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The history of acoustic guitars dates back to 2000-1500 BC. They have since become among the most popular instruments among musicians. Despite the rich history and extreme popularity of the acoustic guitar, there is always more to learn.

We have compiled information about the best acoustic guitars in the industry, the different types of acoustic guitars available, and much more. Enjoy.

Top 10 Acoustic Guitars

The following instruments are ten of the best acoustic guitars in the industry, based on real reviews, company reputation, and overall playing experience.

1. Ibanez AVN11

The Ibanez AVN11 includes features that were inspired by some of the best vintage instruments. The AVN11’s stylish components include a Solid Caucasian Spruce top and a semi-gloss aged brown sunburst design, as well as mahogany sides and back, Thermo Aged Spruce X bracing, a mahogany satin finish, a fretboard with gold mother of pearl dot inlays, an ovangkol bridge, and a “Soft-V” shaped neck. The instrument also features tuners with antique nickel finish and oval knobs.

Like many vintage guitars, the AVN11 produces a robust low-end and smooth sustain with the treble notes. With a harder, more durable tonewood, the resonance is also noteworthy, given that the AVN11 is capable of producing a louder sound and dynamic response.

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2. Yamaha A Series A3M

When the Yamaha A Series A3M was released in 2017, the company promised its latest guitar would deliver in the areas of comfort, power, and partnership. There is nothing particularly unique about the design, yet the A3M still looks elegant enough to blend into any collection.

The all-solid-wood design of the A3M features Yamaha’s Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (A.R.E.) treatment, that pre-ages the wood to give it a stunning tone. The body cutaway makes it easier to access the higher frets and the neck is extremely comfortable.

The A3M is an electro-acoustic guitar, so it’s equipped with Yamaha’s Studio Response Technology (S.R.T.) system. The system seamlessly blends microphone and piezo pickup. The preamp is controlled with dials that have been placed on the side of the body, so the guitar maintains its naturally beautiful appearance.

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3. Epiphone DR-100

You don’t necessarily have to break the bank to get your hands on a high-quality acoustic guitar. For years, the DR-100 has been Epiphone’s best-selling acoustic guitar.

First-time players and professional musicians will agree that the DR-100 has what it takes for exceptional performance. The DR-100 is the epitome of Epiphone’s desire to produce high-quality instruments at a more affordable price.

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4. Blueridge BR-160A

The pre-war inspired BR-160A has just about everything you could want or need in a dreadnought acoustic guitar. It’s one of the most sought-after vintage-style acoustic guitars currently being made.

When Blueridge designed the BR-160A, they carefully selected Indian rosewood for the back and sides and spruce for the top to allow the guitar to produce full sound and strong bass. The slim neck makes the BR-160 comfortable to play and the details come together to create an extremely elegant design.

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5. The Loar LH-204 Brownstone

If you are looking for a guitar capable of producing vintage-style blues sound, the LH-204 Brownstone by The Loar is a perfect choice.

The LH-204 isn’t the type of guitar to produce big sound, but instead creates the familiar plucky sound of a vintage stringed instrument. Many musicians who favor the LH-204 will tell you fingerpicking is the recommended playing method. By finger picking the LH-204, you are fully able to experience the abilities of the vintage-style guitar.

Not only is the sound of the LH-204 noteworthy, but aesthetically, it’s a thing of beauty. For less than $500, you can tap into the limitless potential of the LH-204 Brownstone by The Loar.

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6. Yamaha FG800

With the FG800, Yamaha proved that a high-quality, playable acoustic guitar doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. This entry-level guitar made our list of top ten acoustics because of all the features it includes for such an affordable price.

The FG800 is lightweight and easy to handle, but designed to look anything but cheap. Players will immediately notice the mellow tone and slower response accredited to the solid Sitka spruce top, one of the most popular tonewoods.

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7. Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The features of the Fender Classic Design Series CD-60SCE Cutaway Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar are extraordinary for a guitar of its class. The easy-to-play neck shape is particularly noteworthy, as it was added to the redesigned instrument to assist musicians of all experience levels.

Just about any player can appreciate the full-bodied tone and projection produced by the dreadnought-sized CD-60SCE. Anyone looking for an acoustic-electric guitar can appreciate the elegance and fine-tuned design of this Fender guitar.

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8. Takamine EF360S-TT

Takamine’s brilliant Thermal Top technology allows the EF360S-TT to create the authentic tone of an actual vintage guitar. It is designed to create an exceptionally dynamic range, various bass frequencies, and excellent projection and volume.

For musicians who especially enjoy vintage-shaped necks, the ebony-topped mahogany neck of the EF360S-TT is an absolute joy. The overall vintage look, sound, and feel of this guitar create the ultimate playing experience for guitarists.

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9. Seagull S6 Original

The Seagull S6 Original will cost you less than $500 and it’s made in North America. The S6 is known as the “flagship of the Seagull line” and has won numerous awards for its design and production capabilities.

The combination of the tonewoods and the thin finish allow for a crisp projection. All around, the S6 is designed to be essential for any guitarist looking to add to their collection.

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10. Taylor 314ce

The medium-sized Grand Auditorium body of the Taylor 314ce accommodates a wide range of playing styles. Structurally, the 314ce can produce clear and bright sounds that are unique to Taylor guitars.

What truly makes the Taylor 314ce a special instrument is its v-class bracing. While x-bracing has been standard in acoustic guitars for decades, it has an unfortunate effect on the interaction between volume and sustain. V-class bracing allows an acoustic guitar to be both stiff and flexible, meaning it can produce more volume and sustain, creating a robust projection. V-class bracing also improves intonation, so notes are also more in tune with each other.

You’ll have to experience the remarkable capabilities of the Taylor 314ce yourself to truly understand just how incredible the instrument truly is.

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Acoustic Guitars for Beginners

1. Taylor Academy 12e

In most cases, an electro-acoustic guitar isn’t ideal for beginners, but we really couldn’t go without mentioning the Taylor Academy 12e. The 12e is part of Taylor’s Academy series — designed with beginners in mind.

The Academy 12e is easy to hold and play, thanks to its lightweight and comfortable design. The 12e is also durable and not too difficult for a new guitarist to take care of.

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2. Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat

If you have any interest at all in punk rock, you will recognize the name Tim Armstrong. The Rancid frontman, producer, and songwriter adores his Hellcat Fender, and the Tim Armstrong Hellcat is perfect for beginners who want to play as well as him.

Because the Hellcat has a smaller concert body, it’s more comfortable to hold than a traditional dreadnought acoustic, which makes it perfect for beginners. Additionally, the mahogany build allows the Hellcat to produce a rich, warm tone with great projection and ample resonance.

For less than $500, the Tim Armstrong Hellcat is perfect for beginners who strive to play like one of the greats.

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3. Yamaha FG830

The FG series by Yamaha is one of the oldest and most popular acoustic guitar lines in history. That speaks volumes about the quality of the instrument.

It’s first worth pointing out that while this guitar will only cost you a few hundred dollars, it looks far more expensive than that. The FG830 is comfortable enough for beginners but performs well enough for even the most advanced players.

While the FG830 may be more limited than some top-tier acoustic guitars, Yamaha has proven yet again that any guitar in the FG series is worth your time and money.

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Acoustic Guitars for Kids

1. Yamaha JR1

The Yamaha JR1 is a popular travel guitar because of its size, a quality that makes it especially appropriate for children. The reduced 3/4-size body of the JR1 is incredibly stylish. While the projection is quieter than a full-sized dreadnought, it produces great sound for a small acoustic.

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2. Martin LX1 Little Martin

The Martin LX1 Little Martin is a great, high-quality acoustic guitar for a child looking to develop their skills. The LX1 is extremely popular because of its incredible sound and feel, as well as its affordable price.

For adult players with smaller hands or children who are just learning how to play the instrument, the Martin LX1 Little Martin is a great acoustic guitar.

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3. Taylor Taylor Swift Signature

There is a good chance you recognize the name Taylor Swift. The ten-time Grammy-winning megastar not only put her name to an acoustic-electric guitar, but she also influenced its design. Taylor has used a Baby Taylor guitar for songwriting since she was 16 years old.

The smaller scale of the Taylor Swift Signature makes it an excellent option for travel and children.

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Cheap Acoustic Guitars

1. Ibanez AW54OPN

The Artwood Series by Ibanez was created to design guitars that are traditional yet modern. The affordable AW54OPN is a guitar that feels anything but cheap. It’s crafted with laminate mahogany that automatically puts it a level above most other entry-level guitars.

The AW54OPN creates a warm and woody tone as well as great projection, while maintaining clear and controlled sound. For under $200, you would be hard-pressed to find an acoustic guitar better than this one.

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2. Yamaha GL1

The Yamaha GL1 is a unique acoustic guitar in that it can actually be labeled as a guitalele: part guitar, part ukulele. And while its price certainly adds to the GL1’s appeal, there are many factors that make the GL1 one of the best cheap guitars available today. It’s the ultimate six-string instrument for budding guitarists who enjoy playing around on a ukulele.

The GL1 is designed to be tuned like a standard guitar. You can play your favorite song and it will sound the same as if you were playing it on a full-sized guitar, only a little higher.

The GL1 has a laminated spruce top and laminated meranti back and sides. This model features standard nylon strings that have been cut to length. For a small instrument, the GL1 projects well but does have a more tinny sound than a traditional acoustic.

Overall, the Yamaha GL1 is a fun, cheap option for acoustic enthusiasts who want to try something a little different without breaking the bank.

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3. Jasmine S35

When it comes to incredibly affordable acoustic guitars, the Jasmine S35 leads the pack. We even selected it as our top choice in the under $200 category. It’s no wonder, given the sleek playability and strong build combined with the aesthetically pleasing design.

Once you get your hands on the Jasmine S35, you may start to question why you ever spent more on an acoustic guitar.

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Under $2000

Martin D-15M

With a $2,000 budget, you have a wide selection of high-quality acoustic guitars to choose from. But it’s the Martin D-15M that stands out as the best acoustic guitar for under $2,000.

The D-15M provides the perfect balance of old and new with its vintage features and modern hardware. Not only is the D-15M a thing of beauty, but it’s one of the lightest wooden guitars available.

What truly sets the D-15M apart from other acoustic guitars in this price range is the use of solid mahogany for the top, back, neck, and sides. The mahogany top means the D-15M has unique tonal characteristics that you won’t find in most dreadnought acoustic guitars.

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Under $1000

Fender Newporter Classic

For those with a slightly smaller budget, looking to spend under $1,000 on acoustic guitar, we stand by the Fender Newporter Classic. Part of Fender’s California Series, this acoustic guitar sports the Fender-exclusive Newporter body shape with craftsmanship worth bragging about.

The distinctive acoustics in Fender’s California series were inspired by the iconic beaches of California, and the Newporter is named after the world-famous Newport Beach. You can select from Cosmic Turquoise or Hot Rod Red, both of which are guaranteed to grab your attention.

The Newporter delivers when it comes to style, quality, and playability, but only for those who are open to straying from traditional acoustics. Overall, the Fender Newporter Classic is worth every penny.

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Under $500

Yamaha L-Series LS6

Pricewise, the Yamaha L-Series LS6 barely made the cut, but it’s worth every bit of the $499.99 it will cost you. The L stands for “luxury” and just about every aspect of this guitar feels luxurious.

Yamaha’s “Acoustic Resonance Enhancement” (A.R.E.) treatment allows the LS6 to produce a decade of tone the first time you play it. The LS6 is capable of producing the best sound in the under $500 category and is a great option for beginners or expert players who don’t want to break the bank to pay for their instrument.

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Under $200

Ibanez IJV50

Our favorite acoustic guitar for under $200 is the Ibanez IJV50. It’s consistently named as one of the best guitars for small budgets because it looks and sounds anything but cheap.

Most acoustic guitars in this price range are constructed with lower-quality materials, but that isn’t the case with the IJV50. Its spruce top allows for the creation of tones that are bright and full. The entire design and construction of the IJV50 makes this model comfortable for beginners, yet durable enough for professionals.

If you are looking for a great acoustic guitar but don’t want to empty your wallet to pay for it, the Ibanez IJV50 is a great option.

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Types of Acoustic Guitars

12-String Guitars

Ever since 1964, when the Rooftop Singers released a song called “Walk Right In” that introduced millions of people to the 12-string guitar, the instrument has become a major part of the music industry we know and adore today. The 12-string guitar has been featured in well-known songs like “Free Fallin’” and “Hotel California.”A 12-string acoustic guitar typically features twin sets of strings that are paired close together on the neck, while tuned octaves apart. This allows the instrument to create a louder and fuller tone, as well as a sound that is much richer overall.

Traditionally, 12-string guitars are played in rock, folk, and other forms of popular music. Most notably, performers like Tom Petty, Melissa Etheridge, John Lennon, and Bob Dylan have used the 12-string guitar to produce some of the most remarkable music ever created.

Resonator Guitars

A resonator guitar is an acoustic guitar that uses the conduction of string vibrations through the bridge to one or more resonators, instead of the top of the guitar, to produce sound. Resonator guitars were first created to be louder than traditional acoustic guitars and became popular because of their distinctive tone among bluegrass and blues musicians.

There are two styles of resonator guitars: square-necked and round-necked. Square-necked resonator guitars are played in lap steel guitar style, while round-necked resonator guitars are played more conventionally.

The three resonator designs include:

  • The tricone with three metal cones
  • The single-cone “biscuit”
  • The single inverted cone (spider bridge)

Acoustic-Electric Guitars

Acoustic-electric guitars are acoustic guitars that have a magnetic pick, a piezoelectric pickup, or a microphone. They are also known as “plug-in acoustic guitars” because you can plug them into a soundboard to amplify the sound without using a microphone. Typically, acoustic-electric guitars are used when the musician wants the sound of an acoustic guitar but needs more volume, such as during a live performance.

Travel Guitars & Small Guitars

Travel guitars, also described as small guitars, are designed for guitarists seeking a more conveniently-sized instrument. Similar to the Parlor, another type of acoustic guitar, travel acoustics are incredibly popular among guitarists who want high quality in a smaller package. Most travel guitars have a full-size fretboard and an almost full-size scale length of around 23 inches. Despite their smaller size, some travel guitars cost more than a standard acoustic.

You can find travel guitars in all sorts of shapes, but what truly sets the majority of them apart is their materials. Travel acoustic guitars are usually made of laminated woods to keep them light while allowing them to resist temperature and humidity changes.

Parlor Guitars

The Parlor is a more petite type of acoustic guitar. Parlor guitars became popular in the late 1800s but lost much of their fanbase to other kinds of acoustic guitars after the 1950s. However, many musicians still prefer Parlor guitars, particularly those made by Washburn, Fender, and Ibanez. Parlor guitars are genuinely shorter overall, with an elongated body, but their standard nut width allows for any playing style. While a Parlor produces less bass, it emphasizes midrange tones and provides a light, well-balanced sound.

Vintage guitarists particularly enjoy the “boxy” sound produced by a Parlor guitar — the sound appeals most to folk, blues, and slide players. A Parlor guitar is an excellent option for a smaller player or a child, because of its size. However, some guitarists may be disappointed by a Parlor’s lack of dynamic range and volume.

Dreadnought Guitars

A type of acoustic guitar with a body style that features a significantly-sized soundboard is the Dreadnought. The Dreadnought is the most popular acoustic guitar body shape and is used for guitars of all prices. The Dreadnought was created by Martin in 1916 and was named after the British battleships. The distinctive feature of a Dreadnought guitar is the square bout. A Dreadnought also has a wide waist and 14-fret neck. Typically, a Dreadnought guitar will be 20 inches long and 16 inches wide, with a scale length of 25.4 inches.

Dreadnoughts are especially popular among bluegrass musicians because of their bold, powerful sound. The larger shape also produces a powerful low-end, fiery midrange, and sharp trebles.

Classical Guitars

The classical guitar features nylon strings instead of the more common steel strings. Guitar manufacturers around the globe make classical guitars, but brands like Yamaha, Cordoba, and Kremona have made them their specialties. But steel strings isn’t the only feature that makes a classical guitar unique. A classical guitar has a wider neck and fretboard, creating a larger playable surface area. This surface area is also flatter than the fretboard of an acoustic guitar with steel strings.

Classical guitars are also usually longer than their counterparts, with an average scale length of 26 inches. Nylon-stringed classical guitars are typically attached to the body at the 12th fret and have open-geared tuners and a slotted headstock.

Acoustic Guitar FAQ

How long it takes to learn how to play a guitar depends on one major factor: how much you practice. Exactly how long it will take you to learn to play also depends on what skill level you want to reach.

If you have no musical experience and set aside 20-30 minutes, 3-5 times a week to practice, you should be able to play a few easy songs within two months. Within 3-6 months, with regular practice, you will likely be able to play more difficult songs. After about two years of consistent practice, you will likely be able to play most songs.

  1. Identify the strings. Each string in a set of guitar strings is labeled by its gauge. Remember, the higher the number, the thicker the string. The string with the highest number will be the low E string, while the smallest number matches the high E string.
  2. Thread the strings. String the low E string first, then string the A string, then the D string, and so on. Once the strings are through the tuning peg, winding should be relatively easy. Your string winder should simplify this step.
  3. Stretch and tune your strings.

If you play the acoustic guitar for long enough, there will come a time when you will need to change your guitar strings. We broke down the process into six easy-to-follow steps. But first, before you get started, make sure you have the following essential items:

  • Strings
  • String Winder
  • Wire cutters

Once you have those three items, you should be ready.

  1. Loosen the strings. Make sure you loosen them until they no longer produce any sound.
  2. Cut the strings with your wire cutters. It is best to cut the loose strings around the sound hole.
  3. Remove the strings. You will likely have to remove the bridge pins first, but then you should be able to easily remove the ball-end of the string. Once it is removed, completely unwind the other half of the string that is attached to the headstock, but be careful because the strings are sharp. Once the strings are removed, follow the same steps as mentioned above for stringing a guitar.
  4. Identify the strings. Each string in a set of guitar strings is labeled by its gauge. Remember, the higher the number, the thicker the string. The string with the highest number will be the low E string, while the smallest number matches the high E string. 5. Thread the strings. String the low E string first, then string the A string, then the D string, and so on. Once the strings are through the tuning peg, winding should be relatively easy. Your string winder should simplify this step. 6. Stretch and tune your strings.
  1. To tune an acoustic guitar, you will need to know the notes for each string. You should first identify the notes, starting with the lowest, thickest string. This string, when the guitar is held correctly, should be the one closest to the ceiling. From low to high, the notes are as follows: E, A, D, g, b, e
  2. You will then need to identify the right tuning pegs for each string. You can find the tuning peg for each string by following the string up to the peg. You can pluck the string a few times and turn the peg clockwise to make it go up or counterclockwise to make it go down.
  3. If you are using an electric tuner, such as an app on your phone, make sure you hold it close enough to the guitar that it can accurately pick up the sound. Repeatedly pluck the string and turn the tuning peg until it matches the pitch.
  4. If you are tuning a guitar after putting on new strings, play and retune it for 15-20 minutes to accommodate any stretching that may occur.

To set up an acoustic guitar, you will pay close attention to the nut, bridge, and neck adjustments. First, take a close look down the edge of the fingerboard and note how straight it is.
Also check for any back-bow, forward bow (relief), humps, and high or uneven frets. Also check the nut to ensure the slots aren’t too deep. The bridge saddles should fit properly and work efficiently. Make sure the fingerboard and bridge match. You will then need to loosen the strings and truss rod to clean and lubricate the truss rod. Make sure you loosen the truss rod nut first to avoid shearing off the nut.

Then, use a small brush or compressed air to clean out the surface, then apply a small amount of lubricant to the threads on the inside of the truss rod nut, but be careful not to get any on the wood. Then reinstall the nut until it is snug.

Next, hold the guitar in the playing position and use an 18-inch straightedge to determine relief. If the neck is bowed forward, tighten the nut until the straightedge lays flat on the frets. If the neck is in a back bow, loosen the but until the straightedge lies flat on the frets.

There are plenty of incredibly easy songs beginner guitar players can practice playing, including:

  • “Love Me Do” by The Beatles
  • “Proud Mary” by CCR
  • “Wonderful World” by Sam Cook
  • “Fire” by Bruce Springsteen
  • “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette
  • “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum
  • “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley
  • “Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars
  • “Otherside” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • “Good Year For The Rose” by Elvis Costello
  • “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
  • “Zombie” by The Cranberries

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