If you’re looking at this article, then you take your craft seriously. It’s one thing to buy a guitar for a couple hundred dollars to try it out or to make compromises in what you want to save some cash.
In this price bracket, however, you’re looking for quality and nothing short of it.
Maybe you’ve had a beginner’s acoustic guitar for a couple years and are looking to upgrade.
Maybe you’re a collector looking for another model to add to the collection. Or maybe you are a working musician that needs a reliable workhorse to get you through all of you gigs.
Whatever your needs may be, within this list are a number of awesome guitars for you to choose from for under $2000.
Snapshot: Top 5 Acoustic Guitars Under $2,000
- Taylor 200 Series Deluxe 224ce-K Grand Auditorium Acoustic
- Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster
- Cordoba C12 Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar
- Blueridge BR-180 Cutaway
- Martin DSS-17
What Makes A Great Acoustic Guitar at This Price Range?
There are a lot of guitars under $2000 of varying quality, so in this article we will be focusing on the price range of $1500-$2,000.
I think this price range is the most exciting because the amount of value you see from your guitar per dollar is the most apparent. Beyond $2,000, I feel that the amount of extra quality you see and hear from your instrument begins to gradually taper off.
There are exceptions of course, such as rare and vintage guitars, where you are not just paying for the quality of the instrument but also for its uniqueness. Boutique/handmade guitars are also well worth the money, but they can take months or even years to be built. For this article I am focusing on modern and readily available guitar models that anyone could easily purchase today from the convenience of their computer.
At this price range you can expect quality to be above exceptional. The woods used to make the guitars will primarily be solid, as opposed to laminate. The tuners are going to be top of the line so that these instruments stay in tune for days.
Some of the guitars on this list push the boundaries of what an acoustic guitar can be. Above all else the guitars on this list will sound phenomenal. They will resonate as they are being played and make you glad you spent the extra cash for a well-made guitar.
These are the guitars of professional musicians and every musician’s needs differs from one person to the next. With that in mind I tried to select instruments for a broad spectrum of acoustic players. From classical players, to jazz players, to singer songwriters, to the session guitarist; there is an acoustic on this list for just about everyone.
The Best Acoustic Guitar Under $2000
1. Taylor 200 Series Deluxe 224ce-K Grand Auditorium Acoustic Review
- Body Body type: Grand Auditorium Cutaway: Single cutaway Top wood: Solid Hawaiian Koa Back & sides: Layered Hawaiian Koa Bracing pattern: Taylor Standard II (Forward Shift Pattern) Body finish: Gloss...
- Taylor's 200 Deluxe Series delivers all the essentials of a great guitar - exquisite playability, a full and articulate voice, impeccable intonation up the neck, and Taylor's top-of-the-line,...
- This collection strikes a sweet balance between tasteful design constraint and aesthetic variety, bringing Taylor's signature tonal clarity and playability into a stage-worthy mix of guitar options
- The Deluxe moniker refers to the addition of a fully-glossed body as opposed to a glossy top with satin back and sides
The first guitar on this list is sure to please just about everyone in terms of looks, sound, and functionality. The Taylor 200 Series Deluxe 224ce-k is an all Hawaiian koa body acoustic guitar that is sure to catch the attention of your audience. The woodgrain and figure on this instrument are absolutely stunning. Just be careful that you don’t get so distracted looking at it that you forget to play it!
This is a guitar that will want to grow old with you. The solid Hawaiian koa top and layered koa sides/back will actually evolve as the guitar gets older, making the guitar more resonant and responsive. The layered back/sides also give added support against humidity changes, along with the Taylor II bracing pattern for added stability. It has a gloss finish that manages to accentuate the wood, but not get in the way of the guitar’s tone.
The neck is made of solid sapele coupled with a genuine African ebony fingerboard and bridge. The fingerboard really pops against the koa body and the sapele ensures great neck stability. I think Taylor did a great job of balancing solid tone woods and layered woods to make this as great sounding as possible, while also ensuring it is stable and affordable. Finally, the strings reach over a 25.5” scale length, so this guitar feels great to play.
You’ll find Taylor’s Expression System 2 on board, which is their top of the line preamp/pickup system for acoustic guitars. There is an adjustable treble, bass, and volume control discretely placed over the shoulder of the instrument. I always find this to be a nice touch, as big bulky electronic boards on acoustics can make the guitar feel cheap or inorganic.
This guitar features an ebony bridge to compliment the fingerboard, as well as a bone nut and gold closed back tuners. Taylor guitars always stay in tune and this model will look classy while doing so. It also comes with a custom hard case.
I’ve talked about how beautiful koa is, but the real appeal to using this tonewood is its complex sound. Whereas most guitars try to get the right balance of rosewood, mahogany and maple, koa seamlessly blends all the best parts of these woods together. You get the deep bass response of rosewood, that will continue to evolve over the years as the woodgrain changes. You get the sparkling high end of maple. Finally, you get the woody and delicate midrange of mahogany, especially when fingerpicking.
All of those tonal characteristics carry over when playing the Taylor 224ce-K live and plugged in, as Taylor’s Expression System 2 is a great sounding pickup system that accurately represents the guitar natural sound.
- Body Material: Solid Hawaiian koa
- Neck Material: Layered Hawaiian koa
- Fingerboard Material: Genuine African ebony
- Pickups: Taylor Expression System 2
- Bridge Material: Genuine African ebony
Final Thoughts on the Taylor 224ce-K Grand Auditorium Acoustic
The Taylor 224ce-K checks off every box on the great guitar list: beautiful looks, great playability and practicality, exceptional sound. It’s a guitar that is perfect for the stay-at-home musician and the gigging musician alike. It does all of this while being simultaneously classic and unique. Taylor has done it again.
2. Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster Review
- Body Top: Solid A Sitka Spruce
- Back and Sides: Mahogany, Mahogany
- Neck: Mahogany, Modern ÒDeep CÓ
- Fingerboard: Ebony, 12Ó (241 mm)
When you first see the Acoustasonic Telecaster by Fender, you may be puzzled. It looks like a classic electric guitar body shape, but it has a soundhole. It has an electric pickup in the bridge, but an acoustic bridge? What is this thing??
It isn’t an acoustic guitar for the purist, but instead a guitar that will make you reconsider what an acoustic guitar can be.
Like many traditional acoustic guitars, the Acoustasonic Telecaster has a sitka spruce top and mahogany back, sides, and neck. The fingerboard is ebony, of which Fender picks very uniquely grained pieces of wood to give the guitar some extra flair.
The top wood is integrated with a forearm contour, similar to how Fender Stratocasters are contoured to make it feel comfortable. The neck isn’t lacquered, and the radius is pretty flat, making this guitar play like an electric.
The Acoustasonic comes with more electronics than pretty much any other acoustic guitar on the market, and even more than some electric guitars do. Yet, the guitar is set up to be player friendly and easy to figure out.
Fender partnered with Fishman Electronics to create the Fishman Acoustic Engine, which gives ten (you read that right: ten!) acoustic voicings. I won’t dive into all of the voicing here, as it would take too long, but you can hear them all explained here. The Acoustasonic Telecaster comes with a 5-way pickup selector with each position giving you two voices to blend via the mod knob on the guitar. By blending these voices you have practically infinite possibilities in tone voicings.
It also comes with a Fender Acoustasonic Noiseless magnetic pickup in the bridge to give you a traditional electric guitar tone. This is accessed in position 1 of the pickup selector.
The sound options are limitless with this guitar, making it an excellent option for guitarist who work in a cover band in need of many acoustic tones. The Acoustic Engine is incredibly convincing in its voicings, making it sound as good or better than any other plugged in acoustic guitar out there. The smaller body also makes it super resistant to feedback in a live setting.
Let’s not forget that this is a hollow body instrument. The soundhole was specifically designed to make the guitar resonate as much as possible for being a smaller bodied instrument. Though the unplugged sound isn’t the most inspiring, its quiet projection makes it a great option for late night songwriting.
- Body Material: Solid sitka spruce top/mahogany back and sides.
- Neck Material: Mahogany
- Fingerboard Material: Ebony
- Pickups: Fishman Acoustic Engine, combined with Fishman Under-saddle transducer, Fishman Acoustasonic Enhancer, Fender Acoustasonic Noiseless magnetic pickup.
- Bridge Material: Ebony
Final Thoughts on the Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster
The Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster gives you ten acoustic guitars for the price of one and it does so while delivering an instrument that feels genuine and fun to play. I’m really tempted to get one of these for myself as a working musician considering that it is so versatile. It is my opinion that this is the most revolutionary guitar Fender has delivered since the Fender Stratocaster in 1954.
3. Cordoba C12 CD Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar Review
- Solid Canadian cedar top with solid Indian rosewood back and sides
- Lattice braced top and raised ebony fingerboard for easy playability when accessing upper frets
- Stunning flamed maple wedge
- Hand inlaid Mother-of-Pearl "Esteso" Rosette
Cordoba’s C12 CD Acoustic Nylon String is an excellent option for those interested in taking their fingerstyle guitar playing to the next level. As part of the Luthier series, Cordoba makes an instrument of solid woods in a design meant for great playability and tone.
The C12 is available in either a Canadian cedar top or spruce top, both paired with Indian rosewood back and sides. It also features an eye-catching flamed maple wedge on the back. The guitar is built with Lattice bracing for solid structure and ample projection.
The neck is made of mahogany coupled with a raised ebony fretboard, making grabbing the higher frets a little bit easier. To tie the whole guitar together, Cordoba luthiers hand inlay a Mother-of-Pearl “Esteso” weave rosette.
Like many classical guitars the Cordoba C12 is purely acoustic, so no electronics are involved here. It has an Indian rosewood bridge and maple binding. Both the nut and saddle are made of bone. Cordoba’s premium gold tuning machines are of a high quality and ensure constant tuning stability.
Perhaps the most notable point about the C12’s sound is its volume. This guitar projects loudly and clearly, which is a good thing for performing classical musicians. Whether you are performing solo or part of an ensemble, the C12 will allow your musical voice to be heard.
The solid woods used to make this guitar give you a nice balanced tone. The Indian rosewood back and sides give great low-end definition, along with clear high ends from the Canadian cedar top. This is all rounded out by the mahogany neck contributing balanced midrange. Your nylon strings will really sing on this instrument.
- Body Material: Canadian cedar top, Indian rosewood back/sides
- Neck Material: Mahogany
- Fingerboard Material: Ebony
- Pickups: None
- Bridge Material: Indian Rosewood
Final Thoughts on the Cordoba C12 CD Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar
The Cordoba C12 offers a beautifully crafted classical guitar at an attainable price point. Anyone who plans on playing classical music has to rely solely on the natural sound of the guitar, so the quality of instrument is of the utmost importance. Because of this, it is easy to spend thousand upon thousands on a good classical guitar. The Cordoba is made for players who can’t afford to spend five grand on a boutique instrument, but want a boutique sound and build.
4. Blueridge BR-180 Cutaway Review
- Solid Sitka spruce top with scalloped braces gives you clean articulation and a crisp tone
- Solid Santos rosewood back and sides guarantees deep bass and strong cutting power
- Slim mahogany neck offers fast, easy action and inherently long-lasting stability
- Abalone purfling, diamond volute behind the headstock, and snowflake position markers all give this the perfect vintage touch
If you’re wanting a vintage model guitar with modern playability improvements and intricate inlays out the wazoo, then look no further than the Blueridge BR-180 Cutaway. Whether you are songwriting in the studio or performing out live, the Blueridge BR-180 will allow you to keep post WWII guitar playing style alive without the need of spending tens of thousands of dollars.
Blueridge holds to a traditional American-inspired design starting with the body wood selection. It has a solid sitka spruce top with scalloped braces as well as solid santos rosewood back and sides. The wood selection is understated and beautiful, allowing for the abalone purfling to really stand out. Diamond volute behind the headstock makes for one of the most stunning and flaunting headstock designs I’ve ever seen. The cutaway design also makes for easy access to the higher frets.
The neck is made of a slim profile mahogany that is easy to move around on. More santos rosewood is used for the fingerboard with inlaid snowflake position markers. This neck is going to be durable and will contribute to the guitar’s rich tone.
Not only is this guitar stunning to look at, you can take it out gigging to show it off! The BR-180 comes stock with the Fishman Presys Blend pickup up system with an onboard tuner.
Vintage open back tuners are period correct and make sure your guitar stays in tune well. Every Blueridge guitar also comes with an exclusive padded gig bag that looks really dependable to my eye. I like that it offers some form of neck protection, which is the area at most risk of breaking.
I most enjoy this guitar for fingerpicking. I think the combination of the sparkling, slightly aged sounding high end from the sitka spruce and deep, cutting bass from the santos rosewood makes for a great sound under your fingers. It has a direct sound and noticeable note definition, so you can play complex melodies and still hear every aspect of the piece.
The Fishman system is also a reliable sounding pickup that will carry the guitar’s character through in a live setting. This guitar is ready to sound good wherever you take it.
- Body Material: Solid sitka spruce top, solid santos rosewood back/sides
- Neck Material: mahogany
- Fingerboard Material: Santos rosewood
- Pickups: Fishman Presys Blend
- Bridge Material: Santos rosewood
Final Thoughts on the Blueridge BR-180 Cutaway
The Blueridge BR-180 looks like an expertly crafted steel string guitar that stepped out of a time machine from the 1940’s from some expert luthier’s vault. It’s an amazing sounding instrument and it is apparent that the folks at Blueridge take their craft seriously and want to make quality instruments. My only warning would be to make sure you know how to play before getting this guitar, because people are going to be marveling in your general direction.
5. Martin DSS-17 Review
If the Blueridge BR-180 was a little too flashy for your taste, but you still want an American classic, the Martin has the guitar for you. The DSS-17 is a humble guitar that harks to the 1920’s and 30’s with modern build quality that makes it worth every penny.
Underneath the whiskey sunset finish is a spruce top and mahogany back/sides. This guitar has a dreadnought slope shoulder design, meaning that it has a larger width combined with a deeper bottom and thinner top. All of this is held together with scalloped bracing and an antique white binding. The neck is made of hardwood paired with a rosewood fingerboard.
The DSS-17 is for anyone who wants a straight-forward acoustic guitar. No electronics here. This is something that I actually quite like. The aesthetic of the guitar wouldn’t be right if it had electronics in it.
The bridge is also made of rosewood. Keeping it in tune are a set of nickel relic tuners that remind me of a simpler time. They serve their purpose very well.
The DSS-17 is one of my favorite sounding acoustic guitars out there. To my ear, the mahogany back and sides really lend to a dark, mid-range focused tone that I really enjoy. This is a good guitar for anyone who likes to strum. Its ready to accompany you in your next country or bluegrass song. Be prepared to pay attention to your right hand, as this is a boomy and loud guitar if you dig into it.
- Body Material: Spruce top, mahogany back/sides
- Neck Material: Hardwood
- Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
- Pickups: None
- Bridge Material: Rosewood
Final Thoughts on the Martin DSS-17
It just wouldn’t be a “Best of Acoustic” list if Martin didn’t make an appearance. I think this guitar stands for everything that Martin is: American, Classic, Humble. There are guitars that are meant for gigging or taking on the road. There are also guitars that are meant to inspire you during the quieter moments. I think this guitar is meant to be there in those moments of creativity. This is a guitar that could become a lifelong friend in no-time.
Spending $2,000 on a Guitar Should Be Worth It
Buying an entry level guitar is easier than buying a high-end guitar. There’s less at risk, so to speak. Whenever I have bought an acoustic guitar under $500, I’m willing to make some compromises in specs or quality because I’m not having to choose between a guitar and my rent.
Buying a guitar between $1,500-$2,000 is a bigger deal though. When you start to look at buying a guitar in this price range, you should be getting exactly the guitar that you want.
What I find so cool about this price range is that there is so much variety. Guitar builders are geniuses that have devoted their life to making the perfect guitar. It was my goal in this article to show just how many different and high-quality options are out there to fit a wide variety of players. Take the time to do some soul searching and make sure you are going for the exact guitar you want if you are willing to spend this kind of cash.
You definitely need to do your research before buying an expensive instrument, but I can guarantee that all of the instruments listed above are worth more than the price tag attached to them.
Happy Guitar Hunting!
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Davis Wilton Bader is a professional guitarist/writer based out of St. Louis, MO. He plays in the bands Lumet and The Outskirts.