12 Best Acoustic Guitars in 2018
Millions of people dream of playing the guitar, and most turn to electric guitars first as they tend to be easier to play. It also helps that you generally sound like you’re doing something cool, even when you aren’t. Well, Acoustic guitars can be the best way to learn from the ground up, and our best acoustic guitar list is geared towards rookies and pros alike.
Whether you are buying a guitar for your child or yourself, we have included several different sizes and styles of guitars to choose from. We have also put together a handy guide to help make your buying decision simple.
Top 12 Acoustic Guitars Comparison Table
|Design||Name||Size||Multiple Colors||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar||Dreadnaught||Yes||4.8|
|2. Martin LXK2 Little Martin Koa Pattern HPL Top||3/4||No||4.7|
|3. Oscar Schmidt OG2SM Acoustic Guitar||Full||No||4.6|
|4. Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar||7/8||No||4.6|
|5. Yamaha JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar||3/4||No||4.6|
|6. Fender Acoustic Guitar Bundle with Gig Bag||Full||No||4.5|
|7. Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic Guitar||Full||No||4.5|
|8. Fender MA-1 3/4-Size Steel String Acoustic Guitar||3/4||Yes||4.4|
|9. Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic Guitar||Full||Yes||4.4|
|10. Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar||Full||No||4.4|
|11. Oscar Schmidt OGHSB 1/2 Size Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar||1/2||No||4.3|
|12. Taylor Guitars Big Baby Taylor||15/16||No||4.3|
Acoustic Guitar Buying Guide
Many acoustic guitars look the same on the outside aside from the finish or style. There are more things to consider however including these key areas.
While guitars are sized in a certain fashion, it is always good to play one before buying if at all possible. If you are unable to test things out, you need to turn to the manufacturer’s listed measurements and a good old sizing chart. If in doubt on the sizing chart, double check it against the specifications listed on the manufacturer’s website.
The instruments on our best acoustic guitar list come in three main sizes with full-sized, 3/4 size and half-size guitars. Half-size acoustic guitars are good for kids or small handed adults, while 3/4 is your best bet if you think you’ll have trouble playing an adult guitar. In other words, if you have short arms, go with the 3/4 size. There are also oddballs like 7/8 and 15/16, the latter being only slightly smaller than a full-sized acoustic guitar.
Wood & Tone
The wood used in the guitar directly affects the tone. While it is used in the neck, back, sides and top, certain areas affect the tone more than others. Unfortunately, manufacturers offer up plenty of exotic options these days, which can make things confusing for consumers. The most common types of top wood found in basic guitars are Mahogany, Maple, and Spruce.
When you get to the exotics, things can get expensive with companies like Martin offering up options like Italian Alpine Spruce, Walnut, and Cherry. You will also want to take a look at the construction to see if it’s a solid body or has laminate panels. The latter won’t hold up as well and doesn’t have a full tone like a solid body acoustic guitar. For beginners, this won’t matter much, but more experienced players may want to research the types of woods and the tones the produce.
Acoustic guitars don’t come decked out like their electric brethren, so the actual “options” or extras are a little scarce. Some models will let you choose a color or shade of wood, while others may have a custom pickguard or fancy rosette. While you can change some things (including those two items) on acoustics, it’s better to decide what you like ahead of time.
When it comes to extras, you may also want to consider an acoustic guitar with a kit. Many will come with a gig bag or a few picks, two things that should always be included but often are not. Other perks include straps, tuners, and extra strings. While it may seem minor, these things add up so if you’re buying your first guitar, consider a kit or combo set.
Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitar Reviews
Are you a beginner with long limbs and fingers? If so, the Yamaha FG800 is a wise choice as it is a full sized guitar that is affordable and in the big bad Dreadnaught style, the model we chose has a solid Sitka Spruce top with a Rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The back and sides are Nato, and the tuners up top are diecast. The build is certainly solid, and it sounds great, but that’s not why it’s at the top.
Many guitars will offer a few options when it comes to the style or wood, but not as many as the FG800 brings to the table. This model is available in two body shapes with Dreadnaught and Concert and your choice of five types of wood. Flamed Maple is nice, but so is the Rosewood. That is just the body, as the options continue with the color as well. You can’t mix and match every option, but there are plenty of styles to choose from.
This is one of the rare guitars that is offered up for lefties as well. Only the acoustic 6-string model is available for left-handed guitarists, but righties can opt for an acoustic electric or even a 12-string guitar.
Most people aren’t lucky enough to own a big Martin right out of the gate as they aren’t necessarily cheap when it comes to the full-size models. The Martin LXK2 Little Martin is a steal however and puts out amazing sounds at only 3/4 the size of a regular model. This guitar features the company’s 1-style Sitka spruce bracing and their neck mortise as well.
At first glance, you may notice the Little Martin looks different. That is due in part to the unique Koa pattern and the fact there is no pick guard on this particular guitar. While it does give the acoustic guitar a clean look, it is something to keep in mind depending on your playing style. It also has a laminate top although you wouldn’t know it by the sound it produces compared to cheaper solid body acoustic guitars.
The Little Martin LXK2 only comes in the Koa Pattern and is very well made despite its laminate nature. It also comes with a nice padded gig bag to keep your new beauty safe.
If you are in the market for an acoustic guitar that will stand out on stage, look no further than the Oscar Schmidt OG2SM. This full sized acoustic guitar has a Spalted Maple top with Catalpa sides and back. In other words, the body looks exotic and pairs nicely with the Rosewood fingerboard and bridge.
This acoustic guitar is geared towards right-handed players and measures around 18” x 46” x 7” wide. It is in the dreadnaught style, something to consider depending on your size and arm length. It is not a small guitar by any means and produces a large sound even with a laminate top.
From the Chrome tuners to that shiny wild looking top panel, the Oscar Schmidt OG2SM is a great guitar for both beginners and seasoned pros. Unfortunately, it does not appear to come with a bag or case, so you will want to have one on hand to fit this large acoustic.
When dealing with high-end guitars, Martin and Taylor are two names that tend to spring up more often than not. Taylor managed to squeeze two acoustics onto our best acoustic guitar list with the first being the Taylor GS Mini which sports a lovely Mahogany top. This one has been deemed a modern “parlor” guitar by the company meaning it’s smaller with a body depth of only 4 7/16” and is 14 3/8” wide.
The length on this one is listed at 17 5/8” although rest assured, it sounds like a big guitar – it’s just easier to play and carry around. As for the actual build, you will get solid Mahogany back and sides on this right-handed guitar with layered Sapele bracing. The neck is made from African Ebony wood, and the Sapele Scale length is set to 23 1/2”.
The name says it all with this one as you can only get it in the Mahogany style with the rosy Red pickguard. It also comes with a gig bag, but it is a soft case which is not going to be ideal for everyone when it comes to expensive acoustic guitars. We really liked the sound this one produced and think you will feel the same way.
If you are just picking up an acoustic guitar for the very first time, prepare to meet your new baby. The Yamaha JR1 acoustic guitar has been a fan favorite for years, and while we’ve seen variants of this one, the Legacy Kit bundle is the only way to go.
Yamaha wants to make sure players have everything they need to get going out of the box with this kit. That means you will get a gig bag, clip-on tuner, a capo, peg winder and a strap to help keep your arms fresh. You will also get a DVD to teach you the ropes and a fresh set of folk guitar strings – you are going to pop one or two eventually. Throw in a slew of Legacy picks and a holder, and you’ve got yourself a kit that will last for years and can be passed down as well.
While this is far from their top of the line guitar, the JR1 is solid and sized at 3/4, so it’s suitable for both kids and adults. The Spruce top is laminate, but that’s to be expected for the price and the guitar itself is solid overall with Meranti back, sides and a Rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The only downside to this particular model is if you are a leftie, as it is currently only available for right-handed guitarists.