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.

The Top TenXW

1Martin & 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?

I don't have a Martin. I was with my mate for a little jam session and he let me play his Martin, I thought he was crazy, trusting me with an artwork like this. And then I played it, I fell in love. The sound was absolutely incredible, the feel of it in my hands was just impossible to explain and it was so aesthetically pleasing. I envy the day I have a Martin in my apparel...

V54 Comments
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.

I just got a hummingbird and it's by far the nicest guitar I have ever owned. And I've had so many fenders martins, and Taylor's. Taylor were decent also but Gibson. Both electric and acoustic have that rich warm sound and feel. Bottom line, gibbons are the best.

Best guitars I have ever played and I have played hundreds of guitars. I like other acoustic guitars but love gibsons.

V21 Comments
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.

Taylor beer & good woman, that's it

V30 Comments
4Washburn

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.

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.

V11 Comments
5Ovation

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.

Great sound, superb action.

V16 Comments
6Epiphone

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.

Great guitar in my opinion it's just as good as the gibson j 200

V10 Comments
7Fender

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...

According to my Experience, Fender should be at top most position. Its just awesome!

V11 Comments
8Yamaha

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

Yamaha is very reliable because it has a consistent good record of products unlike other brands.

V18 Comments
9Gretsch

Gretsch really should be higher on the list.

10Seagull

Though I'm a Martin fan and definitely don't feel that anything else truly rivals my Martins, I do love my Seagull. It has a much deeper, warmer, fuller sound than any other guitar I've played in its price range. (Helps that mine is a cedar-top; the wood type makes all the difference in tone.)

It's the best backup guitar I've used when not playing a Martin -- and I don't even have a high-end Seagull, just a basic, cheap model. It also plays so nice that you just don't want to put it down once you get your hands on it. I can't say enough great things about it.

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

My dad has a Martin and I have a Seagull, and I play them interchangeably. Although, I prefer mine because it's just easier to handle and it isn't as expensive so I feel okay bringing around and I just really love that guitar. Love that Martin too, but I've gotta give Seagull my vote!

V16 Comments

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

I have a fender a yamaha and an ibanez, I notice that ibanez is the best

V8 Comments
12Takamine

I have a beautiful 2003 Ltd and my friend who has played for many years has the Taylor and he ended up borrowing my tak for five months he didn't want to give it back you know the guy has played with some well known folk's so I trust his judgment played with Keith Green and America and I have played over thirty years so I haven't let to many go by without some trial and ownership this tak is as good or better than the best Martin can offer. Ovation can't touch it and of course Gibson is too soft for me I own a fender and a Yamaha 6 and 12 for the money you can't beat a yam and I have played hummingbird to dove guild gretch Washburn breedlove which is a favorite not many I haven't played so with all this my top ten is Takemine Martin Gibson Breedlove Hagstrom Taylor Guild Gretch Washburn and Yamaha. If you can find a Hag it will blow your bag I have a 1971 Hagstrom acoustic I believe it was a demo for Golden Earing it was a gift from an old friend from Deutschland any way I will say this much Taylor guitars are way way over rated in my opinion I will never purchase one but would except a gift and only maybe I would play it alone that would be as far as it is I truly don't appreciate this tin sounding treble tone guitar a good Yamaha is really not much different sounding or to play. Sorry Taylor guitar lover's I have tried there best and there is nothing new feeling or sounding for me oh I forgot about Ovation I would put Ovation before Taylor on my list. Play a 1980s ovation and you will see why I put that brand ahead of Taylor the models then had such a great resonance and very unique Taylor has added nothing new to the brands of old just better marketing I would rather play a Cort acoustic guitar.

My tak is an amazing sound an unforgiving strong clear medium to deep sound great feel it's a limited edition and kicks my buddies 3800 buck Taylor's ass my guitar was a bit pricey at 2800 but well worth it my 6000 price Martin is not as nice as my takemine maybe I got lucky and the guitar just turned out that way who knows it is the most amazing clean very vibrant and holds the notes so long I have played them all only one guitar has this sound and its this one only for deeper sounds I have my Martin and ovation has unique sounds and the Gibson is softer and Taylor sucks sounds like a osterizer blender if you tried my guitar you would be shocked by its sounds I have played the same model and the other ones sounded the same as each other I don't know why the one I own sounded so much different I guess I lucked out. I also have an old Hagstrom acoustic and it sounds phenomenal better than any Taylor I have ever played it sounds very much like a high end Gibson but not as soft. try a breedlove it's a great sounnding guitar as well.

Takamine makes you go rocking' even with acoustic! Well, to my opinion...

Takamine are the very Best... Love them.

V24 Comments
13Maton

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.

Simply a brilliantly made guitar with one of the best pickups made!

V12 Comments
14Breedlove

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

American built Oregon Concert is as great sounding as it is looking,

Breedlove guitars are the best taylor are overrated

V6 Comments
15Guild

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

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.

Love my Alvarez, all 7 of them...

V10 Comments
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.

Best bang for the buck

V8 Comments
18Godin
19Lakewood

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!

20Tanglewood

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.

Bought one tanglewood and sounds amazing... Stairway to heaven

V5 Comments
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List StatsUpdated 1 Sep 2015

1,000 votes
79 listings
7 years, 205 days old

Top Remixes (4)

1. Martin & Co.
2. Ovation
3. Gibson
brandon_musicismyeverything
1. Gibson
2. Martin & Co.
3. Washburn
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1. Martin & Co.
2. Taylor
3. Takamine
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