string guitar roundup.

Buy the Cordoba GK Studio now or read the latest customer reviews at

Yamaha A3M

There was a time when Yamaha were thought of as just a guitar maker for students and beginners - but those days are long gone and Yamaha now produce quality acoustics that compete favorably with the best in this category, and the A3M with it's all-solid wood body and built in pickups with preamp, is becoming a favorite of many. Having premium level specs at mid-tier pricing is like a dream come true, the main reason why we consider the A3M as the best value for money acoustic in this section.

The Yamaha A3M gives you high-end features for a lot less money, starting off with its solid spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides. This all solid body gives the A3M a richer and more open acoustic tone, something that you will have to pay top dollars for from other acoustic brands. My only concern is that it looks a little too regular and bland, but this issue is trivial when considering its affordable price and top-tier specs.

Being a true pro-level instrument, the Yamaha A3M comes with a cutaway body and built-in S.R.T piezo/pickups. Playability remains beginner friendly, with a low action setup that new players will easily master. And since it comes with an all-solid wood body, this guitar will only sound better and better as it ages. If you are looking for a more long term instrument at the sub $1000 level, check out the A3M.

Buy the Yamaha A3M Reissue now or read the latest customer reviews at

Takamine P3NY "New Yorker"

The Takamine brand helps prevent big brand manufacturers from setting their prices too high - by showing them that great guitars can be produced at reasonable prices. On top of their bang per buck reputation, Takamine is considered as the pioneer of installing built-in pickups into acoustics, something that is now a common configuration offered by majority of guitar builders. The Takamine P3NY showcases how impressive tonewoods and electronics can be implemented without ridiculously jacking up the price.

This acoustic-electric parlor style guitar features a solid cedar top and solid sapele back and sides, premium appointments that other builders will require you to pay top dollars for. And it features old school parlor style body shape, which gives the instrument a vintage appeal, and blues box style tone with emphasis on the middle frequencies. This makes it ideal for blues, folk and old school comping, a good contrast to regular sized acoustics in a mix.

Another strong point of this guitar is its African mahogany neck that has a close to standard scale length of 25.3", making this instrument very easy to transition to when coming from regular sized guitars. Also noteworthy is its innovative split bone saddle, which allows for better intonation. Finally, the CT4B preamp gives you 3-band EQ, a volume control and a nifty built-in tuner Artists that play Takamine guitars include John Scofield, Bruce Springsteen and Bruno Mars! This is a great buy if you are looking for a premium couch & travel friendly acoustic guitar that does not cost an arm and a leg.

Buy the Takamine P3NY "New Yorker" now or read the latest customer reviews at

Martin OM-28 E Retro

The Orchestra Model (OM) shape, with its sleek look and versatile acoustic voice, is one of C.F. Martin & Co's most popular guitar shapes. A number of iconic guitarists prefer this particular line, including legends like Eric Clapton and his protégé, John Mayer. I for one own an all-solid wood Martin OMCPA4, and it continues to exceed my expectations. While I have no regrets over my guitar, I have to admit that if I had the funds, I would have gone for the definitive Orchestra Model, the OM-28 E Retro.

The OM-28 E Retro is one of the more recent guitars to come from Martin's OM line, and it is the consummate '30s era style acoustic guitar. The company took their time to carefully replicate vintage OM-28 guitars, from the aged solid sitka spruce top and solid East Indian Rosewood back & sides, down to the smallest appointments - resulting in a guitar that not only sounds amazing, but looks museum-level amazing as well.

This guitar follows traditional Martin specs with a 25.4" scale length and a 1.75" nut width, and they also gave the neck and ebony fretboard a worn-in feel that makes the guitar play extremely well right out of the case that it comes with. On top of its true to form vintage sound, playability and looks, the OM-28 E Retro is equipped with the extremely versatile Fishman F1 Aura Plus, which offers three acoustic voicings modeled from actual Martin Museum guitars. If you play various musical styles and you're looking for a be-all and end-all acoustic guitar, you will be blown away by the OM-28 E Retro.

Buy the Martin OM-28 E Retro now or read the latest customer reviews at

Gibson Acoustic J-15

Gibson Acoustic J-15
Manufacturer: Gibson | Retail Price:$1,499

Gibson is easily one of the most identifiable guitar brands in the world today, and even with the premium price tags of their instruments, many continue to look up to them as their dream instruments. Thankfully, the company has toned down the price a bit on some of their guitars, one of which is the J-15, which enters this list with its good balance of workhorse ready features, premium prestige and reasonable price tag.

This guitar was first introduced in 2014, and has since been one of their more popular acoustics - thanks to its USA hand-crafted quality which you can own for a relatively accessible cost. The guitar is built using North American tonewoods that include solid walnut back and sides, along with a solid Sitka spruce for the top. This configuration, along with Gibson's premium build quality results in a balanced and full sounding acoustic voice, that elegantly matches the vibe of the instrument.

Interestingly, the neck is crafted from maple, topped by a 20-fret walnut fingerboard which complements the back and sides nicely. Following the specs of older Gibson guitars, the scale length is shorter at 24.75", while the nut width is 1.725", which gives the instrument a comfortable playing feel. Adding to the already good vale of this guitar is the built-in LR Baggs Element electronics for stage performance, with discrete soundhole mounted volume control. If you are looking for a handcrafted workhorse acoustic guitar that will not break the bank, then check this out.

Buy the Gibson Acoustic J-15 now or read the latest customer reviews at

Gibson L-00 Standard

Gibson L-00 Standard
Manufacturer: Gibson | Retail Price:$2,349

What we consider as standard size today were not so standard back in the '30s. Back then the "parlor guitar" or "blues box" was commonly used, with its compact body and mid-emphasized tone. Many artists used this instrument to shape many of the musical styles that we have today. The L-00 Standard from Gibson captures the iconic "blues box" faithfully for today's players, adding in their premium touch and modern tech that results in a true timeless museum quality instrument.

The L-00 carries over the airy nasal tone and midrange emphasis of the original, making it great for tasty slide and classic rock riffs. Your favorite blues licks will also have more oomph when played through this blues box. For something so small, this parlor guitar can compete with standard size acoustics in terms of volume. Its solid sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides work together well to give this seemingly diminutive instrument great clarity and good low end.

Gibson gave this guitar a comfortable V neck profile, which together with shorter 24.75" scale length and 1.725" nut width make this guitar one of the easiest instruments to play in this list. My only complaint with this guitar is its bank breaking price, but this steep price point and exclusivity play an important role in making this iconic instrument more appealing. Start saving now if you want to be one of the privileged few who can play this guitar.

Buy the Gibson L-00 Standard now or read the latest customer reviews at

Martin D-28 Marquis

Developed by Martin in 1916, the dreadnought shape changed the landscape of acoustic guitars. Thanks to its punchy sound, loud volume and improved bottom end, dreadnoughts quickly rose to popularity and has since been copied by virtually every acoustic guitar manufacturer. Today, if you're thinking acoustic guitar, the most probable image in your mind would be of a Martin Dreadnought or one of its many clones.

The Martin D-28 Marquis is a modern recreation of the dreadnoughts that came from Martin's "golden era", which falls between 1930 to 1940. Since vintage D-28 specimens that were built in the '30s were being sold for more than 30 grand, the company decided to give today's guitarists a chance to own one at a more reasonable price point. Carrying with it the same premium all-solid build that include a solid Adirondack spruce top, solid east Indian rosewood back and sides, solid mahogany neck and solid ebony fretboard - you can expect this acoustic guitar to sound as Martin-y as possible.

There's also the bonus of having a special aging toner applied to the top to give the D-28 Marquis the appearance, feel and tone that is similar to aged instruments. All of this are provided without the inherent maintenance issues and crazy price tags of actual vintage models. If you're looking for a true traditional acoustic then your best bet is to go for the Martin D-28 Marquis. The MSRP is $5499 but you can get it online for around $4,549.

Buy the Martin D-28 Marquis now or read the latest customer reviews at


If Bill Gates offered to buy you the best acoustic guitar for your birthday...

Martin 00-42SC John Mayer

Martin 00-42SC John Mayer
Martin & Co is without a doubt one of the most reputable acoustic guitar makers in the world, so if you or someone you know is planning to spend a lot of dough on an acoustic guitar - it best be a Martin. One of the more recent releases from Martin that deserve special mention here is the 00-42SC John Mayer, a signature guitar inspired by the classic Stage Coach(SC) design, which were prevalent in an era where small bodied parlor guitars were highly favored.

The guitar is hand-made by Martin's top luthiers, using exotic cocobolo wood for the back and sides, mixed with a more conventional solid sitka spruce top. As expected from a high-end instrument, this guitar features impressive visual appointments, most notable of which is its ivoroid binding, beautiful rosette and fretboard inlays. While its price tag and looks may push you to just hide this guitar in the closet, know that this instrument is built to make music in the road or in the studio. Martin employed modern bracing and construction techniques to ensure the guitar stays reliable, beautiful and great sounding for a long time. Those that are lucky enough to own this guitar have themselves a treasure that they can pass down to the next generation of players.

MSRP is $9,999 but the street price is $8,359.

Go to the Martin 00-42SC John Mayer page now.

Sweetwater Thank you to Sweetwater for their sponsorship and providing the full specifications for the guitars above where possible. You can see more acoustic guitars at

You can tell the world which guitars you feel should be on this list by writing on the comments section below.

One last tip: If you're going to be doing some recording with an acoustic, you should check out this gear guide: The Best Microphones for Recording Acoustic Guitar

Related Items:

acoustic guitar If you're looking for acoustics in the sub $1000 price range, then take a look at our further recommendations here.

acoustic-electric The 5 Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars Under $500.

Top 7 Best Acoustic Guitars for Under $300 Here is what we rate as the best acoustics available for under $300.

acoustic guitar Here are the best cheap acoustic guitars in the $100 to $200 range.

electric guitars Check out this collection of electric brands which our team here are have rated as the best.

acoustic guitar case And here are further roundups of some important acoustic guitar accessories & addons: Cases - Guitar Straps - Tuners - Acoustic Pickups - Specialized Amplifiers

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Haha, I was like, wait why

Haha, I was like, wait why is there only one Taylor so far when I read the intermediate section. You're right, there are just too many Taylors...haha...


great collection! :)

Where is Takamine?

Takamine 2010 Limited Edition Dreadnought should have been in the list

So what kind of wood is suitable for production of the guitar it

So what kind of wood is suitable for production of the guitar it? And what kind of wood in turn impact on the sound. For readers, how to select a sound of guitar or bass for their own is also an important issue. We now choose to discuss some common materials.

Wood types and sound

I produce dreadnought and dreadnought cutaways with sitka spruce tops and a choice of mahogany or East Indian Rosewood back and sides.

The mahogany produces a loud but mellow sound. The rosewood being a harder denser wood produces a sharper sound... it is not as mellow as the mahogany but still able to project the sound very loudly.

Anther thing that greatly effect the sound quality and allow for the projection of sound is the bracing. I always use the scalloped bracing. Removing a little wood from the bracing in the scalloped design allows the sound board to vibrate more producing a larger volume of sound.
Guitars and guitar kits including a replica
of the Languedoc style Guitar

Washburn D46S

Washburns D46S should have made the cut. I've never had a better guitar ever! The ash back and sides compliments the rich tone produced by the spruce top and the action is beautiful. It cost me $329 when I bought it. Mine is left handed and very few stores will sell the leftys.

best american guitar?

Maybe it should be renamed best american acoustic guitar? I don't see 1 spanish guitar there. or perhaps ramirez or rodriquez guitars don't compare?

Maybe we should do a page on Nylon Stringed / Spanish Guitars

You make a good point - but this page was only intended to be about steel string guitars.

There are guitars on this page from outside America, so I guess you're referring to nylon stringed guitars.

I'll put a special page for nylon string guitars (which I play myself) on the list of things to do - but it will take a while because there's a lot of research that goes into producing a special page like this.

Gibson SJ-250 Monarch

That Gibson SJ-250 Monarch... nice looking box -

But will it sound better than my fifty year old, beaten up old Yamaha FG140?

Frankly I'm really not impressed by anything made by Gibson, and their prices are

As for Taylors.
Nice looking boxes, but overpriced, pretentious crap.
Not even very well made, I played one recently with some of the roughest fret edges I'd ever seen.


Man , I never heard a guy badmouth Gibson and Taylor in the same sitting. I ve owned a Taylor 314 and 814. Both are beautifully made and easier to play than Gibson or Martin. No fret drag at all. If you can only own one guitar, get one thats versatile like a Taylor 314. It strums and fingerpicks brightly. Not thumpy like some others.

Forgot one key brand

After reading all these reviews there is one important thing missing. Guilds are not on the list. I own a guild d55 and a GAD 50E and a couple gibsons and my guilds beat em hands down for sound, feel, price and quality. PRS make some smokin acoustics to, but you would need to sell your organs to pay for one.


Yes, Guilds are good!

You make a good point about Guilds - they are deserving, and when we update this list they will stand a strong chance of being included.

However, I wouldn't sell a Hammond to buy a PRS - maybe an old Casio though :)


Guilds is in fact one of the good acoustic guitar amongst the many branded brand.

where is Lakewood??

no lakewoods here?? really??? are they that crappy about guitars??? i thought they were one of the best. . .

CD-60 Dreadnaught

For the money, it is just hard to beat the CD-60 Dreadnaught. It is easier to learn on and for people like me, with small hands, it is just easier to play. Doesn't have the sound quality of some high enders, but, for the money, good guitar.

beginner guitar

Thank you for listing of Guitar..I am very interested like this musical instruments..
Wow,,Its amazing.!!It helps to the buyers who are really interested in bands and musics.

i want to start my guitar

i want to start my guitar lessons from next month onwards so i want to buy new acoustic guitar so whts the best beginner guitar below $100

An acoustic guitar for under

An acoustic guitar for under $100 is like buying a car for $300. Is there an engine in it? Probably not.
The lowest I'd tell you to go is $200. Seek out the WD10S from Washburn. It ranks in the top 5 for guitars in that price range on any list you'll find. It has a solid spruce top and is actually a good little guitar. You may be able to find a used one in about the $100 - $150 price range. Good luck!


The best acoustic under $100

The best new acoustic guitar in that price range is the Epiphone DR-100 at the top of the list above.

TM has a good point - you could get a better one second hand - but there are many pitfalls when you don't know what to look out for in a second hand guitar.

The truth is that right now you have no way of knowing what you'll want in the long run, and any guitar you buy now with your budget is going to be one you outgrow in a year or so.

My opinion is that you should go with a brand new Epiphone DR-100 for now, and then once you understand the instrument better you'll be in a much better position to decide what you really want in the long term, and in a much better position to understand what you're getting when you buy second hand.

Cheap guitar

Dont buy too cheap. The cheaper the guitar, the harder to play and the less quality the sound. You want a rewarding feel and sound or you will get discouraged. Buy a better guitar used than a new one cheap. Are you going to learn chords or fingerpicking ? Some guitars are better sounding for one than the other. Some like Taylors are versatile and provide good sound for both. Be smart. Good luck.

Epiphone DR-100

I think gibson guitar brand is the best, his voice clear as Epiphone DR-100, but now I still do not have money to buy it.

If you haven't tried a

If you haven't tried a higher end Yairi then you have missed it. These are great hand crafted guitars with a very good neck and great sound. They are branded Alverez in the US but be sure it is one of the Yairi made. There are not lots of them made due the the complete hand crafted design. You don't find them in the music stores much but they should be there. I have owned one for many years and have yet to pick up any other guitar that can match it in my opinion

yari alvarez guitar

I agree I have a yari signature series and before I bought it I tried 4 or 5 Martins and still prefered the Yari

Beginners lefthand guitars


I am very much interested in learning guitar and basically left handed. Can u plz suggest left handed models for beginners.

m abt 2 strt learnin ma

m abt 2 strt learnin ma guitar. I am 17. N need a guitar upto 3000- 4000. Cn u plz recommnd me sum.

I would call it waistful or

I would call it waistful or just plain ignorant to buy a $3000 guitar if your learning. Unless your actually a musician, buy yourself a decent$200 fender or whatever it may be and learn on that. Theres not that much diferrence if any at all, at least to someoe who doesnt know how to play yet. If youve got it like that do yourself a favor, buy a $3000 dollar guitarand whn you give up on it like most do in two or three months, find someone who actually plays and can appreciate a guitar of that quality and make his day and give it to someone deserving.

I assume you have mentioned

I assume you have mentioned in INR. Which guitar did you buy? and considering you have 3 years experience in guitar, which one will you suggest for a beginner like me?

guitar pricing needed

I got a pre 1970 Suzuki guitar with a no.12 printer inside on the man. logo i am trying to find out how much it is worth

Bill Gates

I'm now trying to send bill gates a email asking "Would you like to buy a guitar for me"

Acoustic Guitars Best

$500 Range Epiphone Masterbilt or Alvarez Masterworks (all solid woods)Used they go for $300 on Ebay. $100-$300 Hmm good luck. Try the Washburns, or anything you can get with a solid top.

how much is my Bravo Model No.BC-20N?

How much is it?


pls hw can i get this guitar model;AFS75T. FINISH;TOBACCO FLAT...i would be grate ful if u can help me with it

Great compiled list!!

This post was written in 2010. Any differences for this year?
Gibson SJ-250 Monarch for 25,ooo? Will Bill Gates ever want to buy this high end guitar?
Really nice list btw.. :)

We are working on an update

We are working on an update for 2012 - I can't yet tell you when it will be available, but stay tuned...

Seagull S6 is good. And

Seagull S6 is good. And inexpensive. A lot says its sound is comparable to Martins at a fraction of the price. Several websites list it as the best beginner guitar.

forget about the american

forget about the american guitars if you want a guitar that want break the bank but wouldnt be out of place in any company you cant go past australia guitars maton or if you really a blessed a cole clark fat lady or angel. Im not australian by the way, cant stand the auckers but they sure no how to make guitars ask jack johnson

2011 R M Olson Herringbone Dreadnought Cutaway

Your missing the solid wood guitars that look and sound like Martins but are in the $450.00 price range.

Please put the Chords or

Please put the Chords or tablature out for Ry Cooder's "SOUTHERN COMFORT"

Rare and Vintage Washburn D-42-SW Acoustic Guitar with Hard Case

I have for sale a 1995(only production year) rare and vintage D-42-SW Harvest Washburn Guitar for $650.00 with hard case. If you are interested in purchasing this rare beauty, please email me at This guitar is in excellent condition and rarely played.

Chuck Middleton
Lafayette, LA
337-315-2350(m) for call or text

about lovely collection of Guitar

Nice post and i really like the way you write this. As I also love to play Guitar specially Acoustic. I really like the Yamaha LL6 brand.

Ibanez Artwood Series

we were given an Ibanez acoustic guitar and was wondering if anyone knew the history of this guitar.


Artwood Series AW-60

It is hard to read but either 81120173D or B1120173D

It is signed, not a printed signature but an actual hand cursive signature of M Honda

It is made in Japan

It has original Ibanez smooth tuner II machine heads

Inside on the neck block is printed 130165 with an "X" stamped below the number.

Is there any where here I can post pictures of it and the label?

The best guitar bar none is

The best guitar bar none is the Garrison g50

I bought a Yamaha EC-10

I bought a Yamaha EC-10 classical at a garage sale for $5.00. It was still in the cardboard box and never played according to the seller. The guitar is full size and looks cool and has real good volume and good bass, but I'd still like to get more bass out of it. I'm thinking of making some modifications to my guitar so that I can fit it with actual bass guitar strings, nylon ones. A friend of mine said I'd wreck up my guitar if I did this. Would I wreck the guitar putting bass strings on it or could I make a bass out of it?

That would be a bad idea -

That would be a bad idea - even if you could fit the bass strings on (which I doubt) the tension would be too high and would warp the neck, or down an octave they'd be too loose and you'd have heaps of fret buzzing.

If you want more bass on the bottom strings, try different brands of strings and find ones which are less 'bright' on your guitar.

What about Collings guitars

What about Collings guitars are they no good

My thoughts exactly -

My thoughts exactly - peerless guitars!

Classcial Guitar Builder for 6 8 10 string solid guitar

Dreams of Forests Handcraft Guitar manufacture is one of top-level professional solid classic guitar builder in China, established 1993. Our resonators are handmade by skilled workers with 10 years experiences;For more information, please view our web site Thanks for your attention.

Stonebridge (formerly known as Furch)

If you've never heard of the above you are in for a treat.They are the best guitars in the world for the price and you will be knocked out by their sound and qulality.Anything as good or better is double the price.My Yamaha FG170 cannot be beaten for price do checkout secondhand vintage Yammies which destroy Lowdens,plastic Taylors etc

looking for info

I have inherited a heater "H300N" acoustic guitar but I can't find any info on it. The most I could find is that it was from the L. D. Heater Music Company that was based out of Beaverton, Oregon. They were best known for being a distributer of Lyle Guitars. Can anyone else offer additional information or where to find it? It's a bueatiful guitar and I want to know more info before I give it to my nephew or sell it.


Don't underrate Ibanez

Ibanez makes some absolutely killer acoustic guitars at the budget level. I've played on one for years, and all my friends comment on how nice it sounds. As it has aged it has gotten sweeter sounding and warmer as well. IIRC I paid 300 bucks for it back in the early aughts.

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