The List With Premium Acoustic Guitars Under $1000 (+ Reviews)

The-Best-Acoustic-Guitar-Under-$1000

Last Updated: May-03-2017
We’ve been tinkering with this special list of acoustic guitars under $1000 – searching for those models that truly justify a significant chunk of cash. Due to general lack of availability, we removed some good models such as the Alvarez FD60 and Fender CD-320ASRW, and replaced them with the outstanding Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE, an American-made Martin Custom D, and the Ovation Standard Elite 2778 AX, which boasts excellent electronics.

Ah, the sweet smell of premium! While a guitar in this category may not be deemed high-end by everyone, dropping $1000 on an acoustic guitar is a serious purchase for the majority of us.

Thankfully the guitars in our chart justify your money and give you more than a grand’s worth of feel, design and tone. You’ll find exotic woods, professional grade performance, stage-worthy electronics, and even a made-in-America Martin!

If $1000 is stretching too far, you may want to check out our list of top-rated acoustic guitars for a quality guitar that will match your budget. But, for those of you still interested in buying something really special, let’s see what’s worthy of your time.

Top 11 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000:

Image
Acoustic Guitar
Strings
Rating
Seagull Artist MosaicSeagull Artist Mosaic
An outstanding model by Seagull. Worth every penny.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
La Patrie CollectionLa Patrie Collection
A quality nylon stringed classical beauty from the Godin family of builders.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCEEpiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCEA class act from Epiphone with superb style, performance, electronics and tone!
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Seagull Maritime SWSSeagull Maritime SWS SGAll solid wood guitar with a loud and clear voice.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Blueridge BR160Blueridge BR-160A great looking throwback with a dreadnaught body from Bristol.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Martin Custom D ClassicMartin Custom D ClassicA delightful performance model from Martin – no-frills, for the serious musician. 
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
71aBQkDEzDL._SL1500__new_1Washburn Vintage Series R320WRKA vintage parlor with plenty for the modern player to love.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
music-royale-Taylor-114ce-500x500_new_1Taylor Guitars 114CE, Grand AuditoriumA big voice for its smaller size and great electronics.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Ovation Standard Elite 2778 AXOvation Standard Elite 2778 AXUnmistakably Ovation in design, this is a true stage-worthy electro-acoustic.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
61Mi+4cW0TL._SL1200__new_1Martin GPCPAK5 – HPL KoaStage presence brought to you by the guitar’s tonewoods and electronics system.
4.5 Stars
Total of 4.5/5
DRS1_01-500x500Martin DRS2 Road SeriesBe ready to hit the road and impress with the tone.
4.4 Stars
Total of 4.4/5

Here is the list with the best rated acoustic guitars under $1000:

Seagull Artist Mosaic

Seagull Artist Mosaic

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

If you want an upgrade or a new primary instrument with outstanding quality and tone, here is your answer. The Artist Mosaic is an all solid wood acoustic with a cedar top and mahogany back and sides. The mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard is a joy to play whether strumming chords or picking lead lines.

The tone is warm with plenty of clarity. The modified dreadnaught sized body gives the guitar a big voice that is even without overwhelming bass response. The hardware is of good quality and keeps the guitar nicely in tune. Seagull has been consistently making very nice instruments, and the Artist series is the icing at the top of their cake.


La Patrie Collection

La Patrie Collection

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

La Patrie’s Collection is a nylon string classical style acoustic guitar. Made with materials and hardware which are appropriate for a premium instrument that costs at least twice as much. La Patrie and Seagull are both from the Godin family, but they are in fact two separate companies that specialize in completely different types of guitars.

Made with a combination of solid cedar top and solid rosewood back and sides that needs to be heard to be truly appreciated. Meer words cannot convey how beautiful this guitar sounds. The high gloss custom finish deserves special attention. It looks awesome, feels fantastic, and will allow your guitar to age naturally and only get better over time.


Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE

Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE

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

Epiphone may be a name associated with entry-level models, but in this higher-end market they are serious performers – especially with this electro-acoustic Masterbilt DR-500MCE. It’s made of solid mahogany on the back and sides, with a solid Sitka spruce top and some beautiful vintage detailing across the guitar. It is very performance worthy, with a one-piece SlimTaper D-shaped mahogany neck, sporting a rosewood fretboard and 20 medium frets. As we highlight in our full review of the Epiphone DR-500MCE, the electronics are very versatile, with both Shadow NanoFlex (undersaddle) and NanoMag (end of fretboard) pickups. To control your sound there’s an eSonic-2 Stereo preamp including a built-in tuner, which is a bold and balanced system. A superb model!


Seagull Maritime SWS SG

Seagull Maritime SWS SG

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

Seagull’s Maritime SWS SG is a beautiful instrument. The SWS in its name stands for “Solid Wood Series.” The body features a spruce top and high quality mahogany sides. The “SG” stands for Semi-gloss. The satin finish is very pretty, and is thin enough to allow the guitar to resonate.

It also allows the guitar to age naturally, which gives it an even better tone over time. This one is for the Seagull fan that wants an upgrade from the S6. The sound is loud with plenty of clarity. The Godin family of companies are slowly taking over the acoustic guitar market, and this is not a surprise for anyone who had the chance to play one of their instruments.


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

The BR-160 is a dreadnought body guitar that deserves your attention and a spot on this list. It takes its design and aesthetics from the pre-war guitars of the Twentieth Century. You can see this in the open back tuners, Dalmatian tortoise style pickguard, and herringbone binding.

It has all solid wood construction of Indian rosewood on the back and sides and a solid Sitka spruce top that is quartersawn. The slim neck is made of mahogany. The finish is tinted to give the top an aged look to match the vintage styling. The tone is well suited to country, folk, and bluegrass.


Martin Custom D Classic

Martin Custom D Classic

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

Although relatively no-frills in design when compared to some others on this list, the Martin Custom D is a very popular model in this price range for good reason. With a timeless dreadnought shape, the body is crafted from excellent tonewoods – solid Sitka spruce on the top and solid mahogany used for the back and sides. There’s also a solid mahogany neck, with an Indian rosewood fretboard and 20 frets – hugely playable, as you’d expect from an American-made Martin such as this. It definitely sounds like a high-end Martin, with a bold, rich tone that’s well balanced thanks to the mix of tonewoods. Make sure to check out our complete review of the Martin Custom D for all the details.


Washburn Vintage Series R320WRK

71aBQkDEzDL._SL1500__new_1

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

The Washburn R320WRK is a guitar with a look and style from a different time. It is a parlor sized guitar with an aged finish and distressed hardware to look like a remnant of another age. Don’t let the look fool you this is a guitar made with modern construction techniques.

It has a solid spruce top with solid rosewood back and sides. The neck is mahogany with an ebony fingerboard with a distinctive Tree of Life inlay. The rosette is abalone and it has an ebony bridge. The bone nut and compensated saddle help with intonation and the clarity of tone. The R320WRK has the traditional parlor sound with more clarity and a bit more bottom end.


Taylor Guitars 114CE, Grand Auditorium

music-royale-Taylor-114ce-500x500_new_1

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

The Taylor 114CE features Taylor’s Grand Auditorium body shape – making it a decisive, attention demanding tonal machine. Included in the guitar is Taylor’s Expression System 2 pickup. There is a volume and tone knob on the upper bout of the body. It features a cutaway in the solid spruce top for catching those notes on the higher frets. The back and sides are laminate sapele.

There is even a case included in the price of the guitar. Each string cuts through with nice clarity. The sound is bigger than the size of the body would lead you to believe. Grabbing your authentic Taylor tone is more accessible, now more than ever – when considering both playability and affordability.


Ovation Standard Elite 2778 AX

Ovation Standard Elite 2778 AX

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

Ovation’s Standard Elite 2778 AX is anything but standard, when compared to other acoustics on this list! However it’s a superb stage performer, with a quality pickup system and tone. It features a deep contoured body shape with Ovation’s distinctive multi soundhole. The top is cut from AA solid spruce, while the back and sides are formed from Lyrachord composite. There’s a five-piece satin-finished mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard and 17 frets along the whole neck, giving way to an extra five frets on the treble side (22 in total). The plugged-in sound comes from a pro-quality OP-Pro preamp and an OCP-1K pickup system – as highlighted in the full review of the Ovation Standard Elite 2778 AX.


Martin GPCPAK5 – HPL Koa

61Mi+4cW0TL._SL1200__new_1

Body&Neck:4.1 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Electronics:4.0 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.4 Stars
Average:4.3 Stars

The Grand Performance body style of Martin’s GPCPA5K, which is similar to a dreadnaught but smaller, has a solid Sitka spruce top with a cutaway. The back and sides are made of High Pressure Laminate (HPL) with a textured finish that is patterned after Koa.

The thin tapered neck is made with Martin’s stratabond construction, has a Richlite fingerboard, and offset dot fret markers. If you want to take the GPCPA5K onto a big stage you can with the Fishman F1 Analog electronics with Sonitone pickup. It has both a volume and tone control with a built-in tuner. The sound rings out with an even tone that is quite beautiful with just the right amount of jangle.


Martin DRS2 Road Series Acoustic Guitar

DRS1_01-500x500

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

The DRS2 by Martin is a dreadnaught sized acoustic electric. It has all solid wood construction with a spruce top and sapele back and sides. The hardwood neck has 20 frets with a black richlite fingerboard. Richlite is also used for the pickguard that protects the top from overzealous playing.

The Fishman Sonitone system provides the electronics with the controls discretely placed inside the body. The volume and tone controls are accessed through the soundhole. The DRS2 is part of Martin’s Road Series and befitting of the name a case is included with the price of the guitar. It has a woody tone with plenty of chime that just screams Martin.


What can you expect from an acoustic in the $500-$1000 range?

Quality, playability, and tone are the three words that come to mind with this price range. Like I said earlier there are still compromises that have to be made when making a decision to buy at this level. Some of these guitars are made with laminates, but they do not sound like the laminates of cheaper guitars.

There will be no setup issues like those that can be found in cheaper instruments. The necks will be well smooth without any fret issues. Fit and feel will not be a problem. The compromises do not include lesser quality assurance or inferior construction techniques. These are instruments that are made by well trained and experienced luthiers.

The tone produced by the combination of tonewoods will be an eye opener if you have not played a really good acoustic before. Unlike on an electric where the pickups can radically change the sound of a guitar, acoustics live and die by the wood that they are made of. A solid wood instrument is going to have better resonance and character than its laminate counterpart.

Even if you do not plan on playing in front of a crowd, I would still buy an acoustic with built-in electronics. The added expense is not that great, and it gives you more options in the long run. Guitars in this price range have really good tone so you don’t need much sound sculpting to translate that through a sound system or amp. If nothing else the built-in tuner that comes with most electronics will assure that you will stay in tune even if you leave your tuner at home.

It is hard to narrow down what to expect from a guitar at this price point, because if nothing else there are plenty of options. It comes down to finding what is right for you and your music. If putting done a thousand dollars on a new acoustic is too rich for your blood, then check out our list of the best acoustic guitars under $500. You can still find a very fine instrument that will keep you strumming and picking for years in that price range.

Are these guitars that good?

Yes, these guitars are that good. They are worlds apart from the entry level guitars that we all started out on. The sound is good, the looks are striking, and the playability is excellent. Some of them could even be seen as works of art, and be hung above the mantle for all to look at. But they won’t stay up there long, because you’ll want to play them at every chance you get.

The best thing you can do is go out, and play as many acoustics as possible. We suggest you start with our list, because you will not be disappointed by any of these models. They may not be your style, but you will agree that they are very good, if not great, guitars. If you take the time you will find the guitar that is perfect for you.