The Best Acoustic Guitar Brands

We began publishing this guide to Acoustic Guitars back in 2010 and now it's time to present you with our annual update for 2017.


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, and there's not a lot of change this year in terms of brands expect that Seagull has earned their way back into this list at the expense of Fender - we had to make the cut somewhere.

Although the list of brands we recommend hasn't changed much this year, we have selected different models so even if you're familiar with this guide, have another read through.

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
Seagull Guitars S6 Original

Seagull Guitars S6

  This Canada made solid cedar top acoustic guitar combines exceptional build quality, playability and aesthetics at a very reasonable 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
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.
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
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
Martin DRS2

Martin DRS2

  The DRS2 with its solid spruce top and solid sapele back and sides, lets you have an all-solid wood body Martin acoustic guitar in the sub $1000 price range. 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 LS16

Yamaha LL16 ARE

  The all-solid wood Yamaha LL16 guitar gives you high-end all-solid wood specifications and old school aesthetics 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

Martin D-28

  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:$139

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 WD7S
Manufacturer: Washburn | Retail Price:$199

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

Seagull S6 Original

Seagull S6 Original
Manufacturer: Seagull Guitars | Retail Price:$399

Seagull Guitars is a sub-brand of Godin that utilizes their modern design and production capabilities in building classic looking instruments. The S6 Original exemplifies what the company can do, combining Godin's build quality and attention to details with old school aesthetics and playability, and it does all of this while retaining a very reasonable price tag.

Everything about the shape and feel of the S6 Original is meant to be as close to familiar acoustic guitars as possible, including its playability, which is brought about by its 25.5" scale length, 1.8" nut width and 16" fingerboard radius. Tone wise, you're getting a crisp yet warm tone thanks to its pressure-tested solid cedar top, which also adds to the overall earthy appeal of the instrument.

My main complaint for ths guitar is that you'll have to pay a bit more to get its stage-friendly acoustic-electric version, with built-in electronics. Other than that, this is an incredible acoustic guitar to have, be it for intimate performances or for fun jams with friends.

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:$369

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:$699

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:$849

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 ES2 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.


Martin DRS2

Martin DRS2
Manufacturer: Martin | Retail Price:$829

There's just no getting around the Martin brand when there's talk about good acoustics. And since we're talking about the best of them, it's not surprising to find their name filling up multiple slots in this list. The Martin DRS2 acoustic guitar is special because it gives us a true all-solid wood body Martin acoustic guitar - at a very reasonable price point, in the dreadnought shape that the company themselves developed.

As mentioned above, the Martin DSR2 comes with an all-solid wood body, with traditional solid spruce as its top. In conjunction with the solid sapele back and sides, this configuration produces premium level Martin dreadnought tones, albeit with stripped down aesthetics. The neck is as familiar as it gets, with its 1.75" nut width and 25.4" scale length.

The Martin DSR2 also comes equipped with built-in Fishman Sonitone electronics, which features discrete soundhole mounted controls, allowing for stage-ready performance without having to drill excessive holes on the side of the body. With its continuesly high rating and incredible value for money, the Martin DSR2 should be at the top of your list when you're looking for an acoustic-electric guitar in this price range.

Cordoba GK Studio

Cordoba GK Studio
Manufacturer: Cordoba | Retail Price:$679.99

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.

Yamaha LL16

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. The LL16 is a great example, with it's all-solid wood body and built in pickups with preamp, this is a true workhorse instrument. Having premium level specs at mid-tier pricing is like a dream come true, the main reason why we consider the LL16 as the best value for money acoustic in this section.

The Yamaha LL16 gives you high-end features for a lot less money, starting off with its solid Engelmann spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides. This all solid body results in richer and more detailed acoustic tone, something that you will have to pay top dollars for from other acoustic brands. It also sports a slightly smaller body that gives it an elegant appeal, adding to its already favorable affordable price and top-tier specs.

Being a true pro-level instrument, the Yamaha LL16 comes with a jumbo body shape and built-in S.R.T Zero impact electronics. 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 Yamaha LS16.

Buy the Yamaha LS16 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

Martin OM-28 E Retro
Manufacturer: C.F. Martin & Co. | Retail Price:$3,659

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.

Gibson Acoustic J-15

Gibson Acoustic J-15
Manufacturer: Gibson | Retail Price:$1,749

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:$2,699

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

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 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 Sitka 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.

Being the go-to instrument of popular guitarists like Hank Williams Sr. Neil Young and Jimmy Page (just to name a few), the current production model D-28 continues the Martin Legacy in terms of build and sound quality. Finally, all these features 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. The MSRP is $3299 but you can get it online for around $2,699.

Buy the Martin D-28 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.

The MSRP is $10,299 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 and while you're at you can check out how the Gearank Algorithm ranked acoustic & acoustic-electric 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 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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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.


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?


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.


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 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.
Made In BRAZIL, CARLOS WEBER, 184 SAD PAULO 10 S.P. BRAZIL C.G.C (M. F.) 61,196,1191oo1

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 is in excellent condition...& I still Pick it up and it SOUNDS AMAZING!!


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

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