Reviewed: The Best Rated Acoustic, Classical And Acoustic Electric Guitars For Less Than $1000

When I went to buy my main acoustic guitar I had a short list of what I wanted. The list had no brand names or models that I was interested in. I knew what I was not willing to live without. I took a day and drove to all the music stores in my area. I pulled down guitar after guitar listening to their sound and looking at their features. My list was simple: cutaway, electronics, and a pinless bridge. The guitar also had to have mojo. It had to have a sound and feel that stirred something inside me.

Below we’ll give you a comparison table with different models that will look at their ratings. To find out more about any of those models will be links to extended reviews that will allow you to find out more about each guitar. At the end we have some tips and tricks to help you navigate the whole shopping process to find the right instrument for you.

Top 10 Acoustic And Acoustic Electric Guitars For Under $1000

Seagull Maritime SWS Rosewood SG – Setting Sail for Tonal Bliss

The Seagull Maritime SWS Rosewood SG is a dreadnought sized acoustic. It has a pressure tested solid sitka spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides. The mahogany neck is topped with a rosewood fingerboard that has a 16” radius. GraphTech’s TUSQ is used for the 1.72” nut and compensated saddle. Herringbone design is used for the rosette and the centerline on the back of the guitar. Seagull’s double function truss rod keeps the action just right. The bridge is made of rosewood. The guitar has a very good dynamic range with an open and crisp voice that is very balanced.

2 Yamaha LL16RDHC Review – A Feast for the Eyes and Ears

Yamaha LL16RDHC Review – A Feast for the Eyes and Ears

Yamaha’s LL16RDHC is an all solid wood jumbo acoustic guitar. The top is Engelmann spruce with rosewood back and sides. The neck is 5-ply of three strips of mahogany and two strips of rosewood. It is topped with an ebony fingerboard with snowflake pearl inlays. The tuners are die-cast gold. Abalone borders the body, goes around the rosette, and is on the headstock. The compensated saddle sits atop an ebony bridge. It has a passive SRT zero impact piezo pickup. The sound is a bright and sweet with plenty of string definition that sounds just as good acoustically as it does plugged in.

3 Fender Paramount PM-2 Deluxe Review – 60s Style Parlor

Fender Paramount PM-2 Deluxe Review – 60s Style Parlor

Fender’s PM-2 is the parlor sized guitar in their Paramount Series. It has a solid Sitka spruce top with quartersawn scalloped X-bracing. The sides and back are solid East Indian rosewood. The C-shaped neck is mahogany with a 19 fret ebony fingerboard. The art-deco inlay design uses abalone and mother of pearl. The electronics are a unique Fender/Fishman design with a 2-band EQ, volume, phase switch, and built-in tuner. The rosette and purfling are 60s style checkerboard. The scale length is 628mm (24.75”). The tuners are open-gear with nickel plating. There are two strap buttons. The tone is bright with an even balance across the register with plenty of dynamics.

4 Breedlove Pursuit Concert Ebony Review – Stunning Looks with a Sweet Voice

Breedlove Pursuit Concert Ebony Review – Stunning Looks with a Sweet Voice

The Breedlove Pursuit Concert Ebony is an acoustic/electric with a soft-cutaway. The top is made of solid Engelmann spruce with laminate Java ebony back and sides. The mahogany neck is bolted on, and it has a 20 fret rosewood fingerboard. The pin-less bridge is also rosewood with a truss system to allow for a thinner more resonate top. The rosette is a ring of abalone. The electronics are Fishman’s Isys + USB with Sonicore pickup. The neck is wide with a slim profile and smooth finish. The tone is warm and clear that has a sweet character with a wide dynamic range.

5 Seagull Artist Mosaic CW Folk Element Review – An Uncommon Folk

Seagull Artist Mosaic CW Folk Element Review – An Uncommon Folk

The Seagull Artist Mosaic CW Folk Element is part of the top of the line guitars by the manufacturer. It is all solid wood with a cedar top and mahogany back and sides. The integrated set neck is mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. The bridge is also rosewood with a compensated TUSQ saddle. Herring bone pattern is used in the rosette, top purfling, and back center line of the guitar. It uses the hybrid Godin EPM Quantum II electronics. It has a wide 1.8” nut width with a slim profile neck. The sound is warm with plenty of articulation and wide dynamics.

6 Recording King ROS-616 Review – Rooted in the Past

Recording King ROS-616 Review – Rooted in the Past

The Recording King ROS-616 has a 12th fret OOO body style. The AA grade solid mahogany top is paired with solid mahogany back and sides. The “V” shaped neck is also mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. Rosewood is also used for the pyramid style bridge and the headstock overlay. The headstock is slotted with Grover open-gear butterbean tuners. Herringbone patterned purfling and grain ivory binding border the top of the body. The back is bordered by grained ivory binding. A simple three circle rosette surrounds the soundhole. Volume is loud given the body size. It has a balanced sounding tone that sounds best when finger picked.

7 Yamaha GC12C Review – Classical Warm Up

Yamaha GC12C Review – Classical Warm Up

Yamaha’s GC12C is a nylon string traditional classical guitar. It has a solid American cedar top with solid mahogany back and sides. The African mahogany neck is topped with a flat ebony fingerboard. Rosewood is used for the bridge and headstock overlay. Wood inlay rosette surrounds the soundhole. It uses Yamaha’s YTM-81 open gear tuners that are gold plated with pearloid pegs. The body is polyester gloss finish, while the neck is matte. It has a 52mm nut width, and a scale length of 650mm. The sound is round and warm with plenty of snap, but it does favor the lower register.

8 Blueridge BR-160 Review – Modern Vintage

Blueridge BR-160 Review – Modern Vintage

The Blueridge BR-160 is a prewar inspired dreadnought acoustic. It has a solid sitka spruce top with solid Indian rosewood back and sides. The slim mahogany is topped with a rosewood fingerboard. Open gear Gotoh tuners sit atop the heavily decorated rosewood overlaid headstock. Mother of pearl diamond and snowflake inlays are used as fret markers. Herringbone purfling and white ABS binding outline the body of the guitar. The white binding also borders the back of the guitar. There is enough brightness to give the guitar a sprightly bounce, while the lows are strong enough to hold down the bass.

9 Blueridge BR-341 Review – Prewar Style Parlor

Blueridge BR-341 Review – Prewar Style Parlor

The BR-341 by Blueridge is a prewar style parlor steel-string strictly acoustic guitar. It has a solid Sitka spruce top with forward shifted X-bracing. The back and sides are solid mahogany. The top and back are bordered with tortoise binding. The neck is mahogany with a 19 fret ebony fingerboard. The bone nut is 47.6mm (1.875”) wide. The slotted headstock has open gear Gotoh tuners with black ABS buttons. The body joins the neck at the 12th fret. The pyramid style bridge is ebony with a compensated bone saddle. The neck and body have a natural high gloss finish. It has a smooth warm parlor sound with plenty of projection.

10 Guild OM-140CE – A Solid Throwback

Guild OM-140CE – A Solid Throwback

Guild’s OM-140CE is an all solid wood acoustic/electric. Sitka spruce is used for the top with African mahogany on the sides and back. The neck is mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. It has vintage style open gear tuners. The headstock is adorned with the Chesterfield logo along with the company name. The bridge is rosewood. The nut and compensated saddle are bone. Mother of pearl is used for both the fret markers and the rosette. Fishman’s Sonitone preamp and Sonicore pickup provide the electronics. The voice is charming and bright with warm undertones that get lost in the mediocre electronics. The vintage vibe could acquiesce to some more modern updates.

Top 6 Classical Guitars For Under $1000

La Patrie Collection Review – Affordable Looks

La Patrie’s Collection is a nylon string classical handcrafted in Canada. It is all solid wood with a cedar top and rosewood back and sides. Rosewood is also used for the bridge and fingerboard. Graph Tech TUSQ is used for both the nut and compensated saddle. Unlike most classical guitars the Collection has a truss rod and the fingerboard has a slight radius. The body is done in a high gloss custom polish finish. The rosette is very detailed, and is beautiful. It has a bright percussive attack with nice warm undertones. The individual character of each string can be heard giving it a nice balanced sound.

2 Kremona Sofia S63CW Review – The Steel Stringer’s Classical

Kremona Sofia S63CW Review – The Steel Stringer’s Classical

Kremona’s Sofia SC63W is a hybrid classical nylon string guitar made for steel string players. It has a solid America red cedar top with sapele back and sides. The body features a Venetian cutaway. The neck is mahogany. Rosewood is used for the fingerboard and bridge. The nut and saddle are bone. The fingerboard has a radius of 500mm (19.685”), a double action truss rod, and a nut width of 48mm (1.8”). It is loaded with the Fishman Presys Blend System electronics with built-in tuner, 3-band EQ, volume, and phase switch. Included in the price is a hardshell case. There is plenty of chime and resonance in the balanced voice.

3 Hofner HZ27 Review – German Engineering of Beautiful Tones

Hofner HZ27 Review – German Engineering of Beautiful Tones

Hofner’s HZ27 is a nylon string classical guitar. It has a solid cedar top with rosewood back and sides. Rosewood is also used for the bridge and fingerboard. The neck is mahogany, and attaches to the body with a dovetail joint at the 12th fret. The bracing has been update with additional bracing in the upper bout for a straighter fingerboard and helps with sustain. Top and back body binding in walnut. The bridge mass has been reduced by 10% to increase responsiveness. The frets have a profile designed by Hofner that helps with intonation. The sound is clear and focused that has warmth to round out the notes.

4 Yamaha GC12C Review – Classical Warm Up

Yamaha GC12C Review – Classical Warm Up

Yamaha’s GC12C is a nylon string traditional classical guitar. It has a solid American cedar top with solid mahogany back and sides. The African mahogany neck is topped with a flat ebony fingerboard. Rosewood is used for the bridge and headstock overlay. Wood inlay rosette surrounds the soundhole. It uses Yamaha’s YTM-81 open gear tuners that are gold plated with pearloid pegs. The body is polyester gloss finish, while the neck is matte. It has a 52mm nut width, and a scale length of 650mm. The sound is round and warm with plenty of snap, but it does favor the lower register.

5 Cordoba C9 CD/MH Review – Elegance Ready for the Stage

Cordoba C9 CD/MH Review – Elegance Ready for the Stage

Cordoba’s C9 CD/MH is a nylon string classical guitar. It is all solid wood with a cedar top and mahogany back and sides. Rosewood is used for the bridge, binding, and headstock overlay. The fingerboard is ebony. The neck has a truss rod and side dot mother of pearl inlays at the 5th, 7th, and 9th frets. The rosette is ebony and mother of pearl in a weave pattern. Cordoba’s premium gold tuning machines with ebony style buttons have a ratio of 14:1. The top purfling is 6-ply colored wood, and 3ply maple and ebony back and side purfling. It has a round and warm sound that has punch.

6 Taylor 214CE-N Review – Non-Traditional Transitional Classical

Taylor 214CE-N Review – Non-Traditional Transitional Classical

Taylor’s 214CE-N is a nylon string acoustic/electric that combines elements of both the classical and the steel string instruments. It has a solid Sitka spruce top with laminate rosewood back and side. The tropical mahogany neck has an ebony fingerboard. The nut and compensated saddle are both made of TUSQ. The electronics are Taylor’s Expression System 2 with 2-band EQ and volume controls. Non-traditional elements are: a truss rod, 48mm (1-7/8”) nut width, 16” fingerboard radius, dot inlays, Venetian cutaway, and larger body size. It has a bright tone that is articulate with plenty of percussive snap. If you dial back your attack it can become sweet sounding.

The Guitars of this Range

This is a broad range of guitars going from the upper end of the workhorses to the start of the solid wood tone machines. If there are electronics onboard, they are good with plenty of tone sculpting capabilities. The eye candy at this price range is quite amazing, but don’t let a pretty face make you blind to the soulless monstrosity of a toneless guitar.

These are guitars for serious musicians, or at least those that want to look serious. These are guitars that will have the total package. Don’t get too caught up in wanting it all. You still need to focus on what your needs are, then buy the guitar that best matches them. This is a major investment, and should not be taken lightly.

There are still laminates, but they look fantastic and are made from the best tonewoods. These are the crème de la crème of the workhorses. If they sacrifice to have the laminate, then the electronics are better. And do not underestimate their durability.

The Extras

A hard-shell case is a must, if you are going to invest so much money, then keep it safe. Most of these guitars come with at least a gig bag, but you’ll want to upgrade.

You might want to pick up a travel, beater guitar or at least an acoustic guitar for less than $500. This would be the guitar that you’d take on trips or to the campfire. Leave your expensive baby at home where it is safe, and take your travel/beater guitar to the locations that are not amenable to the health of a guitar.

Make sure you have all that you need to amplify your electric-acoustic. If plugging into a PA you’ll need an instrument cable, DI box, and XLR cable. If you are playing smaller venues either as a solo artist or duo, then have an acoustic amplifier that can play to the room.

Personally I don’t own an acoustic amp, but I’m not trying to gig out as a solo artist (believe me, no one wants to hear me sing). There is plenty of projection from an acoustic instrument to hear yourself while practicing at home. If you plan on having a complex live show with loops, sequencing, and/or using delays as part of the musical passages, then an amp is very important. You need to get used to triggering all this gear so that it becomes second nature, so you won’t be struggling with the technology in front of an audience.

Know What You Want

The guitar that you buy in this price range will be with you for a long time especially if you match your needs. If what you want is a complex tone with a fit and finish that is second to none, then the more you spend the better you will get. This will be a guitar that if given enough room to sing will give a tone that is spectacular.

The price point below is home to the workhorses. Guitars that sacrifice tonal complexity for durability. If you are looking for an instrument to drag along to gigs, then this might be a very good option. You might even get lucky, and find a used guitar that will give you more bang for your buck. Buying used might keep you on your toes, guitars of this caliber or better do not show up very often. Be ready to jump on a good deal if one shows up.

Food for Thought

One thing that concerns me at this level are the guitars that try to sell you on the headstock. There are some very fine manufacturers that phone it in on some models. Don’t ignore the limitations of an instrument because of the name on it. Joe Schmoe at the end of the bar could care less who made the guitar, he just wants to hear “Free Bird” played right now.

If there is another guitarist in your group who already has an acoustic, then try to get an instrument that is voiced differently. If they have a steel string then take a look at nylon string guitars, these two instruments blend well while allowing each instrument to be heard. At least, if their guitar is bright and lively, then find a warm and mellow sounding instrument to offset their sound and widen the tonal character of the band.

Resale Value

Guitars at this value will get you a decent amount if you decide to sell or trade them in. If this is something that is important to you, then keep to the more well-known brand names. Personally, guitars that I have spent this kind of money on are staying with me for life. My kids can decide if they want to sell them after I’m gone.

To Conclude!

If you are not ready for this level of commitment, then you might want to check out some of our other comparison articles on less expensive guitars or even the starter acoustic guitars page. Subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss anything new or exciting. Check back regularly, these lists are not cast in stone. We might spot your next guitar before you do. Until next time may your suspended chords carry for miles and your leads tell a story.

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