Hello everyone, today we’re looking at acoustic guitars.
I’ve been around guitars over 40 years, and most of that time has been building or servicing acoustic instruments. These high-quality guitars have been around hundreds of years in one form or another.
Today, I’m reviewing ten acoustic models. Here’s why we’re going with acoustic guitars. There’s an instrument included for every player, small or large, so let’s get started!!
We’re going to find you a guitar that fits your style, satisfies your need and meets your budget.
When we do a guitar review, we need to ask. “What makes a good acoustic guitar?” Having worked in a world-class repair shop for many years, I look for a few things:
- Solid top tone wood
- Quality matching back and side wood
- Clean construction
- Decent finish
- Nice set-up
- Appropriately priced
How can you actually use this information? If I find these present, then it’s time to look further into the instrument and play it as well. If all checks out, someone’s going home with a nice acoustic guitar!!
Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners in 2023
1 Taylor Academy Series 12e Grand Concert Guitar
Over the past four-plus decades, there’s a resounding theme from Taylor Guitars; a passion for improving the guitar-playing experience for all players.
As a company that’s passionate about exposing more players to the pleasures of making music, Taylor isn’t content to see people throw in the towel before they have a chance to make music a part of their everyday life.
The Academy Series, which includes the Academy 12e Grand Concert making our list today, represents Taylor’s effort to support the development of the entry-level guitar player in comfort, value and playability. Why does that matter?
Taylor believes that in many respects a player who is just beginning deserves the best-playing guitar experience to help their success.
The Taylor 12e is a deep Grand Concert body with a cutaway. Solid Sitka spruce gives the 12e a nice tone wood top. The back and sides are Sapele.
With the standard Taylor matte finish, a decent nut and fingerboard, you’re ready to start practicing and playing the day your guitar arrives. The 12e Grand Concert is a fine guitar to start our review.
2 Taylor GS Mini-e Walnut
The Taylor GS Mini-e acoustic guitar is our next review. There’s something definitely inviting about the Taylor GS Mini’s scaled-down size, yet a single strum reveals the impressive voice of a full-size guitar.
That mix of compactness and musicality has proven to be a winning combination that fits into so many scenarios in life, from the couch to the campfire to the concert hall. It’s not too big, it’s not too precious, and it’s not too expensive.
That broad-based availability has given the GS Mini a resounding universal appeal, not to mention it’s just fun to play!
The shorter 23-1/2 in. scale length makes forming chords a breeze, but still gives the instrument plenty of volume and tuning stability for a pleasing playing experience.
Sitka spruce is the most prevalent guitar top wood of the modern era. It blends stiffness and elasticity in just the right proportions which translates into broad dynamic range with crisp articulation.
The layered walnut back and sides creates a sturdy yet responsive combination for the vibrating strings to get the most out of every note played.
Layered wood is less susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity, making the GS Mini-e an excellent choice for players who travel with their instruments or simply require more durability.
Electronics for the Mini GS is an innovative pickup design that delivers the latest in Taylor’s ongoing originality in acoustic guitar amplification. The heart of the Expression System 2 is Taylor’s patented, behind-the-saddle pickup, which features three individually positioned and calibrated pickup sensors.
Because the pickup doesn’t sit under the saddle, the bottom of the saddle comes in full contact with the bridge, allowing all the distinction of the best sound possible.
All GS-Mini models include a durable hard bag that’s perfect for players on-the-go.
3 Epiphone DR-500MCE Acoustic
Next up is the full-sized, dreadnought body style Epiphone DR-500MCE. The DR-500MCE guitar combines traditional construction methods and features premium all-solid tone woods to bring you a new vintage guitar with deep, rich lows, shimmering highs, and just the right amount of mid-range notes.
While many other guitars in this price class use pressed backs, spliced neck joints, and even artificial backs and sides, you can be assured that this Epiphone guitar holds true to its all-solid wood promise. It features a solid Sitka spruce top, hand-scalloped Sitka spruce braces, a 25-1/2″-scale rosewood fingerboard, and a rosewood bridge.
Players looking for vintage tone and ambiance will appreciate the handcrafted dovetail neck joint and hide-glue construction. The DR-500MCE guitar has a solid mahogany back and sides, as well as a 20-fret, hand-shaped mahogany neck that joins the body at the 14th fret, which is embellished with split-diamond pearl fretboard inlays.
The Epiphone DR-500MCE features a vintage-style offset headstock with a stickpin inlay. The DR-500MCE sounds great unplugged, but it really comes alive when plugged in, thanks to the eSonic2 preamp system. The preamp features a built-in, easy-to-use tuner to keep you tune for all jam sessions.
Add in a hard-shell case and you should be set for many years to come.
4 Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar
The S6 has a gorgeous domestic wild cherry back and sides to provide a unique tone on this original from Seagull. The solid cedar top and rosewood fingerboard and bridge add to the warmth of the S6.
A silverleaf maple neck on a shorter 24.84″ scale with the rosewood fretboard is easy on the fingers and a nice, smaller scale for the beginning player to achieve success. The specially aligned machine heads make for quick, stable tuning; another nice feature the new players will enjoy.
The wider nut and compensated saddle make tuning and playing a breeze; especially for beginner musicians. The semi-gloss lacquer finish adds appeal and protection for the S6; a nice choice over polyurethane finishes.
The Seagull S6 is made in North America. The select pressure tested top and double action truss rod ensures durability and playability for all skill levels. The S6 is another perfect choice at an attractive price for the aspiring guitar player.
5 Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic Guitar
Well known as a Grammy-winner, Tim Armstrong is also well respected as a producer and label owner. But as a songwriter, he has always turned to his old Fender concert-style acoustic for inspiration. Armstrong worked with Fender to design a modern version of his time-tested partner, giving it a strong, rich voice.
The Tim Armstrong Hellcat is based on Armstrong’s own classic instrument, with modern appointments including high-quality Fishman onboard electronics.
The Fender Hellcat acoustic guitar features a solid mahogany top and mahogany back and sides, giving it a rich and warm voice that is further enriched by its concert-sized body style with Fender’s advanced scalloped bracing. The instrument also features a maple neck, a walnut fingerboard, and vintage-style open-gear tuners.
The Scalloped “X” bracing and compensated saddle add to the acoustics of the Helllcat, and a urea nut and saddle compliment the package. Throw in some chrome die cast tuning keys and your ready to practice or play with your friends and family.
6 Bristol BD-16 Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar
The Bristol BD-16 Dreadnaught was successfully created to bring the traditional sound of the mountains and quality guitar construction to even the most budget-conscious player at any level.
At this price, the finest spruce and mahogany tonewoods are carefully handcrafted by skilled artisans with years of experience. The vintage designed forward “X” top bracing is lightweight, but strong enough to ensure great carrying power and resonance. The BD-16 provides a bright, full range sound. The beautiful mahogany back and sides are chosen for robust volume and responsive tone.
The slim mahogany neck features a fully adjustable truss rod to guarantee perfect playing action at all times. The result is a traditionally styled dreadnaught guitar with a big, full-bodied sound and rich tone that won’t break the bank.
Finally, the chrome-plated 14:1 die-cast machine heads are smooth and precise to always keep you in tune. These are really excellent features for the beginner acoustic player.
7 Yamaha APX600 BL Thin Body Acoustic-Electric Guitar
In 1987, Yamaha made the first acoustic guitar that could be taken from a guitar rack, plugged in and played at volume, problem free. No more howling feedback, misplaced mics or dreaded extended sound checks.
The latest APX600 features a unique under-saddle piezo pickup. The Yamaha proprietary SRT transducer is featured in the highly-acclaimed “A” series range, with a natural tone.
The feedback rejection and mix-friendly sound are qualities all guitarists crave. Although its style has evolved, the essence of the APX remains the same. Today, it boasts a more natural look, a deeper body for better bass response and greater volume.
A new scalloped bracing pattern for increased bass response provides for a responsive, dynamic tone. The thin-line cutaway body design allows for exceptional playability. The 25″ scale length and narrower string spacing for enhanced comfort is an asset for beginning all players.
Add an abalone sound hole rosette and you have a fine guitar for years to come.
8 Fender CD-60S Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
This exclusive Fender CD-60 dreadnought acoustic guitar bundle includes one of Fender’s most popular acoustic models, plus all of the accessories you need to start playing right out of the box. Save yourself time and money with an acoustic guitar bundle.
The CD-60 acoustic guitar is well suited for beginner to intermediate players who want a versatile, high-quality dreadnought. The all-mahogany dreadnought style body lends a warm and mellow tone while scalloped “X” bracing provides extra resonance and projection when you play.
This Fender dreadnought acoustic looks just as good as it sounds, featuring a stunning natural wood finish, black and white neck and body binding, chrome tuning knobs, and a “mother of pearl” style acrylic design around the sound hole.
In addition to the guitar, this bundle includes a Fender hard-shell case, guitar strap, guitar picks, guitar strings, and a clip-on digital tuner. You know you’re going to need these accessories, so save big with an all-in-one bundle!
The CD-60 guitar bundle is ideal for players looking for a high-quality affordable dreadnought with great tone and excellent playability.
9 Yamaha FG830 Solid Top Folk Guitar
When it was introduced in 1966, the Yamaha FG proved that a great acoustic guitar didn’t need to cost a fortune. With a focus on great playability, musical tone and outstanding build quality, the original FG quickly became a classic with countless careers and hit records.
After 50 years since the introduction of the FG acoustic, the new range features the best-ever FG tone and the same great playability and class-leading quality that’s made it the choice of millions of guitarists.
The 800 Series has a louder and stronger sound in the low to mid-ranges, thanks to cutting-edge acoustic analysis technology developed by the Yamaha R&D Division. Yamaha’s engineers have achieved this sound by utilizing analysis and simulation to arrive at the best bracing design without depending on tradition.
The 800 Series features a new scalloped bracing pattern; an ideal acoustic structure that maintains the durability of the top board, while bringing out more of the natural sound of the instrument.
Rich overtones and improved sustain are achieved with the rosewood back and sides that deliver improved sound through greater depth. The appearance, with abalone inlay around the sound hole, is more than most beginner guitars offer.
Every aspect is crafted to make a better guitar. From painstakingly cured and dried woods to beautiful hand-sprayed finishes and detailed quality control, each and every FG is made to be a lifelong partner.
10 Ibanez AEG12IINT Acoustic-Electric Guitar
The AEG Series’ slender, single-cutaway bodies deliver powerful and balanced acoustic sound, unplugged or through an amp or PA system.
This guitar combines easy playability, classic solid design with sunburst finishes and mahogany bodies. The spruce top creates a quality, workhorse acoustic guitar that will rise to any occasion.
High quality Fishman Sonicore pickups and Ibanez preamps with onboard tuners provide the sparkling tones that sound great in any venue.
Other features include:
- Mahogany top, back and sides
- High-quality Fishman Sonicore pickups
- Ibanez AEQ-SP1 Preamps
- On-Board Tuner
- Unique Fretboard Inlay
Another great choice for the beginner player.
Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners Buyers Guide
Our buyer’s guide will give you some solid information to consider when shopping for, playing and buying your acoustic guitar. Keep this guide in mind, or even print it out and take it with you when you’re ready to shop.
When you want to purchase a guitar, you need to ask a few questions. Consider the following:
- Who made the guitar?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they use quality materials?
- Is a case included?
- Do they offer a warranty?
Past history, popularly among peers and easy accessibility will be great assets when considering the reputation of the company that builds your new guitar.
“What makes a good acoustic guitar?” Look for the features listed below:
- Solid top tone wood
- Quality matching back and side wood
- Clean construction
- Decent finish
- Nice set-up
- Appropriately priced
How can you actually use this information? If you find these characteristics present, then it’s time to look further into the instrument and play it as well.
You should be on the right track for your purchase.
After you have selected a guitar or two for consideration, check out the weight. The guitar should feel light, but not cheaply constructed. If it feels heavy, it’s probably not going to respond really well, especially since we’re considering classical guitars. Test out a few; go with your instincts and you should end up with a nice guitar.
There are several different sizes of acoustic guitars. The instrument should feel good in your hands and in the playing position. The guitar should “fit” you, like a garment. Where your arm rests on the guitar and your hand reaches the playing position should be natural. Your hand should feel normal on the neck, and your fingers will move comfortably on the fretboard. Again, playing a few different choices should make the selection comfortable and reassuring.
Wow!! What a great lineup of acoustic guitars!! After seeing all of these instruments, it’s time to make a choice and get one in your hands. Our top choice today is the Taylor GS Mini-e. The spruce top, scaled down size, and electronics package make this a great guitar for the beginner for years to come. Once you make the investment in this quality guitar, you’ll be glad you own it for many years to come.