The Best Acoustic Guitar Brands - 2019

This is the 2019 version of our guide to the Best Acoustic Guitar Brands that we began publishing back in 2010. This year we've adopted a new format where we present our selection of the Top 10 brands then provide 2 recommendations from each brand.

Sweetwater

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 acoustic guitar's basic design remains relatively unchanged, even after many years of technological advances. But this does not stop manufacturers from developing new ways to up the overall quality and appeal of the instrument.

Here we honor the top brands that continue to meet, if not exceed, the expectations of acoustic guitar players, selected based on a combination of our joint 80+ years of experience and the ratings and feedback from people who have bought them, including our insider access to Gearank ratings.

The Best Acoustic Guitar Brands 2019

Things to consider when buying an Acoustic Guitar

Caring For Your New Guitar
The acoustic guitar has a hollow wooden body, which while feels solid to the touch, is a bit fragile, and can be affected by humidity and temperature changes. As such, handling and playing requires extra care, you don't want to inadvertently scratch or bump your guitar. And it goes without saying that you should be careful not to drop it. In addition to careful handling, a good guitar case will help prolong the life and maintain the playability of your guitar. It will also make transporting your guitar safer and easier. Humidifiers and Hydrometers are also essential tools to monitor and maintain right humidity for your guitar. We also recommend getting a good guitar stand so you don't have to put down your guitar on places where it can potentially be damaged. Having a guitar strap is a given if you're planning on playing while standing. Finally, you'll want to regularly clean your acoustic guitar, thankfully there are plenty of cleaning and maintenance kits (Ad link to Sweetwater) available.

Wood
The use of solid woods on an acoustic guitar is preferred by many because of the improved resonance and sustain they provide. Solid wood, especially when used on guitar tops (the piece on the front that has the sound hole), also ages better in terms of looks and tone. The downside to solid wood is the extra cost, and not to mention it uses more wood resources than laminate. Solid wood is also more prone to damage, so they require extra care especially from changing weather and humidity. Laminate wood is more affordable, it is also generally sturdy and resistant to weather changes. 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, are preferred for their 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.

Playability
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, basically from the nut to the bridge, or technically twice the distance from the nut to the 12th fret plus compensation for the saddle position. 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 lengths can be good for beginners because the lower tension makes them easier on the fretting fingers when starting out.
  • 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.

Will You Need To Amplify Your Acoustic Guitar?
If you're a beginner then it's usually better to get one with pickups already installed which is called an Acoustic-Electric Guitar - see these guides: Acoustic-Electrics from $200 to $500 and Acoustic Electrics Up To $1000. If you would prefer to select and install your own pickups then see our guide to Acoustic Guitar Pickups. Note that most amps designed for electric guitars don't work very well with acoustic guitars due to unwanted coloring of the tone and a lack of feedback control so you might like to take a look at this guide to Acoustic Guitar Amps.

The Top 10 Acoustic Guitar Brands in Order:

1. Martin

C.F. Martin & Co. The C.F. Martin & Co logo is hard to miss, thanks to the many iconic musicians that have used it throughout the years, including Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Ed Sheeran and many more. And it's not just about being popular, because this company came up with the all too familiar dreadnought shape, and the x-bracing top support. After almost two centuries of making instruments, Martin continues to be the gold standard when it comes to acoutic guitar quality, deserving of nothing less than the top spot in this list. They have also expanded into the mid-tier market with more affordable guitar offerings, allowing more players to experience owning a Martin guitar.
  Premium Martin D-28 Authentic 1937

Martin D-28 Authentic 1937

  A premium reproduction of vintage '30s era D-28, featuring artificially aged wood that replicates old tonewoods. Detailed information below
  Popular Martin D-15M

Martin D-15M
 

  A dreadnought guitar with all-solid mahogany body, giving it a different look and warmer tone. Detailed information below

2. Taylor

Taylor Guitars Established in the mid '70s, Taylor Guitars is relatively young in the acoustic guitar market. They have since grown to be a forerunner, able to go toe to toe with older brands like Martin and Gibson. Much of their success lies in their modern approach to guitar design - utilizing unique shapes, bracing and even electronics that they themselves developed. This allowed their guitars to have a distinct feel and tone that appeal to today's players. The list of artists sporting Taylor guitars include Jason Mraz, Leo Kottke, Dave Matthews, Jon Foreman, Michael Hedges, Taylor Swift, Zac Brown and many more - and they cover a wide range of musical styles.
  Premium Taylor 916ce - Sunburst

Taylor 916ce - Sunburst

  Premium quality acoustic-electric guitar with quality hardware and exquisite cosmetic appointments. Detailed information below
  Popular Taylor 214ce Deluxe

Taylor 214ce Deluxe

  Taylor's popular acoustic-electric with solid-sitka spruce top at a more accessible price point. Detailed information below

3. Gibson

Gibson Guitars Gibson has gone through a lot of ups and downs, the most recent being their bankruptcy back in May of 2018. Still, the brand lives on, continuing their legacy of producing quality instruments. While Gibson is well known for iconic electric guitars like the Les Paul, they are just as respected for the quality of their acoustic instruments. In fact they are even considered as one of the forerunners of the modern acoustic guitar design, specifically the jumbo shapes which they developed for big-band use in an era where amplification was still a dream. These days, Gibson acoustic guitars are still very much in demand, especially those that are based on older designs.
  Premium Gibson Acoustic SJ-200

Gibson Acoustic SJ-200

  A flat-top jumbo acoustic guitar crafted from premium AAA grade tonewood, paired with high-end LR Baggs electronics. Detailed information below
  Popular Gibson Acoustic L-00 Studio

Gibson Acoustic L-00 Studio

  A modern reproduction of the popular L-00 "blues box" from the early 1930s. Detailed information below

4. Collings

Collings Guitars Collings Guitars have gone a long way from sharing space with other luthiers back in the early '80s. They now operate from a large facility, producing guitars that are sought after for their boutique-level build quality and tone. While they are still far from being a household name, they continue to captivate artists and professionals, who have done their part in spreading the word. These days, artists from various disciplines have been seen sporting Collings guitars, including Chris Tomlin, Keith Urban, Pete Townshend, Marcus Mumford, Robbie McIntosh and many more. Staying true to their boutique roots, they give you the option to customize what you're buying from them, essentially making your guitar one of a kind.
  Premium Collings CJ

Collings CJ
 

  Bill Colliings himself designed this guitar's body shape, which is a hybrid of the dreadnought and jumbo. Detailed information below
  Popular Collings OM1

Collings OM1
 

  This is the company's take on the venerable OM body guitar, with Collings' brand of attention to detail and build quality. Detailed information below

5. Seagull

Seagull Guitars Seagull is a sub-brand of Godin, and just like their mother company, Seagull acoustics are anything but conventional. First off is the thin headstock, which may seem awkward at first, but this narrower profile is actually designed to get the tuning machines lined up with the nut to improve tuning stability. They also design the tops of their guitars to have a slight curve, which helps improve structural stability. While relatively small compared to the bigger brands in this list, Seagull is big when it comes to user reviews and ratings, mostly because of their growing reputation for build quality and innovation.
  Premium Seagull Guitars Maritime SWS CH CW QIT

Seagull Maritime SWS CH CW QIT

  An all solid wood acoustic-electric guitar with Seagull's quality and distinct design. Detailed information below
  Popular Seagull Guitars S6 Cedar Original

Seagull S6 Cedar Original

  This affordable solid cedar top guitar bears the same quality as other Seagull acoustics at a more accessible price point. Detailed information below

6. Takamine

Takamine Guitars Japanese company Takamine was among the first to add tone shaping into the preamps of acoustic-electric guitars. This gave guitarists convenient hands-on control over their sound, right on their instrument. Other manufacturers followed suit, forever changing the way acoustic-electric guitars are made. Takamine also introduced other innovations, most notable of which is the use of split saddles on the bridge, designed to improve intonation and string vibration transfer. These days, Takamine has an extensive line of quality acoustic guitars covering almost every shape, from smaller parlor guitars to those with jumbo bodies. Popular artist users include Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Blake Shelton and many more.
  Premium Takamine EF341SC

Takamine EF341SC

  All solidwood dreadnought acoustic-electric with Takamine's top-of-the-line CT4B II preamp. Detailed information below
  Popular Takamine GD20-NS

Takamine GD20-NS

  Affordable dreadnought acoustic with solid cedar top and Takamine's split saddle bridge. Detailed information below

7. Epiphone

Epiphone Guitars Epiphone was once Gibson's competitor in the acoustic and archtop market. But in 1957, Gibson acquired the brand, and have since used it to produce guitars in the entry to mid-tier market. Most Epiphone models are affordable alternatives of existing Gibson models, including their acoustic line, but there are a few exceptions. Epiphone's main edge is value for money, and their effort to give us good quality guitars at affordable price points are well appreciated. Since this brand is originally a manufacturer of acoustics, it's not surprising to find them doing well in the acoustic market.
  Premium Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE

Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE

  An all solid wood dreadnought with bridge and neck pickups and a stereo preamp system. Detailed information below
  Popular

Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

  An affordable version of the classic Hummingbird from Gibson, complete with a solid sitka spruce top and ornate appointments. Detailed information below

8. Yamaha

Yamaha Guitars From its humble beginnings as a piano manufacturer in Japan, Yamaha has since expanded to become a multinational company that manufacturers various music instruments. A big part of their charm is their student-friendly approach to instruments, acoustic guitars included. They are a go-to brand for many students of the guitar, with reliability and playability being their most applauded traits. But don't limit them to just being a beginner's guitar, because they also offer plenty of stage-ready and pro-quality guitars. Big name artists like John Denver, James Taylor, Bob Dylan and John Lennon are just a few of the many who have been known to use a Yamaha acoustic.
  Premium Yamaha LL16D ARE Original Jumbo

Yamaha LL16D ARE Original Jumbo

  All-solid jumbo body acoustic guitar that applies Yamaha's artificial aging process, non-scalloped bracing and neck design. Detailed information below
  Popular Yamaha FG830

Yamaha FG830 Dreadnought

  This affordable solid-top acoustic guitar is selling like hot cakes worldover, and for good reason. Detailed information below

9. Ibanez

Ibanez Guitars Ibanez is another Japan based company who continue to dominate the guitar market. They first gained success with their electric guitars, mostly thanks to their high profile artist endorsers, but also thanks to the superb playability and versatility that their instruments offer. They have since expanded into acoustic guitar territory with much success in the entry to mid-tier price range, and they did so by applying the same quality standards, modern playability, and versatility to their acoustic line. Popular Ibanez acoustic guitar users include Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and more, and yes they are the same guys that helped propel their electric guitar line.
  Premium Ibanez AE255BT

Ibanez
AE255BT

  Part of Ibanez' flagship line of acoustics, the AE255BT is a baritone acoustic-electric guitar with solid sitka spruce top and ovangkol back and sides. Detailed information below
  Popular Ibanez AW54CE - Open Pore Natural

Ibanez AW54CE - Open Pore Natural

  An affordable acoustic-electric with solid okoume top, with open pore natural finish. Detailed information below

10. Guild

Guild Guitars Even after many ownership changes, the Guild brand is still very much alive under Cordoba guitars. While they have discontinued many of the Fender-era models, they have shifted their focus on classic designs, resulting in a new line of guitars that are inspired by the old Guild guitar models. This shift to old school is a welcome change, given the long list of iconic artists that used Guild guitars in the past, including Jeff Buckley, Barry Gibb, Jerry Garcia, Doyle Dykes, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Duane Eddy and many more. One of Guild's biggest contributions to acoustic guitar design is the cut-away, which is now a standard feature for almost every guitar maker, especially on acoustic-electric models.
  Premium Guild D-55

Guild D-55 - Natural

  A premium handcrafted rendition of the classic Guild D-55 using high-grade tonewood. Detailed information below
  Popular Guild OM-120

Guild OM-120 - Natural

  An all-solid mahogany body acoustic guitar with a slightly smaller OM body that pays tribute to their '60s era designs. Detailed information below

 

Detailed information about the guitars we recommended above for each of the Top 10 Acoustic Guitar Brands

Martin D-28 Authentic 1937

Martin D-28 Authentic 1937

There will always be demand for vintage Martin guitars, some more than others, like 1937-built D-28s which are highly valued for their looks and tone. But since good condition vintage Martin guitars are rare, and not to mention expensive, the company decided to make modern reproductions with artificially aged wood. Martin accomplishes this via their Vintage Tone System (VTS) process, which applies controlled heat on wood to mimic the properties of old wood without having to wait for decades.

In particular, the Martin D-28 Authentic 1937 is modeled after its vintage counterpart, employing premium tonewood (solid Adirondack spruce top and solid Madagascar rosewood for the back and sides), and utilizing old school methods. It follows after classic dreadnought specs, featuring handcrafted forward shifted x-bracing.

Soundwise, the Martin D-28 Authentic 1937 gets a lot of praise from users, some even going so far as saying that it is the apex of dreadnought guitars. Obviously the price tag is quite steep, but it is a necessary price to pay if you want a premium quality, US handcrafted acoustic guitar.

If you want nothing less than the best dreadnought, the Martin D-28 Authentic 1937 is a worthy investment.

Hear and see the Martin D-28 Authentic 1937 in action below:

Martin D-15M

Martin D-15M

First introduced in the 1940's, the D-15M continues to be an important part of Martin's lineup, it's standout feature being its all mahogany body, which gives it a warmer, fuller tone. While cosmetically streamlined, Martin did not skimp on specs and build quality, equipping this guitar with an all-solid mahogany body, crafted in their US-based facility. Because of its warmer tone, picking attack and articulation are emphasized better, complementing the treble focused sound of spruce top equipped acoustics.

Aside from the use of mahogany, this guitar follows after conventional dreadnought specs, including its scale length of 25.4", and nut width of 1.6875. It also features a Modified Low Oval neck with satin finish that results in playability that many appreciate.

The Martin D-15M continues to get rave reviews from users and pros who are impressed with its tone, described with a myriad of adjectives like rich, full , warm, organic and many more. More importantly, it does all this while keeping the distinctly "woody" tone expected from Martin guitars. There are also plenty of thumbs up for its build quality, although there are a few who caution that big changes in humidity and temperature may cause some issues.

The Martin D-15M is highly recommended for those who are looking for a premium quality all-mahogany acoustic, it is also ideal if you're looking for a reasonably priced accompaniment acoustic guitar that's built by a premium brand.

See the video below to have a closer look at the Martin D-15M:

Taylor 916ce

Taylor 916ce - Sunburst

The 916ce is a true centerpiece for Taylor, showcasing their brand of attention to detail and tone. It has a Grand Symphony body, which is around the size of a jumbo body, with a slightly wider lower bout that helps emphasizes the lows and mids. Premium grade tonewoods are used, including solid AA spruce for the top and solid AA Indian rosewood for the back and sides.

Giving this guitar its amplified voice is Taylor's ES2 (Expression System 2) electronics, with a 3-section proprietary pickup positioned behind the guitar's saddle. Controls are streamlined and designed to be discrete, with just three knobs that let you adjust volume and tone, it also has a phase switch that can be useful for managing feedback. Finally, the Taylor 916ce comes packed with exquisite inlays, trims and an armrest that ups its overall cosmetic appeal and makes playing more comfortable.

While Taylor guitars are known to sound bright and clear, the 916ce's subtle boost on the bottom end gives it a fuller sound. You don't need to buy a top-of-the-line Taylor guitar to appreciate their brand of modern playability, so that's a given, but the 916ce's armrest adds even more to it.

This guitar requires serious investment, but it won't be much of a hindrance for those with a passion for premium quality tone and playability.

See and hear the Taylor 916ce in action:

Taylor 214ce Deluxe

Taylor 214ce Deluxe

While the Taylor 214ce Deluxe is not the cheapest in Taylor's line of guitars, many consider it as a great entryway into premium acoustic guitars. It sports a Grand Auditorium body style, which is similar to a dreadnought, but with a cutaway and a narrower waist, which helps better emphasize the highs.

Tonewood used is pretty much standard, with a solid sitka spruce supported by a forward-shifted X-bracing, and layered rosewood for the back and sides. But what separates it from other guitars is Taylor's attention to detail and consistent build quality. For plugging in, Taylor equipped this guitar with the Expression System 2, a pickup co-designed by Rupert Neve, which features three pickup sensors situated behind the saddle.

Other features include easier acess to the upper frets via the Graceful Venetian cutaway that gives you free access to upper frets, sapele neck with ebony fingerboard and it ships with a Taylor hardcase.

The 214ce Deluxe is a no brainer for Taylor fans, even those who want a reasonably priced guitar from Taylor will appreciate the 214ce.

Gibson Acoustic SJ-200 Standard

Gibson Acoustic SJ-200

The Gibson SJ-200 Standard is dubbed as the "King of Flat Tops", a modern reproduction of Gibson's top-of-the-line Super Jumbo acoustic guitar from the 1930s. Since good condition vintage specimens of the SJ-200 are very rare, this gives guitarists of today the ability to own one without having to spend their life savings. It's distinctive feature is its "super jumbo" body, which is bigger than average, resulting in improved projection that was needed back in the '30s, when amps and pickups were not yet available.

Given the price tag, it's only fair to expect premium specifications, and that is exactly what you get with its AAA-grade solid sitka spruce top, and flame maple back and sides. They also updated its classic design by adding modern electronics - the LR Baggs Anthem hybrid pickup which blends the sound of an undersaddle pickup and a mic, both of which are situated discretely on the guitar. It also comes with opulent inlays on the pickguard, bridge, headstock and fingerboard.

When it comes to acoustic projection and extended bass frequencies, size does matter. The Gibson SJ-200 easily stands out from conventional acoustics with its size and volume. It continues to impress users with its attention to detail and overall craftsmanship. Note that its bulky body may seem uncomfortable at first, and may take some time to get used to.

If you look at it from a collector's perspective, the Gibson SJ-200 Standard is quite the deal given its overall quality and the addition of modern electronics and hardware.

Watch the video of the Gibson SJ-200 in action below:

Gibson L-00 Studio

Gibson Acoustic L-00 Studio

The Gibson L-00 Studio is a great example of enduring design, still in demand long after the first L-00 was released by the company in the early '30s. It's smaller profile makes it easy to distinguish from regular acoustics, but what truly sets it apart is the slight mid-range bump that's expected of small body acoustic guitars.

Don't mistake the Gibson L-00 Studio to be just another parlor guitar on the market, because this one bears the label Gibson, along with all the attention to detail, quality craftsmanship and premium hardware that you'd come to expect from the brand. It sports a premium solid sitka top, supported by hand-scalloped X-bracing, along with walnut back and sides.

For a smaller guitar, the Gibson L-00 Studio actually plays much like a regular acoustic with its traditional neck specifications. This includes having a scale length of 24.75", a nutwidth of 1.725". To help this classic design cross over into the modern era, Gibson employed Grover Mini Rotomatic machine heads, Graph Tech Tusq nut, and LR Baggs VTC pickup system.

If you're looking for a serious parlor guitar to play with on your living room or on stage, then check out the Gibson L-00 Studio.

Collings CJ

Collings CJ

"CJ" is short for Collings Jumbo, which is the company's version of the classic slope-shoulder dreadnought/jumbo hybrid. It doesn't stray too far from dreadnought specs, but has a subtly different tone thanks to its wider bottom bout. The default configuration utilizes Sitka spruce for the top, partnered with Indian rosewood for the back and sides, all of which are pieced together with utmost care in terms of build and material quality.

What makes the Colling CJ even more special is the ability to make adjustments to its design. You can change the top to solid mahogany or koa, and there's even an option for using torrefied versions of popular tonewoods. Mahogany, wenge, walnut, maple and koa are the tonewood options for the back and sides. You can also personalize its cosmetics by dictating the type of finish, binding and inlays.

There are also plenty of neck customization options that allow you to tailor fit the guitar's playability to your liking. Collings even noted that shortening the scale length results in a more controlled bottom end, ideal for blues.

With its old-school appeal, solid build quality, and customization options, it's hard to find any fault with the CJ.

Collings OM1

Collings OM1

This is Collings take on the iconic "Orchestra Model", carrying over its basic shape and profile with the company's brand of quality. It offers a nice visual and sonic contrast to bigger models like the CJ and other dreadnought style guitars. Its thinner body makes it comfortable to play, while the less boomy tone is ideal for fingerpickers.

Its base configuration shows a solid sitka spruce top and honduran mahogany back and sides, with a 25.5" scale length and 1 11/16" nut width. But none of these features are set in stone, because you can customize the guitar to your liking with a long list of tonewood options, hardware and neck specifications. You can also change its overall look - from the finish, to the pickguard, to the bindings. Which means that you are getting a one-of-a-kind instrument as you specified, much like a boutique guitar.

To ensure the quality of their guitars, much of the work done on the guitar is by hand. This also means that the price tag will not be anywhere near that of mass produced guitars. Still, many are willing to pay the premium to ensure that they are getting a high-quality instrument. Some even go so far as saying that Collings have surpassed the quality of more established brands.

The Collings OM1 is not just another generic OM guitar, rather it is a meticulously handcrafted and personalized instrument for those who can make the investment.

Here is the official video demo of the Collings OM1 base configuration:

Seagull Maritime SWS CH CW QIT

Seagull Guitars Maritime SWS CH CW QIT

For an all solid acoustic guitar that's crafted in North America, the Seagull Maritime SWS CH CW QIT is quite the deal. The solid spruce used on its top is pressure tested, a feature that's common for most if not all Seagull guitars. This special top is paired with solid mahogany for the back and sides. The body of this guitar follows a smaller and lighter concert hall profile with cut-away and built-in electronics.

Speaking of electronics, Seagull equipped this guitar with QIT electronics that utilize an under-saddle pickup, which in turn drives its preamp/EQ system. It comes with all the features that make Seagull unique, including the tapered headstock that aligns the tuner with the nut for improved intonation, the arched top and the integrated set neck.

While Seagull is not necessarily a household name, more and more guitarists are singing its praises. And it's mostly about build quality, which also translates to improved playability and tone. And it also helps that you're getting premium quality all-solid tonewoods at a bargain price. While it's not fair to expect big punchy tone from its smaller profile, it sounds better than what most expected of it, and this is reflected in its consistently high ratings

With its solid quality and value for money, it's hard to go wrong with the Seagull Maritime SWS CH CW QIT.

Here's the official video demo of the Seagull Maritime SWS CW QIT:

Seagull S6 Cedar Original

Seagull S6 Cedar Original

This guitar nicely represents what Godin is all about, a carefully crafted instrument with a very generous price. Its main feature is its solid cedar top which passed Godin's pressure testing process. Cedar is commonly used on nylon string guitars, but Seagull was able to incorporate it into their steel-string acoustic guitar designs, and be quite successful at that. Aside from looking different, cedar is known for a warm tone that sits between spruce and mahogany.

Another distinct feature of the S6, is the use of locally grown Wild Cherry wood, which gives the guitar a different appearance and slightly adds brightness to the resulting tone. The neck is crafted from silver leaf maple, and is integrated into the body via Godin's own set neck design. It also features a narrower nutwidth of 1.8" that makes it easier to play with for those with smaller hands.

Other distinctly Seagull features include its tapered headstock for aligning the strings, tuners and the nut and the slightly arched top design. With its dreadnought inspired body, many are impressed at how full sounding the S6 is. Most users are also in awe of how good the guitar feels in your hands, a testament to Godin's consistency.

There's a reason why the Seagull S6 Cedar Original continues to be among their top sellers, do check it out.

Check out the official video demo of the Seagull S6 Cedar Original:

Takamine EF341SC

Takamine EF341SC

Aside from its nice looking black finish, there's nothing visually fancy about the EF341SC. But don't count it out yet because instead of going for bells and whistles, this one follows familiar specs, the main difference being its handbuilt quality, the use of non-conventional tonewoods, and top-of-the-line electronics.

While its shape is familiar, this guitar is not your average dreadnought. First off it has a solid cedar top instead of the usual spruce, giving it a warmer tonality. Another key difference is the use of maple for the back and sides, a type of wood known for adding subtle brightness to the resulting tone. And as expected from a Takamine guitar, it comes with a feature packed preamp and pickup system, with slider type EQ controls and chromatic tuner.

Many users are drawn to this guitar by its black finish and impeccable craftsmanship. But the admiration is not just skin deep because even those with more expensive acoustics are impressed with its tone. To most reviewers, this guitar has a more balanced and clear sounding acoustic tone, contrasting the usual boomy low-end expected of conventional dreadnoughts. While some are put off by its price tag, most of those who tried this guitar have mostly good words to say, special mention also goes to the responsiveness of its slider EQs. Many also appreciate being able to easily see their EQ settings at a glance.

With its distinct tone and sleek black finish, the Takamine EF341SC is definitely a fine instrument worthy of your consideration.

Jake Allen puts the Takamine EF341SC to work in this demo video:

Takamine GD20-NS

Takamine GD20-NS

The Takamine GD20 is a budget-friendly solid-top dreadnought acoustic. It doesn't come with built-in electronics, but it more than makes up with its solid cedar top, which for the price is still quite a deal. The top is supported by a quartersawn x-bracing, along with mahogany back and sides that form its familiar dreadnought shape.

Don't write it off as just another affordable dreadnought clone, because the GD20's solid cedar top gives it a more balanced tone which will only get better as the wood ages. Neck specifications suggest a familiar playing feel with a nut width of 1.6875", a fretboard radius of 12" and a scale length of 25.3"

Playability is the Takamine GD20-NS' strong suit, and it' not because they did anything unique, rather they followed after familiar specs but do so properly. Even experienced users who have owned more expensive guitars are floored by its string action and overall setup. The guitar's tone is also well-loved, versatile enough to handle heavy strumming and expressive plucking. The only downside for me is its bland look, but it's not even that bad looking either, just a little too basic.

The Takamine GD20-NS' is a great value dreadnought acoustic that's ideal for those working with budget constraints.

Check the video below to appreciate the Takamine GD20-NS some more.

Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE

Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE

For the price of a mid-tier acoustic, the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE comes with an all-solid wood body, a feature that's usually only available from those that are priced much higher. If that's not enough, it also comes packed with electronics with features that you won't expect in its price range.

The DR-500MCE is Epipone's premiere dreadnought, with a solid sitka spruce on top, and solid mahogany for the back and sides. It also has a cut-away for easier upper fret access. The guitar's one-piece mahogany neck is glued into the body via dove-tail. It has a 14" radius rosewood fretboard, with a scale length of 25.5" and a nut width of 1.68". Other components include Grover Sta-Tite 18:1 machine heads, bone nut/saddle and rosewood bridge.

Adding more to its already impressive specs is the Shadow NanoMag neck pickup and Shadow NanoFlex bridge pickup, both of which are wired to the eSonic-2 Stereo preamp. It gives you stereo output, separate EQ control for the two pickups, a master volume, a phase switch and a tuner. When it comes to value for money, the DR-500MCE is simply hard to beat, and it also helps that many are impressed with its overall performance, from its build quality to its acoustic and amplified tone.

The specs speak for itself, the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE is definitely a steal.

The video below talks about the electronics in a bit more detail:

Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

If you're wondering why the Hummingbird guitar looks familiar, it's because of a long list of artists users which include Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Chris Cornell, John McLaughlin, Brian May, and many more. The Epiphone Hummingbird makes this iconic guitar more accessible to the masses, carrying over the same design as its more expensive Gibson counterpart.

Epiphone's version comes with a solid Sitka spruce top and laminate mahogany for the back and sides, all of which form its square shoulder dreadnought shape. What makes the Hummingbird different from other Epiphone acoustics in this price range is its ornate appointments, which include the instantly recognizable hummingbird pickguard, distinct faded cherry sunburst finish and split parallelogram inlays. The guitar is also stage-ready with its built-in Shadow ePerformer preamp.

It's no secret that most are first attracted to its distinct yet familiar look, and rightly so with all the effort from Epiphone to make the Hummingbird pleasing to the eye. But it doesn't end there because it has the specs, build quality and sound to back up its good looks. It is simply a fun instrument to have, and I would be especially envious of beginners who will have the honor of having this as their first acoustic guitar.

For the money, the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro gives you quite a lot - from its iconic look to its nice specs and tone.

Acoustic Guitar Magazine have mostly good things to say about the Hummingbird Pro - check out their review below:

Yamaha LL16D ARE Original Jumbo

Yamaha LL16D ARE Original Jumbo

In response to the growing interest in artificially aging wood for use in guitars, Yamaha developed their own method called A.R.E. short for Acoustic Resonance Enhancement. This process entails applying temperature, atmospheric pressure, and humidity to manipulate wood, in order to mimic the molecular properties of old wood. This process is used on the Yamaha LL16D ARE's solid Engelmann spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides, to mimic the look, feel and sound of vintage instruments.

This guitar also utilizes a non-scalloped bracing and a 5-ply mahogany neck structure that Yamaha developed to improve tone, playability and structural stability. On top of all that, the company did not hold back on aesthetics, adding intricate abalone inlays on the rosette and the body. Interestingly, this guitar comes equipped with a passive SRT Zero Impact pickup, instead of the usual active pickup+preamp setup. Instead of having a single piezo pickup running across the bridge, the SRT Zero Impact has dedicated piezo elements for each string, resulting in improved definition and clarity.

The first thing that catches attention is its overall craftsmanship. Those who tried this guitar are floored by how good the build is, down to the littlest details. Thanks to its ARE treatment, the guitar's resonance is very noticeable, so much so that some even compare it to more expensive guitars from big-name competitors or to actual vintage acoustics. There are some concerns about the lack of built-in preamp, but bypassing the preamp actually gives guitarists more control over the tone by employing their preamp pedal of choice.

Yamaha went all out with the LL16D ARE and the result is an instrument that looks as good as it sounds.

Hear the Yamaha LL16D ARE in action, alongside its L-Series siblings:

Yamaha FG830

Yamaha FG830

There's a good reason why the Yamaha FG series continues to sell well, and its mostly thanks to Yamaha's reputation for student-friendly quality and value for money. In particular, the FG830 is doing well with its solid sitka spruce top and laminate rosewood back and sides that form its familiar dreadnought shape and tone. Note that Yamaha tweaked the waist a tad bit to make the dreadnought body more comfortable, especially for smaller players. It also happens to look a bit better with its tapered waist.

The neck is designed to be as comfortable as possible, with a slim tapered profile and satin finish. It is topped by a rosewood fingerboard that follows after traditional specs, with a 25.5" scale length and 1.6875" nut width.

For the money, the Yamaha FG830 is simply an impressive deal, even more so to students and beginners, for whom this guitar is being marketed for. But what's even more impressive is how the FG830 wows experienced players, myself included, with its build quality and playability. Some might consider this guitar to be a little too plain-jane, but that is precisely what the FG series is all about, staying within convention while keeping the quality up and the price accessible.

The Yamaha FG830 is the student guitar to beat, highly recommended for those who are starting out.

Here's a less talk more music video demo of the FG830:

Ibanez AE255BT

Ibanez AE255BT

Being a baritone guitar, the Ibanez AE255BT is a unique entry in this list. It's long 27" scale length neck is meant to handle alternate/low pitch tunings that would otherwise sound buzzy on regular acoustics. And since alternate/drop tunings are usually associated with modern music, Ibanez is the perfect fit to make a guitar that's just right for the job.

And getting the job done is exactly what this guitar does, with its lower pitch complemented by its AE body. This Ibanez' designed body shape has a rounder lower bout and tighter waste that give it a sleek vibe, and helps balance out the lows. The top is crafted from solid sitka spruce and supported by ovangkol back and sides that ups the mids and highs for a more balanced overall sound.

While baritone guitars are not everyone's cup of tea, those who are looking to take advantage of low tuning will appreciate the AE255BT quality. This guitar has seen good use as a songwriting tool, for those who want to break free from conventional tuning. But it is also a great accompaniment tool, either as standalone or when playing along with a group. As expected from an Ibanez made guitar, playability is its best trait, seconded by its value for money.

If you're looking for a great quality baritone guitar, or if you're just tired of standard tuning and want to try drop/low tunings, then this is highly recommended.

Here's Ibanez official video demo of the Ibanez AE255BT:

Ibanez AW54CE - Open Pore Natural

Ibanez AW54CE - Open Pore Natural

Since Okoume is from a fast-growing tree, it can be more environmentally sustainable and affordable. As such, it is a good alternative wood for use on budget-friendly guitars. The Ibanez AW54CE takes advantage of this renewable resource, with a solid okoume top and laminate okoume back and sides. Okoume has similar properties to maple, being lightweight yet with vibrant colors and grains, which results in a brighter tone for the AW54CE and an earthy rustic appearance.

Thankfully, the guitar's dreadnought cutaway shape adds a bit more bottom-end to balance out the resulting sound. Coming from Ibanez, playability is expected to be smooth, with a fingerboard radius of 15.7", nut width of 1.69" and a scale length of 25.62". Wrapping up the features of this guitar is the Ibanez AEQ210TF preamp with tuner, which is paired with a Fishman Sonicore Pickup, a popular piezo pickup used on many of the guitars in this price range.

While I'd rate it highly for its looks, its playability gets the most mentions in reviews. And this is to be expected, given Ibanez' penchant for making flat fingerboards and neck profiles that are easy to play. Note that the width is a wee bit wider, and the scale is a bit longer than usual. Experienced players are not easily impressed with its tone, but students and beginners are more than happy with how it sounds.

If you're looking for a cool looking acoustic-electric guitar that's easy on the hands and on your pocket, then check out the Ibanez AW54CE.

Here's a video demo that showcases its unplugged acoustic tone:

Guild D-55

Guild D-55

The Guild D-55 is a modern reproduction of the original D-55, a top-of-the-line model back in the late '60s and early '70s - which up to this day is revered for its tone. This new version stays true to the original in terms of tonewood, sporting AAA grade solid spruce for the top, and solid rosewood for the back and sides - all of which form its traditional dreadnought shape.

Its mahogany/walnut/mahogany neck joins the body via a dovetail joint with appointments like an ebony headcap and a slim heel profile. It is topped by an ebony fingerboard with mother-of-pearl and abalone position inlays, following traditional specs that include 1.6875" nut width, and a 25.625" scale length. Other features include ebony bridge, abalone rosette, Gotoh 700 Series gold-plated open-back tuners, and a tortoiseshell pickguard.

Magical and heavenly may not be very clear adjectives to describe tone, but that is how some users describe D-55's sound. It impresses even the most experienced players, many of whom share their satisfaction in having a D-55 added to their collection. It is also just as striking visually, to the point that even those who owned the original Guild D-55 from the '70s are impressed. Looking at the market's general sentiment, Guild - under Cordoba - did the right thing in bringing this gem of a guitar back in production.

Fans of classic Guild guitars will rejoice over this guitar, but for those who are not, this one is sure to nudge their list of favorites.

The reviewer in the video seems just as impressed at the Guild D-55 as most of us are:

Guild OM-120

Guild OM-120

The Guild OM-120 sports an Orchestra Model (OM) body built using solid mahogany for the top, back and sides. This combination of a compact body profile and solid mahogany results in a warm tone with excellent sustain and complex harmonics. Not to mention that OMs are generally more comfortable to play with, and easier to lug around.

The guitar's mahogany neck has a vintage C-shape profile, and topped by a 20-fret 25.5" scale Indian rosewood fretboard. Since the warm tone of OM shape guitars are more conducive to fingerstyle playing, they are often paired with a wider fretboard, which is also the case with the OM-120, which sports a 1.75" wide nut and 16" fingerboard radius. Finally, the headstock shape, inlays and the pickguard are all reminiscent of Guild guitars released in the '60s.

I for one have owned, and still own solid spruce topped guitars, but there is something about mahogany topped ones that make me gravitate towards them more, especially when I'm playing intimate venues or on my own. And for this same reason, many are simply blown away by the sound of this guitar. There is also plenty of good feedback about its playability, but there are a few who feel that the neck is a tad bit wider than they expected. And while this model does not come with pickups, there are some users who have gotten great results after adding in LR Baggs pickups.

If you don't have a mahogany top acoustic yet, you're missing out big time. The Guild OM-120 is a great place to start looking!

Below is the official short but sweet video demo of the Guild OM-120:

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 www.sweetwater.com/shop/guitars/acoustic/

You can tell the world which acoustic guitar brands you feel should be on this list in 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 and while you're at Gearank.com you can check out how the Gearank Algorithm ranked The Best Acoustic Guitars.

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 GuitarSite.com 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 - Acoustic Guitar Amplifiers

Share This Article

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

fd01s acoustic guitar

I got Yamaha fd01s acoustic guitar as a gift. What case do you recommend to protect 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.

nouveau guitar by gibson

I have an Gibson acustic guitar the label inside the sound hole says style-is blank.model says nv-6 id.numbers are 6811668 and it says nouveau by Gibson and there are numbers on the bridge where you put the strings on. where the pegs are.numbers are W a diamond symbol 434400. Would like to know what its worth and what the numbers on the bridge means.and when it was made.

i have a takamine

I have a takamine electro acoustic guitar and love it. Very smooth fretboard and excellent sound when playing plugging in to an amplifier. I'd love to try a taylor guitar someday.

I am getting ready to buy

I am getting ready to buy the taylor ps16ce es2 what is you thoughts on this guitar.

Yamaha

I have Yamaha CPX8 electro-acoustic guitar and I can say that I LOVE IT. It has really clear sound and good bass. It's very good for strumming and finger picking. It wasn't cheap but it wroth every penny!! :)

Do you carry Alvarez guitars?

I am looking for an Alvarez 112 string - any in stock?

112 is a lot of strings!

112 is a lot of strings!

I guess you need about 50 fingers on each hand to play one :)

Fender CD-60 Dreadnaught

I bought the Fender CD-60 Dreadnaught. It's really fit with my need - a beginner.

cost of guitar

Hello!!!! I need to know the cost of acustic guitar morris MD-526 can you help me???

Thank you very much!!!

my best accoustic guitar

gibson always in my heart, this is very useful for me as a beginner guitar player

Aria F-24 Acoustic

I have an Aria F-24 acoustic w/F holes. It all white in color. I can't find anything on or about this guitar. Does anyone else have this guitar or at least shed some light?

Thanks!

Nice group but...

Make a list of guitars and someone is going to have a gripe. I guess thats me. Not a single Guild in the lot. Overlooked again. I have an old classical that is amazing, a friend a newer (American made) dreadnaught that sounds as big as a warm house and my fretless is an old Guild. They are workhorse instruments at a very good price. I am about to record with my classical(an upgrade from the Tak I learned on) for the first time and cant wait to hear back at me as it fills the room so well. Nice group of guitars otherwise.

I agree

I agree - I think Guild make excellent guitars.

I also think that Seagull should be on the list as well.

Guitar Information

I have recently acquired an applause acoustic guitar and, would like some information. On the Label it says applause a Kaman Music Product Model no. AA14-9 serial Number 065771. My question is where can I find information about this instrument, and if possible, get some parts, and the approximate value. Any help would be appreciated.

dennis

Acoustic guitar brand JDS

I just picked up a JDS WJ-750 sunburst acoustic, made in Indonesia. I assume it was built in the 70's or 80's. The tone is rich, like a Martin, and is fairly loud. Other than a one-line blurb that said it was a medium quality guitar, I can't find anything else about it. Any good? Valuable? Thanks!

I am learning on the

I am learning on the acoustic and it's much easier on my fingertips. Of course, the neck is wider so that makes it harder to learn the fingering. There are trade offs in both.

Plenty missing......

Heck of a lot of nice guitars missing from all categories. Maton and Cole Clark are two very very nice Australian guitars. Patrick & Moore of canada make nice guitars (same factory as seagull and guild guitars). Overall though, for pure value for money, Cort would have to take the cake. the MR600/MR700 (one of these models is no longer made) is an extraordinarily low-cost guitar that sounds like something worth close to $1000. Highly reccomended. Others worth checking out are Ovation, Larrivee, and the higher-priced Taylors. For a real nice guitar look at a Berketa, although you'll pay for it.

There can be only 10 in a list of the top 10 guitar brands

You make some excellent points Bazza [that's the Australian spelling of Barry for those of you who don't know :)]

With only 10 spots available in this guide we decided to stick with the most accessible brands in the USA - there are always some brilliant guitars out there made by smaller companies, but if we recommend them in our top 10 then it's going to frustrate people who might want one but can't find anyone who sells them locally or can't get them from the major online retailers they already get their gear from and have accounts with.

We here are GuitarSite.com are very familiar with Maton who are one of Australia's leading acoustic guitar brands (personally I say they're the best major Australian brand). I have played a Maton and personally I'd like to include them but they're still not stocked by major US retailers such as Guitar Center/Musicians Friend, zZounds/American Musical Supply or our sponsor Sweetwater. They are making progress in Europe and there's a very good selection stocked by Thonmann. The story is similar with Cole Clark.

The Canadian company Larrivee Guitars has a similar story to Maton, although a bit more accessible in the USA - they're also available in Europe including at Thonmann.

Cort and Ovation are a different story - they are both stocked by some of the major US retailers (and I used to own a Cort bass). In this case they just didn't make the cut in my opinion (I had the final editorial say over the list of brands). Ovation were in this list for several years, but this year I dropped them to make room for PRS who I would say are producing better acoustics now.

Hopefully this glimpse into the selection process gives a better understanding of why I made the cut where I did - when we update this list next year maybe some of those other brands will make the cut.

And don't forget that everyone who's read your comments have seen your recommendations too!

I got Yamaha FG700S acoustic

I got Yamaha FG700S acoustic guitar as a gift. What case do you recommend to protect it?

Is the Yamaha C40 Gigmaker

Is the Yamaha C40 Gigmaker stringed for left handers? Looking for a left handed guitar.

I like epiphone. So cool (y)

I like epiphone. So cool (y)

I'm sure the guitars listed

I'm sure the guitars listed are just fine, but the next time I shop for an acoustic, I'll be looking at Seagulls (S-6 or a 12 string) or another Art and Lutherie. Lots of bang for your buck. Those Canadians know what they're doing.

acoustic guitar recommendations

No carbon-fiber guitars? I've been playing for 55 years (since I was 8) and bought a Rainsong about 10 years ago-stoked! Then a CompositeAcoustics CARGO (travel size), really cool. Then I discovered Emerald Guitars from Ireland and everything came together. I now own 3 of them and probably would not buy another wooden guitar. Don't get me wrong, I love any good guitar, wood or otherwise, and I will always treasure my old Guild 6-string, but the Emeralds blow them all away: beautiful and trippy to look at, play beautifully, and virtually impervious to heat and humidity, which makes a lot of sense here in Hawaii. Sometimes I pull them out of the case just to look at them!

Opion On My Guitar

I Own a Vintage~ True Giannini... Mine has been with me since 1976..but..was sold to me from someone who had it much longer... You are So Right about the SOUND...There is No Other to Compare it too!`~ I Have several Other Guitars by different names. None..have That Tone... My Giannini is a 19 fret Ivory Bridge~ BLUE Guitar Case,
Only has a Model Number of AWN 6 and the only Serial Number is 11/324.
IT IS A TRANQUILLO GIANNINI S.A.
Made In BRAZIL, CARLOS WEBER, 184 SAD PAULO 10 S.P. BRAZIL C.G.C (M. F.) 61,196,1191oo1
US Distributer MESSON MUSICAL PRODUCTS WESTBURY, NEW YORK

you said you all together collectively have 80 yrs experience I was wanting to know if you know anything about the true Vakue of my Giannini....it is in excellent condition...& I still Pick it up and it SOUNDS AMAZING!!

Sincerely,
Jeani
jeansouthirnstar@gmail.com

Alvarez Masterworks seconds

I just traded for an Alvarez MD60c and it has what seems to be an altered label, remade serial number(although the original can still be seen in the forward block), and the words "ALMOST PERFECT" stamped on the upper left of the label. Also, there is an imprint of "USED" on the back of the head. I don't know if it was from the factory as a second? Looks and smells like an older instrument and plays like an absolute dream. Anyone have any knowledge of this?

Yes, Cordoba is a

Yes, Cordoba is a fast-growing guitar builder... their guitars a not too expensive and they make amazing ukuleles as well. I personally like this brand.

Guitar Brand

Hey ! I am looking for an expert opinion. For the past few months i have been taking Guitar lessons and just starting to enhance my skills in playing acoustic guitar. Could you recommed an Guitar brand that will suit my need for the time being. And going forward what would be the best acoustic guitar for me to play professionally. Will look forward your feedback. Thanks !

Epiphone Master-built

Epiphone Master-Built A J 45 , Quality for the money , All Wood , Hide Glue used , pickups , Great sound and a decent setup from factory . All that is needed is a good set of Elixir custom lights or just light strings put on ( They sound a little tinny at first but as they break in they sound good and last ) You can get a used one for under 500 often with case . Built on the same model platform of a Gibson J 45 , I love this guitar , saves wear and tear on my Gibson and Martin. I bought my daughter a $ 1200 model Martin , wish I had played the Eipiphone AJ 45 first cause I'd bought it for her instead . Top vibrates / resonates great , deep rich sound , sorry but for the money this should be in someone top pick . All wood guitars will always be worth money . Eipiphone Master-built has several models , take the time and find a store and play one or all of the different models , " just remember strings must be upgraded to actually hear how good this guitar is " , They ship with really cheap strings ( sad because it gives a bad impression of what this guitar really is ) , but that didn't really matter , I put on what I like anyway ! Even thou I own Gibson and Martin , When I am just sitting around playing , I grab my AJ 45 . Fact is I plan on buying a couple just to put away , cause in years to come all wood guitars will be harder to get and will be priced much higher gg

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Do not include any spaces in your answer.
Image CAPTCHA
Copy the characters (respecting upper/lower case) from the image.

Contact | Contents | Privacy Policy | Forum

This site is published by Hitsquad Pty Ltd. Copyright © 1999 - 2019 , All Rights Reserved.

Affiliate Notice: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.