Unplugged bang for your buck
Acoustic guitars are wonderful things. As great as it is to plug in an electric through an amp and let rip, there’s still something magical about picking up an oversized piece of wood and letting its natural tones ring out. Their beauty lies in their simplicity; acoustic guitar design has changed very little (if at all) over the years and players still flock towards them as a songwriting or performance tool. Here’s a look at a few of the best acoustics for under £250.
The original Hummingbird guitar was released in the 1960s, and attracted praise (and use) from players like Keith Richards, Noel Gallagher and Sheryl Crow, who loved its unique visual styling and rich, warm tone. The newer model from Epiphone retains those classic looks but incorporates a modern, and fully featured, electronics system so you can plug it in and fill a room with those glorious sounds.
Farida is making big waves in the guitar world, on account of the super-high quality of its products. You simply won’t find better pound-for-pound guitars at the same prices. So their entry-level dreadnought, the D8-X OP has a lot to live up to. Thankfully, it delivers in spades. If you’re searching for your first acoustic, or are an electric player looking for options, then this one is worthy of further investigation. It manages to pack in all the good bits of a budget acoustic, without the dreaded cheese-wire playing action too so your fingers will thank you for checking it out.
While it won’t win any prizes for having a memorable name, you certainly won’t forget the way this guitar looks. Perhaps drawing on Ibanez’ traditional heritage as makers of high quality rock and metal orientated guitars, this unique looking electro will make you stand out in a crowd.
This fine effort from Marina, part of the Farida brand, is a slightly larger auditorium style guitar. The bigger body shape enables it to project its sound further, making it perfect for solo artists or those who need to stand out in a mix. While Marina and Farida guitars may go under the radar slightly, compared to the more established brands, their build quality and tonal excellence means they are gaining fans quickly.
One from left-field here, as Fender incorporates elements of both acoustic and electric guitar design into one attractive package. The Sonoran Mini features a familiar looking Strat-style headstock, as well as some interesting visual elements such as a Viking bridge and checkerboard rosette to make a great choice for anyone used to playing an electric who fancies dipping their toe into the world of unplugged music. The range also comes with a handy gig bag to keep it safe whilst you’re travelling the globe with this thing at your side..
What list of acoustics would be complete without a 12 string variant. 12-ers provide a much richer, more resonant sound which is perfect for a number of different musical styles. This Epiphone is well made, has the classic dreadnought look and will provide plenty of inspiration for your playing.
Another parlour style guitar, this time from Gretsch. Owned by Fender, Gretsch pitches itself squarely at the bluesy, rootsy crowd, and this guitar is the perfect guitar to meet the needs of players from those genres. As well as being a well made, great sounding guitar, it also looks like something you’d find left on a porch in Louisiana so for that alone its got to be worth a look.
Merida Trajan T5
Nylon string guitars feature slightly wider necks, shorter scale lengths and yep, nylon strings. You’ll tend to find these guitars favoured by Spanish-style flamenco players, so if you are partial to a bit of cha-cha-cha then this great, thinline example from Merida would be perfect for you.