Things are quite easy when you’re on an unlimited budget. All hi-end guitars offer exceptional quality, so it’s really hard to make a bad choice. Still, keep in mind that despite that all these guitars sound fantastic, they are also different in many ways. That’s why we’ve decided to make our list be the best high-end acoustic guitars, which includes some quite different products in various aspects.
First of all, it’s great to know that all these guitars are fantastic to play and you don’t have to worry about things like string action, ergonomics, and similar things. Getting used to these instruments is super easy. Of course, keep in mind different designs, though most hi-end instruments are dreadnought or Grand Auditorium guitars. To learn more about guitar body styles click here.
All high-end guitars sound great, but tonal characteristics are also quite different, considering that manufacturers like to use different tonewoods. Different woods are used for top, sides, and back, as well as for neck and fingerboard. Some of the most common tonewoods are spruce, rosewood, mahogany, ebony, koa, walnut, and more.
Here is a nice video that shows sound differences between mahogany and rosewood backs and sides:
Best High-End Acoustic Guitars
Taylor K14ce Builder S Edition
This is definitely one of the best Grand Auditorium acoustic guitars you can find on the market these days. With a nice combination of vintage and modern features, it meets the demands of a wide range of guitar players. One of the main reasons why people love this guitar is an impressive level of playability, thanks to excellent ergonomics and comfortable and fast neck. Of course, there is the company’s well-known V bracing, which is one of the main reasons why Taylor guitars stand out from the crowd. Also, we are talking about a single-cutaway layout, so all 20 frets are super-easy to reach.
As we are talking about high-end guitars, you may expect nothing less but exclusive tonewood combination. In this case, you may count on a quite typical Sitka spruce top, but also on quite exotic Koa back and sides. Add to this mahogany neck and African ebony fingerboard, and you get pretty unmistakable tone, which offers plenty of character, but remains transparent and balanced. This guitar comes with the company’s well-known ES2 electronics, which are some of the best units in the business, characterized by exceptional tone preservation and simplicity of use.
The overall build quality is at an impressive level, why we particularly like those “worn out” and other vintage details. One of the first things you’ll notice is the design of aged-gold Gotoh tuners, which look impressive but work even better. Also, there are numerous nice touches, “spring wine” inlays, subtle binding, and more.
- Gorgeous aesthetics
- Impressive comfort and ergonomics
- Hi-quality electronics
- Not cheap at all
The D-28 definitely needs no introduction, as we are talking about one of the household names in the world of acoustic guitars, a model that has been around for almost nine decades. Of course, the guitar evolved thought all these years and the latest iteration brings a couple of interesting upgrades, which make it even more impressive. Still, the overall layout remains the same and doesn’t go far away from the original, which many consider an ultimate dreadnought acoustic guitar, so we can say it definitely deserves its place in our list of best high-end acoustic guitars.
Among the latest upgrades, some of the most notable things are those in terms of base construction. For example, the new D-28 features forward-shifted bracing, which has a highly positive impact on mid-range tones. The neck profile has been revised too and now feels even more comfortable and playable. Finally, there is a wider nut, as well as a couple of aesthetical tweaks, but the overall design remains pretty authentic.
When it comes to sound characteristics, the D-28 combines pretty common tonewoods. So, you will find a Sitka spruce top in a combination with Indian rosewood. An ebony fingerboard also has some impact on the sound, but its main function is to provide smoother feel under fingers. The guitar sounds super-clean, while mids and highs really shine. Typically for vintage guitars, lows are nothing more than okay, so that could be one of the dealbreakers in the case of this guitar. All in all, it is a versatile guitar, which would work great for any music style.
- Legendary tone and feel
- Impressive mids and highs
- Clean and balanced tone
- Redesigned neck for better playability
- Lows aren’t that great
- No version with built-in electronics available
Prestige Legacy Koa
Four years ago, Prestige Guitars released a completely new series of acoustic guitars called Legacy. The series includes three versions, with different tonewood combinations. In our opinion, this one definitely stands out, because Koa has a pretty unique impact on the sound, while the visual aspect is also very interesting.
The whole body (top, back, and sides) is made from Hawaiian Koa, and that’s the reason why we like this guitar. This tonewood stands somewhere between maple and mahogany and one of the main characteristics is impressive clarity. Highs sound really sparkly, while mids are characterized by a pretty impressive sustain. Such combination guarantees a very balanced sound, while the OM layout makes the guitar also very comfortable to play. Also, it works great for every genre and music style, while players who prefer fingerpicking would find it really amazing as well.
Speaking of comfort, we really like that mahogany neck, which is slim, but not too much. So, the playing comfort is great, while we also like ebony fingerboard, which ensures a smooth feel under fingers. In a combination with a natural gloss finish, Koa top looks really amazing, while pearl inlays make everything look really upscale. So, if the visual aspect is also important to you, this guitar is definitely worth considering. The standard model doesn’t come with electronics, but you can opt for a well-working LR Baggs Anthem VT unit. Also, you may count on single bone nut and saddle, which have a highly positive impact on sustain and stability. Finally, Gotoh 510 (21:1) tuners do their job in a great way.
- Clean and balanced tone
- Attractive styling
- Works great for fingerpicking too
- You will have to pay extra if you need electronics
Most hi-end Taylor guitars cost a fortune but the 414ce-R brings legendary Taylor features in a more affordable price range. That’s why we can talk about a high-end guitar, despite that there are many models from this manufacturer that feature a significantly higher price. Simply, this is a quintessential Taylor, which comes with the company’s iconic bracing and all other features that made this manufacturer a household name in the business. Good enough for our list of best high-end acoustic guitars? Certainly.
The Grand Auditorium body style makes this guitar comfortable and well balanced, but the reason why it really stands out is the sound quality. Despite we are talking about a quite typical tonewood combination, which includes Sitka spruce top and rosewood back and sides, tonal characteristics are really impressive. The overall balance and clarity are amazing, though we have to say that the guitar is a little bit on a bright side. This is a pretty versatile guitar, which works great for both strumming and fingerpicking.
Like any other Grand Auditorium model from Taylor, this one is also super-comfortable to play. The neck is amazing, as well as the overall ergonomics. Of course, we are talking about a single-cutaway layout that ensures effortless reach to all frets. The guitar comes standard with Taylor’s well-known ES2 electronics, characterized by great tone preservation and easiness of use.
Visually, this guitar is quite simple and doesn’t feature too many shiny details. However, a combination of typical 400-series binding and impressive fit and finish make this guitar look really upscale.
- Loads of premium Taylor features at a reasonable price
- Impressive playability
- Intuitive and easy-to-use electronics
- Nothing special
For the end of our list, one uber-expensive instrument, the legendary D-42. Pretty much every guitarist who ever played this guitar will say that this is the finest instrument he/she has ever held in his/her hands, at least when it comes to dreadnought guitars. Despite that the overall design is relatively simple, the level of quality this guitar delivers is something you won’t find in any other place.
The overall look is pretty basic, but there are bindings all around, which clearly show this is a high-end instrument. The fit and finish on this guitar is something really special, while the thing we particularly like is that balance between vintage and modern this guitar delivers. On one side, you may count on a genuine prewar design, with the well-known X bracing, while the new mahogany neck ensures superior playing comfort.
When it comes to tonal characteristics, Sitka spruce top keeps everything perfectly balanced, while the premium rosewood you can find on back and sides makes mids and highs really shine. On the other side, the X bracing enhances bass tones and brings everything back into balance. Of course, you may count on hi-end features like ebony fingerboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle, golden tuners etc. As you may presume, a hardshell case is included in the price.
- Top-tier dreadnought guitar
- Exceptional build quality
- Premium tonewoods
- Perfectly balanced sound with lots of dynamics
- Really high price tag
As you can see, this list of best high-end acoustic guitars is full of exceptional instruments. It’s hard to go wrong with any of these five and we can say it all ends with personal preferences. Still, if we have to pick one of these, that would be Martin D-42. Simply, this is an ultimate acoustic guitar, with unparalleled tone and build quality.
Of course, a really high price tag will be a big obstacle to most players, so Martin D-28 seems like a great alternative. It is significantly cheaper but still features hi-end quality and tone that can impress anyone.