The Best Acoustic Guitars - Between $100 & $2000

The Highest Rated Acoustic Guitars

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As your musical skill and taste evolves, you will realize that finding the right acoustic guitar can be a never-ending quest. And this is further complicated by realistic budget constraints and the increasing expectations that you have as guitars move up in price range.

Here we help you narrow down your options to only the best acoustic guitars that are currently available within each price range below.

If you are just beginning to play and looking for your first guitar, then you might prefer to take a look at our guide to Acoustic Guitars for Beginners.

Note that these are acoustic guitars without electronics, if you want a guitar that's ready to plug in please see our separate guide to The Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars.

The Best Acoustic Guitars

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $200

If these top-rated guitars don't quite fit what you're looking for then you can find additional options in the GuitarSite guide to Best Cheap Acoustic Guitars Under $200

Fender CC-60S

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Fender CC-60S 6-String Acoustic Guitar

At the time of publication this was the Highest Rated Acoustic Guitar Under $200.

While Fender is mostly known for their electric guitars and amps, they have been expanding their reach into the acoustic guitar market and their affordable models are getting high ratings.

Case in point is the Fender CC-60S, a concert size acoustic guitar with specs that you won't normally see in its price range. For the price, this one has a solid spruce top, instantly beating out most of what others have to offer.

Its concert size body makes it a bit more comfortable for smaller players, which works in conjunction with its beginner friendly neck setup. Speaking of neck, this guitar has a nato neck with walnut fingerboard and rolled fretboard edges. Other features include walnut bridge, chrome die-cast tuners, and built-in strap buttons.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Concert
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
  • Bridge: Walnut
  • Neck: Nato
  • Neck Profile: Easy to Play Profile with Rolled Edges
  • Fingerboard: Walnut
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12"
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.3”
  • Nut Width: 42.926" mm

Pros

With its solid spruce top, this acoustic guitar is hard to beat in terms of value, and this is a common theme among reviews. Good playability is also another plus, along with the gloss finish - which many appreciate for not looking as cheap as it actually is.

Cons

Not much complaints to write about, even those who give slightly lower ratings have good things to say about this guitar. Note that its concert shape body will have less lows compared to bigger dreadnought / jumbo shapes.

Overall

If you're looking for an affordable acoustic guitar with solid spruce top, then be sure to check this one out..

Yamaha FS800

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Yamaha FS800 - Natural

Yamaha's FG/FS series continue to get rave reviews, even more so with the addition of traditional x-bracing support on their solid top models. The FS800 brings their tried and tested formula into a concert profile acoustic, it is essentially a smaller bodied alternative to the FG800.

The FS800's compact profile also alters the tone with more emphasis on the mids and highs. Another important difference, although minor, is the shorter scale length which lessens the tension required for the strings to be in tune. This makes it a tad bit easier on the hands, while the curvy compact body makes it easier on the body and elbow to play.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Concert
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Nato/Okume
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato
  • Neck Profile: Slim Tapered
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 400mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25”
  • Nut Width: 43mm

Pros

While this is an entry-level guitar, even experienced players appreciate its overall quality and value for money. Most users are satisfied with its tone, while its playability also gets a lot of thumbs up, especially from guitarists who are into fingerstyle playing. It is also described as a comfortable instrument to learn on.

Cons

Like most guitars in this price range, some recommend replacing the strings to better appreciate its tone. There are a few who had some fret-buzz issues, but they were able to get it setup properly, and still have mostly good things to say about the FS800.

Overall

The Yamaha FS800 is easily one of the best value concert profile guitars in the market today, especially when considering that it gives it comes with a solid spruce top and x-bracing.

Fender FA-115

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 475+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Fender FA-115 Dreadnought

The FA-115 is Fender's most popular beginner acoustic guitar, it usually comes bundled with essential accessories. While it does not have a solid top, it makes up for it with the quality of accessories that it ships with, which include clip on tuner, strings, picks, strap and a gig bag.

This dreadnought shape guitar features spruce for the top and mahogany for the back and sides, and while the laminate top maybe a turn off for some, it does have durability and reliability as its strong point, which makes it more ideal for beginners who may not be as conscious about careful handling of the instrument.

It follows after Fender's "Easy to Play" neck profile with rolled fretboard edges, with a fretboard radius of 12" and a scale length of 25.3".

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Bridge: Hardwood
  • Neck: ‘Easy-to-Play’ shape with Rolled Fretboard Edges
  • Neck Profile:
  • Fingerboard: Hardwood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 304.8 mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.3”
  • Nut Width: 42.926 mm

Pros

The Fender FA-115 is described as the best beginner friendly guitar by many, thanks to its combination o good playability, tone and price. Many are also pleased with the quality of the included accessories, including the free Fender guitar lessons which many commend in reviews. Many users also agree that attention to detail and overall build quality is also quite good given the price.

Cons

If you're looking for a solid top acoustic guitar, or you're not too keen on accessories then you may want to look at other acoustics in this guide.

Overall

With its build quality and accessories, the Fender FA-115 is a good starter guitar for anyone to learn on.

Yamaha FG800

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 325+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha is a company that's been producing musical instruments ever since its inception, and their over 130 years of experience and expertise has expanded into guitars. The FG800 is another great example of why Yamaha continues to be a top guitar brand for students, with its solid top construction, beginner-friendly playability and student-friendly budget.

Solid spruce top guitars are expected to sound better than laminate top ones, they are also louder and have better frequency representation. Supporting the guitar's solid top is an X-bracing built to Yamaha's quality standards, which gives more freedom for the top to vibrate without compromising structural integrity.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Nato/Okume
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato
  • Neck Profile: Slim Tapered
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 400mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25 9/16”
  • Nut Width: 43mm

Pros

Build quality is the biggest factor in reviews, users are simply happy with how well built this affordable instrument is. With good build quality comes good playability, and this is reflected in reviews. Tone is also often commended, some even reporting that it sounds as good as other more expensive dreadnoughts.

Cons

The quality of the strings that it came with caused a few users to slightly lower their ratings. There are also some who recommend getting the guitar setup professionally to get the most out of the instrument.

Overall

If you're looking for an affordable dreadnought acoustic with solid spruce top, then this is well worth considering.

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300

If the following options don't suit you then you should read the GuitarSite guide to The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300 which is based on Gearank ratings as of August 2019.

Ibanez AW54

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$230
Ibanez AW54 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Acoustic Guitar from $200 to $300.

Though Ibanez is known more for their electric guitars, the brand actually produces a lot of high quality and inventive acoustic instruments. The perfect example of this is Ibanez’s AW54, a member of their Artwood series, which features renewable tonewoods that allow for lower price tags.

The tonewood it uses is okoume, which is a lighter and more readily available wood compared to Mahogany. But it does have a similar “warm” tone, with stronger representation of low-end and low-mid frequencies. It’s great if you’re looking to play folk, blues, and country music. It’s also great for finger-style songs.

An interesting feature of this instrument is that Ibanez sells it with “Ibanez Advantage” bridge pins. These pins are designed to make string changes easier. The “bulb” of the pin is wider, making it easier to grab. The end is also tapered, which helps hold the strings in the correct position.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Okoume
  • Back and Sides: Okoume
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nyatoh
  • Neck Profile: Slim (21mm at 1st Fret)
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 400mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.629"
  • Nut Width: 43mm

Pros

The ibanez AW54 continues to impress users with its earthy appeal and warm tone, thanks to its tonewood configuration. Many also feel that the guitar surpassed their expectations when it comes to build quality. Playability is also often commended, as expected from Ibanez.

Cons

As similar as it is to mahogany, it still is a different wood, and this is a deal breaker to some. There are a few who caution that okoume is a bit softer than mahogany, which means that the guitar requires a bit more TLC when handling to avoid scratches and dings.

Overall

If you're looking for a warm sounding solid-top acoustic guitar that's easy on the pocket, then check out the Ibanez AW54.

Bristol BD-16

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$255
Bristol BD-16 Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar

The Bristol BD-16 is an affordable acoustic guitar that features vintage-inspired forward-x top bracing. This type of bracing allows the top to vibrate more freely, improving the overall resonance and tone of the instrument.

This vintage-inspired bracing complements its dreadnought body, resulting in improved punch and projection. The body follows the familiar tonewood combination of using spruce for the top and mahogany for the back and sides, albeit utilizing laminate to keep the price low.

Finally, it has a mahogany neck with a slim profile and adjustable truss rod, with the aim of making your fretting hand more comfortable, a common theme in most guitars that are meant for beginners.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Finish: High Gloss
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Slim
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not Specified
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.6”
  • Nut Width: 43 mm

Pros

Good tone and projection are the two most commended traits of the Bristol BD-16, and most of the positive reviews are from beginners and first time guitar owners. While it may not impress most experienced guitarists, there are some who chimed in with their approval, stating that for a cheap beater guitar, this one sounds good.

Cons

Playability seems to be an issue for some, with a few reports of bad frets and action that need adjustments.

Overall

The Bristol BD-16's good projection and tone makes it an ideal first guitar for those who are into strumming oriented playing and other similar styles. And it doesn't hurt that it's made by the same company that produces the more expensive and well regarded Blueridge guitars such as the BG-40 and BR-140.

Yamaha FG820

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$280
Yamaha FG820 Acoustic Guitar

The Yamaha FG820 is a traditional dreadnought with a solid spruce top that's within reach of serious students of the instrument. And while having a solid top is already good to get in this price range, having been built to meet Yamaha's renowned quality standards, makes it even more appealing.

The guitar's body stays true to classic dreadnought design, with the back and sides crafted from laminate mahogany. The neck is also described as having a standard shape, which judging from the specifications are straightforward reproductions of classic dreadnought neck profile.

To improve the guitar's resonance and tone, Yamaha employed scalloped bracings (lighter), a feature that's you can normally find in more expensive acoustic guitars.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato
  • Neck Profile: Standard
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 400 mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.5”
  • Nut Width: 42.86 mm

Pros

The Yamaha FG820 is well loved for its overall build quality, and this is a common theme among reviews of Yamaha made instruments. Users appreciate how good the neck feels, describing it as very easy on the hands of beginners. Others appreciate the extra cosmetic details that add to its premium look, like the cream colored bindings on the body and fretboard. Owners of this guitar are simply satisfied with what they got for the money - a good quality instrument.

Cons

There are few concerns about the actual guitar design, but note that Dreadnoughts can be a bit bulky for smaller players.

Overall

If you're looking for an affordable dreadnought acoustic with solid top, then you have plenty of good options in Yamaha's line up, this one being one of the top rated.

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

Yamaha FG830

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$320
Yamaha FG830 Acoustic Guitar

The Yamaha FG830 is a dreadnought profile guitar with a solid spruce top paired with laminate rosewood back and sides.

Rosewood is more “focused” than mahogany, so the guitar has a stronger mid-range and high-end punch. This lets you be heard better over other instruments. However, musicians who prefer Americana music (not including bluegrass) or solo arrangements may prefer a mahogany guitar because of their warmer voicing.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Laminated Rosewood
  • Finish: Natural, Tobacco Sunburst, Autumn Burst
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato
  • Neck Profile: Slim Tapered
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 400mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25”
  • Nut Width: 43mm

Pros

Some users report that they bought this guitar so that they won't have to risk carrying their more expensive acoustics too often - yet they ended up liking the FG830 more! Tone gets the most positive mention in reviews, specifically how full it sounded when strumming. This is seconded by commendations for its overall value.

Cons

There are some who comment that the extra cost compared to its more affordable sibling, the FG820 is not justified, unless you’re looking for an affordable rosewood voiced instrument.

Overall

The Yamaha FG830 gives you a bit more quality for the money, well worth checking especially when you consider how expensive other similarly spec'ed guitars are.

Seagull S6 Original

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 375+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$479
Seagull Guitars S6 Original

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Acoustic Guitar from $300 to $500.

Seagull continues to get rave reviews for the quality and tone of their instruments, case in point is their flagship guitar S6 Original, which continues to gather high ratings.

It has many stand-out features, the most distinct of which is the use of wild cherry for the back and sides, a staple wood used on many Godin (Seagull's parent company) guitars. The top is also quite special, having been crafted from solid cedar that went through pressure testing.

While very similar to a dreadnought, the S6 Original's body shape is subtly modified to cut some unwanted boominess. Other features include a set-neck crafted from silver leaf maple, TUSQ nut and compensated saddle, and a distinctly tapered headstock that aligns the strings to the tuners which results in good tuning stability.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Modified Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Cedar
  • Back and Sides: Wild Cherry
  • Finish: Natural Semi-Gloss
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Silver Leaf Maple
  • Neck Profile: Not Specified
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not Specified
  • Number of Frets: 21
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25 ½”
  • Nut Width: 45.72mm

Pros

Being the highest rated acoustic guitar in a very competitive price range is definitely impressive, and its all thanks to the many users who are genuinely impressed with the overall value and quality of the Seagull S6 Original. Superb, awesome and excellent are just some of the many ways owners describe the guitar. Its slight mid-range emphasis is greatly appreciated by solo singers who also play guitar. More and more positive reviews are also pouring in from guitarists of varying experience and playing styles, attesting to its versatility.

Cons

As expected, Seagull cannot please everyone, so there are a few who are unimpressed with the S6 Original's tone, specifically those who are used to traditional solid spruce top equipped dreadnoughts.

Overall

If you want nothing less than what the market actually deems as the best in its price range, then get the Seagull S6 Original.

Taylor Academy 10

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$499
Taylor Academy 10

As the name itself implies, the Taylor Academy 10 is a dreadnought acoustic with student friendly playability.

It sports a distinct slim profile neck and shorter 24 7/8" scale length, both of which make it easier to play. Another noteworthy feature is its armrest, which makes it more comfortable on your picking arm, especially for new players.

While many will consider this guitar as mid-priced, this is still entry-level for Taylor, thankfully, they still equipped the Academy 10 with solid spruce top and sapele back and sides. More importantly, this guitar is built to meet the quality standards of Taylor guitars, which many consider to be among the best available.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Spruce Top
  • Back and Sides: Sapele
  • Finish: Varnish
  • Bridge: Not Specified
  • Neck: Sapele
  • Neck Profile: Taylor Slim
  • Fingerboard: Ebony
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 24.875"
  • Nut Width: 1.6875"

Pros

Reviewers have many good things to say about the Taylor Academy 10, more specifically about its build quality, which many describe as up to par with other more expensive Taylor guitars. Extra brownie points are also often given for its playability, which some describe as "like a dream" thanks to its shorter scale length, light gauge string and slim neck profile.

Cons

Since it is a streamlined entry-level model, there's not a lot to expect cosmetically. At this price, you can get better spec'ed guitars from other manufacturers, but value for money is not the strong suit of Taylor guitars anyway. Interestingly, there are still some who feel that they got more than their money's worth.

Overall

If you're looking for a premium quality student friendly guitar, then this should be high on your list.

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000

A more detailed guide for this price range is available: The Highest Rated Acoustic Guitars from $500 to $1000.

Alvarez MFA66 Masterworks

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$630
Alvarez MFA66 Masterworks OM/Folk

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Acoustic Guitar from $500 to $1,000 along with the Guild OM-120.

Given its all solid wood body construction, the Alvarez MFA66 gives more value for your money, while giving big name manufacturers a run for their money. For a mid-priced acoustic guitar, the MFA66 uses solid African mahogany as its main tone wood, from the top to the back and sides, and it doesn't skimp on cosmetic details either.

Even the neck is crafted from solid mahogany, and is topped by a rosewood bridge. Speaking of cosmetics, this guitar features Paua Abalone body purflings and inlays, and even has a binding crafted from acacia.

Other noteworthy features include ebony bridge pins, forward shifted scalloped bracing for vintage style resonance and projection, and the use of real bone for the nut and saddle.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Folk
  • Top: Solid African Mahogany
  • Back and Sides: Solid African Mahogany
  • Finish: Shadowburst Finish
  • Bridge: Bi-Level Polished Rosewood Bridge
  • Neck: Solid Mahogany Neck
  • Neck Profile: Not Specified
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not Specified
  • Number of Frets: 21
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 24.8"
  • Nut Width: 44.45 mm

Pros

Tone seem to be the top reason why users rate this guitar highly, with build quality and aesthetics coming in close. Being great sounding is a common theme among reviews, impressing even those who own more expensive instruments from other makers. Owners are also quite pleased with the overall look and playing feel of the guitar.

Cons

Since there aren't any noteworthy complaints about build quality other than some shipping issues, we just want to note that all-mahogany body guitars sound warmer compared to those with spruce top. And this tone difference can be good or bad depending on your preference.

Overall

With its great value, solid mahogany body construction and pleasing aesthetic details, the Alvarez MFA66 is easy to recommend.

Guild OM-120 Orchestra

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$659
Guild OM-120 Orchestra 6-String Acoustic Guitar

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Acoustic Guitar from $500 to $1,000 along with the Alvarez MFA66.

There's just something about the quality of Guild guitars that make them sought after, even by artists who aren't their endorsers. A good example of which is the Guild OM-120, an all-mahogany orchestra profile body guitar. The OM-120 features an all-solid African mahogany body, which gives it a very earthy appearance. This choice of wood works well with its orchestra (OM) body shape to give it a warm and somewhat trebly tone.

The most distinct feature of this guitar is its headstock emblem which is based on what the company used back in the '60s. Specs and playability wise, the guitar does not steer too far away from familiar territory, with its vintage-profile 25.5" scale C-shape neck, topped with a fretboard crafted from Indian rosewood. Note that the nut width is a bit wider than normal at 1.75", but it is still within conventional territory, especially among OM style guitars.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Mid-sized Orchestra
  • Top: Solid African Mahogany
  • Back and Sides: Solid African Mahogany
  • Finish: Gloss Polyurethane Natural
  • Bridge: Indian Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: C Shape
  • Fingerboard: Indian Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 16"
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Nut Width: 1.75"

Pros

Tone seems to be its biggest asset, which one user describes as sweet sounding, a good one word summary of how most owners perceive its tone. Appreciation for Guild's attention to detail is also a common theme among reviews, which applies to both playability and build quality.

Cons

While most users are happy with its warm tone, some feel that that the bottom end is a bit lacking, but this is to be expected especially when comparing with bigger guitars like dreadnoughts and jumbos. It's slightly wider nut can be a deal breaker for some, but getting familiar with it is not too hard given the quality of the neck. Also note that many OM guitars seem to adopt this wider nutwidth design.

Overall

With the Guild OM-120, you're getting premium all-solid wood specs at a more reasonable price tag, highly recommended.

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1500

Martin D-15M

98
GEARANK

98 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1299
Martin D-15M Acoustic Guitar

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Acoustic Guitar between $1,000 and $1,500 along with the Martin 000-15M.

Martin’s D-15M is a solid all-mahogany dreadnought. This guitar has a very strong rhythmic presence, thanks to the warmth and bold mid-range tone that you get with mahogany. Because of the dreadnought sized body, the guitar also has low-end response and volume to spare.

An interesting feature of this guitar is that it combines the standard Martin dreadnought voicing (think Bluegrass) with the warmth of mahogany. This gives the guitar a surprisingly balanced voice.

Finally, it follows the minimalist design of Martin's Style 15 guitars, which they first introduced back in the 1940s.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Mahogany
  • Back and Sides: Solid Mahogany
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Modified Low Oval, Standard Taper
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Saddle Radius: 16"
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.4”
  • Nut Width: 43mm

Pros

Being a dreadnought, this guitar is expected to be a fantastic rhythm instrument, and reviewers agree. Being a dreadnought, it can handle picks and heavy strumming, but with its mahogany body, there are also plenty who report that it works just as great for more intricate fingerstyle play styles. Many reviewers say that it feels solid and is well built, down to minute details.

Cons

With its high ratings, there's not much in the way of negatives to report on, although there are some who wish that the guitar was not so bare looking.

Overall

When it comes to dreadnoughts, your investment is safe with Martin, especially with their high reselling price. So if you're looking for a premium mahogany dreadnought, and you want to go for what the market actually rates the highest - then go for the Martin D-15M.

Martin 000-15M

98
GEARANK

98 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1299
Martin 000-15M Acoustic Guitar

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Acoustic Guitar between $1,000 and $1,500 along with the Martin D-15M.

Martin is a famous name when it comes to acoustic guitars, and for good reason. The brand is one of the most revered and long lived producers of acoustic guitars which has been the weapon of choice for guitarists across a ton of different genres and decades.

The 000-15 features an all-mahogany construction which gives it a balanced voice with a strong mid-range presence that works for various musical and playing styles. The guitar's smaller 000 body complements its tonewood to give it a tone that's reminiscent of early Americana music.

Features:

  • Body Shape: 000
  • Top: Solid Mahogany
  • Back and Sides: Solid Mahogany
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Modified Low Oval / Standard Taper
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Saddle Radius: 16"
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.4”
  • Nut Width: 43mm

Pros

This guitar continue to retain an almost perfect overall rating at major retailers, and it only follows that a lot of good things have been said about it. Organic, natural and mellow are words that users use to describe its tone, while others focus their praised on its classic appeal, build quality and playability. Speaking of playability, even experienced players find it a joy to play right out of the box.

Cons

There are a few who feel that the guitar is too bare-boned for the price, and wish for more cosmetic appointments.

Overall

If aesthetic appeal is not much of a big deal for you, and you're looking for a good quality 000 body acoustic, then check out the Martin 000-15M.

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $2000

Martin 000-15SM Mahogany

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1599
Martin 000-15sm

At the time of publication this was the Highest Rated Acoustic Guitar between $1,500 and $2,000.

The Martin 000-15SM is a guitar with a look that harkens back to the "blues box" guitars of the '30s, complete with a 12-fret neck joint.

Despite its smaller 000 body profile and 12-fret neck joint, Martin opted to give this guitar a standard scale length, which avoids the need for any technique adjustments when switching from a standard size acoustic.

Another important distinction of the Martin 000-15SM is its slotted headstock, which completes the guitar's old school appeal. The top, back and sides are all crafted from solid mahogany, while the fingerboard and bridge are crafted from East Indian rosewood.

Features:

  • Body Shape: 000
  • Top: Solid Mahogany
  • Back and Sides: Solid Mahogany
  • Finish: Satin
  • Bridge: East Indian Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Modified Low Oval
  • Fingerboard: East Indian Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 16"
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 12
  • Scale Length: 25.4"
  • Nut Width: 44.45mm

Pros

There's just something special about the look of 12-fret guitars with a slotted headstock, especially when backed by a premium brand like C.F. Martin & Co. This guitar continues to be rated highly, with most retailers reflecting reviews of perfect 5 star scores. It gets most of its commendations for its clear and detailed tone, followed by positive comments about its classic look and build quality.

Cons

We all wish that this guitar was priced a bit lower, but those who bought it are more than pleased with how their investment turned out.

Overall

With its premium specs and classic looks, the Martin 000-15SM is an easy recommend, even if you have to wait and save for it!

Guild D-40 Dreadnought

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 30+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1599
Guild D-40 USA Dreadnought Natural

Part of Guild's premium line of traditionally crafted guitars, the D-40 showcases what the brand is all about. It is a modern recreation of the original D-40 from the '60s that up to this day are still highly revered and in-demand.

Continuing the legacy of its namesake, the current line of D-40s sports an all solid tonewood body, with its top crafted from solid Adirondack spruce, while solid mahogany is used for the back and sides. Supporting the top are scalloped Adirondack spruce bracings, which also improves resonance.

It also features bone nut and saddle, a mahogany neck, and a dovetail joint.

Cosmetic appointments include a tortoiseshell pickguard, binding and rosette, and it is wrapped in premium nitro finish to complete its classic feel and appearance.

Features:

  • Body Shape:
  • Top: Solid Adirondack Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Solid African Mahogany
  • Finish: Nitro
  • Bridge: Indian Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: C Profile
  • Fingerboard: Indian Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius:12"
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.625"
  • Nut Width: 43mm

Pros

One user says that his Guild D-40 is a "dream to play", and his sentiment is shared by many users, including experienced guitarists who have owned the original D-40. There are also plenty of users who commend it for handling various playing styles, from hard picking to intricate plucking. Greg Cahill of Acoustic Guitar Magazine concludes his review of the Guild D-40 by saying, "Power, punch, clarity, and playability, the D-40 checks all the boxes for an impressive dreadnought."

Cons

There are a few owners who recommend restringing the D-40 as soon as possible to get it sounding at its best.

Overall

With its legacy and continued high ratings, this premium American made instrument is well worth the investment.

Guild M-40

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 10+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1699
Guild M-40 Troubadour Antique Sunburst

The Guild M-40 is a premium recreation of the Guild F-20 from the 1960's, featuring a smaller concert-size body with Guild's own bracing system. This guitar features an all solid wood body, with solid African mahogany for the back and sides, and solid Sitka spruce for the top.

Concert size bodies are generally expected to have a warmer tone, and they're also usually lighter compared to dreadnoughts. The guitar's curvy shape also makes it more comfortable to play, and look more pleasing.

Speaking of aesthetics, the Guild M-40 has a classic clean look, with vintage style rosette, bindings and '60s style tortoiseshell pickguard.

Other features include mahogany C-profile neck with 12" radius Indian rosewood fingerboard, Indian rosewood bridge, bone nut and bone saddle.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Concert
  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Solid African Mahogany
  • Finish: Thin Satin Varnish
  • Bridge: Indian rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: C shape
  • Fingerboard: Indian rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 304.8 mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 24.75”
  • Nut Width: 44.45 mm

Pros

Experienced musicians and those who own old Guild acoustics are impressed with the overall quality of the M-40. Owners are pleased with its vintage style appearance, and they are also happy with its mid-range emphasized tone, which is described as warm yet clear. Some even compare it favorably to more expensive acoustics from other brands.

Cons

Aside from the price that limits its accessibility, there aren't much negative about this guitar.

Overall

If you're in the market for a premium quality brand new yet vintage looking, playing and sounding acoustic guitar then check out the Guild M-40.

Tips for Acoustic Guitar Buyers

  • Woods

    Most guitarists and guitar makers have traditionally been of the opinion that all-solid wood guitars offer the best performance because solid woods carry sound and resonate better than laminated woods or other composite materials. The main downside is that solid wood are more costly compared to laminate, and this is the reason why only a few guitars offer solid wood construction in lower price ranges. Thankfully, there are still some good solid top guitars that are rating well while keeping reasonable price tags.

    Note that there are some manufacturers who utilize composite non-wood materials on their guitar and do so quite successfully, but they usually are used for stage ready acoustic-electric models, or for travel size guitars. Even high-end manufacturers are now using composite wood in places like the fretboard.

    Here are some of the most commonly used tonewoods:

    • Spruce

      One of the most popular tonewoods for the top of an acoustic guitar and is generally considered to have an 'all round' tone without being overly bright, warm or bassy. Spruce tends to go well with most other types of wood that may be used on the rest of the guitar.

    • Cedar

      This is a less dense wood than Spruce so it tends to have less sustain and projection while sounding warmer. It's often found on guitars that are designed for fingerstyle players.

    • Mahogany

      Mahogany is a dense wood that lends itself to a warm tone that projects very well. It was traditionally used mainly on the back and sides of a guitar, however in the last few years it has become a very popular wood used to build an entire guitar - in fact many all-mahogany guitars are now rated more highly than their traditional counterparts.

    • Sapele

      Sapele is becoming a popular choice these days. It's a bit denser than Mahogany and produces a slightly brighter sound. Taylor say it adds "top end shimmer" to the guitars they use it on.

    • Maple

      This is a very hard and dense wood and is most often used on the back and sides but you will occasionally find it used as a top wood. It has great projection but tends to emphasize the mid frequencies too much for many people's taste as a top wood.

    • Koa

      Also known as Hawaiian Koa because it's a native Hawaiian species. It's a dense hardwood which emphasizes the mid to high overtones and as it ages it tends to 'open up' adding warmth to the mid range. It's mainly found on high-end guitars due to its high cost.

    • Rosewood

      Rosewood offers a lot of warmth and complex overtones It's usually found on the back and sides or fingerboard and is said to 'round out' the overall tone of Spruce topped guitars. It's also an expensive tonewood so you tend to find it used sparingly on less expensive models.

    • Although specific woods have their characteristics much also depends on how they're used in building a guitar - if you'd like to dive deeper into this topic then you might like to read a luthier's opinion: Tapping Tonewoods by Dana Bourgeois.

  • Shape and Size

    Generally smaller bodies such as Concert guitars will emphasize the mids and high treble frequencies and are often preferred by fingerstyle players. At the other end of the spectrum Jumbo body guitars resonate the lower bass frequencies much better and are preferred by those who play a loud strumming style. In between you have the Grand Auditorium and similar shapes which combine the tonal characteristics of small and large bodied guitars. The most popular shape these days is the Dreadnought which is nice and loud and produces a good balance of high and low frequencies with enough note definition for playing melodies with a pick.

  • Action / String Height

    Guitars with a low action allow for faster runs and the use of playing techniques such as tapping on the fretboard and hammering on/off. Beginners and those transitioning from electric guitars generally find a lower action easier to play. A higher action on the other hand lends itself a bit better to loud strumming styles of play where fret buzz would be a concern if the action was too low. Unfortunately guitar manufacturers typically don't provide string height as one of their specifications and the actual height tends to vary between individual guitars and batches so if you don't like the setup your guitar has when it arrives you either have to get a guitar technician to adjust it for you, or do it yourself. For advice on setting up your guitar see this guide from Guitar Player.

  • Nut Width

    The nut width essentially describes how far apart the strings are spaced. A larger nut width will suit players who are used to it, for example anyone transitioning from classical style guitars, or those who have larger fingers. If your background is mostly with electric guitar then you'll feel more conformable playing an acoustic with a smaller nut width.

  • Scale Length

    This is essentially the distance measured between the saddle and the nut, or more accurately described as double the distance from the nut to the 12th fret plus some "compensation" added by the position of the saddle. A longer scale length requires higher tension in the strings and results in a brighter tone. A more detailed explanation with examples is presented quite well by Stewart MacDonald and a good description of the implications of different scale lengths can be found at Guitar Player.

  • Strap Buttons

    It's important to note that some manufacturers don't provide strap buttons, or they don't provide one on the neck side of the guitar. If you want to play using a guitar strap then take a good look at the pictures to see if you need to buy strap buttons along with your guitar. They're easy to install and fairly inexpensive.

  • Which Acoustic Guitars are Best for Beginners?

    Students of the guitar have special needs, their limited budget must afford them an acoustic guitar that's easy to play, inspiring to look at and good sounding. For a more in depth look at this topic, check out our Guide to Beginner Acoustic Guitars.

Best Acoustic Guitar Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in November 2016 written by Jason Horton. The latest edition was published on September 9, 2020 written by Alexander Briones with contributions from Mason Hoberg and Jason Horton.

We performed a new extensive survey of the acoustic guitar landscape completed in September 2020, resulting in 97 acoustic guitars being placed on our short-list for closer examination. We gathered information from over 12,300 review and rating sources which we also processed with the Gearank Algorithm to produce our rating scores out of 100 you see above and selected the highest rated options to recommend within each price bracket.

We only included 6-string, steel string acoustic guitars that are generally full-sized instruments for their type and only ones that are widely available from online music equipment retailers in the USA. The types of acoustic guitars not included here are: Acoustic-Electric, Classical / Nylon String, Travel, Silent and Parlor Guitars.

For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

Comments

Surprised you haven't

Surprised you haven't included the Fender Paramount PM-3 Limited Adirondack 000 Rosewood in your over $1000 priced guitars? I'm really impressed with the tone and build quality of these guitars.

That's an Acoustic-Electric

That's an Acoustic-Electric guitar and so wasn't eligible to be selected for this guide.

The Seagull SWS you have

The Seagull SWS you have listed has 21 frets. I first humbly checked my two Seagulls and the image you provided and sure'nuff all three have 21 frets. It would suck if a prospective buyer sees it's specs listed here and not bother to look at the image.

Thank you Vincent, there was

Thank you Vincent, there was a typographical error which I've now fixed thanks to you.

Where would you rank an

Where would you rank an Augustino Loprinzi acoustic from late 70's to early 80's?

We only provide ratings for

We only provide ratings for music gear and instruments that are currently available new so we can't really help you with that request.

As a result of the January

As a result of the January 2018 update of this guide the following guitars were removed from our recommended list above, either because there were more highly rated options to recommend in the case of acoustic guitars which hadn't been discontinued, or because they were acoustic-electric guitars which we are no longer featuring in this guide:

I have an Enquiry , I am

I have an Enquiry , I am looking to buy a semi-acoustic guitar with a cutaway , I have heard that the Richwood Acoustic D-40CE is a better overall guitar than the EPIPHONE EJ-200CE NAT do you reckon that´s true ? Thanks.

The Richwood Acoustic D-40-CE

The Richwood Acoustic D-40-CE doesn't meet our criterion as a guitar widely available in the USA so we haven't rated it - maybe someone else more familiar with European brands can help you.

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