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Natural Selection- The Best Acoustic Guitar Buys For Any Budget

by | Gear Reviews, Guitarists

Investing in your very own acoustic guitar can be a pivotal step in your musicality. Acoustic guitars are one of the few widely traveled and commonly used instruments. Thanks to their mobility, acoustic guitars can often be the favorite tool of songwriters and composers. From fireside jamming companions to studio recording master crafts, there is a wide selection of acoustic guitars available to suit every budget and situation. Today we’re going to briefly look at some of the best acoustic guitars on the current market. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have found your ideal first (or next) prized six-string. 

Budget/Beginner Guitars 

Yamaha FG800 

Despite its highly affordable price tag, the FG800 is a surprisingly diverse acoustic guitar. Many beginner players may want a guitar with a reasonable amount of natural resonance so that they can easily hear any dead notes or tuning issues. Thankfully, the FG800 more than delivers in this department. The guitar is available in two shapes, a standard dreadnought and a slightly slimmer concert series style for more advanced players. 

The FG800’s body is braced using a sturdy scalloped bracing, meaning it is more durable than other guitars in its price range. The face is composed of Sitka wood that helps to enhance the low end of the guitar’s rich tone. The Yamaha FG800 is a very popular choice for first-time buyers and for good reason. If you’re starting on guitar, this is a very encouraging and reliable acoustic guitar that offers very high value for money. 

Epiphone Pro 1 

Epiphone has always been a serious competitor in the electric guitar field, but some may be delighted to find that they have some remarkable acoustics on hand as well. The Epiphone Pro 1 is an excellent example of their work and is possibly one of the best beginner guitars on the current market. A big part of Pro 1’s appeal is its highly playable neck. The frets on the mahogany neck are set slightly wider apart than most guitars. This extra spacing makes it easy for beginner players to develop their fundamental hand movements up and down the fretboard as they develop their skill level. 

The body of the Pro 1 is made up using wood laminates, which are a cost-effective substitute for more natural wood textiles. The guitar’s bridge is fixed using a Nubone saddle, which is mainly found in more expensive builds and helps to maintain intonation over long periods of play. The Pro 1 isn’t the most resonant guitar in its price range, but it makes learning guitar a very fluid and enjoyable process.

Mid-Range Models 

Taylor 814ce 

Taylor has been a firm fixture at the forefront of acoustic guitar design and manufacturing. The 814ce is an upgrade of the very popular 700 series guitars that initially helped put the company on the map. The back and sides of the guitar are made up of a rich Indian Rosewood, and the body is braced using a traditional V-shaped bracing that features in most Taylor builds. Possibly the most exciting element in this guitar build is its electronics system. The pickups sit right behind the soundhole of the guitar and are constructed using piezo pickup systems. The result is an incredibly present and colorful tonal quality. The guitar complements any fingerpicking styles of acoustic music, from folk and blues to flamenco and country. The 814ce is also very compact and lightweight, making it a great travel companion. 

Martin Dreadnought Junior 

Martin guitars are one the most revered brands amongst many professional musicians in the modern era. There isn’t a Martin guitar available that features sloppy or substandard manufacturing, making them a highly reliable investment regardless of your budget. For musicians looking to get a bit more serious about their playing, the Dreadnought Junior is a healthy choice. 

The Dreadnought was originally introduced as a solution for players seeking a smaller version of the original Dreadnought. However, the guitar’s popularity increased unexpectedly, and it holds its own today as an independent model. The body is composed of lush Sapele wood that delivers on warmth and doesn’t suppress any of the sustain on your notes. Thanks to Junior’s dynamic resonance and bright mid-range, it’s an excellent choice for touring musicians who don’t want to save some weight on their trip without compromising sound quality. 

Top Shelf 

Taylor 214ce 

Taylor is on this list for a second time as a testament to their consistent and innovative guitar builds. This particular model hosts a unique body shape that is designed exclusively by Taylor. The body is a mashup of the traditional dreadnought guitar shape but features a double cutaway and a slimmer profile which does not affect its low-end delivery in any way. What also makes this guitar sound so good is the pickup system used in its construction. 

Taylor has developed their pickups to optimize their builds, and this model comes with their signature ES-2 electronics system. The pickups on this guitar are some of the best on the

market, and playing this guitar into some headphones can make you feel as if you’re right inside the guitar while playing. Quality like this does not come cheap, but the Taylor 214ce is worth every dollar you spent. You’ll have to make sure that it never leaves your side once you buy it. 

Takamine ef381sc 

Takamine is a Japanese company known for making some of the most pristine and lush-sounding acoustic guitars. Every serious acoustic guitar player should own at least one Takamine guitar. The 12 string EF381sc is one of the company’s top-tier models and has been played by Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Tracy Chapman. A highly discussed component in its design is its CT4B preamp and pickup at the saddle of the guitar. Placing the pickup in this fashion gives the guitar an intensely in-depth tone when played over a sound system or during recording situations. 

The guitar’s mahogany neck feels soft to the touch and is fixed to the body using a traditional dovetail joint. This type of fixture is a signature of Japanese construction and allows the guitar a much higher level of tensility, meaning it can bend to higher degrees without breaking. The result is a guitar that will maintain intonation and tuning even over periods of travel or in harsh conditions. This guitar may be a bit of an extravagant purchase for some, but if you have a desire for it and a budget to back that desire, it can’t be recommended enough. 

Final Thoughts 

Acoustic guitars are a slightly more delicate investment than most instruments. Picking the wrong one can stunt your progress or leave you unmotivated to play or practice. Finding the right one (that suits your budget) may take some trial and error, and it’s crucial to remember to enjoy this part of the process. Much like choosing a pet or partner, you’ll ultimately know which buy is best for you and your circumstances musically. Let the list above serve as a simple guideline to decipher for yourself what it is you need and want out of your acoustic guitar. Thanks for reading our article on the best acoustic guitar buys for any budget. Happy strumming.

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