Almost all guitarists I know started with an acoustic guitar because it is more straightforward and comfortable to play with, not to mention more affordable.
Acoustic guitars produce clean, bright, and natural sounds, suitable for folk, classical, country, pop, and blues music.
Unfortunately, choosing the right acoustic guitar comes down to several things, including brand.
Some brands offer better-sounding and higher-quality acoustic guitars than others, like any other product on the market.
With more than 15 years of playing the acoustic guitar, I offer my expert opinion on what comprises the world’s best acoustic guitar brands.
I chose these acoustic guitar brands for their craftsmanship, tonal quality, and other essential characteristics we all love to have in an acoustic guitar.
Join me in rediscovering the stories behind the following iconic brands that helped shape the face of contemporary music.
The Best Acoustic Guitar Brands
Martin Guitars is synonymous with acoustic guitars, providing the world with some of the best string instruments that legendary musicians used in their march to the Hall of Fame.
There is no doubt about Martin guitars’ build quality and tonal performance, banking on almost two centuries of unparalleled guitar-making excellence.
Christian Frederick Martin established this brand in 1833 and introduced many innovations, including scalloped bracing, X bracing, dreadnought body style, steel-string acoustic guitars, and the contemporary flat top.
The Martin D 28 dreadnought guitar is the guitar world’s answer to the automotive industry’s Porsche – it is the best acoustic guitar at its price point.
Guitar legends highly value the Martin D 28 guitar for its high-quality tone, classic dreadnought shape, robust body, superior build quality, and booming sound projection.
It has an Indian Rosewood back and sides, a solid Sitka Spruce top, and an X bracing (non scalloped bracing) for improved stability and hard to beat tonal characteristics.
There is also the Martin SC-13E guitar with its brilliant crossover design, solid wood construction, distinct body shape, slinky performance, impressive acoustic-electric guitar pickup system, elegant solid spruce top, and superbly balanced acoustic tones.
Do not ever think that Martin guitars are only for the affluent.
The Martin acoustic guitar brand also has offerings for entry level guitarists and budget-conscious musicians, including an admirable price range for different products.
The Martin LX1E Little Martin guitar is a classic example of a big-name brand reaching out to its expansive fan base without sacrificing sound quality.
Martin acoustic guitars are the best acoustic guitars money can buy. Period.
I have yet to see a Top 10 listing of the best guitar brands without this El Cajon, CA-based acoustic guitar brand.
With almost half a century of producing high-quality semi-hollow electric guitars and exemplary acoustic guitars, Taylor G is a name seasoned guitarists trust.
Taylor’s best acoustic guitars often go head-to-head with Martin quality guitars, although Gibson acoustic models are closing the gap.
Taylor guitars have a distinct sound quality and pristine and sparkling high end that translates to heavenly sound.
The guitars’ construction is solid and their performance is legendary that famous artists line up to get their hands on a Taylor.
Taylor acoustic guitars always use premium quality solid wood, often a solid spruce top or other high-quality tonewoods for a solid top.
One of the most iconic Taylor guitars is the Taylor 214ce guitar, a Grand Auditorium guitar that produces warm and resonant low end sound and vibrant highs.
The Taylor 214ce features a Mahogany solid wood neck and a solid top, complete an X bracing to improve the guitar’s body shape, structural integrity, and sound quality.
The Taylor 214ce is excellent for fingerpicking or flatpicking as it is in articulating powerful chords the way the cowboys do.
Taylor never uses third-party-sourced electronics for its acoustic-electric guitars, opting to design its Expression System instead.
The ES comes with an onboard preamp wired to dynamic soundboard transducers and a neck-mounted humbucker to give Taylor guitars their booming sound quality.
Robert Godin established this Canadian guitar brand in 1982, focusing on acoustic guitars with a friendlier price tag.
Some people think that Seagull Guitars are Martin Guitars, Taylor Guitars, and Gibson Guitars copycats.
However, the brand is its guitar with impeccable tuning ease because of the perfect alignment between the nut and the tuning machines.
Seagull Guitars also produces high quality guitars with either an under-saddle transducer (Godin Quantum I) or a combination of microphone and transducer (Godin Quantum II).
Another Seagull innovation is the compound-curve top, providing structural soundbox stability without undermining its tonal qualities.
What surprises many people is that the Seagull S6 sounds warmer and fuller than the venerable Martin D28.
The Seagull S6 features a solid cedar top compared to the Martin D28 with a solid Sitka Spruce top, allowing the Seagull S6 to produce a distinctly darker and fuller sound than the Martin D28.
The acoustic guitar brand is also famous for using Silver Leaf Maple in its guitars, a tonewood with similar characteristics to a Mahogany body.
Regardless, Seagull Guitars is a guitar brand you can trust to continuously push the envelope of innovation, improving structural integrity and enhancing sound.
While Gibson Guitars is best known for its Les Paul Signature Series, its acoustic guitars are equally impressive.
Established in 1902, Gibson is one of the most popular guitar brands on the planet, only slightly overshadowed by Fender.
Seven years after its founding, Gibson Guitars introduced its first flat top guitars.
Towards the early-1930’s, the brand sought the blues belters with its Nick Lucas Signature Line, offering a good balance between functionality, depth, size, and tone.
The 1930s also saw the company making significant strides in acoustic guitar innovation.
In 1957, Gibson Guitars acquired Epiphone to improve its market dominance, offering entry level Gibson acoustic guitars and reaching out to the budget-conscious segment.
There is a Gibson acoustic guitar over an expansive price range.
Guitars with a higher price tag often feature more solid wood construction, including a solid top, robust neck, and other premium quality elements.
Gibson’s Hummingbird Pro remains one of its bestsellers, with Epiphone providing the masses with a more affordable version, the Epiphone Hummingbird.
The Hummingbird Pro featured a mahogany body with mahogany back and sides and a solid top made of Sitka Spruce.
Many guitarists love the Hummingbird Pro because of its exceptional build quality, unparalleled sound quality, and overall value for money.
It remains one of the best acoustic guitar models in the world of acoustic guitars.
The company that gave the world phenomenal electric guitars (think Stratocaster, Telecaster, and other similar products) is also a household name in acoustic guitars.
Clarence Leonidas Fender formed Fender in 1946, becoming one of the world’s best acoustic guitar brands, eclipsed only by Martin, Taylor, and Gibson.
One thing that differentiates Fender acoustic guitars from other guitar brands is its choice of tonewood.
Whereas other brands use Spruce or Mahogany, Fender acoustic guitars use Alder and Ash, especially the high-end models.
Fender loves using only the finest solid wood to provide its premium quality offerings with a solid top and neck for exceptional sound quality and overall value for money.
Fender provides guitarists with an extensive acoustic guitar selection to meet every playing level, style, and budget.
Fender’s Paramount PM-1 dreadnought guitar offers balanced and robust projection, while the FA-125CE is perfect for beginners and price-conscious folks without undermining the sound quality and build.
The Fender acoustic guitar models CC-60SCE and CD-60SCE are suitable for advanced guitarists ready to conquer the world stage.
You will never go wrong with a Fender acoustic guitar in your hands and on your lap.
The brand is synonymous with outstanding acoustic guitar sound, thanks to its thoughtful body, back and sides design.
Founded in 1887 as a trustworthy reed organ manufacturer, Yamaha entered the guitar market in 1942 with its first acoustic guitar.
By 1966, the FG180 acoustic guitar began wowing American folk guitarists, with its exceptionally crafted back and sides, outstanding sound, and comfortable body and neck.
Yamaha introduced its high-end acoustic guitars (the L Series) to the American public in 1974.
Guitarists love Yamaha acoustic guitars for their powerful and sustained warm tone, complementary bass and treble, and exceptionally balanced response and sound characteristics.
These guitars have a reasonable price, too.
Today, Yamaha offers high quality and trailblazing acoustic guitars and acoustic electric guitars ready for the concert stage without the prohibitive price tags of the Big Four.
The brand utilizes various technologies to improve its guitars’ sound characteristics without affecting the price.
The Yamaha A5R A.R.E acoustic-electric guitar and CG-TA classical guitar are two of the brand’s most popular products.
This acoustic guitar brand may have a Spanish-sounding name, but it is the pride of Japan.
Also Read: 10 Best Japanese Guitar Brands
Established in 1957 by Hoshino Gakki, nobody can deny Ibanez its place in guitar world history by being the first company to mass-produce multi-string guitars.
The company has more than 130 acoustic guitar models with innovative designs, exceptional sound quality, eye-catching finishes, and an affordable price.
Ibanez’s electro-acoustics are also commendable, featuring high-quality integrated electronics that turn their acoustic guitars into performance-ready rigs.
There is the Ibanez AC240 OPN with its solid spruce top and distinct finish at an affordable price.
You might also want a unique acoustic guitar – the Ibanez AEWC400 – with its maple tonewood construction, quality electronics, and electric guitar-like styling.
The Ibanez AEG1812II is perfect for those who want a guitar with good sound and low price.
Oregon-based Breedlove Guitars is one of the world’s most trusted acoustic guitar manufacturers established more than three decades ago.
Although the guitar brand does not have the large following of Taylor, Martin, Fender, and Gibson, it is instrumental in several acoustic guitar innovations.
For example, Breedlove guitars have a steep and soft cutaway for effortless access to the guitar’s upper frets.
The guitar brand also uses an asymmetrical headstock design, allowing excellent string freedom of movement while limiting string tension variance.
The body shape is smaller than most, although the back and sides are as robust as any other guitar brand.
Breedlove also uses a pinless and winged bridge to improve playability and tonal characteristics.
The company also prefers Myrtlewood for the guitar body instead of Spruce and Mahogany, giving the guitars a distinct finish while offering robust sustain, clarity, volume, and other sound elements.
The brand also invented the JLD bridge truss system that stabilizes the guitar bridge and counterbalances string tension.
Breedlove currently offers four guitar body shapes: Concerto, Concert, Concertina, and Companion.
Epiphone is one of the world’s earliest acoustic guitar manufacturers, established in 1873 in the Greek city of Smyrna.
In 1908, Anastasios Stathopoulos moved his company to New York City, taking on the name ‘Epiphone’ for the founder’s son, Epaminondas, in 1928.
Epiphone is a noteworthy Gibson adversary, producing high-quality and performance-ready archtop guitars for rockabilly, jazz, and blues guitarists.
The guitar brand fell to Gibson in 1957 as the latter sought to strengthen its foothold on the booming US guitar market.
Before the acquisition, Epiphone produced some of the finest acoustic guitars, including the Blackstone, Texan, and Frontier.
Today, the company still commands a respectable following with its Epiphone DR 100 Songmaker and Epiphone Hummingbird, both good acoustic guitar models.
Epiphone is the guitar brand for the masses, although it also produces instruments with a high price tag.
This Connecticut-based guitar brand specializes in steel-string and nylon-string guitars, with their steel-string models in both 6- and 12-string versions.
Founded in 1965, Ovation has become one of the recognizable acoustic guitar brands, famous for their distinct round backs.
Ovation founder, Charles Kaman, used his aeronautical engineering knowledge to craft the Ovation Adamas acoustic guitar.
The first Ovation guitar had a classic dreadnought body but a thinner and parabolic back made of synthetic materials.
The guitar brand opted for a thin back design to improve the guitar’s sound properties, producing greater volume and better sound quality while improving the body.
The brand introduced other acoustic guitar innovations, including composite synthetic body, back and sides, and an aluminum-encased steel rod maple and mahogany neck reinforcement.
It still uses a solid Sitka spruce top, nonetheless.
By the 1980s, the brand started designing shallow-bowl acoustic guitars that appealed to electric guitar enthusiasts.
Modern Ovation guitars have a shallow body that complements a streamlined neck.
What Companies Make the Best Acoustic Guitars?
Martin Guitars, Taylor Guitars, Gibson Guitars, and Fender Guitars are the acoustic guitar Big Four.
These guitar brands use solid spruce or solid mahogany hardwood for the guitar body and neck to give them phenomenal build quality and outstanding tonal characteristics.
However, Seagull, Yamaha, Ibanez, Epiphone, Ovation, and Breedlove are never far behind.
Collings guitars are also worth mentioning because of their custom handmade string instruments.
Another brand worth mentioning is Guild Guitars.
Guild Guitars are similar to Collings because of their high quality handcrafted acoustic guitars, making them hard to beat.
The best acoustic guitar brands always focus on the instrument’s essentials, including the following.
What is the nicest sounding acoustic guitar?
I recommend the Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster if you want the nicest sounding acoustic guitar, although some people might disagree.
The Acoustasonic is an acoustic electric guitar that marries a steel-string guitar’s exceptional sound characteristics with a Telecaster’s phenomenal performance and playability.
What is the most popular acoustic guitar brand?
Taylor is the top acoustic guitar brand, with Martin and Gibson close behind.
On the other hand, Amazon’s three most popular acoustic guitar brands are Martin, Fender, and Taylor.
Price remains a significant factor in the popularity of certain guitar brand.
Other factors include solid wood quality, sound quality, neck construction, and body shape.
Which guitar has the best sound quality?
In my opinion, Collings guitars have the best sound quality because of their immaculate build quality and spectacularly rare tonewood selection, producing a consistent, wonderful, and unique tone.
Unsurprisingly, these high quality guitars fetch a handsome price, with the cheapest being $3,000.
The Martin LX1E stands out with its solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany neck, perfect for the budget-conscious crowd.
Intermediate players can pick the mid range Taylor 110E, a favorite among fingerstyle guitarists and strummers.
Accomplished guitarists can get the Martin D-28 or the Gibson SJ-200 Deluxe for the best sound quality.
The best acoustic guitar brands focus on unparalleled craftsmanship, attention to detail, and outstanding tonal attributes.
You can buy any of these acoustic guitars from your local music store or popular online commerce platforms, such as Amazon and Sweetwater.
Nice article, but I’m shocked of no mention of Recording King, Blueridge, and Eastman. These 3 make impeccable all solid acoustics at a price point many of us can afford.