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Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars to Give for Xmas 2016

acoustic guitar, guitar gifts for christmas, best acoustic guitars

As I said in my last post, guitarists are always happiest about their next guitar. We’re constantly window-shopping or looking around online to see if we can score a deal. We need one of every kind, for every situation.

Certainly this extends to acoustic guitars. Whether it’s used for strumming around a campfire or for delicately layering in a rhythm track on your magnum opus, having at least one acoustic around is invaluable. And since it’s a guitar, it’s likely you’ll have one at both ends of the spectrum.

When it comes to acoustic guitars, the price more or less follows that of their electric counterparts. Below $300 is starter territory (or your campfire guitar after a year or so); $500 to $700 is generally decent, but just getting into solid wood versus laminates; $1000 or more buys a great instrument and should be of professional quality; $2500 and above should buy you the best. Naturally, as with all things, there’s no limit to what you can spend. You want to spend $20,000 on a guitar? I won’t stop you.

To get an acoustic guitar you can use in just about any setting, start just under four digits looking up. For the intermediate player, you’ll probably want to put the floor at $250. My first acoustic, a Takamine cost about that and did the job for a number of years before it was relegated to campfire status. Beginners can go for pretty much anything they like — comfort is the most important thing at this level.

For this list, we’re sticking to steel-string acoustics. While they make excellent strumming guitars to have around, nylon-string classical guitars are a whole other animal. For the average player, they’re not quite as well suited to the full range of guitar playing. They certainly have their place, but this list is for the more conventional guitar.

Due to their resonance, acoustic guitars do very well with clip-on tuners, so consider grabbing one of those for your guitarist. Another thing you might consider, especially with high-end acoustics, is a guitar humidifier, which slowly releases moisture to keep the wood from drying and cracking over time. This is especially good in areas of the country with high contrast in humidity levels between seasons.

If you’re looking to give the guitarist in your life something to strum this year, consider our list of the best acoustic guitars to give for Christmas.


1. Rogue RA-090 Dreadnought

acoustic guitar, guitar gifts for christmas, best acoustic guitars

(Rogue)

If the guitarist on your Christmas list is just starting out, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to spend a lot of money on a guitar. What you need is something with all the elements, put together in such a way that it won’t immediately fall apart, and which holds a tune. Enter virtually any Rogue instrument, but especially this guitar.

Let me put it to you this way: if you were to buy this guitar and then try to ship it to your friend on the other side of the country, you’d very nearly spend more on the shipping than this guitar costs. It’s an exceptional value, no way around it. On top of that, it actually sounds pretty good. It’s bright and articulate, and it looks the part. Even if you only get a year of lessons out of this guitar, your money still will have been well worth it. At this price, the gig bag is sold separately. It’s also avaialble in sunburst, if you prefer.

Need more options? Browse more Rogue products here.

Price: $59.99

Buy the Rogue RA-090 Dreadnought here.



Specs:

  • Body shape: Dreadnought
  • Top body wood: Whitewood
  • Side and back body wood: Whitewood
  • Neck wood: Nato
  • Fretboard wood: Painted maple

Find more Rogue RA-090 Dreadnought information and reviews here.


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2. Washburn WD100DL Dreadnought Mahogany

acoustic guitar, guitar gifts for christmas, best acoustic guitars

(Washburn)

A step up from Rogue instruments brings you to Washburn. Washburn is kind of famous for making unusually good instruments for relatively little money, alongside label mate Oscar Schmidt. I would say that where most people prepare to be disappointed by Fender’s Squier line, for example, people are more often than not pleasantly surprised by a Washburn.

The $90 upgrade from the Rogue gets you a guitar completely made of mahogany, which will go a long way toward increasing the sustain and richness of the tone. A lot of guitars, particularly in this price range, will make the top piece out of nice wood, but then skimp on the sides. This is the wine red color and comes with a gig bag, but you can also pick it up in natural tone, too.

Need more options? Browse more Washburn products here.

Price: $149

Buy the Washburn WD100DL Dreadnought Mahogany here.


Specs:

  • Body shape: Dreadnought
  • Top body wood: Mahogany
  • Side and back body wood: Mahogany
  • Neck wood: Mahogany
  • Fretboard wood: Rosewood

Find more Washburn WD100DL Dreadnought Mahogany information and reviews here.


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3. Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar

acoustic guitar, guitar gifts for christmas, best acoustic guitars

(Yamaha)

Way back in the late 60s, Yamaha went out of their way to hire the main luthier away from famed acoustic maker Martin to show the company how to make better folk guitars. The result of that was the 1966 FG180, a guitar that punched way above its weight class in terms of quality, to the point that James Taylor and Elliott Smith both played them at one point or another. I even had one for a time, before sending it to a better guitarist friend in Chicago.

This is the latest in that fine lineage. It’s again a considerable step up from the Washburn, and still offers outstanding value. This is a guitar you will be able to rely on for a number of years, even if it still isn’t quite into the professional leagues. The improvement in this model is the scalloped bracing, which reduces contact with the top sound board, thereby encouraging more tonal response.

Even better, you get some choices with this model. You can choose between the dreadnought or concert shape, which is largely a matter of comfort. The dreadnought will be louder and have better frequency response, but the concert will be more comfortable to play with great high-end. You get a choice of body wood amongst mahogany, maple, nato, and rosewood, though each of these can significantly alter the price, with nato being the cheapest. Finally, color options include: Autumn Burst, Black, Brown Sunburst, Natural, Sunset Blue, Turquoise, Ruby Red, Dusk Sun Red, or Tobacco Sunburst.

Need more options? Browse more Yamaha products here.

Price: $199.99

Buy the Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar here.



Specs:

  • Body shape: Dreadnought (available in Concert)
  • Top body wood: Sitka Spruce
  • Side and back body wood: Nato (choice of maple, mahogany or rosewood)
  • Neck wood: Nato (choice of maple, mahogany or rosewood)
  • Fretboard wood: Rosewood

Find more Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar information and reviews here.


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4. Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar

acoustic guitar, guitar gifts for christmas, best acoustic guitars

(Seagull)

Made in Canada by the same company that makes Godin guitars, Seagull acoustics are outstanding value for money. While the Yamaha must be made in China to achieve that price point, these guitars are able to be made in North America by leveraging woods that are plentiful nearby, thus reducing the cost of the instrument on the whole without giving up any expected tonal characteristics.

The cedar top is very reminiscent of sitka spruce, which is widely found on very high-end instruments. The use of a tapered headstock makes this a great guitar for open tunings. The cherry back is not only beautiful, it offers excellent warmth overall. Most North American made acoustics sell for quite a lot more, so this is worth every penny. I played this several times at my local guitar shop, but never quite had the extra scratch to buy one. The matching case is less than $50 extra.

Need more options? Browse more Seagull products here.

Price: $429

Buy the Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar here.



Specs:

  • Body shape: Dreadnought
  • Top body wood: Cedar
  • Side and back body wood: Wild cherry
  • Neck wood: Silver leaf maple
  • Fretboard wood: Rosewood

Find more Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar information and reviews here.


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5. Blueridge BR-73A Contemporary Craftsman Series 000 Guitar

acoustic guitar, guitar gifts for christmas, best acoustic guitars

(Blueridge)

I was introduced to Blueridge guitars about 15 years ago, in a little music shop in New Hampshire. Right away, one of the things that sets most of their models apart is the beautiful abalone pearl outline around the sound hole and outer edge. They just look fantastic. Each one plays like a $1000 guitar and seem to hold their tuning longer than similarly priced pieces.

Like the Yamaha, Blueridge guitars also feature scalloped internal braces, which really shows on this model, which is topped with Adirondack spruce. Between that and the 000 size, you’d choose this guitar if crystalline high end response was more important than powerful low-end volume. The note articulation on these guitars is well above-average, making them fantastic for fingerstyle and country. Part of the magic of their tuning comes from the dense mahogany neck, which resists movement during temperature and humidity changes. No case included with these, but Golden Gate makes a great one.

Need more options? Browse more Blueridge products here.

Price: $721.54

Buy the Blueridge BR-73A Contemporary Craftsman Series 000 Guitar here.



Specs:

  • Body shape: 000 (Auditorium)
  • Top body wood: Aidrondack spruce
  • Side and back body wood: Santos rosewood
  • Neck wood: Mahogany
  • Fretboard wood: East Indian rosewood

Find more Blueridge BR-73A Contemporary Craftsman Series 000 Guitar information and reviews here.


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6. Taylor GS Mini Mahogany

acoustic guitar, guitar gifts for christmas, best acoustic guitars

(Taylor)

Taylor makes an excellent guitar and is often mentioned in the same company as Martin. For someone looking to step up from a cheap starter guitar, a natural next step into a lifelong instrument would be something from Taylor, especially given their range of pricing. I’ve seen these guitars in the hands of more gigging singer/songwriters than any others.

This particular model is a smaller sized guitar, which is great for smaller people. It isn’t quite a 3/4 size like you’d see in an electric, but is referred to as a parlor guitar. If you’ve been playing a dreadnought and find it cumbersome, slipping into something like this could be the key. Again, with the smaller size, you’re getting a brighter high-end. The mahogany top will lend a certain warmth and gives the guitar on the whole excellent balance.

If you want a Taylor in a similar price range but need the punch and power of a dreadnought, consider the Big Baby Taylor, which is extremely popular.

Need more options? Browse more Taylor products here.

Price: $499

Buy the Taylor GS Mini Mahogany here.



Specs:

  • Body shape: Mini Grand Symphony
  • Top body wood: Mahogany
  • Side and back body wood: Sapele
  • Neck wood: Sapele
  • Fretboard wood: Ebony

Find more Taylor GS Mini Mahogany information and reviews here.


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7. Guild D-150 Acoustic Guitar

acoustic guitar, guitar gifts for christmas, best acoustic guitars

(Guild)

As you move up in price, you start to get away from layered or laminate woods. Even the Taylor, which is a very nice guitar, has laminate sapele in order to keep the cost down. This Guild, on the other hand, is all solid wood, combining familiar tone woods into a rich-sounding machine. Many famous players have used a Guild over the years, so you’d be in good company here.

This is about as straight-forward a guitar as it gets. All solid pieces including a sitka spruce top for brightness and rosewood back and sides for warmth, it’s finished in a natural high gloss. It has considerably more harmonics than a lot of other guitars just shy of this price point, so consider this another option for graduating from cheaper models.

Need more options? Browse more Guild products here.

Price: $949

Buy the Guild D-150 Acoustic Guitar here.



Specs:

  • Body shape: Dreadnought
  • Top body wood: Sitka spruce
  • Side and back body wood: Indian rosewood
  • Neck wood: Indian rosewood
  • Fretboard wood: Indian rosewood

Find more Guild D-150 Acoustic Guitar information and reviews here.


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8. Martin D-18

acoustic guitar, guitar gifts for christmas, best acoustic guitars

(Martin)

The same way the mention of electric guitars might bring to mind the Gibson Les Paul, so, too, will the mention of acoustic guitars bring to mind the Martin D-18. In the same way, all other guitars are compared to it, often in awed tones. This is the progenitor, the classic, the guitar which all other guitars aspire to be in some small way. Most guitarists spend their lives waiting to get one.

Projection is this guitar’s hallmark. With solid mahogany sides and back topped with sitka spruce, this dreadnought is fully focused on performance volume and range. The understated nature of the styling is meant to inspire a vintage 30s vibe, but inside is scalloped bracing that is moved toward the neck, which improves bass response without the need for heavier attack. You’ll know if this is the guitar you’re in the market for; it’s the icon. Comes with a hardshell case, probably because they dare not send it out into the world without one.

The price is definitely a consideration, however. For less than half the price, you can get the modernized Custom D, which still features solid sitka and mahogany, but is just notably not the D-18. If that’s still too much but it must say Martin on the headstock, try the Martin LX1 Little Martin, which is a travel sized machine.

Need more options? Browse more Martin products here.

Price: $2,459

Buy the Martin D-18 here.



Specs:

  • Body shape: Dreadnought
  • Top body wood: Sitka spruce
  • Side and back body wood: Mahogany
  • Neck wood: Mahogany
  • Fretboard wood: Ebony

Find more Martin D-18 information and reviews here.


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9. Breedlove Master Class Ed Gerhard Signature Acoustic Guitar

acoustic guitar, guitar gifts for christmas, best acoustic guitars

(Breedlove)

Almost the polar opposite of the D-18, this Ed Gerhard Signature Breedlove is an incredibly innovative guitar primarily aimed at finger style guitarists. Ed’s compositions and arrangements require an absolutely perfectly balanced guitar, and the luthiers at Breedlove made it happen with this fantastic, modern-looking piece.

All of Breedlove’s guitars are finished by hand after having been machine-cut to the exact specifications. The hand finishing is done by feel — when the luthier thinks it feels right, the guitar is done. The unusual shape of this guitar amplifies the jumbo shape’s normal volume output, which tends to be quieter than a dreadnought. The cutaway gives you access to the higher frets, which is key when playing styles in which you’re not just strumming chords at the nut. I’ve heard this guitar live several times and am always captivated by the perfectly detailed tone. Comes with a custom case, of course.

If you want to capture a little Breedlove magic without the extreme price tag, they also make the Discovery Dread for about ten percent the cost of this rare machine.

Need more options? Browse more Breedlove products here.

Price: $2,951.22

Buy the Breedlove Master Class Ed Gerhard Signature Acoustic Guitar here.



Specs:

  • Body shape: Jumbo
  • Top body wood: Adirondack spruce
  • Side and back body wood: Sapele
  • Neck wood: Sapele
  • Fretboard wood: Ebony

Find more Breedlove Master Class Ed Gerhard Signature Acoustic Guitar information and reviews here.


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10. Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar

acoustic guitar, guitar gifts for christmas, best acoustic guitars

(Martin)

At the end of the day, one role of acoustic guitars these days is just to be heard when there’s no amplification present. Obviously, they are so much more than that, which explains every other guitar on the list, but if you really just want to hear yourself play and you’re far from home or on the move, a guitar like this is the one for you.

No, you won’t get much in the way of volume or expressive, balanced tone, but this thing more than makes up for that in fun. It’s meant to be easily portable but still offer a little projection. The video below shows how, with a little bit of recording prowess, you can make it sound pretty good, but that’s not the point of this. Sling it over your back and take it on a hike.

If the price seems a little steep to you, you could try this Johnson JG-TR2 for $80 less.

Need more options? Browse more Martin products here.

Price: $194.99

Buy the Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar here.



Specs:

  • Body shape: Backpacker
  • Top body wood: Spruce
  • Side and back body wood: Various
  • Neck wood: Various
  • Fretboard wood: Rosewood

Find more Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar information and reviews here.


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Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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