The Best Acoustic Guitar for Country Music in 2023

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If the sweet twang of a country tune tugs at your heartstrings, then you’re in the right place. It’s never just about the lyrics, or the singer, a country melody’s soul lies in its indispensable accomplice – the acoustic guitar. So if you’re looking for the best acoustic guitar for country music to add a charming rhythm to your heartfelt song, you’ve come to the right place.

This comprehensive guide is your ticket to finding the perfect partner in your musical journey, considering factors like guitar body, ease of use, budget, and of course, that appealing country look. Get ready to strum your way into the hearts of country music lovers with your chosen guitar.

The Gibson Acoustic J-45

Gibson Acoustic J-45


The Gibson Acoustic J-45 Vintage, praised for its rich voice and exceptional note separation, is an esteemed guitar in the music industry. Often christened the “Workhorse”, this instrument demonstrates robust balance and versatility, whether used for fingerpicking or flatpicking styles.

As part of Gibson’s 2016 collection, the J-45 Vintage shines with its warmth, resonance, and sound projection qualities. This guitar, a faithful reproduction of the original J-45, sports a banner headstock, and a thermally cured Adirondack or red-spruce top for enhanced sound and stability.

Key Benefits

  • The J-45 Vintage boasts a full, rich voice and excellent note separation, making it a favorite among musicians.
  • Its robust, balanced voice and versatility make it suitable for both fingerpicking and flatpicking styles.
  • The thermally cured Adirondack spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides contribute to its warm, resonant sound.
  • It includes a hardshell case, care kit, and a lifetime limited warranty, providing great value for the price.
  • The guitar is manufactured in the USA, ensuring high-quality craftsmanship and materials.


The Gibson Acoustic J-45 Vintage carries a list price of $5,190. However, you can often find it on the street for about $3,999. Despite the higher price tag relative to its original purpose as a workingman’s guitar, the J-45 Vintage is considered a relative bargain when compared to vintage J-45s in good condition.

Pros & Cons

In our experience, the Gibson Acoustic J-45 Vintage has many positive attributes. The use of hide glue on the top bracing and neck joint, a technique used on Golden-Era instruments, is believed to enhance sound transfer. The guitar responds equally well to a gentle touch and a forceful attack, producing clear and vibrant tones. Its playability is well-lauded, with a C-shaped neck that is easy to navigate, perfect intonation, and low action for comfortable playing. The J-45 also offers a balanced string-to-string balance and thick single notes, perfect for G runs and chordal accents.

However, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider. While the J-45 Vintage has a vintage-inspired appearance, the sunburst finish might not match the color gradation found on original J-45s. Plus, the relic treatment on the guitar’s finish may not accurately replicate the intricate topography of a 70-year-old guitar. Despite these minor cons, we believe that its sonic qualities and craftsmanship more than compensate for these aesthetic considerations.

The Gibson J-185 country music guitar

Gibson J-185


The Gibson J-185, a highly regarded flat-top guitar, was first introduced in 1951 and discontinued in 1959, making it a piece of musical history. It was played by renowned guitarists, including Skip James and Ken Curtis, and has since been reissued sporadically by Gibson’s Montana factory.

With a body size and shape that is slightly smaller than the J-200, the J-185 features a solid spruce top, maple back and sides, and a one-piece mahogany neck. The J-185 EC, despite being introduced as an alternative to the famous J-200, has carved its niche and built a reputation of its own.

Key Benefits

  • Visually stunning appearance with sunburst finish and tiger-stripe flame on the back.
  • Impressive build quality with a glossy finish and neat bracing work.
  • Fast and easy playing experience due to its action and neck shape.
  • Enhanced flexibility and responsive sound thanks to the hand-scalloped X bracing.
  • Natural warmth and elimination of feedback issues due to LR Baggs VTC electronics.
  • Comfortable neck profile with a Venetian cutaway for easier fret access.
  • Aesthetic touches include Grover Rotomatic tuning machines, a rosewood bridge, and mother-of-pearl parallelogram inlays.
  • Available in two different finishes: antique natural and rosewood burst.


It is notable that the Gibson J-185 tends to fall on the higher end of the price spectrum due to its solid construction, detailed tone, and superior build quality. We recommend checking official retailers for up-to-date pricing.

Pros & Cons

As an owner of the J-185 EC, I can attest to its various strengths. The all-solid construction promises durability and a sound quality that is crisp and detailed. The incorporation of LR Baggs VTC electronics is another plus, providing natural warmth and minimizing feedback issues.

However, the guitar also has its drawbacks. One of the main cons is its higher price point, which may be out of reach for some aspiring players. Also, the use of Sitka spruce and rosewood may not be to everyone’s liking, especially fans of the traditional Gibson Jumbo sound. That said, the J-185 EC’s distinct sound and quality make it a worthy consideration.

The Martin HD-28 country music guitar

Martin HD-28


The Martin HD-28 is a highly esteemed guitar, frequently hailed as one of the best sounding guitars in the Martin line. This right-handed instrument belongs to Martin’s Standard Series and flaunts a dreadnought body featuring a square shoulder – a design characteristic inspired by the renowned Martin D-28 model.

Its construction includes a solid Sitka Spruce top, an East Indian Rosewood body, and an Ebony fretboard, with a total of 20 frets along its 25.4-inch scale length. Crafted in the USA, the HD-28 does not come equipped with a pickup.

Key Benefits

  • The HD-28 is a versatile guitar, making it compatible with various genres and playing styles.
  • Its powerful bottom end and rich tone are celebrated features that contribute to its versatility.
  • It offers excellent playability due to its comfortable neck shape.
  • The guitar is a top choice for those seeking a high-quality acoustic guitar with exceptional sound.
  • As a reliable and durable instrument, the HD-28 only betters with age.


The Martin HD-28 is a high-end instrument, and its price mirrors the exceptional quality and craftsmanship it embodies. This makes it a preferred choice amongst professional musicians, contributing to its status as a classic and iconic acoustic guitar.

Pros & Cons

From my perspective, the HD-28 comes with an array of advantages that make it a worthwhile investment. Its powerful bottom end, rich tone, and adaptability to different playing styles stand out as its most impressive qualities. The easy playability and comfortable neck shape further enhance the playing experience.

The HD-28, with its top-of-the-line construction, is a reliable and durable instrument that promises to only get better as it ages. It has received an abundance of positive reviews and is highly recommended for its sound and quality, making it an ideal choice for anyone seeking a premium acoustic guitar.

However, the high-end nature of the HD-28 is reflected in its price, which may be a deterrent for some. While the guitar’s quality and craftsmanship justify its price tag, it’s crucial for potential buyers to consider their budget before making a decision. Despite this, the HD-28 remains a popular choice amongst professional musicians and is considered a classic and iconic acoustic guitar.

The Taylor 224ce-K DLX country music guitar

Taylor 224ce-K DLX


The Taylor 224ce-K DLX is a well-crafted acoustic-electric guitar, sitting comfortably in the mid-range category. It showcases an impressive Grand Auditorium body shape, a trademark of Taylor, which is highly versatile and caters to various playing styles.

One of the highlights of this guitar is its solid Hawaiian Koa top, beautifully complemented by layered Koa back and sides. This results in an exotic appeal that is quite striking. The guitar has a finely crafted Sapele neck with a West African ebony fretboard for added elegance. It’s worth mentioning that this model, being part of the 200 series, is manufactured in Mexico.

Key Benefits

Here are some compelling features of the Taylor 224ce-K DLX:

  • Grand Auditorium body shape for versatile playing styles
  • Unique aesthetic appeal with solid Hawaiian Koa top and layered Koa back and sides
  • Climate-resilient construction through layered Koa
  • Enhanced sound quality with Koa wood that mellows over time
  • Expression System 2 electronics for true acoustic representation
  • Durable and resistant to damage due to laminate wood construction


We recommend checking Taylor’s website or authorized dealers for the most accurate and up-to-date pricing.

Pros & Cons

From our perspective, there’s a lot to appreciate about the Taylor 224ce-K DLX. The use of Koa wood not only gives it an exotic look but also contributes to a sound quality that is initially bright and focused and becomes warmer and richer over time. Its laminate construction, while not contributing tonally, increases the guitar’s durability and resistance to damage. The Expression System 2 electronics are also a key feature, capturing the guitar’s dynamic range of sound for a true representation of its acoustic heritage.

However, there are a few points to consider. Firstly, additional accessories might be needed for playing, which could be an extra cost. Also, as part of the 200 series, it’s made in Mexico, which might be a downside for those who prefer guitars made in the USA. Lastly, if the Grand Auditorium shape isn’t to your liking, you might want to consider alternatives like the Taylor GS Mini Koa or the Taylor 214CE Deluxe Grand Auditorium.

The Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar


The Yamaha FG800, a part of the esteemed FG series, is a standard acoustic model celebrated for its exceptional quality considering its budget-friendly nature. With a lineage dating back to 1966, the FG series has been offering an array of guitars, and the FG800 stands out as the best budget dreadnought model.

The instrument boasts a traditional Western body shape with a scale length of 650mm and does not include electronics or a pickup. It is well-regarded for its solid spruce top, Nato/Okume back and sides, a Nato neck, a 25.9/16″ scale, a rosewood fingerboard, 20 frets, and die-cast chrome tuners.

Key Benefits

  • The Yamaha FG800 is known for its top-notch sound quality, producing a rich, full-bodied tone usually associated with more expensive guitars.
  • The smooth, comfortable neck of the FG800 makes it an excellent choice for beginners.
  • The FG800 stands out in its price range with a solid spruce top, a feature typically found in instruments with higher price tags.
  • The guitar is built to last with a high-quality finish, ensuring you get value for your money.
  • The affordability of the FG800 makes it a reliable option for both beginners and experienced guitarists.


The Yamaha FG800 is available at different prices, giving you the flexibility to compare and choose the best deal from different platforms.

Pros & Cons

From our perspective, the FG800 offers several benefits. It features scalloped bracing that allows the top to vibrate more freely, enhancing the bass response. The dreadnought body design offers plenty of volume and projection. The guitar also produces a warm and rounded tone, making it ideal for a variety of musical styles.

The back and sides of the FG800, made of Nato and Okume wood, provide a classic and durable look, while the fittings, including the die-cast machine heads and rosewood bridge, are solid and serviceable.

However, it’s worth noting that some may find the tone lacking a little in high-end sizzle. But considering its budget-friendly nature, we believe it’s a minor compromise for an otherwise high-performing guitar.

The Takamine EF360S-TT Acoustic Guitar

Takamine EF360S-TT Acoustic Guitar


The Takamine EF360S-TT is an acoustic-electric guitar that exudes a vintage charm with its extraordinary design. This guitar is more than just a musical instrument; it is an illustration of Takamine’s innovative Thermal Top technology. This technology breathes an aura of a well-aged vintage dreadnought into the guitar, making it a coveted piece for collectors and enthusiasts. Made with a solid spruce top and solid Indian rosewood back and sides, the guitar crafts a balanced tone with a symphony of bright highs and well-defined low end.

The thermal top of the EF360S-TT has undergone a unique artificial aging process, controlled by temperature and air quality, which makes it sound and appear like a played-in dreadnought. The guitar also features a solid mahogany neck with a traditional profile, ensuring a comfortable playing experience for all. And when it comes to electrifying your acoustic sound, the guitar houses a TLD-2 Line Driver preamp and Palathetic pickup, designed specifically for acoustic guitar amplification.

Key Benefits

  • Authentic Vintage Sound: The guitar delivers a unique vintage sound thanks to Takamine’s Thermal Top technology.
  • Balanced Tone: With a solid spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides, the guitar produces a balanced tone with bright highs and defined lows.
  • Comfortable Playing Experience: The solid mahogany neck with a traditional profile enhances the comfort of playing.
  • Natural-Sounding Live Tone: The TLD-2 Line Driver preamp and Palathetic pickup ensure a natural-sounding live tone when plugged in.
  • Valuable Investment: The guitar rivals higher-priced models with its professional-level sound and features.


Priced just under $2,000, the Takamine EF360S-TT might seem expensive to some. However, considering its unparalleled vintage sound, classic aesthetics, and reliable electronics, it’s an investment worth making. It offers a sound quality and an acoustic experience that’s often found in much higher-priced models, making it a great value for money.

Pros & Cons

As an aficionado of acoustic guitars, I can certainly vouch for the EF360S-TT. Its bone nut and saddle, Gotoh open-gear tuners, and an ebony fingerboard add a touch of vintage aesthetic that’s hard to resist. And the volume, balance, sustain, and strong bass response, all contribute to its exceptional sound quality.

That being said, the TLD-2 Line Driver preamp does not come with an adjustable EQ, which might be a drawback for some. However, the overall performance, sound quality, and vintage aesthetics make the Takamine EF360S-TT a highly recommended choice for anyone seeking a high-end, vintage-style dreadnought guitar.

The Blueridge Guitars BR-60 Acoustic Guitar

Blueridge Guitars BR-60 Acoustic Guitar


The Blueridge Guitars BR-60 Acoustic Guitar is part of the Contemporary series and is lauded as one of the best value-for-money guitars in the USA. It sports a Sitka spruce top with rosewood back, sides, and peghead overlay, delivering a tone and volume reminiscent of vintage dreadnought guitars, thanks to its prewar forward X-pattern bracing.

The guitar’s mahogany neck features a low-profile carve and is adorned with a rosewood fretboard. The natural high-gloss finish, 5-ply body binding, multi-line rosette and back strip, and mother-of-pearl dot inlays round off the aesthetic appeal of this instrument. The nickel-plated tuners have a 14:1 ratio and the guitar’s scale length is 25-1/2″. The Blueridge BR-60 is also supplied with a ProTour BV-1510 Standard gig bag and comes factory strung with D’Addario EJ-16 strings.

Key Benefits

  • Exceptional value for money
  • Sitka spruce top and rosewood back, sides, and peghead overlay for an aesthetic appeal and tonal depth
  • Prewar forward X-pattern bracing offering a tone and volume similar to vintage dreadnought guitars
  • Natural high-gloss finish, 5-ply body binding, and mother-of-pearl dot inlays for added elegance
  • Comes with a ProTour BV-1510 Standard gig bag and D’Addario EJ-16 strings
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty


While specific pricing information wasn’t provided in our reference material, it’s commonly acknowledged that the Blueridge BR-60 presents excellent value. It delivers high-quality sound and playability at a price that won’t break the bank, making it an affordable option for those not wanting to compromise on quality.

Pros & Cons

From our experience, the Blueridge BR-60 proves its worth in terms of value and tonal qualities. While it might not sound like a Martin, it offers a fantastic sound for its price range. It boasts a big booming low end, which some players might find a bit too resonant, resulting in an undefined overall tone.

However, if you like the sound when you play it, then that’s all that matters. As a workhorse guitar, it’s a fantastic option for those looking for a quality instrument without breaking the bank. It feels great to play, and its lovely action adds to the overall playability. Ultimately, as with any guitar, the final judgment rests on personal preference and playing style.

The Yamaha A-Series A5R Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Yamaha A-Series A5R Acoustic-Electric Guitar


The Yamaha A5R ARE is a standout model from Yamaha’s A series of acoustic-electric guitars, launched as part of the brand’s 2017 series. Crafted with care in Japan, a country renowned for its exceptional guitar manufacturing, the A5R ARE exhibits a blend of tradition and modernity. It has a solid Sitka Spruce A.R.E. top with scalloped bracing, solid Rosewood back and sides, and an African Mahogany neck which contributes to its distinctive tone.

With a scale length of 25.6″, a C-shaped neck profile and a 15.75″ fretboard radius the guitar is designed for playing comfort. The guitar’s electronics comprise a SYSTEM71(SRT2 System) + SRT Piezo Pickup, and an Ebony bridge. Weighing between 4.95lbs (2.2kgs) and 5.2lbs (2.4kgs), it is sturdy yet comfortable to handle. Its natural finish and tortoise pattern pickguard add a touch of elegance. The guitar comes with a hardshell case to ensure safe transport.

Key Benefits

  • Known for its versatility, suitable for a range of music genres from heavy metal to jazz and country.
  • Highly rated for its exceptional sound and build quality.
  • Constructed with quality materials and boasts excellent quality control.
  • Offers a well-rounded tone with a broad dynamic range, attributable to the choice of tonewoods.
  • Appeals to both professional musicians and enthusiasts who value high-quality craftsmanship and superior tone.


As an upper-tier instrument from a reputable manufacturer like Yamaha, one can expect the A5R ARE to fall within a higher price range.

Pros & Cons

From our perspective, the A5R ARE has several notable strengths. Its C-shaped neck profile and 20 medium frets strike a balance between playability and durability. The guitar also sports an Ivory Tusq nut and saddle which enhance its tone and playability. The fixed bridge is a practical feature, simplifying string changing and augmenting sustain. Additionally, the nut width of 43mm (1.693″) ensures a comfortable balance for string separation and comfortable playing.

Despite these strengths, it’s not without some drawbacks. It lacks locking tuners and does not feature pickups from top brands, which might be a consideration for some players. However, these minor shortcomings don’t detract from the overall quality and performance of this excellent instrument.

What Makes A Good “Country” Acoustic Guitar?

A “country” acoustic guitar, as its name implies, is geared towards producing a sound that complements the country genre. However, what defines a good country acoustic guitar is not confined to its tonal output alone but a combination of various factors. Let’s delve a bit further into these attributes.

Firstly, a good country acoustic guitar should have superior sound quality. This quality is often determined by the choice of tonewoods used in its construction. Dreadnought or Jumbo-shaped guitars usually have a larger, fuller sound, making them ideal for strumming, a common technique in country music. Woods like spruce, mahogany, and maple are popular choices for these guitars due to their balanced tonal qualities.

Secondly, a good country acoustic guitar needs to be versatile. Country music itself is a genre with many sub-genres, each having a unique sound, which necessitates a guitar that can adapt to different playing styles. A good example of this is the Martin HD-28, which is praised for its versatility and compatibility with various genres and playing styles.

Lastly, craftsmanship and build quality are of paramount importance. A well-built guitar not only ensures longevity but can also enhance the sound and playability of the instrument. For instance, the Gibson Acoustic J-45 Vintage, known for its high-quality craftsmanship, boasts a robust and versatile sound that is well-suited for both fingerpicking and flatpicking styles common in country music.

While every musician might have personal preferences, a good country acoustic guitar typically combines excellent sound quality, versatility, and superior craftsmanship. It’s not just about finding a guitar that can twang but about finding an instrument that can articulate the rich tapestry of sounds that country music encompasses.

What Techniques Are Used In Acoustic Country Music?

Country music is a genre deeply rooted in acoustic instruments, with the acoustic guitar being a pillar of its sound. The techniques employed by country musicians on their acoustic guitars have a significant impact on the overall feel and quality of the music produced.

Fingerpicking is a common technique in country music, where individual notes are plucked by the fingers, instead of strumming the entire chord. This allows for greater control over the melody and can create a complex, layered sound. The Gibson Acoustic J-45 Vintage, for instance, is praised for its versatility and excellent note separation, making it ideal for fingerpicking.

Flatpicking is another popular technique. As the name suggests, it involves using a flat pick to strike the strings, which can create a clear and percussive tone. This style of playing is often used in country music to play fast, intricate solos, and is suitable for the balanced voice of instruments like the Gibson Acoustic J-45 Vintage.

Another common technique in country music is the use of alternate bass picking. This is where the thumb picks out the bass notes on the lower strings while the other fingers pick out the melody on the higher strings. This technique is often used in country blues and folk music and creates a driving rhythm and a rich, full-bodied sound. The Yamaha FG800, with its solid spruce top, is known for its top-notch sound quality, perfect for techniques that emphasize the bass response.

The techniques used in acoustic country music are as varied as the instruments they employ. From fingerpicking to flatpicking, these techniques shape the sound and character of the music, and the choice of guitar can have a significant impact on how these techniques are executed and the sound they produce.


Country music has been synonymous with the strumming of acoustic guitars for generations, providing the backbone for heartfelt ballads, rollicking anthems, and soulful melodies alike. Each of the seven acoustic guitars reviewed herein – the Gibson Acoustic J-45, the Gibson J-185, the Martin HD-28, the Taylor 224ce-K DLX, the Yamaha FG800, the Takamine EF360S-TT, and the Blueridge BR-60 – brings something unique to the table.

Whether you’re a fingerstyle blues enthusiast, a flatpicker, or a bonafide country music star, there’s a guitar out there tailored to your very needs. While the Gibson Acoustic J-45 Vintage, recognized as the “Workhorse,” might be your go-to for an iconic country sound, the Martin HD-28 and the Taylor 224ce-K DLX can offer you that extra versatility and rich tone needed for a wider variety of musical genres.

On the other hand, if affordability is your main concern, then the Yamaha FG800 and the Blueridge BR-60 offer excellent value for money without compromising on sound quality, which remains an essential criterion for any musician. And for those who crave a bit of the vintage charm, the Takamine EF360S-TT and the Gibson J-185 are unbeatable in their league.

In essence, the perfect guitar is very much subjective to an individual’s taste, skill level, and budget. Whichever acoustic guitar you choose, ensure it resonates with your soul and inspires you to create beautiful country music. Happy strumming!


Andrew Scrivens

Andrew Scrivens

I am a live musician and guitar teacher from Brisbane, Australia, with extensive experience playing live, in the studio and for TV shows. I play in many venues, studios, music shops and with my students and as such am exposed to a lot of different gear. I form my opinions based on my experiences playing instruments in these locations.

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