What Is the Best Acoustic Guitar?
If you’re looking for the best acoustic guitars, there are several factors you’ll need to consider. First is budget: the best $200 acoustic guitar won’t be as good as the best acoustic guitar under $5,000, for example. But beyond price, you have to define what “best” means to you. Tone, volume and sustain are going to be highly important for everyone. But a comfortable low action, tuneability, sound hole configuration, size and aesthetics are all factors as well.
We’ve considered all these factors and have developed this list of our choices. Here they are in alphabetical order:
- Ashthorpe Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric ($99)
- Córdoba C10 Acoustic Classical ($1149)
- Guild D-20 ($1299)
- Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic ($116)
- Martin LX1E Little Martin Acoustic-electric ($449)
- Ovation Standard Eliete Acoustic-Electric ($897)
- Seagull S6 Acoustic ($469, but varies by submodel)
- Taylor 324ce V-Class Grand Auditorium Acoustic-Electric ($2199)
- Taylor GS Mini Mahogany Acoustic ($499)
- Yamaha F325D Dreadnought Acoustic ($189)
If you want to cut straight to the chase, here’s our top pick for most serious guitar players: the Guild D-20. This storied guitar was first introduced in 1968. It’s a solid mahogany body with a large dreadnought body style. The model is well-known for its deep, rich tone, and it resides in a price point that’s lofty but not unattainable.
Each D-20 arrives with a hand-signed and numbered certificate of authenticity as well.
Top 10 Best List: Compared and Reviewed
Below is our top 10 best acoustic guitar list, in order of price (most expensive to least expensive). Whatever your price point, you’ll find a quality guitar by choosing from the list to follow.
Speaking of lists, if you’re also interested in purchasing a ukulele, check out another post, 5 Best Ukulele Under $500.
Now, without further ado, our top 10 acoustic guitars.
Taylor 324ce V-Class Grand Auditorium Acoustic-Electric ($2199)
Taylor guitars are some of the most loved acoustics out there, and many models have the price tag to match. The 324ce V-Class Grand Auditorium Acoustic-Electric is the most expensive guitar on our list, but it’s actually in the low to mid range across the entire Taylor lineup.
Taylor is a brand known for its high-quality builds and impressive designs that merge classic aesthetics with modern touches. Their high-end guitars are exquisite, and guitars in their 300 series (including this one) certainly fall into this category.
The Grand Auditorium series is so named because the body style sounds great across a wide range of styles, from light fingerpicking to medium strumming. The instrument produces a large sound however it’s played.
The 324ce comes with Taylor’s latest innovation in electronics, the ES2 system. This unique pickup system doesn’t sit under the saddle like most, allowing for the best resonance and most natural sound possible.
If this guitar has a downside, it’s the price. You’ll notice the next guitar on the list is $900 cheaper, and that’s a significant jump. There are other great-sounding guitars that are cheaper. But make no mistake: the Taylor 324ce is an outstanding choice.
Guild D-20 ($1299)
We already discussed the Guild D-20 above as our top pick, so we’ll keep this brief. If you want a top-quality acoustic guitar with a full sound and large body, you can’t go wrong with the Guild D-20. This dreadnought style guitar is made of solid mahogany with a scalloped x body finish.
One drawback for some is that the Guild D-20 doesn’t come with any electronics. If you want to amplify, you’d need an external mic or pickup. Of course, some purists prefer it this way, and compared to the previous entry you’re saving a pretty penny.
Córdoba C10 Acoustic Classical ($1149)
Our lone Classical model on this list, the Córdoba C10 Acoustic Classical Nylon String is a premiere choice if you’re looking for a nylon string or classical model. With a solid Canadian cedar top and solid Indian rosewood back and sides, the C10 has that very traditional classical look, but in an ultra-refined rendition.
For your investment you also get an ebony fingerboard and an Indian rosewood bridge along with a hand inlaid mother-of-pearl rosette. The C10 comes with a humidified hard shell case to keep your instrument well conditioned.
The C10 is a flagship Luthier model, handmade in the Spanish tradition. As with any classical guitar, the design and construction are lighter than standard acoustics. You’ll get a responsive sound with a lengthy resonance, perfect for classical style playing.
Ovation Standard Elite Acoustic-Electric ($897)
Ovation’s claim to fame in the acoustic guitar world is its nontraditional sound holes as exemplified in the Standard Elite series, including this Standard Elite 2778AX Acoustic-electric.
There isn’t much traditional about the look and feel of this Ovation guitar (or most of them, really), but the unique pattern of multiple sound holes is backed by acoustic science and does deliver an impressive sound with longer than average acoustic sustains. This unique approach is also easier to amplify, creating less feedback than traditional designs.
This model comes with a solid spruce top with inlaid exotic hardwoods and has a visually surprising color contrast.
As with most Ovation models it has a deep contour and a composite bowl design. Many guitarists don’t appreciate these aspects of the design, so be sure to try one out before you buy. Don’t purchase sight unseen (though truthfully that’s good advice for every guitar).
Taylor GS Mini Mahogany Acoustic ($499)
Taylor does have some more budget-friendly designs in its lineup, like the Baby Taylors and this Taylor GS Mini Mahogany Acoustic. As the name implies, this is a smaller body guitar. If you yourself are a smaller person, you might have an easier time playing this than the many dreadnoughts on our list.
Taylor advertises the GS Mini as producing the sound of a full-size guitar in a much smaller body, and we have to agree.
As far as downsides, the GS has layered wood sides and back, which isn’t surprising as we’re descending price tiers. This model also includes no electronics.
Seagull S6 Acoustic ($469, but varies by submodel)
Seagull is another brand with a penchant for innovation, similar to Ovation. Its S6 Acoustic model is its most popular. You’ll notice the unusual headstock shape as soon as you see a Seagull guitar. Most people don’t love the look, but there is a reason for it. The symmetry allows for better and more consistent tuning. Seagull guitars also have a subtle curve on the guitar top, curving toward the sound hole.
The drawback to Seagull is its uniqueness. Some players don’t like the look or feel of their innovations, even if the sound is better because of them.
Martin LX1E Little Martin Acoustic-electric ($449)
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include Martin in our list. Martin’s Little Martin series is the answer to Taylor’s Mini and Baby series, packing a full-sized guitar sound into a miniaturized package. We especially like the Martin LX1E Little Martin in this series for its classic look and quality sound.
Martin advertises this as a quality travel or practice guitar. If you’re an accomplished player, you’ll want to move on up the price tiers for a performance instrument. But the LX1E can make a great backup or travel guitar. Like the Taylor GS Mini, the sides and back are laminated—better for durability but not for sound.
Yamaha F325D Dreadnought Acoustic ($189 with gig bag, $229 with hard case)
For our final three entries we’ve dropped into an entirely new price tier: the bargain basement. You might expect that no guitar under $200 is worth touching, but we’ve found three truly worthy entries.
The Yamaha F325D Dreadnought Acoustic is a powerhouse for the price. Yes, it’s mass-produced rather than handmade. Yes, it’s made with laminated wood rather than hardwood. But thanks to Yamaha’s uncompromising production standards it’s still a solidly built guitar.
Amazon reviewers are impressed, offering praise like “amazing guitar,” “I had high expectations for Yamaha’s quality and I was not disappointed” and more.
It’s a great beginner model and may even satisfy the intermediate player. As far as drawbacks, it has its limits. It’s not going to outperform the top two or three entries on this list, but then again it’s a tenth of the price.
Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic ($116)
If you’re looking for a budget entry with a big grand orchestra style body, the Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic is for you. One of the highest rated acoustics on Amazon, this guitar packs a lot of artistry into a very inexpensive package.
The S34C has a great look to it and a deep cutaway. One drawback is name recognition: Jasmine has none of the history or clout of Yamaha, nor can we guarantee the same level of consistency.
Ashthorpe Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric ($99)
Rounding out our list is a sub-$100 guitar that still impresses. For under $100 you get a reasonable quality acoustic-electric guitar. A top seller with favorable Amazon reviews, this is our bargain-basement pick. You won’t do better at this price point.