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Are you looking to start playing country music but want an acoustic guitar that is going to get you there properly? Want to get a heads up on which acoustic guitars are the best for country music in the eyes of god and his country music aficionados? Which country music guitars are really for country music and which are just cosplaying charlatans?
All this and more today as we explore ten of the best country music guitars for you as well as what to look for in your own search for an acoustic guitar that is going to suit you best.
|Seagull 046386 S6 Original Acoustic Guitar, Right Handed
|Breedlove Discovery S Concerto Body European-African Mahogany 6-String Acoustic Guitar with Slim Neck and Pinless Bridge (Right-Handed, Natural Finish)
|OVATION CELEBRITY ELITE REV RED BURST GUITAR
|Alvarez AD30CE Artist Series Guitar
|Epiphone Hummingbird Studio Acoustic/Electric Guitar
|Yamaha FG830 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar, Tobacco Sunburst
|Epiphone J200 EC Studio (Vintage Sunburst)
|Martin D Jr-10E Streetmaster Sapele Satin w/Gig Bag
|Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar, Sunburst
|Takamine EF340S TT Thermal Top Acoustic-Electric Guitar with Hard Case
1. Seagull Guitars S6
Handcrafted in Canada and specially made to detail, the attention grafted into this instrument is easy for all to see. If you are looking among all of the country music guitars for one that will do justice to the best acoustic country songs, then you are likely not going to find a better choice on this side of the Canada-US border.
The specialty tonewoods from which this guitar is constructed are not only incredibly amazing in sound but they also give back to the world by being sustainably sourced from Canadian forests. Thus, this instrument offers not only a unique tone and playing style but also a unique stance on the nature of manufacturing in the world today.
In more specific terms, the Seagull S6 is built with a pressure-tested top made of cedar alongside a three-layer of wild cherry on the back and sides, making this instrument perfectly capable of withstanding life on the road.
If that wasn’t enough, the guitar also features a compound curved top for enhanced resonance and tuning stability. It’s hard to imagine there being another best acoustic guitar, but we are only just getting started.
Overall, this is a well-balanced and loud guitar with ample projection for just about any environment within which you would like to play. The construction here eliminates some of the boomy flab that can be characteristic of larger dreadnought guitars. If you are looking for a country music guitar to strike this balance, then perhaps you have met your match.
2. Breedlove ECO Discovery S Concerto
If your own experience with country acoustic guitars is one that prizes tradition over all else, then perhaps the Breedlove ECO Discovery S Concerto might be your type of thing to play country music upon. As evinced so clearly in the title, this is a concert guitar, a specific size and dimension of guitar that occupies an interesting space between dreadnought and other smaller varieties.
As with the Seagull guitar above, this guitar was made from sustainably sourced wood that also happens to be a classic choice of tonewood for the construction of acoustic guitars. The solid spruce on the top of the guitar is actually European spruce – no doubt one of the reasons for the European “concerto” in the title of the guitar.
This isn’t where the tour of the world ends on this guitar, however, for the back and sides of this versatile guitar are made from African mahogany that accompanies the solid spruce top. These touches on the tonewood offer a rich sound overall with an especially delicious detail in the mid-range. Don’t let this fool you, though, for the tone is incredibly versatile and capable all over the fretboard, not just in the low or high frequencies alone.
All this while attempting to offset our overall impact on the environment and you have to ask yourself why everyone isn’t rocking a Breedlove acoustic-electric guitar!
3. Ovation CS44P-ABLKW-G Celebrity Exotic Selection
Of course, you might just be the kind of person who likes the idea of owning some country guitars that go against the grain, in which case you might be impressed by this so-called “exotic” selection from Ovation.
Despite having been around for many years, Ovation is still unafraid to push boundaries and make instruments that are genuinely unlike others on the market today. This is no easy feat if you consider just how oversaturated just about every avenue has become as a result of the internet.
Thanks to the unique design and construction of this guitar, the projection and tone here are also unique and will easily help you to stand out among the leagues of other guitarists out there looking to do the same thing.
Featuring Ovation’s signature Lyrachord body, this particular model combines it with their very own blend of Australian blackwood on the top. For those who don’t know, the Lyrachord body is a healthy alternative to the wood backs that we are often likely to see adorning the rear of a guitar, offering newfound durability while also remaining relatively lightweight.
Anyone looking for a tone that is more forward and features good definition, especially in the mid-frequencies, then you can scarcely go wrong with a guitar like this. If this also happens to align with your desire for a guitar that stands out a little, then go right on ahead.
4. Alvarez AD30
Of course, guitars like the Ovation above aren’t for everybody. Some of us simply prefer something a bit more classic, and that’s okay! In fact, sometimes all we need is a guitar with no frills whatsoever, a simple and convenient dreadnought-style guitar to have around when inspiration takes hold.
Thankfully, the Alvarez AD30 can step forth and take up this mantel. Sure, it might feature a solid Sitka spruce top and might not sport a bizarre and physically nonsensical shape to stand out from the rest, but it can certainly get the job done without any qualms.
The solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides here work to help this dreadnought project itself perfectly, right from the very first chord to the last strum. The tone here is pretty damn good, especially considering the price and the volume is as you would expect from a dreadnought-style guitar – i.e. incredibly loud.
Known for delivering considerably great resonance, this combination of tonewoods in such a shape and size delivers without question this promise. Alongside the price, this makes for a very competitive instrument for the aspiring beginner guitarist who is looking for a quality instrument that isn’t going to break the bank.
Something that will certainly set this guitar apart from some of the rest is Alvarez’s signature brazing technology which features asymmetric tone bars that are specially designed to further enhance the projection and volume of an already loud style of guitar.
5. Gibson Acoustic Generation Collection G-Bird
Anyone in the know will already no doubt be aware of the considerable sound quality that a Gibson acoustic guitar has to offer the discerning player. Combining the best elements of past and present eras of Gibson acoustic guitar manufacture, this is a guitar for country music that seems almost purpose-built for the job.
There are so many guitars manufactured today by, say, Fender’s Custom Shop that, though aesthetically pleasing and impressive, seem to replicate the flaws of older instruments as well as their strengths. An instrument like this by Gibson attempts to take what made the old instruments so great and combine them with more modern appointments to create what many would see as a “perfect” instrument.
Again in the dreadnought style, this guitar features a comfortable square-shouldered design that is befitting of more people than the typical dreadnought shape (which can be exclusionary to those who are slightly smaller).
While this shape is nothing particularly groundbreaking, it is the Gibson Player Port that we must take note of if we are on the lookout for innovation. This is a soundhole on the upper side of the guitar that sends sound directly to the player’s ears, perfect for those who are likely to play their instrument in band settings where the projection of the instrument outward can result in difficulty hearing what one is playing.
Featuring a spruce top along with walnut back and sides, the sound quality of this instrument is exemplary and easily fills basically any room that you put it in. Gibson really did good on this instrument, providing the user with a wide dynamic range for just about any situation in which popular country music guitars might be of use.
6. Yamaha FG830 Dreadnought
Yamaha tends to get a pretty hard wrap as a guitar manufacturer because of the fact that they offload their work in China to keep costs down despite the fact that this is exactly what big brands like Fender and Gibson have been doing for decades.
This results in a thoroughly misunderstood manufacturer that offers considerably cheaper options while still bearing the signature quality that Yamaha is often known for despite their reputation.
Despite the low price here, the quality of the tonewoods is pretty incredible and the playability is something you would definitely find on far more expensive instruments. As already stated, Yamaha can afford to keep the prices down because they offload their labor to China and other far-Eastern countries, so this is something you will have to make peace with.
Featuring spruce on the top and rosewood on the back and sides, this is a classic combination of tonewoods in a classic shape that, overall, provides a classic dreadnought-style package for you to pluck away at.
As with the Alvarez, this Yamaha guitar has a special bracing system – in this instance, scalloped bracing – that helps the guitar to deliver a more powerful tone and projection than the competitive price might at first suggest.
7. Epiphone J-200 EC Studio
If you liked the look of the Gibson up above but can’t quite afford to fork out the high sum that it commands on the market, then perhaps you might like the look of the Epiphone in its place. One of the few offerings on this list in the fabled Jumbo shape, this guitar is, like the Gibson, an interesting and effective blend of classic look and feel with more comfortable modern elements.
More specifically, this guitar is a version of the Gibson J200, a guitar dubbed the “King of the Flat Tops” whose story began way back in 1937.
Mimicking the solid spruce top and maple back and sides of the earlier instrument, this guitar is ideal for country and was actually made specifically for this purpose back in the day. The penetrating and clear tone is perfectly suited for playing country music in a band with other traditional country instruments like washboard, pedal steel, drums, double bass, etc.
The tonal characteristics of this instrument make it perfect for sitting in the mix with other instruments, providing clear basses and crisp mids and highs that, though clear, never appear harsh and attempt to shine too brightly. These characteristics are also incredibly versatile, changing completely when using a pick. Then, you get a potent projection that still remains warm and comfortable alongside other instruments.
Overall, this is an incredibly playable instrument that puts other copies of the Jumbo style to shame, providing ample clarity and comfort in a mix without ever overstaying its welcome and shining too brightly.
8. Martin DJr-10E Acoustic Guitar
For such a world-renowned guitar manufacturer with such a staunch reputation throughout the universe, it is altogether surprising that Martin has not made an appearance thus far on this list. This is because Martin Guitars simply are not used as much for country music, despite the prevalence of acoustic guitars in country music. Martin Guitars are far more commonly found in folk music.
Nevertheless, this is an altogether more comfortable offering for any country musician looking for a guitar that can deliver on tone and volume without sacrificing comfort. This will be entirely necessary if you are an older musician on the road a lot, or otherwise, someone who experiences physiological issues which make playing guitar an already trying effort.
For this reason, the guitar is amply proportioned for those who are fond of the volume and tonal projection of a dreadnought-style guitar but would rather not have to deal with the incredible encumbrance of bulk that they typically occupy.
The solid-wood construction combined with quarter-inch scalloped bracing provide the guitar with a tonal character that is incredibly rich and full in sound and that, thus, can be adapted to just about any style of play and genre of music.
If the proportioning of this guitar to amplify louder at a smaller size wasn’t enough, then the contoured back edge of the guitar (pictured below) should be enough to seal the deal that this is an instrument worth every penny for those in search of a comfortable tone.
9. Fender FA-125CE Acoustic Guitar
Another of the top acoustic guitar brands that have thus far been neglected on this list is Fender. Though they are far better known for their electric guitars and amplifiers, Fender has also made something of a name for themselves in recent years as manufacturer of quality acoustic guitars.
Not only are they of quality, but Fender acoustic guitars are also well-known for being incredibly affordable too, offering those with less means an avenue into quality instruments that still bear a well-recognized and trusted big brand name.
Despite their lack of reputation in the world of country music, Fender acoustic guitars are actually amply suited to the task. As with many other guitars on this list, the top is made from solid spruce while the back and sides are constructed from basswood providing a great tonal center from which to explore outwards.
What really sets this instrument apart is the fact that it bears a cutaway on the underside of the fretboard, perfect for guitarists who are more inclined to explorations of the upper echelons of pitch on the guitar.
This has often been the bain of guitarists – especially those migrating to acoustic guitar from electric guitar who are much more used to the cutaways that are more readily prevalent on electric guitar models like, say, the Fender Jazzmaster (pictured below).
10. Takamine EF360S-TT
Finally, for those really looking to splash out on an instrument for their country music excursions, you can scarcely go wrong with this offering from Takamine which, though not the most traditional choice, is versatile enough to do whatever you want it to.
Featuring a solid thermal spruce top with rosewood back and sides and a mahogany neck, this guitar delivers a full sonic spectrum that can be used for just about any type of music including country and folk, etc.
The ebony fingerboard and gloss natural finish add some tasteful finishing touches to an already immaculately constructed instrument that will no doubt do your bidding no matter what the request. One of the big gripes for many will likely be the fact that this instrument looks a little too modern, though this won’t bother some others.
Choosing the Right Guitar for You (Things to Consider)
Before you jump right in and pick a guitar you don’t have all that much experience with, you should take a step back and think about what you want from a country music guitar.
Many would argue that, when it comes to choosing an acoustic guitar, the tonewood is the most important part. Since there is typically no electric element, the overall tonal quality of an instrument is going to depend entirely on the wood used to construct the various different parts of the guitar as well as the strings you use and the way that you pick.
As you will already have seen if you have read anything of this article so far, there are plenty of different types of wood from which guitars are constructed, all of which have their own bearing on the overall tonal qualities of an instrument.
Here are some of the more commonly used woods:
- Spruce – often used for guitar tops for being strong and versatile.
- Cedar – softer than spruce and called upon for a warmer and more intimate sound.
- Mahogany – dense with a warm and rich sound that sports a strong mid-range.
- Rosewood – features a rich and complex sound that is warm and full-bodied.
- Maple – more often used for the construction of necks and fretboards.
- Koa – unique to Hawaii, this wood is prized for its beautiful warm sound.
Though incredibly important, the choice of wood is not the only thing that matters in the overall quality of an acoustic guitar. Some might in fact argue that the way that an acoustic guitar is constructed is just as important as the materials with which it is put together.
This has everything to do with the design of a guitar, for the design will ultimately have a bearing on the way that it is constructed, just as the construction will be considered when it is being designed.
Equally, we must also consider that the choice of strings on a guitar is going to have a considerable impact on the overall tonal quality. This not only includes the gauge of the strings used but also the material from which they are constructed – some metals will, for example, be more resonant and brighter than others.
In today’s day and age, this is an ever more prevalent concern and question to ask oneself when buying an acoustic guitar. Will your needs and specifications for this guitar include using it in live performance where the sound is mic’d up and sent forth through a PA system? If you want the freedom of moving about with the guitar in such a situation, then you will likely want an electro-acoustic guitar.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, you are now feeling ready and able to invest in your own country music guitar having investigated precisely what you are looking for in your own country music instrument!
FAQs Country Music Guitars
This will very much depend on what kind of guitar playing you are looking to do. Just about every type of guitar you can imagine has been used in country music, including the electric guitar, the acoustic guitar, the pedal steel, and lap steel of virtuosos like Buddy Emmons, baritone guitars by the likes of Glen Campbell, Bass VI’s by others, and plenty more.
Before you proceed forth with this line of inquiry, you are best advised to isolate just what type of guitar you mean exactly. Just about every type of guitar you can imagine has been used in country music at some point or other – electric guitars, acoustic guitars, pedal steels, lap steels, baritone guitars, Bass VI’s, etc – so just asking which country guitar is best is a bit of an empty question.
Something that many country music aficionados might not like you to hear – and the aficionados of many other types of music for that matter – is that you can play any type of music with just about anything. In fact, the way that new and cutting-edge styles of music are born is by trying old things with new things, and vice versa. Of course, country music is born on that old-time feeling, so if you are genuinely stubborn toward the pace of progress, then you can always rely on an old brand like Gibson – especially the Gibson J-200 – to get you where you need to go.