This year has seen innovation further transform the acoustic guitar market, with pioneering new ageing techniques from the likes of Martin offering vintage tone from brand-new instruments, and a number of companies deploying new bracing patterns in the ongoing pursuit of more resonant acoustics.
In the top 10 best acoustic guitars of 2019, as chosen by you, there is something for all styles, and although the voting was skewed towards the more expensive models from Taylor and Martin, it was refreshing to see PRS SE’s line to be considered so highly, proving that you can still get a great acoustic and plenty change from a grand.
1. Martin 000-28 Modern Deluxe
This Modern Deluxe looks great and sounds even better. Putting a fresh spin on the Martin Vintage Series, the 000-28 has a sitka spruce Vintage Tone System (VTS) top, a dovetail neck joint, and uses a natural protein glue to give it a voice that belies its tender years. The VTS sees the spruce heat-treated as to forceable age it naturally.
The more aggressively modern features include a titanium truss rod, Liquidmetal bridge pins with red dots, and the composite carbon fibre bridgeplate, a lightweight solution that helps the instrument project more volume.
Aesthetically, the 000-28 is something special, something new, with gold frets (a copper-based alloy, not real gold), European flamed-maple binding, open-gear tuner and a 1930s-style Martin logo on the headstock.
Read our full Martin 000-28 Modern Deluxe review
2. PRS SE A60E
Another vintage-voiced acoustic, and a typically immaculate build from PRS, the A60E features a solid sitka spruce top with ziricote on the back and sides, and a discrete Fishman GT1 pickup and preamp system. The hybrid PRS X/Classical bracing enhances resonance. A soupçon of abalone and figured maple has been applied judiciously for added wow-factor on what is a super-comfortable and playable electro-acoustic.
Read our full PRS SE A60E review
3. Taylor Grand Pacific 317E
A stunning round-shouldered dreadnought, the 317E has a sweet, sweet voice, with sustain and projection ably supported by Taylor’s pioneering V-Class bracing, and a quite exquisite Expression System 2 preamp and pickup system. The usual choked compromises of the higher frets don’t exist - there’s presence and body, and you don’t need to dig in and change your playing style to make gains.
Read our full Taylor Grand Pacific 317E review
4. Martin 000-14 Sitka Top
The bookmatched sitka spruce top might look perfect but it can you call it that if it’s only going to get better as the guitar ages? This 000-14 is incredible, with heaps a trebly sparkle and upfront punch courtesy of its sinker mahogany on the back and sides. Where its all sinker mahogany stable-mate is a bluesman’s dream come true, this would be a powerful ally for a singer-songwriter or fingerstyle picker.
Read our full Martin 000-14 Sitka Top review
5. Ibanez AE255BT
A steal at the price, featuring an exceptional build, with solid sitka top and the sustainable and CITES-compliant ovangkol on back and sides. It has an attractive grain and produces full midrange, nicely turned out highs with, of course, an authoritative baritone low end.
Read our full Ibanez AE255BT review
6. Taylor 512CE Fret V-Class
Another exquisite Taylor acoustic with the benefits of master designer Andy Powers’ V-Class bracing. The 512CE’s body size is supremely manageable, around halfway between a parlour and a jumbo. Small but perfectly formed. But don’t let the slightly smaller body size fool you into thinking that you’re not going to get much in the way of volume out of it. It has a perfectly respectable set of lungs, alongside the sweetest of voices.
Read our full Taylor 512CE Fret V-Class review
7. Auden Artist Rosewood Emily Rose Cedar
The Emily Rose is loud for a parlour-sized guitar, indeed it’s voice might challenge our preconceptions of what a parlour can deliver, and that’s part of the magic here. At £1,499, you would be entitled to expect an excellent instrument, but not one as good as this. With its AAA-grade cedar top, ebony binding with maple purfling, the Emily Rose is a exquisite.
Read our full Auden Artist Rosewood Emily Rose Cedar review
8. Eastman DT30 GACE
An office favourite, featuring an innovative build and immaculate finish, the DT30 GACE is another exceptional instrument from Eastman that offers rich tones and a wide dynamic range that should reward players of all styles. Close your eyes and you’d swear you were holding a good vintage D-28. But you’ll want to keep them open, because this a quite beautiful acoustic.
Read our full Eastman DT30 GACE review
9. Sheeran by Lowden S02
You don’t need to be an Ed Sheeran super-fan to fall in love with the S02. It sees the impressive Sheeran/Lowden collaboration offer an electro-acoustic with an outstanding LR Baggs pickup and preamp system. The S02’s clear, resonant highs offer detailed separation and an inspiring strumming experience that makes it a great guitar for those who want a more rhythmic muse.
Read our full Sheeran by Lowden S02 review
10. Furch MC Blue GC-CM
This grand auditorium cutaway is going to attract a lot of fans because there’s something for everyone here. The build is solid, solid cedar, solid mahogany, and a solid one-piece mahogany neck that’s got a CNR Dual Action truss rod system and a rigid carbon casing in the neck joint and alloy casting in the heel to keep the neck in good shape. Solid, and super-playable too.
Read our full Furch MC Blue GC-CM review