If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’re looking for the best acoustic guitar on the market. From construction and design to tonewoods and strings, we know that there is a lot of information to understand and consider when purchasing an acoustic guitar. Having been through the process of buying an acoustic guitar ourselves, we also know that finding a guitar that fulfills your every need can be a challenge.
So, we decided to gather the most important information about acoustic guitars and condense all of that into a guide that will clearly explain features and characteristics that make an acoustic guitar great. We also composed a list of what we believe to be the 10 best acoustic guitars on the market to hopefully help you find a guitar that fulfils your every need.
As you know, acoustic guitars are extremely versatile, sound fantastic and can be used by novices and virtuosos alike. They are great instruments that enable you to play a wide variety of music – including classical, Latin, folk, jazz, rock and country – and can be found at affordable prices.
It’s really important to get a good quality acoustic guitar, so that you have something that’s comfortable, produces great sound and is a joy to play. If you don’t buy the right acoustic guitar, you might end up with something that’s poor quality, hard to work with, and sounds terrible. Which might lead to you becoming frustrated and giving up on playing entirely, and that’s something we want to help you avoid.
The most important characteristics to look for when you buy acoustic guitar are playability, sound and durability. It goes without saying that you want to be comfortable when playing, get the best possible sound from your guitar and have something that will last a long time – especially if you’re going to play it regularly and possibly travel with it.
Words like masonite, plastic bridges, veneer woods tops and laminated wood usually help indicate acoustic guitars that are of inferior sound quality, so you should look out for those words when purchasing a guitar. You should instead look to purchase guitars made from a solid wood top – like spruce, cedar, mahogany, maple and rosewood – which produce a richer sound and end up sounding better with age.
Other things to look out for are guitars with poorly attached bridges, a poor neck joint, no truss rod and no binding. Guitars with no binding are prone to have their top, back and sides separate with time due to the continual force of the strings’ tension on the guitar while atmospheric changes or tension produced by the guitar’s strings can bend the necks of guitars that have no truss rod. Guitars with poorly attached bridges or a poor neck joint that show signs of separation should also be avoided.
The Jasmine S35 is a good-looking dreadnought guitar that offers exceptional value at an affordable price and is a great fit for beginners of any age or seasoned players looking for a second guitar. It projects big and bold acoustic tones, is great to use for any style of music and is covered by a limited lifetime warranty.
It features a spruce top with advanced X-bracing, laminated nato sides and back, full body binding, chrome covered tuning machines, a rosewood bridge and a rosewood fretboard with 20 frets. Additionally, its full-scale length (25.5 inches) and slim nato neck provide excellent playability and a comfortable feel.
To top that all off, the Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar is wrapped in a smooth satin finish that maximizes resonance for the best sound quality.
Most user reviews on Amazon are very favourable, with most noting that it’s well-built, easy to play, good-looking, and that for a little money you get a lot of great sound from the guitar. However, the biggest feature users weren’t happy with was the guitar’s low-quality strings that had to be swapped out before they started playing the guitar.
Fender CD-60CE Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
The Fender CD-60CE Acoustic-Electric is a budget friendly dreadnought cutaway body style guitar that features an attractive mother-of-pearl acrylic rosette design, scalloped X-bracing that allows the guitar’s body to resonate more and produce a richer, fuller sound and an all-mahogany body and neck that produces a warm, mellow tone.
Other features the Fender offers includes black body binding, a rosewood bridge and neck, a dual action truss rod, a new black pickguard, a 20 fret fingerboard, die-cast tuners and compensated bridge for better intonation, a Fisherman Isys III System that provides great quality and full control of the sound, and an active on-board preamplifier and tuner. The Fender CD-60CE also comes with a hardshell case, a strap, strings, string winders, picks, an instrument cable and an instructional DVD.
Most users on Amazon noted that the Fender is comfortable, easy to use and that the guitar’s all-mahogany body gives it a warm, sweet mellow tone and overall beautiful look. The only negative feedback Amazon users noted were minor issues with shipping.
Yamaha’s FG700S 6-string dreadnought acoustic guitar is a great entry-level guitar that boasts a robust and pleasing sound, features one of the most popular and lightweight tonewoods - solid Sitka spruce - and comes at an affordable price. Its non-scalloped X-bracing ensures that the guitar will retain its tone, response and stability while its hand-sprayed, high-gloss thin finish looks great under stage lights and ensures the minimum restriction of vibrations of the wood to provide a louder and fuller tone while staying strong and resilient.
Other features include black and white body binding, a tortoise pick, die-cast tuners, a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, nato back and sides, and a lightweight dovetail neck joint that provides strength, stability and a full, balanced tone. Additionally, Yamaha’s FG700S is covered by a limited lifetime warranty.
Users on Amazon noted that the Yamaha FG700S acoustic guitar is lightweight, dependable, durable, provides a nice mellow tone, rich lows, bright highs, has a great finish, and would be a perfect fit for beginners. However, some users did note that its bass tone is a little weak and that its strings are high up, which might make it slightly difficult to play.
If you’re looking for a good quality, inexpensive guitar to gift to someone who’s learning to play the guitar for the very first time or you’re a beginner looking to buy acoustic guitar to learn the ropes, the 38” Blue Student acoustic-electric guitar just might be the perfect fit for you. This guitar, made from full wood construction, has a sleek design and an attractive glossy blue colour finish.
It comes with a complete combo package - this includes a guitar case, an extra set of strings, a shoulder strap, an easy-to-use pitch pipe tuner, a guitar pick and a nice carrying bag - and features steel strings. The 38” Blue Student Acoustic Guitar may be simple and inexpensive, but it is effective.
User reviews on Amazon are pretty positive. Most users noted that this acoustic guitar offers great value for its cost and might be great for people who are just starting out, but they did have a problem with the guitar’s shoulder strap, fretboard and feel.
They mentioned that there are no markers on the fretboard, which means that if you’re a beginner or if you cannot easily tell you which fret you’re on you would have to count, and that there is only one hook on the shoulder strap which might result in you tying the other side around the headstock or the fretboard. One user also noted that the guitar has a fragile feel, so you should be careful when handling it.
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The Blueridge BR-160LH is a pre-war inspired Herringbone-trimmed dreadnaught guitar expertly crafted for left-handed players. It’s constructed with a solid Sitka spruce top that provides a fuller and louder sound, East Indian rosewood back, sides and bridge that provide a stronger and deeper base and authentic hand-carved parabolic top braces that honour the pre-war forward-X position.
Besides its gorgeous vintage-style look, the Blueridge BR-160LH features a bone nut and saddle with a nut width of 111/16” for easy fingering, nickel-plated tuners, a rosewood peghead overlay with abalone inlays and M.O.P, an exclusive Dalmatian style pickguard, a delicate wood marquetry back strip, white body binding and a comfortable and slim mahogany neck with a dovetail neck joint and adjustable truss rod. This Blueridge offers pickers a vintage-styled guitar with modern performance, which makes it an instant classic in our books.
Most users on Amazon have nothing but praise for the Blueridge BR-160LH, with most commenting on the guitar’s loud, full and rich tone and attractive pre-war inspired design while others mentioned that it’s more than just an entry-level guitar. They did, however, complain about the guitar’s poor durability. One user mentioned that after a year or so the guitar started falling apart.
The Fender CD-60 is a great sounding acoustic guitar with a dreadnought body shape. Its rich mahogany colour, black pickguard, steel bronze strings and rosewood fretboard all work together to make this guitar look exceptional.
Its laminated nato back and sides, laminated spruce top and scalloped X-bracing help project a warm, bright and loud sound over the room, and its smooth rosewood fretboard offers comfort and great playability. Additional features include chrome die-cast tuners, a dual action truss rod, a compensated urea saddle, dot position inlays, multi-ABS inlays on a soundhole rosette, gold silkscreened fender logo, end pins, black body and neck binding, black bridge and a hardshell case.
This guitar sports a distinctive look, stays in tune for a very long time and offers great value for money. It can be found in black, natural and sunburst colours.
Reviews for this guitar on Amazon are mostly positive, and most users are pleased with the guitar’s look and overall quality. However, some users did mention that the sound produced by this guitar is a little bit too bright for their liking.
The Yamaha FG730S and Yamaha FG700S (number three) are fundamentally similar: they’re both entry-level dreadnaught guitars that come from a long line of impressive FG “folk guitar” acoustic guitars and they both offer a robust and pleasing sound. The main difference between them, however, is that the FG730S is made from a rosewood body while the FG700S is made from a nato body.
Constructed with a solid Sitka spruce top, nato neck, rosewood back and sides and rosewood bridge and fingerboard, Yamaha’s FG730S solid top acoustic guitar is strong, lightweight and boasts a broad range of overtones. Its rosewood body helps deliver strong mids and highs while its dovetail neck joint provides strength, stability and a full, balanced tone.
Additionally, the FG730S’s non-scalloped X-bracing design helps retain the guitar’s tone, response and stability and its hand-sprayed, natural high-gloss finish makes the guitar look spectacular.
Like the Yamaha FG700S, user reviews on Amazon are very favourable. They mentioned that the guitar has a good overall intonation, good projection and tone, stays in tune exceptionally well and is extremely durable. However, they didn’t like that the action is a bit high on the upper frets and that the bass tone can be a bit weak.
The Martin LXM Little Martin Acoustic Guitar is a well-made ¾-size acoustic guitar that’s great for beginners, travellers and children. For a small guitar, it produces great sound and holds up well in different temperatures.
The LXM features a Spruce Pattern High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) textured finish top with Mahogany Pattern HPL textured finish sides and back, as well as a fingerboard and bridge made from Black Micarta. Additional features include a gold and black herringbone rosette, a modified low oval neck shape, Gotoh nickel tuning machines, 20 total frets with 14 clear and a good quality, lightweight, padded gig bag.
The LXM Little Martin proves that you don’t have to trade sound for size.
Most users on Amazon seemed very pleased with the guitar’s performance, with most noting that it’s consistent, sounds wonderful, has good volume, has a warm, balanced tone and performs well in different temperatures. A review that stood out the most was a user who mentioned that the ¾-size helped with her arthritis.
She noted that when she was strumming on a full-size guitar while seated her shoulder would start to ache and she couldn’t practice as much as she wanted to. She went on to say that since getting the LXM the smaller size has been a perfect fit for her and that she is no longer in pain when strumming.
However, other users did not appreciate that after a year the guitar needed significant repairs even though it had not been mishandled.
The Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar is widely regarded by Amazon users as one of the best acoustic guitars in its price range. Made from mahogany, maple and domestic wild cherry sides and back, the Seagull S6 sounds great, feels good and has a distinctive look.
It features a solid cedar top, wild cherry back and sides, a double action truss rod, a select pressure tested top, a TUSQ nut and compensated saddle for improved intonation, a tapered headstock for quick, stable and precise tuning, a Silverleaf maple neck on a short 24.84” scale with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge that are easy on the fingers, and a semi-gloss lacquer finish that makes the guitar feel smooth and look exquisite. Additionally, the S6 Original by Seagull is made in North America.
As I mentioned earlier, most users on Amazon regard the Seagull S6 Original as one of the best acoustic guitars in its price range and find little fault with it. They mentioned that the S6 plays beautifully, has lasted for years and sounds better every year. However, some users weren’t pleased with how the laminated sides and back seemed thicker than competing guitars, which made it heavier and less resonant, and some users weren’t particularly fond of the guitar’s design.
If you’re looking for an acoustic guitar for your child, the Schoenhut might just be for you. It’s lightweight, sturdy, inexpensive and sounds great.
Schoenhut’s design incorporates a rigid hardwood neck, a birch soundboard that offers excellent tone and resonance, a moulded composite fretboard that ensures precise height and spacing of the frets and a moulded composite body with dual curves that greatly enhance sound and durability. Additional features include 6 steel strings that accommodate a wide range of rich sounds, tuning pegs that provide quality sound, a pick, extra strings and a carrying case.
User reviews on Amazon have been split down the middle when it comes to the quality of the Schoenhut. Citing its metal strings (as opposed to plastic strings found on most toy guitars), a tune that holds well and a sturdy frame, one-half of Amazon users seem to feel that the Schoenhut is not just a toy, but a real learning tool for their child. Citing high frets, sharp edges on the neck and how easily it falls apart, the other half of Amazon users are not so fond of the Schoenhut and believe it to be a cheaply made guitar.
When deciding whether to buy an acoustic or an acoustic-electric guitar, you should consider how you plan on using your instrument. The main difference between the two is that an acoustic-electric guitar can produce a louder sound compared to a regular acoustic guitar.
Acoustic-electric guitars contain a pickup system in the body that turn vibrations on the soundboard into electronic signals. These signals can sometimes be weak, so most acoustic-electrics use a preamplifier or PA system to make them stronger. The preamplifier includes volume and tone controls, sometimes a built-in tuner, and is usually located on the top side of the guitar.
Due to their ability to produce a louder sound, acoustic-electric guitars are a great option for musicians who play at shows with large crowds. They also allow you more freedom to move around when playing, because you can plug them into a preamp. You don’t have to just sit next to a mic. If you’re playing for small groups of people, regular acoustic guitars should work just fine.
The type of music you want to play will also determine which acoustic guitar you purchase. Acoustic guitars fitted with nylon strings are best suited for Latin, classical and folk music while acoustic guitars fitted with steel strings are perfect for country, rock and jazz music.
The most important part of an acoustic guitar is the top. The top of the guitar is its speaker and the more the top vibrates, the more sound you have.
Frequent playing can lead to the strings causing stress on a guitar’s top, so you have to brace the underside of the top of an acoustic guitar in such a way that it can vibrate wildly but still stay intact and last a long time.
The type of brace you use for the top affects the sound the guitar produces, and this is where the difference between scalloped and non-scalloped X-bracing lies.
Scalloped X-bracing essentially has grooves in the lower half of the brace while non-scalloped X-bracing doesn’t have any grooves in its brace. A scalloped top brace, therefore, moves more, vibrates more, gives you more of a bass response and gives you more volume while a non-scalloped top brace will give you more of a balanced tone.
Laminated and solid wood tops also affect an acoustic guitar’s sound. And as we mentioned earlier, we prefer solid wood top guitars.
Laminated wood tops are layers of wood that are glued together to make up one structure of wood while solid wood tops are made from one solid piece of wood.
This means that a solid wood top guitar vibrates much more easily giving the guitar a better sound and fuller tone, whereas a laminated guitar’s sound is quite focused. Solid wood tops essentially offer more colours of the rainbow, and they actually sound a lot better the more you play them.
However, this shouldn’t concern beginners much. The most important thing you should look for as a beginner is a guitar that’s comfortable, easy to play, durable, has great sound and is the right size for you.
Tonewood is the wood that guitars are constructed with. They contribute greatly to a guitar’s tone, and there are several of them.
A soft cloth is the best thing to use when polishing and cleaning your guitar. A t-shirt that is 100% cotton would work well, too. Be sure to avoid using paper towels, which can scratch a guitar’s fine finish, especially if it’s shellac French polish or lacquer.
If you need to use water or a cleaner to get fingerprints, stains or smudges off your guitar, you should spray the water or cleaner on your cloth so you can control how much water gets onto the surface of the guitar. This helps prevent getting a significant amount of moisture into voids that may be in the finish.
Fingerboards generally don’t have a finish applied to them, so you should take a different approach when cleaning them. We recommend using cleaners specifically made for fingerboard cleaning, like Music Nomad Fretboard F-ONE Oil, or very fine steel wool to get dirt and grime out.
Because fingerboards are almost always left unsealed and unfinished, they’re usually the first area of the guitar to show the effects of dryness. To avoid dryness, periodically condition your fingerboard with a guitar-specific product like the cleaner and conditioner mentioned above, or lemon oil or mineral oil, to remove dirt and grime, hydrate your fingerboard and polish your frets.
Conditioning once a year should be sufficient. Avoid over conditioning your fingerboard as that can cause your guitar to gather more dirt and grime, and avoid polishes and cleaners that contain silicone compounds because they will damage the finish.
More moisture in the air causes the guitar to expand, which can result in joints at various points in the guitar separating. Dryness, on the other hand, causes the guitar to contract, which can result in a warped neck or cracks on the guitar’s top.
To avoid guitar damage in humid conditions, put your acoustic guitar back in its case when you’re done playing it.
What happens with guitar players’ fingers is that they sweat and that sweat can be quite corrosive. When that sweat gets on the strings it causes them to either gather dirt or rust, and that’s obviously something you want to avoid.
What happens when your strings get dirty or corroded is they become stiff and brittle, which makes it easier for them to break. You want to make sure that your strings are nice and supple, and that they don’t have too much dirt or corrosion on them.
If you find that you sweat a lot when playing, you’re going to want to have a cloth nearby so you can wipe down your guitar’s strings at the end of each session. Every now and again, put some lemon oil on your cloth and give your strings a good clean. This will make your strings last a lot longer.
If your strings are really bad and wiping them down doesn’t change anything, then you’re going to want to change your strings. The reason being that your strings get dull when they’re too dirty or corroded and it’s really noticeable when you play.
New, clean or well-maintained strings have a warm, bright, lovely quality to them, and that’s what you want with your guitar. You don’t want to change your strings all the time, so be sure to maintain them well.
For additional information on guitar maintenance, check out this article.
From the 10 options listed above, our top choice for the best acoustic guitar is the Fender CD-60CE Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar with the Yamaha FG730S Solid Top Acoustic Guitar coming in at a close second.
The Fender CD-60CE is constructed with a solid wood top, an all-mahogany body and neck that produces a warm, mellow tone, scalloped X-bracing that allows the guitar’s body to resonate more and produce a richer, fuller sound, black body binding, a dual action truss rod, die-cast tuners and compensated bridge for better intonation, an active on-board preamplifier and tuner, a Fisherman Isys III System that provides great quality and full control of the sound, and its acoustic-electric design allows musicians to play at shows with large crowds while still being audible and to have freedom of movement. In addition the guitar’s construction, the Fender CD-60CE comes with a starter kit that contains everything a novice might need.
It’s affordable, attractive, comfortable, easy to use, has a warm, sweet mellow tone and sounds better with age.