It is a strange thing to realize that no matter how much you are willing to pay, there will always be a better guitar out there. This bothers me a lot because I want every one guitar I ever speak of to be the best guitar. So when I spend several days freaking out about this new instrument I found that is exceptional in every way and then one of my friends shoots me an email or message about a guitar that is much better, I get a little frustrated. Thankfully the prevalence of this problem becomes less immediate in the range of mid to high end. Which is why I am so excited to be talking about the 10 best acoustic guitars under 2000 – all of these guitars carry the weight of being incredibly good. In this range really, the sky’s the limit, and by the sky I mean the number 2000 and by the limit I mean beyond that we’re entering the range of “the best acoustic guitars ever”. Fair warning: you will find me freaking out about those, because what man doesn’t freak out when he exits the stratosphere?
Anyway, the problem of owning the best guitar shouldn’t bother you as much as it does me. You are not someone who reviews guitars, you are someone who plays them and if you really think about it, for each musician the “best” guitar, or instrument in general, is a highly subjective idea.
Top 9 Best Acoustic Guitars Over 1000
The D-15 Martin is a beautiful guitar that lies on the affordable spectrum of the 2000s list. Affordable not in the sense that it won’t cost you a month’s rent, but affordable compared to the others. The thing is, despite its affordability, the guitar is one of the best guitars you will ever get to play. The solid mahogany body creates a full body resonance, meaning both you and the guitar will feel the sound go through you. It produces a deep warm sound with beautiful bass response and clear cut sound no matter how fast you are playing. This guitar is for those players who seek to take notes from the deepest parts of their soul and below them across their audience, driving home the deep, strong emotion. It’s full body response to the bass makes the guitar a perfect support for high vocals, but do not be afraid to go high on the guitar, as the high and mid range tones are exceptional as well.
- Amazing looks
- Great construction
- Apart from the price, I really doubt you will find a problem with this guitar
Garth Brooks is a big name in the United States. So making a guitar that bears his name means a lot of responsibility. This is easy for Takamine as showcased by their Pro Series GB7C Garth Brooks guitar. The solid cedar top of the guitar creates a beautiful resonance, emphasizing the bright sounds of the mid and high tones. The guitar produces an incredible, bright sound that remains precise and sustain free no matter how fast or hard you play. The guitar, because of its unique sound-hole, looks as unique as Garth Brooks’s music combining rock and roll with country does. It is incredibly easy to produce the country sound that so many people pursue for so long, thanks to this guitar being made in mind with a country sound. The perfect mid range priced guitar for your high end musical needs, such as the ones Garth brooks would approve of.
- Full sound
- Good construction
- Price might be a bit high for beginners
- Might want to restring
The Blueridge BR-361 Historic Series Parlor Guitar is called historic because of its vintage look, is what they say. I say the creators got cocky and called it historic because they thought this guitar would make a historic landmark in the world of music instruments. If that is the reason, they were not wrong. This guitar features a solid spruce top with choice tonewood back side, meaning that the guitar is incredibly expressive in its sound. The low, deep bass tones, the mid-range tones and the high tones all find equal footing in the voice of guitar. Louder, faster or more specific, it doesn’t mind what kind of music you play, all sound will remain distinctive, pleasant to the ear and a pleasure to behold thanks to its beautiful design. The slightly smaller size of the guitar means that the guitar is lightweight and incredibly comfortable to play. So grab boots and get ready to enjoy some beautiful sound on this relatively affordable acoustic guitar.
- Beautiful, old style look
- Great construction
- Neck is a bit wide
- Might have too much treble
Dreadnought guitars are something we can never say no to, especially in the high-end range. Though they will sound wonderful even at a low price tag, they gain an extraordinary appeal once they get a bit more expensive. Martin guitars are renowned for their quality and their Custom D isn’t an exception by any means. It features the tonewoods that you’re likely to encounter at every step of the way: it has spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides. Its non-cutaway design adds even more character to the guitar and turns it into an unforgettable treat. Tortoise pickguard is there to protect your instrument from scratches that may appear from your pick (heavy strummers will get what I’m saying). Though there is nothing extraordinary about the design, you’ll definitely be amazed by the sound; this puppy has accentuated low-end, but it still manages to retain the brightness that’s needed for producing rounded, well-defined tone. If you’re ready to splurge and invest in a mesmerizing guitar, Martin Custom D is definitely the one!
- Wonderful tone
- Perfect volume
- Well-balanced lows and highs
- Too much low end for recording
Some guitarists prefer to invest in ordinary guitars, while others want something exceptional. This one is definitely for those who can’t settle for mainstream instruments and want to add a unique piece to their collection. Gitane DG-320 was built in collaboration with John Jorgenson and is one of the most distinctive Gypsy Jazz guitars on the market. You’ll only need one look at this guitar to understand what you’re dealing with – even its design reveals the qualities of the sound you’re going to get. D-shaped soundhole, cutaway body, tortoise-style binding and tortoise insert in the tailpiece make it look like a piece of art. I would still keep it in my collection if it had a horrible sound – that’s how much I like the appearance. But, of course, Gitane couldn’t have a horrible sound – the tone is fascinating here. You’ll hear the elements of many different genres, which also means that your music will be diverse and dimensional. DG-320 has solid Sitka spruce top, while back and sides are made out of Santos rosewood. This bad boy definitely deserves your attention!
- Unique and distinctive design
- Dimensional and versatile sound
- Great build quality
Inspired by the Gibson’s J200, the Blueridge BG-2500 Historic Series jumbo guitar is huge. It is huge, first and foremost, because of its physical size. It is huge because thanks to its size, the sound it produces is much more powerful than your average sized guitar. It is huge because of its size allows the guitar to produce a much deeper, richer bass response. Finally, it is huge, because it is such an important addition to the guitar world. It has a stand out sound, something you don’t hear much when looking at other guitars. It is vibrant in its high tones thanks to its solid Sitka Spruce top and solid flamed maple back and sides, and it is deep, almost contemplative in its seemingly endless potential for the low tones. This guitar stands out in every way, demanding attention no matter where it goes or where it is played. Indeed worthy of being part of the historic series.
- Beautiful looks
- Amazing construction
- Comfortable (especially for jumbo styled guitar)
- If you are a beginner it might be a bit pricey
- Might want to change strings
Somewhere in the afterlife Mr. Christian Frederick Martin walks proudly among his peers, knowing that his company has made one of the best high end acoustic guitars that will ever grace the market. The beautiful and impressive D-41 Martin Dreadnought, the golden dragon among acoustic guitars, stands as one of the best ever made. The price tag reflects that, but don’t let it scare you, this beast can sound both quiet and loving, as well as loud and demanding, repaying your every cent and more with every note played. A solid spruce top with a radiant rosewood side and back produce a resonant sound that sticks to the ear and the heart easier than the blame to the devil. The Rosette and Ebony fretboard is inlaid with brilliant Abalone, making it positively scrumptious to look at. This guitar will stretch the strings of any person’s heart tighter than the strings stretched across the guitar itself, letting you play them louder and clearer than the first lover’s longing sigh ever did.
- Amazing Sound
- Great Build
It’s not unusual to expect a certain pattern of behavior from different brands. When it comes to guitar manufacturing, most of the companies have their niche sound – a tone that can be discerned even in the crowded mix. But sometimes they decide to spice things up and develop something innovative. That’s what Taylor did when they came up with the idea to utilize V-class bracing in their 317e Grand Pacific. This puppy will deliver the sound that you wouldn’t expect from the brand, which is a wonderful thing, in my personal opinion. You’ll hear deep and saturated basses here, yet the aim of this guitar is to create a balanced sound. That’s what it achieves with its solid Sitka spruce top, sapele back and sides, and non-cutaway body. 317e also comes with ES2 (Expression System 2), which is Taylor’s distinctive pickup system. Behind-the-saddle pickup is comprised with three individually calibrated sensors, all of which have a specific location. This way the dynamics of your sound is fully recognized and conveyed. Whether you are into Taylor or not, this one is worth a shot!
- Innovative V-Class bracing
- Rounded, yet expressive tone
- Wonderful build quality
- Dynamics are compromised with heavy strumming
One thing we can hardly avoid is the environmental changes that always affect our guitars. Yeah, yeah, I know, there are countless accessories that help us in that process. But we can’t neglect what a pain in the neck that process can be. Those who will never play a guitar unless it’s wooden can definitely skip this one. I, myself, was shocked when I played Cargo for the first time. Peavey’s Composite Acoustics makes guitars from carbon fiber and, as surprising as it may sound, they sound mesmerizing. Cargo itself is a travel-size guitar that definitely sounds bigger than its body. It can be utilized plugged in or acoustic – it will deliver beautiful results either way. You can forget about humidity with this one, since environmental factors don’t affect its sound. You can also forget about truss rod adjustments, which is a huge virtue on its own. Not only is it handmade, but it has a unique design too – uniquely placed soundhole will attract your attention from the very first glance. Cargo is unlike any other guitars out there in so many different aspects!
- Can’t be affected by the environment
- Won’t even scratch if you drop it
- Flexible and smooth to play
- Wonderful sound
- Hard to change the pickup battery (but you won’t be needing that anytime soon)
- Not for wood lovers
2000 vs 500
A lot of the time people have trouble understanding what the difference between an expensive and relatively affordable guitars is. You will see many proponents of the “all guitars sound the same” theory and you might feel inclined to agree with them. I used to agree with them too because I had a hard time imagining that different types of body or nut material might produce a different sound.
I only realized how wrong I was after I had the chance to compare the two types of instruments myself. I had spent the day at a musical instrument shop “helping” a friend of mine pick out a new drumset. By helping I mean letting him talk to the assistant while I walked around the acoustic guitars section and tried every single instruments my hands could reach. Don’t judge me, he had been looking for a new drumset for months and I couldn’t take any more of him blabbering on about how specifically he wanted it, so yes I ran away to a better place.
I first tried a bunch of guitars on the affordable side, in the range of 500-800. These were extremely nice guitars, all of them sounded really good, something I would expect out of a guitar. Then, I saw, hanging on the wall, a guitar that was worth about 2000. Curious, I got my hands on it and played. The thing is I had grown accustomed to good sound, but this was something else. It had a deeper bass response than what I was used to, more emphasized high tones than what I had expected. It was overall warmer, more comfortable. It felt like for the first time in my life I actually sounded as good as I thought I always did.
This was thanks to the guitar made of higher quality materials.
Laminated and Preserved or Well Aged and Full Bodied
I covered a little information about the types of materials used for the body of an acoustic guitar and their effects in an earlier article, when talking about beginner guitars. The thing is, these are not beginner guitars, and there is a large difference between laminated and natural materials.
Laminated materials often used in affordable acoustic guitars sacrifices some resonance to tones for the sake of cheaper materials that could potentially last longer, unchanged. The sound remains crisp, but the effect of the laminated material is limited, taking away the uniqueness of the instrument’s sound.
Natural, non laminated materials that are used in higher end guitars such as the ones above are different. These guitars usually use high end materials with superior resonance, such as Engelmann Spruce or a any number of other, rarer materials. This results in a deep bass response and precise high tones that resist the extra sustain of the strings when the guitar is played faster.
These non laminated woods also tend to age over time, further enhancing the sound of the guitar. While a brand new Engleman Spruce guitar might sound crisp and exceptional and aged one will have grown into its sound, becoming more “full bodied”. This brings a guitar into the same realm as that of aged wines – when cared for and aged properly, a guitar only becomes better as it becomes older.
Every instrumentalist finds that the best guitar, or any other instrument, is the one they love playing. A whole lot of things other than the specs go into enjoying what you play. The history of the instrument or how it fits into your hands or how you feel holding it are much more important for the “best guitar” you will own than what material it is made of. It might be true that the best acoustic guitars priced just under 2000 are superior in many ways to the best acoustic guitars that are priced just under 500, but one thing is omitted when considering such superiority.
The first acoustic guitar I ever bought was not worth much more than 300. That was too long ago to talk about out loud, but ever since then I have bought other guitars. Some of them have been just under 500 and some of them have been way more than that. The thing is my first acoustic guitar still remains as my favorite acoustic guitar. It is best guitar I ever owned, hands down. That is not because it sounds the best or because it is the most comfortable to play, but because it now has character. It is infused with memories of hours spent practicing with or without my friends. Every time I pick it up and play it, I can’t help but remember that one time when I was playing in the underground and some drunk guy started dancing to my music. It has all the ugly stickers and all my teenage angst compounded into so much love and hate that this guitar took. Years of abuse and years of attempting to preserve its character, originality and form, because at some point it was about to fall apart.
This isn’t to say that it beats the best acoustic guitar under 2000 in sound. In fact it is much inferior. What I am trying to say is that it beats them in character, because these guitars, until you’ve played them are plain blank. A guitar on this list might end up being your favorite, or it might not, it is entirely up to you. The thing is you have to play it to make it the best.