Three best acoustic guitars

Peter McPherson

It’s perfectly acceptable to keep your guitar on display with a wall-mounted hanger or floor stand if you so desire. If you don’t plan to play the guitar for a long period time, however, a hard case is the ideal storage place.

The acoustic guitar is one of the world's most popular instruments, largely due to its portability and versatility. Its bright, full sound makes it an excellent instrument for vocal accompaniment, and it often ends up being the star of the show. From blues to folk to indie rock, few musical genres have been able to avoid the influence of the acoustic guitar at one point or another.

One of the main considerations when purchasing an acoustic guitar is your skill level and intended use of the instrument. Will you be recording music in your home studio or singing songs beside a campfire? Each guitar's build and sound are unique, and you'll want one that's just right for your needs.

Considerations when choosing acoustic guitars

Acoustic guitar size and shape

The most common type of acoustic guitar is the dreadnought, known for its large body and rich, loud sound. Dreadnoughts are great starter guitars, but due to their bigger size, they are not for everyone. A young beginner may appreciate a 3/4-size guitar with a shorter neck that's easier to reach. The classical guitar, with its iconic shape, is another popular choice among beginners and experienced musicians alike.

Included equipment

Are you paying for just a guitar, or does it come with a few essentials? Some things that may be included are a strap, gig bag, hex key, pick, tuner, or even a chord book. These are items an experienced guitarist may not need, but for a beginner, they can save you a trip to the music store later.

Acoustic guitar prices

It's possible to get a decent beginner acoustic guitar for as little as $40, but you'll need to pay between $100 to $200 for a durable guitar with rich tones. In the $300 to $500 range, you start finding high-quality instruments that please both beginners and professionals. Handcrafted acoustic guitars from well-known brands can cost upward of $1,000.

Acoustic guitar care tips

Properly storing your acoustic guitar is key to keeping it healthy and sounding great. A hard case with decent padding makes a good home for any guitar; be sure to store the case upright.
To keep the wood of your guitar healthy, consider buying a guitar humidifier.
String tension should be maintained, but the guitar doesn't need to be in tune when you're not playing it -- just make sure the strings aren't slack.


Q. How do I properly tune my acoustic guitar?

A. An electronic tuner is your best bet, though you can find online tuners or apps as well. You may find that new strings don't stay in tune well. This is normal. Playing frequently will help to stretch the strings, and eventually you will only need to adjust them slightly before you play.

Q. Steel strings are sharp. How do you avoid the finger pain that comes with playing guitar?

A. There are two answers to this. The first is simply to practice. Calluses will develop over time, and after a few months of practicing daily, you shouldn't experience any pain. Be prepared for blisters at first. The second answer is to consider lighter steel strings, or perhaps try a guitar with nylon strings instead.

Acoustic guitars we recommend

Best of the best: Yamaha Solid Top Acoustic

Our take: This classic Yamaha acoustic guitar is a great starter that you'll never outgrow.

What we like: For a reasonable price, you get a well-crafted guitar with a solid Sitka spruce top and rosewood fingerboard. This is an excellent choice for beginners, but its professional sound makes it an instrument that works for any skill level.

What we dislike: The plastic nut and saddle keep this guitar from sounding its best, but these parts can be replaced for a truly impressive sound.

Best bang for your buck: Fender FA-100 Dreadnought

Our take: If you're looking for a quality guitar at a low price, this Fender dreadnought is as good as it gets.

What we like: The basswood top looks great, and this guitar feels like a more expensive instrument. The included padded gig bag and strap add to the already impressive value of this guitar.

What we dislike: The laminated wood looks nice but may reduce resonance.

Choice 3: Epiphone DR-100

Our take: It's hard to go wrong with this popular acoustic guitar from a trusted brand. This is an ideal beginner guitar with a classic sound.

What we like: This is an instrument that looks gorgeous (especially with its mahogany body and spruce top) but can handle camping trips or days at the beach. The included light steel strings are easy on the fingers.

What we dislike: Buzzing strings are a common issue, and though this can be fixed by adjusting the bridge, it may mean you can't get the desired sound right out of the box.

Peter McPhersonis a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds. 

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.