The Best Acoustic Guitar of 2020 Under $1000

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Out of all the guitars to choose from, which one is the best acoustic guitar? Of course, the answer depends on your preference.

When you want to pick up an iconic instrument that will provide some of the most resonant tones, then the acoustic guitar is a great place to start. Unlike the electric, this style of guitar doesn’t require an amplifier, and it’s just perfect for jamming at home or playing some of everyone’s favorite songs by the campfire.

best acoustic guitar reviews

Still, not everyone knows where to start when they first decide to pick up the guitar. There is a massive amount of guitar models out there just waiting on the market. As a result, it’s tough figuring out where to begin. To help you find your ideal acoustic guitar, I created this article.

In this guide, I’m going to highlight ten different models of acoustic guitar, which should give you a great start.

Guitar Buying Guide

Before I get to the reviews, let’s take a look at what you should consider before you even make a purchase.

Remember, this will be an instrument that you’ll be playing for years. For this reason, you’ll want a product that’s as fully-featured as possible so that you can derive a lot of good playing sessions from it.

With that in mind, here are a few features that you should consider when you settle on a product:

Number of Frets

high fret reach with cutaway

While this is not entirely important with acoustics compared to electrics, having a higher number of frets means that you will have more access to the higher notes. As a result, you’ll have a higher range and will have to rely less on bends when you’re trying to achieve a higher tonality.

If you are shooting for a warmer sound, you can get away with a 20-fret instrument. Having the versatility that 22 frets or more brings can be very useful too, especially if you are playing multiple genres of music.

Types of String

No matter which type of acoustic guitar you purchase, you can expect two types of strings: nylon and steel. Which of these you pick will depend on the sound that you’d like to output and how you like to play.

Remember, a classical guitar, which nylon strings are specifically for, cannot have steel strings. The tension of the strings can be too much for the neck, and replacing steel strings with nylon strings can be tough due to the ball ends. These ball ends featured on steel strings but doesn’t come standard on nylon ones.

For a better understanding of the features of each string type, let’s take a look at each:

Steel

If you like a brighter sound that’s great for the country and some folk music, then steel strings can be a great option.

With a steel-string guitar, there are more internal braces so that the body of the guitar can withstand the tension that’s generated by the heavier strings. As a result, a guitar of this type might feel a little sturdier.

steel strings

When looking at these strings, you will immediately notice that the higher strings become less complicated.

For example, the high E string and the B string will primarily be just wire. A metal core wraps the strings, and with it, the strings are thicker and more resonant.

Nylon

Once again, for guitars using nylon strings, utilizing steel strings will most likely cause structural damage in the neck and body areas. When I’m playing on nylon strings, the first thing I notice is how smooth they feel. Then, I started on steel strings. I observed that the lower the string, the more you can feel the coiled metal.

Changing Nylon Strings

With nylon strings, the strings almost feel plastic-like and feel great on your fingers. These also have a deeper tonality than steel strings, which means that there’s no better option for folk music.

If you want to play some soulful music by the fire, then nylon strings will have some of the smoothest sounds available on this type of instrument. Funnily enough, the D and E strings on nylon strings are sometimes wrapped in steel.

Body Type

While you may explore your local Guitar Center and think that every acoustic in their acoustic section is related, but there are quite a few varieties. One of my personal favorites is the 12-string acoustic, which has a very resonant sound that almost sounds like a harpsichord. Although when it comes to body type, here are a few to consider:

Different Guitar Sizes

Dreadnought

If you like bluegrass, then most likely you’ve seen a dreadnought guitar. This type of guitar named after a battleship is more extensive than most other guitar types. The tail is vast, but you’ll also notice that the neck is relatively wide as well.

Grand Concert

This particular body type is a variant of the concert guitar that can put out a high amount of volume that can fill a venue. If you like bright tones, this is a guitar to consider. Concert guitars also tend to run a bit on the smaller side.

Grand Auditorium

Also called the grand orchestra guitar, these instruments also have a loud volume output. The tones generated with this instrument are more in the midrange than the high-pitched sounds that come from concert guitars.

Jumbo

Anyone that remembers Johnny Cash remembers his jumbo guitar, which is an overlarge style of guitar that differentiates from the dreadnought in design. Because of the larger sound chamber, this is a guitar with a very resonant sound profile.

Learn more about acoustic guitar buying guide with this article.

The Best Sounding Acoustic Guitar of 2020

Comparison Table

Use this comparison table to sort through the acoustic guitar reviews by body shape, tonewoods, neck and fretboard, finish, and hand orientation.

RankModel / BrandBody ShapeTop; Back & SidesNeck & FretboardFinishHand Orientation
1Martin D10e
Martin D10e
DreadnoughtSitka-Spruce; SapeleSelect Hardwood; FSC Certified RichliteSatinRight
2Yamaha FG800
Yamaha FG800
Dreadnought, ConcertSolid Sitka Spruce; NatoRosewoodGlossRight
3Taylor GS Mini
Taylor GS Mini
Scaled-down Grand Symphony bodySapele; MahoganyWest African EbonyVarnishRight
4Fender CD-60S
Fender CD-60S
DreadnoughtSolid Spruce; Laminated MahoganyMahoganyGlossAmbidextrous
5Seagull S6
Seagull S6 "The Original"
DreadnoughtWild Cherry; CedarMaple; RosewoodSemi-gloss lacquerRight
6Taylor BBT
Taylor Big Baby
15/16 Size DreadnoughtSolid Sitka Spruce; SapeleSapele; EbonyVarnishRight
7LX1E Little Martin
LX1E Little Martin
Modified O-14 FretSitka Spruce; MahoganyMahogany; Rust Birch LaminateWarm SatinRight
8Yamaha F325D
Yamaha F325D
DreadnoughtSpruce; SapeleNato; RosewoodGlossRight
9Fender FA-100
Fender FA-100
DreadnoughtBasswood; SpruceMaple; RosewoodGloss PolyurethaneAmbidextrous

Top 9 Acoustic Guitar Reviews

Here are the top-rated acoustic guitars of 2020!

Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar: Martin D-10e

I am a big fan of hybrid acoustic-electric because I sometimes like to plug in, and these types give me an opportunity. Either plugged in or not, Martin D10-e delivers some resonant tones, even when it’s not metal.

[UPDATE]

The Martin D10-e is the improved version of already excellent DRS2 and DRS1.

This acoustic-electric also has a proper construction that’s eco-friendly. Martin utilized a Sitka spruce for the top, which produces a warm sound. They also used an FSC certified wood on the fretboard and bridge.

There are 20 frets on this board, and X-bracing supports the spruce top, which also provides a high level of volume.

Sapele makes the backs and sides of the instrument. This tonewood particularly shines in the midrange. When playing acoustically, you get a very crisp and even sound.

When you opt to plug it in, you get a chance to use the new and significantly upgraded Fishman MX-T electronics package. It has a built-in tuner which is super easy to use and excellent tone control.

The other new feature would be the looks. With this new version, Martin added a new premium look appealing for pretty much everyone.

So, how does the instrument perform? Well, this is a clear and crisp guitar that has a respectable level of volume. The midrange shines with this instrument, and overall, it’s also a guitar that has a high level of durability.

Even though it is a little expensive, it’s an excellent investment. You can use it wherever you go, or whatever you want to play. It has solid tonewoods which will improve the quality of the guitar as time pass by.

Read my in-depth review of Martin D10-e

Best Acoustic Guitar for Beginners: Yamaha FG800

acoustic guitar - Yamaha FG800

High-quality wooden and metallic materials form Yamaha’s western dreadnought guitar.

First, this guitar’s top is a Sitka spruce, which produces a warm sound as a tonewood. The Nato/Okume back and sides enhance the sound, which is excellent with various folksy styles of music.

In addition to this unique sound profile, the internals of the guitar utilizes scalloped bracing, which helps this instrument produce some truly high volume that emulates grand concert levels.

While this instrument has a high action level, this is still a relatively easy guitar to learn on. This instrument is also a very sturdy and durable; the scalloped bracing adds a lot of stability as well as volume.

The fingerboard and the bridge are both made of the ever-reliable rosewood, and there are 20 frets on the fretboard. This instrument also has a very aesthetically-pleasing headstock; it’s made of the same rosewood but has a beautiful shaping that rises to two rounded points from the middle.

Durable die-cast metal forms the tuning pegs. This instrument will seldom need tuning, which is a significant bonus for people just learning to play guitar.

In conclusion, the Yamaha FG800 is a good value for beginners or advanced players. It has delicate, crisp tones that don’t cost a lot, and it’ll fit most adults.

If you’re a fan of Yamaha, you might want to check their newly released series that looks and sounds majestic, Storia Series.

Read my in-depth review of Yamaha FG800

Best Guitar for Travel: Taylor GS Mini

mini guitar - Taylor GS Mini

The Taylor GS Mini is what we affectionately call a “baby” acoustic. These baby guitars are great for those that travel a lot due to their smaller size. They’re small, but they don’t lack value for those trying to learn.

These can be great for beginners that need a smaller guitar to take with them as they go on trips. Despite its smaller size, this guitar has a dreadnought styling and can produce substantial sound output.

When it comes to the used materials, this guitar has three main tonewoods: Sapele, mahogany, and Sitka spruce. Each of these looks is very attractive, and Taylor provided an engaging, smooth, and satin finish.

Insofar as the sound profile that these materials produce, you won’t be disappointed. You can expect an almost on par sound like a full-sized dreadnought when played with medium to soft strumming.

When it comes to the action of the guitar, it’s relatively low, which means that most beginners looking for a ¾ size dreadnought will find this reasonably easy to fret.

When it comes to the aesthetic features of this baby acoustic, I love the look, and the reddish pickguard stuck out for me as very attractive. Additionally, the saddle highlights a synthetic NuBone material, and it also has a cool-looking curvature that adds to the design of the mini dreadnought.

One of the most significant drawbacks of a dreadnought acoustic is the sometimes bulky size, but this mini acoustic melds a smaller scale with some truly premium materials.

Read my in-depth review of Taylor GS Mini

Best Cheap Acoustic Guitar: Fender CD-60S

fender cd60s

This particular model of Fender acoustic guitar has recently undergone a redesign that has changed out some of the previously used materials. Now, this dreadnought has a material construction that includes mahogany back and sides and spruce top that delivers some clean midrange tones.

One of my favorite aspects of this guitar is the beautiful finish – mahogany shapes the whole guitar, and as a result, it stands out in a collection.

When it comes to design, the acoustic has a scalloped “X”-bracing that at once boosts the volume output of the acoustic as well as provides a very durable and well-supported exterior.

The materials used also tend to age well, which means that the already full-bodied sound will improve over the years. Nothing is more annoying than having fingerboard edges that snag, which is why I appreciate the rolled edges that the CD-60S uses. Fender calls their neck the “Easy-to-Play” neck, and with the fingerboards so polished, I can see why.

The Fender CD-60s is a 20-fret guitar, and each of its notes rings out with genuine resonance due to the hollow dreadnought body used in the redesign. Additionally, durable tonewoods form the body, and the action on the fretboard is shallow, which makes this an excellent beginner instrument.

Overall, I consider this to be one of the easiest to play instruments in the guide. It has good sound output, can quickly help you build good finger habits, and doesn’t require constant adjustment and tuning.

Read my in-depth review of Fender CD-60s

Best Acoustic Guitar Under $500: Seagull S6 “The Original” Acoustic Guitar

acoustic guitar - Seagull S6

With a lot of instruments made overseas, it’s good to see that North America (Canada) also creates a model of a guitar with such versatility. This S6 is another dreadnought guitar with a relatively large body that doesn’t taper much in the middle.

The S6 may be one of the sturdiest guitars on the list. Seagull build firm guitars because they ought to pressure test each instrument. Due to the quality of their guitars, you shouldn’t see much in the way of warping or bowing as you play this instrument with steel strings.

If you like vibrant sounds, this is an instrument that’s garnered a reputation for producing these types of tones, and a high level of clarity is one of this instrument’s hallmarks.

This instrument isn’t something that I’d use in a live performance (without augmentation at least). Although, it’s an excellent choice for a player that wants to learn using a particularly resonant instrument.

Cedar is pressure-tested, which is a tonewood known for its unique resonance that tends to change slightly as the wood matures. As time goes by, you can expect the brightness of this instrument to increase thanks to this material construction.

Insofar as the headstock, this instrument has a smaller head with a thick neck, which can improve the tuning experience. I particularly liked the tapering shape of this headstock – it gives it a somewhat unique look.

Read my in-depth review of Seagull S6

Taylor Big Baby Acoustic Guitar

acoustic guitar - Taylor BBT

Another mini dreadnought, the Big Baby Taylor acoustic guitar is a 15/16-size acoustic with a Sitka spruce top. Sapele wood makes the back and sides of this baby. This specific combination of the tonewoods makes for a very resonant mini instrument.

[UPDATE]

Unfortunately, Taylor BBT is currently unavailable.

The closest alternatives are either Taylor GS Mini or Taylor BT2.

As you might expect, this is a guitar that’s great to travel. Along with the construction, it is rather durable to withstand a few dings. Thanks to its layered-wood construction, it even has some resistance against humidity.

The Big Baby Taylor is something of a bigger sibling to the company’s Baby Taylor. As a result, this is a slightly larger instrument. It uses “X”-bracing to provide a loud volume despite having a body depth of just four inches.

The headstock on this instrument is also reasonably attractive. It also uses die-cast tuners that will resist most of the damage that can happen on the road.

This guitar doesn’t quickly lose its tuning. Hence, this is an excellent option for less advanced players that aren’t skillful with other adjustments other than E standard.

Read my in-depth review of Taylor Big Baby

LX1E Little Martin Acoustic Guitar

acoustic-electric guitar - Martin LX1E

This specific model of acoustic/electric travel guitar was made somewhat famous by pop singer, Ed Sheeran. Like the previous baby acoustic, this guitar is designed to have a smaller form factor so that you can take it with you more easily.

Despite this portability, you can expect a reasonably deep sound out of the baby guitars. It won’t replace an advanced player’s more significant acoustic, but it is an excellent style of starter acoustic to consider.

This model of Little Martin acoustic guitar has a Sitka spruce top that provides a reasonably resonant, if somewhat bright sound.

The body and the sides feature a mahogany laminate; the laminates use high-pressure techniques which add a lot of durability to the instrument.

The travel guitar also has 20 total frets, and it uses Richlite as the fingerboard material; the rounded fret pins improve the guitar’s playability.

Finally, this product is also an acoustic-electric. So, when you want a more massive sound, you can plug the guitar into an amplifier.

Read my in-depth review of Martin LX1e

Yamaha F325D Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha F325D

This steel-string dreadnought guitar has a robust construction that is also relatively light for beginners. It also has a beautiful design that’s very attractive for those that are in the intermediate and advanced stages of learning.

The body of this guitar features a light-colored spruce top. Spruce is a tonewood that has a bright and resonant tonality. Also, the internal chamber of this guitar helps bring out this sound quality by adding resonance and volume.

With a rosewood fretboard, this is a 20-fret instrument will provide you with a fair amount of tone options.

The back and sides of this instrument are made of meranti, which is a unique tonewood that has a similar sound profile to poplar. Meranti is more pronounced in the midrange, and there’s some brightness in the highs. This material is also very durable. Beginners can even put it through the paces, which I find very helpful for those that are new to the instrument.

Finally, the headstock has a fairly standard design, and it’s capped with chrome tuning pegs and hardware. The slightly concave top of the headstock looks beautiful in conjunction with these tuners. Altogether, these components add to the overall aesthetic of the guitar.

Overall, this instrument provides a tremendous ground-floor experience for a new musician.

Read my in-depth review of Yamaha F325D

Fender FA-100 Acoustic Guitar

Fender FA-100

Not only does this guitar have a fairly beginner-friendly shaping, but it also comes with a gig bag that you can use to take your show on the road.

[UPDATE]

Sadly, Fender FA-100 is currently unavailable.

Although there is a really close sibling to FA-100 which is Fender FA-115. You should check it out if you’re interested in the FA-100.

The durable nylon makes the gig bag, and it has a strap and pockets where you can store things like tuners, picks, or a string changing winder/clipper.

This 20-fret instrument has relatively wide frets near the headstock, which can be advantageous for a newbie looking to learn fingerstyle.

When it comes to materials, the top is made of basswood – this material, as the name indicates – is a tonewood that’s known to help produce earthier, bassy tones. This top also has a high level of gloss, which is natural and adds a bit of aesthetic charm to the instrument.

This acoustic features a synthetic bone nut, which is a high-quality material. The fretboard and bridge using rosewood. With the combination of these tonewoods, it generates a reasonably distinctive sound. Most adults should have little to no issue holding this instrument comfortably.

This Fender instrument is a great place to start for a beginner, and its low action is a great place to start for anyone looking to learn how to bend, slide, and fret.

In the Fender Alternative Series, there’s also the FA-125 with an acoustic-electric version which you might find interesting.

Read my in-depth review of Fender FA-100

Final Thoughts

Finding a good acoustic can be a gratifying experience, and the products that we covered in this guide are all excellent instruments that sound excellent.

If I were to select the best acoustic guitar out of the reviewed instruments, it would be the Martin D-10e. This guitar has a new beautiful design, a warm tonality, and some awe-inspiring volume thanks to its X-bracing.

I also thought the smooth and easy to play fretboard made slides and bends very easy.

This excellent guitar is also for beginner players; When you’re learning to play, the guitar must be comfortable to play to work on finger skills. It’s also great if you are a traveler looking for a sturdy guitar. It’s exceptionally durable with an epic quality.

Whether it’s plugged in or not, this acoustic-electric guitar has a fantastic sound quality. More options for you, right?

Last but not least, Martin D-10e features solid tonewoods. In other words, it’ll be a perfect investment whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned guitarist since its quality will improve over time.

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2 thoughts on “The Best Acoustic Guitar of 2020 Under $1000”

  1. Surprised to not see Blueridge solid wood acoustics on this list. I’m a finger style player, teacher and Martin and Gibson player of 45 yrs. (a pre war D 28, OM 28 and a Gibson Nick Lucas, So pretty picky about a working guitar’s tone and precise neck, etc. Recently got a Blueridge BR 142 and BR163 and am delighted with everything about both of them, they deliver so much more than their price tag would suggest, and every week, they just sound better. Friends who win finger style and flat picking contests all the time, borrow them to record with.

    1. Hmmm, that’s interesting. I suppose I will review Blueridge solid wood acoustics the next time I update this post. Thank you for the insight! And it seems like your friends are lucky to have a friend like you.
      Stay awesome!

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