The Best Acoustic Guitars - From $100 to $2000

Acoustic Guitars

Originally published on Nov 3, 2016 and last updated on Apr 6, 2018 by Mason Hoberg and Jason Horton.

For this 2018 updated version of this guide we short-listed 69 guitars available from major online American retailers and examined more than 9,200 rating and review sources in order to find the highest rated ones to recommend below.

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.

Contents

The Best Acoustic Guitars - From $100 to $2000

Gearank Sources Street Price
Under $200
Epiphone DR-100 90 1800+ $139
Yamaha FG800 92 100+ $200
Ibanez AW54 95 80+ $200
Under $300
Ibanez AC240 OPN 94 100+ $300
Yamaha FG830 93 80+ $300
Takamine GD20 93 40+ $300
Under $500
Seagull Entourage Rustic Dreadnought 94 175+ $370
Seagull S6 Original Cedar Slim 96 425+ $399
The Loar LH-200 92 80+ $400
Taylor Big Baby BBT 92 275+ $399
Under $1000
Blueridge BR-140 90 40+ $600
Seagull Maritime SWS SG 89 50+ $699
Blueridge BR-70 92 50+ $799
Under $2000
Martin 000-15M 97 225+ $1299
Martin D-15M 98 150+ $1299
Taylor 314 96 30+ $1499

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $200

Epiphone DR-100

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 1800+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$139
Epiphone DR-100 6 String Acoustic Guitar

Epiphone says that the DR-100 has long been their top selling acoustic guitar and based on what we gleaned from our research this could well be the highest selling acoustic in its class.

For many years the DR-100 has been the choice of many as a student guitar and a low cost 'campfire' option - that's a term used to describe guitars you can take on camping trips without having to worry too much about getting it damaged as you would with an expensive guitar.

Specifications

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Select Spruce (laminated)
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Finish: Gloss - Natural, also comes in Ebony and Vintage Sunburst
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: SlimTaper
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not specified
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: 25.5”
  • Nut Width: 1.69”

Customer reviews were consistent in saying that the build quality, sound quality and playability of the DR-100 are on par with guitars in the next couple of price brackets above. Positive reviews came from students, guitar teachers, and experienced guitarists who used it for practice.

There were a number of reports from people who live in dry climates that the neck dried out and warped in under a year. There were also some owners who complained about their DR-100 developing fret buzz over time.

In November 2016 we determined that this was the highest rated Dreadnought selling for under $150 and we continue to recommend it as an excellent beginner guitar.

Yamaha FG800

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar

Something a lot of musicians don’t know about Yamaha is that the company has produced musical instruments ever since its inception, and originally produced organs. A lot of guitarists overlook Yamaha instruments because the brand has an association with its other products, but the brand has actually been producing instruments for more than 130 years.

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

For example. The FG800 has a solid spruce top. Solid wood gives an instrument a significantly better tone than laminate. You get more volume, a better frequency representation, and the tone of your instrument will actually get better the more you play.

Ibanez AW54

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Ibanez AW54 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

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.

The Ibanez AW54 is an all-mahogany instrument with a solid mahogany top. Mahogany is a “warm” sounding tonewood, which means that it has a 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.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Mahogany
  • Back and Sides: Laminate Mahogany
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • 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

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.

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300

Ibanez AC240 OPN

94
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$300
Ibanez AC240 OPN 6 String Electric Guitar

The Ibanez AC240 OPN is a grand concert sized all-mahogany guitar. The grand concert size is the next size down from the dreadnought. The body style has a more pronounced mid-range and is more responsive, making it a great choice for musicians who want to focus on finger-style arrangements and lead flatpicking. Like the Ibanez above, the AC240 OPN also has a solid mahogany top. This helps to give it warmer tone, which does an excellent job of balancing the brighter tone of a Grand Concert style body.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Grand Concert
  • Top: Solid Mahogany
  • Back and Sides: Laminated Mahogany
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Slim (21mm at 1F)
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 400mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 24.96"
  • Nut Width: 45mm

An interesting feature of this guitar is that it has an open finish, meaning that the pores of the wood are exposed to the air. In practice, it’s not objective what impact (if any) this has on the tone. However, it definitely doesn’t hurt the guitar in any way.

Yamaha FG830

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$300
Yamaha FG830 Acoustic Guitar

The Yamaha FG830 is a very similar instrument to the FG800, with the most important difference being that the FG830 comes with 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

Beyond that, there isn’t a lot that separates these two instruments. The FG830 is more expensive than the FG800, but if you’re looking to play in a band the extra expense may be worth it. However, the difference isn’t big enough to justify the extra cost unless you’re either planning on playing with others or looking for a rosewood voiced instrument.

Takamine GD20

93
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$300
Takamine GD20 6 String Acoustic Guitar

Takamine’s GD20 is the first cedar topped guitar to grace this list. Cedar, commonly used in classical guitars, is a very warm sounding tonewood. Most Takamine guitars have a brighter voice than comparatively priced guitars, so the combination of the cedar top and Takamine’s general voicing leads to a really well balanced and versatile instrument.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Cedar
  • Back and Sides: Laminated Mahogany
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Slim
  • Fingerboard: Ovangkol
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12”
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.3”
  • Nut Width: 42.8mm

And interesting feature of this guitar is the saddle, which comes in two pieces. Because of this, the positions of the strings can be more finely tune. This likely helps with the instrument’s intonation, which is definitely going to come in handy if you’re looking to play more intricate passages on the upper frets of the guitar.

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

Seagull Entourage Rustic Dreadnought

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$370
Seagull Entourage Rustic Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Seagull instruments are consistently some of the more highly rated instruments in their price bracket, and the Entourage Rustic Dreadnought is no exception. Like other Seagull acoustic guitars, the Entourage Rustic is packed full of unique feature.

The most interesting feature of this guitar is that the top is actually slightly arched. This helps to increase stability (an arch is stronger than a flat surface) as well as increase projection. The arched top also helps to brighten the tone of the guitar, which helps to give the guitar a more balanced tone considering the cedar top.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Cedar
  • Back and Sides: Laminated Wild Cherry
  • Finish: Rustic Burst
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Silver Leaf Maple
  • Neck Profile: Seagull Slim
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: Compound Curved
  • Number of Frets: 21
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 24.84
  • Nut Width: 43.69mm

Seagull’s headstock also has a function: increasing tuning stability. Because the tuning posts are in line with their corresponding slots in the nut there’s less pressure on the strings above the nut, which helps to alleviate tuning instability.

Seagull S6 Original Cedar Slim

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 425+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$399
Seagull Guitars S6 Original Cedar Acoustic Guitar

The Seagull S6 Original Sim is a (relatively) thin bodied dreadnought with a solid cedar top. The body is thinner than your standard dreadnought, but not to the point where there’s a dramatic drop-off in volume or bass frequencies. The thinner body can make the guitar more comfortable for players of smaller stature, children especially.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Cedar
  • Back and Sides: Laminated Wild Cherry
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Silver Leaf Maple
  • Neck Profile: Standard Seagull
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 16"
  • Number of Frets: 21
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.5
  • Nut Width: 43.69

Something to know about Seagull guitars is that they have a pretty wide nut width as a standard rule, with their “thin” necks being more inline with most acoustic guitars players will be familiar with. This makes the guitar great for fingerstyle arrangements, jazz and early folk especially.

The Loar LH-200

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$400

The Loar LH-200 is a small bodied guitar. The best thing about small bodied guitars is how responsive they are to fingerpicking, making them a great choice for any fingerstyle arrangement (with the exception of classical music).

However, the responsiveness of small bodied guitars does come with a tradeoff. Small bodied guitars generally don’t sound as good when flatpicked because they lack the tonal depth of a dreadnought guitar or larger instrument. If you’re looking for a guitar to handle both flatpicking and fingerpicking equally well (though not as well as a guitar specifically geared towards a style of playing) check out an OM body style.

Features:

  • Body Shape: 00/000
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Laminated Mahogany
  • Finish: Vintage Sunburst/Natural
  • Bridge: Paduak
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Not Stated
  • Fingerboard: Padauk
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not Stated
  • Number of Frets:19
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.5”
  • Nut Width: 43mm

Another cool feature of the Loar LH-200 is how well it captures that early pre-war blues tone. Most modern guitars are voiced a bit too brightly to really capture that tone, but the LH-200 is the exception to this trend.

Taylor Big Baby BBT

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 275+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$399
Taylor Big Baby Acoustic Guitar

The Taylor Big Baby line is a series of guitars aimed at musicians on the go. Because of this, all of the guitars in this line are smaller than your standard dreadnought. The Big Baby BBT is a 15/16 size dreadnought, which means it’s slightly smaller than a standard sized guitar. It’s a bit more portable, but it’s not going to be a world of difference.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought (15/16 size)
  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Laminated Sapele
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: African Ebony
  • Neck: Sapele
  • Neck Profile: Taylor Big Baby Profile
  • Fingerboard: Ebony
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not Stated
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25 ½”
  • Nut Width: 42.8mm

Another cool feature of this guitar is that it actually uses Sapele instead of mahogany. Sapele has a lot of the same characteristics of mahogany, including the overall warm voicing as well as the strong mid-range presence. The main difference is that Sapele has a stronger high-end response than mahogany and slightly more complex overtones. However, the difference between these two tonewoods is subtle.

Note: Sapele is sometimes referred to as mahogany…because it is mahogany. However, it’s a separate species of the wood from the more widely used Honduran mahogany. That’s why in the video the guitar is referred to as having mahogany back and sides.

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000

Blueridge BR-140

90
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$600
Blueridge BR-140 Acoustic Guitar

Blueridge’s BR-140 is a Martin-styled dreadnought. The BR-140 is arguably the closest you’re going to get to that pre-War Martin tone while still keeping your budget under $1000. Because of this, it’s a great deal if you’re looking for a Bluegrass guitar especially. However, the BR-140 is also at home with singer-songwriter work and vintage finger-style arrangements as well.

Features:

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

The best thing about this guitar is that it’s actually made from all-solid woods. The tone you get from this instrument is going to be significantly better than the tone you’ll get from a laminated instrument, making the extra investment worth it if you’re serious about getting a great tone. Also, the tone of the instrument will actually get better the more you play it.

Seagull Maritime SWS SG

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$699
Seagull Maritime SWS SG Acoustic Guitar

Seagull’s Maritime SWS SG is an all-solid dreadnought, made with a solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides. Like the other Seagull guitars on this list, the Maritime features all of the innovative features expected from the brand.

However, the most important thing to know about this guitar is that it combines Seagull’s build quality with traditional materials. Because the guitar is a pairing of spruce and mahogany you’re going to get a more traditional dreadnought tone with the tuning stability and projection that results from the Seagull line’s features.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Solid Mahogany
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Soft C
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not Stated
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.5”
  • Nut Width: 45.72mm

Lastly, keep in mind that like other Seagull guitars the Maritime SWS SG also has a slightly wider nut width than what you may be accustomed to. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s big enough that there may be an adjustment period.

Blueridge BR-70

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$799
Blueridge BR-70 Acoustic Guitar

The Blueridge BR-70 is very similar to the BR-140, with one key difference: the Blueridge BR-70 comes with rosewood back and sides as opposed to mahogany. As we’ve covered elsewhere on this list, rosewood gives you a significantly different response when compared to the more common mahogany.

Features:

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

This difference is actually more noticeable with solid wood guitars, because solid wood shows off the characteristics of the tonewood its made from better than laminate. Because of this, the BR-70 is going to be a very punchy and articulate guitar. This makes it a phenomenal choice if you’re looking for a bluegrass machine or a guitar you can use to bust out some blues licks a la Eric Clapton’s Unplugged.

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $2000

Martin 000-15M

97
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$1299
Martin 000-15M Acoustic Guitar

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

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

The 000-15 is an all-mahogany 000 body. The 000 body gives the guitar a balance voice, equally at home with fast lead lines as it is with mellow and refined fingerstyle work. Because of the mahogany construction, the guitar has a very warm voicing with a strong mid-range presence. This gives the guitar a woody tone, reminiscent of early Americana music.

Martin D-15M

98
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$1299
Martin D-15M Acoustic Guitar

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 that you get with mahogany. Because of the dreadnought sized body, the guitar also has volume to spare.

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

An interesting feature of this guitar is that combines the standard Martin voicing (think Bluegrass) with the warmth of mahogany. This gives the guitar a surprisingly balanced voice, and a perfect Americana tone. It’s a fantastic rhythm instrument, but it’s also great as for fingerstyle work. Though, because this is a dreadnought it will be a bit harder to get a lot of volume out of the guitar without using finger picks and a thumb pick.

Taylor 314

96
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$1499
Taylor 314 Acoustic Guitar

The Grand Auditorium is Taylor’s signature body style, and was actually introduced by Bob Taylor (this happened in 1994). The body style is incredibly versatile, featuring a strong low-end response, punchy mids, and a sparkling high-end.

This body style is great if you’re looking for a quality guitar that can cover a ton of different styles of music. The guitar is responsive enough for light and intricate fingerstyle work, yet loud enough to work well as a primary rhythm instrument in an ensemble or band.

Features:

  • Body Shape: Grand Auditorium
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Solid Sapele
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Ebony
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Not Stated
  • Fingerboard: Ebony
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not Stated
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.5”
  • Nut Width: 1.75"

Like the other Taylor guitar featured on this list, the 314 also comes with Sapele back and sides. In this case, the Sapele gives the 314 an almost piano like voicing. The guitar is full of complex and rich overtones, and retains them regardless of the genre/style played.

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.

    On the other hand, brands such as Ovation, and to a lesser extent Rainsong, have had a great deal of commercial success with acoustic guitars that use non-wood composite materials in a large part of their construction.

    Due to environmental considerations, many high-end manufacturers are now including composite woods in places like the fretboard or even sometimes on the top of the guitar where they would have previously used a solid wood. Based on many expert reviews and comparisons it would appear that the high end brands are now doing this quite successfully in terms of the quality and effectiveness of the finished product.

    The most important place to have solid wood is on the top of the guitar as this typically has the most influence on projection and sustain, but this tends to cost more than having a laminate top.

    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 as you'll see in the list of guitars below.

    • 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 higher 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 which combines 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. Many acoustic-electrics feature a cutaway to provide easy access to the high frets which have sufficient volume when amplified.

  • 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.

Best Acoustic Guitar Selection Methodology

We performed a new extensive survey of the acoustic guitar landscape completed in January 2018 resulting in 69 acoustic guitars being placed on our short list. We gathered information from over 9,200 review and rating sources which we also processed with the Gearank Algorithm to produce the scores out of 100 you see above and selected the highest rated options within each price bracket to recommend.

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: Classical / Nylon String, Travel, Silent and Parlor Guitars.

For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

Comments

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.

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:

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.

Post a Comment or Question

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <b> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.