GEAR EXPO 2022: There has never been a better time to buy an acoustic guitar (take a look at more of the best acoustic guitars here). Technology and tradition are combining to help create wonderful instruments to inspire you at home, recording and onstage.
Competition is fierce, but here are some of our favourite new models for you to keep your eyes and ears on in 2022…
- On a budget? These are the best acoustic guitars under $500/£500
The American Dream (AD) is a range of Taylor builds that distinguishes itself by combining solid wood builds and the brand’s much-admired V-Class bracing at a mid-range price point.
The new AD27e Flametop offers an all-maple alternative to the existing AD27e build (which uses a solid mahogany top and sapele back and sides). The top, back and sides are constructed from Big Leaf maple, which provides a little visual flair and draws “an earthy, broken-in character” from the dreadnought-style Grand Pacific body.
Aimed at fans of the mid-scale GT builds who want an alternative to the usual natural wood finish, the Blacktop does what is says on the tin. Namely, offering a black finish on the top panel.
However, there is more to the guitar than first meets the eye, as it’s the only GT build to offer walnut back and sides (paired with a spruce top). Inside, it uses C-Class bracing, which emphasises the low-end albeit in a way that Taylor maintains still offers “balance and clarity”.
Fender Paramount PS-220E Parlor
$829.99 / £649 / €749
The new for 2022 Paramount Series Dreadnaught, Orchestra, and Parlour models are a relaunch for the series of sorts. They offer the choice of a solid spruce or solid mahogany top paired with solid mahogany back and sides.
There's an offset X-bracing pattern that has been 'carefully refined to optimize resonance and tone' but what’s more intriguing are the Fender & Fishman-designed pickups. Because those two companies knocked it out of the park with the Acoustasonic.
"A body-sensing pickup that enhances the soundboard's vibrations," is the description of the piezo/transducer mix for the Sonitone Plus Pickup System. The preamp system will also include low profile (read: hidden) soundhole mounted controls.
Updated cosmetics include snowflake-shaped pearloid fingerboard inlays, feathered purfling, rosette, backstrip and a black or tigerstripe pickguard. All three models are also fitted with bone nut and saddle with slim taper mahogany necks, plus an ovangkol bridge.
Martin has revealed three new electro-acoustic single-cuts for its 2022 Road Series, including this SC-10E.
All the new single-cuts share the SC-13 body shape complete with Martin’s Sure Align neck system (offering a 25.4” scale-length), which first debuted on the SC-13E in 2021.
Essentially, the Sure Align’s key innovation is to remove the heel block where the neck meets the body and replace it with a dovetail neck joint. This is then shaped to incorporate a concave scoop, offering much easier access to the upper frets without the tonal compromises of a bolt-on neck.
This is further enhanced by an asymmetrical neck barrel – essentially a sort of twisted neck profile that offers a more comfortable, ergonomic profile and is designed to complement your positioning further up the neck.
The SC-10E is the most affordable option of the new SCs, it’s constructed from a blend of Koa fine veneer on the back and sides and a Sitka spruce top. A black and white rosette inlay on the 12th fret offers a bit of design flair and it’s equipped with a Fishman MX-T pickup system.
Sheeran By Lowden ‘Equals Edition’
Sheeran By Lowden has launched a limited edition signature guitar to mark the release of pop superstar Ed Sheeran's new typographically awkward smash-hit new album, =.
The Sheeran By Lowden ‘= Edition’, henceforth referred to as Equals Edition, is the latest in the collaboration between George Lowden and Sheeran, and is limited to 3000 units worldwide.
Assuming the W body shape, also known as the Wee Lowden, the Equals Edition is a compact, parlour-sized acoustic. It has a Sitka spruce top and figured walnut back and sides, with a mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard. Here is where we find our first custom feature, with a maple-inlaid Equals sign marking the 12th fret.
Like the other W-bodied models in the Sheeran By Lowden lineup, the Equals Edition has a typically welcoming 24" scale and measures 43.5mm at the nut, and is sure to be approachable for players with smaller hands.
In the soundhole, you'll find a custom label, and a discrete preamp control setup for the onboard LR Baggs electrics. The Element Active System VTC system makes this a good option for playing through an acoustic guitar amp for live performances. Elsewhere, there is a Graph Tech Tusq saddle and nut, and sealed chrome tuners.
Yamaha has extended its TransAcoustic family with a pair of cutaway acoustic guitars joining the series. Featuring the same onboard effects and electronics, the FGC-TA and FSC-TA acoustics are the first cutaway models in the range, and are being offered in two different body sizes.
The FGC-TA has what Yamaha calls a Traditional Western-style body, which is to a say a cutaway dreadnought shape in all but name. There's a solid spruce top with mahogany on the back and sides. Yamaha has used nato – or eastern mahogany for the neck – and rosewood for the 15.75” fingerboard.
So far, so very conventional, but it’s the TransAcoustic Series’ electronics that give it its USP, offering onboard reverb and chorus effects from a trio of shoulder-mounted controls.
There's a System 70 preamp and an SRT Piezo pickup positioned under-saddle. The piezo transfers the guitar’s vibrations to an actuator mounted on in the interior of the guitar’s back, which then transmit them through the body of the guitar and use its frame to create natural reverb and chorusing. That's right: you don’t have to plug them into an acoustic guitar amp to enjoy the effects.
The FGC-TA comes in Vintage Tint, Brown Sunburst, and Black finishes.