What’s the best acoustic guitar in 2023? 12 great guitars for strumming and picking!

Best acoustic guitar
Best acoustic guitar

What’s the best acoustic guitar? As with all instruments, it depends on what you are playing!

The acoustic guitar as we know it has now been around for about 200 years. To the untrained eye, it seems to have remained largely unchanged during that time. 

But the range of acoustic guitars is growing all the time and many different guitar sizes are now available for all sorts of purposes. Smaller-sized bodies are becoming more common, often aimed at travellers, smaller guitarists and even beginner guitars for kids.

Manufacturers specifically target strummers or pickers to help their guitar stand out from the crowd. And now innovative new models like Fender’s Acoustasonic range leave us questioning where the line between acoustic and electric is. 

Yes friend, the range of acoustic guitars is greater than ever—and that’s why we’ve created this round-up featuring 12 of our favourites.

Best acoustic guitar: disclaimer

It’s important to point out that this isn’t an exhaustive list or the top 12. It’s just 12 guitars that we think are good for certain purposes.

The aim is to help beginner guitarists choose their first guitar or remind more experience players of what’s on offer.

There are several that we know deserve a place but didn’t make the cut. Good examples are the Gibson J-45 and Gibson 00. We just couldn’t justify having four Gibson acoustic guitars in one list! 

You’ll also notice that there are no classical guitars here. We had to draw a line somewhere to cut down the huge number of choices. We’ll publish a separate list of classical guitars soon.

What do you think the best acoustic guitar is? Have we missed it from this list? If so, why not tell us what it is and how moronic we are for excluding it in the comments below? 

Now without further delay, here are our 12 best acoustic guitars for 2022.

You can find our favorite acoustic guitar brands in our article on best guitar brands.

Fender CD-60S All Mahogony

Best acoustic guitar for durability

Fender CD-60S All Mahogany acoustic guitar
Fender CD-60S All Mahogany acoustic guitar

Pros

  • Inexpensive and durable
  • Great for beginners

Cons

  • There are better sounding guitar
  • More experienced guitarists will be looking for more

Let’s face it, when it comes to looks mahogany guitars stand out. And the CD-60S All Mahogony is no exception. 

The S stands for solid top. This means the top is made from a single piece of mahogany, giving it greater resonance. 

However, the CD-60S is still a very affordable guitar. This is achieved by having a laminate back. This construction doesn’t sound as good but it does make this a very durable guitar.

This dreadnought-size guitar has a modern, sparkly sound. It also has a shorter scale and thinner neck than other drednoughts. This means there is less tension in the strings and smaller frets. 

These points make the CD-60S All Mahogony a great choice for beginners looking for a good quality starter guitar. 

Yamaha FG800

Best step-up acoustic guitar

Yamaha FG800 acoustic guitar
Yamaha FG800 acoustic guitar

Pros

  • Nice, big vintage sound
  • Smooth neck

Cons

  • Chunky neck may feel uncomfortable to beginners

The FG800 is a dreadnought-size guitar that has been in production since the 1960s. It is the successor to the FG700, which has the honor of being the best-selling guitar of all time. 

The main difference between the two guitars is that the 800 has scalloped bracing. This gives it a louder, more resonant and robust sound. 

It has a solid sitkis spruce top and mahogany neck and back. This gives it a full, warm, vintage sound with plenty of low end.

The FG800 has a traditional C-shaped neck and longer scale. This means the neck feels very large, which means that it might not be suitable for some beginners. It has a nice, smooth satin neck.

Overall, the FG800 is ideal as a step-up guitar. If you’ve had time to build-up strength in your fingers and want to find a guitar with good sound and build quality that will last for many years then this may be the guitar for you.

Taylor GT 811e

Best acoustic guitar for portability and sound balance

Taylor GT 811 electro acoustic guitar
Taylor GT 811 electro acoustic guitar

Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Nice, big sound for a small guitar

Cons

  • High cost

The 811e is a grand theatre-sized guitar – meaning that it’s smaller than a dreadnought-sized guitar shape. 

This makes it a great guitar for transporting. But unlike other guitars in this size category, the GT 811e has a big sound. This is achieved through a special bracing inside the guitar.

It has a solid spruce top and rosewood back and sides. This gives it a sound with lots of deep low-end and chiming overtones. This makes it a great guitar for flat-top purists. Oh, and it looks great too!

At around $3,000, the Taylor GT 811e is a great choice for professionals – especially gigging musicians who need a smaller, lighter guitar that still sounds great. But it’s probably too expensive for beginners or casual players.

Fender CC-60SCE

Best acoustic guitar for comfort

Fender CC-60SCE acoustic guitar
Fender CC-60SCE acoustic guitar

Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Comfort neck and cutaway make this very comfortable to play

Cons

  • This is a budget guitar—experienced players may want more
  • Some cheap materials used

What’s in a name? Quite a lot for the Fender CC-60SCE.

The name describes all of the guitar’s features. CC is for concerto cutaway, describing the body shape. S is for its solid spruce top and the e is for electro.

The CC-60SCE features Fender’s comfort neck. This has a slim taper and the edges of the fretboard have been rolled—this makes it more comfortable for beginners. The cutaway also helps players access the higher frets.

The result is a guitar that is light, small and comfortable to play. The only downside is that the action is slightly higher than we would like. Acoustics never sound that great when plugged in, but the CC-60SCE has a Fishman electonics inside which do a pretty good job. As a bonus, it also includes a built-in tuner.

Scalloped bracing means that it can achieve more volume and better tone than other guitars of this size.

The cost of the guitar is kept down by its plastic nut and saddle pins, along with a laminate back and side.

Yamaha TransAcoustic CSF-TA

Best acoustic guitar for innovative features

Yamaha Transacoustic CSF TA acoustic guitar
Yamaha Transacoustic CSF TA acoustic guitar

Pros

  • Cool concept
  • A lot of fun with nice sounding effects

Cons

  • No tuner
  • Not very loud

The Yamaha TransAcoustic CSF-TA might be the best acoustic guitar on this list regarding innovation. Each model in this range features an actuator that effectively turns the guitar into an effects processor. 

Basically the guitar’s body becomes a speaker. It doesn’t amplify the sound buy instead allows the guitar to create reverb and chorus effects even when it’s unplugged.

That’s right, the effect comes out of the guitar’s body when it’s not plugged in. We’re not quite sure how it works (probably voodoo) but it sounds amazing.

The CSF-TA is the smallest model in the range which is why it’s on this list. The amazing effects are all the more impressive coming from such a small guitar.

It features reverb, chorus and line-level control knobs and the actuator is powered by two AA batteries. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a built-in tuner.

The body has a sitka spruce top, rosewood fretboard and mahogany back, sides and neck.

With the effects off the guitar sounds pretty good, with nice lot of high end—although the bass frequencies are a little dull. Like all small guitars, it’s not very loud and can sound “limited”.

But it’s when you switch the reverb and chorus on when the fun begins!

At just $700 this guitar is fun, interesting and good value. 

Takamine P3NY

Best parlor sized acoustic guitar

Takamine P3NY acoustic guitar
Takamine P3NY acoustic guitar

Pros

  • Nice sound
  • Classic, simple aesthetics

Cons

  • Not very loud
  • Doesn’t sound great plugged in

The Takamine P3NY is part of its New Yorker range of parlor-sized guitars. These are the smallest-sized guitars that Takamine makes and has been designed to be comfortable to play either stood up or sat down.

The P3NY has a very simple design, but a high-quality finish, giving it a really classy look. 

The neck is thin and feels a bit like that on an electric guitar. This, combined with a low action make this a super playable guitar.

The sound is good too. It has a cedar top, sapele back and sides and a mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard. This is all good quality but pretty standard.

What’s more unusual is its bone bridge which has no pins. This gives it better sustain. 

It has a sweet sound with a slight warmth despite small size. It’s also not as quiet as you would expect for a guitar this size. 

Plugged in, the P3NY does lose some warmth—but this isn’t unusual. There is no feedback which is a big plus.

Overall, this guitar offers a very comfortable small size that doesn’t compromise on tone.

Gibson Hummingbird

Best acoustic guitar if money was no object

Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar
Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar

Pros

  • Incredible looks
  • Legendary tone
  • Easy to play

Cons

  • Very high price tag

The Gibson Hummingbird is one of the most iconic acoustic guitars in the world. It was designed by Gibson legend Ted McCarty and introduced in 1960. 

The Hummingbird is usually made of mahogany and spruce. This gives it a warm sound with nice, sparkly highs. 

Later models have been made from a range of other materials. It has a slim neck that makes it easy to play. The body is smaller than most guitars, which also makes it easier to hold and play.

It is well-known for its beautifully designed pickguards and attractive appearance. All this comes at a cost. 

The Hummingbird usually costs around $4,000. This may be unaffordable for even professional guitarists.

Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster

Best acoustic guitar that’s not acoustic

Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster Player
Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster Player

Pros

  • Great range of voicings
  • Very unusual, innovative guitar

Cons

  • It’s aesthetics aren’t for everyone
  • It needs to be plugged in to be effective

Is it an acoustic? Is it an electric? Well, actually it’s both.

Fender’s Acoustasonic range is a weird mixture of acoustic and electric guitar. 

It’s basically an electric guitar body that has been built from materials commonly found on acoustic guitars and then carved out. The neck is bolt-on and shaped like that of an electric but it’s made from mahogany.

It can be loaded with either acoustic or electric strings, depending on the sort of sound you want to get from it. 

The result is a guitar that is louder than a semi-acoustic but quieter than a proper acoustic. 

It uses Fender’s String Instrument Resonance System. We’re not sure what that is—but it’s responsible for improving the guitar’s acoustic performance.

Unplugged, it’s ideal for playing at home—but it’s not loud enough to perform. To do that, you’ll need to plug it into a PA or amp via the jack. You’ll struggle to get enough volume from it through a microphone.

It’s available as a Stratocaster or Jazzmaster. But the Telecaster model is out favourite. It features three very different pick ups: one piezo under the bridge, an electric pick up, and a contact pick up inside. The latter allows you to use it as a drum.

The electronics has a five-position voice selector two control knobs—one for volume and another that’s a mod control. This is where the guitar’s greatest strength lies. It offers a huge range of different sounds.

The looks divide opinion, but personally, I think it’s cool. It’s also very light and is powered by a rechargeable USB battery.

Tanglewood TWCRD

Best acoustic guitar under $100

Tanglewood TWCRD acoustic guitar
Tanglewood TWCRD acoustic guitar

Pros

  • Incredible value for money
  • The best sounding guitar you’ll find at this price

Cons

  • Cheap materials
  • Seasoned guitarists will want a better quality, better sounding instrument

Tanglewood is well-known for balancing budget with quality—but this guitar takes that to another level.

The TWCRD looks great, costs very little and (for the money) sounds amazing.

The guitar is made entirely of laminate mahogany which gives it a full, warm tone, while keeping the price low.

CRD stands for Crossroads Drednought, which gives you an idea of what it is and what is made for. It’s big and it’s for playin’ the blues.

The finish is a rustic whiskey barrel satin design which looks excellent.

Finally, the slim neck and low action mean that this is an ideal guitar for beginners—although we’d encourage anyone on a budget to give this guitar a go.

The downsides? It’s cheap and cheerful. Seasoned guitarists who are used to using higher-spec guitars will have played better-sounding, more comfortable instruments. 

Nevertheless, this guitar offers outstanding value for money.

Yamaha F310

Best acoustic guitar for beginners

Yamaha F310 acoustic guitar
Yamaha F310 acoustic guitar

Pros

  • Great beginners’ guitar
  • Affordable
  • Good sound
  • Loud

Cons

  • Sound quality isn’t particularly rich
  • Might be too loud for quiet voices
  • Not a particularly good looker

Yamaha is well-known for producing top quality budget instruments—think the Pacifica, for example. The F310 is its budget acoustic. 

It’s a square shouldered dreadnought with a warm sound but with a bit of brightness. But more than anything, it’s loud. Very loud.

It has a well-blanced action and thin neck. The neck is satin, which makes it very comfortable to play. The body, on the other hand, is high gloss, making it durable.

It also has a slightly shorter scale than normal, meaning the frets are also slightly smaller than usually found on a dreadnought like this. 

This means the F310 is a perfect beginners’ guitar: affordable, durable, easy to play and a decent level of build quality.

The volume also means it’s a good guitar for strumming chords and accompanying singers. But it’s also surprisingly articulate for a guitar of this price. This means it can be played fingerstyle too.

We’d recommend that beginners start with this guitar and move on to the FG800 as they improve. 

It’s available in tobacco sunburst and natural colours. Beginners can buy the 310 natural as a starter package which includes a range of useful accessories.

Martin D-28

Best acoustic guitar for picking

Martin D-28 acoustic guitar
Image courtesy of: Irish10567 from Little Falls, NJ, USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pros

  • Beautiful, tight sound
  • Amazing for finger picking
  • Great looks

Cons

  • Very high price tag
  • Less suited to strumming
  • Strings might be too close for beginners

The D-28 is a classic design and is widely considered Martin’s flagship guitar.

It’s been around since the 1930s and there have been many different models released over the years.

The more recent ones try to balance the original 1930s models with modern guitar technology.

The D-28 has a solid sitka spruce top and eastern Indian rosewood back and sides. It has an ebony fretboard and bridge. The tone is awesome. It has lots of low end but it still sounds tight.

What makes the latest D-28 special is that its bracing has been shifted forward towards the sounds hole.

This improves the resonance and gives the guitar a tight response—even though it hasn’t been scalloped. This makes it a perfect guitar for finger picking. 

It also has a number of features that you would expect from a guitar of this price. The open backed tuners look and feel great, while the aged aesthetics make this a really cool looking guitar.

It has a slim, oval, hardwood neck with a high-performance taper. This means the strings are closer together, which may prove problematic for beginner guitarists.

It’s also got a high price tag, which will put it out of reach for even some professional guitarists.

Gibson J200

Best acoustic guitar for a big sound

Gibson J200 acoustic guitar
Gibson J200 acoustic guitar

Pros

  • Great looking guitar
  • Massive sound
  • Balanced, beautiful tone

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Smaller and younger players may struggle with the large size
  • Aesthetics aren’t to everyone’s tastes

Another Gibson legend! The J200 was released in 1937, predating the Hummingbird by more than 20 years. 

The J stands for “Jumbo”, although it’s sometimes known as the “SJ” or Super Jumbo. This tells you about its size – it’s big. Very big. And a big guitar means a big sound. 

The J200 has a beautifully clear and balanced sound

But it also means that smaller guitar players and younger players may struggle with it. 

The J200 also stands out when it comes to looks. The pickguard features a beautiful vibe design. But the mustache bridge is probably this guitar’s most recognizable feature – some love it, others hate it.

Leave a Comment