The 15 Best Acoustic Guitar Brands (2023)
Whether you are a beginner or a professional musician, a good acoustic guitar is a long-term investment. While the sheer number of acoustic guitars available can often make it feel overwhelming when buying one, here is our list of the best acoustic guitars available.
- 1. Martin & Co.
- 2. Taylor
- 3. Epiphone
- 4. Blueridge
- 5. Ibanez
- 6. Gretsch
- 7. Jasmine
- 8. Guild
- 9. Seagull
- 10. Yamaha
- 11. Fender
- 12. Gibson
- 13. Takamine
- 14. Alvarez
- 15. Paul Reed Smith (PRS)
1. Martin & Co.
Established in 1833, Martin guitars are one of the main go-to brands for most musicians who are looking for a premium acoustic guitar that will last them many years. While they may not be the most budget-friendly guitars on the list, the reason why they are so revered is because of the quality of craftsmanship and materials used to make the guitars.
They have a wide range of guitars to choose from, including a custom shop where you can design every aspect of your guitar from the body shape to even the bridge and fingerboard inlays.
For those looking for something more compact, Martin even has a ‘Backpacker’ and ‘Little Martin’ series great for travel or children.
One of the most popular models, the D15-M is a dreadnought style guitar with a mahogany body and rosewood fretboard.
Whether you are an intermediate or a professional guitar player, you will surely enjoy the warm sound and the deep, rich tone of the guitar.
However, make sure you use Martin strings when you re-string your guitar because other strings might make the guitar sound dull.
From Richie Sambora to Sarah Mclachlan, Taylor guitars have been endorsed by many legendary musicians. They are manufactured in California or Tecate, Mexico, and the company was founded in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug.
What sets Taylor apart from the other brands is that they use their pickups called the ‘Expression System’. The preamplifiers for these were designed by Rupert Neve. They consist of a humbucking neck pickup and a pair of dynamic soundboard transducers.
Overall, Taylor guitars generally have a bright sound and are made of wood such as maple, tropical mahogany, Indian rosewood, and even walnut.
This is a premium, yet somewhat affordable Taylor guitar equipped with an ES-B pickup and a built-in tuner.
The slim neck and the short scale make it extremely playable for those who struggle with large dreadnought bodies.
A Grand Concert guitar is generally preferred by those who play fingerstyle guitar, however, the Academy 12e can also be used as an everyday rhythm guitar. This guitar is ideal for those who prefer low-action and light gauge strings.
Epiphone was acquired by Gibson in 1957 and the brand is well-loved by beginners as well as professional musicians for their budget versions of signature models of electric guitars, basses, and even acoustic guitars.
Acoustic guitars by Epiphone are particularly popular because they are affordable, made of good quality materials and they sound great. Just like other brands, you can choose between jumbo, round and square shoulder, or smaller body guitars.
For those who like to carry their guitar around, Epiphone also has a few models of traveler guitars.
Available in ‘ebony’, ‘natural’, and ‘vintage sunburst’ finish, these guitars have Mahogany bodies and a Rosewood fretboard. Sonically, this guitar is perfect for you if you are looking for a dreadnought with bright and resonating sound.
While this guitar is priced for beginners, do not underestimate its sound. It is a go-to for many intermediate and professional guitar players as well.
Probably the only drawback of the guitar is its square shoulder shape. In comparison to round shoulder guitars, the sound of this model can feel less warm.
Manufactured and distributed by Saga Musical Instruments, Blueridge acoustic guitars are ideal for genres such as bluegrass and folk. The guitars are reproductions of historic, pre-war models and are made in China.
Blueridge guitars are generally targeted towards professional and intermediate players and the different models start at a fairly high price for the BR-40 and BR-43 series.
If you are a dedicated folk and bluegrass player and don’t necessarily want a versatile guitar, then you should explore the selection of Blueridge guitars available online or at a store near you.
With a Sitka spruce top and Rosewood back and sides, this is a premium guitar with a round, full sound. If you are looking for a vintage-style guitar, then you will appreciate the little details such as the mother-of-pearl headstock and neck inlays.
The design is inspired by the prewar period and comprises other elements such as Herringbone and a ‘Dalmation-tortoise’ style pickguard.
Since this is a unique guitar, it is not as versatile or affordable as some of the other models on this list and is best suited for dedicated players.
Ibanez is a Japanese guitar brand best known for its 7 and 8-string guitars used in heavier genres of music such as metal. But they have a vast selection of acoustic guitars to choose from depending on your preference, budget, etc.
From Steve Miller to John Petrucci, Ibanez guitars have been proudly endorsed by many prominent guitar players.
Whether you are looking for a beginner guitar or one for professional use, you can choose between different signature models such as the Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, or Jon Gomm series or the more affordable PA or PF series.
Made of an Okume body and Laurel bridge, this dreadnought is part of the ‘Artwood’ series which blends traditional parts of the acoustic guitar with modern construction through the use of signature Ibanez elements like the ‘Ibanez Advantage’ bridge pins and the ‘Chrome die-cast’ tuning machine.
It has a solid Mahogany top with a Rosewood bridge. The addition of the ‘Nyatoh’ neck gives the guitar a mid-low heavy sound.
This model is ideal for those who play fingerstyle guitar because tonally the mids and highs are still projected even when played softly. There is no real drawback to buying this guitar, given its price.
Gretsch was founded in 1883 and rose to popularity in the 1950s when they began a collaboration with Chet Atkins, the famous Country musician.
Although since 2002 the guitars have been produced, marketed, and distributed by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, the unique sound of Gretsch electric and acoustic guitars remains the same.
Since the 50s, many legendary guitar players such as Bo Diddley, George Harrison, Neil Young, PJ Harvey, and even Jack White have made prolific music using a Gretsch.
Inspired by the Gretsch parlor guitars of the 30s, 40s, and 50s in the signature ‘Rex’ style, this steel-string guitar is an ideal fit for country, folk, and even blues players.
It has a Basswood body and a Walnut fingerboard, with a vintage 1950s style die-cast tuning machines. The sound is warm and resonant, considering its size.
Although this is an affordable guitar, the ‘parlor’ body may not be for everybody, especially those who have difficulty playing a smaller sized-guitar without a cutaway.
Originally owned by the Japanese brand Takamine, Jasmine guitars were sold to KMC Music in circa 2005. This is why some of the older models of Jasmine acoustic guitars often have a different label than the more recently manufactured ones.
Jasmines guitars are best suited for absolute beginners who are looking to purchase their first guitar.
These are very affordable and have become the go-to for those looking for an instrument to learn the basics on before they graduate to a better guitar.
With a Spruce top and a Rosewood fretboard, this model is one of the most popular beginner acoustic guitars. It has a good, resonant sound and easy playability, keeping beginners in mind.
These guitars have the potential to sound great, however, it is recommended that you get them set up and adjusted by a luthier if you are unable to do so yourself.
A lot of players who own or play this model also suggest changing to Ernie Ball or D’Addario strings for a richer sound.
The Guild Guitar Company was founded in 1952 and since 2015, they are under the Cordoba Music Group after they bought the rights from the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.
Guild acoustic guitars are known for their predominantly folk and blues sound and have been used by musicians such as Bryan Adams, Joan Baez, Sheryl Crowe, John Denver, and even Colin Greenwood of Radiohead.
In the 60s, Guild guitars were produced in Westerley, Rhode Island and perhaps the most iconic use of the guitar was by Richie Havens, who played a D-40 during his opening performance at Woodstock in 1969.
Made as a tribute to the ‘Westerly’ era of Guild guitars, the DS-240 Memoir is a dreadnought with a Spruce top with a Mahogany back, sides, and neck. It has vintage Guild tuning machines and a Tortoiseshell pickguard.
The C-shaped neck and sloped shoulder design make it an ideal guitar for those who enjoy playing rhythm. Although meant for blues or country players, the sound is quite resonant and mark, making it versatile.
Guild guitars are generally geared towards intermediate and professional players who are looking for a quality guitar while still having a practical budget.
Made in Canada, the first Seagull guitar was produced by Robert Godin in 1982. They have since maintained their ethos of incorporating the essentials of a handcrafted guitar into a budget-friendly product for “working-class musicians”.
Despite the tendency to look past it, when guitars are mass-produced they impact the environment negatively. Seagull takes pride in sustainable practices such as hydroelectricity to power their facilities and the use of reclaimed wood instead of sourcing expensive ones internationally.
So if you are considering purchasing an acoustic guitar, consider spending a bit extra for a good, resonant one that has been made with care.
If you are a beginner who is looking for a guitar that they can grow with, then the S6 is an excellent choice. It is also a good option for more intermediate and professional players.
Recommended for singer-songwriters, this dreadnought model has a good mid and low end which makes it perfect for strumming.
While it may feel smaller than an average-sized dreadnought, this model more than makes up for it in its warm sound. Since Seagull guitars are relatively harder to get your hands on than some of the others on this list, it is unlikely all music shops will have this model in stock.
Yamaha Corporation started manufacturing guitars in 1942 and like most things they make, the musical instruments too have a certain standard in terms of quality at their respective price points.
Many people often disregard Yamaha guitars because they are affordable but the acoustic guitars produced by them are great for beginners looking to buy their first guitar without breaking the bank.
This model has a Spruce top and a Rosewood fretboard. Since this is a concert-sized guitar, it is ideal for those who find a dreadnought to be too bulky.
While this does not sound or feel like some of the premier acoustic guitars on the list, it is a durable guitar that is versatile and ideal for beginners.
Known for revolutionary electric guitars such as Stratocasters, Telecasters, and the Jazz bass, Fender also manufactures high-quality acoustic guitars that are just as good as their electric counterparts.
Generally made of mahogany bodies, you can choose from many different models based on your proficiency and needs. The CD and the FA series of Fender guitars are great for beginners who are looking for a budget-friendly guitar which sounds great.
You can choose between various styles such as dreadnought, parlor, auditorium, etc based on your needs.
Not only is this a warm-sounding dreadnought guitar, but it is also extremely affordable.
The FA-115 is a popular choice for beginners. It is extremely sturdy and can generally withstand humid temperatures.
While the initial action of the guitar can often feel high, this is not something a luthier cannot fix. These are ideal for all genres of music and have a very balanced sound.
Apart from Fender, any list on guitars is incomplete without the mention of Gibson. Gibson was founded in 1902 by Orville Gibson and the brand is best known for the ‘Les Paul’ electric guitar.
Notable Gibson guitar players include Dave Grohl, Joan Jett, BB King, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Keith Richards. When it comes to acoustic guitars, the brand does not disappoint.
There are many signature guitars modeled after the ones played by Noel Gallagher, Sheryl Crowe, Slash, Orianthi, etc. They also have high-end, custom models for those who don’t necessarily have a budget.
These guitars are geared towards intermediate and professional players.
Available for both left and right-hand guitar players, the L-00 is modeled after the original L-series ‘small body’ guitar manufactured in the 1900s.
The guitar has a Mahogany back and sides, a Sitka spruce top, and a Mahogany neck. This model also comes equipped with an LR Braggs VTC pickup, and separate volume and tone controls.
Although the guitar is a small-body one and not a dreadnought, it has a full and resonating sound. Perhaps the only negative of this guitar is that just like any other Gibson guitar, the price for this model too is on the higher end.
Takamine is a Japanese manufacturer of premium steel-string guitars, founded in 1959. They were one of the earliest brands to manufacture the electro-acoustic guitar and are considered pioneers of the modern EQ and preamp design found in acoustic guitars today.
Takamine guitars have been played by the likes of Carly Simon, John Oates, Blake Shelton, and even The Eagles.
Apart from the Signature and the Limited Editions series, they manufacture various styles such as classical, jumbo, dreadnought, Thinline, and even acoustic basses.
The P7NC: Pro Series 7 Nex Cutaway, is a “scaled-down jumbo” ideal for singer-songwriters looking for the resonance of a dreadnought without the bulk.
The guitar has a solid Rosewood body and Mahogany neck. It also comes fitted with Takamine’s signature ‘CTP-3 Cool Tube’ preamp.
The P7NC is a premium guitar and unless you are planning to use it as an accompaniment to vocals, it may not be the most ideal match for you.
Alvarez guitars have been the staple for many musicians such as Jerry Garcia, Ani DiFranco, and Joe Bonamassa.
The brand was founded in 1965 and is best known for its classical and steel string guitars.
While the ‘Regent’ series is targeted towards beginners, Alvarez also manufactures premium guitars such as the ‘Masterworks’ and ‘Artist’ series.
The AD60 dreadnought has a Mahogany neck with a Mahogany back and sides, and a Sitka Spruce top. These are hand-sanded and have an angled headstock.
These are ideal intermediate guitars because while they are cheaper than some of the more premium ones on this list, they have a powerful sound and are very versatile.
15. Paul Reed Smith (PRS)
Although Paul Reed Smith is primarily known for their electric guitars, they have a selection of acoustic guitars to choose from as well.
The brand was founded in 1985 and their acoustic guitar range was introduced in 2005.
Their current roster includes prolific artists such as Carlos Santana, John Mayer, Dave Navarro, Mark Tremonti, etc.
This parlor-sized guitar comes fully equipped with a PRS-Voiced Fishman Sonitone pickup, Mahogany construction, and 3 satin finishes with herringbone rosettes and accents to choose from.
If you are looking for a guitar big sound that you can easily travel with, then this might be the one for you.
While this definitely sounds like a high-end guitar, if you do not intend to plug it into an amp, you can also consider the slightly cheaper, PRS SE Parlor P20 that comes without the pickups.
Unlike electric guitars, choosing a good acoustic guitar can often be tricky. Remember to take into consideration factors such that the level of humidity, the shape that you feel the most comfortable playing, and the sound you are looking for.
Premium acoustic guitars generally need more maintenance than budget ones. So you should have a working knowledge of the anatomy of the guitar so you can adjust the intonation yourself from time to time unless you have access to a good luthier.
In terms of budget guitars, choose one that you find yourself navigating with ease. All acoustic guitars have a unique sound, even if they belong to the same series. So take your time, do your research before you buy one.
Lastly, you may find that the sound of the guitar is not as resonant as you want it to be when you first purchase it. Remember that the more you play, the better your guitar will sound!