WINNER: Gibson Generation Collection G-45
Created after the chance discovery of a curious unproduced blueprint found in the Gibson archive, the Generation Collection’s main talking point is the unconventional extra soundport on the topside of the instrument. But this is no mere gimmick – the extra soundhole gives a much more present playing experience that is quite intoxicating. Combined that with the quality of sound and the accessibility of the pricing of these US-built, nitro-finished instruments, and we have the recipe for some of the best guitars on the market.
Fender American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster
Fender’s hugely successful acoustic/electric hybrid model got offset in 2020, and the latest iteration packed in some new tones too. Sporting a humbucker instead of the Acoustasonic Strat and Tele’s single-coil, this is the coolest Acoustasonic yet, and it has some truly inspirational sounds to match.
Bourgeois Legacy Series 000 DB Signature Deluxe
More than 40 years into his esteemed lutheiry career, Dana Bourgeois is rightly hailed as one of the world’s finest acoustic guitar makers, and this instrument, with the specs carefully selected by Dana himself, is a superlative example of the form. A fabulous instrument that might just be the high-water mark for 000-style acoustics.
Cort Gold Edge
While the company is better known for its value-packed entry level instruments, every now and then Cort chances its arm at the aspirational end of the acoustic marketplace. The Gold Edge is one such example, offering good looks, versatile tones, top-end details and a luthier-built feature set – all for a production line price.
Epiphone USA Collection Frontier
Its aesthetics may nod to the Old West, but Epiphone’s wild Frontier is an American-made acoustic that’s at home on the modern stage. It’s commanding presence both visually and sonically, and takes stage and studio duties in its stride.
With a forearm bevel and elliptical soundport, Eastman’s AC722CE offers a twist on the grand auditorium theme. Although there are unmistakable echoes of Taylor in the AC722CE’s styling, the playing experience and voice are surprisingly different, and it has an identity all of its own.
Guild jumbos are iconic instruments and this affordable version from the Westerly Collection combines classic looks with a solid spruce top and a Fishman pickup system. One for the strummers rather than the pickers, the F-240E’s tone, looks and bang for the buck are impressive.
Taylor GT K21e
This handsome Hawaiian koa model brings a little luxury to Taylor’s compact Grand Theater line. A beautiful, compact all-rounder which will do just about anything you ask of it, once again Andy Powers has paired an established brand legacy with innovative concepts, designs and techniques to create something new, immediate and beautiful.
Cort Core-OC Mahogany
Offering superb mahogany style-tones for the budget conscious, this Cort is one of the best buys out there. This is the sort of product at which Cort really excels, using years of mass production experience and an undeniably efficient design and manufacturing set-up to produce instruments that can inspire at all levels.
Guild BT-258E Deluxe Baritone
Combining a jumbo body with a 27-inch scale length and eight strings, this affordable new model promises to be something of a cannon. There’s no denying that this is a big guitar with a huge sound and a versatile tonal palette. You’ll need strong hands but at this price it’s very tempting indeed.