The 17 Best Guitar Brands Every Player Should Know

Whether you’re new to the guitar or a more veteran player looking to upgrade your equipment, picking a specific guitar brand is no easy task — mainly because there are so many great companies today that build iconic guitars.

Of course, deciding which brand is the best of them all is pretty subjective. Some may argue, for instance, that Fender makes the best electric guitar because the weight of a Stratocaster is preferable for that person, while a Gibson Les Paul, they would argue, is too heavy.

After owning and playing through nearly a dozen different guitar brands over the past 20 years, I like to think I’ve settled on my two favorite brands: Martin & Co. for acoustic and D’Angelico for electric/archtop (I focus on jazz and blues). That being said, though, I really want to own a Fender Stratocaster one day and a Gibson SJ-200 is my dream acoustic.

In other words, if you’re just learning to play, you’re likely going to go through a period of experimentation with different brands of guitars.

At first, any new guitar is going to sound amazing. As you develop your skills, play out more and start to really understand how specific guitars are built and why they sound a certain way, then you will have a more educated opinion on what’s best for you and your playing style.

No matter your skill level, use this article as a starting point for your next guitar search. I’ve included some interesting tidbits about each of the brands, in addition to their top guitars. Don’t worry — we included a range of prices, from entry-level to the more expensive models.

Here are my picks for the best guitar brands on the market today:

Fender

Fender is a legendary guitar manufacturer and definitely one of the best guitar brands.

Pros

  • Iconic. Some would argue that Leo Fender invented rock ‘n roll’s guitar: the Stratocaster.
  • Comfortable. Whether it’s a Strat or a Telecaster, Fender makes very comfortable, playable guitars.
  • Perfect for all budgets. As Fender has grown, it has also expanded its entry-level models, in addition to its pro lineup. The company literally has a guitar for anyone’s budget.

Cons

  • Confusing product lineup. The one downside of a big company is losing track of which one is the entry-level model and which one is the premium or middle-of-the-road model. You can figure it out, but it does take time.

Top model for Newbies: Fender Player Stratocaster

When it comes to an electric guitar, there’s nothing more iconic than a Fender Stratocaster.

And when it comes to your first electric guitar, you can’t go wrong with a Fender Player Strat. The Player Series is Fender’s entry-level guitar (make sure not to confuse Squier guitars with Fender) that rings in a little more expensive than other brands’ entry-level model, but for the price, you’re buying a quality guitar with plenty of fun color options. In any case, many of the guitars in this series sell for less than $1,000.

While this guitar is mass produced in Mexico, Fender has excellent quality control on its plants, so you shouldn’t have to worry about anything falling apart.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster

From its premium two-color sunburst to its slick maple fingerboard, the Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster is a special model perfect for those looking for a versatile guitar.

Most Telecasters only feature two pickups, but the Deluxe Nashville model throws in that third single-coil in the middle, similar to a Stratocaster.

For a premium model, the price on this guitar isn’t outrageous. In fact, some beginners with larger budgets may be tempted by it.

• • •

Martin & Co.

Pros

  • Handcrafted. While the use of robots has increased, all Martin guitars, including the more entry-level models are made by hand.
  • Quality materials. Martin has sourced the highest quality of woods over the course of its existence.
  • Historical. With nearly 200 years — yes, 200! — of experience, Martin & Co. is one of the most established guitar makers today.

Cons

  • Expensive. Handcrafted guitars that are made in America aren’t cheap.

Top model for newbies: Martin 000-X2 Acoustic Guitar

Offering those clear, crisp highs and warm lows that you find in every Martin guitar, the 000-X2 is the perfect entry-level acoustic for any new player.

The smaller body size, which the 000 refers to, makes it comfortable to hold. The Sitka spruce top allows it to project loudly. And the high-quality neck and fingerboard are a joy to play.

When it comes to entry-level acoustics, the Martin is obviously more expensive than a Yamaha, but you’re paying for an extremely high-quality instrument. It’s also an investment you could sell back at close to what you paid for it if you ultimately decide the guitar isn’t for you.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Martin OM-28 Modern Deluxe

When it comes to the gold standard of acoustic guitars, the Martin OM-28 is near the top of the list.

This orchestra model is one of the best-sounding acoustics on the market and an absolute pleasure to play. The Modern Deluxe series adds several nice features (gold frets and open-gear tuners), more so for aesthetics, which does bring the price up compared to the OM-28 Standard Series.

If you’re going to be a lifelong guitar player, the OM-28 Modern Deluxe is one of the lifelong guitars.

• • •

Taylor

Pros

  • Top-selling acoustic brand. Taylor has established itself as the top-selling acoustic brand in America, beating out Martin and other competitors.
  • Distinct sound. When you strum a Taylor, you can tell it’s a Taylor. The company has done a great job of making the sound of its acoustics stand out.
  • Lots of options. Recently, Taylor has expanded its lineup to include more affordable, entry-level models that are made in its factory in Mexico.

Cons

  • Expensive. Taylor has more four-figure guitars than entry-level models under $500.
  • Too much treble. Some argue that Taylors don’t feature enough bass and mids in their sound.

Top model for Newbies: Taylor Baby Mahogany BT2 Acoustic Guitar

As a three-fourths-sized acoustic, anyone will be able to comfortably hold and play this smaller Taylor. Don’t let the size fool you into thinking this Taylor sacrifices tone, though.

Because this model is made with mahogany, you can expect plenty of mid-range sound, which is great for blues and rock. As a new player, you’ll be quite pleased with the tone that can be produced from this model.

The price on this guitar is also quite competitive.

Of course, the size may be an issue, if you really wanted a full-size guitar. But you can learn to play on any size guitar. Personally, I enjoy a parlor-size guitar because it’s comfortable and easy to carry around.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Taylor 214ce Deluxe Acoustic-Electric

Whether you play casually at home or gig at a coffee shop, the Taylor 214ce Deluxe can handle it all — and is built in a way that will last a very long time.

This series by Taylor is a favorite among experienced players because it offers the depth of the dreadnought, while maintaining a slightly smaller profile that makes it extremely comfortable to hold and play. The dramatic cutaway makes reaching the higher frets a breeze.

And in terms of price, this guitar is certainly attainable for intermediate players who are looking to upgrade to an acoustic that’s more professional.

• • •

Gibson

Pros

  • Iconic. There are only a handful of guitar makers in the world that have withstood the test of time. Gibson is certainly one of those companies.
  • Beautiful designs. From the Les Paul to the SJ-200 acoustic, there’s a reason you can find Gibson Guitars in the Smithsonian Museum today.
  • Lifelong guitars. The quality and craftsmanship of a Gibson is incredible.

Cons

  • Expensive. There’s no way around it. A big reason Gibson filed for bankruptcy in 2018 was because it didn’t offer more entry-level models, but that’s changing.

Top model for Newbies: Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute P-90

For players starting out with bigger budgets, the Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute P-90 is the ultimate introduction to the brand’s iconic axe.

With four finishes to choose from, the P-90 offers powerful humbuckers for anyone looking to rock out or play the blues, in addition to some decent clean tones.

I personally like how much lighter the P-90 feels compared to the standard Les Paul.

As Gibson’s least-expensive model, this guitar may still be out of the budget for most entry-level players.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Gibson Les Paul Standard ‘60s Electric Guitar

As one of the kings of electric guitars, the Gibson Les Paul Standard ‘60s model is a nod to the Les Paul models of yesteryear, when rock ‘n roll ruled it all.

This premium axe features burstbucker pickups which are loud and aggressive — perfect for rocking out to a variety of genres.

Gibson updated the neck profile on this Les Paul to make it slightly slimmer which, in return, makes it more comfortable to play.

Again, Gibson guitars are pricey, but you’re buying the best of the best.

• • •

Epiphone

Pros

  • Great value. For the most part, Epiphone offers great value for a guitar that’s built great and features solid tone.
  • Copycat iconic look. If you’re looking for a Les Paul, but don’t have a Gibson budget, Epiphone is the way to go.

Cons

  • Quality control isn’t the best on some of the cheaper, entry-level models.

Top model for Newbies: Epiphone SG Special Vintage Edition

The Epiphone SG Special Vintage Edition copies the iconic look of the genuine model and delivers a solid-playing guitar at an incredible value.

New players will appreciate the models’ double cutaway design because it allows them to easily access the higher frets.

For the price, you’ll be surprised at the tone this SG produces. If you compare it side-by-side to the genuine Gibson model, there is a noticeable difference in sound, but for new players, you can definitely learn on this model.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘50s Electric Guitar

When it comes to Les Paul models, Epiphone’s 1950s-style Les Paul looks, feels and sounds like the real thing.

The mahogany body produces a warm sound and the maple top allows you to really get a punchy sound through the two humbuckers.

Players of all skill levels will love the comfortable neck on this guitar.

One downside — for some players, at least — is the weight. Les Pauls tend to be heavier, which can become tiresome while playing, especially if you’re wearing it with a strap while playing.

• • •

Ibanez

Pros

  • Versatile. Ibanez is known for hard-rocking metal guitars, but also really great archtops for jazz.
  • Very high build quality. This Japanese company doesn’t mess around with its guitars.
  • Respected by top players. Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, George Benson… Do I have to continue? Many of the world’s best players trust Ibanez as their favorite guitar brand.

Cons

  • Pricey. But only for the top models.

Top model for Newbies: Ibanez RG421

This sinister-looking axe is built for fast-playing metal players. So, if you’re an aspiring rocker, I urge you to check out my review of this bad girl here.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550

Throw on a pair of sunglasses before checking out the Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550.

The first thing you’ll notice is the super-bright paint jobs. When you start playing, you’ll realize its power.

The RG550 has been around for more than 30 years and a favorite among rock and metal players. The humbucker-single-coil-humbucker combination allows you to deliver big rock chords, and produce screaming solos that are packed with clarity.

The Super Wizard neck not only allows for fast playing, but also monster bends.

While expensive, dedicated rock players will set their sights on owning one of these guitars one day.

Check out our Best Ibanez Guitars article for even more models by this awesome brand. We also review their best acoustic models here.

Want to know more about Ibanez guitars? Check out these articles:

• • •

D’Angelico

Pros

  • Classy. That’s the best word to describe this reborn lineup of guitars.
  • Brings back a love for jazz. Archtops for jazz players tend to be expensive. D’Angelico is working to change that.
  • Expansive lineup. The brand now features acoustics and solid body models, in addition to its initial lineup of just hollowbody guitars.

Cons

  • Solid body models are still a work in progress.

Top model for Newbies: D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS

D’Angelico got into the acoustic game a couple of years ago and the Premiere Gramercy is its most-popular model.

Complete with its mahogany satin body and the iconic D’Angelico headstock, this acoustic is comfortable to play and comes with a nice electronics setup for playing plugged in.

The cutaway on this acoustic offers easy access to the upper frets. And speaking of the frets: the jumbo size allows for easy chord shaping.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: D’Angelico EXL-1 Throwback

While the standard EXL-1 model is a fine hollowbody archtop for any experienced jazz or blues player, the special throwback model, which features the same electronics, includes some nice aesthetics that add to the classiness of this guitar.

The EXL-1 is D’Angelico’s flagship model and one of the brand’s top-selling models.

If you’ve ever wanted to own an archtop, don’t hesitate to go in this direction.

Just listen to this performance from blues player Marcus King — especially the solo at the 2:25 mark.

• • •

Yamaha

Pros

  • The top brand for newbies. For most beginners, Yamaha is a great guitar to learn how to play on.
  • Great quality for the price. It’s not hard, though, to find more experienced players who have hung on to their Yamaha, because it plays that well.

Cons

  • Limited lineup. You don’t have a huge selection of guitars to pick from.

Most popular electric model: Yamaha Pacifica PAC012DLX

Yamaha does a great job with its acoustic models. The Yamaha FG800 is a great dreadnought-style acoustic perfect for those interested in singer-songwriter/folk music. The Yamaha FS830 is more of a parlour-style with a beautiful finish, ringing in slightly over $300.

But it also has a highly popular electric lineup, which is why I’m giving them some extra ink in this section.

The Yamaha Pacifica is a super-affordable electric that’s perfect for beginner to intermediate players.

Yamaha uses its in-house ceramic humbucker on the bridge, and then two single-coil pickups in the middle and at the neck, giving players plenty of options for sound. Personally, I think this is a great all-around guitar when it comes to genre. If you’re into rock, this guitar stands out because the pickups are quite powerful, which is surprising for a guitar in this price category.

The body is made of agathis wood, which isn’t the most durable, but it is a lightweight wood, which is appreciated by newer players.

• • •

Top model for Newbies: Yamaha FG800 Dreadnought

Before the yamaha FG800, there was the FG700 — and that was a great dreadnought acoustic for those starting out on their guitar journey. The FG800 is even better.

I recently played one in my local music shop and, despite owning a Martin, I was impressed with the sound it could produce.

The neck is a little uncomfortable for my liking, but for the price, you can overlook that facet.

This is a solid guitar to learn your basic chords. Eventually, you’ll want to upgrade to something nicer, but this will get the job done in the meantime.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Yamaha AC5R ARE Concert Cutaway

While Yamaha is best known for its entry-level models, experienced players who have fallen in love with the brand will greatly appreciate the hand-made Yamaha AC5R ARE Concert model.

The guitar maker chose the finest of tonewoods when building this model.

The scalloped bracing for the sitka spruce top and shorter bracing on the Rosewood back allow it to really project.

Yamaha also didn’t go cheap on the pickup system. The SRT2 system amplifies the gorgeous acoustic tone — it doesn’t make it sound like an electric guitar.

The downside to this guitar is its price, but it’s still more affordable than higher-end models made by Martin or Taylor.

• • •

Takamine

Pros

  • Great value. This acoustic guitar maker has found its sweet spot in making guitars for new to intermediate players on tight budgets.
  • First to put pickups on acoustics. Takamine is credited with being the first company to incorporate pickups into their acoustics, solving a big issue for singer-songwriters who were getting tired of playing in front of a mic.

Cons

  • Not the best looking guitars. Takamine’s have a look that just aren’t as nice as the Martins and Taylors of the world.

Top model for Newbies: Takamine GD30CE Acoustic-Electric

The Takamine GD30CE produces a big sound through its solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides. I’m a big fan of mahogany in acoustics because of the warm tones it produces.

While this is slightly on the pricier side of a beginner model, the GD30CE includes a nice pickup system. The TP4T preamp is great at amplifying the natural sound of the acoustic.

Takamine does not sell a case with this model.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Takamine GN93C3 NEX Acoustic-Electric

This smaller-bodied acoustic produces a super-clear and warm sound while unplugged and when playing through a system at a coffee house gig.

The first thing I noticed when playing it was the mahogany neck. It’s slim, which allowed me to really stretch my hand along the fretboard.

As a nice bonus, there’s an onboard tuner, which I really appreciate.

• • •

Paul Reed Smith

Pros

  • One of the top guitar makers in the world. Luthier Paul Reed Smith is a guitar genius. He started building in college and is respected as one of the world’s best today.
  • Wide selection. You can literally find any style of guitar — electric or acoustic — made by PRS.
  • Beautiful inlays. The iconic bird inlays make a PRS stand out from the rest.

Cons

  • Expensive. You pay for the quality, but it’s not for everyone’s budget.

Top model for Newbies: PRS SE Standard 24

The SE Standard 24 is Paul Reed Smith’s flagship model for new players. While slightly on the more expensive side, this electric plays, feels and looks great. And, as expected from PRS, the build quality is top-notch.

The pickups on this guitar are what really make it. The in-house made PRS 85/15 S pickups are super clear and offer players versatile sound, making this guitar perfect for nearly any genre. 

• • •

Top model for experienced players: PRS CE 24 Electric Guitar

Well, what do you know: the higher-end version of the PRS 24, the CE, is my top pick for an experienced guitar player who wants to own something by this brand.

Let’s start with the designer maple top. It looks absolutely stunning.

And thankfully, it plays even better. The bolt-on maple neck is comfortable and allows for quite the attack when playing, making it a favorite among rockers.

What I like best, though, is its versatility. The pickup system has access to six humbucker and single-coil sounds, allowing you to play rhythm in the background, or scream out a killer solo.

• • •

Jackson

Pros

  • Fast for rock. Jacksons are built for rock and metal music, which means they are built for speed.
  • Eye-catching designs. Whether it’s a crazy body design or a super-bright paint job, Jackson guitars stand out from the competition.
  • Underdog. While Jacksons are well-built and sound good, they don’t receive the level of appreciation that they should.

Cons

  • Limited in terms of genre. If you’re buying a Jackson, you want to play rock or metal, and that’s about it.

Top model for Newbies: Jackson Dinky Arch Top JS32Q DKA

Don’t let the “arch top” description fool you. This solidbody electric is designed for rocking out and, for the price, it does a darn good job.

Whether you’re a newbie or looking for a guitar that delivers a bang for your buck, the Jackson Dinky is the way to go. Check out our thoughts on this axe in our Jackson guitars review article.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Jackson Pro Series Soloist SL2M

I warned you about the bright colors. The Jackson Pro Series Soloist SL2 is built for solo players who need a lightning-fast guitar.

Jackson paired up this guitar with Seymour Duncan Distortion humbuckers which, as you can imagine, can handle the grunge of rock and metal beautifully.

Just because these are “distortion” pickups, though, doesn’t mean it can’t cut through with a clear tone.

The most impressive feature of this guitar, though, is its sustain. You can literally hold a note for days.

Here you can find out more about the Jackson Soloist model.

• • •

Squier

Pros

  • Designed only for beginners. Many of today’s new players start their guitar journey on a Squier.
  • An affordable alternative to a Fender. Here’s your chance to own a Strat or a Tele for a fraction of the price.

Cons

  • Some models feel cheap. This is expected, though, with mass-produced guitars.

Want to know more about Squier? Check out this article:

Top model for Newbies: Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster

Check out our review of the Squier Affinity Strat here.

This guitar also is sold as a great package deal with a small amp, strap, picks and more — pretty much everything you need to start playing immediately.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Squier Classic Vibe ‘60s

If you’re looking for those John Mayer-esque blues tones, you want a Fender Strat from the early 1960s. This Squier Classic Vibe does its best to mimic those tones and most agree it does a pretty good job.

For my thoughts on the Squier Classic Vibe ’60s, ’70s and ’50s, check out our Squier Stratocaster roundup article.

• • •

Rickenbacker

Pros

  • Unique. There’s nothing quite like a Rickenbacker. The body is uniquely shaped and the tone, as I’ll explain, is also interesting.
  • Played by big-time artists. George Harrison of The Beatles and Tom Petty both played a Rickenbacker. Those are just a couple of the big-names to put their trust behind the brand.
  • Interesting tone. These guitars are known as “big strummers.” They have a great treble tone and players like it for the high quality single-coil pickups.

Cons

  • Tough to find. For some reason, finding a Rickenbacker that you really want can be quite the enigma.

Because Rickenbackers are tough to come by, I’m only going to highlight one model that’s likely geared more toward intermediate to experienced players.

Top model: Rickenbacker 330W Thinline Semi-Hollow

The 330 is Rickenbacker’s top model. Played by the likes of Jimmy Page and Tom Petty, this guitar has incredible looks and some iconic tone.

That tone is derived from its super-hot Hi-gain pickups, which can handle clean tones, in addition to heavy distortion. The thinline version can handle a variety of genres.

The neck on this model is a bit uncomfortable for players with small hands, but it’s not impossible to play on.

I really like the “blended” fifth knob, which can let you dial in your own tone.

• • •

Schecter

Pros

  • Rich history. Schecter Guitars have been around for nearly five decades.
  • Designed for rock and metal. If these are your genres, you need a Schecter. The top artists in these genres trust Schecter to deliver durable guitars with big output.
  • Big lineup. You have plenty of options when it comes to buying a Schecter.

Cons

  • Not as many entry-level models. Over the years, Schecter has updated its lineup to include more budget-friendly guitars, but a majority of their guitars still hove around that four-figure mark.

Top model for Newbies: Schecter Omen-6

Speed. Hot tone. And sustain. The Schecter Omen, which comes in a six- and seven-string version, is highly popular among metal players because of its output and tone, but also the craftsmanship that helps keep this guitar in tune.

You will immediately notice how comfortable and fast the neck feels, which is important for metal players. There are 24 jumbo-sized frets which are great for beginners learning their first chords and scales.

The Tune-o-matic bridge helps keep everything in tune — even if you are performing monster bends.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid C-1

When it comes to Schecter’s flagship model, the Hellraiser is at the top of the list.

These guitars not only look beautiful (and sinister, thanks to the quilted maple top!), but they have some of the best tonal clarity you can find in a guitar. This is imperative for metal players who need a loud, intense tone that can cut through an amp when soloing.

The hybrid version is more versatile. It features EMG pickups, which are impressively loud. An ultra-thin neck allows for fast playing.

The Hellraiser can produce nice clean tones, but as its name suggests, you’ll want to rock out with this axe.

• • •

Godin

Pros

  • Underappreciated. Godin, for some reason, doesn’t get the same level of appreciation as other brands. That also means these guitars punch above their weight.
  • Good value. New and experienced players find Godin guitars to be priced competitively.
  • Expansive lineup. From acoustics to Telecaster-style solid bodies, Godin has a guitar for all genres and needs.

Cons

  • Acoustics aren’t your traditional acoustic. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but they focus more on plugging your acoustics, which makes playing unplugged not as fun for some.

Top model for Newbies: Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin

If you want to learn on a guitar that’s simple, beautiful and offers great tone, the Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin checks all the boxes. I played one recently and the tone is quite rich — plus you have plenty of control through the tone knob.

This archtop is best for blues and jazz, but Americana and country musicians will appreciate the sound they can get from this classy-looking guitar.

What’s most impressive is the price on this guitar. For an archtop that features a unique wood, like this Canadian wild cherry top, you’d expect to pay easily over four figures, but that isn’t the case.

You can also play this unplugged, although it’s designed to be put into an amp that can produce clean tones.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Godin A6 Ultra

This is one of those unique acoustics offered by Godin that requires a player with a specific need. If you often play your acoustic plugged in, whether at a coffee shop or at church, this could be a solid option.

This model takes it to the next level by including a Godin humbucker, which allows you to sound like an electric. The combination of the magnetic piezo pickups for acoustic tones with that humbucker allows for a unique, electric-acoustic hybrid approach.

Obviously, this is a very specific instrument that isn’t for everyone. But if your playing style fits the mold, this might just be the guitar for you.

• • •

Breedlove

Pros

  • Long-lasting entry level models. Beginners tend to hang on to their Breedlove acoustics because they sound so good.
  • Incredible value. The higher-end models manage to stay under that $1,000 mark.
  • Unique design. The Breedlove cutaway can be spotted right away.

Cons

  • Hard to keep up with their product lineup since the company often changes the names of popular models.

Top model for Newbies: Breedlove Discovery Concert CE

The Breedlove Discovery Concert CE may be one of the best playing and sounding acoustic-electrics for the money. Most first-time guitar buyers can afford this baby, which produces incredibly rich tones that put it in the same realm as Martins and Taylors.

Oh, and it also looks stunning. Breedlove has a passion for not just great-sounding instruments, but also guitars that look beautiful.

You’ll appreciate the pinless bridge, which makes swapping out strings significantly easier.

And as mentioned above, the Breedlove cutaway makes reaching upper frets quite easy.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Breedlove Organic Artista Concerto CE

Remember, Breedlove offers incredible values across its entire lineup. The Organic Artista Concerto delivers this point home. Priced competitively, this high end acoustic-electric is a steal.

Breedlove used some exotic woods with this guitar, including myrtlewood, which is warm like rosewood, but offers great mids, like mahogany. Simply put, the tone is unique and definitely stands out in a good way.

• • •

Guild

Pros

  • Rich and warm. The acoustic tones of a Guild are thanks to the high-quality materials the company uses.
  • Plenty of jumbo models. For players who want those big dreadnought tones, Guild delivers.
  • Great alternative to Gibson. Gibson acoustics aren’t cheap, which makes the Guild a solid option.

Cons

  • Older models are better. That’s at least the opinion of more experienced players who reminisce about the Guild guitars of the 1970s and 1980s.

Top model for Newbies: Guild D-240E

The Guild 240E is a solid acoustic-electric that offers a clean sound when plugged in and extra-warm, natural tone when unplugged.

This is a great acoustic guitar to learn on because the quality and craftsmanship is off the charts for the price this model sells for.

I’d go as far as saying for the price, this is one of the best sounding acoustics on the market. I was pleasantly surprised when I strummed on it in my local guitar shop. It performs well as a finger-picker as well.

• • •

Top model for experienced players: Guild OM-150CE Concert

The Guild OM-150CE Concert is a finger-picker’s dream. If you want to be an acoustic player that produces a similar tone to James Taylor and similar troubadors, this is the guitar for you — and the price is extremely competitive for the quality.

Guild included a Fishman pickup system in this guitar, which sounds great through an acoustic amp or P.A. system.

In addition to the great tone, this acoustic features a mother-of-pearl rosette soundhole, which looks stunning.

• • •

Which Guitar Brand is Right for Me?

The good news is that there are plenty of options for you when it comes to picking a guitar brand.

The bad news? There are plenty of options out there.

I get it. Deciding on which guitar brand to go with — especially for first-time players — can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

Stay In Your Budget

Pick a budget and stick to it. You know which brands are more expensive, like Martin and Taylor and some Fenders. Aspire to own one of those models one day as opposed to racking up debt right away. Remember, you want to know that you’re going to like playing guitar before investing in an expensive instrument.

What’s the Best Acoustic Guitar Brand for New Players?

I’d have to say Yamaha. It’s not a forever guitar by any means, but the brand certainly makes a good-sounding acoustic that punches above its weight. For the price, you can’t beat it. If you’re not sold on that, here are 9 cheap acoustics that are great for beginners.

What’s the Best Electric Guitar Brand for New Players?

I’m preferential to Stratocasters and Telecasters, so I’d go with Squier. As you figure out the instrument, you’ll likely aspire to upgrade one day to a real Fender.

When Should I Upgrade My Guitar?

I’ve mentioned a few times about eventually upgrading your guitar, but when do you do that? When you get to a point where you feel like your guitar is holding you back from playing at a level you desire, then it’s time to invest in a higher quality guitar. Remember, though, a more expensive guitar isn’t going to make you a better player. Taking lessons and practicing will.

• • •

Image credits:

Yamaha fret: Johan Larsson from Göteborg, Sweden, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Squier fret: KeeperX7~commonswiki, Copyrighted free use, via Wikimedia Commons.

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