11 Of The Best Acoustic Guitar Brands Of All Time

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

The guitar is one of the most beloved musical instruments of the 20th and 21st centuries. It’s crucial in rock, jazz, classical, and several other genres and is a common sight everywhere, from college campuses to the stages at a rock concerts.

Whether you are looking into your first guitar or your fifteenth, many options will perfectly serve your purpose. Read on as we discover 11 of the best acoustic guitar brands and learn a bit about the particular models you may want to try.

1. Martin 

In 1833, Martin & Co. was started by the same family that still runs it today. Now, after six generations, these guitars are popular among several famous musicians throughout history, like Gene Autry, Hank Williams, and Muddy Waters.

The company’s innovation also made history, as C. F. Martin Sr., the founder, developed the X-bracing for the guitars. This strengthened the instrument’s body and gave off a richer tone.

Martin & Co. produces a variety of acoustic guitars that can work for a range of players, from classic Standard design to smaller-bodied guitars in their Junior and Little Martin Series to artistic collectibles like the latest Harvey Leach Lotus Flower guitar.

If you want something other than the ready-made guitars at Martin, you can also order one custom-made at their bespoke shop. Their guitar experts will help you produce the finest acoustic guitar of your dreams.

2. Taylor

Founded in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, Taylor is one of the biggest guitar manufacturers in the United States and is based in El Cajon, California.

They are known for their priorities which include playability, precision, and consistency, with many famous musicians loving their guitars. Some of these artists include Axel Bauer, Jewel, Prince, Dave Matthews, and Taylor Swift.

The brand offers a variety of great choices for any players, beginners and professionals alike, from their Academy Series to their Presentation Series.

As the name implies, starting players might enjoy Taylor Academy Series, which is specifically crafted with student guitarists in mind, while professionals could look into their Presentation Series. Made from premium tonewoods for optimum sound, handcrafted inlays add beauty to the instrument.

3. Seagull

This Canadian guitar brand was founded in 1982 by Robert Godin. Godin’s goal with this company was to apply principles of high-quality guitar craftsmanship to affordable instruments.

To this day, the company’s guitars are fully produced in Canada. Seagull also prioritizes sustainability in terms of materials and production.

The brand has six series models to choose from—Artist, Maritime SWS, Performer Flame Maple, Coastline, S6, and Entourage. But that’s not all.

Seagull also offers guitars in 5 different shapes to suit your comfort and play style: concert hall, concert hall cutaway, dreadnaught, dreadnaught cutaway, and mini jumbo cutaway.

4. Fender

One of the best acoustic guitar brands around is Fender. They are also one of the most well-known guitar manufacturers in the world.

Leo Fender, who was a radio repairman, started producing guitars in 1943. It was a few more years before he started making the guitars under his name. Today, the company produces acoustic guitars, electric guitars, ukuleles, amplifiers, effects pedals, and other accessories.

No matter your budget or skill level, there is a Fender guitar for you. A quality, budget-friendly option is their Dreadnought acoustic guitar. If you want a more Fender-exclusive style, you might be interested in their Newporter model. Whichever you choose, you are guaranteed Fender top quality.

5. Guild

After sharing a music store for a few years with someone else, Alfred Dronge opened Guild Guitar company in 1952. In the early days, the company put its energy into hollow-body electric guitars. Over time, Guild added more types of guitars to its offerings.

Known for their guitars with bold sounds and good projection, you can select a few different types of guitars from Guild, including the concert, jumbo, orchestra, dreadnought, 12-string, and more.

If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, you might enjoy their A-20 Marley. This model pays homage to the reggae legend Bob Marley in its dreadnaught design, Marley’s signature on the pickguard, and full-bodied, powerful tone.

6. Yamaha

Founded in 1887 by Torakusu Yamaha, Yamaha is a Japanese company that is one of the world’s largest musical instrument manufacturers.

They have a wide array of guitar models to choose from—the classic dreadnaught look, to travel-sized to even acoustic-electric for those who want immediate amplification.

Their pricier guitars are beautifully adorned with inlays, and if you want something super unique, Yamaha has collaborated with Keith Urban to create the Urban guitar.

This is a set that includes a fine, specially crafted guitar, all the essential accessories for playing, and an app that provides immersive lessons from Keith Urban himself.

7. Gretsch

Founded in 1883 by Friedrich Gretsch, Gretsch was initially a banjo, drum, and tambourine company. When the founder passed away in 1895, his teenage son, Fred, was left in charge of the company.

Despite the odds, Fred was able to build the company into a formidable instrument manufacturer and importer. In 2002, Fender took over the company’s manufacturing and distribution, but still retained Gretsch’s quality and notable sound.

With instruments to fulfill several needs, you can get an affordable guitar from Gretsch, such as the G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top. If you want a resonator guitar, they even have the G9221 Bobtail. The company also offers custom design services if you want something truly unique to suit your style.

8. Takamine

Our next brand, Takamine, began as a family-run guitar shop near Mount Takamine in Japan in 1959. Over time, it continued to grow, and the company prides itself on its fine acoustic instruments.

If you’re searching for a particular guitar body, you might find what you’re looking for in Takamine. They have a huge selection of varying bodies, from classical to thinline, all carefully crafted to produce beautiful instruments with clear, balanced, rich tones perfect for playing at home or on a stage.

Unlike some larger companies, Takamine does not produce instruments other than guitars. It does make accessories and electronics such as pre-amps, TRI-AX 2 pickups, and soundboard transducers.

9. Ibanez

Next, we have another Japanese guitar company. Ibanez was founded in 1908 as the musical instrument sales division of Hoshino Shoten. The name comes from the name of the Spanish luthier, Salvador Ibanez.

Ibanez has a huge catalog of guitars with a wide range of bodies and sounds to choose from, and with the collaboration of several artists, including Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Tim Hensen, Jon Gomm, and Marcin—they have quite a few Signature series.

If you’re looking for a powerful sound, though, you might be interested in their latest innovation: the Advanced Acoustic. The body shape of these guitars are larger, but still ergonomic, which helps deliver brighter, louder, and richer tones.

10. Epiphone

Penultimate on our list, we have Epiphone. The company was founded in 1873 as a small family-run repair shop in Greece. Soon, the family moved the business to New York and started making guitars in 1928.

Gibson bought Epiphone in 1957 and continued with their tradition of providing top quality master-crafted guitars to players at an affordable price.

Epiphone has quite a few high-end guitars. One such model is their Made in USA collection. These have a price range of over $2,800. However, each one is handcrafted by master luthiers at Gibson.

If budget is an issue, don’t fret, as Epiphone also has a large set of classic acoustic designs to choose from. These range from $129 to $999. Despite the low price range, the quality of Epiphone classic guitars is never low-end.

11. Gibson

Lastly, we have Gibson, quite a popular name in guitar manufacturing. It was founded by Orville Gibson in 1894, but over a century later, the company has become the guitar giant it is now known to be.

The Gibson brand is mostly well-known as being one of two electric guitar giants (Fender being the other); however, they also have several original acoustic collection in their catalog.

Though thought to be an expensive brand, you can have a Gibson acoustic guitar for as low as $999. This is their G-00 Natural model, made with Sitka spruce top and solid walnut sides and back, ensured to deliver crisp, resonating tones.

For those who want classy and certainly unique, check out their Historic Collection and their Signature guitars, like the Tom Petty SJ-200 Wildflower. It’ll set you back $9,999, but it is a guitar like none other.

Summing Up Our List Of Acoustic Guitar Brands 

And there you have it, some of the top acoustic guitar brands considered to be the best in the world.

Whether you are an aspiring rock star or you just want to serenade someone with a love song, there is a bounty of instruments for you to choose from.

Guitars can come in several shapes, sizes, and sounds. We hope that we have helped you learn about the most prominent brands so you can discover the right guitar for you.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.