Not long ago, I put together a brand tier list for electric guitars. A lot of you guys requested an acoustic list, so here I am, stirring the pot on which acoustic guitar brand is the best of the best (and the worst of the worst)...in my humble opinion.
To be fair, I’ve only included brands where I’ve had firsthand experience with their guitars. I know some of these products are made in the same factories, and some companies might have both entry-level products and high-end products, so I’ve created these tiers based on how I’d rank the brand as a whole.
Let the pot-stirring begin:
Rogue: They’re meant to be inexpensive entry level guitars, but I’d recommend going for a used brand in the C or B list instead.
Mitchell: I think this is the house brand at Guitar Center; I worked there for a long time. In my humble opinion, these just weren’t very good.
Most of the brands in this list are D tier because of the tone, which is compromised by the laminated tops. I think solid wood tops always sound better.
Washburn: I think this is the best brand in this category. I haven’t played a ton of these, but most of the ones I’ve played have been ‘meh’, in my opinion.
Ibanez: The guitars look good, but with the laminated tops, they just aren’t great. They play pretty well and come set up pretty well, but the sound isn’t there.
Fender: This brand is here for the same reason as Ibanez: even the solid tops don’t sound that good to me.
Guild: I like this brand for electric, but not so much for acoustic. I find most of them to be a little lifeless.
Gretsch: I love their electric guitars (and I placed them on the B tier for electrics), but there’s something about their construction and sound that is a little bit lacking to me in volume and openness.
Takamine: Whether they’re $200 or $1200, they sound thin and a bit lacking in the low end. But you might prefer your guitar to have more high end and mids, so you might give Takamine a higher rating.
Epiphone: I’d put the Masterbilts in the B tier because of the incredible value for the money, but the cheaper stuff brings the whole brand down to the C tier for me.
Alvarez: I own an Alvarez Yairi, and I’d consider that A tier-worthy. They’re handmade in Japan and have some solid wood models, but many of their guitars are inexpensive and don’t sound that great. It hurts me to say this, but it’s true.
Ovation: I’ve played a lot of really good sounding Ovations over the years. They have a unique sound and feel pretty good, but they’re different. It’s polarizing: you either love or dislike the sound, and some people don’t like the round back. I think the more expensive ones sound really good and the cheaper ones still sound decent.
Larrivée: I don’t find the sound that appealing. I’d understand if it’s an A tier brand for you. They make solid quality guitars, but they’re just not for me.
Seagull: This brand brings some of the best value for your money. The S6 is incredible, and anything from there up just sounds better and better. The cedar solid tops sound really good, and the ones that come with electronics have quality components.
Yamaha: I think they make some of the best starter guitars for the money. The products are consistent, and the high end guitars are obviously great. If you want to spend the minimum amount of money for a decent acoustic guitar, get a Yamaha.
Gibson: They’re known for high quality parts and craftsmanship, but their quality control and consistency have been issues for me.
Martin: These are great if you want a deeper, more traditional sound.
Taylor: Good quality guitars with a brighter, more modern sounding appeal.
Breedlove: These are of a similar quality as the others in this tier, but lean toward modern and bright with a ‘different’ feel.
Collings: Every Collings acoustic guitar I’ve ever played has just blown my socks off. Period.
What do you think? Are you ready to throw my opinions out the window, or do you agree with where I’ve assigned these brands? What would you put in the S and F tiers?