Best Acoustic Guitars in 2018 – reviewed right here!
The search never stops for the best acoustic guitar to play during jamming sessions, recording sessions and live gigs. Every year, guitar brands keep on coming up with awesome acoustic guitars to take your playing to the next level. So what’s the latest? We have scoured through various models released in recent years all the way through 2018 and picked out 7 of the very best, chosen for their impressive build, unique tonal character, incredible value and overall winning quality. If you’re looking for the best acoustic guitar for your needs, consider this your short list.
Our Top Acoustic Guitar Picks
|Fender California Series Classic||This acoustic guitar series will make you swoon with its original Fender body shapes, fully painted tops of solid Sitka spruce and matching Stratocaster-style headstocks. But the California Series Classic models don’t only have the looks; they also have the sound and tonal quality to match. We don’t expect anything less from Fender, and this lineup surely delivers.|
|Seagull Maritime||The Seagull Maritime acoustic guitars are made of all-solid tonewoods, making them a great option for those looking for the best acoustic guitar with a full sound. The top is made from pressure-tested solid spruce while the sides are made of solid mahogany wood for a well-balanced tone. The craftsmanship is superb and it has the sound quality to match.|
|PRS SE A50E Angelus||With a solid Sitka spruce top, maple back and sides and Fishman electronics, the PRS SE A50E Angelus is a great instrument that any guitarist would be glad to have. We’re loving the trademark bird design inlays on the ebony fretboard and the guitar’s wonderfully deep and warm sound. This PRS is a tough guitar to beat!|
|Martin DRS2||The Martin DRS2 is a fine example that shows you can have a guitar that’s exceptional on all counts, affordability included. This is what makes this Martin one of our top picks as the best acoustic guitar. This dreadnought has got that winning Martin tone and superior overall quality that most other guitars can only aspire to have.|
|Taylor 214ce||A ‘best acoustic guitar’ list would be incomplete without a Taylor in it. This Grand Auditorium guitar with a cutaway from Taylor projects plenty of volume and has a bright and defined tone that many fingerstyle players love. If you’ve always wanted a Taylor, this one with a solid top will surely stick with you for many years to come.|
|Taylor 110ce||Yes, there’s already one Taylor in the list, but we just can’t resist including the Taylor 110ce dreadnought. It certainly deserves a spot here because of its noteworthy qualities, which include a thin-profile neck, shorter nut width, well-balanced tone and plenty of projection. Plugged in, the guitar produces a natural electro-acoustic sound - just the way we like it.|
|Blueridge Historic Series BR-160||Looks good, sounds even better. Blueridge’s BR-160 celebrates the company’s rich history, which is reflected in the guitar’s vintage dreadnought design. The warm, mellow sound it produces also takes you back to the good ol’ days way before the internet came along. Having this guitar is just like having a piece of history in your hands.|
Fender came up with the California Series lineup of acoustic guitars to celebrate its Southern California roots. Every aspect of this guitar is uniquely Fender, from the Strat-style headstock and vintage-style slot tuners to the slim-taper neck and preamp, which is the product of the collaboration between Fender and trusted electronics brand Fishman.
The models in the California Series come in three Fender-exclusive body styles: Newporter, Malibu and Redondo. All of the models have a painted solid Sitka spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides as well as unique bracing patterns to deliver an articulate, highly responsive and balanced tone. The mahogany neck and pau ferro fingerboard and bridge give the guitar a rich and warm overall sound.
The Fender California Series Classic guitars are offered in a number of vibrant colors such as Cosmic Turquoise, Hot Rod Red Metallic, Electric Jade and Belmont Blue. What’s more, the color on the body matches that of the iconic Stratocaster-style headstock, making the guitar look more striking.
The Fender-Fishman preamp built into the guitar comes with frequency and phase controls as well as a tuner. The preamp does its job well in complementing the unique tone of each guitar body shape.
- Stage-ready Fender- and Fishman-designed preamp system
- Responsive and articulate tone
- Aesthetically pleasing design with eye-catching colors
- All-solid top, back and sides for a powerful tone
- Vintage-style slot tuners can be hard to work with when changing strings
- Smaller neck not for everyone used to a wider neck
The Seagull Maritime Solid Wood Series of acoustic guitars are designed to offer the features and benefits of the brand’s higher-end Artist Series of guitars but at a more affordable price point. The Maritime SWS guitars are offered in a variety of shapes such as mini jumbo, folk and dreadnought, and come in two custom-polish finishes: high-gloss and semi-gloss.
The acoustic guitars in this series have a pressure-tested solid spruce top, mahogany neck, Richlite fingerboard and solid mahogany back and sides. The combination of tonewoods give the guitar a rich, warm tone with plenty of projection and a punchy midrange, thanks to the narrower shoulders.
The QIT model is equipped with an onboard tuner and custom Godin EPM Quantum IT acoustic guitar system for a full and rich sound reproduction. The QIT system comes with bass, treble and volume controls and an auto shut-off feature.
Another thing we love about the Seagull Maritime SWS QIT acoustic guitar is its 1.8-inch nut width. The larger string spacing translates to more room for guitarists to do some fingerstyle playing. If you want to have a more traditional feel, go for the rosewood model, which has a slimmer 1.72-inch nut.
- High-end features at a lower price
- Great for fingerpicking
- Several models to choose from
- Acoustic-electric models available
- Godin QIT system has no dedicated anti-feedback feature
- Preamp also feels flimsy and plasticky
Oh but this guitar is beautiful. The PRS SE A50E Angelus is something you would really want to play in front of an audience because of its stunningly good looks and the quality sound it produces. This guitar has a solid Sitka spruce top, figured maple back and sides, mahogany neck, bone nut and saddle as well as ebony fretboard and bridge. It has a distinct and highly playable Angelus Cutaway body shape. The PRS abalone bird inlays on the fretboard are a really nice touch. Yes, it’s a gorgeous, well-built guitar, but that’s not all.
This acoustic guitar is built with hybrid bracing. There is an X brace along the center, and below that along the belly of the guitar is a fan brace. The result is a rounder, more articulate tone with greater projection and resonance.
The Angelus also comes equipped with a Fishman GT1 pickup system, making it ready for stage action and recording sessions. The electronics system works wonders in giving the guitar an organic and dynamic tone when plugged in. The Fishman system features a soundhole-mounted preamp with tone and volume controls and an undersaddle pickup.
The DRS2 is part of Martin’s Road Series, so it’s really designed to be a traveling musician’s companion. If you want to get a Martin acoustic-electric dreadnought with a sturdy solid wood construction, getting this model is deemed the most affordable way to do so.
Featured specs include a solid sapele back and sides, solid Sitka spruce top, birch laminated (Stratabond) neck, Richlite fingerboard and bridge, white Corian nut and compensated white Tusq saddle. The neck shape is actually the same as that of the hugely popular Performing Artist Series. The neck also features Martin’s High Performance taper that makes it extremely ergonomic.
The solid sapele-spruce pairing on the body of the DRS2 gives it an amazing tone, projection and balance. Martin also optimized the guitar’s playability, preventing fret buzz and eliminating any problems with intonation so you get that quality sound that the brand is known for.
Making the DRS2 performance-ready is the Fishman Sonitone system, which sits just underneath the soundhole. Plugged in, the Martin DRS2 delivers a naturally louder projection and brighter sound, but even unplugged the guitar sounds splendid.
- Sounds great plugged in and unplugged
- Optimized playability
- Most affordable solid wood Martin dreadnought
- Tone and volume controls in the soundhole may be discreet but awkward to access
- Pickup system is pretty basic
- No built-in tuner
Taylor’s 214ce Grand Auditorium acoustic guitar has undergone a few changes over the years. One of the latest improvements added in 2017 concerns the wood used for the body. Because of the restrictions on the importation of rosewood, Taylor no longer uses it for their 200 series of guitars, which the 214ce is a part of. Instead, the company used the next best wood for a great, balanced tonal response: Hawaiian koa.
Yep, the 214ce has layered koa veneer for its back and sides, paired with solid Sitka spruce for its top, though you can still find layered rosewood in some older models of the 214ce. The layered koa keeps the guitar stable amid changes in temperature and humidity.
The internal bracing has also been updated to a forward shifted pattern to further enhance the dynamic range of the soundboard and the guitar’s overall projection. The Taylor 214ce has a nice punchy sound and good articulation. If you need more output, just plug it in and let the onboard Expression System 2 (ES2) pickup do its job. The ES2 features a patented behind-the-saddle pickup and knobs for volume and tone, giving you total control over your tonal output.
- Onboard electronics enhances the sound of the guitar naturally
- Durable build
- Appealing looks with ebony fretboard
- Great feel and playability with Venetian cutaway
- Strings can be improved
- No tuner included
The Taylor 110ce is part of the brand’s 100 Series of acoustic guitars, which are considered among the company’s most affordable. If you’re on the lookout for the best acoustic guitar to start with on your musical journey or to serve as backup, you won’t go wrong with this one.
The 110ce has a traditional dreadnought body shape and a cutaway for easier access to the upper frets. The top is made from solid Sitka spruce while the back and sides are made from layered sapele. Sapele is also used for the neck while the fingerboard and bridge are made from genuine African ebony wood.
Like the 214ce, the 110ce features a forward shift pattern bracing to allow the top to move and resonate freely, resulting in a rich, balanced tone and wide dynamic range. The dreadnought body shape gives the guitar plenty of projection.
The nut on the 110ce is slightly slimmer than other dreadnoughts. The shorter nut width and slim taper neck make the guitar comfortable to play and give guitarists an easier time forming barre chords.
The Taylor 110ce is also equipped with the ES2 pickup-preamp system for a more natural sound when plugged in.
The Blueridge BR-160 Historic Series dreadnought features classic vintage styling with modern improvements. For its Historic Series, Blueridge took inspiration from guitars made before the Second World War. However, instead of using the rarer and restricted woods such as Brazilian rosewood used in vintage guitars, Blueridge opted to use more abundant tonewoods that produce the same sound quality.
Blueridge used tonewoods already available from Canada – such as Sitka spruce and mahogany – to come up with guitars that have a vintage tone. This means that a brand-new BR-160 already has a ‘mature’ sound characterized by a very mellow and warm tone, thanks to its solid Sitka spruce top.
For the back and sides of the BR-160, Blueridge used solid Indian rosewood as an alternative to Brazilian rosewood. The effect is the same: a deep bass-y sound. The fingerboard and bridge are also made from Indian rosewood.
The tortoiseshell-style pickguard and mother-of-pearl inlays on the mahogany neck and headstock give the guitar its vintage vibe. The BR-160’s vintage-ness is also exemplified in the traditional construction methods used to make it, such as the prewar forward-shifted X-brace pattern for maximum resonance.
- Crisp tone and exceptional articulation with lots of projection
- Solid wood construction
- Beautiful vintage tone and full sound
- Acoustic-electric version available
- Vintage styling not for everyone
- Neck may feel too thin and cramped for some
Buying Guide for the Best Acoustic Guitars in 2018
All of the models in this list are great, but which one is the best acoustic guitar for you? Well, that depends on a number of factors such as purpose, playing comfort, visual appeal and your personal preferences when it comes to sound, music genre and acoustic playing style.
Let’s take a look at these considerations and see if we can help you decide which acoustic would fit you best.
Where and how will you use it?
Choosing the best acoustic model for you would depend on what you will be using the guitar for. Will you be using it for guitar lessons or practice at home? Are you planning on using it for future gigs or recording music?
All of the guitars on this list except for the Blueridge BR-160 are equipped with an electronics system that make them stage- and studio-ready. You can simply plug and play when you need to perform in front of an audience in a crowded or big venue where there’s a lot of ambient noise. If you don’t need amplification – for example if you’re just practicing at home – these guitars sound great unplugged as well.
If you choose the Blueridge guitar, you’ll need to have a good mic and sound system ready if you need to make your playing heard.
Do you like the way it looks?
When you buy an acoustic guitar that you’re drawn to because of its aesthetics, you will become more motivated to play it. This is especially important for beginners who may find it tedious to do the same exercises over and over again, or who may be tempted to skip practice sessions. A good-looking guitar is something you will love playing again and again.
The models in this list of best acoustic guitars have their own visual charm that appeals to different people. For example, the Blueridge BR-160 has those ornate inlays on the headstock. Some guitarists love those kinds of design elements, while others may find them a bit over the top and would much rather prefer the fretboard inlays on the PRS Angelus, or the simple but classic cutaway design of the Taylor 110ce.
Does it feel good when you play it?
How a guitar feels is highly subjective – after all, even guitarists come in all shapes and sizes. While the acoustics in our list are all made in such a way that most guitarists will find them comfortable and easy to play, there’s still no beating being able to try several models out so you can choose which one feels like it’s a part of your body.
Go ahead – visit a music store and spend a few minutes on different guitars. If you see the same models listed here, that’s great. If not, then look for a model that has roughly the same size and shape as the one you’re eyeing. If you’re keen on buying an acoustic guitar online, take note of the model or size that feels the most natural to you, then go for that.
What kind of sound do you want your guitar to have?
Are you an aggressive strummer or prefer a more delicate fingerpicking style? Do you like a warm, bluesy tone or a bright and edgy one? Or would you like an acoustic guitar that produces a balanced tone across the registers?
If you’re a beginner, you may still be in the process of exploring different playing styles or developing your own. In this case, it’s best to go for a versatile guitar that can accommodate a variety of acoustic playing styles. Fortunately, the guitars on this list are also versatile players. Some, however, may cater to a more specific style. For instance, the Taylor 214ce’s bright sound and the Seagull Maritime’s wider nut make these models great for those who do a lot of fingerstyle playing.
What’s your budget?
Here’s the thing about acoustic guitars: those that use solid wood command a higher price than those that use laminates for their soundboard. Acoustic guitars that have a solid top are more sturdy and sound better as the wood matures. This is why solid wood models are usually more expensive, and also why they come highly recommended if you want to make a really good investment.
The kind and quality of woods and other materials, as well as features such as onboard electronics, also figure in the price of a guitar. With a well-built guitar that is made using quality materials, you can be sure to have a sturdy instrument that will last for years, as opposed to a low-end product that you may need to replace because the neck snapped.
The models in this list all offer great value for money. Considering their build, the materials used, their features, tonal character overall quality, they’re the best acoustic guitars you can get without breaking the bank – or worrying they’ll fall apart in your hands.
The choice, of course, is ultimately up to you. One thing’s for sure: whichever of these guitars you pick, you’ll end up with a winner and hopefully find the best acoustic guitar for you.