The 43 Best Acoustic Guitars – Great Sounding Instruments In Every Price Range
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Last Updated: November 19, 2019
All our charts regularly receive a good refresh, and this mega collection of the best acoustic guitars is no exception! While the core content remained the same, we chopped and changed several acoustics to reflect recent changes in the market, as well as the appearance of some newer models.
While we removed a few popular old favorites, these were replaced with the likes of the sensational solid-wood Martin 16 Series D-16GT in our top-ten chart, as well as the higher-end Taylor 214ce DLX in the sub-$1,500 category.
We also saw the addition of the distinctive midrange Fender Newporter Classic and Washburn WCG55CE Comfort, before three affordable models in the Ibanez AW54OPN, the Oscar Schmidt OG1FYS, and Yamaha APXT2. Other additions included the The Loar LH-204 Brownstone, as well as the cool AG-105EQ from Traveler Guitar.
Table Of Contents
- Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars:
- Guitars For Beginners:
- Under $2000:
- Under $1500:
- Under $1000:
- Under $500:
- Under $300:
- Cheap Acoustic Guitars:
- Travel Guitars:
- Electro-Acoustic Guitars:
- For Small Hands:
- 12-String Guitars:
- Acoustic or Electro-Acoustic – What’s Better?
- Should You Go Nylon or Steel?
- What is a Good Acoustic Guitar?
- How Much Does a Good Acoustic Guitar Cost?
- Which Brand of Acoustic Guitar is The Best?
- The Final Word
You then have different budgets – one shopper may only have $100 in their back pocket while his friend can drop $2,000 on his new axe (lucky guy!).
There are also shoppers who know nothing about guitar at all – the caring girlfriend looking for a budget acoustic for the man of her life; the father who doesn’t really care what he spends, as long as his son gets the best acoustic guitar for kids.
Of course there are more examples, but this brief introduction highlights how buying a guitar differs from person to person, and what is ‘best’ for one, may not be the ‘best’ for another.
How Do I Find My Dream Acoustic Guitar?
A good question! As we’ve just explained, for every individual ‘the best acoustic guitar’ will be different. This is why we’ve split some of the top guitars on the market into relevant categories.
You’ll find it easier to navigate to the category that interests you the most, bypassing those guitars out of your budget or too basic.
Before we get started, if you are in the market for an electric guitar instead of an acoustic, don’t worry – we have them covered in our extensive electric guitars page elsewhere on Guitar Fella.
The same goes for nylon-stringed acoustics – you will no longer find them on this page because we have a new chart dedicated solely to classical guitars.
Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars:
|Image||Acoustic Guitar / Rating||Summary||Check Price|
Total of 4.78/5 [usr 4.78 max='5' ]
Vintage tone and style to spare with this high-end Takamine.
Total of 4.72/5 [usr 4.72 max='5' ]
A gorgeous premium all-solid-wood Taylor.
Total of 4.50/5 [usr 4.50 max='5' ]
Great looking dreadnaught body guitar from Bristol.
Martin 16 Series D-16GT
Total of 4.78/5 [usr 4.78 max='5' ]
Classic style with this solid-wood Martin.
Yamaha A Series A3M
Total of 4.82/5 [usr 4.82 max='5' ]
A mid-range performance-focused acoustic with a high-end feel.
Seagull S6 Original
Total of 4.88/5 [usr 4.88 max='5' ]
Beautiful style, quality and playability with this Seagull.
The Loar LH-204 Brownstone
Total of 4.72/5 [usr 4.72 max='5' ]
A taste of vintage America with this stylish Chinese guitar.
Total of 4.75/5 [usr 4.75 max='5' ]
Affordable slimline Yamaha with upgraded performance.
Total of 4.60/5 [usr 4.60 max='5' ]
A proud representative from the Takamine family.
Total of 4.75/5 [usr 4.75 max='5' ]
FG800 shows what made Yamaha's FG series so legendary to begin with.
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Innovation, tone and a touch of vintage is what’s on offer with this delightful high-end Takamine electro-acoustic. As we discuss further in the full Takamine EF360S-TT review, the Japanese brand includes a solid spruce top treated with its Thermal Top aging process.
Here, the wood is baked at a high heat, opening it up for a full and distinctive vintage tone. This warm tone is naturally replicated through an amplifier thanks to the on-board electronics featuring Takamine’s Palathetic pickup and TLD-2 line driver preamp.
In fact, the whole experience feels very premium, with appropriate vintage appointments and a fast-playing mahogany neck, with an ebony fretboard and 20 frets. It also comes with a nice hardshell case. Excellent!
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Naturally, this top ten chart wouldn’t be complete without an all-solid-wood made-in-America Taylor! We have featured the brand’s awesome 314ce, which feels like a truly premium guitar.
With a 25.5” scale length, the 314ce shows off a Grand Auditorium body shape with a playability-enhancing Venetian cutaway, allowing good access to the highest of the 20 frets. The top of the body is made from solid Sitka spruce, along with solid sapele back and sides, leading to a rich and powerful tone that’s well balanced between warm and bright.
The neck is hugely playable, with a satin-finished tropical mahogany construction. This model is an electro-acoustic, fitted with Taylor’s Expression System 2 including the brand’s patented behind-the-saddle pickup.
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Guitarists looking for a vintage guitar with a premium feel would be wise to check out this pre-war inspired Herringbone dreadnought from Saga’s Blueridge, which has sound and style in abundance.
The steel-string beauty is crafted from solid Sitka spruce on the top, which features solid Indian rosewood back and sides, and a slim mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard. You’ll notice some impressive decoration on the BR-160 (as we mention in our full review), including an exclusive Dalmatian-style tortoiseshell pickguard, accurate 14:1 butterbean-style tuners, and an elaborately decorated motherof-pearl headstock.
The sound is to die for – a rich, traditional tone with great balance and robust projection. Hard to fault this superb offering from Blueridge, which comes in at a very good price.
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There is always room for an American-made all-solid-wood Martin on any chart here at Guitar Fella, with the higher-end D-16GT from the iconic brand’s respected 16 Series hugely impressing.
It features a simple but elegant design, with a traditional dreadnought body made from solid Sitka spruce and solid mahogany, finished with a polished gloss on the top. The hardware is on point, with sturdy Martin tuners and an included Martin 345 hardshell case.
However – as we highlight in the complete D-16GT review – it’s the sound that impresses the most on this beauty, with a big, booming low-end which is warm and articulate. Such a rich guitar, it’s hard not to smile as you play.
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Yamaha’s A Series puts the focus on performance, and their A3M – a key part of this cool range – certainly feels built to play. This mid-range acoustic features a dreadnought body made from solid wood – Sitka spruce on the top, and mahogany on the back and sides.
This features Yamaha’s A.R.E. treatment, for enhanced ‘opened up’ tone, which means the guitar sounds full and rich straight from the box. The mahogany neck is a joy to play, with hand-rolled fretboard edges to deliver a beautiful feel.
Adding extra value is the inclusion of Yamaha’s S.R.T. system, offering both mic and piezo pickups, for an all-round versatile instrument that’s perfect for the stage. There’s more on the Yamaha A3M in the full review.
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We start with a true classic, that’s equally as good for experienced players as it is beginners who are learning the guitar for the first time – the Seagull S6. It’s a good-looking steel-string acoustic that’s popular with guitarists of all abilities, due to its comfort, playability and sound quality.
The S6 – as we state in our full review – sports an attractive solid cedar top with wild cherry back and sides. There’s a hand-finished, fat silver leaf maple neck, with a good rosewood fretboard and 21 frets, as well as a distinctive tapered headstock.
The sound is lovely – excellent projection and very dynamic with a good mid-range. It’s certainly not a budget option, but it’s still very affordable and will accompany you for decades of playing.
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While it doesn’t have as much elaborate decor as some of the other acoustic guitars on this chart, the LH-204 Brownstone is an excellent choice for anyone wanting that stripped-down blues sound and style.
This small pre-war style guitar is made by the high-end Chinese guitar brand The Loar, who has expertly built this simple acoustic with a brown-stained solid spruce top, along with mahogany back and sides – as we elaborate on in the full review of the LH-204 Brownstone.
The mahogany neck sports a comfortable C shape making it a pleasure to play, while the hardware contributes to a very reliable guitar. The overall sound is smooth, mellow and balanced, working very well for all styles of blues.
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The new APX600 builds on the already great reputation that Yamaha’s longstanding APX Series has offered since the late 1980s, with both style and build tweaks making it a true performer – as we mention in the main review of the APX600.
As well as some aesthetical upgrades, this updated model offers beginners great playability, with a slim body, satin-finished nato neck, a reduced 25” scale length, and narrower string spacing.
The sound has also been enhanced, and comes across as a little fuller that the previous iteration, while the ability to plug into an amplifier makes this a model that experienced guitarists will take a lot of notice of – especially for the affordable price tag.
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Takamine’s GD93 is a dreadnaught style steel string acoustic. It has a solid spruce top with rosewood sides. The back is really special with a three piece rosewood-quilted maple-rosewood design.
The looks are helped further along with abalone fret markers, rosewood headcap, maple purfling, gold hardware, and a dark wood rosette. The neck is mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. Takamine’s split saddle design is also incorporated into this guitar helping it to maintain its intonation.
The tone is bright with plenty of string definition. The slim neck profile is comfortable and fast. This is a great guitar for playing country style licks or strumming lush chords along with the rest of the band.
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Yamaha’s FG800 is a staple of the legendary FG series, which has been a force in the affordable acoustic market for fifty years. The FG800 – as we detail in our full review – is an excellent guitar for beginners at a super affordable price, with some advanced features that make it sound wonderful.
It comes in Sand Burst and Vintage Tint finishes, although you can’t beat the simple and elegant classic natural finish. It also shows off the solid Sitka spruce top, which is scallop-braced, with nato back and sides, and a slim nato neck (with rosewood fretboard) that makes playing a breeze.
It sounds great, and the bracing on the top gives a good amount of bass depth and resonance. An excellent choice for beginners.
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Although there are certainly much cheaper beginner acoustics (and, if that’s what you’re looking for, check out the dedicated beginner’s page), it’s hard to beat learning on a real Taylor.
This affordable Taylor – part of the iconic brand’s Academy Series – shows off the typical quality you’d expect, along with good looks and beautiful playability. With a 24.87” scale length it features a Grand Concert body, with solid Sitka spruce on the top and a sapele laminate on the back and sides.
This body also features an ergonomic arm rest for extra comfort. Highlighted in the full Taylor A12e review, the guitar comes fitted with simple but effective electronics, and an awesome Taylor padded gig bag.
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If you’re looking for something a little different, you may just find it with Fender’s Tim Armstrong Hellcat – reviewed in full here. The signature guitar fuses Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong’s punk core with his acoustic roots and results in an affordable acoustic which oozes attitude.
The guitar features a naturally finished solid mahogany top, with scallop bracing, as well as mahogany back and sides. There’s a maple neck with satin-finished rosewood fretboard, decorated with a Hellcat and double-skull inlays, with Tim’s signature adorning the headstock. In short, it looks awesome!
And it sounds pretty great too, partly thanks to the Fishman Isys III pickup system with active onboard preamp and tuner, with volume, bass, middle and treble controls. Big tone, big attitude, good price.
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When you’re just starting out, chances are you don’t want to spend more than a hundred bucks on a guitar, especially if you aren’t committing to learning. Enter, the Rogue RA-090, which is a superb choice for beginners on a budget.
For no more than the price of dinner for two, the RA-090 offers decent quality in its large dreadnought body, which is made entirely of laminated whitewood to keep the cost down. It looks good and the 20-fret nato neck plays well.
There are no electronics, which is great to keep things simple for beginners, while the hardware is quite reliable considering the price. Check out the full RA-090 review for all you need to know!
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Packed with Breedlove’s renown flair and a bold tone, it’s no wonder the Oregon Concert CE makes this chart. This higher-end electro-acoustic is made in America, and the quality shows!
It features a comfortable cutaway concert body, comprising a solid Sitka spruce top and the striking addition of Myrtlewood on the back and sides, all enhanced with black body binding. For such an appealing body, the hard rock maple neck is one of the highlights, with a semi-gloss finish that feels beautiful in the hands.
This model is fitted with L. R. Baggs electronics for great-quality sound replication, although its bright tone is just wonderful unplugged. The full review has everything you need to know about the Breedlove Oregon Concert CE.
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Taylor offers a diverse range of woods and styles in its 200 Deluxe Series, although it’s the delightful 224ce-K that shines the brightest to us. Its dark aesthetics are down to the all-Hawaiian Koa construction, featuring a solid top paired with laminate back and sides.
As we mention in the main review of the Taylor 224ce-K, it sports a Grand Auditorium shape and a Venetian cutaway, which makes reaching all 20 frets of the satin-finished neck a much easier task.
With the Koa construction it has a naturally bright tone that will warm up with age, while the Expression System 2 electronics (featuring 3-band EQ and phase filter) make on-stage performances a strong point of this acoustic.
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Now it’s time for something a little different! This higher-end acoustic guitar from RainSong delivers an interesting build that is well-suited for travelers, humidity or fluctuating temperatures.
That’s because the H-WS1000N2’s single-cutaway body is made entirely from carbon fiber, so any warping or other climate-related issues are a thing of the past. This material delivers a guitar that is also a pretty cool talking point.
It’s very playable, with a modified U-shaped neck made from graphite and capped with a 21-fret composite fretboard. Tonally it is bright but quite well-balanced, while you can plug in and perform thanks to the quality Fishman Prefix+T preamp system. Be sure to check out the full review to read more on the H-WS1000N2.
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It’s not one of Takamine’s premium models, but give it a few strums and you can see why Bruce Springsteen uses this awesome EF341SC on stage! Part of Takamine’s Legacy Series, the glossy black EF341SC is an elegant guitar with a good dose of rock attitude.
It sports a cutaway dreadnought body for excellent upper-fret access, with solid cedar used on the top, and laminated maple on the back and sides. Adding to the playability is the C-shaped 20-fret mahogany neck. Built into the top is Takamine’s own CT-4B II preamp system, with 3-band EQ and a built-in chromatic tuner.
Unplugged, the tone is warm and balanced, while it sounds top notch through the electronics. Check out more in our full review of the EF341SC.
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Part of Martin’s mid-range 15 Series, the popular D-15M is an all-solid-wood, all-mahogany acoustic which proves the perfect companion for the stage, recording, or simply chilling out with a sweet guitar.
With a non-cutaway dreadnought body shape, the D-15M shows off typical Martin elegance and just as much Martin playability. Just like the body, the neck is also made of satin-finished mahogany, capped with an East Indian rosewood fretboard, and 20 frets.
There’s no electronics on this model, but – as we mention in the full Martin D-15M review – this acoustic is fitted with reliable hardware that complements the guitar’s consistency, while the tone on offer is naturally rich and warm. Hard to fault, even at this higher-end price.
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A key part of Taylor’s 200 Deluxe Series, the 214ce DLX is an upgraded version of the already popular 214ce, which adds even more appeal to this stunning Grand Auditorium electro-acoustic.
It features a glossy solid Sitka spruce top with laminated rosewood back and sides, along with an easy-playing Taylor neck made from sapele and finished in satin. The strong build and playability are complemented by the advanced behind-the-saddle pickup, coming as part of Taylor’s Expression System 2 electronics.
This makes this acoustic a solid stage performer, with a gorgeous balanced tone that works for so many styles. Be sure to read more on this acoustic in the complete breakdown of the Taylor 214ce DLX.
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Dollar for dollar, Breedlove’s Solo Concert is perhaps one of the best acoustic guitars on this entire list – even though it’s missing a piece on the side of the body!
The missing piece is, of course, deliberate, with Breedlove offering players a second soundhole, allowing you to hear the same output as the audience. The top is made of solid red cedar, while the back and sides are crafted from laminated rosewood.
Combined, this delivers a rich and warm tone that’s well-replicated though the versatile L. R. Baggs undersaddle pickup and preamp system (including 3-band EQ controls and a built-in tuner). Breedlove – consider us impressed! Read more about the Breedlove Solo Concert in the complete review.
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While slightly lower-end than some of the other Taylors we feature on this page, the 114ce from the brand’s affordable 100 Series is a great performer for all abilities and styles.
It features a handsome Grand Auditorium shape with a soft cutaway for good access to the higher frets, while the satin-finished sapele neck is incredibly playable – as is the case with all Taylor guitars. The iconic brand keeps costs low with laminated sapele back and sides paired with solid Sitka spruce on the top, as well as producing it in the respected Mexican facility.
Throw in the Taylor Expression System 2, chrome tuners, and a padded Taylor gig bag, and you have one excellent package – as we mention in the full review.
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We come to perhaps one of the most eye-catching acoustics on this list, which is a popular model in the sub-$1,000 category – the Newporter Classic from Fender’s California Series.
This distinctive Auditorium-sized guitar features a beautiful Cosmic Turquoise paintjob on the solid spruce top, while the back and sides are made of solid mahogany (unpainted, for a lovely contrast). The well-balanced tone is amplified nicely through the Fishman custom-voiced electronics.
Throw in the Strat-style headstock, pau ferro ‘Viking’ bridge, and a sleek mahogany neck that plays like an electric guitar, and you can see why we gave this acoustic full marks in the design section in the full review of the Newporter Classic!
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Yamaha’s LS6 is another acoustic that’s a favorite of ours, as it offers excellent value considering the style, build and hardware you receive. Part of the famous Japanese brand’s L Series (the L standing for ‘luxury’), the LS6 really does feature a luxurious feel for the sub-$500 price tag.
With an elegantly designed concert body made from A.R.E-treated solid Engelmann spruce on the top, with laminated rosewood back and sides. This combines to deliver a rich tone that sounds like something you’d receive in a much higher price bracket.
You can also amplify this sound through the stealthy S.R.T. Zero Impact pickup. Interested? Further details on the wonderful LS6 are available in the full review.
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Here we have a real icon, re-imagined for the affordable acoustic market. With a design that’s true to the original Gibson Hummingbird, Epiphone’s Hummingbird PRO electro-acoustic features a dreadnought body with 1960s square shoulders, a solid spruce top, and laminated select mahogany back and sides.
Vintage detailing includes classic pearloid parallelogram inlays and the elaborate Hummingbird pickguard. Joined at the 14th fret, the SlimTaper D-shaped neck is also mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets.
As we detail in our complete review of the Hummingbird PRO, it includes a Shadow ePerformer preamp system with NanoFlex under-saddle pickup, allowing the naturally rich sound to be amplified and shaped thanks to the versatile controls. A great choice for blues or rock guitarists.
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You can always rely on Epiphone to provide an acoustic guitar with eye-catching looks and a quality sound at an excellent price, and the EJ-200CE is certainly a testament to this. Based on one of the world’s most famous guitars – the J-200 – this revamped model offers an excellent mix of vintage style and modern components.
Epiphone has crafted the single-cutaway body from solid spruce and a select maple, not forgetting a maple neck with well-decorated rosewood fretboard, and classic rosewood ‘mustache’ bridge.
The acoustic sound output is clear with good projection, while plugged into an affordable acoustic guitar amplifier the eSonic pickup system also impresses for the price. Make sure to check out the full EJ-200CE review for all the details.
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As far as acoustic guitars for beginners go, unless you want to spend a considerable amount more on a Taylor, the FG830 from Yamaha is a great choice.
This popular dreadnought remains one of the best-selling acoustics on the market – and for good reason. It’s an affordable factory-produced guitar, but after a good setup it can play like butter. It features a solid spruce top with an advanced scalloped bracing system, balanced with laminated rosewood back and sides.
Combined, this delivers a bright and articulate tone with a bold projection, which beginners will very much enjoy. Equally as much as the sleek matte-finished nato neck – great for first chords, notes and songs. There’s more on the FG830 in the full review!
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The Oregon-based brand makes several appearances in this mega chart for one reason – their models are incredibly recommendable, whatever the price category. And, in the sub-$300 market, the Discovery Concert shines brightly. To keep costs low, the Discovery Series is made in China, but set-up in the US, so it feels great right out of the box.
The Concert Discovery is also attractive and built with quality materials – there’s solid Sitka spruce on the top, with laminated mahogany back and sides. It also comes with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets, sealed chrome tuners, a pinless rosewood bridge and a padded Breedlove gig bag.
Not a bad haul considering the all-round affordable price. There’s more on the Breedlove Discovery Concert in the full review.
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Alvarez is a brand up there with the best when it comes to making a great guitar that doesn’t cost the earth. And it’s their solid-topped AF30 – a staple of the Artist Series – that stands out in the sub-$300 category, showing off great style and quality for the affordable price.
It features a compact folk body, built with solid Sitka spruce on the top and laminated mahogany on the back and sides. The smooth mahogany neck is easy to play, while the guitar offers a beautiful mellow tone that suits all styles of guitarist, and is great for accompanying a vocalist.
As we mention further in the full review, there are no electronics, but the hardware makes for a consistent and reliable experience.
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When there are guitars like the AW54OPN coming in at under two hundred bucks, it’s little surprise that so many players shopping for a budget guitar turn to Ibanez.
This simple but sophisticated acoustic shows off lovely woody looks, with a solid open-pore mahogany top – very surprising to see quality solid wood in this price range. This is complemented by laminated mahogany back and sides, and a mahogany neck.
The Japanese brand doesn’t skimp in the hardware section either, with welcome additions including Ibanez Advantage bridge pins and an Ivorex II nut and saddle. This all combines to deliver a very strong performer for so few beans. There’s more in the full review of the Ibanez AW54OPN.
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We continue in this budget category with a hugely affordable steel-string model, that gives guitars twice the price something to think about.
From Takamine’s budget subsidiary Jasmine, the S-35 – which we have reviewed in full – features the classic dreadnought shape body, with an advanced X-braced spruce top, along with agathis back and sides. It also sports a slim nato neck – joined at the 14th fret – with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets, and a rosewood bridge.
Overall, it offers good clarity and provides lots of projection, thanks to both the natural finish (allowing the wood to resonate) and the bracing on the top. More than suitable for beginners, who would find plenty of use with this guitar.
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There are few better names in the world of guitar than Fender, and their steel-string FA-100 shows they can pack a punch in the budget acoustic market. It offers a simple but stylish look with a traditional dreadnought body shape that appeals to any guitarist.
The top is made from spruce and features X-bracing, while the back and sides are made from basswood. The FA-100 also sports a very playable maple neck, with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets. It would work very well for beginners, as it provides a defined, crisp sound that’s well suited to plucking or strumming, and good for everything from rock to country.
Throw in a classic Fender-branded headstock and a limited lifetime warranty, and you have a very attractive package for the low price. Don’t miss our full review of the FA-100.
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Coming in at the higher-end of our travel acoustic chart, Yamaha’s SLG200S Silent is a masterpiece in its own right – innovative and portable, without losing the full-size playing experience.
With no traditional body on offer, this steel-string electro-acoustic uses a detachable maple and rosewood frame to keep it travel-friendly, while a solid mahogany body gives it substance and tone. It also features a satin-finished mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard and 22 frets.
We talk about the electronics of the Yamaha SLG200S in the full review – without its SRT Powered preamp system and undersaddle pickup it wouldn’t be very audible! This system features a built-in headphone socket and versatile controls, including volume and EQ, as well as a built-in effects rotary control.
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With the affordable AG-105EQ, the Californian brand Traveler Guitar has developed an impressively innovative travel guitar, providing a full-size playing experience in a guitar that is 20% smaller than a typical dreadnought.
It features a solid spruce top, laminated mahogany body, and 20-fret mahogany neck, with a 25.5” scale length and standard string spacing. Playing it is a real pleasure, as is listening to it – for such a compact instrument, the AG-105EQ delivers a surprisingly good sound.
In our full AG-105EQ evaluation we talk more about the hardware, which includes a Shadow Nanoflex pickup and custom-made preamp, as well as a handy headphone jack. Of course, it also ships in its own padded gig bag.
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One of our favorite small-hand friendly acoustics is the Baby Taylor BT2 – a mini dreadnought that punches above its relatively affordable price tag with a hefty tone and beautiful overall feel.
It features a solid mahogany top with laminated sapele back and sides, leading to a warm tone that’s a joy to listen too. Despite the small body size, the BT2 has a robust projection, thanks to the arched back. The neck is joined to the body via screws, which tarnish the look a little, but leave no impact on the slick playability or the tone, so aren’t a big deal.
It also comes with a stylish, protective padded Taylor gig bag. There’s more on the Taylor BT2 in the full review. Check it out!
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The legendary American brand rarely put a foot wrong, and they certainly don’t do it in the electro-acoustic market – as the DRS1 shows. This all-solid-wood dreadnought – part of the brand’s Road Series – packs a real punch when it comes to tone, with a big projection and great warmth.
This is largely down to the expert construction and the use of satin-finished solid sapele on the top, back and sides. As for design, it’s a straightforward but elegant model, with simplicity that all guitarists can appreciate.
Highlighted in the full review of the DRS1, it comes loaded with an excellent and very stealthy Fishman Sonitone system. Throw in chrome die-cast tuners, solid hardware, and a hardshell case, and you get good return for your cash.
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Part of Paul Reed Smith’s famous Angelus Series, the A50E is a stylish electro-acoustic that’s new for 2018, although could quickly become a modern classic. With a mid-range price, the A50E sports a 25.3” scale length Angelus body shape, crafted with figured maple (back and sides) and solid Sitka spruce (top).
This quality wood is complemented with the elegant detailing we’ve become used to with the Angelus series, such as the distinctive abalone bird fretboard inlays, with matching abalone rosette and purfling.
As we highlight in the full A50E review, this snazzy electro-acoustic is loaded a simple but effective Fishman GT1 preamp system, offering natural replication of the guitar’s bright, articulate acoustic tone. A winner from PRS!
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The WCG55CE Comfort is a midrange electro-acoustic that seems to have it all – a beautiful natural design, a comfortable playing experience, and a top-notch tone, whether plugged in or not.
Washburn has crafted the Grand Auditorium body with laminated koa, which features a comfortable mahogany armrest built into the lower bout. The rest of the detailing – including the maple and mahogany Parquet-style rosette – make this an envy-inducing instrument.
Being one of our favorite electro-acoustics, the WCG55CE Comfort is loaded with a very versatile Fishman Presys+ 501T system, with a built-in tuner, 3-band EQ, notch, mic blend and phase controls. As always, the full review of this relaxed acoustic has all the details you need.
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If you want to make a tad bigger investment and get one of the best acoustic guitars in the world within the “under $500” league that just happens to be very well suited for children too, check out the Little Martin.
Martin is one of the most renowned guitar manufacturers in the world, and we would be lying if we said that this six-sting didn’t have the absolute best sound on this entire list.
Utilizing high-quality wood and stellar craftsmanship, this is the guitar that brought the manufacturer’s sonic excellence to players on a budget. It’s compact, it’s strong, and it can tackle any musical style that you can think of.
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A new addition to this section is the popular APXT2 from Yamaha – a smaller scaled version of the brand’s highly-respected thinline APX500II. With a 3/4 size, it is easy to both hold and play for guitarists with smaller hands.
With an eye-catching black gloss finish, the affordable APXT2 is made from a combination of laminated spruce and meranti, along with a 21-fret rosewood fretboard. There’s more on the construction in the full review of the APXT2.
This smaller guitar is also fitted with electronics, allowing it to be plugged in and played wherever it’s needed. These come in the shape of a System 68 contact pickup and ART-based preamp, with simple controls and a built-in digital tuner.
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The compact OG1FYS from the respected Washburn subsidiary Oscar Schmidt is one of our favorite acoustic guitars for players with small hands.
In addition to offering an easily manageable 3/4-scale size with a comfortable mahogany neck, it also happens to be one of the best-looking acoustics we have featured, with a range of cool color choices – including red, blue, black and natural.
For a small and affordable guitar, this Chinese-made model offers a surprisingly good build, pleasing tone and reliable hardware, including a set of chrome sealed tuners and a rosewood bridge. This all adds up to deliver excellent value. As always, there’s more on the Oscar Schmidt OG1FYS in the main review.
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The innovative Japanese brand manage to consistently deliver on innovation, quality and versatility, which is why we regard them so highly. It’s also why their EF381SC 12-string guitar is first in this category.
This reliable electro-acoustic is perfect for the modern stage performer, utilizing Takamine’s CT4B II electronics that offer both versatile onboard EQ controls and a natural replication of this acoustic’s bright, twinkly tone.
This tone is largely down to the quality of the materials used in the construction – a solid spruce top, with maple back and sides, all with a sophisticated black finish. As we mention in the full EF381SC review, this 12-string model is an all-round beautiful workhorse, well worth the price tag.
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If you’re after a gigantic 12-string sound, the Guild F1512E is an electro-acoustic worth checking out. Guild’s reputation as one of the best acoustic brands is upheld with this impressive model, that proves well worth its higher-end price tag.
With a jumbo body shape, the F1512E sports a solid Sitka spruce top, with rosewood back and sides, combining for a well-balanced tone with good warmth. Of course, it also has huge projection and you barely need electronics to amplify it further!
Still, the option is there, with Fishman’s Sonitone pickup included, along with generally reliable hardware and a smart Guild polyfoam case. There’s more on this impressive 12-string in the full review of the Guild F1512E.
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Yet another Martin on this mega chart, but are you really surprised? The brand is at the top of their game, as they have been since 1833 and – with guitars such as the D12X1AE – it doesn’t look like anything is about to change.
For a Martin in particular, this 12-string dreadnought is reasonably affordable, but still displays the traditional design and build that make Martin such a big name. It sports a mix of solid and laminate woods, with Sitka spruce on the top and the rest made up of rosewood HPL.
As we mention in the full review of this dependable 12-string, it also comes fitted with a Fishman Sonitone pickup and reliable hardware for consistent live performances.
Acoustic or Electro-Acoustic – What’s Better?
While reading through our guitar reviews you will have seen both acoustic guitars as well as acoustics with a pickup/pre-amp system, and – especially if you’re starting out – you may have asked ‘which is better for me?’
However, like everything else in the world of guitar, the answer is completely down to you, your tastes and ambitions.
An electro-acoustic guitar is one that works just like a regular acoustic would, although has the added benefit of having a pickup, allowing you to plug the guitar into an amplifier and cranking up the volume, playing with a band, or – by using a good guitar pedal – adding an array of tones and effects to your sound.
Due to the extra components and work involved in making it, an electro-acoustic version of a guitar will usually be more expensive than it’s acoustic brother, although you can find very affordable electro-acoustic models these days.
Just keep in mind that you will need to buy an amplifier to benefit from the perks of your new electro-acoustic. Make sure to check out our detailed page that covers more than 60 of the top guitar amplifiers on the market for a little inspiration.
Whether or not you go for an electro-acoustic model may depend on where you plan to play it. If you are playing a concert or on stage with a band you will need something that is capable of being plugged into an amp, or risk not being heard!
Should You Go Nylon or Steel?
This is as important – if not more – than the question above, and must be answered before you buy, or even start looking for your next guitar.
Generally it’s agreed that beginners may benefit more from using a nylon-string instrument as it’s less intense on the fingers, and may encourage longer playing sessions.
However it’s not essential, and starting on a steel-string guitar may keep you playing longer if you prefer that style of music.
But if you enjoy the smooth, mellow sound of classical guitar music or the excitement of flamenco, go for a nylon-string classical guitar.
If you prefer rock, country, blues or folk, you’d be better off checking out steel-string guitars, which offer that crisp, bright sound.
Whatever you go for, ensure you try out as many as you can – or at the very least watch a few review videos – to determine what sound and style you prefer. Who knows, you may decide nylonstrings are for you when you didn’t initially consider them.
A final word of advice when changing your acoustic strings (and don’t forget to check out our page on the best guitar strings on the market): you cannot use steel strings on a nylon-stringed guitar, and vice versa.
This experiment has no benefit, it won’t be very successful, and can cause big damage to your guitar. Besides, there’s no reason you can’t own both nylon and steel-stringed models – with guitars so affordable these days, everyone can own every style!
And if you are into experimenting you can check out our article on the best resonator guitars – but this is different topic and I don’t want to go into details.
What is a Good Acoustic Guitar?
As quality, styles and price differ so greatly, it is difficult to settle on one definition of a good acoustic guitar. For example, a $2,500 Martin D-18 is a much better guitar than a $200 Yamaha FG800 – yet they are both still great guitars!
That’s because all guitars we tend to class as ‘good’ share some qualities. One of these is playability. The guitar should feel nice to play with a smooth neck, regardless of whether it is glossy or satin-finished. The action should be low, although not too low that the frets buzz.
Whether it costs $100 or $1000, the build quality should feel worthy of the money. Naturally with budget models you will find more laminated woods compared the solid woods and exotic materials used in expensive guitars. However, a good model will have laminates that are put together securely and cleanly, with no excess glue or rough spots. Even a good budget guitar will look and feel great.
A good guitar’s components will work smoothly too. For example, the tuning keys should turn freely (not too loose, not too stiff) and hold tunings well, and – if it offers electronics – these should be reliable.
How Much Does a Good Acoustic Guitar Cost?
Again, it completely depends on your definition of good – it is a very loose term! As you will have seen in the chart, we rate both budget and higher-end models very highly.
For a good beginner’s guitar, you should look to pay between $150 and $250, as this will land you with a model that will deliver a clear tone with good playability, which should encourage you to pick it up and play all the time.
However, most players referring to a ‘good’ guitar will be talking about one that would suit a more experienced player – something that is good enough for home use as well as being a stage-worthy instrument.
This kind of acoustic may not be classed as a ‘high-end’ or ‘premium’ model, but it will usually feature a solid wood top, an attractive design, an excellent build quality (even though it will still be mass produced) and solid components. For this kind of guitar, you will be looking in the $300 to $600 price ranges.
Which Brand of Acoustic Guitar is The Best?
The two classic acoustic brands seen as ‘the best’ are undoubtedly Martin and Taylor. These two have been around since 1833 and 1974 respectively, so have good experience in producing some of the finest acoustic guitars on the planet.
While not always the most elaborately decorated, these two brands always deliver the wow-factor. Tell another guitarist that you own a Martin and they will know you are serious about guitar.
However, a couple of other brands also make some excellent acoustics and should not be ignored.
For example, the Canadian brand Seagull make a range of some of the most popular acoustic guitars around. Then there is the Oregon-based brand Breedlove, who handcraft some superb acoustics, while the Japanese manufacturer Takamine are well-known for the high-end all-solid-wood electro-acoustics.
If you aren’t in the market for a premium model, brands such as Yamaha and Fender always seem to impress in all levels of the pricing scale, especially with their entry-level and affordable acoustics.
The Final Word
While there are plenty of poor quality guitars on the market, every model and manufacturer we have featured here is worthy of your time. Although don’t forget that the guitars on this page are only a drop in the ocean of what is out there in terms of choice.
Ultimately, make sure to go with what you feel is best for you, whether small budget or big spending, acoustic or electro-acoustic, steel or nylon strings.
If you are passionate about what you are doing, and keep learning and practicing, every guitar will sound great in your hands. And if you are just starting out, make sure to check out some online guitar courses to help you get started.
On every stage, at every concert, the audience always rates the player – not the instrument. People would always listen to B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix – even if they were performing with a $100 Yamaha! Let that be some inspiration for you.
Good luck with your guitar shopping and enjoy your new purchase!