Best Acoustic Guitar Brands

Notice the inconspicuous absence of the suffix "ists" from guitar. This list is devoted to your favorite guitar brand.

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.

Martin is aciustic gold. Platinum even. Since the American guitar was invented they have been the staple of acoustic guitars. A dreadnought from the golden era has every guitarist falling in love. But even today the Martin quality is top shelf world class. All of their American made guitars are not only beautiful but have that Martin tone. They may not produce solidbody electrics or even use tonewoods like maple or very exotic woods, but they have and always will use woods like rosewood, mahogany, spruce, and ebony to the greatest of results. No one does it like Martin does it. Even to this day.

I've been playing for about 4 years and my first guitar was a Martin DX1 acoustic. My favorite past time is going to guitar center and playing acoustics. Martin to my ears has the best tone and projection of any guitar out there. So for sound Martin is number 1. However I will say that Taylor has a better selection of finishes and a more treble sound. Lastly, Takamine has the best finishes and what I thing the most playable neck radius for acoustics and the best electronics for Acoustic Electric. I'll be getting both a Martin and Takamine for my next purchases.

I own all three of the top brands listed here. I repair guitars for a living. My nice acoustics are: Martin DM3MD Dave Matthews, Martin 000-28EC Eric Clapton, Gibson Hummingbird Pro, and a Taylor 414ce. Working in a music store I have access to many others. Out of these brands the Martins sound the best. The Gibson comes close, but is harder to play, not due to setup but to the dimensions of the body, neck and nut width. I love my Taylor though. I bought it in 2001 brand new. I made a nut from unbleached bone and refretted it with some larger frets. The back and sides have a nice natural quilt. Overall though, you can't beat the sound of an upper line Martin. The Eric Clapton has a very unique tone, and the Dave Matthews is really big sounding, especially after I made an unbleached bone saddle for it.

2 Gibson

Love the look and feel of the Hummingbird. Very balanced sound and easy to chord. The LR Baggs electronics are exceptional. My son loves this guitar and it's the one guitar he chooses when he visits and sits down to play.

Along with Martin, Gibson has done what every guitar company would want and that's to establish themselves as iconic brands in their profession. Since I was a little kid the guitars I dreamed of were Martin and Gibson. American made guitars have always been the industry's standard and Gibson is the standard premium of American made guitars therefore the world's standard in guitar making. Many companies do electrics or acoustics very well, but Gibson is unique in the fact they produce world class acoustics along with their famous electrics. Countless guitarists have resourced to Gibson acoustics for some of the best music ever recorded. Whether it be the renowned J-45 or amazingly toneful SJ-200 to the small body L models.. to this day Gibson stands in a small group of truly great companies making acoustic guitars.

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.

3 Taylor

Crisp, Clear tone with beautiful balance. I've owned quite a few but now have only two, an 814ce and an NS32ce. They're amazing. I wouldn't knock the Gibson or Martin lines because they both have beefy sound, but I just don't think they play as clearly. Also have my second Andrew White Guitar which is a phenomenal line for the price point. Great player and travel guitars.

I grew up in in a family of musicians. Everyone in my family can play 2-3 or more instruments. My uncle actually works for Gibson making the bodies for the higher end Les Paul. Everyone I knew played a Martin and most played them really well. It wasn't until I was 14 that My uncle decided he would buy a Taylor. It produced a sound like I had never heard from any guitar ever. The Martins were beautiful sounding instruments but there was something different about the Taylor and I loved it. I now own several guitars, Martin, Taylor, Gibson. But my favorite to play is a Taylor. I would Recommend a Taylor over Martin any time unless you can get your hands on a Martin from back in the 60s

Taylor GS mini - My guitar teacher suggested me to bought it. At first I hesitated since it was quite expensive compared to other brands of 3/4 sized guitar. However, immediately after I tried it, I decided to take it. Using the guitar, my skill has been greatly improved. It has deep bass and very sweet sound especially on picking. Most importantly, it did not hurt my fingers much! When we first learned to play guitar, people usually start with a low-priced one. I myself also followed that rule. I felt like a great guitar deserved hands with good skill to play it. However, Taylor made me change my philosophy. Instead, a beginner should start with a great guitar. With the beautiful sound, you will feel encouraged to practice more and more. Eventually, your skill will deserve the guitar!

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!

4 Washburn

My first Guitar was a Washburn Acoustic Electric KOA comfort series. It's a Beautiful guitar and I love the sound. I use a medium weight string and they produce a warm Deep Bass and ringing Trebles. Excellent sustain, the notes ring out. I also own a Gibson Hummingbird Custom It's a great instrument but when I play I pickup the Washburn 80% of the time.

I can't have them above Guild. Their usa made stuff and vintage acoustics are gems no doubt, but they set 7 or 8th for me. I just wish they still made American made acoustics. Like guild they are a hallmark name in the acoustic guitar world. Unlike guild they aren't being made in america. Guild and their supporters really lucked out with the Cordoba purchase. They're bringing Guild back where they belong. On top. Now if someone would do the same for Washburn. I really thought the usa made stuff would get back to greatness with that solo deluxe warren haynes model, but they stopped American made guitars all together which is a shame.

I own two Washburn's and a Takamine. The Washburn is a 12 string and a Jumbo. The Takamine cedar top. For the price I can not see buying a Martin. Washburn guitars, for the money, are number 1 to me. The Takamine has the best bottom end than any Martin or Tarylor I played which are a brighter sound to my ear. Buying a guitar is such a personal thing to me that you really need to play it to hear how you like it.

I have two Washburns the twelve string has playability I'd expect from a six string - overall this, much older than Gibson - guitar brand is let down by only one thing - the price of the lower end of the range which makes folk think they are not as good, if not better than Gibson and Martin - they are better than Taylor.

5 Epiphone

#5? Are you joking? I have a PR-200 that I've owned for 15 years. I hate it. The action is ridiculous unless your fingertips are made out of adamantium or whatever the heck Wolverine is made from. The sound is muddled and a clash of midrange. Sustain is nonexistent. The frets have flattened on the high strings. News flash- I'm not spending $350 to re-fret a $279 guitar. Epiphone may make some good high end guitars but I don't trust them. If you make crappy low end guitars why should I trust your brand? You were supposed to get me to fall in love with the brand but you've made me hate it. My next guitar will be a Yamaha, Martin or Taylor.

Ok I read "are you joking". I am a guitar snob having guitars well over worth over $50k and several from late 40's to early 70's Electric an acoustic. I must admit my favorite Acoustic was my 1958 J45 (Stolen) Before all of you get too personal. I have played and checked out damn near this whole list of guitars. Martin wouldn't touch unless I shell $2k plus. Matons are dreams, Guild and Gretsch put out some really nice affordable guitars as well as not mentioned here Blueridge which is very surprising to me. HEre is what you need to do with any other the affordables. Take it to a tech bottom line! Bone saddles and nuts a must set your trusses to your playing style. Get the right damn strings, it will make a huge difference set that action up for me I'm about a nickles width off the fret. Stop making BS claims on any guitar and don't show Bias. Any of these guitars I could take any one of these and make them play like one of my $6k customs I owned provided we are talking solid tops ...more

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.

Too high. Before the Gibson purchase epiphone was top shelf. Their vintage acoustics still are worth seeking out for any player or collection and while the new stuff is some of the best 'budget' options available they aren't Gibson or even vintage epiphone for that matter.

6 Fender

Recently had an Epiphone acoustic...irritating twangy sound and always falling out of tune. The body of the guitar is so large it's uncomfortable, even holding down the strings felt as though I would be drawing blood any minute. I hated to practice because of the sound & pain, traded it for the warm sound of the fender. Not only am I playing better, but holding down the strings doesn't hurt nearly as much (a little expected) and I can't wait to hear it. Now I understand how the phrase "it's music to my ears" came about. I'm in love with my Fender.

Crystal

Honestly, a couple of years back I never looked at Fender for acoustic guitars because everyone was always talking about Taylors, Gibsons, Martins, Takamines, Paul Reed Smiths etc. Despite being a very good electric guitar company not to mention the inventor of the no. 1 guitar in the world, the strat, everyone always looked Fender, alongside with Ibanez and Washburn (good electric guitar brands) as bad acoustic manufacturers. I was one of them too. For me, Washburn and Ibanez might be a good budget acoustic guitar manufacturer but they don't deserve to be high in this 'top acoustic guitar brands' list. But for Fender, these past few months my mindset about them changed. I never realized how authentic and good sounding fender acoustics were way back then but I'm happy now that I changed my mind about them. I love them now. It's not about having vintage acoustics, or having high end prices. Fender don't set their prices as high as taylor, martin or gibson but they must not be judged ...more

Absolutely not. Way too high. Fender make great electric guitars particularly the Strat., but have no desirable vintage acoustics worth anything nor are they making first class American made acoustics today that come even close to the sound or quality of say their American strats. No acoustic history or brilliance from Fender and don't deserve this spot on an acoustic list.

Fender is such one of the best not just in electric guitars, but also with acoustics. I have had such a great acoustic Fender Guitar. No regrets about it. Definitely, of high quality.

7 Seagull

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 did a lot of research when purchasing my next acoustic guitar.

I'm fortunate enough to have the ability to afford any guitar, but I don't like paying for overpriced stuff b/c of the market leading legacy name (M *cough* T *cough G).

I went to several stores to try all makes and models--spent 3-4 hrs. on each visit. The ones that stood out to me most as a line were Seagull and Breedlove.

I ended up with the Studio Artist all-wood guitar. Plays/sounds like an overpriced $4k+ guitar from the market leaders. Wide nut for ease of playability. Top notch construction too (better than the $2.5k+ Gibsons I played). This is my type of guitar that's fairly priced with no need to ever second-guess your purchase.

There's other great brand that punch above their weight like Breedlove, Larrivee, Blueridge, Yamaha, Epiphone Masterbuilt or even Tone King (if you can find a pristine one). Tons of up and comers as more people realize that the guitar world is made up of more ...more

Best bang for the buck period. I own a Artist Mosaic. I tried everything under $3000. At $1000 it was at the top the pile. It didn't have the biggest boom but had the sweetest sound. All the top brands have great guitars. You need to find what works for you. Larrivee, Martin, Taylor all had winners. Yet for looks, tone and feel, matched with price, nothing came close. ( I originally wanted one of the 3 others I mentioned, Seagull wasn't on my radar )

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

8 Yamaha

I've been playing guitar for several years now so I have played a wide variety of instruments. Of course bigger companies such as Martin or Taylor are going to be higher up in the ratings because they produce very expensive guitars and their name has been widely spread. My first ever Yamaha six string, which after three years is still my favorite guitar, is amazing. Its deep and rich tones makes it a blast to play. I can find myself playing any genre for hours because of how reliable and durable it is. They are very well priced for there quality and I would label Yamaha as being the working mans guitar.

My father's Yamaha was bought in the 90's, and was the first guitar steel-string I ever played as a kid. (If you were curious its equivalent to today's model would be the LS6 ARE). To this day I still find myself going back to it. It's little quirks makes it really special, even though I have martins and taylors and even gibsons. There's little nicks and chips in the paint in some places, which really shows it's history. It's also stood the test of time. It still plays great after almost 30 years of being lugged around from place to place, dropped, hit against walls, etc. It's just simply great.

Yamaha guitars are very reliable instruments, my grandfather bought the guitar that I currently own, and it's gone through 60 years of being played, and there are only a few dents in it, and they don't even affect the sound. If you want a guitar that has an amazing sound, pretty good price, and will last a very long time, buy a Yamaha.

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.

9 Gretsch

The Gretsch "Jim Dandy" is a little known secret and it is one of those guitars you can't put down. Out of the box it was in tune and setup was right on. No sore fingers and you can play it for hours. Chet Atkins played the Gretsch and produced some great songs not a Jim Dandy but still Gretsch. Mike from Ga.

You can't drink them in the desert or invite them to dinner in front of distinguished guest such as the prime minister or marie antoinnennette who happens to be my sister by the way however as a violin for the bath well I ask you is this ninety six thousand dollar machine better than my fifty six dollar Stradivarius I stole from school with it.

Should be higher than ibanez and washburn lol so much hate. Ibanez and washburn may produce nice budget acoustics but they don't deserve high spots on this list. Gretsch and fender acoustics are always underrated.

Gretsch really should be higher on the list.

10 Ovation

Plug one in, and you'll understand what an acoustic instrument is supposed to sound like while playing live. Unplugged they sound great as well, especially the deep bowl models. I hear from my friends that they think those rounded backs feel awkward to play while sitting down. I have a deep contour bowl, that is way more comfy playing relaxed in my couch than even my little 000-martin.

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 make interesting and unique acoustics. They have a particular sound that works for many, pros included. But 7 is a bit high of a rank. Their new American stuff carry that solid tone, but at 3 to 4,000 are over priced. The cheaper ovations just don't play well or sound like the American versions.

Bought my full bowl Legend back in 1994 and it still sounds sensational. Best guitar I have ever bought. Love the richness and trueness of the sound. Stands head and shoulders above other brands when jamming/playing with other guitarists.

The Contenders

11 Ibanez

It's all personal preference... some folks just like expensive name brands and they pay for it... Love my Ibanez... sounds and feel great... And money left over for beer!

I have used IBANEZ for about 3 years now and the sound is quite comparable to the guitars of some great brands.Plus the price offered is also fantastic.

This excellent guitar should be higher on the list. Apparently Ibanez fans aren't voting

I have a Fender T-Bucket, a Yamaha acoustic and an Ibanez.. I always end up playing the Ibanez.

12 Takamine

I have owned my Takamine for several years and love its mellow sound when finger picking and strumming. I also own a Yamaha but it seems too pitchy or bright sounding. I prefer my Takamine.

Some of the most well-rounded acoustics on the market. They may not boast the character of some of the big names like the Martins and Gibsons but they fit in most musical situations just as well. Remember that Takamine achieved its success by copying Martin guitars - and they did a good job. Also they have some of clearest and cleanest electronic preamp systems on the planet. In fact, they essentially pioneered the style of electronics that we see in most guitars today. While you can spend an arm and a leg on one, you don't have to. I've had Takamines under $1,200 that played phenomenally. Don't make your purchase until you've tried one out.

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 ...more

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 ...more

13 Breedlove

This will be the next GREAT American guitar company.

Their entire line is impressive in Tone and Playability. In their price categories, their models compete with any make.

I'm astonished that when I pick a Breedlove at a store, waiting to hear a dud, it never happens. Always, always, always impresses!

If you look at their website, they explain their philosophy and research of pushing the envelope forward. Then you understand why their elbowing their way into the elite ranks and why their guitars stand out so well in a sea of guitars at a store.

If they keep this up, 25 years from now of market growth, and they'll be regarded like Taylor and Martin.

You can tell these lists only consist of people who don't dig deep on info of great guitars. Breedlove's USA lines are top shelf. They quality and tone is outstanding and they are a top 5 or 6 company. I have an Oregon Parlor that is quite possibly the best sounding Parlor size guitar I've ever played or heard. And that's a plain Jane American made acoustic. They offer higher end American made stuff. I've played their other body styles and they aren't copying anyone's sound or style. They sound like Breedlove and that's something special. Much like Taylor's have their own sound so do Breedlove.

My Oregon Dread is an absolutely Beautiful instrument. The overall quality of craftsmanship and attention to detain are a good a it gets at any price level. The Sitka Spruce top and the Myrtle wood body are just natural perfection, period.
The Mid-Range and Treble are my favorite in terms of its astonishing tonal quality. The bass is just right for my ear, because I have never cared for the big, big boom of overwhelming bass.The balance and sound compete with anything else available anywhere. Breedlove may not be as well known as Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Fender, but these instruments truly rival any of these other fine acoustic guitars.
When looking, try Breedlove. I bet this is what you end up purchashing!

I've owned and played Martin, Ovations, Fender, and Gretsch acoustics but none has thrilled me more than the Breedlove Concert Pursuit with cedar top. The tone is definitely different - so balanced and the midrange really shines. Absolute joy to play despite this is not their top line. Not so much a strumming guitar - shines when finger picked. Last but not least, the tone when plugged in is so deep and warm it astounded me. Far better than the others I've had.

14 Andrew White Guitars

Found these guitars when I was looking around for a Taylor 514ce and decided to give it a shot. I have a Spalted Maple Freja that has a mellow tone with great projection and a Dao wood Eos that packs quite a punch for a smaller body and couldn't sound more enchanting when its plugged in. It's my favorite guitar to record with, besting my two Taylors.

I own an EOS 2S0 it is by far the most beautiful sounding and looking guitar I have ever seen or owned, I have owned a lot of different guitars over the years, Gibsons, Martins, Washburns Etc and none of them had the clarity and voice that mine has, every detail on it is amazing, the body shape is unique, the response is angelic and I have a very hard time putting it down, when I look and see it on the stand, it calls to me until I pick it up, I will never buy another brand of acoustic ever, hoping to get a Freja next, I have never been happier with any guitar, the gigbag is also ergonomically sound and is made very well, if ever you have a chance to try one of these guitars, I am confident enough in saying, that you won't regret it, I know I certainly have not. Cheers!

I have the Andrew White Freja all Jatoba model. I love the sustain, the midrange tone, and the tuners are extraordinary. The wood is also beautiful to look at. In addition, it is slightly thinner than a dreadnought, making it more comfortable to play.

Clarity and balance across the tones. Great sounding guitars and set up just right for smooth and easy playing. Looks cool too. I play an EOS model

15 Maton

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.

The best acoustic guitarist in the world Tommy Emmanuel has his own Maton signature guitars! Maton, they build only boutique instruments; the top of the line!

Have an EA30C - seriously versatile and lively - I think just about any style sounds great on Matons, unlike over-hyped brands like you know which. The action on this EA would be very hard to beat. beautiful workmanship

Maton make great instruments. These guitars are made using Australian timbers and provide a musician with a beautiful sound.

16 Guild

I've owned a Guild twelve string for 20 years. It feels the best, it's the easiest to play, and the sound is phenomenal. You can see the quality in every part of the guitar. I also own an Ovation, and the difference between an $800 Ovation and the $3000 Guild is so obvious. I must also qualify this opinion with the fact that this guitar was one of the last ones made at the Westerley factory, so I can't comment on the quality of the current Guilds being built, but I'd bet they're still really, really good.

Top 4 in my opinion. Countless guitarists have played them on some of the best albums ever written. I've owned numerous vintage guilds and still own a vintage f50 and d55. Recently Fender bought guild and I bought a new d55 which was a bit over rated and over priced in my opinion. But Fender has sold Guild and I sold my fender owned guild d55 only to buy a brand new by the new owners who moved Guild to a California facility and I must say it holds its own with the vintages I have. Guild is back! A great name in acoustic guitars. A great build (thank God once again), and the quality has always been with the best. Long live guild and it's a top 4 brand just behind Martin, Taylor and Gibson.

Have had 1979 Guild 12 string F212XL NT for over 30 years (found it in a pawn shop in Aberdeen, WA). Most beautiful sound I've ever heard... more like a piano. Amazing balance & sustain. Just bought a 1996 JF55 (one of the few ever made with a 1.75 nut, although specs say it should have been 1 11/16. It is a full 1.75 & I looked forever to find one). Not as bright as the mahogany F212XL but the JF55 (6 string jumbo) rosewood back & sides gives it a warm full sound. You can slam strum these guys and they just take it and give great full range tone back with zero spillover. Great play-ability & built to last, though a bit heavy. I'll pass these on to my guitar playing children. More power and clarity than any guitar at the same price range. Both are Westerly, RI, built guitars and they are stunning to look at. The sound fills the room.

I have an all mahogany guild-all solid top and body and it has sound all it,s own,a very full bodied sound and very warm with extremely easy fingering This all mahogany baby not only looks fine but the tone is really sweet!

17 Larrivee

I bought my first Larrivee (L Series) in the mid 1980s after recording with my Gibson. The Larrivee has sustain, a consistent sound and allows the bass strings to come through without infringing on the sound of the treble strings. I think Larrivees are still one of the top 2 guitar makers.
A few years ago I wanted a mini/parlor guitar. I tried a few, did not like what I heard in the Taylor line and I did not want another Larrivee. The irony of it is, I did buy a Taylor and now realize it was because it sounded like a Larrivee, bright and even. This is an anomaly Taylor, I know that now. I bought a Larrivee Parlor which is okay but I also have learned that I am not a parlor, mini fan. They, for the most part, do not deliver an even enough sound for me. I have played Lowden, Martin, Gibson, Guild, Olsen, Huss and Dalton. I recently played an Irvin guitar. Wow, what a beautiful line of guitars. I want one. It is my next guitar with its sustain, consistency, brilliance and ease of ...more

I own a Larrivee D-03R (along with 20 other guitars), and I think it is the best sounding commercially produced guitar I have ever heard. That includes Martins, Guilds, Taylors, and Blueridges. They have the most balanced sound of any guitar you'll ever play. And I don't mean for the money. I mean they are better period. And they don't make any laminate guitars, with just a solid top, like Martin, Taylor, etc. They are all solid wood, and have a superior bracing system.

The L series is completely distinctive. Picked or strummed, my 13 year old L03 beats anything else I've played in 35 years and better players than I have gone to Larrivee when introduced to it.I also have a Two year old L05e which is really starting to develop the sweetness of the other. I believe it will surely be a collectable marque in the future. Wonderful and completely credible instruments for life-long players.

I own a Larrivee L-03R Rosewood body acoustic. It has one of the most wholesome tones out of any guitars I have ever played. It has punch and a deep resonance that works a the nut all the way up the neck. Beautiful guitar and over-all tonal quality. Very good for recording, as well as live and miking purposes.

18 Alvarez

The mahogany-topped parlor model AP66ESHB sings and projects astonishingly well for a small body guitar. The Delta models from their Jazz and Blues line are wonderfully playable and are well suited to playing the music invoked by their their names. Nicely balanced tone across and along the neck on all of these guitars.

This company is simply unmatchable when it comes to the value you get for the price. Especially their bottom end models! I have an rd20sc that will blow most guitars from other brands costing twice as much out of the water. This brand should be at least in the top 5 of this list.

Alvarez Yairi's are some of the best acoustic guitars out there! For about one third the price of a Gibson or Martins! Paying for the name doesn't make it great! If you players haven't tried a Yairi-give it a shot-you'll be pleasantly surprised how great they sound!

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.

19 Godin

The most beautiful guitar I have ever seen Godin Seagull

Another under rated guitar line

Same as seagull top 5 at least!

I love my Godin..I have Taylors, Ovations,Martin but this is an awesome guitar..

20 D&D Custom Guitars

D&D guitars makes world class acoustic guitars at very affordable prizes. What makes it flaunt its wings is its remarkable ingenuity in creating guitars which is heavily toned yet slim-shelled.

My first 'serious' guitar bought two months ago is a Sunburst D&D Slim Standard Electro-Acoustic Guitar. It is much thinner and much lighter than the 'regular-sized' branded guitars of my pals in the choir but it sounds just as good.

I agree. At first you will doubt the sound quality of these acoustic guitars since they are slim - only to realize later that the tones are well balanced and very pleasing to the ears.

These are the best bang-for-the-buck acoustic guitars out there. Priced merely a little fraction of 'bigger' brands, these Philippine-made instruments are slowly gaining its well deserved popularity.

This should be among the top twenty if you base it on sound and workmanship quality against the price. Definitely one of the best.

21 Lakewood

Superb guitars. Lakewood have both standard and custom production of 12-fret cutaway guitars. Other producers do not offer standard production - except of Taylor, but Taylors at the same price level are made technologically cheaper, resp. at the same quality level are much more expensive. My impression is that Lakewoods have a little bit lively sound than Taylors. I am interested in well made, I. e. with high quality craftmanship, 12-fret cutaways and the brand is not so important for me.

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!

A very underrated acoustic guitar brand. I hope it will gain more fame through the years. Sungha Jung, the youtube fingerstyle guitar prodigy, has a lakewood signature guitar. Even his teacher when he was young has one. Lakewood is in a league of its own. Nothing can match a magic of a lakewood 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!

22 Maestro
23 Tanglewood

I don't think tanglewood should be below Yamaha, they sou amazing and the materials they use are very comfortable to the touch, I own a Yamaha but when I played a tanglewood I got mesmerized.

Best sounding guitar I have played! If you are going to buy a guitar, definitely recommend buying a tanglewood!

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.

24 Cort

The best value for the money. I have an AP55 V-B parlor and it is very well made. It has great balance and is light. The neck is comfortable, and stable. It has a rosewood fret board, spruce top, and the sides and back are mahogany. Beautiful finish and attention to detail. The hardware is excellent. This is a no frills acoustic guitar so don't expect fancy inlays, or a pick guard. The AP 55 V-B is comfortable to play and sounds great.

I own a Cort MR 710 and I love its bold yet balanced tone. I have tried a few different guitars but I find it to have the best sound you can buy for the money. They have some very nice looking models, too. Also I love the narrow necks on most of their models. Perfect.

I love my cort, given me a great sound for 9 years. Best value for money and a great acoustic sound

Cort's excellent beginner to intermediate guitars like cort AD810 & AD880 have proved to be as good as yamaha f310 and fender squire's SA-105 & FA-100.

25 Lowden

I have been playing electric, acoustic, and classic for 20 years. I have owned highed end taylors and played my fair share of martins. My current daily player is a lowden F 35... and it continually surprises me after years of working with it. It's an amazing instrument, and I whole-heartedly recommend these guitars. The guitar is constructed completely differently from mainstream acoustics: A-frame bracing, super strong 5 peice neck, split saddle and handmade attention.

If you ever have the good fortune to encounter one of these, for heaven's sake try it out. There's absolutely nothing out there that sounds as good as a lowden, at least not for under 10 grand. I've never played a Lowden that didn't haunt me afterwards.

There's something pure about these guitars. Several different tweaks of engineering and hand crafted through and through. Nothing compares.. and George lowden is getting better at his craft as time goes on.

Understated beauty, fantastic tone and playability, incredible craftsmenship. Handmade in Ireland. Wonderfully different from the mainstream US offerings

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