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38 Best Guitar Brands: Top Acoustic and Electric Guitars 2020

I'm a guitarist and bassist with over 35 years of experience as a musician.

The best guitar brands are known for producing quality acoustic and electric instruments. Manufacturers like Epiphone, Fender and Gibson are at the top of the list.

The best guitar brands are known for producing quality acoustic and electric instruments. Manufacturers like Epiphone, Fender and Gibson are at the top of the list.

Top Guitar Brands

The best guitar brands stay on top for good reason and if you’re looking for a new acoustic or electric guitar it’s smart to start with the big names. These companies have built up their reputations over the years by producing high-quality instruments used by some of the best guitar players in the world.

If you’re new to guitar, or if you’re just now taking an interest in the different instrument makers for the first time, this guide is intended to help you sort out what makes each manufacturer unique and decide whether or not their products are a good match for your needs.

You can think of this article as a directory of sorts. There’s a lot of information presented here, but then again there are a lot of guitars out there in the world. I started this project a few years ago with the idea of creating a page where new and veteran players alike can find information about different guitar builders.

I've included high-end guitars as well as budget guitar brands here, so there is something for every level of player.

This is a long article, and you may find it easiest to scroll around to the different sections you are interested in. Or you may prefer to read this whole article from start to finish. In my opinion, it’s probably best to bookmark this page and come back to it later, instead of trying to digest the whole thing in one shot.

Guitar Reviews and Advice for Beginners

Are you here because you're looking for advice on choosing the right guitar for a beginning guitarist? Here are a couple of articles you may find more helpful:

Remember, this is all based on my opinion. Feel free to post your own list of your favorite guitar brands in the comments section. This list is always evolving, so if you think there is a company unjustly omitted here just mention it in the comments and I may add it on the next update.

Good luck on your guitar journey, and I hope you find this page helpful!

10 Best Acoustic Guitar Brands

Here is my ranking of the top 10 acoustic guitar brands:

  1. Martin
  2. Taylor
  3. Gibson
  4. Guild
  5. Seagull
  6. Yamaha
  7. Ovation
  8. Washburn
  9. Fender
  10. Epiphone

10 Best Electric Guitar Brands

Here is my ranking of the top 10 electric guitar brands:

  1. Gibson
  2. Fender
  3. PRS
  4. G&L
  5. Rickenbacker
  6. Ibanez
  7. ESP
  8. Jackson
  9. Schecter
  10. Epiphone

List of Guitar Companies

Below you’ll find the 38 most prominent guitar manufacturers, listed alphabetically. Some specialize in one type of guitar (acoustic or electric), while others do well with both.

Some focus on a specific genre, such as guitar brands for rock, metal or jazz, and some do it all. I’ve tried to give a good overview of each brand, along with a few notes and updates for 2020.

And be sure to check out the manufacturer websites for the latest info on their gear. Things are always changing in the guitar world, and the best place to get accurate info is straight from the source.

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments section!

Alvarez

Alvarez builds primarily acoustic instruments, but a few cool archtop semi-acoustics as well. They’ve been around for over 50 years, and their acoustic and acoustic-electric instruments are widely respected in the guitar world. This is also a company that covers every level of guitar players, from beginner to pro.

New players will want to check out guitars such as the AD60, which I picked for my list of top acoustic guitars under $300. For players will deeper pockets and a few years of experience under their belts, check out the Masterworks Series.

B.C. Rich

B.C. Rich specializes in guitars for the heavy metal and hard rock crowd. These days they focus on amazing USA-made guitars. They’ve produced some of the most legendary designs in the history of metal, including the Warlock, Bich, Virgin, and Mockingbird.

Their instruments helped to mold the hard rock and thrash revolution of the 1980s and B.C. Rich is still a great choice for any guitarist looking for an instrument that looks and sounds as edgy as possible.

Along with their classic designs, in recent years B.C. Rich introduced their Villain line of electric guitars. These guitars look incredible, with a classic superstrat style. The Mk3 Series is an affordable way to grab a Villain, or one of the more well-known B.C. Rich designs suck as the Warlock, Mockingbird, and even the ferocious Warbeast.

Of course, there are other series as well, from Mk1 for beginners, all the way up to Mk11 for professional players. If you play metal, B.C. Rich should be high up on your list of guitar companies to consider.

Blueridge

Blueridge makes some excellent acoustic guitars, many of them based on historic designs. So, what does that mean? Many players feel that acoustics made in the early days after the dreadnought design had been created used better construction methods, qualities, and materials compared to guitars produced today. In their historic designs, Blueridge attempts to capture some of that magic.

Blueridge builds some modern designs in their Contemporary Series as well. This is a company that has earned some serious respect over the past several years when it comes to offering unexpected quality and appointments.

Breedlove

I’ve been enamored with Breedlove guitars since I discovered them at a local guitar shop a couple of years back, and I really think they are one of the most underrated guitar brands out there. They look cool, with the sharp lower-bout cutaway, but most importantly they sound good and incorporate some interesting build ideas.

One of those ideas is the Breedlove Pinless Bridge design. This not only eliminates the need to yank out bridge pins when you change your strings but also improves the sound of the guitar due to fewer holes in the soundboard.

New guitarists will want to check out Discovery Series, where more advanced players can look to the Oregon Series for premium instruments with some really cool tonewood choices.

The Gorgeous Breedlove Oregon Series

Kiesel (Carvin)

Kiesel (formerly called Carvin) is a guitar company with a different business model than the rest. You won’t find them at your local music store because Carvin only makes custom guitars. Their instruments are based around a handful of templates and each feature components that are individually chosen by the buyer. For this reason, it’s very rare to find two Carvins that are completely identical.

There’s a Carvin model for just about every musical style, from metal to jazz to country to plain old rock and roll. These are high-quality, American-made instruments, and pretty good deals too. If you’re a guitar player looking to stand out from all the rest, Carvin is a great option.

A few years ago we saw a change to the Carvin company, as their guitars and basses took on the Kiesel brand name. So, Carvin is Kiesel now. But they are still Carvin. So what gives?

In a nutshell: Lowell Kiesel is the name of the guy who founded Carvin. He originally sold guitars under his own name, but later changed the company name to Carvin, a melding of the first names of his two sons. So, when Carvin changed the name on their guitars to Kiesel, they were actually reverting back to their roots. Kiesel is Carvin, and Carvin has always been Kiesel.

Got it?

Check out my personal experience with Carvin guitars here: Carvin guitars review.

Chapman Guitars

This is a guitars company that started back in 2009 by musician and YouTube personality Rob Chapman. It is a unique company in that it allows fans to vote on features for new models. The result is some really cool guitars built upon familiar body shapes with interesting features.

Chapman appears to have a little something for every kind of guitar player, but as a rock and metal guitarist, I see a lot I like here. The M1 body style, in particular, will call to shredders. Most impressively, even though these guitars incorporate premium features and pretty tonewoods, from what I have seen they all come in at affordable prices, some as low as the $500 mark. Check them out if you get a chance.

Charvel

A few decades ago, during the Golden Age of Shred, Charvel guitars were front and center as one of the best guitar brands for hard rock, metal, and brain-melting soloing. Then came the 1990s and the grunge revolution, and for a time anyway all things shred were out, in favor of droning guitars and melancholy lyrics.

But the universe could only take so much of that, so it was only a matter of time before brands like Charvel came back to power. That time is now.

Charvel’s So Cal and San Dimas models are just as hot as their ancestors of the ‘80s. In my opinion, these are still at the top of the list of best superstrats in the world.

Hear the Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1

Cordoba

Cordoba is one of my favorite guitar companies when it comes to classical and nylon-string acoustic instruments. They make everything from student-sized guitars for beginners, all the way up to pro-level gear. They even have acoustic-electric nylon string guitars, for players who need to amplify their sound.

I always recommend the Cordoba C5 for beginners who are looking for their first classical or nylon string guitar. It comes at a very wallet-friendly price, but it sounds and plays exceptionally well for a guitar in its price range. More experienced players can look to other C-Series Cordoba guitars like the C12, which is built for advanced guitarists.

Cort

Cort is a company that has been around for a long time. I remember they made some excellent beginner guitars way back when I first started playing. In fact, they’ve been around since the early ‘70s. While they fly under the radar a bit in the United States, they are actually one of the biggest guitar makers in the world.

You’ll still find excellent starter-level guitars in Cort’s lineup such as the X100, but these days they also produce some pretty impressive mid-level and pro-level guitars. The X500 is a gorgeous double-cutaway design that’s built for speed and shred, and the X700 Duality takes things a step further with an upgraded finish and appointments.

If you’re into something a little more classic check out the single-cut CR Series, which give Epiphone Les Pauls a run for their money. The flagship is the CR Custom, with a pretty quilted maple top and a Seymour Duncan JB/’59 pickup set.

Cort makes some excellent acoustic guitars as well, ranging from traditional dreadnoughts to concert-bodied acoustic-electric and even classical guitars. Like their electrics, they range from beginner-level instruments to guitars that are good enough for the pros.

Daisy Rock

If this sounds like guitars for girls or something, it is. Daisy Rock is a company dedicated to empowering girls and young women and giving them the resources they need to learn to play the guitar. They have starter, short-scale acoustic guitars for little girls, and some really cool electric guitars in the shapes of hearts, butterflies, and flowers.

But don’t think they’re all about foofy shapes and pastel colors. Daisy Rock also produces some really high-grade stuff: guitars with professional-style appointments like the Stardust and Rock Candy models.

Danelectro

Danelectro saw a surge in popularity about twenty years ago, and they are known for making pretty good guitars at reasonable prices. They’re also a little retro with their “lipstick tube” pickups and a little funky in their design. This makes them very popular with certain niche guitar players looking for a vintage vibe.

These guitars are certainly daddy-o cool, but when I think of Danelectro I think of one of the most influential guitar players of all time, and one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time. Did you know that Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin played a Danelectro?

Yes, Page is best known for his ’59 Gibson Les Paul and played Telecasters prior to that, but he also played a budget-level Danelectro 3021 at times, mostly for slide guitar. A similar guitar is available today in the form of the Danelectro ‘59M.

The other thing I think of when it comes to Danelectro is the baritone guitar. Baritone guitars are tuned much lower than standard guitars. In the case of the Danelectro ’56 Baritone, it is tuned from B to B rather than E to E. Remember that this was an idea that came way before all of these metal guitarists started detuning.

Dean

If you are into metal, Dean is a guitar company you’ll want to check out. Their classic ML design has become an icon in the extreme rock genre, thanks to the late Darrell Abbott of Pantera and Damageplan. In the 1990s Dime brought the old ML back to life, and Dean expanded the concept with some sharper, more modern designs.

These days there are several versions of the ML to choose from. Plus, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth endorses Dean with his signature V, and the Dean Vendetta Series is worth a look for any level of guitar player.

Dean also makes some great guitars for rock, blues, country, and even some quality acoustics.

Epiphone

They are now owned by Gibson, but at one time Epiphone was one of Gibson’s biggest competitors. Nowadays they are considered Gibson’s budget-minded little brother.

Even so, Epiphone is one of the best electric guitar brands, known for producing quality instruments in the Gibson mold. You might think choosing an Epiphone Les Paul means you are compromising tone and quality, but it may surprise you to know that many veteran guitar players hold their Epis right up there with their Gibsons.

Epi makes both electric and acoustic guitars and many of their models are based around Gibson designs. In fact, they are the only guitar company allowed to use Gibson specs to make Les Pauls, Explorers, SGs, Flying Vs, and other Gibson classics.

Some of Epiphone's entry-level guitars like the Les Paul Special II and the Les Paul 100 place them among the best guitar brands for beginners. This is good news for young players and anyone looking to get a great guitar that looks like a Gibson sounds a lot like a Gibson, but doesn’t cost nearly as much as a Gibson.

For serious beginners and intermediate players, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is a quality instrument that will get you through practice sessions and gigs alike. Epiphone has expanded its lineup for 2020, giving guitarists on a budget even more options.

It is no wonder Epiphone is considered one of the best electric guitar brands for beginners and intermediate players in the world today!

Epiphone Guitars 2020

Ernie Ball Music Man

If you’ve been around the guitar world a little while the first name that comes to mind when you think of Ernie Ball Music Man is John Petrucci, guitar wizard of Dream Theater. You might also think if Steve Lukather of Toto.

This is a guitar company that makes some amazing high-end guitars, and signature models for these legendary players are only a few of them. The Axis is another amazing instrument, and if you are my age you might think of another famous guitarist associated with this guitar.

Check out the Ernie Ball Music Man collection, but if you don’t have the coins turn your attention to Sterling, Ernie Ball’s brand for beginners and intermediate players.

EVH

You know Eddie Van Halen, that legendary guitar player who pretty much knocked the music world on its ear with his innovative sounds and playing style back in the late ‘70s. For years he partnered with brands such as Kramer, Ernie Ball, and Peavey to create signature models of his guitars, as well as the real guitars he used onstage. Now he has his own company: EVH.

Through the EVH brand, we see not only several versions of the Wolfgang, Eddie’s personal guitar, but also the Striped Series, which recreates guitars he has used in the past.

I’ve said it before: While I’m not generally a fan of signature gear, Eddie’s stuff is top-notch. EVH isn’t some kind of novelty; these are awesome guitars with quality components.

ESP and ESP LTD

During the ‘80s and early ‘90s, ESP was a guitar company known for creating incredible custom-shop instruments and high-quality original designs.

They still do that, and ESP guitars are used by some of the best professional musicians on the planet, especially in the hard rock and metal genres. But when they branched out to their ESP-LTD designs, ESP brought their legendary guitars to the masses.

ESP LTD guitars feature ESP designs like the Eclipse in a more budget-friendly package, such as the EC1000. The ESP-LTD EC-1000 is an amazing rock guitar with quality appointments. It is quickly becoming a classic. If you are looking for a great Les Paul alternative, the EC-1000 might be the right choice for you.

You’ll also find some original and innovative designs in the ESP LTD lineup. These are great guitars for the money and feature many top-shelf components.

Check Out the ESP-LTD Elite Eclipse I

Fender

Along with Gibson, Fender is probably among the most recognized guitar names out there. Models like the Stratocaster and Telecaster are etched into history as some of the greatest guitars ever made. Their USA-made instruments have shaped just about every genre of music for over 60 years.

One of the biggest changes going into 2020 is the evolution of the Fender Player Series. These are the new MIM or "made in Mexico" Fenders, and the upgrades are subtle but significant. I've been playing a MIM Fender Strat for years and I highly suggest checking out the Player Series Stratocaster if you are looking for a pro-level guitar at a very good price point. I think they have proven to be a big step up from the old MIMs.

And, like USA Fenders, you can choose between maple or rosewood fingerboards, HSS or SSS pickup configuration, and from an array of colors. There are also models available with a Floyd Rose tremolo and with pretty "plus" tops.

But for many players nothing but an American Fender, and for that you'll want to check out the American Original Series. These are pro guitars with premium components and vintage features that take us back to legendary designs of the past.

There is a reason the Stratocaster remains one of the best electric guitars of all time. At Fender, it seems the more things change the more they stay the same. If it ain't broke don't fix it, it seems. Fender is one of those brands that somehow manage to be both classic and cutting-edge at the same time.

Best Fender Electric Guitars

  • Stratocaster
  • Telecaster
  • Jazzmaster
  • Jaguar
  • HM Strat (Back for 2020 as Limited Edition!)

The Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster

Fender Stratocaster

Fender Stratocaster

Gibson

The most famous Gibson guitar is the Les Paul, which has been a mainstay in the music world for decades. The Gibson Les Paul is a high-end, made-in-the USA instrument, and it comes in a few different variations. Like Fender, Gibson has remained fairly consistent with their styles and designs. In addition to the Les Paul, other famous Gibson electric guitars include the SG, Flying V, Explorer, ES-335, and Firebird. Their classic acoustics include the Hummingbird.

As mentioned above, many of these models are available as Epiphone copies, but that doesn’t detract from the mystique of Gibson. Gibsons are legendary for their tone and craftsmanship, and for many players, nothing else will do except a real Gibson guitar.

Best Gibson Electric Guitar Models

  • Les Paul
  • SG
  • Flying V
  • Explorer
  • ES-335

Notable Gibson Acoustic Guitar Models

  • Hummingbird
  • J-45
  • J-50
  • SJ-200

Gibson has made some interesting changes in their lineup in recent years, including the return of the classic Les Paul Studio design and the simplification of the Les Paul lineup with the '50s and '60s models.

Gibson Acoustic Guitars

G&L

G&L is a guitar company founded by Leo Fender. Yup, that Leo Fender. Many of the designs are reminiscent of Fender classic instruments, with some improvements to form and design. Because of this, some guitar players feel G&L is a solid alternative to Fender guitars.

No doubt you’ll see Leo Fender’s mind at work when looking at guitars like the ASAT and Legacy. But look a little deeper and you’ll find some innovative hardware and electronics designs, plus a few models that separate G&L from any of the other guitar brands out there.

Godin

Godin is a Canadian company, the same folks who bring us Seagull acoustic guitars. Under the Godin brand, they make some excellent electric and acoustic-electric instruments, and even a few bass guitars. These are classy-looking instruments, and Godin covers a lot of ground with their lineup.

For rock and blues players, there are gorgeous single and double-cut designs like the Summit and Sessions. I think the archtop and semi-hollow instruments like the 5th Avenue are what really makes Godin stand out.

Godin 5th Avenue

Gretsch

Gretsch is a guitar company that makes some truly beautiful instruments, especially if you are into hollow and semi-hollow body guitars. The Gretsch White Falcon is a legendary instrument with a price tag to match its reputation, but there are other models in the Gretsch lineup and something right for any level of player.

From the signature Chet Atkins and Brian Setzer models to the Jet and Duo Jet, Gretsch is to rockabilly and jazz what Jackson is to metal. The Electromatic Series offers some very affordable options for intermediate players and working pros.

Guild

Guild is an American guitar company that makes some amazing semi-hollow electric guitars such as the Starfire and the Aristocrat. These are guitars that nail the retro-rock sound and have the looks to match. Many classic Guild models have been revived through the Newark Street collection. While these guitars are cool beyond words, where Guild really shines is in the acoustic arena.

Guild acoustic guitars are played by some of the best professional musicians in the business. From this standpoint, Guild is on par with Martin and Taylor and completes the triumvirate of American acoustic guitar titans. As you’d expect, the prices follow suit. However, the GAD series offers a way for intermediate players to get a Guild acoustic for a reasonable price.

The Guild D-150CE

Ibanez

Ibanez started out as a Japanese company specializing in quality copies of famous American guitars.

Today it is known to many as a great guitar company in its own right, mainly for metal and hard rock players. In truth, they make guitars for just about every style and genre, but heavy music is definitely where they shine, and the metal crowd has flocked to Ibanez for decades.

The RG is probably their most iconic instrument, but the S series is also beloved by shredders. Of course, they've also been innovators in the field of 7-string guitars, starting back in 1990 with the Universe, the first 7-string guitar on the market.

Jackson

Another brand that is well-known among metal players is Jackson. Back in the 1980s, it seemed like Jackson guitars were in the hands of just about every metal and hard rock player on the planet. That tradition continues today, and models like the King V, Kelly, Rhoads, Soloist, and Dinky are still coveted for their great sound and performance.

Jackson models are available in very expensive custom-shop and made-in-the-USA versions, as well as less expensive guitars with downgraded appointments, aimed more at beginning and intermediate players. This means metal guitarists of any level and budget are able to own a Jackson and get started the right way.

Guitar World Reviews Amazing Jackson Guitars

Kramer

Back in the ‘80s, Kramer was one of the premier names in metal and hard rock. In fact, Eddie Van Halen even played a Kramer for a short period of time.

In the ‘90s things took a weird turn, and Kramer was eventually bought up by Gibson. Anyone who remembers Kramer during this period probably also remembers a website called MusicYo, where Kramer guitars could be purchased direct and at bargain-basement prices.

These days, Kramer has seen something of a resurgence. Many players remember those glory days of the 1980s and models like the Beretta, with its single-pickup design and double-locking tremolo. If that’s your bag, give Kramer guitars a serious look.

Martin

Martin is an American guitar company specializing in acoustic guitars. Most of their instruments are still built at their facility in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, and their legacy dates back all the way to 1833. Martin, in many ways, has helped to shape the look and sound of the American acoustic guitar. In fact, they invented the now-classic dreadnought shape in an effort to help American country musicians who wanted more projection out of their guitars onstage.

Martin makes some incredibly beautiful (and expensive) instruments like the D-28 and D-45, along with more affordable guitars that will fit into the budgets of up-and-coming players. It’s also worth noting that Martin is playing a big role in spearheading the effort to protect endangered forests by seeking out alternate tonewoods where possible.

The Martin DX1AE is an outstanding acoustic guitar for well under $1000, and it incorporates some environmentally-friendly build techniques. I grabbed one a while back and couldn't be happier with it. It sounds fantastic, with the kind of rich, full tone Martin dreadnoughts are known for.

Classic Martin Acoustic Guitars

  • D-28
  • D-18
  • D-45
  • D-35

Different Types of Martin Guitars

Martin DX1AE Acoustic Guitar

Martin DX1AE Acoustic Guitar

Ovation

Ovation acoustic-electric guitars are unique, innovative and, for some players, almost addictive! Once you’ve played an Ovation, no other guitar may do. They have a different look and feel than most other acoustic guitars due to their design, which incorporates a wood top with a rounded, synthetic bowl shape instead of the traditional back and sides.

The result is a light, comfortable guitar with a distinctive sound. For players who prefer the feel of an electric guitar but need to play an acoustic, an Ovation is often the perfect compromise.

Ovation makes some incredible professional-level instruments, featuring some quality components and electronics. They also have the entry-level Applause series of reasonably priced guitars for beginners or those who are looking to get their feet wet with the Ovation design.

PRS

PRS is a guitar company founded by luthier Paul Reed Smith. Today these instruments are recognized as some of the finest guitars in the world, on par and often surpassing high-end Gibsons.

PRS really took off back in the ‘90s when it seemed just about everyone had swapped out their Les Paul for a PRS. Eventually, they capitalized on this trend and made the PRS more accessible by introducing the SE line of lower-budget guitars. But these aren’t beginner’s guitars. Even though they cost less than a standard PRS, they’re still high-quality instruments.

PRS guitars are used by players of every genre. They’re a classy if somewhat expensive, alternative to some of the more traditional brand names in the guitar industry.

Hear the PRS S2 Custom 22

Rainsong

This is a very unique guitar company, known for high-level acoustic instruments. If there is any company that derails the tonewood debate it is Rainsong. They make their guitars from stuff other than wood – carbon fiber. The result is an instrument with better tuning stability, better resistance to climate changes and excellent craftsmanship.

But, you’re thinking, they must sound bad because they aren’t made of wood. Wrong. I’ve played a few of them, and they really do sound amazing. Rainsong guitars can be a little pricey, but they are certainly worth it, especially for musicians looking for something a bit off the beaten path.

Rickenbacker

Rickenbacker may be a name more closely associated with the bass guitar, but it is a brand that makes some of the best acoustic and electric guitars as well. Like their four-stringed brothers, Rickenbacker guitars feature some space-aged designs that have now become classic.

This is a guitar company that has been around since the 1930s, and they played a key part in the early days of rock and roll. Bands like the Beatles helped to bring the Rickenbacker name to the forefront.

These days, Rickenbacker guitars are a unique choice for guitarists looking for something with a vintage style that’s a bit off the beaten path.

Schecter

Schecter Guitar Research is a company that has really established itself as one of the best guitar brands out there in recent years. Many of their guitars are focused on the heavy metal market, but players of any genre can find a Schecter that meets their needs. With superb craftsmanship and high-end appointments you’d expect to find on much more expensive guitars, they are also among the best values in the guitar world.

Many of their guitars are based around the Schecter “C” body shape model. This is a great design that’s not only aesthetically pleasing but also easy to play and sonically effective.

While Schecter is one of the best guitar brands for metal out there today. One design I’ve been really impressed with lately is the Sun Valley Super Shredder. With hot pickups, fast necks and Floyd Rose tremolo systems, these guitars take me back to a time when everything was good and right in the world.

Seagull

Seagull acoustic guitars are among the best values you are going find. They’re made in Canada, and there’s an attention to detail and craftsmanship here you may not expect in guitars at these price points. The Seagull Artist series is the top of the lineup. You’ll find unique tonewoods and high-quality construction techniques at an affordable price.

Further down the Seagull line, looking at models outside of the Artist Series, the components and woods aren’t the same but we still see an impressive attention to detail. The Seagull S6 Original is a bare-bones acoustic, perfect for beginners and intermediate players. This is a guitar worth checking out if you need a solid acoustic and don’t want to break the bank.

Seagull Guitars: The S6 Original

Solar

Solar Guitars is a company owned by Ola Englund. Ola is an incredible metal guitarist who has played in At the Gates and Six Feet Under as well as his own band, Feared, and solo projects. I’ve been a fan for years, not just of his playing but also his YouTube channel where he creates informative and extremely entertaining content.

I have also become quite intrigued by his Solar guitar lineup, though I have yet to get my hands on one. Like Ola, these guitars are all about metal. They look fantastic and sound great from what I have heard. There is an increasing range of options, from six-string and extended range guitars, single and double-cuts, and a few interesting pointy-shaped designs. They are also reasonably affordable. I suggest checking them out if you get a chance, and please come back and comment on your experience.

Squier

Squier is the baby brother of Fender and makes inexpensive guitars players based on classic Fender models. Along with Epiphone, they’re one of the best guitar brands for beginners or newbies looking for their first real guitar.

The quality varies, but some of these are very good instruments. Squier also makes starter packs that come with a guitar, amp, and all the accessories you’ll need to get started playing.

A few Squiers that stand out above the rest are the Classic Vibe and the Vintage Modified Series. These Stratocasters and Telecasters feature better components than typical Squier instruments, and some are even on par with lower-priced Fenders.

If you are thinking of starting out in guitar, it is a smart idea to choose a Squier by Fender starter pack. These kits have everything you need to start playing today, including the guitar, amp, cable, strap, picks, and even some materials to help you learn to play!

Takamine

What about Takamine? Whenever I write about acoustic guitars there always seem to be a few people that are furious that I forgot Takamine. I will make sure they are on this list so we can avoid any rioting in the streets.

Takamine is a Japanese guitar maker. They have long been a very popular acoustic guitar brand, and obviously those who own one of their guitars think very highly of them. I can say that the Takamines I have played were all excellent instruments.

In fact, I have always been impressed with their beginner-level gear as much as their pro-level guitars. Newbies would do well to check out the GD10 dreadnought. It features a mahogany back and side and a spruce top along with a rosewood fingerboard, which is impressive considering how many budget guitars are utilizing alternative woods these days.

On the other end of the spectrum, Takamine offers guitars in their top-of-the-line Pro Series. These instruments are made in Japan, and quite expensive. They are constructed with premium tonewoods and appointments and rival some of the better guitars made by classic American brands such as Martin and Taylor.

Taylor

Taylor guitars are among the best in the world. This American guitar company makes some incredible acoustic guitar designs and a few cool electrics too. Taylor guitars don’t come cheap, but like Martin, they are worth every penny.

Taylor and Martin are really the upper echelons when it comes to American-made acoustic guitars. Like Martin, Taylor makes many acoustic and acoustic-electric instruments that find their way into the hands of professional musicians onstage. But they make a few that are more suited for working players as well.

Their 200-series is reasonably priced, and a great value for a Taylor guitar. They also make the Baby and Big Baby, and the GS Mini—smaller-bodied guitars perfect for intermediate players and beginners with a few extra bucks in their pockets. These are awesome acoustic guitars with a big sound. They might be small, but veteran guitar players love them for the tone and portability.

Check out the Taylor GS Mini!

Washburn

In the 1980s it seemed like Washburn guitars were everywhere, and they were leaders in the hard rock and metal guitar genre. Even though they aren’t quite as prominent as they once were, they still feature some nice guitars in their lineup. From metal to jazz and anywhere in between, Washburn has you covered. With signature models for Paul Stanley and Nuno Bettencourt, they still have strong name recognition in the rock world.

It’s not likely Washburn is going anywhere anytime soon. They’re one of the oldest American guitar makers in the business, with roots going all the way back to 1883!

Yamaha

Yamaha makes a little bit of everything, from organs and bass guitars to electric guitars and band instruments. Their acoustic guitars are always excellent, and there are options for all levels of guitar experience.

Beginning and intermediate players especially can find some outstanding instruments in the Yamaha lineup. This is a Japanese company that has stood the test of time over the years.

The Yamaha FG800 is widely considered one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners, not only because of its surprising sound qualities but also for its ease of play. Moving up the line, the L Series offers high-level craftsmanship and solid-wood designs.

There is a reason Yamaha has been around for so long and is so revered in the music world.

Other Guitar Makers

Though the brands listed above are the best-known guitar companies out there, there are many others. If you come across a guitar manufacturer you have never heard of, it always pays to check it out. You never know what kind of hidden gem you may uncover, and you might find yourself on the leading edge of a new guitar revolution!

Finding the right guitar is a process, and it pays to take your time, consider your needs, and learn as much as you can about the different options. It’s always smart to start with the big names. Remember, there’s a good reason they’re the best guitar brands in the world!

So who are the best of the best? Below you'll find my ranking of guitar companies, sorted by electric and acoustic guitar. It's based on my opinion after 30+ years playing guitar, but of course, you will form your own opinions on who is the best.

More Guitar Brands

Still stumped when it comes to figuring out which guitar brands make the instruments you need to get the sound you want? Here are a few more articles that may help, based on your playing style and favorite genres:

Guitars for Metal

  • Check out some of the top guitars for heavy metal and hard rock from brands like Jackson, B.C. Rich, and Schecter. Pointy shapes only get you so far. These guitars have what it takes under the hood.

Guitars for Country

  • The right guitar brand for country and Southern rock can make the difference between great tone and, well, something else. Which would you rather have when you get up there onstage?

Guitars for Blues and Rock

  • Check out your best bets if you are looking for a guitar brand to play the blues. Hey, you can play the blues on almost anything, but grabbing the right instrument sure helps your sound!

Guitars for Jazz

  • The perfect jazz guitar should sound warm, woody, and clean. Here are some guitar companies that make great guitars for the jazz musician, or anyone who wants to sound like one.

Guitars for Shredders

  • If guitar acrobatics are your idea of a good time, check out these guitars built for speed and precision. Of course they're from some of the top guitar brands in the metal world!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: What are some good guitar brands for beginners?

Answer: When it comes to acoustic guitars, I suggest Yamaha. They make a couple of instruments – the FG800 and FS800 – that are fantastic first guitars. They are affordable, well made and easier to play than most guitars in their price range.

The FG800 has what is called a dreadnought-style body. This gives an instrument excellent projection and a deep, rich sound. It is also the style I recommend for most beginners. The FS800 has a smaller concert-style body. It, too, sounds excellent, but with a little less volume and depth.

Fender makes some good acoustic guitar for beginners as well, and if you are into classical music, you will want to check out Cordoba. Other brands of note include Ibanez, Washburn, Dean and Applause.

As for electric guitars, I recommend two brands for most beginners. The first is Epiphone. This is a company owned by Gibson, and they make a couple of affordable beginner guitars that take after more expensive Gibson models. The Epiphone Les Paul Special II is one, and the SG Special the other.

Both guitars have simple designs that will allow a beginner the opportunity to experiment with different sounds without too much complexity. I usually point newbies toward the Epiphone Les Paul Special II, but either is a smart choice for a beginner.

The other electric guitar brand I recommend for beginners is Squier; specifically the Squier Affinity Stratocaster and Telecaster. Squier is to Fender as Epiphone is to Gibson, and so they make affordable versions of classic Fender guitars. They’re pretty good too, for the price range.

Some other electric guitar brands to check out include Jackson, Ibanez, ESP LTD and Dean.

Remember that this is all based on my own opinions. I encourage you to do your own research and draw your own conclusions.

Question: Which electric guitar is named after the legendary Phoenix?

Answer: The Gibson Firebird immediately comes to mind. This is a smaller, more rounded Explorer-style guitar first produced back in 1963, and it has undergone a wide range of incarnations since. The modern Gibson Firebird HP has a neck-through design with mahogany body wings, a mahogany/walnut neck with a rosewood fingerboard, 495R/T mini humbuckers, and a reverse headstock.

Gibson has produced many version of the Firebird, including some under their Epiphone brand. There is also the bass version, which is called the Thunderbird.

Comments

Michael B on August 07, 2020:

Opinions are just that, opinions. I worked retail music stores for years and when someone walked in and asked ~ "What's your best guitar?" ~ my answer was always ~ "Whatever guitar sings to YOU" ~ the rest is just BS. Having said that, and having played for 50+ years, and having had worked for Ovation and Takamine for over 20 tears {before the Big F came in and destroyed us} ~ I have some opinions . . . 1} Ovation should be higher on your list, 2} Takamine should be in the top 5 and 3} Fender acoustic ?!? Fender has never made an acoustic worth a dime ! Ever ! End of rant, carry on.

Mike Surma on April 10, 2020:

Check out the Zager guitars. Hand made acoustics that rival Martin and Taylor. The prices are good because you are buying direct....no middle man.

Michael James (author) on March 31, 2020:

@To - The more time a person has invested in a hobby, pursuit, or profession, the more they are willing to spend usually. That's true with guitars, golf, photography, model trains, cycling, comic book collecting, or just about anything else you can name in real life. :-) Generally speaking, of course.

To on March 30, 2020:

Why do you assume that the better the player the more money they will have? That is not how it works in real life

NickW on February 24, 2020:

Farida from model 52(E)up.A glaring omission IMHO.

Spencer Clayton on February 06, 2020:

Epiphone needs to be a little higher iv'e played a epiphone G-1275, Les Paul, and a Flying V and they deseve to be a little higher they are good for any kind of guitarist

Angie on January 22, 2020:

My Son's guitar choice.

Tony Blair on January 17, 2020:

Surprised to see Kay not listed, it's 130 year old company and was the largest manufacturer of guitars in the world. Everyone played one from Elvis and Hendrix, to Clapton (first was a Kay), Dylan, and Paul McCartney played a Kay Bass in duet with Stevie Wonder in "ebony and Ivory" Kay is still making guitars and reissued some the most collected models like Jimmy Reed "Thin Twin" and the Signature model Barney Kessels Jazz guitars.

Kay has had many books about the brand and has many artist still using them like T-Bone Burnett who was honored and played a Kay on the Grammy Awards show a few years ago.

Michael James (author) on January 10, 2020:

@J. terry - I may add them on my next update to this article. I really like what I see of Solar.

J.terry on January 09, 2020:

What about Solar guitars?

ShortyGstring on January 02, 2020:

It always upsets me that my favorite guitar is invariably left off the list. Yeah, I know they were sold thru the Sears & Roebuck catalogue...I'm talking about HARMONY. My 1st Harmony guitar was the 1245, f-hole archtop I paid $10 for. My all time favorite is the 1310 single cut away. Also an f-hole archtop. I did some remodel work for an old luthier and he said he would pay me $200 at the end of the month or I could have my choice of any guitar on "that wall". I made a beeline for the 1310 I had be admiring for three days. I've been kicked to the curb, cheated on, screwed over by business partners, lied to by the government but nothing broke my heart like having a junkie steal it and trade it for a fix. That was 20 years ago and it still hurts. Well, thats my thoughts anyway.

Areen on December 26, 2019:

Include LsL please. They're the only Fender-copy better than Fender.

Ernst on December 14, 2019:

Maton made in Australia

Other Brother Daryl on November 28, 2019:

You get a lot of guitar per dollar w a cedar top Seagull.

SlickWillie on October 13, 2019:

How can you have a best guitars article without MusicMan? C'mon man, they deserve the rep Gibson has...

Michael James (author) on October 08, 2019:

@Bob - I really like Line 6 modeling technology, but I'm not sure I'm sold on a modeling guitar. I think I would prefer a guitar that did one thing well, and I'd leave the modeling to the amps and effects. But it doesn't matter what I think. If you play your friend's guitar and you like it, go for it. Line 6 builds good stuff, so I don't think you'll have issues with quality. Good luck with your decision!

Bob on October 07, 2019:

Friend playing the line 6 veriax. Seems to have a good sound and feel. What is your experience? Looking for a good intermediate level guitar.

Michael James (author) on September 01, 2019:

@Andre - Sure it is. Right between Squier and Taylor.

andre on September 01, 2019:

takamine not in the list?

Michael James (author) on July 20, 2019:

@Storm - I don't believe I've ever seen one and I'm not sure they are widely available in the US. They appear to be budget level guitars for beginners, based on some of the online info.

Storm on July 19, 2019:

What are your thoughts on vault electric guitars. Do they worth the price......

Busker Bluesbooter on July 16, 2019:

My favorite guitar? The one I happen to be playing at any given time. I have several guitars and some of them I have made. They are like children. I love them all.

Exalien on June 29, 2019:

Crafter?? Really? Nobody mentions Crafter? :-)

Paid2Play on June 12, 2019:

Don't let anyone tell you that an Epiphone LP is not a real LP. I have three Gibby's and an Epi. I love all four of them.

If you can't get that classic LP tone out of an Epiphone LP, it's not your guitar, it's your playing.

Paid2Play on June 12, 2019:

"Daisy Rock also produces some really high-grade stuff" C'mon man. If you ever battled with a setting up a Daisy Rock guitar, you would know that they're about as cheap as it gets.

It's also pretty obvious that the writer has a Gibson electric and a Martin acoustic and he loves both of them. That's all good but trying to list guitar brands in numeric order from the best down is as pointless as trying to rate guitar players in order from the best down. That's something pre-teens try to do on YouTube.

.

Gibson is my favorite brand, I own a few of them (along with seven others) and, in my opinion, Gibson makes the best guitars. Of course, like the writer, my opinion is biased and, like the writer, it's not worth publishing because one's personal preference doesn't make it the best available. I'm surprised that he hasn't heard of "Suhr" or "Chapman": because, if he had, they would both be listed among the Best 36.

Regarding acoustics, the brand name is a much less significant variable than construction, shape, and materials. I ordered 6 top-rated acoustics and the one I kept is a Seagull with a cedar top, cherry neck, sides, and back, and superior electronics. I fact, I haven't found a Martin, a Taylor, or a Gibson, that comes close in tone or playability.

If we were to collectively choose the "best brand" for the masses, Epiphone is probably the brand we would choose. Today's Epiphone electrics and acoustics sound and play beautifully, they're built exceptionally well, they're priced reasonably, and Epiphone offers the best value available.

Donald on June 11, 2019:

Huss & Dalton make amazing acoustic guitar

Tim Landen on May 30, 2019:

I agree with your no.1 rating of Martin. For what this is worth, the Blue Ridge that was mentioned, is one awesome acoustic guitar. The BR-160 is beautiful in appearance and sounds the same. Check it out. Thanks 4 being out there.

Ralph on May 19, 2019:

Kiesel and Reverend should be in every top 19. Especially Kiesel

David Hutchinson on May 02, 2019:

As for beginners guitars you shoukd suggest Harley Benton guitars by Thomann. Designed in Germany and constructed in Asia they are very well made guitars of all persuasions. Gibson, Fender, PRS styles are represented and can be upgraded even as new. Check them out at Thoman.com. The brand is also highly regarded on YouTube.

Michael James (author) on April 17, 2019:

@Curious Guy - I've not had any experience with either of those brands. I'm not sure they are available over here, or if they have it may only be in certain areas. The Jeffrey Yong instruments look beautiful!

The Curious Guy on April 17, 2019:

Hello there GuitarGopher! I want to thank you for the time that you invested in creating this article! Too bad from where I'm from, quite frankly nearly all of the guitars mentioned are unavailable where I'm from :(

Anyway, I wanted to hear from you about the brand L. Luthier, have you tried them/is is available at wherever you are? Personally I love them, and I think you should try them too!

Another brand I'd like to recommend is Jeffery Yong guitars. Jeffrey Yong is a renowned luthier from where I'm from, but sadly it's far too expensive for me to afford. Interestingly, what made him famous is that he uses mangowood for his guitar (I forgot the model, sorry about that). I'd like to know more about it!

Michael James (author) on March 30, 2019:

@Sarah - That's a tough one. If it has any unique features you can try looking for images of similar guitars online. You can also bring it to a guitar a shop and see if they have any idea.

Acoustic guitars sometimes have information stamped or pasted inside the guitar body. You might try peeking in there with a flashlight to see if you can spot anything.

Electric guitars sometimes have information stamped on the guitar body where the neck bolts on. It you don't have experience working on guitars I'd advise leaving that search to a guitar tech.

Most guitars also have the maker name on the headstock. If not, it is possible the neck and headstock were replaced at some point with aftermarket pieces.

Good luck!

Sarah schnell on March 28, 2019:

I have a guitar without a name on it. How do I find out about it's makers?

Steve Richardson on March 17, 2019:

Seagull and Breedlove makes low end consumer popsicle sticks with strings compared to Larivee - can’t speak for high end Breedlove but I’m donating my Breedlove to a veterans group so one can learn guitar. He will not be overjoyed with its sustain that Larivee perfected

Strumming Along on March 13, 2019:

You should consider trying a Collings.

Michael James (author) on February 27, 2019:

@Ethan - Thanks for the tip. If I ever spot one in the wild I will be sure to check it out.

Ethan Payne on February 26, 2019:

Guitar Gopher! You HAVE to find a way to play a Rockbridge Guitar. All made custom to order. 4 friends in their basement in Charlottesville, Virginia. I stopped by the house and got to play Dave Matthew's guitar and this was my experience: Once getting over the shock of being handed Dave's guitar, I gingerly sat it on my leg, took Dave's guitar pick into my hand, fretted an open G chord and just strummed downward once. My cousin, who knows nothing about guitars, was filming and in the video I strum it and my mouth opens, it's silent, then my cousin goes "wow" and I just started laughing. It was the most phenomenal sound I have ever heard. Deep and High all at once, pure, easy to play, asodfja;fj. It's crazy.

Michael James (author) on February 15, 2019:

@Jon - I don't know much about them. I just checked out their website though and they look beautiful.

Jon Peterson on February 14, 2019:

What about Michael Kelly guitars?? They look sound a play great. Y et I never see anyone talk about them

bob on February 13, 2019:

anyone tried one of the new acoustic/electric models by Mitchell? Only sold at Guitar Centers but seemed like nice guitars.

Michael James (author) on January 25, 2019:

@Chris - That's my 2003 Fender Highway One Strat. Though I'll be switching the image soon for 2019 and I haven't decided which guitar I'll use.

Chris on January 24, 2019:

What is the guitar in the thumbnail?

odod on December 28, 2018:

How about Takamine

Joe on December 25, 2018:

Danelectro has made some incredible guitars the last 5 plus years. The '67 is one of my favorites.

Michael James (author) on November 28, 2018:

Hertz is a guitar brand I am not very familiar with. I don't believe they are widely available in the US. If you have some experience with them please let me know what you think!

kevi on November 27, 2018:

what about hertz guitar..aren't they good?

Pat R on October 29, 2018:

Very informative you should have mentioned the Godin subsidiaries like Art & Lutherie they are one of my favorite affordable acoustic guitars. I own a Spruce topped Wild Cherry which is absolutely amazing, very similar to Martin, made in Canada of 95% Canadian sourced woods and under $400. It has a solid spruce or cedar top wild cherry back and sides with a maple neck. The only imported wood is the Brazilian Rosewood for the fingerboard. The Art & Lutherie line up is definitely worth checking out. They are slightly more expensive than true beginner guitars but they are a great option for an affordable intermediate to professional level player. Some models come with acoustic pickups or you can add your own pickup to it. I have a Fishman Neobuster humbucker soundhole pickup in my Art & Lutherie Wild Cherry and it sounds absolutely amazing. Highly reccomend this Godin owned guitar company, Art & Lutherie.

Alberto Gomez Cas on October 28, 2018:

I really think that Cole Clark and Maton have to be included in the list of best acoustic guitas.

Ed Adams on October 28, 2018:

Not even a mention of Hagstrom? Great electric guitar that have been around 60 years.

Antonio on October 02, 2018:

You forgot Takamine...These instruments are just great

Psy4s on August 22, 2018:

For JMort, MM Guitars are Michael Messer out of England. You can find them in a gale search. he makes a really cool looking Resonator, but I haven’t heard one.

Psy4s on August 22, 2018:

There was a question from Benhur about Cort. If you lived in England you may know them better. They are an Indonesian company who builds many of the lower price point guitars for the big names like G&L and Fender just to name a. Few. Lower price doesn’t always mean less quality. Cort has a following in their own skin, and many with other well known names just may not know they are playing a Cort.

Michael James (author) on July 31, 2018:

@JMort. I could only guess. There are a few smaller luthiers with the initials MM but they don't have "MM" on the headstock. Maybe someone else will know.

JMort on July 30, 2018:

Is anyone familiar with the MM Guitar (acoustical)? MM is the brand of guitar. If so, can anyone tell me what the MM means? I believe they are the initials of the designers of the guitar.

Thank you.

Michael James (author) on July 30, 2018:

@Brad - I've noticed that too. Often (but certainly not always) it seems to be a humidity issue between the plant where the guitar is made and wherever it ends up. The fretboard shrinks a little and the frets get pokey.

Brad Whitney on July 29, 2018:

Great article. Thank you!However I've had a lot of experience with Squier guitars. They often come in at $200, sometimes on sale for $129 but I live in a college town and have had many Squiers. All have very sharp fret ends which discourage beginners not knowing they must be filed. IDK about any of the others but this is my only complaint. Squier quality and playability (after fretwork) is amazing at that price point.

Michael James (author) on July 03, 2018:

Hi Rick - I did some research on this but unfortunately I'm stumped. Everything I read says he likes Gibson guitars and that looks like an ES-335 copy of some kind. Maybe another reader will know the brand and chime in.

Rick on July 01, 2018:

Hello,

I recently saw M. Ward on CBS Saturday morning. He was playing a beautiful double-cutaway with a P on the headstock. I thought it was either a Gibson or Gretsch, but the P threw me. Do you have any ideas what brand guitar he was using? Thank you very much.

Michael James (author) on June 25, 2018:

Hi Ri - Squier Affinity Stratocasters and Telecasters come in lefty designs. Unfortunately they are a bit more than $100. There are some guitars in that price range but unfortunately I don't have a lot of experience with them. I would tread carefully at that price point, as really cheap guitars often end up being more trouble that they're worth. Good luck, whatever you decide!

Ri on June 24, 2018:

Thanks for a great article. I have a question... Am a beginner and left handed.. which acoustic - electric good branded guitar should I get which comes in the range of $100

Benhur on June 04, 2018:

What about cort electric guitar and acoustic guitar

Michael James (author) on April 16, 2018:

@Tim - I think Ibanez Gio Series guitars are great for beginners, especially those who are into metal and hard rock. I highly recommend them.

Tim on April 15, 2018:

What do u guys think of the ibanez Gio. Series

Michael James (author) on February 06, 2018:

@Bob - Thanks for the kind words, and glad you hear you are getting back into guitar. As for opinions, I do get a lot of them on my articles, and that's okay. I always appreciate it, especially when people are nice about it. Even when they aren't, I try to see things from their point of view.

Long ago I decided I'd always write based on my own opinions, knowledge and experiences. Sometimes that's not popular, but I feel its the best way to go. :-)

Bob from Murrells Inlet on February 06, 2018:

Guitar Gopher,

What a great article, you've put a lot of helpful information in here. I have just got back into playing acoustic-electrics after a long absence. I am enjoying playing as much today as I did back in the '60's. The technology and consistency in manufacturing due to CNC technology has made a world of difference what your money will buy.

After reading all the comments to your article, it's clear, as with everything....everyone has an opinion.

What works/sounds/feels right to me, doesn't mean it will for you. Looking forward to reading more of your articles.

Keep up the great work!

Michael James (author) on December 22, 2017:

@Avro - I agree Godin should probably be on here, though I think whether I'd prefer them to Epiphone depends on the situation.

Avro Arrow on December 21, 2017:

Of course I understand that this is just your opinion as it would be anyone's. So in your opinion, Epiphone makes superior guitars to the LGXT/SA, Multiac, Montreal Premiere and Park Avenue Kingpin? That is your opinion?

Not accurate on December 17, 2017:

You forgot recording king in the mix. Easily in the top 5

Bryan on November 15, 2017:

Maton guitars from Australia are awesome. One of the best acoustic guitar of all-time, Tommy Emmanuel plays their guitars. Slash has an acoustic session and he was playing one of those as well.

Michael James (author) on November 13, 2017:

@Avro - I appreciate your constructive criticism. In answer to your questions:

1. Epiphone may be the same company as Gibson, but it is a separate brand. While they make many Gibson copies, they have some designs specific to their brand. Jackson is under the same company umbrella as Fender as well.

2. I write these articles based on my personal opinion.

2. See #2 above.

Hope this helps!

Avro Arrow on November 12, 2017:

Two questions:

1) How is it that you put Epiphone separate from Gibson when they're nothing more than a Gibson band-name that makes nothing but cheap Gibsons?

2) Why do you recognise Godin's greatness by acknowledging their Seagull brand but have no mention of Godin, even though their guitars are vastly superior to Epiphone?

2) How is it that you recognise one of Godin's brands, Seagull, but not the Godin name? Especially considering that Godin electric guitars are far superior to Epiphone?

BLAKTORX on November 06, 2017:

PRS is great but sometimes they sound muddy, brands like musicman and charnel deserve some attention as their guitars are really good. In Gibson and Fender you’re basically paying for the brand

David on August 28, 2017:

I think the guitar business is changing, there are very nice brands out there that are high quality: GODIN, CHARVEL and Ernie Ball - MusicMan...In my opinion Godin are really nice. Not always the traditional and most sold is the best.

Chris W on August 05, 2017:

Have you ever tried PRS acoustics before? They come with their SE line, and are fantastic quality guitars for the price. And their American acoustics are built by a small team of acoustic professionals. They only do "private stock" American acoustics now, but they used to have it as a regular lineup with about the same price tag as their custom 24. I've only ever heard them in video, but they sound amazing, and I've only ever heard good things about them. I would argue that PRS should have made that top 10 acoustic list at least over Fender or Epiphone.

I have a slight bias I must admit, as I own a PRS SE acoustic, but I can say from my experience that it easily stands up to - or if not, tops over - Martins or Taylors of the same price range. Given that, I would have at least ranked them. But that's just my opinion.

Wolf_Entity1223 on June 16, 2017:

my ibanez is my pride and joy and i wouldnt trade it for the world

Gary Bross on February 13, 2017:

I finally bought my American made Fender Strat, I loved the color blue.

Next I bought a Gibson Les Paul Custom, wine red but they have a problem with the paint, it melts on contact to a guitar stand, you have to order a special one to avoid this problem.

Rockerzt on February 07, 2017:

For best playability .... Ibanez

Nick on February 05, 2017:

Check out larrivee!!

Michael James (author) on December 27, 2016:

@Mason. I'm a huge fan of Peavey amps. As for their guitars, they aren't bad. Their basses a little better I think. If you have a Peavey dealer nearby it is certainly worth going in and checking them out.

mason on December 26, 2016:

So what would u say to a Peavey are they good?

Michael James (author) on November 28, 2016:

Hi Braydyn. Yes, I know Guild. They are up there my list. In fact, my first decent acoustic guitar was a Madeira by Guild. It's a budget model, but a good guitar, and I still have it today.

Braydn on November 27, 2016:

Have you heard of the guitar company website named the guild guitar company. They have an excellent guitar facts info and sell guitar parts. I really recommend going to their page. That is if you haven't visited yet.

Gerry on October 29, 2016:

I own a Webber and I am quite pleased with my round body guitar.

Michael James (author) on September 26, 2016:

Hi Learmonth! I always recommend Yamaha acoustics for beginners. The FG and FS Series both offer affordable, quality instruments. The question is what size you need to get. Some smaller kids do better on small-bodied guitars like the Yamaha JR2. Of course he would outgrow this by the time he is a teenager, though it would still be a cool guitar to have around. If you feel he can handle a full-size guitar look at something like the FG700S. It's a great starter guitar that will last him a long time, as long as he takes care of it. Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.

Learmonth on September 26, 2016:

Hi, can you recommend a good quality/brand of "acoustic guitar" for my 10y.o. son who's keen on taking up guitar lesson? A guitar which would last him atleast until he's teenager or adulthood!

Appreciate your feedback with the above.

Michael James (author) on September 20, 2016:

Sure, I'll comment on Ibanez. :-) My first "real" guitar was an 1985 Ibanez PR1660, which was like a Rhoads copy kind of thing. I loved it, and though it has undergone some extensive modifications I still have it today. In fact, even today the neck is one of the sweetest of any guitar in my collection.

I like Ibanez a lot, for both guitar and bass. They have a few very affordable guitars in the S and RG lineups that are great choices for the money, and their high-end gear is up to the standards of anybody in the industry. For beginner instruments they are tough to beat too. I highly suggest checking them out.

Aldren on September 19, 2016:

How about ybanez guitar? Anyone wants to comment?

Pedram on August 31, 2016:

Ernie Ball Music Man guitars not in this list!!!!!!!!!

Michael James (author) on July 09, 2016:

@dereck: I like Martin a lot. While many of their guitars are pretty expensive, they do have some nice options in $1000-$2000 range. Good luck finding a great acoustic guitar!

dereck on July 08, 2016:

I have been looking for a guitar and noticing what the bands touring and professionals of Nashville. Gibson, Taylor, Martin and Takamime are the big 4. I like the Martin sound. and bought a great copy by Univox, 3-5k for the Martin.

My last lost guitar was a 1k copy of a Martin by Alvarez Yari. Yari was sued for making their copies as was Univox same quality half the price.

Michael James (author) on June 29, 2016:

Hi Matthew. No, I don't work in a guitar store. But I have been around guitars for 30+ years and have probably spent more times in stores than some people who do work there! :-)

Matthew on June 28, 2016:

S you basically listed every guitar brand. Do you work at a guitar store or something?

Michael James (author) on June 11, 2016:

Hi prabhat. I've never heard of a guitar brand called "Clapton". Eric Clapton plays Fender guitars and has his own signature Stratocasters. You may have heard the phrase "Clapton Stratocaster". Is that what you're thinking of?

prabhat on June 10, 2016:

Hey guys. . plz tell me. If anypne has heard about Clapton guitar brand. I wonder if it really is a guitar brand so plz reply.

Scott on June 03, 2016:

I don't understand why everyone is so "Gibson is the best". They have been going downhill for years. Unless it's a custom shop job, it is hit or miss. the same with Fender. Everyone likes them because of the mystique of the players that played them over the last decades. It's a "lifestyle cult" with name recognition. If you want a guitar that plays and sounds like a Gibson of Fender is supposed to but want to be guaranteed of the quality you are receiving and spend for a fraction of the money, then get a used USA Custom Shop made Washburn. You will never look back. I say used because the Chicago custom shop has apparently closed. Anything made there from about 1993 - 2008 that looks like a competitors guitar will outmatch the competitors version every time. You will notice that it is hard to find a used custom shop Washburn around. That's because they are the guitar worlds best kept secret. The people in the know get them - at a massively reduced price - and keep them. People hang onto their USA Washurns for the most part and there i a reason for that. They are that good.

Michael James (author) on June 02, 2016:

Hi JMDean. I don't have a lot of personal experience with Alvarez but I am aware they are a respected brand, the Yairi series in particular. I update this article every so often so I may add them in the future. Glad you found a guitar you love!

JMDean on June 01, 2016:

One of my guitars is an Alvarez Yairi. It's an acoustic dreadnaught, priced up there with the Martin D28, has fantastic sound, and very comfortable to play. I haven't seen Alvarez mentioned in this article. I am just wondering how you think it compares to some of the other high-end guitars.

Joe on May 16, 2016:

Takamine?

For me Gibson is the best in electric and acoustic as well but the price so wow. Epiphone so much affordable and it wont disappoint u because it sound really good tho.

By the way, Godin and Cort also sounds good if u know about it.

:)

Michael James (author) on March 27, 2016:

Hi Ankit! Gibson makes some amazing acoustic guitars, but I would not recommend them for beginners unless you have some serious cash at your disposal. If you like Gibson designs check out Epiphone acoustic guitars.

I also suggest checking out Yamaha guitars. In my opinion, they are a great choice for beginners.

ankit singh on March 26, 2016:

hi i am a biginner but can not find which brand is best for acoustic giuitar.

i thik gibson is the best brand of acoustic guitar

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