The best country guitars. From its humble southern origins in the 1920s to your modern-day ‘Country Gold’ Spotify playlist, country music has rarely been out of the spotlight.
This genre is to thank for countless legendary guitarists, including Hank Williams and Chet Atkins, while it has also spawned as many niche subgenres, such as rockabilly, outlaw country, and even the controversial ‘bro-country’.
Whatever style, country music has a rich sound, defined by many instruments – electric guitars, banjos, fiddles and harmonicas. However, it’s undoubtedly the acoustic guitar that remains the backbone of this timeless genre.
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To celebrate, we have put together a collection of our favorite acoustic guitars for country music. These acoustics span a range of price categories, although we have tried to keep them relatively affordable so everyone can enjoy.
Let’s see what’s on offer…
- [Top 7] Best Country Guitars of 2021 Reviews
- Why are Acoustic Guitars so Important for Country?
- What Makes a Good Acoustic Guitar for Country?
- What About Resonators?
- The Final Word
[Top 7] Best Country Guitars of 2021 Reviews
1. Epiphone EJ-200SCE
We kick off with the King of Flat Tops! Gibson’s J-200 is one of the most iconic acoustic guitars in the world and has graced countless country stages since its introduction in the 1930s.
However, we are selecting this Epiphone version for our chart, as the price is more suitable for the majority of guitarists. As mentioned in our full EJ-200CE review, the quality and tone on offer from this affordable guitar are excellent, while the style is faithful to the original.
It features a jumbo body with a solid spruce top, a choice of three lovely finishes, a vintage-style pickguard and classic mustache bridge. The hardware is just as impressive, with a flexible eSonic2 preamp and built-in tuner, along with gold Grover tuners.
2.Martin 16 Series D-16GT
You didn’t expect us to forget a Martin dreadnought, did you? While we were toying with the idea of including the Martin D-28 – favored by countless country musicians including Luther Perkins and Hank Williams – we instead opted for the more affordable D-16GT.
While cheaper than the D-28, this is still a higher-end acoustic, sporting a similar style. The D-16GT features a solid Sitka spruce top with solid mahogany used on the back and sides. It’s made in America, and the quality shows! The build is matched by a delightful tone – well-balanced with a big low end.
As we highlight in the full Martin D-16GT review, this acoustic features some quality appointments, such as chrome tuners, a white Tusq saddle and a hardshell case.
3.Epiphone Hummingbird Pro
Another country classic from Epiphone is the Hummingbird PRO, based on the original Gibson Hummingbird – a stage partner of many country artists, from Kid Rock to Sheryl Crow. This is an upgraded affordable electro-acoustic version, featuring the same body style and extroverted detailing.
With a vintage Faded Cherry Burst finish and that elaborately-decorated tortoiseshell pickguard, it’s a real eye-catcher. It’s more than just looks though. With a solid spruce top and comfortable SlimTaper D-shaped mahogany neck, it’s a real pleasure to play.
The hardware stands up to scrutiny, while the sound is big and bold – just what the modern country player wants. Check out our complete review of the Hummingbird PRO for all the details!
4. Breedlove Discovery Concerto
Breedlove Discovery Concerto
The Discovery Concerto from Oregon-based brand Breedlove is a unique guitar on this list. This is due to its modern ‘Concerto’ shape.
It boasts the hefty projection of a guitar sitting somewhere between a jumbo and dreadnought, while promising the comfort and playability of a concert model. This makes it an excellent choice for players with a smaller frame, or those who simply don’t like the heft of a jumbo.
The crisp tone is great for all styles of country playing – flatpicking, strumming and fingerstyle. This is largely down to the shape and the quality tonewoods. There’s a solid Sikta spruce top with okoume back and sides. Take a closer look at the Discovery Concerto for all the details.
5. Gretsch G5022CE Rancher
The G5022CE Rancher from Gretsch is an acoustic that just screams country! It’s instantly appealing for this genre, with its vibrant Savannah Sunset finish, neoclassical thumbnail inlays, ‘40s-style pickguard, and triangular sound hole we are accustomed to on the Rancher series.
The guitar itself is pretty solid, with a jumbo Venetian-cutaway body featuring a solid spruce top. The neck is comfortable to play, made from mahogany and capped with a 21-fret rosewood fretboard.
As for sound, it’s big and booming when unplugged, although just as good when amplified. Electronics come from Fishman with a built-in Isys III preamp system and simple onboard controls. Want more? The full G5022CE Rancher review has all the details!
6. Yamaha FG800
If you are looking for a quality country dreadnought at a price that anybody can afford, the respected FG800 from Yamaha is sure to impress.
Style-wise this is a simple guitar, with less of the decoration than some of the others on this list enjoy. Still, this guitar is built to perform and certainly succeeds – as we state in the complete breakdown of the FG800.
Highlights of this acoustic include a solid Sitka spruce top, sleek glossy finish, black and white multi-ply binding, and a rosewood fretboard. It plays very nicely with its satin-finished neck, while the tone is spectacular for a budget model – very loud and surprisingly well balanced. Great for beginners and experienced musicians alike.
7. Gretsch Rancher Falcon G5022CWFE-12
Last but not least, we have the G5022CWFE-12 Falcon from Gretsch’s excellent Rancher collection. Similar in style to other Ranchers, this one is a 12-string model – perfect for adding a little extra body to your country rhythm playing.
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The guitar itself is just gorgeous. With a jumbo body, it boasts a solid spruce top with laminated maple back and sides, all covered in a pristine white finish. Flashy appointments include the painted Falcon-style headstock, gold pickguard, and gold sparkle binding.
It’s more than a showoff though, with a satisfyingly rich tone, which is amplified through the versatile Fishman electronics. As always, there’s more on this guitar in the full G5022CWFE-12 Falcon review!
Why are Acoustic Guitars so Important for Country?
You’ll notice this article is solely dedicated to the acoustic guitar. That’s not to say that electric guitars aren’t important for country music. Quite the opposite in fact!
The electric guitar is usually one of the first things you hear in a famous country track. The unmistakable twang of a Telecaster adding finesse, melody and solos to so many country songs. You can’t beat it.
However, the acoustic guitar is the foundation of country music. It’s an extension of the drum and bass section, gluing together the rest of the band. While you may not always notice it immediately, you would notice if it wasn’t there.
The acoustic guitar can equally enjoy its time in the spotlight. You’ll find you can actually strip away the resonators, electric guitars, bass and drums to play any country song alone – just you and the guitar. For this reason, we feel it is the most important instrument in country music.
What Makes a Good Acoustic Guitar for Country?
Truth be told, if you handed Hank Williams any old acoustic guitar, he would probably be able to make some pretty sweet country music.
However, some guitars are better suited for country music than others. For starters, country is almost exclusively played on steel-string guitars – there’s not much room for the soft sound of nylon here!
Of course, if all you have is a classical guitar, then use it. But steel strings guitars offer the authentic twang and upbeat brightness that country music is best known for. If you are serious about country music, you’ll eventually need to buy a steel-string guitar.
As for designs, two guitar shapes jump out – dreadnoughts and jumbos. These two are the most often associated with country music. Gibson’s J-200 (a jumbo) is a true country icon, as is Martin’s D-28 (a dreadnought).
These two styles both offer big, bright sounds and great projection. They also handle heavy strumming with ease – the sound doesn’t break up, as there are high volume ceilings. This is why the majority of guitars in our chart are either jumbo or dreadnought in their design.
What About Resonators?
Hang on – what about resonators and lap steel? Surely we haven’t forgotten about these important country instruments?
We certainly have not. However, instead of trying to shoehorn these onto one page, we have a full article dedicated to the best resonators on the market. This is full of excellent resonator choices for country music, as well as a guide to this unique style of guitar playing.
The Final Word
There we have it – country acoustic guitars digested! We hope this article and the accompanying chart has given you a little insight into country guitars, and inspired you ahead of making a purchase.
The guitars in our chart are just a small selection of what’s out there. If you like the sound of a dreadnought or a jumbo, you’ll find several others that will be suitable for you in different price ranges. Now all you need to do is read some reviews, watch some videos and grab yourself a country music makin’ machine!
Category: Acoustic Guitars