When it comes to acoustic guitars, spending more money on a high-end model really makes a difference. The materials used are of the highest quality, making these guitars extremely comfortable to play.
Playability, appearance and overall sound are the three main attributes to look for in a premium acoustic guitar. In this article, I’ve talked about some of the best acoustic guitars under $2000 which combine these three qualities.
The 7 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $2000
The Taylor 317e is a uniquely designed acoustic guitar. It features a round-shoulder dreadnought body combined with Taylor’s V-Class bracing.
The voicing of the guitar is smooth and seasoned, with the low-end impressively clear and powerful. Mahogany and rosewood make up the neck and body of the 317e, creating a blend of focused character and complex harmonics.
The V-Class bracing is specifically suited to the specifications of a 317e Grand Pacific, and this feature enhances the sustain and power of the guitar, providing ample dynamics for playing with other musicians and not getting lost underneath their volume.
The overall tone is rich and full-bodied – just what you would expect from a premium guitar manufacturer like Taylor.
This guitar includes onboard ES2 electronics which enables it to be plugged into an amp, and with the low-end clarity it provides there shouldn’t be any feedback issues. Overall this is an extremely rich sounding guitar which is a joy to play.
The Takamine P4DC is a top-quality dreadnought cutaway which combines a vintage feel with modern components.
This electro-acoustic guitar has a simplistic, elegant design, with a Venetian cutaway which allows you to easily access the higher portion of the fretboard. The neck is asymmetrical – slightly thinner on the side of the bass. This makes it perfectly fit your hand and improves the playability of the guitar.
Takamine’s signature CTP-3 Cool Tube preamp system is installed on the guitar, along with a high-quality under-saddle pickup. This combination provides a low-voltage tube tone which you can modify to your own sonic preferences.
The tone ranges from bright and clear to thick and warm, sculpted by the three-band EQ. There is also a built-in chromatic tuner for convenience.
The materials used to compose the P4DC are of the highest quality. These include a rosewood fingerboard which has ivory binding, wood marquetry and concentric rings, a red patterned pickguard and a natural glossed finish.
The guitar also comes with a premium arch top hard case for protection and easy transportation.
3. Guild D-20E
The next addition to this list of premium acoustic guitars is the D-20E made by Guild. This is another dreadnought of the highest quality. Built with mahogany, it has a solid and durable feel to it.
The model was first introduced by Guild in 1968, so they have had plenty of time to perfect the design and sounds of this guitar. The sunburst aesthetics give the guitar a vintage feel.
You’ll struggle to find an acoustic guitar which provides more comfort underhand than the D-20E does. The fretboard, bone nut and saddle are all composed of rosewood, which allows your fingers to glide up and down the frets with ease. The headstock has the Guild logo inlaid in mother-of-pearl, adding another classy touch.
In terms of sound, this guitar has richness to the tone which you won’t get tired of. It makes the simplest of triad chords sound large and full.
This Guild 6-string acoustic also has electric capabilities, making it a great option for playing shows. The guitar is fitted with an LR Baggs Element VTC electronics setup, which is essentially an under-saddle pickup system which amplifies and boosts the sound.
This list simply wouldn’t be complete without something from Martin. These acoustic guitar experts boast nearly 200 years of manufacturing experience – so you can be sure that their instruments are of the highest quality. The OME Cherry is an example of this.
It is a truly beautiful guitar to look at. The Sitka spruce top, mahogany neck and African blackwood headplate combine to make a smart design which is a joy to play and look at.
In terms of sound, this acoustic guitar delivers a balanced and warm projection which sounds equally as rich amplified as it does unplugged.
The neck is modified with a low oval design which allows you to get right into the higher frets, and is helpful for more technical guitarists. Finger-picking sounds exceptional on the OME as the resonance is wholesome and sustainable.
The electronics are provided by Fishman, and their Matrix VT Enhance NT1 pickup is installed in the guitar. This pickup stays true to the natural tone of the instrument and features a sound-hole wheel which allows you to fully control the output without adversely affecting the overall sound.
The guitar comes with a high quality hard-shell case.
The Taylor 224ce-K DLX is a Hawaiian koa embodied guitar which sounds fantastic and looks sharp. The use of koa for the majority of the guitar’s composition gives it a focused, lively attack and a linear voice.
It is equally suited for aggressive strumming and light finger picking, due to the rich harmonics of the guitar. Its playability is so good that you will struggle to put this guitar down.
There are some unique features to this acoustic guitar which give it a classy touch. Among these is the faux pearl, single ring rosette which is in an interlocking pattern. Italian acrylic diamond inlays and a chrome tuner also add to the appearance.
Sonically, the guitar has powerful mid-tones and clarity in the highs, enhanced by the all koa body. The resonance it produces is inviting and warm, and the comfortable sapele neck prevents hand fatigue from occurring.
Taylor’s Grand Auditorium body style has gained a reputation as one of the most playable styles of acoustic guitar. When plugged in, the ES2 electronic system amplifies the sound without overly changing it. The guitar also comes with a hard case for added protection.
This Yamaha acoustic-electric guitar is handmade in Japan with premium quality materials. It features scalloped bracing on the top and a short bracing on the back of the guitar, which boosts the volume in the low-mid frequencies.
Additionally, it has a robust Sitka spruce top, along with solid rosewood back and sides. Yamaha treat their guitars with a torrefaction process in which improves the stability of the guitar top.
The Yamaha pickup system which is installed on the A5R ARE guitar is the renowned SRT2 which provides great clarity when recording or plugging into an amplifier. Volume, treble, bass and blend control are all at your disposal with this electronic system.
There is also a built in automatic feedback reducer which solves the problem of unwanted noise when you are close to an amp or ramping up the volume on the guitar.
The traditional western cutaway body gives this guitar a classic appearance, but the brace design also gives it a modern touch. A hardshell case is included and the guitar also has a built-in chrome open gear tuner.
The J-45 Studio is the replacement model for the highly popular J-15. The J-45 is a better-rounded and bigger guitar than the J-15, but still retains the warm acoustic tones which made the J-15 so popular amongst guitarists.
The J-45 is composed of walnut back and sides with a sitka spruce top, which join forces to create a crisp top-end and warm mid-tones. The bass also cuts through with notable clarity.
The slop-shoulder design of the dreadnought naturally enhances the low-end of a guitar, so Gibson has chosen the walnut and spruce top to create brightness and balance the overall tone.
The electronics employed by Gibson on the J-45 is the Fishman sonitone acoustic pickup system which allows you to have control over the volume and tone.
The built-in EQ allows for adjustments to be made, and is handy if you are playing shows in different rooms or venues having varying acoustic properties. You can effectively adjust the sound to suit the environment you are playing in.
The guitar has traditional hand-scalloped bracing which is durable but doesn’t add too much weight. The neck is smooth mahogany which feels soft on the hand. It is a 20 fret guitar so lends itself to classical and more complex styles of playing.
The guitar also features Grover Rotomatics tuners and a dual-action truss rod which can be accessed from the headstock. A hard case is included with this guitar.
How Wood Affects the Sound
There are a number of different wood types which frequently pop up when looking at acoustic guitars, and can be hard to keep track of their different qualities.
It can sometimes seem like a marketing gimmick, but the wood used on a guitar really does affect the sound that the guitar produces. Below, you can find a list of the most commonly used woods for acoustic guitars and their individual characteristics.
Mahogany is commonly used for guitar tops, as it provides a punchy and solid tone with minimal overtones. It also produces a good level of clarity and response in the high-end.
When utilized for the back and sides of a guitar, mahogany enhances the bass and treble, and produces a rich, woody sound which is great for country or folk playing.
Maple is a wood which is very easy on the eye, and is used for acoustic guitars because it allows the character of the top express itself with little coloration from the sides and back of the guitar.
A very popular choice for tops of acoustic guitars, Sitka Spruce is durable, robust and surprisingly lightweight. The tone it produces is sharp and clear with a loud resonance.
Brazilian rosewood naturally boosts the low-end clarity whilst producing a rich sound in the top-end of an acoustic guitar. It also reverberates well, creating an ambient, resonant sound.
Koa is a particularly dense hardwood and is commonly used for guitar tops. It provides a reliable tone, and is especially clear in the high-end. When used for the back and sides of a guitar, it produces a rich and deep resonant tone.
Comfort Is the Key
When considering the best acoustic guitars under $2000, it’s a must that you choose something that feels comfortable to play.
Many guitarists (myself included) have a tendency to choose their axe based mainly on its appearance and sonic qualities. Those are obviously important aspects too, but if you are serious about progressing as a guitarist, comfort is one of the major factors to consider.
Mastery requires thousands of hours of practice, and if a guitar feels comfortable when you play it, there is a much higher chance that you will stick out the practice routine and keep developing your skills further.