best high end acoustic guitar

10 Best High End Acoustic Guitar Options For 2021

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced professional with decades of guitar-playing skills under your belt, it is difficult to overlook the “wow” factor whenever you see a high end acoustic guitar. In comparison to their reasonably priced mid-range counterparts, high end acoustic guitars are superior as it relates to playability and sound.

Quick Links To Our Best High End Acoustic Guitar Recommendations

They are also an entire range of other parameters like tonewoods, looks, build quality and hardware quality. It is difficult to pinpoint the precise number; however, there is a substantial rise in overall characteristics and quality once you get to a price tag between $1500 and $4000 and sometimes even more.

Below are our recommendations for the best high end acoustic guitar.

Our High End Acoustics Reviews

Martin D-45

Comprising 45 instruments, the Martin D-45 is basically a limited-edition Dreadnought size guitar made in Martin’s extravagant Style 45. It is designed to suit the playability and sound preferred by John Mayer, the multi-Grammy-winning songwriter and guitarist. Similar to Mayer’s music, this signature model D-45 got its inspiration from icons from earlier eras but has its own unique sound.

This is the first dreadnought and the fifth model that Martin has produced for John Mayer. Initially, the design was based on a D-45 that was created the 1970s. However, while the new version has preserved some design components of that 1970s D-45, like the neck shape, there are other features that are inspired by the classic D-45s from the 1930s and the 1940s. As it relates to the components that are most accountable for the music it produces, never has there been a D-45 that is quite like this Martin D-45.

This D-45 model is the first one with the back and sides made of Guatemalan rosewood. It is also the first Martin model that officially combines that rosewood species with an Engelmann spruce soundboard. This is a tonewood mix made even more fascinating by using scalloped ¼-inch bracing made out of Adirondack spruce, with the Golden Era style scalloping from Martin.

Pros:

  • Solid mahogany back and sides.
  • East Indian rosewood for the fingerboard, bridge, and headplate.
  • Ebony bridge pins and bone nut.
  • Martin’s iconic abalone rosette with inlaid pearl center, 14 frets to body.
  • Dry neck joint and dry finish on back of neck for easy playability.

Cons:

  • Extremely expensive (but that is what I high end guitar is!).
Our Rating -
5/5

Riversong Guitars TRAD CDN A N

This Riversong special edition guitar was the first model of the brand. It features a fast “D” profile neck, domestic woods, balanced tone and it is basically the dream guitar of Mike Miltimore. Four weeks following the release of the guitar, Mike received a nomination and ended up as the runner up for the Canadian Young Entrepreneur of the year.

The guitars are made from Chillakwian maple, which was discovered from visits to a local tonewood sawmills. There was a huge quantity of wood that was found while the perfect piece of wood was being sought to create the guitar. However, upon taking a closer look at what was viewed as “waste” wood, it was found that the wood was actually remarkable, simply overlooked. Actually, this stunning wood is similar to nature, exquisitely spectacular.
A deal was struck to use the Chillakwian maple and the rest, as they say, is history.

The back and sides of the guitar is made of the Chillakwian maple and the top of Sitka Spruce. A crystal-clear top end and a crisp, tight bottom end make this instrument a finger-picking vision.

Pros:

  • High-quality sound.
  • Lasts a lifetime.
  • Beautiful workmanship on the guitar’s body.

Cons:

  • Price. Seriously, this is not for the faint of heart. You should expect to pay at least $5,000 for a high quality acoustic instrument. That being said, it will be worth every penny in terms of quality and longevity (no pun intended).
Our Rating -
5/5

Martin OM-42

The OM-42 uses Martin’s second most elaborate detail work, although it is way less costly than the 45 style of the brand. Besides the 42 style around its edge, the features of the guitar include grained ivroid binding, gold hardware and smaller inlays on its headstock and bridge. These artistic details elegantly complement the gorgeous tonewoods without looking out of place or gaudy.

The guitar is created for play and it is adequately versatile to be used in folk, blues and pretty much any other acoustic genre. It features scalloped, forward-shifted bracing as well. Both the design and the placement of the bracing create an instrument that moves more when being played, making it lighter, livelier, more responsive and more dynamic compared to other OM guitars.

Along with the bracing, the Sitka spruce top of the OM-42 is more responsive than tops found on other models like the Adirondack top. Sitka does not deliver the same rumble as Adirondack; however, the former is more articulate, which makes it a remarkable instrument for recording. Additionally, the Sitka top is combined with the Indian rosewood body, which provides the guitar with the rich overtones craved by acoustic musicians.

Pros:

  • Martin guitars are a world-renowned and respected brand that have been in the acoustic guitar business for over 160 years.
  • Their guitars are known for their high quality sound and finish, meaning you can expect an OM-42 to perform excellently when it comes to playing and being heard.
  • The impressive highs and lows of the guitar’s tone is what sets Martin apart from other brands, which is not only beautiful to listen to but makes them perfect for singers.
  • The OM-42 is known to sound slightly more “rounder” than other Martin guitars, meaning it can be pretty suited for piano players and vocalists.
  • The guitar’s body size is also small enough to make even tiny hands feel comfortable when playing.

Cons:

  • n/a
Our Rating -
4.5/5

Martin 000-28 Eric Clapton Signature

The Martin 000-28 guitar is among Eric Clapton’s favorite acoustic guitars so it should be of no surprise that it is the basis for his signature model. This is definitely a big deal; however, the Martin 000-28 almost does not require this type of endorsement since it so widely desired by guitarists. With its solid Sitka Spruce top mixed with its solid Rosewood sides and back, this guitar delivers a remarkable sound. The combination of these tonewoods provides a warm and wonderfully-rounded tone with adequate brightness and spring from the spruce to deliver all the definition players could desire.

The tonewood combination provides the Martin 000-28 with a complex and rich tone, which is delicate and sweet when played quietly. However, with sufficient energetic headroom to move an impressive volume of air when accorded some energy. This indicates that the guitar delivers some of the most remarkable acoustic tones players have come to expect and even goes beyond that. There is nothing that is spared in creating this guitar and it a wonderful illustration of one of the most superb art forms available these days in the music instrument industry: solid black ebony fingerboard and blocks, real bone nut, Boltaron binding and embellishments.

Pros:

  • Beautiful tone.
  • High quality.
  • Excellent craftsmanship.

Cons:

  • Pricey
Our Rating -
4.5/5

Martin D-28

Introduced in 1931, the Martin D-28 is simply iconic. The likes of Eric Clapton, Johnny Cash and Jimmy Page has played this instrument. This specific model is a re-imagination of the earlier D-28. Usually, doing this sort of thing is a recipe for disaster; however, Martin did an incredible job of enhancing the original, similar to what was done with the D-41.

The features of the guitar include a top made of solid Sitka spruce and back and sides made of solid East Indian rosewood. The bracing pattern is one of the features of the D-28 that was updated and it now has a forward-shifted X-bracing. This indicates that when compared to the original, this model has a superior bass response. It produces a very well-balanced sound with clear midrange tones and crisp highs. For more comfortable playing, the guitar also has new neck design.

As it relates to appearance, Martin opted for vintage-style visuals, which is both elegant and understated. A feature that really stands out on this guitar is its piano-like sustain; this is not only attributed to the body shape of the dreadnought but to the modernized bracing pattern as well. The original is among the all-time remarkable guitars and, it is safe to say, the updated version also belongs in this category.

Pros:

  • A well-respected, high-quality brand.
  • Very versatile guitar: can be used for a range of musical genres and styles.

Cons:

  • Not as affordable as some other options on the market.
Our Rating -
4.5/5

Taylor 814ce

The 814ce features the signature loud, bright Taylor sound has become one and the same with the brand. The clear and crisp midrange and treble tones are perfected by a warm low end. Whether just strumming or playing solos, the Taylor 814ce is nothing short of terrific and it is also really comfortable to play. This is partly because of the low-action, Venetian cutaway that enables players to more easily access the frets and the neck that perfectly fits in the hands of the player.

Similar to all of the guitars in the 800 Series, this guitar has a solid Sitka spruce top and sides and back made of solid Indian rosewood. Taylor also paid careful attention to the look of this guitar with mother-of-pearl fingerboard inlays and an abalone rosette which provides the guitar with an authentic shine. The guitar has V-Class bracing on the inside and this makes a big difference, particularly when compared with models in the same price range. Even for a high-end instrument, the guitar has incredible sustain and sounds louder. It can be plugged into an amp as well because it features the Expression System 2. This has 3 piezo sensors designed to capture the sound in all its glory and oh how glorious it is.

Pros:

  • Nicely finished, no flaws in the finish.
  • Taylor tuners keep it in tune well and have a good feel to them.
  • It sounds beautiful, projects nicely but not too much so that it’s piercing like some acoustics I tried.
  • Intonation seems very precise.

Cons:

  • This guitar is relatively expensive. It’s also heavy.
Our Rating -
4.5/5

Blueridge Guitars BR-283A

When you combine the rarest tonewoods, the greatest modern workmanship and luxurious abalone pearl inlay on each border, you will have the most superb new guitar money can buy; this perfectly describes the Blueridge BR-283A. This is a 000 sized guitar and it is the right size for ease of playing and comfort; however, it retains the volume, clarity and big tone that is ideal for recording work and live performance.

The top of the guitar is made from the best Adirondack spruce and has the same forward-x pattern parabolic braces like the original from the 1930s. The back and sides are made from solid Santos rosewood and magnificent abalone pearl is embedded in each border to ensure the flagship guitar a spectacular visual display in addition to being a remarkable performance instrument. The premium back and sides help the guitar to produce a focused treble and strong bass response, accentuated perfectly by exceptional herringbone marquetry.

Its slim mahogany neck features a quality ebony fingerboard that offers fast and easy action and fundamentally long-lasting stability. Additionally, it will always be in tune with the Gotoh open-back butterbean buttons. There is truly no better guitar available in this cost category.

Pros:

  • Elegant appearance.
  • Comfortable even when played for long periods of time.
  • Has a well balanced tone that is not too soft or too harsh.

Cons:

  • The price might put it out of most people’s budget, making it more of an investment than just an accessory.
Our Rating -
4.5/5

Martin J-40

For the Martin brand, Jumbo guitars are a rarity; however, for those who have played one, they know they are among the most incredible instruments available. The J-40 was updated in 2018 and features the tight-waisted body many guitarists find remarkably comfortable. Its classic combination of Sitka spruce and solid rosewood produces satisfying harmonic detail and tonal balance guitarists tend to consider when they imagine what an acoustic instrument should sound like. The guitar produces room-filling projection that greatly translates from the studio to the stage. With its refined aesthetics, you have an amazing guitar.

With its classic styling, the back and sides of the J-40 is made from East Indian rosewood and has a hand-fit dovetail neck joint. The guitar delivers a tone that is balanced beautifully with powerful projection and response. Featuring the most comfortable high-performance neck of the brand and gold open geared tuners, this unique Martin body size has a Jumbo tone and polished gloss finish to set it apart.

Pros:

  • The feel is different from a dreadnought, but the sound is airy and full.
  • The neck profile is narrower to make it easier to play certain fingerpicking techniques.
  • Brazilian rosewood back and sides, which are very resonant and bright sounding.
  • The guitar has Martin’s signature “X” bracing pattern which gives more clarity to the tone.

Cons:

  • n/a
Our Rating -
4.5/5

Alvarez Yairi Masterworks Series PYM70

The Alvarez PYM70 is a traditional handcrafted parlor style guitar with premium cosmetics and all-solid wood construction. A unique bracing design was created for the Yairi Masterworks series known as “forward-shifted type 2” or FSTII. This makes the PYM70 parlor more dynamic and louder than other similarly-sized guitars.

The direct-coupled bridge is another unique feature found on Yairi instruments, which has an ebony block which pulls the top and bridge plate. This was developed to help with improving volume, resonance, sustain and structural stability. This Alvarez PYM70 guitar features a noticeable extended dovetail neck block which is intended to provide improved support between the neck and the body.

The top of the guitar is made out of solid Sitka spruce of an AA-grade and the sides and back are made out of solid east Indian rosewood. Its body has the shape of the traditional parlor guitar with the lower bout being wider. Its neck is made out of a one-piece mahogany and topped by its fingerboard, which is made from rosewood and merges with the body at the 12th fret. Other features include the rosewood headstock plate, ebony bridge and real bone nut and saddle.

Pros:

  • Very good projection.
  • Ease of play and tone.
  • considerable attention to detail.
  • excellent craftsmanship.
  • Beautiful appearance with high quality materials.

Cons:

  • A bit on the heavy side for smaller players.
Our Rating -
4.5/5

Prestige Guitars Eclipse

Prestige Guitars Eclipse features a Grand Auditorium body shape and cutaway design. This body shape is remarkably versatile and suited equally for both strumming and finger picking; it is a perfect all-round body shape. The neck is C-shaped, made from satin-finished mahogany and has a small peak in the hill, which is similar to various modern electrics. Included among the standard electronics are an L.R. Baggs pickup attached to the regular endpin jack.

The Spruce Rosewood delivers the richest and warmest tone, with a mix of solid Indian Rosewood sides and back and a top made of solid Cedar, which is a softer wood. This characteristic is responsible for delivering such warmth. By pairing the Rosewood sides and back with the cedar top, the best qualities of the Cedar can be accessed to enhance the exceptional crispness and extensive tonal breadth of the Rosewood. Cedar is known for its capacity to increase the volume of quieter tones; however, the wood has an upper volume limit. The Cedar-Rosewood mix is perfect for finger picking with its capacity to add warmth and amplify subtle notes.

Pros:

  • Stays in tune.
  • Fast, easy fingering.
  • Rich, full sound and string volume.
  • Solid build quality, looks great.


Cons:

  • Expensive!
Our Rating -
4.5/5

What To Expect With A High End Acoustic Guitar

What Is A High End Guitar?

It is described as “high end” because it is more expensive that lower priced guitars. These guitars have a higher value, which makes them more luxurious.

What To Expect With A High End Acoustic Guitar

Guitars, similar to other instruments, come in many price ranges. Higher priced guitars are typically better made and more expensive due to the materials that are used and the craftsmanship. Higher-end acoustic guitars will usually cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or even more – depending on multiple factors including material quality and workmanship, along with any additional options chosen by the customer.

Why It’s Important

The reason why you should consider purchasing a higher end acoustic guitar is because it has a lot of potential benefits and potential risks. For your everyday use, the main benefit of owning such a guitar will be in its sound quality. You will be able to get a very nice sound out of an acoustic guitar, so long as you choose one that is high quality (this includes the materials used). The sound quality of a guitar is determined by the craftsmanship.

If you are looking for a guitar that you can use as a collector’s item or for performances, then you will definitely want to choose a high end acoustic guitar. They play well and look fantastic. Other benefits include quality binding, solid woods and an attractive finish. If you do plan on performing with your guitar, then you may want to go with something more expensive in order to have the best sound quality out there.

What To Consider

Excellent materials will help you get the best sound quality out of your acoustic guitar – meaning it will have richer tone and a better “woody” sound. The price also comes down to the fact that instruments with higher quality materials and craftsmanship are going to naturally cost more.

The acoustic guitar market has changed over the years. In the past, you would have been hard-pressed finding an acoustic guitar with a solid top. Today, however, many acoustic guitars – even those in the lower price range – have solid tops. You should be careful not to assume that a guitar has a solid top just because it is expensive. If you are buying an acoustic guitar as an investment (for resale), then you will want to make sure that it really is handcrafted and that the top is solid before you buy.

Value

There are many different reasons why you may want to purchase a high end acoustic guitar. For you, however, the most important thing is figuring out what will be the best option for you. If you are just starting out, then perhaps a lower priced guitar will work for you. If your budget is a little bigger and you have decided that it would be nice to have a high end acoustic guitar as an investment, then go ahead and choose one of those.

Our High End Acoustic Guitar Conclusion

All hi-end guitars deliver exceptional quality; as such it is really difficult to make a bad choice. However, you should bear in mind that in spite of the fact that these guitars all produce amazing sounds, they are different in a lot of ways as well. This is why we made the decision to compile a list of our recommendations for the best high end acoustic guitar. As you can see, the guitars that made our list are quite different in a variety of ways but will suit the needs and expectations of even the most demanding guitarist.

About The Author - Dan Harper
About The Author - Dan Harper

My name is Dan and I have been playing guitar for about 35 years. Over the years, I have taught guitar, played in a number of bands and owned and played a ton of gear.
When not playing guitar, I like to travel with my family, grill good food and go to concerts!

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