Best Acoustic Guitar

Christian.H.Mills

Notice the inconspicuous absence of the suffix "ists" from guitar. This list is devoted to your favorite guitar brand. Don't agree with the list? Vote for an existing item you think should be ranked higher or if you are a logged in, add a new item for others to vote on or create your own version of this list.

The Top Ten

1
Martin & Co.
Nothing compares to a Martin. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is impeccable, and the sound: the sound. The sound is like heaven. If you're used to an electric, a Taylor may feel more comfortable, but nothing compares to the timbre of a Martin acoustic. In the right hands, the bass and treble are perfectly actuated. None of that "tinny" Taylor quality which - while useful in certain applications and seems "easier to play" - cannot hold a candle to the the deep, rich, nuanced tone of a Martin acoustic. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Woody Guthrie, Eric Clapton... Need I say more? I own a D-35, and I wouldn't be caught dead without a Martin guitar in my arsenal. Complete, unequivocal perfection.
Acoustically I own a Martin for the living room. Best sound but I won't let it leave the house. (Taylor people are so defensive, but lets face it Martin owners never have to say "Oh it sounds just like/as good as a Taylor") I own an Ovation, the thing is bullet proof, a little thin on sound but can take it anywhere. If I plug it in, it has amazing electronics and sounds 10X better. I own an Ibenez exotic wood, pretty but a stiff box that just does not resonate, hate it.
Even Taylor players know that Martin is king. They just won't admit it. Who do you think invented the Dreadnought?
[Newest]Each Martin is a masterpiece
More comments about Martin & Co.

2Gibson
Every time I guitar shop I come back to Gibson. Pricey, but the look, feel and tone are to my tastes. A lot of classic songs have been recorded over the years on these guitars. Are they superior to Martins or Taylors? It's a matter of preference. I own a hummingbird custom and the aesthetics, tone and feel are unsurpassed, but it doesn't "cut" like a Martin. For chording though, it's a better balance. I also own a J-45 which is the ultimate acoustic blues guitar.
Just picked up a J-45 PureVoice.. the sound is sweet, the play is dynamic, and it is responsive to the max. It works with me, and I with it - one really feels the relationship is mutually needy, and if you like the mid-range feel of Jackson Browne or Cheryl Crowe, Gibson lays it out for you.

One day I want to own a Martin IN ADDITION to my Gibson.. but having tried both a lot.. the D-18, the D-28... I went with the J-45. The J-45 is special in that it has slim shoulders - you won't get an enormous boom out of it when un-amplified. But the sustain is super fine, and as accompaniment to the singer and as a tool for the songwriter, it is rock solid and it gives, gives, gives, then gives some more. Plus, it's sexy as hell - every boy might think he longs for a Martin, but every girl goes home with the guy with the Gibson.
It's all about the quality its total presentation case to life warranty, the brightness of the sound & tone its feels great in my hands.
I own a Songwriters it great.
[Newest]Best guitars I have ever played and I have played hundreds of guitars. I like other acoustic guitars but love gibsons.

3Taylor
Taylor, Martin, Gibson all great production brands... Which is better comes done to what you like sonically, visually and of course the feel in your hands. It is also difficult to compare one brand versus another unless you are comparing similar designs using the same tone woods and in the same price range. Anyone espousing one is better than the other without doing this is not being honest with themselves. I own a Martin and two Taylors, all are great and have different voices and feels... Even the 2 Taylors are very different in sound and looks. In the end I vote for Taylor because I like the neck carve and feel that the looks and build quality are a bit better in the $3K - $4 price range. If your looking for something in a lower $500 - $1, 000range you probably should be considering Yamaha or Takamine. Though in the end you get what you pay for.
I have been a musician for many years now. I have played in everything from metal bands to acoustic coffee house sets to worship/praise bands. I feel that with these many years of playing I have earned a sharp ear, no pun intended. By that I mean that I have developed an ear not only to hear pitches, tones, and notes, but I can also hear good and bad timbre. I feel that Taylor guitars simply produce the best timbre of any acoustic guitar I have played. Naturally, all of my acoustics are Taylor! With that, thanks to Bob Taylor for doing it best and doing it right the first time!
Taylor and Martin are the best. I like Taylors cause of their higher sound. A Martin has a deeper, more mellow tone.
[Newest]Bang for the buck but I am let down by the prices and in most case none have the attention and care that fits the price. I like taylor but come on why not a one piece neck
More comments about Taylor

4Ovation
Bought an ovation a couple of years ago and it hasn't failed me yet. Mine's a fairly lower in the range Ovation Celebrity, but it's excellent. One of the most comfortable feeling guitars I've ever held, good projection, nice tone, even been known to out do a Gibson further down the neck. Plus bonus feature is that it does sound so much clearer and warmer out of the amp
Ovation Guitars have the very best tone of all of my guitars. I love the distinquished look too.
Gave my new hubby a legend back in 1980.. A deep bowl.. awesome guitar in every aspect. Bought myself a mid 1990's custom legend around 2001... a cutaway shallow body. My favorite is still the one I gave him.. you can't beat that depth.. but they are both amazing. They are fine, handmade works of art that sound as beautiful as they look. I've had other brands but Ovation is my #1.
[Newest]Great sound, superb action.

5Takamine
Takamine makes you go rocking' even with acoustic! Well, to my opinion...
Really need to bump Takamine over Ovation. Takamine has a better selection of finishes and are far more playable than Ovation. The Oval shape slide off my leg. At the lower price point Ovation has a fuller sound but takamine is far more comfortable. Most Takamine are a/e so if you're not plugging in then maybe the ovation will sound better. But if you are a beginner barre chords are most comfortable on Takamine.
Definitely Great Guitars. You would have to spend double the money with the other high end guitar makers to get an equal quality instrument. Outstanding build quality in the Japanese made ones for their price point.
[Newest]Takamine are the very Best... Love them.

6Yamaha
I bought an LL11 about 15 years ago and never wanted anything else since. It matches up to up to a Martin/Gibson costing up to three times the price.
I have played several acoustics and owned several... The best sounding acoustic I have ever played... Ever... Is my Yamaha. $300-$400 or something... Don't remember. My dad bought it for me in the mid 90s. It's had the frets redone several times due to playing the crap out of it haha. Best tone for rock, blues, country, whatever... It sounds puly amazing.
They have great guitars at several price points. Their lower end guitars are the best quality you can get at those price points
[Newest]Played one at the local music store. Great

7Washburn
I was handed down my fathers Washburn, the only time I remember being allowed to touch it was when he bought it and put it across our laps when I was 5, this was about 30 years ago and even then we were only to protect it. I now play it and it is beautiful and has such a rich tone. I love it.
Just got a new washburn a few days ago and it sounds just as good as most of the martins and other top brands that I tried I don't know why it has such low ratings
I bought washburn, DE10 series ($750) 18 yrs ago. I am still in love with that guitar. I have seen Martin, Takamine that sound dreadful. I don't know why washburn guitars get low ratings. May be I got lucky.
[Newest]I own a 12 string washburn, and it is the best sounding guitar I ever played or heard. I hear many compliments on how good it sounds.

8Epiphone
Unbelievable quality and sound
I like epiphone guitar..
I also have the EJ200CE and out side of the quality and sound that Gibson and Epiphone area known for, it really is a great looking guitar. I do get quite a few compliments on it (on the guitar, not my playing). I play Bass as my main instrument, and use Rickenbacker and Gibson products but I also have a great Epiphone Viola bass that I record with. Epiphone makes a great guitar.
[Newest]Great guitar in my opinion it's just as good as the gibson j 200

9Seagull
I've really listened and played the Gibson, Martin, and Taylor and it really comes down to the top and what it's made of. My late father in law made acoustic guitars & patterned his after Martin. Other than playing the ones he made, SEAGULL is handmade & is a very rich sounding, underrated guitar from Quebec.
Went to guitar center and tried 30 guitars. The best was a Gibson hummingbird, and my next two favorites were both seagulls. You can't get a better value under $400. The cedar top on mine sounds fantastic and combined with the cherry sides and back and the mini jumbo shape it brings out the low notes very well while the others seemed to not show the highs. Great guitars
When I walk into Guitar Center I tend to pick up and try out all of the guitars, even the cheap ones. The Martin stands alone in rich full tones but a very close second place is always the Seagull. They just sound that good.

10Fender
Fender should be on the top 5
I have a fender cd100 it was my first guitar
Good price amazing sound what else do you need
I got this Fender Parlor Guitar from my wife, for my 60th birthday,
And it is an awful guitar for the money (Euro 160,00)!
Great for composers and songwriters.
Love it or leave it...
Fender guitars look the coolest with their tuners on one side. I know other brands do that as well but Fender sounds great AND looks good... So...
[Newest]Horrible. Look bad. Sound tinny get a Seagull Entourage

The Contenders

11Ibanez
Ibanez Artwood and Exotic Wood are amazing.
What? Ibanez acoustics? oh man...
There one of the better cheap brands.. But I wouldn't rank them in the top 10 unless you had a Yamaha review as well
I have an Ibanez acoustic and it is always my go to guitar
There one of the better cheap brands.. But I wouldn't rank them in the top 10 unless you had a Yamaha review as well
[Newest]I have a fender a yamaha and an ibanez, I notice that ibanez is the best

12Gretsch
Gretsch really should be higher on the list.

13Guild
I have a bluegrass jubilee D-40 and it's sounds great
Overall solid guitars with great tone!
Traditional series... Sound perfect, beautiful lutherie impecable projection, impressive

14Maton
I have many acoustic guitars in the collection including Gibson, Taylor, Fender and Washburn. That said none of these guitars come close to the richness in sound of a Maton. I'm assuming this is due to the quality of the Australian timbers and workmanship. Although a little expensive I highly recommend you at least play one in a shop as a treat and hope a dead relative leaves you some money to give you an opportunity of taking one home.
Good ol' Australian quality. Played by many, many famous musicians, including Tommy Emmanuel, John Butler, even Angus Young from AC/DC has one. The sounds and quality are second to none.
Maton make great instruments. These guitars are made using Australian timbers and provide a musician with a beautiful sound.
[Newest]Simply a brilliantly made guitar with one of the best pickups made!

15Breedlove
I've been playing a orchestral bodied breedlove for years, and not only does it have a rich sound, but the full body really resonates the lower frequencies very well
I've owned martin Taylor and Gibson guitars and my breedlove sounds just as good as any of them
Breedlove guitars are the best taylor are overrated

16Alvarez
Alvarez guitars are underrated. I'm an intermediate guitar player. When I play my 5056 in a group setting, Martin and Taylor players sit up and take notice. Some of them have told me my guitar is better than theirs.
Can't believe I had to add this. SO much guitar for the price.
Each brand of guitar has it's low, mid, and high-end models. I've played all brands and it usually comes down to an individual guitar... even within the same model. However, the best bang for the buck (especially for vintage Yairi's) seems to be Alvarez and Takamine.
[Newest]5046 best guitar ever

17Larrivee
I own Larrivee walnut and a Martin, both are great but Larrivee seems to have a better value. Exotic and unusual woods, beautiful craftsmanship, and balanced sound makes this the most underrated guitar on this list
Expertly made, beautifully balanced (affordable! ) guitars with perfect necks/fingerboards for finger style playing.
I feel that Larrivee makes some top quality guitar without laying out thousands. Their attention to detail and use of handpicked woods are really second to none. Mark my words, Larrivees will be a seriously collectible guitar in the future.
[Newest]Best bang for the buck

18Lakewood
I have a A54, 1997, and it's the only guitar which ever said to me "play me"!
Superb tone & finish and, due to Brazilian rosewood manufacture, will never depreciate!
I live in Scotland and have never seen another Lakewood here, seems to be Gibsons, Martins and Taylor's, two of which I also have and love, but the Lakewood is unique!
Simply the best. Unfortunately they have pulled out of Australia. I had a D14 and managed to get an M14 at a sell-out price. Still sad to see them pull out. The M32C is my dream guitar.
Unique from others! I admit it, that martins, gibsons, taylors, fenders, ibanezs, epipones etc. deserves to be in the top 10, but Lakewood guitars are just unique. Lakewood just makes guitars different from the U.S. and Japan-made guitars. I can't explain it to you how unique Lakewoods are.

Buy one. You won't regret it!

19Tanglewood
Best Sounding Acoustic, Just bought on today and the most beautiful sound I've heard
Tangle wood should have in top ten when it comes to acoustic.
Has the UK master piece. Got to have such guitar!

20Yamaki
Amazing, amazing acoustics. I am partial to it because the Japanese imported spruce from British Columbia for the top, and I live in Vancouver. Massive volume, great tone, and my favorite neck. I played one 17 years ago, and have never been able to forget it... So I hunted and found one this year from the early 70's. Absolutely love it
Terrific guitars. I would put them up against a Martin of which I own one. However, I play the Yamaki's almost exclusively (I have 4 of them) because of their wonderful deep sound and ease of play. One of the best bangs for the buck.
70'S vintage canon japan made yamaki guitars. One of the best sounding acoustic guitar. Spruce top madagascar rosewood back brazilian rosewood sides and rosewood fret boards with abalone inlays.
[Newest]EXCELLENT Guitars... I have a Yamaki 225 12 String circa 1970. Wonderful, Beautiful Tone and Sound Qualities, Solidly Built, Stay In Tune. I Am Now Looking For More Yamaki Guitars to acquire.

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This list was created 7 years, 110 days ago and has been voted on over 1,000 times. This top ten list has been remixed 4 times.

Updated Friday, May 29, 2015


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