7 Best Acoustic Guitars for Country (2023) In Tune with Tradition

Acoustic guitars are a staple in country music, serving as the backbone of many iconic songs in the genre. Everything in this genre, from the twangy honky-tonk to the more modern pop-infused country sound, tends to feature acoustic guitar heavily.

In other words, the acoustic guitar has become synonymous with country music, providing both rhythm and melody to countless hits over the years. And there are seemingly endless choices for acoustic guitars for country out there.

Manufacturers know this and have tried to satiate this market for decades. With so many options, it may be a bit overwhelming to pick the acoustic guitar for you. But we are here to help. Keep reading.

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Editor's Choice
Gibson Acoustic Generation Collection G-Bird

Gibson Acoustic Generation Collection G-Bird

Features: Player port, All solid wood construction, Grover tuners

Benefits: Beautiful tones, Excellent playability, Solid tuning stability

10
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Best Value
Epiphone J-200EC Studio

Epiphone J-200EC Studio

Features: Fishman electronics, Slimtaper neck, Grover tuners

Benefits: Booming voice, Super comfortable neck, Incredible aesthetics

8.5
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Best Budget
Yamaha FG830

Yamaha FG830

Features: Solid spruce top, Rosewood back/sides, Rosewood fretboard

Benefits: Superb build quality, Great tonal balance, Huge volume

7
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Our Top 3

The Epiphone J-200 EC Studio is our top pick.  Made from spruce and select maple, this guitar is inspired by the legendary Gibson J200. From tone to playability, a fantastic choice for country.

The Yamaha FG830 Dreadnought is our Budget Choice. This is a dreadnought acoustic with a classic wood combination of spruce for the top, and rosewood for the back and sides, and brings an elegant look with lightweight construction.

Last but not least, the Gibson Acoustic Generation Collection G-Bird is our Editor’s Choice. With a comfortable square-shouldered dreadnought design and innovative Gibson Player Port, this guitar delivers a superior tone and feel for the advanced players and working musicians seeking the best guitar available.


Individual Reviews

Top Pick

A complete package of tone, playability and looks.

This guitar delivers a fantastic jumbo sound and feel with a stylish look, in a perfect blend between classic and modern. This Epiphone is an affordable version of the Gibson J200 acoustic guitar, also known as "King of the Flat Tops".

The Epiphone J-200EC Studio is made from a solid spruce top and select maple back and sides, keeping alive a tradition that started in 1937 with the legendary Gibson J200. We were truly excited to try out this instrument and started by playing some chicken picking on some country licks.

We got a penetrating tone that is fantastic for country and several other styles, including blues and even acoustic rock. The bass frequencies were punchy, while the mids and highs were present but never too harsh.  

When we switched to playing a pick, we got potent projection and a warm overall tonal quality of this Epiphone guitar. From open chords to fast single lines, this guitar delivers an unequivocal jumbo tone.  

The playability of the EJ-200SCE is also good. With a responsive pau ferro fingerboard, we got a balanced and stable playing experience. This guitar also gave us nice note clarity with the necessary articulation and bite to cut through any mix. The neck was quite comfortable, with a maple SlimTaper profile. 

In order to plug into a PA or amp, this Epiphone Jumbo comes with a Fishman Presys preamp system with Sonicore pickup. Plugged into our JBL PA, we got a forward tone with the acoustic warmth that this guitar exhibits when unplugged. The controls for the preamp are located on the upper side of the guitar and come with a convenient built-in tuner.

Besides the tone and playability, this guitar also excels in the looks department. We loved the pearloid graduated crown inlays on the fingerboard as well as the stylish pickguard on the J-200 Standard.At the end of the day, we thought it was a fantastic guitar that delivers a big jumbo tone with great feel and looks.

Verdict: The Epiphone J-200EC Studio features a resonant spruce top and maple back and sides, and is a more affordable version of the iconic Gibson J200 jumbo acoustic. With nice playability and a Fishman preamp to plug in, this guitar is a great choice for any professional.


Best Budget

A simple acoustic guitar that delivers in tone and feel.

Made in China in order to keep costs down while still offering Yamaha quality, the FG830 Dreadnought is a fantastic choice for beginners. It features quality tonewoods and playability typically found in pricier models, as well as a beautiful natural color on a gloss finish.

The Yamaha FG830 Dreadnought is a dreadnought acoustic with a classic wood combination of spruce for the top, and rosewood for the back and sides. The first thing we liked about it was its elegant look and low weight.

We began our tests by using a soft pick to strum some open chords to get a clear tone and a balanced frequency spectrum response. Featuring scalloped bracing construction, this Yamaha dreadnought gave us a more powerful tone and more projection than what its low price suggests.

The same was true even when we picked really soft, in both accompanying and single-line contexts. The rosewood back and side on this guitar give it a resonating quality that is always controlled, consistently focused, and well-balanced. This was also true when we played a bit of fingerstyle. 

We also found this instrument to be comfortable to play. With a responsive rosewood fingerboard, this dreadnought gave us good playability for a beginner guitar. For extra comfort, you get rounded edges on the fretboard, ideal for a more ergonomic position on the fretting hand. 

Verdict: The Yamaha FG830 Dreadnought is a good choice for beginners that want a responsive instrument with Yamaha quality. Songwriters will also enjoy this guitar, with its resonant spruce top, and rosewood back and sides. The scalloped bracing design also aids the projection and tone on this guitar, making it a great choice for the money. Ultimately, this is a solid acoustic dreadnought for everyone from beginners to working musicians on a tight budget.


Editor's Choice

Outstanding Gibson quality for discerning players.

This guitar takes the best of traditional construction and mixes it with modern appointments. The result is an acoustic that is deeply rooted on Gibson's rich building history, but with traits that favor the modern player that values superior tone and playability.

The Gibson Acoustic Generation Collection G-Bird features a comfortable square-shouldered dreadnought design and combines that with an innovative design with the Gibson Player Port. The Gibson Player Port is a soundhole on the upper side of the instrument that directly sends sound to the player’s ears. 

We loved how this guitar responded to medium to heavy strumming, with plenty of volume and projection. Made with a spruce top, and walnut back and sides, this acoustic guitar gave us a stellar sound that fills up a room. We also liked the oversized pickguard, as it helps preserve the body of the instrument better.  

We then played some fingerpicking patterns on several chords, both open and extended, and added some single lines as well. This Gibson acoustic guitar gave us a wide dynamic range and responded really well even at low volumes when fingerpicking it. 

The combination of walnut back and sides and spruce top gave us a warm tone with fantastic volume and projection. The G-Bird also delivers a strong low end. The end result is a more narrowly focused dreadnought voice that is simple to utilize in almost any genre you can think of.

One of the most unique features of this guitar is the neck made of utile, a hardwood with excellent tonal qualities. We felt that this guitar was a joy to play and had fantastic playability, with an advanced response neck carve that felt great. ,

It comes with your typical Gibson 24.75-inch scale length and a fretboard made of striped ebony, very comfortable as well as responsive. 

Naturally, the most unique feature on this Gibson is the Player Port, which is just a soundhole facing up. It helped project the sound directly to our ears, great for staying connected to the sound even when playing with a band. 

For plugging in, this Gibson acoustic comes with an LR Baggs Element Bronze system. Connected to our Roland JC-120 amp, we found that this pickup system gave us a very realistic representation of the true acoustic tone of this instrument. 

The LR Baggs Element Bronze system comes with an Element under-saddle transducer. This is a great design feature as it does away with the unpleasant “quack” sound that you often get with lesser piezo systems. 

Verdict: The Gibson Acoustic Generation Collection G-Bird features a dreadnought design and a unique Gibson Player Port soundhole for enhanced sound and monitoring. With a spruce top, and walnut back and sides, this beautiful Gibson acoustic produces great tone and delivers playability for the modern player. This is truly a superior guitar that delivers a beautiful projecting tone and wonderful playability and fretboard response. If you appreciate quality, this guitar is a fantastic choice. 


Also Consider

A solid dreadnought guitar for beginners.

The AD30 is a model from the Alvarez Artist Series, and because of its low price and features, is a good choice for beginners. With a natural look and comfortable dimensions, this dreadnought guitar delivers a good acoustic tone and feel.

The Alvarez AD30 is made with quality tonewoods that have a clear impact on its tone and projection. With a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides, this dreadnought acoustic projected well from the very first chord we played. 

Alternating between a medium and hard pick, we got a good tone and nice volume on the AD30. Naturally, the tried and true combination of mahogany sides and back and spruce top is known for delivering great resonance, and that was certainly the case with this Alvarez acoustic. 

This acoustic guitar projects well for a beginner’s instrument, and that was true whether we strummed it or did some delicate fingerpicking

One of the best features of this acoustic is Alvarez’s FST2 bracing technology. This unique X-brace type of construction features asymmetric tone bars that further enhance the projection and volume of this dreadnought.

Regarding playability, this instrument felt comfortable in our hands and is appropriate for beginners, even those that are learning their very first chord. The AD30 comes with a hard and comfortable mahogany neck, with a soft V to C shape for added comfort. With a 14.96″ radius and 25.5″ Fender-type scale length, this guitar gave us a familiar feeling when playing it. 

The fretboard is made of Techwood, which is not a particularly responsive tonewood. Naturally, at this price point, it is impossible to have premium traits. 

Despite the low price, this guitar comes with a bone nut and bone saddle. Bone helps with tuning stability, and is a great feature that is commonly present in far pricier instruments. 

Verdict: The Alvarez AD30 delivers a nice tone and good playability for beginners. With quality tone woods and a natural style, this guitar is a great instrument to start on.


Also Consider

Unique construction for enhanced sound.

This guitar is a good choice for folks that are not afraid to try something different. Although Ovation guitars have been around for decades, they are still considered out-of-the-box instruments. The CS44P-ABLKW-G brings that unique design and construction and delivers nice projection and tone.

The Ovation CS44P-ABLKW-G Celebrity Exotic Selection features this company’s traditional Lyrachord body and combines it with an Australian blackwood top. Lyrachord is Ovation’s alternative to wood backs and offers durability while remaining lightweight. 

We started by strumming some chords with a medium pick, and got that very particular Ovation sound, with nice projection and volume. The tone this guitar gave us is a bit forward and with good definition with a bit of a bump in the middle frequencies. 

We liked how this guitar felt on our hands. It features an Ovangkol fingerboard that was smooth and responded well to our playing nuances. Because of the oval back of this instrument, it also felt more comfortable, especially when sitting down.  

The Ovation Celebrity Exotic Selection CS44P comes with an OP-4CT preamp that allows you to plug in. We connected to our Roland JC-120 and took advantage of the bass, midrange, and treble knobs to dial in our sound. We got an accurate representation of this guitar’s original unplugged tone. To add a bit of convenience, this preamp system comes with a tuner.

This guitar delivers good note separation and excellent volume and projection. With good playability and a responsive fretboard, it is a good choice for players who want something different. Although we did like this guitar and its features, Ovations are not for everyone, and some might be turned off by the different designs and construction that these guitars feature.

Verdict: The Ovation CS44P-ABLKW-G Celebrity Exotic Selection comes with a Lyrachord body and an Australian blackwood top for a resonant sound that is resistant to feedback when plugged in. With a good preamp system and nice playability, this guitar is a good choice for anybody who isn’t afraid to try something new.


Also Consider

Traditional tonewood combination for straightforward sound and feel.

This Breedlove guitar was made with sustainably sourced and classic tonewoods that have remained popular choices for guitar design. With a beautiful natural look and stylish concerto body shape, the ECO Discovery guitar brings good tone and feel at a modest price.

The Breedlove ECO Discovery S Concerto comes with tried and true classic tonewood construction. With European spruce for the top and African mahogany on the back and sides, this guitar was made with Breedlove’s mission of offsetting their impact on the planet but not at the expense of the quality of their instruments. 

We started our tests by playing with a medium pick, strumming everything from open chords to high triad voicings. We got a rich sound with nice midrange detail and a tone that was consistent across the entire fretboard. The Scalloped X-bracing is also a great design choice that is present on this guitar, as it helps with resonance while keeping the sound focused. 

While playing some chicken-pickin licks, this guitar delivered good projection and volume, making it perfect for country music. With a warm overall voice, this Breedlove is also appropriate for folk music, blues, and even acoustic pop. 

The playability on this guitar is also quite good for what it costs. We played comfortably on the ECO Discovery S carved mahogany neck, which features a Slim C profile. With a 16-inch radius and an ovangkol fingerboard that responded well to our playing, this guitar was a joy to play. 

The 25.5″ scale length was another welcomed feature, as it gave this instrument that touch of familiarity and comfort. We also felt that the tuning and stability on this guitar were very good throughout our tests. Additionally, we loved the pinless Ovangkol bridge, as it helps with stability as well as changing strings faster.

In short, this is a really good guitar for the price, with not only good tone and playability but also with an environmental consciousness attached to it. 

Verdict: The Breedlove ECO Discovery S Concerto comes with traditional tonewood construction and design. Featuring European spruce for the top and African mahogany on the back and sides, this guitar was made from sustainable tonewoods and delivers good tone and playability.


Also Consider

Canadian-made legacy with special attention to detail.

The S6 is handcrafted in Canada and features fantastic attention to detail on every level. Made with quality tonewoods sustainably sourced from Canadian forests, this guitar delivers unique tone and playability.

The Seagull S6 is built with a pressure-tested cedar top and features three-layer wild cherry back and sides. Additionally, this Seagull acoustic features a compound curved top for enhanced resonance and tuning stability. 

The first thing that we loved about this guitar was its volume and balanced projection. With a unique voice, the S6 comes in a modified dreadnought body shape. We noticed that this type of construction helped cut out some of the boominess that is typically present on dreadnoughts. 

We also got a resonant tone that was well-balanced and with tons of volume, especially when we played it with a pick. The cedar top helps bring out a nice ring on the mid-high frequencies, and both strumming and fingerpicking work just fine on this Godin.    

Playability is also great on this guitar. With a Rosewood fretboard and a silver leaf maple neck, the response and feel on this guitar were lovely. With a 25.5″ scale length and 1.8″ nut width, this Godin acoustic is ideal for those with large hands, or those that prefer wider necks. 

For plugging in, this Godin Acoustic comes with Fishman Presys II electronics. Plugged into our Roland JC-120, we found that the tone suffers a bit, but is still a valid option for plugging in whenever need be. 

Another feature worth mentioning is the dual-function truss rods. These will come in handy for anyone that travels or for when your guitar needs minor adjustments. They also provide better stability, easier neck alignments, and easier intonation. 

Verdict: The Seagull S6 is a Dreadnought acoustic guitar with a compound curved pressure-tested cedar top. It is expertly crafted in Canada and offers outstanding playability and great projection, with a unique tone.


How To Choose The Right Guitar For You

There are plenty of acoustic guitars for country, but it is important to find the one that is right for you. Below we give you a few pointers on what to look for. 

Tonewoods

When it comes to acoustic guitars, the tonewoods used are arguably the most important factor. From the construction of the guitar’s body, all the way to the neck, and fretboard, tonewoods have a significant impact on the instrument’s overall sound and tone. 

There are many types of tonewoods, each with its unique characteristics that affect the guitar’s sound. Here are some of the most commonly used.

Spruce

Spruce is a popular tonewood for guitar tops because of its strong and versatile sound. It produces a bright, clear sound with excellent projection and is often used for flat-picking styles such as bluegrass and country.

Cedar

Cedar is a softer tonewood than spruce, and it produces a warmer, more intimate sound. Cedar is often used for fingerstyle playing and is favored by players who want a more subtle, nuanced sound.

Mahogany

Immensely popular, mahogany is a dense tonewood that produces a warm, rich sound with a strong mid-range. It is also used for the back and sides of the guitar and is favored by blues and folk musicians.

Rosewood

Rosewood is a tonewood renowned for its rich, complex sound. It produces a warm, full-bodied tone with strong bass and clear treble, making it an excellent choice for fingerstyle playing.

Maple

One of the most popular choices for necks and fretboards, maple produces a bright, clear sound with excellent sustain. It is often used for the back and sides of the guitar and is favored by bluegrass musicians.

Koa

Koa is a tonewood that is unique to Hawaii and is highly prized for its beautiful, warm sound. It produces a rich, mellow tone with a strong mid-range and is often used for the back and sides of the guitar.

Construction

It’s worth noting that the choice of tonewood is just one factor that affects the guitar’s sound. The guitar’s design, construction, and even the strings used can also have a significant impact on its overall tone.

Electronics

This is another important consideration that only you can decide on. If you want to plug into an amp or PA, then an onboard preamp system is a must. Then the question becomes how much you want to spend. The general rule is that you get what you pay for.

On the other hand, if you just want a guitar for home, or to have it at your studio and write some songs on, then electronics are not important.


Final Thoughts

Acoustic guitars for country come with varied tonewoods, necks, electronics, and more. As usual, it is imperative that you try different instruments and see which speak to you. 

Connecting with your instrument is very important. Other concerns like which neck type and fingerboard wood feels best to you are also crucial. And the best way to go about this is to try many guitars. 

To recap our top choices for this article, the Epiphone J-200EC Studio is our top pick.  Made from spruce and select maple, this guitar was designed after the legendary Gibson J200. From tone to playability, a fantastic choice for an affordable price.

The Yamaha FG830 Dreadnought is our Budget Choice. This is a dreadnought acoustic with a classic wood combination of spruce top, and rosewood for the back and sides, and brings an elegant look and is lightweight.

Finally, the Gibson Acoustic Generation Collection G-Bird is our Editor’s Choice. An ideal choice for dedicated players, it comes with a comfortable square-shouldered dreadnought design and innovative Gibson Player Port.  

Author

  • Rodrigo Sanchez

    Rodrigo is an award-winning songwriter (Best Popular Song Of 2018 for Ibermúsicas), and has worked with the prestigious EMI Music Publishing Latin America. He has production credits on artists such as Descemer Bueno, and has also composed alongside Grammy and ASCAP award-winners such as Sebastián De Peyrecave and José Luis Morín.