Best mid-range acoustic guitars

21st Nov 2012 | 09:30

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Our pick of the bunch between £500 (that's around $790) and £1000 ($1590)

So, you want to buy an acoustic guitar?

We've plucked the best guitars we've reviewed over the last three years to show you the very best of what's out there.

We've already looked at budget instruments, and now we're moving on to the mid-range - that's guitars priced between £500 (that's around $790) and £1000 ($1590).

How did we choose these guitars?

Every guitar in this guide has been reviewed within the last three years and has gained a minimum of a 4.5 star rating. That means we feel their build quality, sound, playability and value for money are not in question at their relative price points.

Scale length

A guitar’s scale length is important because it has a direct effect on the tension of the strings and therefore how the instrument feels to play: the longer the scale length, the higher the tension of the strings for a given pitch.

In terms of tone, all things being equal (which they rarely are!) a longer-scale-length guitar will tend to have more pronounced string separation and clarity to single notes; compare a Martin 000-28 with an OM-21 for example. To measure a scale length, measure from the inside edge of the nut to the centre of the 12th fret, then double it.

Nut widths

We’ve quoted the nut widths for every guitar, as it’s a significant factor in playability. To the right are common widths in both metric and imperial sizes – different makers use different units. You’ll be amazed how different a millimetre or two across the nut can feel!

A note on prices

The prices we’ve quoted are the manufacturers’ suggested retail prices, correct at the time of the original review. Some official SRPs will have gone up slightly, while many advertised/web prices from retailers will be lower.

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Yamaha CPX700II
£515/$820 (approx.)

The CPX700II keeps the standard high.

TYPE: Mini-jumbo electro-acoustic
TOP:
Solid spruce
BACK/SIDES:
Laminated nato
NUT/SCALE:
43/650

We said: "An easy-handling general-purpose electro and, with some user familiarisation, its ART system can do a fine job.

Full Yamaha CPX700II review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Vintage V1800N
£579/$920 (approx.)

Folk-like sonic versatility and classy looks means that this Vintage turns a parlour trick with aplomb

TYPE: Parlour-size acoustic
TOP: Solid spruce
BACK/SIDES: Solid mahogany
NUT/SCALE: 43/650

We said: The guitar is generously voiced, and the tone eschews the typical parlour, middly brashness for a purer, warmer sound.

Full Vintage V1800N review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Martin DX1KAE
£599/$955 (approx.)

The entry-level X Series has gone electro

TYPE: Dreadnought electro-acoustic
TOP:
Solid spruce
BACK/SIDES:
Koa pattern HPL
NUT/SCALE:
42.5/645

We said: A generous upgrade that makes Martin’s X even more of a snip, with excellent sounds

Full Martin DX1KAE review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Yamaha A1M
£599/$955 (approx.)

Proof that Yamaha sure knows how to build a fine and affordable quality dreadnought electro

TYPE: Dreadnought electro-acoustic
TOP: Solid Sitka spruce
BACK/SIDES: Laminated mahogany
NUT/SCALE: 43/650

We said: Whichever route you take, and whether you go for a dreadnought or a concert, you'll find these new A Series are well-sorted instruments, built to Yamaha's usual high standards, sounding good and playing well.

Full Yamaha A1M review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Guild D-125-12
£634/$1009 (approx)

Delightful, janglesome 12 that’s bang on the money at this impressive price

TYPE: 12-string dreadnought acoustic
TOP: Solid mahogany
BACK/SIDES: Solid mahogany
NUT/SCALE: 47.5/650

We said: The D-125-12 is, simply, a wow, not just for being a great, easy-playing 12-string but for its extremely keen price.

Full Guild D-125-12 review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Recording King ROS-626
£640/$1020 (approx.)

Convincing sound with discreet period trim makes this a tasteful, largely faithful vintage 000 re-creation.

TYPE: 000-size acoustic
TOP: Solid Sitka spruce
BACK/SIDES: Solid mahogany
NUT/SCALE: 47/645

We said: The standard of construction and presentation is commendably good, with very few cosmetic aspects that are below par. Indeed, taking its cue from the illustrious original upon which it's based, the trim and finery displays excellent taste and convey the vintage aura intended.

Full Recording King ROS-626 review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Blueridge BG-140
£669/$1065 (approx.)

A sunburst, all-solid J-45-style acoustic for this price? It’s a winner

TYPE: Slope shoulder dreadnought
TOP: Solid Sitka spruce top
BACK/SIDES: Solid mahogany
NUT/SCALE: 43/629

We said: Taking its cue from the illustrious originals upon which it's based, the trim and finery on each displays excellent taste, and conveys the vintage aura intended. Value for money isn't an issue either, and don't forget that a case is included in the price.

Full Blueridge BG-140 review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Yamaha LLX6A
£685/$1090 (approx.)

A lot of guitar for the money, offering lovely, supple unplugged tones.

TYPE: Dreadnought electro
TOP: Solid Engelman spruce
BACK/SIDES: Laminated rosewood
NUT/SCALE: 44/650

We said: The LLX6A marries rich tones and a boutique, old-school Gibson-ish vibe all at a very reasonable price. Definitely a class act.

Full Yamaha LLX6A review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Faith Eclipse Venus
£689/$1095 (approx.)

An exciting new package of electronics loaded into what was already an impressive electro-acoustic

TYPE: Auditorium size
TOP: Solid Engelmann spruce
BACK/SIDES: Solid mahogany
NUT/SCALE: 45/648

We said: As a package, there are two ways of looking at this. Either take the view that the popular Eclipse range of electros now has the added bonus of a stereo preamp - at no extra cost - or focus on the stereo capabilities and let the crazy stuff begin! You choose.

Full Faith Eclipse Venus review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Faith Neptune Trembesi
£699/$1110 (approx.)

New body style, new tonewood: it’s not a leap of, er, faith to enjoy this successful partnership

TYPE: Small jumbo electro-acoustic
TOP: Solid Engelmann
BACK/SIDES: Solid trembesi
NUT/SCALE: 42.5/650

We said: It really is a very desirable, great- playing, well-priced guitar, built to a high standard. In a series context, the Trembesis look to be a significant addition to Faith's already strong, high-value brand image.

Full Faith Neptune Trembesi review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Lag T400J12CE
£699/$1110 (approx.)

Performing well both acoustically and amplified, the T400 is a real find – test drive one soon!

TYPE: 12-string jumbo electro
TOP: Solid Sitka spruce
BACK/SIDES: Laminated rosewood
NUT/SCALE: 48/650

We said: The Studio Lag Plus system is an enjoyable experience: all the presets offer excellent tonal choices and, when coupled with its excellent acoustic tone, the T400 truly has a lot to offer.

Full Lag T400J12CE review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Yamaha APX1000
£778/$1240 (approx.)

This sets a value challenge for other guitar makers offering microphone-imaging technology

TYPE: Medium-bodied electro
TOP: Solid spruce
BACK/SIDES: Laminated maple
NUT/SCALE: 43/650

We said: Yamaha has unequivocally moved things along nicely with the APX1000. It's a definite hit, not just as a fingerstyle-accommodating, stage all-rounder, but also for its high-quality powered versatility at a price that other manufacturers offering mic-imaging blender systems have yet to achieve.

Full Yamaha APX1000 review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Larrivée L-02
£799/$1270 (approx.)

How can you look a gift horse in the mouth? Time to flash the cash on this acoustic winner

TYPE: Grand Auditorium sixed
TOP: Solid Sitka spruce
BACK/SIDES: Solid sapele
NUT/SCALE: 44.5/648

We said: As an acoustic of dreadnought/small-jumbo proportions, the L-02 definitely does not disappoint. Volume and projection are sturdy, cross-string definition is clear and balanced, and though the attack sounds slightly taut the follow-through dynamics are supple and responsive, as is the sustain.

Full Larrivée L-02 review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Martin DRS1
£809/$1290 (approx.)

An excellent all-round performer, offering unbeatable dreadnought value for money at this price point

TYPE: Dreadnought electro-acoustic
TOP: Solid sapele
BACK/SIDES: Solid sapele
NUT/SCALE: 43/645

We said: While enjoying the strident output of the DRS1, we had to keep reminding ourselves that this Martin electro - which comes complete with a 300 series hard shell case - an MSRP of only £800, cheaper on the street. In terms of sheer value for money, not least with that iconic name on the headstock, the DRS1 is going to take some beating.

Full Martin DRS1 review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Guild F-130CE
£850/$1350 (approx.)

Desirable mid-size all-rounder electro sure to attract many takers

TYPE: OM-Style electro-acoustic
TOP: Solid Spruce
BACK/SIDES: Solid mahogany
NUT/SCALE: 44.5/650

We said: The acoustic delivery is OM-like, with clear, precise articulation, an open-toned, sustainful blend of warmth and brightness and commendably good dynamics for the body size.

Full Guild F-130CE review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Tanglewood TW15H-E
£859/$1365 (approx.)

A picker-friendly dread with winning sounds and high-end looks to match

TYPE: Dreadnought electro acoustic
TOP: Solid spruce
BACK/SIDES: Solid mahogany
NUT/SCALE: 44.5/650

We said: In short, this guitar greatly impresses for its enthusiastic dynamics and projection. The Presys Blend is very capable and adaptable, and it's an excellent instrument for fingerstyle courtesy of its wider neck and string spacing.

Full Tanglewood TW15H-E review

Best mid-range acoustic guitars
Yamaha AC3R
£889/$1415 (approx.)

This grade-A concert picker emphasises the all-round high standard of Yamaha’s A-Series models

TYPE: Concert-size electro-acoustic
TOP: Solid Sitka spruce
BACK/SIDES: Solid rosewood
NUT/SCALE: 43/650

We said: The AC3R has a crisp, piano-like attack and sustain, with excellent mid-range clarity and separation, and a very pleasing picker-friendly articulation. If all this sounds rather un-rosewood-like, be assured that the requisite low-end richness is present and correct.

Full Yamaha AC3R review

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