The Top 31 Acoustic Guitars And Brands! What It Takes To Find A Good Sounding Instrument?

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Last Updated Dec-12-2016. If you’re looking for a new acoustic guitar, it’ll quickly become apparent that the term ‘best’ is pretty broad. Let’s break it down.

First, you have so many different types music – flamenco, jazz, country, blues, classical, rock and pop, to name just a few. Then you have musicians performing at different levels – there are the beginners who’ve never held a guitar before, there are experienced guitarists playing in bands, then there are professional guitarists, who make a career out of playing the guitar.

You then have different budgets – one shopper may only have $100 in their back pocket while his friend can drop $2,000 on his new axe (lucky guy!). There are also shoppers who know nothing about guitar at all – the caring girlfriend looking for a budget acoustic for the man of her life; the father who doesn’t really care what he spends, as long as his son gets the best acoustic guitar for kids.

Of course there are more examples, but this brief introduction highlights how buying a guitar differs from person to person, and what is ‘best’ for one, may not be the ‘best’ for another.

How Do I Find My Dream Acoustic Guitar?

A good question! As we’ve just explained, for every individual ‘the best acoustic guitar’ will be different. This is why we’ve split some of the top guitars on the market into relevant categories. You’ll find it easier to navigate to the category that interests you the most, bypassing those guitars out of your budget or too basic.

Before we get started, if you are in the market for an electric guitar instead of an acoustic, don’t worry – we have them covered in our extensive electric guitars page elsewhere on Guitar Fella.

The Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars:

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Acoustic Guitar
Summary
Rating
Seagull S6
Seagull S6 Original
The S6 is a well respected starter steel guitar.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
Yamaha FG730S
Yamaha FG830
Newbie friendly acoustic wonder by Yamaha.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
La Patrie Collection
La Patrie Collection

A nylon stringed beast. Quality classical instrument.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Blueridge BR160
Blueridge BR-160
Great looking dreadnaught body guitar from Bristol.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Takamine GD93NAT
Takamine GD93NAT
A proud representative from the Takamine family.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Seagull Artist Mosaic
Seagull Artist Mosaic

Outstanding model by Seagull. Worth every penny.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Taylor Guitars GS Mini 300
Taylor Guitars GS Mini
Taylor and "beginner" in one sentence. What else?
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
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Yamaha FG800

FG800 shows what made Yamaha's FG series so legendary to begin with.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
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Blueridge BR-43

The guitar produces traditional sounds enhanced with a modern touch.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5

Guitars For Beginners (click here for more reviews)

Seagull S6 Original

Seagull S6

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

We start with a true classic, that’s equally as good for experienced players as it is beginners who are learning the guitar for the first time – the Seagull S6. It’s a good-looking steel-string acoustic that’s popular with guitarists of all abilities, due to its comfort, playability and sound quality. The S6 – as we state in our full review – sports an attractive solid cedar top with wild cherry back and sides. There’s a hand-finished, fat silver leaf maple neck, with a good rosewood fretboard and 21 frets, as well as a distinctive tapered headstock. The sound is lovely – excellent projection and very dynamic with a good mid-range. It’s certainly not a budget option, but it’s still very affordable and will accompany you for decades of playing.


Yamaha FG800

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Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

Yamaha’s FG800 is a staple of the legendary FG series, which has been a force in the affordable acoustic market for fifty years. The FG800 – as we detail in our full review – is an excellent guitar for beginners at a super affordable price, with some advanced features that make it sound wonderful. It comes in Sand Burst and Vintage Tint finishes, although you can’t beat the simple and elegant classic natural finish. It also shows off the solid Sitka spruce top, which is scallop-braced, with nato back and sides, and a slim nato neck (with rosewood fretboard) that makes playing a breeze. It sounds great, and the bracing on the top gives a good amount of bass depth and resonance. An excellent choice for beginners.


Bristol by Blueridge BD16

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Body&Neck:4.3 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

The Blueridge Bristol BD-16 from Saga packs a great deal of sound quality and comfort into an affordable acoustic, and is well worth considering for any beginner. This versatile steel-string model features a traditional body shape, with a sturdy mahogany back and sides, and a spruce top with scalloped bracing to provide a bright, full-bodied sound. There’s also a slim mahogany neck that sports a smooth rosewood fretboard with 20 frets, while the chrome-plated 14:1 die-cast machine heads offer good tuning stability. The guitar shows great craftsmanship and is fun and fast to play, while the mahogany and spruce working together offer excellent projection – perfect for your first chords, licks and riffs! Check out the full review of this superb model.


J.Navarro NC-61

J. Navarro NC61 300

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Looking to trade that crisp steel sound for some smooth nylon? Beginners won’t go far wrong with this quality classical guitar from Saga’s J. Navarro series. The NC-61 offers Spanish-inspired sound and looks, with a small traditional body made with rosewood on the back and sides, with a solid cedar top, which is walnut bound with fan bracing. The mahogany neck also features a Spanish heel, which provides great rigidity and resonance. The woods and craftsmanship means the NC-61 offers a smooth, mellow sound, but one that packs plenty of volume. In all, this may not be the cheapest classical guitar out there, but it’s a superb platform on which to begin your journey. You can read our our full review of the NC-61 here.


Antonio Hermosa AH-15

Antonio Hermosa AH15 300

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Even the most advanced flamenco players had to start somewhere, and this superb nylon-string flamenco guitar from Antonio Hermosa is a wonderful choice for beginners. As we mention in our full review, the AH15 features a traditional flamenco style body, with a cypress back and sides, and solid spruce top in a glossy finish. The guitar has a very playable mahogany neck, and a rosewood fretboard with 18 frets. It’s robust and durable – able to cope with whatever slaps and taps you can throw at it – while remaining elegant and stylish. It has a well-balanced tone and, as you’d expect, offers great projection – loud enough to be heard over the clattering shoes of flamenco dancers. Ole!


Under $1000 (click here for more reviews)

Seagull Artist Mosaic

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Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

As we move into more premium territory, there’s no better guitar to start this category than Seagull’s popular Mosaic, which exudes quality at a big but fair price. With a delightful dreadnought shape, this steel-string acoustic is made with a pressure-tested solid cedar top, with solid mahogany back and sides, all with a semi-gloss custom polished finish that allows the guitar to sing – and sing it does! The tonewoods combine to deliver a rich and bright sounding instrument, with plenty of warmth that would please the most demanding of guitarists. The Canadian craftsmanship on offer is excellent and everything from the distinctive tapered headstock to the seagull inlay on the 12th fret of the rosewood fretboard feels considered and well-made. Check out the details in our full review.


Blueridge BR-160

Blueridge BR-160

Body&Neck:4.4 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

Guitarists looking for a vintage guitar with a premium feel would be wise to check out this pre-war inspired Herringbone dreadnought from Saga’s Blueridge, which has sound and style in abundance. The steel-string beauty is crafted from solid Sitka spruce on the top, which features solid Indian rosewood back and sides, and a slim mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard. You’ll notice some impressive decoration on the BR-160 (as we mention in our full review), including an exclusive Dalmatian-style tortoiseshell pickguard, accurate 14:1 butterbean-style tuners, and an elaborately decorated motherof-pearl headstock. The sound is to die for – a rich, traditional tone with great balance and robust projection. Hard to fault this superb offering from Blueridge, which comes in at a very good price.


Recording King RAJ-126-SN Slope Shoulder

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Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronics:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.2 Stars
Average:4.4 Stars

This solid-wood dreadnought from Recording King is a real winner, combining everything you love about a sloped-shoulder steel-string acoustic, with all the projection of a full 25.4” scale. The woods used on the RAJ-126 are real quality – solid AA grade Sitka spruce on the top, benefiting from scalloped X-bracing, and solid African mahogany on the back and sides. The mahogany neck – attached at the 14th fret with a dovetail joint – is particularly good looking, and features a very playable rosewood fretboard. As mentioned, the sound is big and punchy, while it retains a warm and rich tone – ideal for fingerstyle or flatpicking alike. Could easily be mistaken for a guitar twice its price! Read more about the RAJ-126 in our full review.


Martin DRS2 Road Series Acoustic Guitar

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Body&Neck:4.0 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronics:4.0 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.4 Stars
Average:4.3 Stars

We’d be crazy to leave a Martin off this list, and the DRS2 really shines in this price range – beautiful looks are matched by stunning sound and attention-to-detail. As we’ve highlighted in our complete review of the DRS2, this steel-string dreadnought is built to the highest standards, using solid Sitka spruce on the top (which also features X-bracing for added strength), with sapele used for the back and sides. The neck – joined at the 14th fret – sports an enhanced, durable Richlite fretboard and plays like silk. As you’d expect, the guitar offers classic Martin tone, with a deep, rich acoustic sound with impressive Fishman Sonitone electronics for plugging into an amp. Lovely craftsmanship, with an included hardshell case.


Taylor Guitars 114CE, Grand Auditorium

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Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronics:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.2 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.4 Stars

Here’s a real premium electro-acoustic steel-string from the renown Taylor Guitars, that boasts both style and sound in a package that will blow you away. There’s a Grand Auditorium body that’s wellbalanced for both flatpickers and fingerstylists, while the generous Venetian cutaway allows good access to all 20 frets of the ebony fretboard. The 114CE – reviewed in full here – features a beautiful Sitka spruce top, with a tone-enhancing natural varnish, layered sapele back and sides, and a sapele neck. The woods combine to offer clear, well-defined playing with a big sound, which is further amplified through the Expression System 2 pickup system, with simple but complete tone and volume controls. It also comes with a good gig bag. An all-round excellent stage performer for any guitarist.


Under $500 (click here for more reviews)

Recording King RD10

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Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

The RD10 is a real gem made with quality woods, offering impressive style and sound at a good price. As part of the underrated Recording King’s 10 Series, this steel-string acoustic features a simple, traditional dreadnought shape, made entirely of solid tonewoods – no laminates here! There’s a solid Sitka spruce top with scalloped bracing, with solid mahogany used to craft the back and sides, and classy tortoiseshell binding. There’s a low-profile C-shaped mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard, which provides a good platform for fast playing with plenty of comfort. It sounds as you’d expect from a solid-wood Recording King guitar – big and resonant, with good depth and balance. Make sure to check out our full review of the RD10 for all the details.


Art And Luthiere Ami

Art & Lutherie Ami

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Sound:4.4 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Here’s a beautiful little steel-string acoustic from Godin’s Art & Lutherie, using the dimensions of early parlor guitars. The Ami – as we discuss in greater detail in our full review – features a solid, pressure-tested cedar topped body, with wild cherry back and sides. The neck – joined at the 12th fret – is made from silver leaf maple, and features a rosewood fretboard and bridge. While the body is small, the sound is anything but – this guitar really sings. The cedar top gives a full-bodied warm tone, with plenty of low-end. The Ami is a versatile little guitar, but is truly at home when playing folk music, fingerstyle, and blues. It’s hard to fault the craftsmanship either – well made with love from the Canadian manufacturers.


Washburn Vintage Series R314KK Acoustic

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Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.3 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

If you’re looking for a steel-string acoustic with vintage style and sounds, Washburn’s Vintage Series R314KK is well worth considering. It features a small, parlor style body made from a spruce top with trembesi back and sides. The spruce has a very cool aged finish, while other style points – such as the decorative ebony bridge, vintage binding, and distressed open gear tuners – give this guitar a true vintage theme. Not forgetting the fancy 1890’s style inlays on the ebony fretboard, which sits on a comfortable V-shaped mahogany neck. For such a small guitar it has a full-bodied sound and good projection, and is naturally excellent for blues, folk and fingerstyle. You can find out more in our full review of the R314KK.


Kremona Soloist S65C

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Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

The Bulgarian manufacturers Kremona have a good reputation for their handcrafted instruments and this nylon-string S65C from their Soloist Sofia series is really top-notch, offering great style and sound for the price. The classical body is crafted from an impressive range of tone woods, with a solid red cedar top, and laminated sapele back and sides, dressed with a glossy finish. There’s a smooth African mahogany neck, with Indian rosewood used for the fretboard and bridge. Combined, these woods offer superb projection with a well-balanced warm, rich tone. The craftsmanship is expert, and boasts high-end feel for a relatively low price. Well worth testing one if you can. Make sure to check out the full review for all the details you need on the S65C.


Yamaha CG192S

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Body&Neck:4.4 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.4 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

Whether you’re a beginner with a good budget or an experienced nylon-string player, all acoustic guitarists would be happy to add this Yamaha CG192S to their collection. With a full-sized traditional classical body, the CG192S is very well made using excellent tonewoods – as we mention in our full review . The top is made from solid European spruce, and the back and sides are rosewood, while the dovetail jointed mahogany neck hosts an ebony fingerboard which comes equipped with 18 frets. It has a wonderful voice – full-bodied, but crisp and clear, with a good dynamic range and lots of projection. The complete package. Overall a solid choice, with the high standards and quality feel you’d expect from a Yamaha in this price range.


Under $300 (click here for more reviews)

Takamine GD51-Nat DreadnoughtTakamine GD51-NAT Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.9 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

This gorgeous guitar from Takamine uses a range of quality components and craftsmanship to give an affordable steel-string acoustic with a premium feel. With a dreadnought shape, the guitar is crafted with a solid spruce top, and rosewood back and sides. There’s a slim mahogany neck with a bound rosewood fretboard, and 21 frets. It feels wonderful to hold, and sounds big and bold with lots of warmth thanks to the combination of tonewoods. The components add to both the elegance and premium feel – there’s a split-saddle rosewood bridge for increased intonation, while an abalone rosette and gold die-cast tuners just ooze quality. For this kind of price, the GD51-NAT (reviewed in full here) is hard to beat.

Yamaha FG830

Seagull S6

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

Introduced in 1966, the FG series is a staple of Yamaha’s acoustic guitar line, and this FG830 is one of the best-selling acoustics on the market – and it’s no surprise why! There’s an attractive Westernshaped dreadnought body, crafted with naturally-finished solid spruce for the top, with rosewood used on the back and sides. The neck is made from nato, while the rosewood fretboard is smooth and comfortable. The advanced scalloped bracing enhances the projection and resonance, allowing for a rich, full-bodied tone with great bass response, versatile for any style of music – although great for bluegrass! It’s a useful tool for any guitarist. Make sure to check out our full review of the FG830.


Cort L450c

Cort L450C

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

Here’s a lovely dark and handsome steel-string acoustic from Cort’s Luce series, which we review in full here. The entire body – top, back and sides – is made from solid mahogany, with a wonderful grain that’s shown off brilliantly with the natural satin finish. There’s a concert size body, so it’s more compact and comfortable to hold than a dreadnought, with a balanced and focused sound that’s resonant, dark and warm thanks to the toneful mahogany and advanced scalloped X-bracing. The neck is also made from mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets. The attention-to-detail is also very good for the price, with a multiple abalone rosette and snowflake inlays on the fretboard, that add a little extra charm to this already delightful acoustic.


Washburn C80S Madrid$T2eC16FHJFwFFZ4O5BcrBSBWTv7koQ--60_57

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

If you want an affordable Spanish guitar, look no further than the Washburn C80S Madrid – it’s even got Spain in the name! The C80S has all the style and sound you’d expect from a quality Spanish guitar, but without the hefty price tag. With a glossy traditional classical body, the guitar is made from good tonewoods – rosewood on the back and sides, with a solid cedar top that features scalloped bracing for a full, resonant sound. The neck of the Madrid is easy to play, and is made from mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard. It sounds warm and mellow, but is capable of projecting loudly. In all, a solid guitar that would appeal to both beginners and experienced guitarists. Read more about this guitar in the full review.


Cordoba C3MCC3MXXXXX

Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

Cordoba know how to combine quality with affordability, and this C3M is a testament to that. A core part of Cordoba’s fantastic Iberia Series, the C3M – which is reviewed in full here – is excellent for both beginners and experienced classical guitarists. It’s a very good looking instrument – simple and elegant, with a Spanish fan-braced solid cedar top, and mahogany back and sides, dressed in a beautiful light satin finish. The finish both feels smooth and allows the wood to breathe and resonate – allowing for very good projection. The C3M also features a lovely nato neck, with a rosewood fretboard and 19 frets, along with a rosewood bridge. An affordable model that’s fun to play, with excellent sound quality.

Cheap Acoustic Guitars (click here for more reviews):

Jasmine S35

jasmine-s35-300

Body&Neck:4.1 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.3 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.4 Stars

We shall start this budget category with a hugely affordable steel-string model, that gives guitars twice the price something to think about. From Takamine’s budget subsidiary Jasmine, the S-35 – which we have reviewed in full – features the classic dreadnought shape body, with an advanced X-braced spruce top, along with agathis back and sides. It also sports a slim nato neck – joined at the 14th fret – with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets, and a rosewood bridge. Overall, it offers good clarity and provides lots of projection, thanks to both the natural finish (allowing the wood to resonate) and the bracing on the top. More than suitable for beginners, who would find plenty of use with this guitar.


Oscar Schmidt OG2

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Body&Neck:4.2 Stars
Hardware:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.2 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars
Average:4.3 Stars

The OG2 is a true demonstration of what Washburn subsidiary Oscar Schmidt can do for players on a budget, as it shows off great looks and a powerful sound. As mentioned in our detailed review, the OG2 has a full-sized dreadnought body that comes finished in a wide range of glossy colors. It features an X-braced spruce top, and mahogany back and sides. There’s a good mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard, which is joined to the body at the 14th fret. The detailing and craftsmanship looks anything but budget, with quality components like a rosewood bridge and chrome die-cast tuners. The sound is clear, crisp and projects very well. Beginners and experienced players alike would enjoy this budget guitar – one that sets the standard for all others.


Fender FA-100

Fender FA-100

Body&Neck:4.2 Stars
Hardware:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.4 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.4 Stars

There are few better names in the world of guitar than Fender, and their steel-string FA-100 shows they can pack a punch in the budget acoustic market. It offers a simple but stylish look with a traditional dreadnought body shape that appeals to any guitarist. The top is made from spruce and features X-bracing, while the back and sides are made from basswood. The FA-100 also sports a very playable maple neck, with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets. It would work very well for beginners, as it provides a defined, crisp sound that’s well suited to plucking or strumming, and good for everything from rock to country. Throw in a classic Fender-branded headstock and a limited lifetime warranty, and you have a very attractive package for the low price. Don’t miss our full review of the FA-100.


Hohner HC06

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Body&Neck:4.3 Stars
Hardware:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.4 Stars

If you’re new to guitar, you can take some confidence knowing Hohner are one of the top manufacturers in the world when it comes to instruments for beginners, and the affordable nylonstring HC06 is one of their most popular models. It’s a relatively no-frills classical guitar, which allows you to concentrate on the most essential parts of playing and practicing. For such an affordable price, the HC06 – reviewed in full here – makes use of a good range of tonewoods, with a spruce top, and catalpa back and sides. It features a wide, easy-playing mahogany neck, with a hardwood fretboard that’s joined at the 12th fret. It offers the rich, mellow sound you’d expect from a classical guitar, and is an all-round strong choice for anyone on a budget.


Yamaha C40

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Body&Neck:4.4 Stars
Hardware:4.1 Stars
Sound:4.3 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.4 Stars

Whether electric or acoustic, Yamaha are leaders in the budget market, and their popular nylonstring C40 demands your attention if you’re a beginner or on a tight budget. With a simple traditional classical design, the C40 features a spruce top, with meranti back and sides. There’s a nato neck, joined to the body by a dovetail joint at the 12th fret. Both the neck and body are comfortable to hold and play, and offer beginners a very suitable platform, although experienced guitarists would find just as much pleasure. The guitar provides a good range of sounds, and is warm and resonant, but well-balanced with good bass and treble response. Make sure to check out our full review of the C40 for more details.


Travel Guitars (click here for more reviews)

Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar

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Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

If you accept that you’re not going to get the kind of booming projection you’d expect from a fullsized Martin, this cute 24” scale-length steel-string Backpacker will impress, and is perfect for playing on the road (or on a plane, in a boat, and anywhere else you can think of!). For such an affordable price you’ll find a good solid Sitka spruce top, with undefined tonewood back and sides, and a good Richlite fretboard with 15 frets. It’s lightweight but durable, and comfortable to hold and play on. The sound – while quieter than a full size guitar – is surprisingly full of tone. Close your eyes and you may struggle to tell the difference between this and a mid-range full-sized guitar! Check out our complete review of this impressive Backpacker.


Baby Taylor BT2

Baby Taylor BT2

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.4 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

This beautiful BT2 from Taylor is the perfect travel companion, boasting quality components and a sound to match. For an affordable price, the compact BT2 (as we detail in our full review), features a cute ¾ size dreadnought body, with an X-braced tropical mahogany top and layered sapele for the back and sides, which combine to give a clear and focused sound. There’s also a sapele neck – joined at the 14th fret – with an ebony fretboard, and 19 frets. The BT2 packs good volume for such a small guitar, and you’d have no problem practicing or jamming with it. It also comes with good tuning heads and a convenient gig bag, so you’re ready to hit the road!


Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top

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Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

The advantage of this attractive little 24” scale guitar is that it’s both compact enough to travel with and has great vintage charm, while remaining very affordable. With a shape that stays faithful to the classic Rex parlor guitars of the 30’s, it sports an X-braced agathis top, back and sides, a steelreinforced C-shaped nato neck, and a rosewood fretboard with 18 frets. The decoration and attention-to-detail is very good, and it feels robust and travel-worthy. What’s more, it sounds very good, with a warm tone and good projection for the body size. Whether you’re after an affordable acoustic for your next adventure, or a good quality vintage guitar for kids, the G9500 is well worth considering. Check out the full review for everything you need to know.


Acoustic Electric Guitars (click here for more reviews):

Epiphone EJ-200CE

Epiphone EJ-200CE

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Electronics:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

You can always rely on Epiphone to provide an acoustic guitar with eye-catching looks and a quality sound at an excellent price, and the EJ-200CE is certainly a testament to this. Based on one of the world’s most famous guitars, the J-200 (introduced in 1937), this revamped model offers an excellent mix of vintage style and modern components, perfect for any level of skill. Epiphone have crafted the single-cutaway body from solid spruce on the top, and a select maple back and sides, not forgetting a maple neck with well-decorated rosewood fretboard, and rosewood ‘mustache’ bridge. The acoustic sound output is clear with good projection, while plugged in to an affordable acoustic guitar amplifier the eSonic pickup system – with built-in tuner – also impresses for the price. Make sure to check out the full review.


Fender Stratacoustic Plus

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Body&Neck:4.1 Stars
Hardware:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

At first glance this looks like a classic Fender Stratocaster, but on closer inspection it’s an awesome electro-acoustic full of Fender style and playability, and loaded with technology. The Stratacoustic Plus – reviewed in full here – has a double-cutaway Strat shaped body, with a laminated spruce top and a one-piece fiberglass back and sides. There’s a very familiar Stratocaster headstock, with an easy-playing bolt-on C-shaped maple neck, rosewood fretboard, and 21 easily-accessible frets. As for sound, it’s naturally quite resonant, although not as loud as others in this category. However, when plugged in, it really sings! It features Fishman Isys III pickup system with a built-in tuner, as well as a handy mini-USB output, allowing you to plug straight into your smart phone, tablet or computer!


Dean Exotica Cocobolo

Dean-Exotica-Cocobolo-300x300

Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Electronics:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.9 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

With a name like ‘Exotica Cocobolo’ you expect something a little unique, and this splendid electro-acoustic from Dean doesn’t disappoint. The first thing you notice is the grain of the beautiful and exotic Cocobolo wood, which is used to craft the top, back and sides, while a Cshaped mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard complete the dark look nicely. There are 21 frets, which are all very accessible thanks to the single-cutaway shape. As for sound, it’s a real singer – bold when unplugged, but the DMT G05 pickup system gives you a huge voice through an amp. Along with a distinctive Dean headstock, sealed tuners, an abalone rosette, and a built-in tuner, you have a very attractive package that doesn’t break the bank. More details can be found in the complete review.


Acoustic or Electro-Acoustic – What’s Better?

While reading through our guitar reviews you will have seen both acoustic guitars as well as acoustics with a pickup/pre-amp system, and – especially if you’re starting out – you may have asked ‘which is better for me?’
However, like everything else in the world of guitar, the answer is completely down to you, your tastes and ambitions.

An electro-acoustic guitar is one that works just like a regular acoustic would, although has the added benefit of having a pickup, allowing you to plug the guitar into an amplifier and cranking up the volume, playing with a band, or – by using a good guitar pedal – adding an array of tones and effects to your sound.

Due to the extra components and work involved in making it, an electro-acoustic version of a guitar will usually be more expensive than it’s acoustic brother, although you can find very affordable electro-acoustic models these days.

Just keep in mind that you will need to buy an amplifier to benefit from the perks of your new electro-acoustic. Make sure to check out our detailed page that covers more than 60 of the top guitar amplifiers on the market for a little inspiration.

Whether or not you go for an electro-acoustic model may depend on where you plan to play it. If you are playing a concert or on stage with a band you will need something that is capable of being plugged into an amp, or risk not being heard!

Should You Go Nylon or Steel?

This is as important – if not more – than the question above, and must be answered before you buy, or even start looking for your next guitar.

Generally it’s agreed that beginners may benefit more from using a nylon-string instrument as it’s less intense on the fingers, and may encourage longer playing sessions. However it’s not essential, and starting on a steel-string guitar may keep you playing longer if you prefer that style of music.

But if you enjoy the smooth, mellow sound of classical guitar music or the excitement of flamenco, go for a nylon-string classical guitar. If you prefer rock, country, blues or folk, you’d be better off checking out steel-string guitars, which offer that crisp, bright sound.
Whatever you go for, ensure you try out as many as you can – or at the very least watch a few review videos – to determine what sound and style you prefer. Who knows, you may decide nylonstrings are for you when you didn’t initially consider them.

A final word of advice when changing your acoustic strings (and don’t forget to check out our page on the best guitar strings on the market): you cannot use steel strings on a nylon-stringed guitar, and vice versa. This experiment has no benefit, it won’t be very successful, and can cause big damage to your guitar. Besides, there’s no reason you can’t own both nylon and steel-stringed models – with guitars so affordable these days, everyone can own every style!

Final Considerations

While there are plenty of poor quality guitars on the market, every model and manufacturer we have featured here is worthy of your time. Although don’t forget that the guitars on this page are only a drop in the ocean of what is out there in terms of choice.
Ultimately, make sure to go with what you feel is best for you, whether small budget or big spending, acoustic or electro-acoustic, steel or nylon strings. If you are passionate about what you are doing, and keep learning and practicing, every guitar will sound great in your hands. And if you are just starting out, make sure to check out some online guitar courses [INSERT LINK to http://www.guitarfella.com/online-guitar-lessons/] to help you get started.

On every stage, at every concert, the audience always rates the player – not the instrument. People would always listen to B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix – even if they were performing with a $100 Cordoba! Let that be some inspiration for you.
Good luck with your guitar shopping and enjoy your new purchase!

Comments

  1. Cort 450c. Totally agree with your eulogistic review. Bought it a couple of yeers ago from Amazon for £215. Didn’t expect much for that price. What I got was a fantastic little guitar which is by far my favorite and most played of several guitars, including a Martin and a Fender. All praise to the wonderful people at Cort.

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