These are the best new acoustic guitars of 2023 according to the Guitar.com team
From revolutionary models to innovative new construction methods, 2023 has been a great year for acoustics – as our best of the year reflects.
When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. For more information on how this works click here.
There’s a school of thought that says acoustic guitar design peaked in the pre-war era and everything since then has effectively just been messing with perfection, but if the last year has shown us anything it’s that so long as innovative and creative minds continue to use the acoustic as their chosen medium, so the form will continue to have plenty of scope to evolve.
Whether it was radical new guitar designs or innovative and cost-saving ways to produce classic models, or new and sustainable things to make them out of, the last year showed that the acoustic’s journey is far from over.
Here’s our pick of the 10 best acoustic guitars we’ve reviewed and rated over the last 12 months.
The Best Acoustic Guitars of 2023, at a glance:
- Martin SC-10E
- Bourgeois Touchstone Vintage OM & Dreadnought
- Taylor 814ce Builder’s Edition
- Fender Acoustasonic Player Jazzmaster
- Cort Earth L60M OP
- Martin 000JR-10E Shawn Mendes
- Fender Palomino Vintage
- Taylor AD12e-SB
It’s been the best part of three years since Martin revealed its polarising SC body shape to the world, but such was the way of pandemics and the supply chain problems they caused, the SC was not an easy guitar to find until recently.
Thankfully the waiting time gave Martin chance to expand the SC range, with this more affordable version being the pick of the bunch. With proper old-school Martin tone but playabilty and comfort that many electrics can’t match, it’s the most playable Martin ever, and a guitar that changes the game for acoustic virtuosi.
Today’s best deals on the Martin SC-10E
Bourgeois Touchstone Vintage OM & Dreadnought
Dana Bourgeois is one of the world’s most respected acoustic luthiers, but he’s also one that has constantly pushed the envelope to bring his guitars to as wide an audience as possible. The new Touchstone series, a partnership between Bourgeois and Chinese high-end instrument maker Eastman, is the latest clever and innovative way to democratise high-end acoustic guitar making. Each Touchstone soundboard is made and tuned by Bourgeois’ team in Lewiston, Maine, then shipped out to Eastman in China, where the tops are fitted to bodies and necks.
Does it make these guitars ‘cheap’? Absolutely not, but it puts some of the very best of boutique American acoustic luthiery in the same territory as a production-line Martin or Taylor, and that’s to be celebrated.
Taylor 814ce Builder’s Edition
What does the future of acoustic guitar building look like? Well, while big brands like Taylor aren’t going to just tip their hands to the general public willy nilly, if you want an insight into what trailblazing head honcho Andy Powers might be thinking, his Builder’s Edition take on the brand’s flagship model might be a good place to start.
With interesting (and deceptively complicated) woodworking, and a wealth of sustainable alternative tonewoods used in its construction, this is a very modern take on a classic recipe that points the way to the next generation of acoustic guitars.
Today’s best deals on the Taylor 814ce Builder’s Edition
Fender Acoustasonic Player Jazzmaster
Chances are you already have an opinion on Fender’s radical hybrid electric-acoustic design – if you just think it’s sick and wrong and shouldn’t exist, well, this isn’t going to change your mind on that fact.
If your interest has been piqued however, but the pricetag of the American-made model has put you off, then this Mexican-made version of the most aesthetically pleasing version of the Acoustasonic is a serious option. With simplified controls that many users might actually prefer, and the reassurance of a regular 9V battery rather than a rechargable one, this might be the best and most practical Acoustasonic yet.
Today’s best deals on the Fender Acoustasonic Player Jazzmaster
Cort Earth L60M OP
What do you really expect from a sub-£200 acoustic guitar? For most of us, those expectations will be very low indeed, fuelled by terrible memories of early guitar excursions on barely playable Guitar-shaped Objects that made a decidedly unpleasant sound.
The L60M OP from Cort challenges all of that, offering an all-mahogany model that both sounds and plays great – all for a price that would have spelled doom and gloom even a few years ago. Impressive stuff.
Martin 000JR-10E Shawn Mendes
Signature instruments can be a real crapshoot if you don’t happen to be a stan of the artist in question, and when it comes to a bona fide pop powerhouse like Mendes, the temptation is often to dismiss a guitar like this as fan fodder.
But that would be a serious mistake. Yes the guitar has various fan-service touches like tattoo-engraving on the bridge and an ostentatious signature inlay, but thanks to the guitars modelling on Shawn’s beloved 50s 000, it has a much more premium and vintage feel thank most Mexican-made Martins, certainly ones at this price point.
Today’s best deals on the Martin 000JR-10E Shawn Mendes
Fender Palomino Vintage
Fender has got plenty of attention for its boundary-pushing Acoustasonic and Highway series acoustics over the last few years, but the Palomino is a reminder of the brand’s heritage as a quirky acoustic guitar maker in the swinging 60s.
The modern Palomino is a fun and great-sounding acoustic instrument, though the polite and quite toppy unplugged character gives way to a powerful jet-engine-like thump when plugged in and running through a PA.
Today’s best deals on the Fender Palomino Vintage
Taylor’s American Dream series was contrived during the pandemic as a stripped-down instrument that could be produced in Taylor’s El Cajon factory with the resources and under the restrictions that Californian companies had to operate under at the heigh of Covid-19.
What was created as a guitar of necessity has proved something of a hit – the no-frills approach to these guitars and their more earth and organic tone compared to the usual Taylor hi-fi sound has earned its own cult following. A Taylor for people who don’y like Taylors? You said it.