For many aspiring guitarists, an acoustic is likely going to be their first instrument.
But which acoustic is the best? Every guitarists is going to give you a different name.
This makes choosing the right one even more difficult than it already is. And some brands might just be too far out of your price range.
Top 3 - Acoustic Guitar Brands
Well, why don’t we go over some of the best acoustic guitar brands, and see how they compare, as well as some of their most popular guitars.
10 Best Acoustic Guitar Brands of Today
Despite being relatively new in the acoustic guitar market, Taylor has become one of the top brands. Taylor guitars are highly sought after for their exceptional construction and incredible sound.
Taylor guitars are recognizable by their bright, modern tone. They offer a very rich and detailed sound that isn’t easily matched.
The company is also known for being very innovative when it comes to designing and building their guitars. Taylor was one of the first companies to use computer mills.
This ensures that every guitar is precision made down to the finest detail. Every guitar is made to play and sound as great as possible.
Taylor also pioneered a new type of bracing, V-class bracing. This new type of bracing allows the soundboard to vibrate more freely. This improves the sound of the guitar and gives it a better sustain.
Taylor guitars might not be the most visually striking guitars, but they have a certain elegance to them. That elegance is amplified with the small details that are present on their guitars.
This quality does come at a price. Taylor guitars are some of the most expensive, with a high-end acoustic easily selling for thousands of dollars. The Taylor 912c Builder’s Edition is a great example of what you can expect to pay for a Taylor.
Fortunately, they started offering more affordable guitars to put their high-quality instruments into more hands. A Taylor can now be bought for a few hundred dollars.
Their 300 series is perhaps the best. They aren’t too expensive and feature both the V-class bracing and Taylor’s beautiful gemstone inlays.
But truthfully, you can pick up any Taylor guitar and know that it is going to play and sound amazing. They are truly one of a kind acoustic guitars.
Perhaps the only acoustic company more recognizable that Taylor, is Martin. Martin not only makes some of the best acoustic guitars around today, they are also one of the oldest companies. The company was founded all the way back in 1833.
This means that every guitar made by Martin is steeped in history and tradition. Not just the history of music, by that of the USA itself. Mark Twain himself even played a Martin.
Martin is responsible for some of the biggest innovations in acoustic guitars. They introduced the world to the dreadnaught body shape and the X bracing, just to name a few.
Martin guitars are known for their full, rich, and warm tone. This makes them great for blues, bluegrass, and fingerstyle playing. But their tone is diverse enough so that almost any style of music will sound great on them.
Their tone is a very nice blend of both vintage and modern. This balance of old and new makes them very appealing to most guitarists.
Their guitars are also some of the best looking. Especially those with mahogany bodies, like the D-15M. The D-15M is also one of Martin’s best rated guitars.
But just like Taylor guitars, Martins can come with a hefty price tag. The D-42 Modern Deluxe is one of their best, but sits at the high end of the price spectrum.
They do offer more affordable guitars, luckily. Their DX Johnny Cash is both affordable and a fantastic signature model.
You are going to find it difficult to play a Martin guitar and not love it. Guitar brands don’t normally last for nearly 200 years if there isn’t something to love about them.
Gibson might be best known for their fantastic electric guitars. But their skill in crafting great electric instruments has translated quite well to acoustics. And with over 100 years of experience, it is safe to say that Gibson knows what they are doing.
What makes Gibson acoustic guitars so special is that each one is hand made. All Gibson acoustics are made in their factory in Bozeman, Montana.
Not only does this mean that each is made with attention to detail, but that each is truly unique.
No two acoustics are the same. Even the same model in the same series. They will all have slight differences that set them apart.
Just like their electric guitars, Gibson acoustics look like no other guitars. They feature that iconic Gibson headstock. Even their scratch plates are striking and immediately recognizable.
Their tone has a lovely warmth, with slightly muted highs. They have quite a vintage sound, making them sound incredible when playing blues.
They sound great in most genres. But they definitely shine when blues chords and licks are played on them Gibson acoustics are also known for being quite boomy. These are the guitars that are meant to be heard.
Gibson acoustics aren’t cheap, unfortunately. Their cheapest model, the G-00 starts at $1000.
Their guitars only increase in price from there. A “midrange” Gibson acoustic, like the Generation Collection G-Bird, will set you back nearly $2000.
If you already play a Gibson electric, you will know what you are getting with one of their acoustics. Excellent build quality, and a sound unlike any other.
Another company that is perhaps better known for their electric guitars. But just like Gibson, Fender’s experience with electrics has allowed them to make some rather exceptional acoustics as well.
Fender acoustics look, play, and sound just as good as their electrics. While many of their acoustics have body shapes similar to other acoustics, many of them feature the iconic Fender headstock.
The build quality of Fender acoustics is fantastic, even on the lower end. They feel well made, although the hardware can feel a little cheap sometimes.
Their tone is also familiar. It is that bright, chimey tone that Fender guitars are known for. But they also have guitars with a warmer tone, like the PD-220E.
Fender’s acoustics are also very affordable. The CD-60S is a fantastic, inexpensive acoustic, ideal for beginners.
Their Newporter series are some of the best budget acoustics. The Newporter Classic is great for both intermediate and experienced players. Or the Newporter Player, a more affordable version that is great for beginners and intermediate players.
The Acoustisonic series does more than just look like their electric counterparts. They are perfect for anyone more comfortable playing an electric.
Both their body shapes and necks are very similar to that of the electric versions. Making them just as fast and smooth to play.
Even their sound is reminiscent of the electric versions. They sound almost how you would imagine and acoustic Strat or Tele would sound.
If you are looking for a unique acoustic experience, the Acoustisonic series is the way to go. They are some of the best acoustic guitars to come out in recent years.
Yamaha is a company that is known for making a bit of everything. From pianos, to bass guitars, to even motorbikes.
So, it might be a little surprising to find them on a list of the best acoustic guitar brands. But they wouldn’t be on this list if it weren’t for good reason.
Yamaha has actually built up a reputation for their beginner acoustic guitars. And not just beginner acoustics, but some of the best, most affordable.
Their guitars are made to make picking up a guitar for the first time as pleasant as possible. They are made to be comfortable to play for new players, while still sounding fairly good.
The build quality is solid enough that you won’t really notice that these are mass produced instruments. The cheaper hardware used is a bit noticeable compared to some other budget level guitars, though.
The tone of a Yamaha guitar isn’t going to be anywhere near that of a Taylor or Martin, but it is still better than you would expect. It is fairly well balanced, with a nice mix of mids and highs.
It is also rich enough to avoid sounding dull and boring. The tonal difference is quite noticeable, however. A $300 acoustic sounds much better than a $150 one.
While there are high end Yamaha acoustics, like the LS56 Custom, that isn’t their speciality. Yamaha is much more focused on making quality, beginner guitars.
As far as acoustic guitars for beginners go, Yamaha is hard to beat. The value on offer is quite remarkable.
Seagull Guitars is a small company based in the small Canadian town of LaPatrie. A town of only 500 people in fact, most of which are guitar builders. So, they know a thing or two about making guitars.
The company specializes in making affordable guitars that play and sound great. Most Seagull guitars are less than $1000.
Their guitars are so cheap, because they are made using materials that are very abundant in the local area. Woods like wild cherry, cedar, and maple.
Seagull guitars are also all hand made. Ensuring the highest quality and attention to detail.
Cherry and maple are both fairly bright woods. That means that the guitars are fairly bright, right?
Well, since cedar is a warmer tonewood, this actually balances out the tone quite nicely. This gives Seagull guitars a nice, balanced, and pleasant tone.
One of the unique features of Seagull guitars is the narrow headstock. The headstock is narrow to ensure straight string pull.
Where many other acoustic guitars have their strings pulled to the side towards the tuning poles, Seagull strings are pulled straight. This is to keep the strings in tune for much longer.
The Seagull C6 is the company’s most popular guitar. It represents the quality and tone on offer by Seagull.
Seagull guitars show that high quality guitars don’t have to also be expensive. And they show that there is a huge market for affordable acoustic guitars.
Just like their electric guitars, Epiphone’s acoustics are the budget friendly versions of Gibsons. And just like their electrics, more affordable doesn’t mean less impressive.
Epiphone has actually been around for some time, since 1873 in fact. So, they have been making guitars longer than Gibson, and know what makes a good guitar.
The main appeal of Epiphones is that they are essentially Gibson guitars, without the high price tag. This also doesn’t come at the expense of their quality.
You could argue that Epiphones don’t have the same special something that make Gibsons, Gibsons. You would be correct, because Epiphones have their own special something that set them apart.
Epiphone guitars are very well made for their price. They are solid and it doesn’t feel like any corners were cut.
They don’t have quite the same finishing touches, even compared to other budget brands. But that isn’t really a deal breaker. What is on offer more than makes up for it.
Tonally, Epiphones are quite comparable to Gibsons. They have a similarly warm and vintage tone.
But there is also enough brightness to keep their tone balanced. While they are beloved for how well they sound for country and bluegrass, they sound equally great in almost any genre.
Epiphone might have been seen as just “cheap Gibsons” for a long time. They have in recent years re-established themselves as a great brand in their own right.
The second Japanese guitar brand on this list. Takamine is another brand known for their innovation.
They were one of the first companies to introduce electric-acoustic guitars. This made them extremely popular among musicians very quickly.
It was no longer necessary to stand still in front of a mic while playing acoustic. Musicians could now simply plug in and move freely on stage as if they were playing an electric.
Takamine has continued to improve on the electric-acoustic design. With their Cool Tube preamp, found on guitars like the TSP138CTB, that helps to fatten up the sound of the guitar.
Takamine guitars are highly regarded as being some of the best acoustics for performers. This is due to their solid construction, these are tough guitars, but also due to their body shape.
They use what Takamine calls the NEX body design. The purpose of this is to make their guitars feel closer to an electric than an acoustic.
This makes them more comfortable to play on stage. And this is especially great for anyone that switches between electric and acoustic frequently during shows.
As for tone, Takamines are quite balanced, leaning a bit more to the bright side. They are also quite controlled and tight.
If you listen to country, you might already now what they sound like. They are very popular among musicians like Blake Shelton, Kenney Chesney, and Garth Brooks.
If you are looking for the perfect performer guitar, look no further than Takamine.
Washburn is a brand that doesn’t come up a lot in the conversation of acoustic guitars. This is a little unfair, since they deserve recognition as much as any of the other great brands. They have been making guitars since 1883, after all.
Their guitars are more aimed at beginners. Many of their guitars are under $500.
But they are budget guitars on a whole different level. Put any other guitar of the same price next to a Washburn, and the Washburn is probably going to win.
These are exceptionally well made guitars. They feel solid and are extremely comfortable to play.
The best way to describe the tone of a Washburn guitar is “folky”. Think Simon & Garfunkel and you have a fairly good idea of what these guitars sound like.
They have this very lovely airiness to them. It is a very delicate, pleasant tone.
The tone isn’t the only thing that is beautiful thing about Washburn guitars. They are also very beautiful looking guitars.
Even their budget guitars look great. The Deep Forest Burl has a lovely black fade finish.
Washburn guitars are unmatched in the budget range. They look, play, and sound like guitars that are twice the price. Even their more expensive offerings can easily go toe-to-toe with some of the best out there.
What do acoustic guitars and helicopters have in common? Well, in Ovation’s case, quite a bit.
Ovation’s founder was a helicopter manufacturer before shifting to making acoustic guitars. This knowledge of helicopters served as both inspiration and opportunity.
What sets Ovation guitars apart from other acoustics, is what they are made of. Instead of using wood for the back and sides of their guitars, Ovation uses the same composite material used in the making of helicopters.
This gives Ovation guitars a durability that is unbeatable. These guitars won’t crack, warp, bend, you name it. They will stay in one piece no matter what.
This also gives them a unique sound. A sound that is quite light, shiny, and pleasant.
That is on the traditional soundhole guitars, like the Applause. Ovation also has guitars with a more unique soundhole design.
Their Timeless Elite is just one of the many guitars that features Ovation’s unique design. With multiple, smaller soundholes close to the neck, either side of the strings.
These guitars have a much tighter, bassier, and jazzier tone. They actually sound a bit similar to nylon strings classical guitars. Ovation guitars are truly unique. You won’t find any other guitars quite like them.
The incredible Al DeMiola plays Ovation guitars. What better endorsement is there?
Choosing the Right Acoustic Guitar
Choosing the right acoustic guitar for you can be difficult. Even more difficult than choosing an electric.
Acoustic guitars vary so wildly in terms of size, shape, and tone. Knowing which one suites you best can be nearly impossible, unless you know what you want in an acoustic.
There is quite a lot to consider with acoustic guitars. Here are the most important parts to help you narrow down which one to pick.
The body shape is perhaps the most important thing to consider. This is going to affect not just how comfortable the guitar is to play, but the overall sound.
While acoustic guitars can come in different forms, their body shapes follow fairly standardizes categories.
These are the smallest acoustic guitars. They date back to the 1800s and were meant to be played in the parlor rooms of wealthy people.
Their small size mean that they don’t project as much, and are comparatively soft to other body shapes. They also have a more delicate and punchy sound.
They have starting gaining popularity again over the last few years, with many brands now offering parlor guitars. Their size and sound makes them ideal for fingerstyle playing.
This is the most common body shape for acoustic guitars. This is probably the shape most commonly associated with acoustic guitars.
Their large body produces a loud, booming sound. Many acoustic guitarists choose dreadnaughts for their ability to project in a band setting.
They have quite a lot of low end, with a very pronounced midrange. They can be prone to some muddiness, however, causing chords to lose a bit of articulation.
Concert guitars are quite similar to parlor guitars. They are also quite small, with the same pinched waist.
Just like parlor guitars, their tone is quite focused and punchy. This makes them ideal for fingerstyle, but their lack of sound means that strumming doesn’t hold up as well.
These are larger versions of the concert/parlor body shape.
The larger body allows them to project much better than concert guitars. But they still have a fairly punchy sound. They strike a nice balance to allow both fingerstyle and light strumming.
These guitars are often preferred by solo artists. Their louder volume allows the playing to standout more, while not being too loud, overwhelming any singing that is being done at the same time.
The largest of the concert shapes, the grand auditorium is similar to the dreadnaught. It is loud and booming.
These guitars also feature a pinched waist, however. This gives them a more focused sound than a dreadnaught.
They also often have a cutaway to make reaching the higher frets easier. Their body is also not as boxy as dreadnaughts, making them more comfortable to play.
The versatility and comfort of grand auditorium guitars makes them ideal for a modern sound and playing experience.
Jumbo body guitars are the big brothers of dreadnaughts. They are larger and produce much more volume.
These guitars are perfect for heavy strumming. If you play in a rock band, you will want a jumbo body to be able to compete with the electric instruments.
They do require a strong strumming hand to make the most of them. This makes them less than ideal for beginners or players with small hands.
This is a relatively new body shape for acoustic guitars. They are designed to be more like electric guitars in terms of comfort and playability.
This also gives them a tighter sound, but sacrifices quite a bit in terms of volume. These guitars will always be electric-acoustic to allow them to be played through an amp.
There are still many more acoustic guitar brands out there. This is just a selection of some of the best and most popular brands.
There is no real definitive answer as to which brand is the best. Each one is unique and different, and will appeal to different people.