What you consider the best acoustic guitar brands may differ to what I think. What guitars you like best does come somewhat down to personal preference.
That said, it’s also true that there are some brands that stand out from the rest due to their quality & reputation. Below I will outline what I think are the top 5 acoustic guitar brands around today.
These are, in alphabetical order:
Of course this necessarily leaves off some great acoustic brands – if there are any particular brands that you feel should be on this list please leave a comment in the comments section below.
Martin have been in business of making acoustic guitars for a crazy 182 years! So you’d think they would have gotten pretty good at it. And they have.
Way back in 1833 Christian Frederick Martin established Martin Guitars or, more officially, C.F. Martin & Company. Whilst dabbling for brief moments in electric guitars and bases Martin has predominantly been, and is currently, solely focused on the acoustic market.
Martin, still family run (the great-great-great grandson of the founder is currently CEO), is one of the leaders in flat top steel string acoustics and their high-end guitars are sought after the world over. Many guitarists are willing to pay multiple thousands of dollars for a Martin and it’s easy to see why when you play one.
Martin have continuously been at the forefront of guitar innovations and are credited with originating the dreadnought shaped guitar, x bracing and joining the fretboard to the body of the guitar at the 14th fret (which is now the standard) instead of the 12th.
Ovation are known as the guitars that are the easiest for electric guitar players to transition to.
They are also known for their shape – most ovations have rounded back and sides – known as “composite synthetic bowls”! This also gives their guitars a distinctive sound – and makes them ideal for plugging in. That bowl shape is apparently greatly reduces feedback.
Established in 1965 by Charles Kaman, Ovation is a relative new comer to the acoustic guitar scene, compared with Martin, but have quickly made a name for themselves.
Seagull is a Canadian company and is fast becoming one of the big players on the market. This is in no small part due to producing high-end high-quality guitars at a really affordable price.
The most distinctive visual feature on Seagull guitars is the headstock. Seagull’s unique slim line headstock is not just about visual appeal though, it is designed for better tuning stability.
But what makes this guitar company really unique is its ability to create quality instruments for a fraction of the cost of some other companies. Even their top line guitars (the Artist series) sell for little more than $1,000.
The youngest company on this list, Seagull was established in just 1982 – but they have quickly built a reputation for quality, innovation and affordable prices.
Alongside Martin, Taylor is the biggest player in the acoustic guitar market.
Whilst they have some more affordable lower end guitars, Taylors main focus is on high end instruments.
Taylor does dabble a little bit in electric guitars, but they are best known for and best at creating acoustics.
I was very surprised to learn that this Californian based company has only been around since 1974. Founded by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, they very quickly established themselves as one of the big players in the acoustic market.
The Yamaha company is a huge corporation that doesn’t just make guitars – they make a whole host of different products including other instruments such as Pianos, Keyboards, Drums, other string instruments plus brass and woodwind instruments amongst others.
That doesn’t take away from the quality of their guitars though. In fact this may even help them to make better guitars. Within their guitar section they make not only acoustic guitars but classical guitars, electric guitars and bass guitars.
Whilst I can’t say I find anything unique about their guitars they do seem to produce solid, quality instruments.
Yamaha, a Japanese company, was founded in 1887 and started producing guitars in 1942. The Yamaha Corporation has delved into many markets but it does have its roots in musical instruments with the company starting out making Pianos and Organs.
Thanks for reading
What’s your favourite acoustic guitar manufacturer? If they’re not on this list let me know why you think they should be. Would be awesome to hear people’s opinions in the comments section below.