8 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $2000
The good news is that a $2000 budget can get you a fantastic guitar. The bad news is that it can also get you a big rip-off. But no way, Jose, because we are here to stop that from happening.
We’ve tracked down and tested 8 top acoustic guitars that more than justify their price tag. So you can be sure your two grand is money well spent.
Taylor has always made outstanding guitars, but the new V-Class bracing makes this acoustic best-in-class. Its rich resonance and full sound will delight your ears, while its comfortable grand auditorium body shape is just begging to be played.
The 8 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $2000 in 2020
No matter what style of guitar you play, from rock and roll to classical flamenco, a $2000 budget means there’s a great guitar with your name on it. Here are our eight picks for the best acoustic guitar under $2000 this year.
If $2000 is too rich for your blood, we’ve rounded up top-rated guitar models for every budget. Check out our lists of the best cheap acoustic guitars, best guitars for $300 or less, and the best guitars under $1000.
With a budget of $2000, you can and should shop the premium brands, and Taylor Guitars is one of the best. The 314ce has long been one of our favorite mid-priced models from the line, and the addition of Tayor’s revolutionary V-Class bracing makes it our top pick this year.
The unique V-shaped bracing increases resonance and volume by managing the seemingly contradictory feat of increasing both the flexibility and the stiffness of the guitar’s soundboard.
I think the V-brace gives a remarkably well-balanced sound. It seems to cancel out some conflicting harmonics that make things sound out of tune at times. It’s one of the most in-tune guitars I’ve ever played by any maker.
No commentary needed after this Gruhn’s testimony. The point is that the V-brace removes interference, so your guitar always sounds perfectly in tune (1).
Taylor uses a solid Sitka spruce top on this guitar, a reliable choice for that crisp and clear acoustic sound, especially in the treble notes. It’s paired with sapele for the sides and back, a hardwood that adds warmth to balance the sound.
The Grand Auditorium body style is one of Taylor’s most popular, favored by fingerstyle players and strummers alike. It has dimensions similar to a dreadnought but a narrower waist, offering the ultimate combination of comfort and projection, and the Venetion cutaway provides easy access to the upper frets.
If you want to plug in, you’ll be thrilled with Taylor’s proprietary ES2 electronics. Built specifically for the most authentic acoustic sound, three separate sensors and a behind-the-saddle pickup capture incredible dynamic range, and the ES2 preamp allows you to modify volume, treble, and bass.
Who was it made for? We love the 314ce for its versatility. With its comfortable shape, high-end tonewoods, and incredible projection, it’s a guitar for everyone, from intermediate to advanced, fingerstylists to strummers.
Lovers of vintage acoustic guitars will be thrilled with Takamine’s EF360S-TT, thanks to its Thermal Top technology. The solid spruce top is baked in a controlled environment to give it the warm and well-played sound new guitars just can’t deliver (2). We were stunned by its sound quality.
The spruce top is paired with solid rosewood back and sides, giving it a full-bodied sound with some extra oomph in the bass. The solid mahogany neck features a vintage profile that will delight guitar history buffs. Takamine wisely opted for retro styling on this guitar as well, including ivoried binding, a tortoiseshell pickguard, and open-gear butterbean tuners.
The EF360S-TT comes equipped with Takamine’s famed Palathetic pickup, which does a remarkable job of translating the natural acoustic sound. The TLD-2 line driver preamp is mounted discreetly, a nice touch that maintains the vintage look of this guitar.
Who was it made for? This guitar is for the vintage guitar lover who lacks the budget for a true antique. With its retro style, unique Thermal Top, and modern electronics, the EF360S-TT is the perfect combination of old and new.
Martin is another American acoustic guitar powerhouse, and for good reason. With over 100 years experience, they know how to craft a fine instrument, and your $2000 budget gives you access to some beautiful guitars.
Our favorite in this price range is the versatile D-16E, a great all-arounder that will appeal to every style of guitarist. It features a solid Sitka spruce top coupled with East Indian rosewood for the sides and back. This gives it a wide dynamic range, with well-articulated highs, warm midtones, and a strong bass. The all-solid-wood construction ensures rich resonance and a sound that will improve with age.
The dreadnought body shape with 000 depth makes this guitar accessible to a wide range of players. It offers the strong projection that makes dreadnoughts the most popular body shape, but the slimmer profile makes it more comfortable to play, particularly when playing fingerstyle.
If you want to amplify the D-16E, it’s kitted with Fishman electronics designed specifically for Martin guitars, so they’re particularly adept at letting the natural sounds of the guitar come through. Players using techniques like body tapping will be impressed.
Who was it made for? The versatile D-16E sounds great played fingerstyle, flat-picked, or strummed, whether plugged in or acoustic. It’s for a guitarist who loves to practice a variety of styles and appreciates the craftsmanship of a Martin guitar.
Guild’s D-40 may be the cheapest guitar on this list, but make no mistake, this is a high-end guitar. In fact, its relative affordability is because it lacks electronics, not due to any sacrifices in tonewood or build quality.
It’s a classic sounding dreadnought, the sound you imagine when you think of an acoustic guitar. The solid Sitka spruce top gives it a bright tone with incredible sustain, while the solid mahogany used in the sides and back contributes substantial depth and volume. This guitar can hold its own, even without an amplifier.
The D-40 is beautifully built with a number of premium appointments, including an East Indian rosewood bridge and fretboard, a tortoiseshell pickguard, hand-cut bone nut and saddle, and Guild’s vintage-style open-gear nickel tuners with cream buttons.
Who was it made for? Without built-in electronics, this is a perfect guitar for small solo gigs, vocal accompaniment, or just strumming with friends. It’s for a discerning guitarist, one who appreciates the way subtle details combine to make an incredible instrument.
Breedlove Guitars was founded by two former Taylor employees looking to craft unique made-in-the-USA guitars (3). Over the years, their smaller bodied models have become prized by singer-songwriters and fingerpickers.
The Oregon Concertina E is an all-solid-wood guitar that offers remarkable volume in a compact package. The incredible resonance they achieve is due to optimization of the tonewoods. Using proprietary methods, each wood is assessed for density variations and then sanded specifically for the best sound.
The Sitka spruce top is paired with the-rarely-seen myrtlewood for the back and sides. Local to Breedlove’s Oregon headquarters, myrtlewood incorporates the best elements of rosewood, mahogany, and maple.
The result is a guitar with clear upper end, warm midtones, and a rich and powerful bass, despite its small size.
For performers, the Concertina has LR Baggs EAS VTC electronics, which give a rich and natural amplified tone. The Element pickup is designed and positioned to reflect the true movement of the guitar’s top, ensuring that even the subtleties of your play are captured.
Who was it built for? This is for any guitarist who prefers the comfort and playability of the Concertina body style but refuses to sacrifice sound quality. If you didn’t think it was possible to get a rich bass from a small-bodied guitar, prepare to be proven wrong.
Cordoba makes some of the best classical guitars, and with a budget of $2000, you can nab yourself a high-end handmade instrument. The C12 is a nylon string guitar whose sound is matched only by its beauty.
The top is lattice-braced solid European spruce. The spruce contributes a crisp, bright feel, while the lattice bracing enhances projection and sensitivity (4). This is paired with solid Indian rosewood back and sides, and a gorgeous flamed maple center wedge. The sound is rich and full, with excellent sustain and a nice balance between warmth and brightness.
The breathtaking design is based on a 1920s instrument by Domingo Esteso, a world famous luthier known for his flamenco guitars. It has a hand-inlaid mother of pearl rosette, black and gold tuning machines, and maple binding. The mahogany neck has a raised fingerboard, which makes it easy to reach the upper frets.
Who was it made for? With Esteso design elements and a Spanish classic body style, there’s no doubt this was made for the flamenco guitarist. But any lover of the classical guitar will adore its premium hand-craftsmanship and quality solid tonewoods.
Trust Fender when they make an acoustic-electric that breaks the mold. Their Acoustasonic Telecaster is a hybrid guitar that really puts the ‘electric’ in acoustic-electric, with a unique look and revolutionary electronics system (5).
This eye-catching guitar, available in five colors, is more than just a pretty face; it was built for incredible sound. The hollow thin body is made from mahogany, while the top is solid Lutz spruce. It features Fender’s patented Stringed Instrument Resonance System (SIRS), which combines the accessibility and comfort of an electric guitar with the resonance of an acoustic for a guitar with incredible range.
The Fishman electronics system is one of a kind. There are three pickups and a five-way selector switch to send different combinations of the pickups through the Acoustic Engine for some remarkably accurate acoustic tones. Want your guitar to sound like a Sitka spruce and rosewood dreadnought? Flip a switch. Prefer an Engelmann spruce and maple small body? Flip again. It’s almost like ten guitars in one!
Who was it made for? This is a unique guitar with broad appeal, though acoustic traditionalists may find it a bit too futuristic. With so many available acoustic tones, it excels at every genre, and both acoustic and electric guitar fans will find something to love.
If the Fender Acoustasonic is a guitar for the future, the Gibson J-15 is a guitar of the past. It’s a classic slope shoulder dreadnought, handcrafted by expert luthiers. Gibson round shoulder guitars are renowned for their pure tones, excellent volume, and smooth lines not to mention being easier to play.
The tone is full-bodied and warm thanks to the pairing of a solid Sitka spruce top with walnut back and sides. Walnut is a wonderful tonewood that combines the rich warmth of mahogany with the deeper lows of rosewood. Supported by scalloped X-bracing, the J-15 delivers outstanding natural projection, even without an amplifier, perfect for solo gigs or vocal accompaniment.
For bigger stages, you can turn to the built-in LR Baggs Element active pickup system. The under-saddle transducer has a minimalist design that improves coupling between the guitar and the sensor for a robust acoustic sound.
Who was it made for? The high-end electronics, beautiful design, and natural acoustic projection of this dreadnought make it an obvious choice for the stage. Whether you’re playing a solo acoustic gig or a rocking stage show, this guitar delivers.
How to Choose the Best Acoustic Guitar Under $2000
A $2000 budget puts many wonderful guitars in your price range, so finding the perfect one can feel overwhelming. This buying guide will help you narrow it down with just a few key considerations.
What kind of music do you want to play?
Different shapes and styles of guitar are better suited to certain genres of music.
If you know your musical style, it will narrow down your guitar selection.
For example, the best $2000 steel string acoustic won’t satisfy the flamenco guitarist.
If you prefer to play fingerstyle, consider a smaller bodied guitar, which will be easier to wrap your arms around. A cutaway is useful for accessing the upper frets, and a wide neck with a flat profile will facilitate intricate finger movements.
If rock and country music are your jam, you can’t beat the full-bodied sound of a jumbo or dreadnought. These large-body guitars have great projection and sound incredible when flat-picked or strummed hard.
For the classical guitarist, a nylon stringed instrument in a classical body style is the right choice. These tend to have wide necks and small bodies. If you like to play the upper frets, look for a cutaway or a raised fretboard.
If you’re not sure of your style or prefer to play a diversity of genres, an average size guitar like a dreadnought or grand auditorium will be the most versatile.
Splurge on the tonewoods.
A $2000 budget means you can afford an all-solid-wood guitar with premium tonewoods, and this is excellent news.
The stiffness, resonant properties, density, and ultimate strength are the four most important aspects of what defines a tonewood, and these are also the properties that change with age and thus affect tone and responsiveness of guitars.
So, imagine having a PREMIUM TONEWOOD? Not only would your guitar sound incredible right away, but it would improve over time as the solid wood dries and stiffens (6).
The best choice of tonewood again depends on your musical style and sonic preferences.
- Spruce gives a bright and crisp sound, with a well-articulated upper register and excellent resonance.
- Mahogany lends a darker, richer tone with a warm midrange.
- Rosewood is common in higher priced guitars, and it offers a warmth similar to mahogany but with more power in the bass.
- Walnut falls somewhere between mahogany and rosewood, with a strong bass and rich midtones.
- Myrtlewood, an Oregon tonewood popularized by Breedlove Guitars, has a well-balanced tone that captures the best features of mahogany, maple, and rosewood.
Frequently, you’ll find a spruce top paired with a warmer wood for the back and sides to achieve a nicely balanced tone.
Fit your guitar to you, not you to your guitar.
With so many guitar shapes and sizes available, there’s no reason to buy one that’s uncomfortable. If you’re dropping $2000 on an instrument, you don’t want to end up with something that never gets played or worse, something that leaves you injured.
A smaller player should opt for a smaller guitar, like a concert, parlor, or concertina. The narrow-waisted grand auditorium is also a good choice. Or consider the Fender Acoustasonic, which has a body akin to an electric guitar. For small hands, look for a slender neck in a comfortable profile, like a C-shape or a Low Oval.
Do you intend to plug in?
Most acoustic guitars with this price tag have built-in electronics, which is great because they make your guitar more versatile. But you should still consider how often you intend to play amplified when making your selection. Not all electronics are created equal, and they can add unnecessary cost to your guitar.
If you’re a stage performer, splurge on the best. Taylor’s ES2 is world renowned, and Fender’s Acoustasonic electronics have revolutionized the industry. If you rarely plug in, choose a simpler pickup design, and if you only play acoustically, you can save a little money by skipping the electronics all together.
Solid wood acoustic guitars are better than laminate because, all else being equal, a solid piece of wood has richer resonance and better sustain.
Acoustic guitars sound better with age because as the wood dries, it becomes lighter and stiffer, both of which contribute to better resonance and a fuller sound.
An acoustic guitar’s price tag will depend on its size, materials, and manufacturing. This leads to considerable variety, with guitars ranging from below $100 to over $5000.
- Wise, B. (2018, March 31). Taylor Guitars Rolls the Diceâ€”Again. Retrieved from https://acousticguitar.com/taylor-guitars-rolls-the-dice-again/
- Summer NAMM 2017: Watch Takamine Explain the Thinking Behind Its New Dreadnoughts and Thermal Top Technology. (2017, July 24). Retrieved from https://acousticguitar.com/summer-namm-2017-watch-takamine-explain-the-thinking-behind-its-new-dreadnoughts-and-thermal-top-technology/
- Gerken, T. (2020, May 4). Made in Oregon: The First 20 Years at Breedlove Guitars. Retrieved from https://acousticguitar.com/made-in-oregon-the-first-twenty-years-at-breedlove-guitars/
- Dominelli, M. (2015, February 7). Bracing Styles for Classical Guitars. Retrieved from https://www.thisisclassicalguitar.com/bracing-styles-for-classical-guitars/
- Burrluck, D. (2019, May 17). The story behind Fenderâ€™s American Acoustasonic Telecaster. Retrieved from https://www.musicradar.com/news/the-story-behind-fenders-american-acoustasonic-telecaster
- Turner, R. (2013, October 2). Acoustic Soundboard: The Sonic Effect of Time and Vibration. Retrieved from https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/19720-acoustic-soundboard-the-sonic-effect-of-time-and-vibration
I found music through childhood piano lessons but was lucky enough to learn guitar on my dad’s vintage ‘60s Gibson acoustic. These days I’m more of a music appreciator than a music player, and I’m fortunate to live in a place with a great indie scene. In my spare time, I love trail running, rock climbing, drinking coffee, doing crossword puzzles, and hanging out with my quirky little dog.