My Top 10 Acoustic Guitars

Published Categorized as Guitar Reviews, Top 5's

Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

Top 10 Acoustic Guitars

These are what I consider to be the top 10 acoustic guitars out of all the guitars that I’ve played over the last couple of years.

I will update this list as I try more guitars, if I consider any of those to be better than any of the guitars on this list.

The guitars are chosen based on my enjoyment of playing them but I have also tried to include guitars with a variety of shapes/sizes and tonewoods and also over a variety of price ranges (though it should be noted that I don’t often play guitars that cost more than $3,000).

Ok, let’s get into the Top 10, in no particular order.

Table of Contents

Top Acoustic Guitar #10 – Taylor 114ce

  • Guitar: Taylor 114ce
  • Price: $1,058 USD MSRP
  • Size/Shape: Grand Auditorium
  • Top Wood: Sitka Spruce
  • Back/Sides Wood: Laminate Sapele (2017 and onwards models now have Walnut Back and Sides)

This is just an all round solid, dependable guitar. I thought about putting the 214ce in here instead. Bbut to be perfectly honest I preferred the tone of the 114ce. They both play exactly the same but the 114ce has a slightly warmer more mellow tone to it (to my ear).

it’s a subtle but noticeable difference between the two and some will prefer the more Rosewood-y sound of the 214ce but I (just) preferred the sound of the 114ce.

Whilst this guitar didn’t blow me away, it is the kind of guitar you can rely on to sound good and play well and not put too much of a dent in the bank account!

I liked having the cutaway but you can also get a version with a non-cutaway (which will save you $140).

You can also get a Nylon string version of this guitar if that’s more your thing (add $50).

Of course, like most guitars on this list, the actual price you pay will be less than the MSRP.

Read more over on my post: Taylor 114ce Review

Top Acoustic Guitar #9 – Martin DX1RAE

  • Guitar: Martin DX1RAE
  • Price: $929 USD MSRP
  • Size/Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top Wood: Sitka Spruce
  • Back/Sides Wood: Laminate Rosewood

My full review: Martin DX1RAE Review

As I’ve grown older, I’ve been less into Dreadnoughts. But sometimes I pick up a Dreadnought that renews my love for them. The DX1RAE is one of those.

The biggest surprises with this guitar for me were:

  1. How warm this guitar actually sounds, given the Spruce top and Rosewood (all-be-it laminate rosewood) back/sides
  2. How balanced the sound was, especially for a dreadnought
  3. The amount of man-made materials on this guitar (the fretboard is something called Richite, as is the bridge, the nut is Corian, the saddle is Tusq and the neck is Laminate Birch)

But the best thing about this guitar is the way it feels to play. I loved the feel of this guitar and didn’t want to put it down.

Top Acoustic Guitar #8 – Yamaha FG800

  • Guitar: Yamaha FG800
  • Price: MSRP USD $325
  • Size/Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top Wood: Sitka Spruce
  • Back/Sides Wood: Laminate Nato

My full thoughts: Yamaha FG800 Guitar Review

Everyone now and then, when I’m in a music store demoing guitars, I have to go and pick up an FG800 and play it for a few minutes.

Why?

Because I have to keep reminding myself that this guitar does actually sound as good as it does for this price!

This is something that in reality you can actually walk away with for $200 brand new. But it doesn’t sound like your typical $200 guitar when you play it.

And part of that reason is that most guitars that you buy at this price point don’t have a solid Sitka Spruce top on them – the other part is just good construction I guess.

Whatever it is, this is hands down the best guitar under $300 anyone produces (IMO).

Top Acoustic Guitar #7 – Martin OM18 Authentic 1933

  • Guitar: Martin OM18 Authentic 1933
  • Price: $6,599 US MSRP
  • Size/Shape: OM
  • Top Wood: Adirondack Spruce
  • Back/Sides Wood: Mahogany

Going from the cheapest to the most expensive on this list, the OM-18 Authentic 1933 somehow feels like a guitar is supposed to feel. There’s no way to describe that in words but it really does.

It almost doesn’t feel like a guitar that’s in this kind of price range at first. It feels like it’s old (I guess that’s what they’re going for with the 1933 thing!) but the more you play it, the more you realize that this is what a guitar should feel like – and this is what Mahogany/Spruce should sound like.

I left the guitar store frantically searching for ways in my head to come up with the money (and to justify spending it on one guitar) to obtain this beauty.

I haven’t yet but I’m working on it!

Top Acoustic Guitar #6 – Fender T Bucket 300ce

  • Guitar: Fender T Bucket 300ce
  • Price: $299 USD
  • Size/Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top Wood: Laminated Flame or Laminated Quilt Maple or Laminated Quilt Ash depending on the color
  • Back/Sides Wood: Laminate Mahogany

This is one guitar you probably aren’t going to see under it’s MSRP. But that doesn’t make it any less value for money as the MSRP is already incredible.

I was surprised as to how this sounded and played considering the price-tag.

Now, it didn’t blow me away or anything. You’re not going to give you your left leg to own this guitar. But considering that it also has electronics, and with a solid sound and easy playability – this is a great option for someone who wants to plug in and also has a low budget.

Check out my full review: Fender T Bucket 300ce Review

Top Acoustic Guitar #5 – Taylor GS Mini Mahogany

  • Guitar: Taylor GS Mini Mahogany
  • Price: $658
  • Size/Shape: GS Mini (scaled down version of Taylor’s Grand Symphony)
  • Top Wood: Tropical Mahogany
  • Back/Sides Wood: Layered Sapele

Now this is one that did blow me away! You can read my full thoughts: Taylor GS Mini Mahogany Review.

The sound that comes out of this thing is incredible. This is not a very big guitar by any means. But you wouldn’t know it if you just heard it and didn’t see it.

It also plays really nice. Sure, for those with bigger fingers, it won’t be easy doing some things in the upper frets but otherwise this is a smooth guitar to play.

I have the Mahogany version here but you can also get it with other tonewoods – I just have an affinity for Mahogany. Though it was a very tough choice not to put the Koa version in here, which I also had a chance to play – I actually think I might even like that slightly better. But it’s limited edition and not that easily available.

The other versions you can get are:

  • Sitka Spruce Top with Layered Sapele Back and Sides (GS Mini)
  • Sitka Spruce Top with Layered Rosewood Back and Sides (GS Mini-e RW)
  • Sitka Spruce Top with Walnut Back and Sides (GS Mini-e Walnut); and
  • Hawaiian Koa Top with Layered Koa Back and Sides (GS Mini-e Koa FLTD)

You can also get the GS Mini and Mini Mahogany with electronics (for an extra $130).

This is the best option for a small guitar going around, IMO.

Top Acoustic Guitar #4 – Ovation Celebrity Standard

  • Guitar: Ovation Celebrity Standard
  • Price: $369 USD MSRP
  • Size/Shape: Mid-Depth Cutaway
  • Top Wood: Spruce
  • Back/Sides Wood: Fibreglass (of sorts) back – it doesn’t really have sides as it’s rounded

See my full Ovation Celebrity Guitar Review.

Again, this is one that didn’t blow me away in terms of it’s character and tone. But what did impress me about it was how compact, even and balanced the tone was. And even more so was how effortless it was to play.

It doesn’t have the kind of tone that I would say would be great for solo acoustic guitar – it’s got more of a compact sound great for strumming. But it’s a guitar, both in terms of sound and playability that’s hard to make errors on – it won’t punish you if your right-hand control is a bit off.

This guitar is super easy to play and in such a way that it stood out from everything else that I have tried.

Top Acoustic Guitar #3 – Seagull Artist Mosaic

  • Guitar: Seagull Artist Mosaic
  • Price: $950 USD MSRP
  • Size/Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top Wood: Cedar
  • Back/Sides Wood: Mahogany

This is one of the few all solid wood guitars you can get for under $1,000. And is the best of them, IMO.

This is my value-for-money pick for this list – and it’s something a little bit different in terms of the Cedar top.

Read my full review: Seagull Artist Mosaic Review

Top Acoustic Guitar #2 – Martin GPCPA5K

  • Guitar: Martin GPCPA5K
  • Price: $999 USD MSRP
  • Size/Shape: Grand Performance
  • Top Wood: Sitka Spruce
  • Back/Sides Wood: Laminate Koa

From their Performing Artist series, Martin’s GCPA5K was one of my favorite guitars to play recently – it’s on this list so it must be right!

But even forgetting about making this list balanced with different priced guitars, different shapes and different tone woods, this would be one of my picks.

Like the DX1RAE earlier in this list, this guitar has its fair share of man-made parts. But that takes nothing away from this guitar.

it’s tone and playability are a joy. I look forward to getting more time on this guitar in the future – or at least something else from the Performing Artist series.

There’s also a step up you can go from there which is the guitars with a “4” in the name. There are 2 distinct sides to the Performing Artist Series – the 4s and the 5s. The 4s feature solid wood back and sides (with a considerable jump in price as you’d expect).

Learn more about the Performing Artist Series. And you can read my full Martin GPCPA5K review.

Top Acoustic Guitar #1 – Taylor 322e

  • Guitar: Taylor 322e
  • Price: $2,178 USD MSRP
  • Size/Shape: Grand Concert
  • Top Wood: Mahogany
  • Back/Sides Wood: Tasmanian Blackwood

If I had to pick one guitar that was my favorite off this list, this would be it.

Usually I favor Martin guitars when it comes to Mahogany. But I played this alongside an all Mahogany Martin and preferred this one. Not all was the same, of course – for one thing, this has Tasmanian Blackwood back and sides. But one things for sure, this guitar was a joy to play and the sound was one of the more pleasant acoustic guitar sounds I’ve heard in a while.

And as a bonus, this guitar looks amazing! In my opinion anyway.

If someone was to give me $2,000 to buy a guitar right now (anyone?…) this is what it would be.

The video here is for an older version of the 322e (which has Sapele back/sides so not the perfect representation)

You can also get this in a 12 fret model – something I’d love to try next time I see one.

See my full Taylor 322e review.

Thanks for Reading

I hope you enjoyed this overview of my top 10 acoustic guitars and hopefully it gave you some useful information.

What’s your favorite guitar of the last couple of years? Or your favorite guitar ever? Leave a comment below.

FAQs

What is the number one acoustic guitar?

If I had to pick one guitar that was my favorite off this list, the Taylor 322e would be it.

Which is the best brand for acoustic guitar?

“Best” is subjective, but some of the widely loved guitar brands are Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Yamaha, and Seagull, to name a few.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

6 comments

  1. Have you reviewed the Avian Dove in its dirrerent configurations yet? Good value and quality in the price range you refer to. Thinking of getting one.

    1. Hi Sean

      Thanks for your message.

      Unfortunately I haven’t played any Avian guitars, so I can’t say. I would like to demo some Avian’s but unfortunately I haven’t had the chance yet. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

  2. Hey you know about the Takamine tf77-pt? You played? I think Is a really good guitar, but I’m so far away from usa, a hug from Argentina!

    1. Hi Diego

      Thanks for your message.

      Unfortunately I haven’t played the Takamine tf77-pt. The Takamine’s that I have played so far have been nice to play and with a nice tone. Hopefully I get a chance to play the TF77-PT soon though – it does sound like a nice guitar based on the specs – and I am a fan of Koa.

  3. Try a Larrivee when you get a chance! Much like the Taylor! The 100 series plays just as good as the upper series! My next is the Taylor KOA
    K223ce! Both in the $1500-2000 range!

    1. Hi Danny

      Thanks for your input. Appreciate it. I would love to try a Larrivee and have been meaning to for years and just haven’t gotten around to it – but it’s definitely high on the list to seek one out to try.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *