In a 2006 article in UK newspaper The Independent, guitar expert Paul Alcantara picked his ten-best acoustic guitars. They are listed in order of retail price:
- Collings SJ, £3200 - BEST LUXURY BUY
- Santa Cruz F model, £2900
- Gibson SJ-200, £2700
- Bourgeois Vintage OM, £2395
- Guild F412, £2400
- Taylor 712. £2350
- Martin Standard Series D-18, £1500 - BEST BUY
- Takamine AN10, £660
- Tacoma C1C Chief Series, £640
- Epiphone Hummingbird, £390 - BEST BUDGET BUY
He does not say how he arrived at his choices, but there are some great guitars in the list. Here's what he had to say about his three picks of the bunch:
Built in Austin, Texas, Collings Guitars set the standard by which other acoustics are judged. Based on the 1950s Gibson, the S J (for Small Jumbo) boasts a highly figured, curly maple body and neck and select spruce top. The mother-of-pearl Collings logo and gold Schaller tuners add a touch of luxury. It has a warm, round bottom end, clean bright trebles and superb tonal balance. Lyle Lovett favours the brand.
Having contributed more to the evolution of the steel-string guitar than any other firm, Martin has seen its designs copied by almost every other manufacturer. Introduced in 1932, the Dreadnought is still the company's most popular model, accounting for around 80 per cent of annual production. Most acoustic manufacturers now offer a Dreadnought-sized guitar, (with a body style larger and deeper than most guitars) but, for many, only an original J will do.
If you're not ready to spring for a Gibson SJ-200 but crave an eyecatching acoustic that's guaranteed to make you stand out from the crowd, look no further than the Epiphone Hummingbird. A copy of an up-market Gibson acoustic, the Hummingbird has a mahogany body, set mahogany neck and solid spruce top and offers sterling acoustic tones. And its split parallelogram fingerboard inlays and engraved pickguard lend it a retro feel.