Music is one of the most powerful forms of art. When you are having a bad day you can turn on your favorite song and boom, that bad day just magically disappears.
But do you know what’s even more powerful than music itself? Being able to play it. And while there are a ton of instruments you can learn how to play, with this article we are going to focus on the acoustic guitar.
In our opinion, the acoustic guitar is one of the best instruments for beginners to learn how to play. And with so many easy songs to start with, you will have a ton of fun learning this instrument.
So now the question is, what are the best acoustic guitar brands? And what type of acoustic guitar should you get?
Those are great questions and we hope to help you answer them with this short guide. Below you will find 5 of the best acoustic guitar brands, as well as one of the best acoustic guitars for each of those brands.
The Best 5 Acoustic Guitar Brands & Guitars
1. Fender Squier Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Fender is a brand that needs no introduction. Chances are you have seen a piece of Fender equipment and didn’t even realize it.
The Fender brand has been around for over 70 years. During that time they have developed a reputation for always developing quality products with a slick design.
Artists such as Eric Clapton, and the late great Jimi Hendrix, are known for always choosing to play with a Fender guitar.
With the Fender Squier Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar you will get everything you need to start playing as soon as you take it out the box.
It comes with a gig bag to help keep your instrument safe, a clip on tuner so you can always stay in tune, a strap so you can play while standing, and picks so you can start playing immediately. This guitar also comes with extra strings that can be used at a later date.
If you are completely new to playing the guitar, you will really appreciate the Austin Bazaar instructional DVD that comes with this bundle. You can use it to pick up a few tips as you are learning to play.
With the Squier Dreadnought you will get big sound at a very affordable price. It's all-laminate construction makes it durable and strong enough to withstand everyday use.
- All-laminate construction.
- Features durable dark-stained maple fingerboard.
- Comes with everything you need to start playing immediately.
- Great for beginners.
- Users have complained about the lack of durability.
2. Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar
Jasmine started off as a Takamine brand and was later sold to KMC Music. While the Jasmine brand is known for their steel-string dreadnoughts and orchestra models, it is their student models that get the most attention.
Jasmine brand guitars are budget friendly and can be found in just about every major music store.
The Jasmine S35 is one of the best deals you will find when it comes to acoustic guitars. It features a spruce top and mahogany back & sides. It also has a very beautiful satin finish.
The contemporary styling and time-tested construction make this guitar one that is built to last. This makes it ideal for those just starting their guitar journey.
The Jasmine S35 also features a select spruce top, a full 25 1/2" scale length, chrome tuners, and full body binding.
- Features a spruce top and mahogany back & sides.
- Chrome covered Tuning Machines.
- Satin finish.
- Rosewood fretboard.
- Users have complained about the quality of the guitar.
3. Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Folk Acoustic Guitar
Yamaha is a brand known for making a variety of different instruments. And the one thing all of those instruments have in common is their quality.
Since 1897 Yamaha has been delivering some of the best guitars for beginners. Talk to any professional and it is a good chance they got their start with a Yamaha.
The Yamaha FG800 comes as a bundle. The bundle includes all of the accessories a complete beginner would need to start playing the guitar.
The bundle includes a gig bag, a click on digital tuner, pick card, guitar strap, an extra set of strings, a polishing cloth, and our favorite, an instructional DVD. Purchasing a bundle like this will save you both time and money.
For extra resonance the FG800 features a solid spruce top and scalloped bracing.
- Has everything you need to start playing right out the box.
- Comes with a digital chromatic clip-on tuner to help the guitar stay in tune.
- Comes with an instructional DVD so you can quickly learn how to play.
- Great for beginners just learning to play.
- Guitar bag is not the best quality.
- Solid Spruce Top
- Nato/Okume Back and Sides for a rich, warm sound
- Newly developed scalloped bracing for stronger sound!
- Traditional Western Dreadnought Body
- Traditional looks and outstanding quality
4. Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
Do you know what Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash have in common? They have all been known to use Martin guitars over the course of their careers.
When it comes to acoustic guitars, Martin is known as the gold standard. They have been around since 1833 and have been making top quality instruments since the day they opened their doors.
They offer acoustic guitars in a variety of different price ranges so that more players can experience what it feels like to own a Martin guitar.
While the Martin LX1 may be smaller than some of the other guitars on this list, one thing it's not lacking in is features.
It's made using a Mahogany pattern HPL (high pressure laminate) with textured finish. It also has a solid Sitka spruce top which gives it a very stylish look.
The Rust Stratabond neck and Solid Morado or East Indian Rosewood fingerboard are what gives this guitar that signature Martin sound.
The Martin LX1 is perfect for beginners who have small hands. This basically means it's ideal for children.
- Features a Mahogany pattern HPL (high pressure laminate) textured finish.
- Comes with a padded gig bag.
- Great for beginners.
- It's a bit expensive.
- Mahogany pattern HPL (high pressure laminate) textured finish, solid sitka spruce top
- Rust Stratabond neck, shortened 3/4 scale
- Chrome small-knob tuners. Tusq saddle.
- Solid Morado or East Indian Rosewood fingerboard
- Includes padded gig bag
5. Taylor Guitars Baby Taylor BT1
Though the Taylor brand has only been around since 1974, it seems like it has been around for much longer. They started off as an acoustic guitar company and that has remained their main focus over the last 40 years.
Taylor is actually the first brand to precision manufacture guitars using computer mills. And while they still make all of their high end guitars in California, they have moved the production of their more affordable models to Mexico.
Some popular artists who are known for playing Taylor guitars include Taylor Swift and Jason Mraz.
If you are looking for a guitar that offers the ultimate in portability, you will love this baby Taylor guitar.
Though this guitar is only three-quarters the size of a full-sized guitar, don’t let its small size fool you. It can still deliver both volume and tone.
Because of its size, the BT1 is a great option for small children just learning how to play the guitar.
This guitar is available in either a solid spruce top, or a solid mahogany top.
- Great for travel due to its compact size.
- Great for small children.
- Very versatile.
- This guitar is pretty expensive.
Best Acoustic Guitar Brands - Buyers Guide
Type of Wood
The type of wood used on a guitar will affect everything from the sound it produces, to how durable it is. So the one you choose will make a huge difference in your play.
There are only two main types of wood to choose from. Solid wood or laminate wood. Most experienced players prefer a solid wood because of the resonance and sustain it provides. Solid woods also tend to age better, and deliver a better overall tone.
There are however two big problems with solid wood. Not only is it more expensive, but it's also more prone to damage.
Laminate wood on the other hand is affordable, sturdy, and resistant to changing weather. If you are looking for that old school, vintage tone, laminate wood is the way to go.
Playability is more important than most people realize. If you don’t feel comfortable playing your guitar, it can lead to problems later on down the road.
To make sure you have a comfortable feel, you need to pay close attention to the scale length and nut width.
Scale length is the length a string has to be stretched from the nut to the bridge. Generally speaking, the shorter the scale length, the softer the string tension. This makes playing the instrument a lot easier.
Longer scale length means you will have more fret space and more string tension. Longer scales are a little harder to play, but they have more sustain.
If you are a beginner it's best to start with shorter scale lengths.
The second thing that affects playability is nut width. Nut width is the measurement of how wide the nut is. A smaller nut width is easier to play and great for those with smaller fingers.
A wider nut width has more space between each string and is ideal for adult players.
Playability is also affected by the neck profile.
Is an Amplifier Needed
The simple answer is no. You do not need an amp to play the acoustic guitar. However, if your goal is to achieve the best amplified tone, then having a specific amp is the best way to make that happen.
If you are a complete beginner, having an acoustic guitar with pickups already installed will be very beneficial. With them you will be able to quickly pick up and go. Just plug it into the amplifier and you will be ready to play within a matter of minutes.
If on the other hand you would prefer to install your own pickups, make sure you know what you are doing. Otherwise you may end up permanently damaging your guitar.
If you can’t afford to get an acoustic guitar amp, you can always use an electric guitar amp. Keep in mind most electric guitar amps are not designed to work with acoustic guitars. And while they will amplify the sound, it won’t sound the greatest.
You will need to make adjustments to the EQ if you want to get a reasonable tone.
What Is Needed To Care For Your New Guitar
When you first get your acoustic guitar you will be super excited. Chances are you will spend hours on end just practicing. Which by the way is great.
What you need to understand is, acoustic guitars require proper care if you want them to last for an extended period of time.
Most people just assume the acoustic guitar is super strong because of its hollow wooden body. And while it does feel solid to the touch, in reality it is very fragile. Even the slightest temperature change can have a negative affect on it.
Because of this, you will need to take extra care to ensure it doesn’t get any bumps or scratches inadvertently.
This should go without saying, but please be careful not to drop the guitar. It would be a good idea to invest in a quality guitar case. Doing so will help prolong the life of the guitar, and help maintain its playability.
Having a quality case also makes it safer and easier to transport the guitar. If you drop it, or bang it up against something, the hard outer shell will help keep it safe.
Acoustic guitars have been known to warp when the humidity gets too high. It is therefore a good idea to invest in a hydrometer so that you can monitor humidity levels.
We would also recommend investing in a good guitar stand. This way you won’t be forced to place your guitar on the ground, or in a place where it is more likely to get damaged.
Lastly, make sure you clean your guitar on a regular basis. This can be easily done with a guitar cleaning and maintenance kit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Brand of Acoustic Guitar Is Best For Beginners?
Yamaha is the best brand for beginners. Their main focus has always been on creating great instruments for students. They focus more on reliability and playability, rather than fancy features.
When you are a beginner, having a reliable guitar that is easy to play is really all you need.
The great thing about Yamaha is they also create pro quality guitars that are designed for those who are ready to hit the stage.
That means you can start off as a student, and graduate up to a pro with Yamaha acoustic guitars.
Are Expensive Acoustic Guitars Worth it?
This is a question that you will have to answer for yourself. People buy expensive guitars for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes it's an emotional reason, other times is simply because they have the money to blow.
Here’s the thing about acoustic guitars, for the most part you will get what you pay for. While you can find some relatively decent cheap guitars, they won’t play as good, or sound as good, as some of the more expensive models.
On top of that, the expensive models almost always look better than the cheaper models.
So are expensive acoustic guitars worth it? That depends on where you are in your journey and what your ultimate goal is.
If you are a complete newbie, we would not recommend you invest in an expensive guitar. If on the other hand you are a professional, having an expensive acoustic guitar may be in your best interest.
Which Guitar Brand is Best?
This is like asking a parent which one of their children do they love the most. While each child is different, the parent loves all of them just the same.
It's the same with guitar brands. Most musicians love multiple guitar brands. And if you ask them to narrow it down to just one, they would have a hard time doing so.
Some musicians start off with a Yamaha guitar but later graduate to a Martin or Ibanez. Others might start off with a particular brand and stick with it for their entire career.
I say this to say, which guitar brand is best is all a matter of preference. For example, Taylor Swift is known for playing Taylor guitars, while Ed Sheeran is known as more of a Martin guitar man.
That doesn’t mean Taylor is better than Martin. It simply means those two artists prefer a different brand guitar.
At the end of the day you have to find the brand that you connect with. Each brand has a different story and will offer something different.
Some brands have better playability while others deliver better tone. It all boils down to what features are important to you.
There is a good chance you will find one or two brands that you fall in love with. When that happens, you will have found the best guitar brand.