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Many acoustic guitars available on the market today utilize synthetic body components, such as high-pressure laminate (HPL) to provide a level of durability and cut costs. You may ask, what happened to the guitars completely made of solid wood? Fortunately, solid wood acoustic guitars are still being made, and some can be found available for every budget. Here are some of the best solid wood acoustic guitars available that are worth the price.
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Taylor GS Mini Mahogany – Best Overall
Those on a budget looking for a guitar that has a Taylor-quality build and sound profile will find the Taylor GS Mini Mahogany (compare price Sweetwater, Guitar Center, Amazon) to be a great fit. This guitar provides much of the same features as seen on the company’s higher-end models, but is priced at a reasonable price level.
The GS Mini Mahogany is constructed using a Tropical Mahogany top, with Sapele used for the sides and back of the guitar’s body. X-bracing architecture is used in the guitar’s construction to provide volume, resonance, and durability. The body is designed to be a smaller rendition of Taylor’s Grand Symphony models.
The neck of the guitar is crafted from Sapele, with a fretboard made of West African Crelicam Ebony. The scale length measures 23.5”, and despite its shortened scale, still has 20 frets. Classic dot inlays are provided for fret identification.
The GS Mini Mahogany is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, with a red Tortoise-pattern pickguard, a 3-ring plastic rosette, and a natural finish that accentuates the color of the wood used in its construction.
Matching the fretboard, the bridge of this guitar is also made of West African Crelicam Ebony. The saddle is made of Micarta, with plastic bridge pins being used. The headstock features die-cast chrome tuning machines and a nut made of Nubone.
There are no internal electronics equipped in the guitar. However, a specialized pickup (the ES-Go) has been specifically designed for this model of guitar. The pickup can be easily installed within a matter of minutes with the use of a screwdriver.
A padded Taylor gig bag is provided with the purchase of the GS Mini Mahogany.
Overall, this Taylor guitar boasts many of the same features as the company’s higher-end models, particularly when it comes to the hardware being used. Despite its affordable price tag, the GS Mini Mahogany can provide the playability and iconic sound that Taylor guitars are known for.
Item Weight: 4.4 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 18 x 8 inches
If budget is of no concern and you are looking for one of the absolute best solid wood acoustic guitars that money can buy, the Taylor 412ce-R (compare price Sweetwater, Guitar Center, Amazon) is a great option to check out. It is often said that Taylor guitars are distinct and that nothing sounds or plays quite like them, and this guitar will be a great testament to that.
The body of the 412ce-R features a cutaway design, with a compact body size that is smaller than Taylor’s traditional Grand Concert models. The back and sides of the guitar are crafted of Rosewood, while the top of the guitar is made of Sitka Spruce. V-bracing architecture is used in the construction of the body to provide a deeper resonance, more volume, and a secure build.
The neck of the guitar is made from Tropical Mahogany and is connected to the body of the guitar with a scarf joint. The fretboard is made from West African Crelicam Ebony and has 20 frets that are easily accessible due to the body’s cutaway design.
The neck of the 412ce-R has a scale length of 24.875”, with a radius measuring 15”. Taylor’s iconic Renaissance inlays adorn the fretboard for easy fret identification.
This guitar also uses extremely high-quality components elsewhere in the build, with a West African Crelicam Ebony bridge, a Micarta saddle, and bridge pins also made of West African Crelicam Ebony (which is a major step above the plastic pins seen on most other guitars). The headstock of the guitar features nickel tuning machines and a Tusq nut.
The Taylor 412ce-R is as aesthetically pleasing as it is to play. A 3-ring plastic rosette is placed around the soundhole, accompanying a red Tortoise-patterned pickguard. The body of the guitar has a nice gloss finish that accentuates the natural color combinations of the woods used in the guitar’s construction.
Live performers will delight with the inclusion of Taylor’s Expression System 2 electronics. This utilizes a pickup placed behind the saddle of the guitar and offers a pristine amplified representation of the guitar’s natural sound. Control knobs are provided for tone and volume adjustments.
Completing the overall package of the Taylor 412ce-R is a deluxe hardshell guitar case, which comes included with the purchase of the guitar.
Overall, the Taylor 412ce-R is a luxurious solid wood acoustic guitar that has the features and playability one would expect to find on a guitar priced at this price level. Sure, it’s not the most affordable guitars, but those who frequently perform will find that there is nothing else that compares.
Item Weight: 22 pounds
Package Dimensions: 48 x 21 x 9 inches
Whether you’re a beginner or just looking for a competent solid wood acoustic on a tight budget, the Fender FA-15 (compare price Guitar Center, Sweetwater, Amazon) is a great option to check out. This small ¾-sized acoustic guitar has an all-wood construction with a great resonant profile.
It comes in multiple colors for those who want to be a bit more adventurous with the look of their acoustic guitar.
The sides and back of the FA-15’s body are made of Sapele, providing a warm resonance to the guitar. The neck of the guitar is made of Nato, with an 18-fretted fretboard crafted from Walnut.
The neck has a C-shape design that is congruent with most of Fender’s guitars. The scale length of the neck measures 23.3”, with the radius measuring 11.81”. Classic dot inlays are included on the neck for fret identification.
The FA-15 has a bridge that is also crafted from Walnut, with a saddle made of synthetic bone, as well as plastic bridge pins. On the headstock can be found a nut also made of synthetic bone, as well as die-cast tuning machines.
This guitar also comes in a variety of different color finishes, allowing you to personalize your guitar beyond the traditional natural look. These color finishes include:
- Moonlight Burst
Rounding out the overall package of the guitar is a padded gig bag, which comes included with the purchase of the Fender FA-15.
Overall, this is a budget guitar best suited for beginners. Child guitar players will find that the Fender FA-15 is easy to play, as the small scale length neck is quite accommodating to small hands. The small ¾-size form factor also ensures that the body of the guitar will not be too bulky for any person’s frame. Regardless of its price, the guitar can be a fun all-wood guitar that provides excellent playability at a budget price.
Item Weight: 10.13 pounds
Package Dimensions: 46 x 17.9 x 6.5 inches
Takamine GF30CE FXC
One of the best solid wood acoustics available on the market that doesn’t cost an exorbitant amount of money is the Takamine GF30CE FXC. This guitar features a cutaway-style body that is slightly smaller in size as compared to some of Takamine’s other models.
The sides and back of the guitar are made of Mahogany, with a Spruce top providing a responsive resonant tone. The body is constructed using quarter-sawn X-bracing architecture.
The neck of the GF30CE FXC is also made of Mahogany, with a slim neck design to provide a smooth and comfortable playing experience. The fretboard of the guitar is made of Ovangkol and has 20 frets with dot inlay fret markers. The neck has a scale length of 25.3”, and a radius measuring 12”.
The GF30CE FXC also has an Ovangkol bridge, a split saddle made of synthetic bone, and plastic bridge pins. On the headstock of the guitar can be found a synthetic bone nut as well as die-cast chrome tuning machines.
Aesthetically, the guitar features a black pickguard as well as a Pearloid rosette around the soundhole. The guitar comes with the option of multiple finishes, including black, natural finish, and sunburst.
Another great addition to the guitar is the inclusion of an electric pickup and preamp system to allow for acoustic-electric performances. The preamp utilizes a TP-4TD system with 3 separate controls for tonal EQ and volume, as well as a built-in tuner for convenient tuning on the go.
Overall, the Takamine GF30CE FXC is an excellent guitar that offers a wide range of capabilities at an easy price point. The reason this guitar is ranked the best is largely due to the value that the guitar offers compared to other, more expensive guitars. The cutaway and small-sized form factor means that this guitar will likely be suitable for every guitarist, no matter what their musical style may be.
Item Weight: 6.6 pounds
Package Dimensions: 43.2 x 19.5 x 5.8 inches
Another excellent option for those on a smaller budget looking for a highly playable and competent solid wood acoustic guitar is the Ibanez AW54CE. This cutaway dreadnought has a natural look and balanced sound profile that is suitable for nearly any guitarist.
The Ibanez AW54CE has a body crafted completely of Okoume, with an X-bracing architecture used to construct the body. The guitar sports an open-pore finish that accentuates the natural color of the wood.
The neck of this guitar is crafted from Nyatoh, with an Ovangkol fretboard adorned with white dot inlays for easy identification of its 20 frets. The neck scale length measures 25.62” and has a radius of 15.7”.
Matching the fretboard, the AW54CE utilizes an Ovangkol bridge with a plastic saddle and plastic bridge pins. The headstock of the guitar also features a plastic nut as well as die-cast chrome tuning machines.
Performers will find that the AW54CE is highly suitable for acoustic-electric situations, as the guitar has an under-saddle Ibanez T-Bar Sonicore pickup made by Fishman. An AEQ-TP2 preamp provides controls for volume as well as a 3-band EQ tone adjustment and a built-in tuner.
Overall, the Ibanez AW54CE is a very competent solid wood acoustic guitar suitable for guitar players of any skill level. It’s hard to beat a guitar priced at this price point that offers the built-in features provided with the AW54CE.
Item Weight: 4.5 pounds
Package Dimensions: 41 x 15 x 4 inches
As with any instrument, there are several things you will want to keep in mind when shopping around for a solid wood acoustic guitar. Much of this criteria is heavily dependent upon personal preference, so it is essential that you do some research and first-hand play testing to see which guitar works the best for you. Nevertheless, keeping these things in mind will help guarantee that you find the perfect fit for your playing style.
If you are looking for a guitar that is specifically made of solid wood, you will want to make sure that the body of the guitar is not crafted from synthetic materials, such as high-pressure laminate. Many solid wood guitars come with a variety of different build materials including Spruce, Mahogany, Sapele, Okoume, Rosewood, and more. Each of these woods has its own tonal profile that affects the overall sound of the guitar.
Your budget will likely determine the quality of guitar you can purchase, but do keep in mind that solid wood acoustics can be relatively affordable. The best way to determine your budget (aside from looking in your bank account) is to honestly assess what your skill level is, as well as the situations in which you will be playing the guitar. A seasoned performer will likely be able to justify a greater expense.
There are many acoustic guitar manufacturers producing instruments, which can make a buying decision a little overwhelming. However, there are some time-tested brands that have a solid reputation for crafting quality solid wood acoustic guitars.
Takamine is a Japanese company that was officially founded in 1962 and has been crafting guitars since 1958. This company is well known for providing high-value guitars for every skill level.
Founded in 1974, Taylor Guitars is an American company that is known for being one of the best high-quality acoustic guitar manufacturers in the world. These guitars are highly sought after for their premium build and their signature sound.
Founded in 1946, Fender is one of the most popular name brands in the guitar industry. Their instruments and amplifiers have a reputation backed by over 7 decades of playing an influential role in some of the most important music ever recorded.
Initially a guitar importer, Ibanez is a Japanese company that began crafting their own line of guitars in the 1930s, eventually branching off into electric instruments towards the 1970s.
Top Solid Wood Acoustic Guitars For The Money, Final Thoughts
Acoustic guitar purists will often seek out solid wood instruments due to the tonal resonance that an all-wood construction provides. As you may have seen on this list, the price for these guitars can be quite expensive, but fortunately, some of these instruments can be quite affordable as well. Do take some time to test these guitars out to see which one feels and sounds the best to you.