What’s The BEST Acoustic Guitar Brand? (Tier List)


– All right, you asked
for it, you’ve got it. I did an electric guitar brand tier list, I don’t know, about a month ago? And I had a lot of people
request an acoustic one, so I was like “You know what? I’ll do it.” I didn’t get a lot of hate
for the electric one, so. I have a lot of positive
feelings about this one that I can stir up some
strife here on the interwebs about which guitar brand… Which acoustic guitar
brand you think is best, again, I’m gonna do this one according to a bell curve, so there has to be some in the F category, there has to be some in the S, you know most of the stuff is gonna
fall in the middle and the criteria for this, is I
have to have had first hand experience with these
brands, so here you go. All right let’s start at the bottom. Probably the worst guitar I’ve
ever played for an acoustic is a Rogue, and that’s
what it’s meant to be. It’s a very inexpensive,
entry-level guitar but really I would go
look for a used brand in the C or B tier list when they come up and if you’ve played a
Rogue, that’s awesome. Let me know in the comments below but that’s probably my worst one, and right next to that,
although I don’t think they’re as bad, is Mitchell. I think this is a house
brand for Guitar Center, and I worked at Guitar
Center for a long time and I played a lot of these guitars, and they just were not very
good, in my humble opinion. If there is any hate that’s
gonna come from this video, I think it’s gonna be from the D tier list because I know a lot of
people play these guitars and there’s nothing against them but my biggest complaint
with every guitar in this tier list, and there’s three
of them, three different brands is the tone and most of that is because a lot of these guitar models for these brands have laminated tops. And they just don’t sound that good to me. Solid wood tops always sound better, but the first one in this
category is Washburn. This would probably be the best one in this category actually, to me. I haven’t played a ton of these but the ones I have played have been like eh. But I have played a few… They’re pretty good, and
another thing that I should say throughout all of these brands, I’m looking at these as a brand overall. ‘Cause Martin for example, has very inexpensive ones or more
inexpensive than very expensive ones, so I’m looking at
them as an overall thing. Not at just the expensive
ones, middle priced ones or just the cheap ones. The next one for this list,
and I’m not gonna lie, these guitars do… Or this brand does a good job
at making their guitars look really good but a lot of
them are laminated tops and I just don’t think they sound very good and that’s
Ibanez, and I’ve played a ton of Ibanez acoustic guitars. I will say that they play pretty great. They come set up pretty
well but for the sound, I just can’t do it, they
look pretty good too so. The last one in this D tier, and this one may surprise you, but it’s Fender. I kind of put that in the
same category as Ibanez. A lot of them with the laminated tops, and even some, I don’t know why, but some of the solid tops just
don’t sound that great to me and I know a lot of these
acoustic guitars are made in the same factories, but I’m kind
of putting it out on my mind to just give them my opinions
here for the brand as a whole. And my opinion and five dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Okay one guitar brand that I
wish I saw more of in general that I like, but especially for electrics, but I like a little bit
less for acoustic, is Guild. And I just find them to
be a little bit lifeless. I have played a lot or a
few that I really liked but a lot of them, I’m
like eh that’s okay. I can’t say that about
the electric as much. See electrics, I like a little bit more. They’d be in like B tier list to me if I had played more of
them, which I haven’t. But Guild C tier, see
next one this may surprise some people too because
I love their electrics. I think this brand is in the B tier list for the electric, Gretsch. I don’t know, like just
something about the construction, the sound, just the sound
mainly, not the looks, not the feel but the
sound of Gretsch guitars is a little bit lacking to me
in volume and like openness. Definitely a tier down from
where the electrics are. Lets see next, and this
is an extremely popular brand, especially from
around the five to 700$ mark, but a lot of them look really good but they don’t sound that good to me. Obviously like I’m going by sound here, that’s my main criteria but Takamine, and this isn’t always the case. Again, this is as a brand as a whole, all the way from like their 200$ stuff, all the way up to like their 1200$ stuff. They just sound a little bit thin to me and lacking in the low end department, but you may like that,
you may like your guitar to have a more high end than more mid, so. Now this next one, I’m a
little bit conflicted about because I really really
like Epiphone Masterbilt series guitars, I think
they’re incredible value for the money, all solid wood guitars but like on a brand as whole with their cheaper stuff included, I would put Epiphone in the C tier list. Epiphone Masterbilt, I’d probably put in B but all their cheaper
stuff or their other stuff that they’re not all solid wood kinda brings the whole brand
down to a C tier list to me. All right , B tier list has
the most brands overall, and again this another
one I’m conflicted about because I own an Alvarez Yairi and I consider that like an A tier list because it’s a hand-made
guitar from Japan, solid wood or some of
them are all solid wood but a lot of the more inexpensive
stuff doesn’t sound that great to me, so I’d put
that in the C tier list. I would put the Yairi
stuff in the A tier list and that kind of averages out for a B. Hurts me to say, but it’s true. Next, and this one is… This guitar, this brand is kind of in a class all of its own
because it’s so different. I don’t wanna say weird, but it’s so different and that’s Ovation. I played a lot of really
good sounding Ovations over the years but they
definitely have their own unique sound and generally I think
they feel pretty good too but they are different,
they’ve very polarizing. Either you love the sound
or you don’t like any, you don’t like the round
back and the feel of that so. You know, that’s more of a personal thing as far as the guitar, but I
think the more expensive ones sound really good and the less
expensive ones sound decent. Larrivée guitars next, I think this is a really high quality brand. The only reason and this
is more of a personal thing than it is like “Oh cool”,
it’s the materials or the build or whatever, but just the
sound the guitars to me in general, doesn’t appeal to me as much. It might be an A tier for you and I would totally understand that. It might be in a C tier for you but Larrivée falls kind of
right in the middle to me. It’s a really solid quality guitar with a good sound that’s just not for me. Seagull guitars I think, are one of the best of values for the money. The S6 is incredible and
anything from there up just sounds better and better. The solid top on those
guitars, the cedar one sounds really good and you
get really good electronics on the ones that come with electronics. So I think it’s a really
good value for the money. Kind of along those same lines is Yamaha. I think they make some of the
best starter guitars for the money and matter of fact, I just did a video on the best starter… Beginner acoustic guitar for
200$ and it was a Yamaha, and they’re very consistent
like the farther up you go, you kind of get diminishing
returns for Yamaha but if you wanna spend just
the minimum of amount of money to get into acoustic guitar
but you want something with a solid top and a good sound, I think Yamaha is super solid. All right next, the only reason
this brand is in the B tier list and not the A tier
list is consistency. I can pick up one of
these guitars and be like “That is awesome”, I could
pick up the same model and be like “That does not do it for me at all” and that’s kind of the same with their electrics too and that’s Gibson. I know it’s high quality
parts, high quality craftsmanship but the quality control and the consistency just
has issues for me so. Okay the next three brands to
me are just different flavors in the spectrum, all of
the same kind of quality but it depends of, if you
want more of a traditional vibe, a more modern vibe, a brighter vibe and just the feel of the guitars. I think they’re all about the same quality and they’re all really great. My dad is a huge Martin fan
and I always have been too, but I don’t even own
one, my dad does though. They have kind of a deeper
sound that’s more traditional so I really like them for
that, and the other part of the spectrum, kind of the
opposite of this, is Taylor. They make really good quality
guitars, they’re brighter, more modern sounding and just
another, like an overall take this kind of the same
quality level is Breedlove. I really like their guitars,
they’re very different vibe from both of these, leaning
a little more towards like the Taylor and modern,
bright kind of thing but a really different feel, and obviously the last one
for this is Collings guitars. The Collings plant is
like seven miles away from my parents house
so I did visit there. And every Collings acoustic guitar I’ve ever played has
just blown my socks off. There are a lot of
guitar brands out there, like Santa Cruz, Olson,
that I haven’t played that I would… I suspect would be kind of
on the same level as Collings but again, I have to
limit this to just stuff that I’ve had a lot of
first-hand experience with. So let me know in the comments below what you think about this tier list, where you think these brands should be, your own personal opinion
with your experience or different brands that you
have a lot of experience with that you think should have been here and what tier you would’ve put them in. I’ll see you later. (jazz music)

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100 thoughts on “What’s The BEST Acoustic Guitar Brand? (Tier List)

  1. I think your probably correct with Ibanez in a way, they have so many types but the AW Series some models are fantastic. Love my Yamaha LLTA and Taylor 300, Do what ever I ask of them. The Epiphone Masterbilts play well too, though like many acoustic makers you can play one and be blown away with it and then pick up another of the same make and sounds totally dull. But like anything, if it feels good and sounds good and plays good, BUY IT !!!

  2. Excellent list. Overall I agree. People think there's all these differences in the $200-300 guitars and they really isn't. I think the rosewood laminated Yamaha is the best deal until you get to Martin's & Taylor's and so on. Even some of the cheaper all solid wood guitars don't sound great until you get to that point.

  3. Definitely get your hands on a Cole Clark if you can. Australian made with Australian woods, the tone can range from being nice and fat to crystal clear depending on whether you play a Fat Lady or an Angel and which woods were used.

  4. Spot on list. Especially fair comment on Masterbuilt Series by Epi. One glaring omission that surprises me given all the praise they are receiving from musicians, online and press reviews is no mention of Eastman. After reading and listening to various positive reviews I played one last week- an E20 slope shoulder Dred. Beautiful build and Beautiful sound. I own two of the 3 brands on your A list and I will be adding an Eastman to my collection soon.

  5. You forgot Cort guitars. For me they are in the same league as Yamaha Guitars. I think Takamine deserves a better rating. They have great guitars in every level. And Breedlove is rated too high for my taste. I had one and was not impressed. But all is a matter of taste.

  6. Silly stuff. What makes you an expert ? I've been at guitar for more than 55 years, and you internet experts are entertaining at best.

  7. You would expect as the price of guitars go up the better the workmanship and sound would be. For me, I love Ibanez. I own one electric and 2 acoustic electrics and have another one being shipped as I write this. The only guitar I own that I like better than all my guitars, is my Fender Telecaster.

  8. Very few guitars have laminated tops nowadays. I have a few washburne that sound great. Saying a brand is in a specific tier is very difficult. I have played Martin's that were just soso in sound I have a 1996 D1 that's very very good and it's a lower cost Martin. I have played quite a few Seagulls I want to like them but for me they sound like crap. The point is try different things because you never know when that guitar you have been told sucks will be just the one you love.

  9. I have a pretty good assortment of guitars, acoustic and electric. I play a little? But it's my wife and two sons that really have the music bug. With the wide range of instruments in the house, I have to feel bad for that poor little Suzuki, It's been the go to for everyone. Both kids took it to school extensively, and it's the one everybody just grabbed for what ever! Not the greatest guitar ever built, but just something about makes everybody want to play it? It's about 20 years old now and sits over in the corner with it's worn out fret board just waiting for someone to love it some more.

  10. Pretty much on the money. At the top tear would add other boutique brands though like Boucher, Bourgeois, you mentionned Santa Cruze. But you did say what you had tried so I respect that. Sad for Gibson to be where it is but you are right on the quality control and consistancy. I do have a stellar J45 that I am very proud of but my D35 is a step up. Still love em equal 😉

  11. The problem with this list is that some brands like Martin have everything from really low end to super high end offerings and they are a storied brand name ! While others can’t compete with the Martin or Gibson reputation on a list but they do have higher end offerings that are really great

  12. I have a seagull parlour guitar and it sounds fantastic for the money in not sure you can beat it. I also have a tanglewood which lower end I'm really not much of fan but this one is a CE1000 rosewood etc it sounds brilliant but I don't love it I think I just have a problem with tanglewood because their lower end stuff isn't great imo I've been trying to sell my tanglewood for ages

  13. Shame that people in USA don't get to know some european brands more in-depth like the Red series of FURCH or the Master Builds by ALHAMBRA ( yes they make exquisite steel strings too) From my first hand experience both of these blow Taylor and Martin out of the water ( And I have tried 8 new V-class tailors and the 3500$ and up Martins). I wish they had better marketing over there. In the cheap tier we have the Faith guitars out of the UK ( via its own china factory) starting at 500 $ that are full solid wood builds with amazing ease of play. Ah well. The more the merrier 😉 Happy playing! Edit : OOOOHH I forgot one of the most important ones : Lowden from Ireland!

  14. I have this old Yamaha 365-S probably build 1982. It beats every other steel string acoustic guitar I have heard so far.
    It sounds even if you dont play it, if you play another guitar in the room it will start to vibrate.
    Its magic. 😉

  15. Yamaha has improved over the year. Gibson acoustic would put in a B. The newer models I have play would place in A. I would put place fender in F because I’ve open a few and they just sound dead. I would Taylor in S because I love their tone and sound. Luna guitars would be in C

  16. Can't believe you put Washburn at a D. You must not have played any of the good ones. I have a Washburn Woodline 100 series (torrefied Sitka spruce top, no laminate), and I was blown away at how good it sounds. Honestly punches well above its weight class, and sounds better than some of the pricier Seagulls and Yamahas.

  17. That`s just your opinion mate, you left a few of the better one`s off the list, Takamine & Maton much better than some on the list
    Ovation are garbage!!!

  18. I'd move Larrivee up a notch and switch Tak with Ovation – other than that pretty good list I based on my experiences.

  19. There`s also Larrivee Guitar,`s as good as any on your list, If you are going to do guitar reviews mate you gotta do em all…. not just a couple you think are any good.

  20. I don’t agree with the Ovation opinion. I had one and have played a few. I never did like them. I love my Martin though. I have a DC15E. Its made of Brazilian Mahogany and plays better than any other that I have ever played. I do love the Taylor Baritone though.😊

  21. S Tier: Maton, Martin, Lowden.
    A Tier: Taylor, Collings, Takamine Japanese models(for stage ONLY, acousitic wise they are B at best), Furch (aka Stonebridge).
    The rest of your list I agree with.

  22. Love my Taylor 816ce! I've played many guitars over the years and this one just feels right and sounds amazing. The playability is excellent. The tones are exactly what I was seeking for performance and recording. I played a gig this past Saturday and when we went on break an enthusiastic guest rushed to the stage and said it was the best sounding live acoustic guitar he had ever heard. Honestly … this guitar even smells great! LOL. Truth!

  23. I had a 2010 Gibson Hummingbird that was a gourgeous-looking guitar and sounded great. But, it was nearly unplayable. The action was so high. I had to have 3 different luthiers work on it to bring the action down to a playable level without buzzing. Unacceptable for a guitar that cost $3K. BUT, I've played beat up used ones that played great.

  24. I love that you put Guild above Fender. It's sweet justice considering that when Fender bought out Guild, they ruined the brand name with Quality Control issues left and right.
    Now that Guild comes under Cordoba, with Ren Fergursson in charge of it, they are slowly making a comeback.

    Alvarez models, particularly the K.Yairi models are very good, but they don't feel good to play. It's kind of like a Gibson feel.
    Martin guitars tend to sound and feel better overall.

  25. Lost me at Ibanez lol most of them are laminate top? Their solid tops start at only $200 with the AW54 and they sound fantastic especially for the money paid. And as you mentioned playability is generally pretty good too. Not sure where you got the "most of them are laminate" thing as I have observed the opposite they seem to offer some of the best value for the money with many of their solid top models. On the flip side I agree that Fender is TERRIBLE. Odd that both of those two got lumped together. I actually agree with the rest of the list for the most part. But you were off with that Ibanez ranking. I would have put it in the B category if considering an "average" guitar out of their line up which would be solid top with good build quality, sound, playability, and great looks and features.

  26. Nothing plays quite like a Martin. Ever since I bought my Martin every acoustic I play feels and sounds like garbage to me, even my friend’s Taylor. There are some awesome Gibson’s but Martin is the king of acoustics

  27. I bought a Rogue about 14 years ago, it was on sale for 99.00. I didn't expect much as I have 6 other guitars by Sigma, Takamine, Yamaha, Applause, etc. I kind of figured when it arrived by UPS that I would find a guitar with a broken neck in the box. This is a CHEAP guitar but, I have to say that it was the best 99.00 I've ever spent on what people would consider garbage. I've done just minor adjustments to try to fine tune the intonation, this guitar sounds awesome, I put a good set of Elixirs on it and sustain on this guitar is unbelievable. So, cheap or not, I'm very happy with it and it's action is pretty much spot on for a cheap guitar. I'm actually glad that I bought it.

  28. I was waiting to see where he put Yamaha & I couldn’t agree more. I’m a professional musician & my stage guitar is a Gibson (one of the gems, lucky me) but my practice guitar is a $180 Yamaha.

  29. Very good list. Swap Takamine with Ovation and we're good. The Takamine Pro series could be in the A list. Check out a McPherson one day. Better yet, don't, unless you want to risk the temptation to mortgage the house to own the most amazing guitar you'll ever play. The grand piano of acoustic flat tops.

  30. Really interesting list. I think taking brands as a whole is a big problem with your list, since I cannot come to terms with a single rating for guitars like Guild which have a huge price range. Likewise Yamaha. I have an all sold Yammie that is ight up at A, but their laminated ones are Ho hum. Completely spot on with GIbson, Fender and Takamine as far as I'm concerned. I have two different high end (Martins HD 35 and J40), and they are totally different in tone – the J is not especially deep in the way you describe. Very interesting that you put Collings up above Martin. I never played a Collings, but my comment would be -there are a lot of Martins out there at differing price points and not many Collings all high end, so you are more likely to get hold of average Martins. I also note the absence of Bourgeois (which has a very high rep), Northwood (another boutique brand) and the two famous UK brands (Fylde – which I love, and Lowden – which I loathe). I do appreciate that you can only rate what you played – I'm just surprised you never came across these last ones. Also, by the time you get above a certain price, it's really hard to rate one as better than another it's much more about personal preference. Likewise my comments about Lowden – loads of people love them.

  31. Hmm, while I agree with some of your selections I would say that Taylor, Martin and Washburn (though Washburn has some issues with consistancy as does Gibson) I have not seen a Washburn with a laminated top but I would not be surprised if they have those.

  32. Hey, I know this is a bit of a long shot but I hope you can give us the same insight with classical guitar brands, I know you did the CG beginners list but in general CG Brands would be nice. Thanks Man, you’re the best.

  33. My Gibsons are the best guitars I’ve ever played. Sorry your experience with them hasn’t been great, but you should have them in the same tier as Martin given the amount rebindings they’ve had to do on new guitars.

  34. The first guitar I bought was a $199 Fender acoustic…its not great lol. I’ve played Washburn’s and Ibanez’s that are around the same price range and they are much easier to play, and they sound much better. There’s nothing wrong with a Washburn or Ibanez as a cheap starter guitar or a beater, but I would avoid Fender

  35. I know you probably get a lot of requests to try different boutique guitar brands, however you should really look into Boucher guitars made in Canada. The quality is unreal and in my opinion right up there with Collings. They are incredible! Cheers

  36. Only thing I disagree with is on Guild guitars. These should be in your 'A' tier IMHO.
    The custom 12 string Guilds are amazing. But obviously 6 string verses 12 string would need to be a whole different rating system.
    My wife's Guide 12 string electric acoustic sounds incredible and the effects I can get on it only enhance it more.

  37. I have a Rogue…can confirm it's bad. For some reason I bought one online on a whim this year…was $50 new. It stays in tune but the feel of it is just awful. Hard to describe. It just doesn't sound right…sound is almost plasticy, from the very cheap body. It's just…bad. I regret wasting the $50. It's playability is OK, action actually came relatively low, but it just doesn't sound good. I offered it to a friend for free and he said no, lmao. It's probably going to goodwill at some point.

  38. No one:
    Beginning of the video:
    “I’ve always wanted to learn the guitar, but the beginning seemed so frustrating”

  39. I never hear anything about Zager guitars. I'm still in the beginner phase of playing but I research and listen. I just never hear anything about them… Thanks! I currently play on a Yamaha FG700 S and love it. I just had the action lowered a little and new strings put on. It sounds nicer than when I first bought it 5 years ago! 👍😊

  40. I actually had a Rouge acoustic electric GC style guitar back in 2004-ish. I was only 15 but I really liked it at the time. I’m curious how it would feel now that I’m older and more experienced as a player

  41. I have a humming bird pro and I am still trying to learn how to play but every one I know that plays when they try it out they try there best to talk me out of it, they say the sound and tone on it is awesome, not sure if they are just trying to make me feel good or if it is really any good but that is just my two cents worth, I know nothing about guitars but hope to some day

  42. You put Ovation on the same level as Gibson?!?! REALLY???!!!!!! My SJ-200, J-45, and Hummingbird would beg to differ. I also have a Martin 15ME and Taylor 310CE so I have a wide range on your list. No way Gibson is that low.

  43. Maton guitars and cole Clark guitars both A or S rank no doubt they may have some cheaper models that wouldn’t reach that level but overall as a brand easily A or S

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