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Best Gibson Acoustic Guitars Guide – A Legendary Brand

Best Gibson Acoustic Guitars Guide – A Legendary Brand

Gibson is one of those names that any guitarist will recognize instantly. It is one of the most legendary brands in the music universe, responsible for the creation of some of the most played instruments in the world.

It was founded in 1902 by Orville Gibson, and it started by manufacturing instruments in the mandolin family. Later, it invented archtop guitars and eventually started producing flat-top acoustic guitars, as well as the first hollow-body electric instruments.

Their most famous instruments are built in the USA and they are generally not cheap, especially if you start getting into Custom Shop territory, but those are formidable instruments.

However, some people in the guitar community also claim that there are some years of manufacturing in which there were some quality control issues that led to people getting their hands on instruments that did not meet Gibson’s expectations.

Even though some of the most popular guitars made by Gibson are electric instruments such as the Les Paul, SG, Firebird, and the Flying V, this article is going to focus on what got the whole company started – acoustic instruments.

We are going to take a look at some of the most unique acoustic guitars built by Gibson, and see what makes them such special instruments.

Over the course of this guide, you will be more familiarized with some of Gibson’s most successful acoustic designs, such as the Gibson J-45, Gibson Super 400, Gibson Hummingbird, and the Gibson L-00.

Related reads: Gibson J-45 vs Hummingbird & Gibson J-45 vs Martin D-28.

You will also see suggestions of guitars made by other brands that you might want to consider, for a similar price. Many artists that play and record on Gibsons also have a sweet spot for other acoustic guitars, such as Martins.

What are Some of the Main Features That You Can Find on Gibson Acoustic Guitars?

Gibson guitars

Made in the USA

If you have ever been browsing a guitar store for acoustic guitars made by Gibson, you probably noticed that they tend to carry a hefty price tag.

This is because they are all made in the United States of America, which directly implies a higher cost. Gibson has to pay some of the best luthiers in the world who work in the USA, which is much more expensive than having the instruments built overseas in countries such as China or Indonesia.

Quality Woods

Having world-class luthiers building guitars does not have a very big impact if the woods that they are working with do not do the job properly.

Gibson is known for using some of the best tonewoods available and selecting those that resonate the best in a guitar.

In their acoustic guitars, you can find all kinds of wood, such as mahogany, sitka spruce, maple, koa, ebony, among others. The more exclusive it is, the higher the price will be as well.

Original Designs

Gibson is responsible for bringing some of the most recognizable guitar designs to the music scene, and it has a very rich history surrounding the various instruments they have manufactured throughout the decades.

Many other successful brands have inspired themselves on some of the best Gibson designs to come up with their own models, it is undeniable that they have had a huge impact on the guitar world everywhere.

For example, the Gibson Super Jumbo 200 (SJ-200), released in 1937, had a body like no other guitar had back in the day. Its big, curvy shape caught the attention of the music industry back then, and it can still turn some heads more than half a century later!

Gibson Super Jumbo 200 (SJ-200)

Not only these designs are originally designed by a brand that boasts a legendary heritage, but you are also used to seeing them at the hands of almost every guitar legend that you have listened to. While playing the same brand won’t make you sound exactly the same, it is still one of the pieces of the puzzle.

Excellent Tone

You wouldn’t see so many world-renowned guitar players endorsing Gibsons and playing them all over the world if they were not a reliable source of quality tone.

Gibson guitars feature combinations of exotic woods that are carefully tested and matched to ensure that each guitar can perform beautifully in your hands, whether you are at home, in the studio, a small venue, or playing a stadium.

Not to say that you can’t get an amazing tone out of guitars made by other renowned builders, but when you play Gibson guitars, you are essentially using the same tool as many of your guitar idols have used for decades.

Who Are Gibson Acoustic Guitars Best Suited For?

When you buy an acoustic guitar from Gibson, you know that you are getting a premium instrument, as they do not focus on mid-range guitars for players on a moderate budget.

You might be tempted to get a Gibson after seeing one of your guitar idols playing it. Almost every famous guitarist has played a Gibson at some point in their career, and many swear by them as the best instruments they could have.

Aside from the stars associated with the brand, the guitars also have a solid reputation for their build quality, finishes, and tone.

Gibson was responsible for the invention of the archtop guitar, and their flat top acoustics were always one of the best options in the market for players of all genres.

Their decades of experience paired with some of the best tonewoods and components available culminate in a range of excellent instruments that could easily find their place in anyone’s collection.

If you want a reliable acoustic guitar that looks, feels, and sounds just as good in the studio as it does in a live performance, then you should definitely try out a Gibson the next time you have a chance.

Our Favorite Picks from Gibson Acoustic Guitars

This part of the guide is dedicated to presenting you with some of the finest options that Gibson has to offer in the acoustic guitar department.

Most of these guitars are not cheap, but you already know that if you’re planning to acquire an acoustic guitar from Gibson.

The sheer variety of shapes, tonewood combinations, and other features make for a diverse range of choices where you are bound to find something that looks and sounds the part for you.

Check below for some of the most interesting guitars from Gibson’s catalog of acoustic guitars:

Gibson J-45

Gibson J-45

The Gibson J-45 is without a doubt one of the company’s most well-known instruments for many reasons. It originally came out in 1942 and it has been one of the brand’s best sellers ever since.

Main Features

  • Body: Sitka spruce top with mahogany back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Shape: SlimTaper
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 24.75″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: L.R. Baggs soundhole pickup
  • Others: Mother-of-pearl dot inlays

Pros

  • Neck: The SlimTaper neck is one of Gibson’s most comfortable options for those guitarists who are used to playing electric guitar necks. It should feel fast and easy to play in any region of the neck.
  • Body design: The J-45’s small, compact body makes it a great guitar for easy transport and comfortable playing. Players who aren’t too fond of large bodies will find this guitar to be an excellent option.

Cons

  • No cutaway option: While this might not be an issue to anyone at all, if you’re a fan of the J-45 sound but want an acoustic guitar with a cutaway, you will need to find a different model, as this one doesn’t have that option.

Price

The Gibson J-45 can be found for a price of around $2800.

Gibson Hummingbird

Gibson Hummingbird

The Hummingbird is one of Gibson’s most unique designs. One look at its classic pickguard art and you instantly know what guitar it is.

Some of its most interesting features include its 50s’ rounded neck profile, slightly fatter than other models, which might appeal to players who are into bigger necks.

This guitar sounds good for lead and rhythm playing, strummed and fingerpicked. It is one of Gibson’s most historical models and it has an unmistakable sound.

Related: See how Hummingbird compares to Gibson Dove here.

Main Features

  • Body: Sitka spruce top with mahogany back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Shape: 50s’ rounded
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 24.75″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: L.R. Baggs soundhole pickup
  • Others: Traditional Hummingbird pickup art

Pros

  • Stunning design: This guitar looks amazing in every available finish option, and the custom pickguard design is one of the most unique features in Gibson’s acoustic range.
  • Balanced tone: The classic combination of sitka spruce with mahogany gives this guitar a sound that won’t disappoint you, regardless of the playing technique you choose to use.

Cons

  • Price: This is one of the most expensive models from Gibson’s catalog of acoustic guitars, which might put off some players that would rather spend less money on an acoustic.

Price

The Gibson Hummingbird is generally priced in the $4000 range.

Gibson Hummingbird Standard Acoustic-Electric Guitar | Guitar Center

The 2019 Hummingbird Standard acoustic/electric features the reliable combination of a mahogany body with Sitka spruce top and adds a gorgeous Vintage Cherry Sunburst gloss finish.

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Gibson Parlor Modern

Gibson Parlor Modern

The Gibson Parlor Modern is meant to be a smaller body guitar that does not compromise at all on tone. It features a cutaway and a slim body design that still delivers a huge sound and comfortable playing.

It is available in Antique Natural or in Light Cherry Burst finishes, and it comes with a hardshell case.

Main Features

  • Body: Sitka spruce with mahogany back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Shape: Advance Response neck
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 24.75″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: L.R. Baggs soundhole pickup
  • Others: Mother-of-pearl single parallelogram inlays

Pros

  • Body shape: If you enjoy playing smaller guitars in general, the Gibson Parlor Modern is probably one of your best options, since its compact design is aimed at being comfortable without compromising on tone.
  • Neck: The Advanced Response neck is a bit fatter than the SlimTaper neck, which should feel great to people who enjoy necks slightly on the chunkier side.

Cons

  • Strap button placement: While this might not bother some people at all, others might find it slightly inconvenient that the strap button is located where the output jack is.

Price

The Gibson Parlor Modern is typically sold for around $2000.

Gibson L-00 Standard

Gibson L-00 Standard

The L-00 is one of Gibson’s oldest guitars. It has been around since the 1930s, and since then it has found its way to the hands of many famous players.

It has a compact design, perfect for those who don’t like guitars with large bodies. It features an L.R. Baggs VTC pickup for easy control over volume and tone when you’re plugged in.

Main Features

  • Body: Sitka spruce with mahogany back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Shape: SlimTaper
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 24.75″
  • Frets: 19
  • Pickup: L.R. Baggs soundhole pickup
  • Others: Mother-of-pearl dot inlays

Pros

  • Legacy: Being one of the most historical models that Gibson ever released, this guitar carries value to those who have already listened to it countless times in various records and stages.
  • Soundhole pickup: The L.R. Baggs pickup installed in the guitar’s soundhole gives you a great degree of control over your volume and tone when you need to plug your guitar into an amplifier or PA system.

Cons

  • Nut width: A shorter nut width such as the one seen on the Gibson L-00 Standard gives you less space between the strings. This can feel a bit uncomfortable for players with bigger hands.
  • Price: Even though Gibson acoustics tend to be expensive, this one certainly is a notch above the average price, which could dissuade some players from getting it.

Price

The Gibson L-00 Standard is sold for a price of around $2800.

Gibson Generation Collection G-45

Gibson Generation Collection G-45

The Gibson Generation Collection G-45 is one of the most interesting options from their range of acoustic guitars at the moment.

It features a gorgeous striped ebony fingerboard and bridge, which look, feel, and sound amazing. It includes a Gibson Player Port side soundhole in case you’re planning to plug the guitar into an amp or PA system for performances.

This is a reliable and beautiful instrument that should last for a very long time.

Main Features

  • Body: Spruce with walnut back and sides
  • Neck: Utile
  • Neck Shape: Advance Response neck
  • Fretboard: Ebony
  • Bridge: Ebony
  • Scale Length: 24.75″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: Gibson Player Port side soundhole pickup
  • Others: Striped fingerboard

Pros

  • Looks: This guitar’s fretboard features striped ebony, which looks absolutely gorgeous. It gives it an exquisite look, and it also feels and sounds as you would expect.
  • Tonewoods: The Generation Collection G-45 features a combination of woods that isn’t seen on the majority of their models, but sounds great. It features a solid spruce top, walnut back, and sides, ebony fingerboard, and bridge.

Cons

  • Side soundhole pickup: Some players might not be too fond of Gibson’s choice of placing a soundhole in the side of the guitar, although it is supposed to allow you to listen to yourself better.

Price

The Gibson Generation Collection G-45 is sold for a price of around $1200.

Gibson J-185 EC Modern

Gibson J-185 EC Modern

This guitar is meant to be a slimmer, more compact version of the classic J-185. Despite not having a body as large as other models, this guitar still produces a strong, full-bodied sound that doesn’t lack treble, mids, or bass.

It is available in two finishes, Antique Natural and Rosewood Burst. Its Advanced Response neck ensures comfort when playing for several hours.

Main Features

  • Body: Sitka spruce with walnut back and sides
  • Neck: 2 piece maple neck
  • Neck Shape: Advance Response neck
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Bridge: Walnut
  • Scale Length: 24.75″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: L.R. Baggs Element under saddle pickup
  • Others: Slim body depth design

Pros

  • Soundhole pickup: The L.R. Baggs pickup installed in the guitar’s soundhole is extremely convenient when dialing your sound in a live setting.
  • Neck: The Advanced Response neck shape featured on this guitar feels comfortable regardless of the technique you use to play.

Cons

  • Price: Sold at around $2.5k, this guitar is fairly expensive, and some players might feel more inclined to invest on a more traditional styled guitar over this one.

Price

The Gibson J-185 EC Modern is usually priced at around $2500.

Gibson Dove Original

Gibson Dove Original Acoustic-Electric

The Gibson Dove is one of the main high-end guitars in their acoustic instruments catalog. Released during the 60s’, it has unique features such as its traditional pickguard design and a wood combination that you don’t see often.

It is almost a combination of two of Gibson’s most popular acoustic guitars, the SJ-200 and the Hummingbird. It is quite expensive though, so you will need a generous budget if you’re planning on getting one.

Main Features

  • Body: Sitka spruce with flamed maple back and sides
  • Neck: 3 piece maple
  • Neck Shape: Round
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Traditional Dove bridge
  • Scale Length: 25.5″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup: L.R. Baggs VTC undersaddle pickup
  • Others: Traditional Dove pickguard design

Pros

  • Looks: If you are a fan of flamed maple, this guitar will look amazing to you. The flame on the back and sides of the Dove is one of the most impressive details on a Gibson acoustic guitar.
  • Tone: The Dove has a balanced, full-bodied tone, characteristic of square shoulder dreadnought guitars.

Cons

  • Price: With a price tag of almost $5000, this is one of Gibson’s priciest acoustic guitars. Most of its buyers are people who are really into this model in particular. The majority of players will probably settle for a more affordable model that still provides excellent value for the amount of money it costs.

Price

The Gibson Dove Original is generally sold for around $4500.

Gibson Dove Original Acoustic-Electric Guitar | Guitar Center

The Gibson Dove Original's maple back and sides and long scale produce the crisp, clear tone and projection, while the square shoulder body adds balance and warmth. 

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Other Guitar Brands to Consider if You Like Gibson Guitars

Back when Gibson was founded, there were not many options if you were looking to acquire a new, quality acoustic guitar. Fortunately for everybody, this is not the case today, as there are many manufacturers offering superb instruments at a fair price.

In some cases, you could be making an excellent deal by purchasing from a brand that does not have the same “name effect” as Gibson does, since ultimately you are also paying for the name, regardless of how good the guitar is.

This section will show you some brands that are putting out great guitars. If you have been thinking about trying out an acoustic guitar by Gibson, you should also consider trying one from the following brands if you get the chance.

Collings Guitars

Collings Guitars

Collings started manufacturing guitars in 1973, and in a relatively short time, became one of the most well-known instruments for their quality of craftsmanship. Aside from acoustic guitars, they also craft electrics, mandolins, and ukeleles.

They do not build a lot of guitars every year and they are rather pricey, but you are guaranteed to have an instrument that will not let you down.

Their acoustic line features top-quality woods, stunning finishes and they sound just as good as they look. Here are a couple of models that might catch your attention:

Guild Guitars

Guild Guitars

Guild has been around for decades and makes excellent guitars in several price ranges, both electrics and acoustics. Some of their vintage acoustic guitars are well coveted by players, but their current models are also well worth it.

Check below for a couple of Guild acoustics that might interest you:

Martin Guitars

Martin Guitars

Martin guitars are some of the most highly regarded instruments as far as acoustics go. They have been in the industry since 1833, and the pre-war era guitars are some of the most expensive acoustics in the market today.

Many legendary musicians like David Gilmour and Eric Clapton swear by Martin guitars and use them regularly for studio sessions and live performances.

Here are some of the models for which Martin is best known for:

Martin GPC Acoustic-Electric Guitar | Guitar Center

The special X Series GPCX Grand Performance Acoustic-Electric Guitar has a powerful, rich tone, with all the sustain you have come to expect from a Martin guitar.

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Taylor Guitars

Taylor Guitars

Another brand that specializes in acoustic guitars, Taylor is a name that you see on stages everywhere in the world. They have a line of smaller sized guitars that sound great for their price, and premium models with top-of-the-line features.

Check out these guitars made by Taylor if you are in the market for an acoustic guitar:

Ovation Guitars

Ovation Guitars

Ovation Guitars have been around since 1966, and they focus on building acoustic guitars. Many stars have played them, like John Lennon, Roger Waters and Paul Simon.

They have a classic back design that is ovally shaped. Some players enjoy this feature while others do not like how it sits against the body.

Here are a couple of suggestions from Ovation Guitars:

Takamine Guitars

Takamine Guitars

Takamine Guitars are designed in Japan and manufactured in China, Korea and Japan. They are great instruments for their price, and a solid choice if you aren’t planning to spend a huge amount of money on a guitar. However, they also have pricier instruments with more premium features.

Check below for some examples of guitars made by Takamine:

PRS Guitars

PRS Guitars

It is safe to say that PRS Guitars are associated with electric guitars more often than acoustics. Guitars like the PRS Silver Sky and their single cut models can be seen everywhere. However, their knowledge and craftsmanship are equally noticeable in their acoustics.

Here are a couple of acoustic guitars by PRS that you might find interesting:

Fender Guitars

Fender Guitars

Although Fender has attained most of its reputation through its legendary guitars such as the Stratocaster and the Telecaster, and also through their range of amplifiers, they also manufacture excellent acoustic guitars.

They have several offers concerning body shapes, choice of tonewoods, and their combinations, finishes, among other features.

Before we go on, check out our full Fender vs Gibson comparison.

Here are a few suggestions of Fender acoustic guitars you might like:

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Gibson Guitars

Question: Who are Some of the Guitarists Who Play on Gibson Acoustic Guitars?

Answer: It is impossible to list all of the famous guitarists that ever picked up a Gibson, even if we narrow it down to acoustic guitars only.

This brand was present during the birth of rock & roll, and it seems safe to say that it has secured its place in history for a very long time.

Here are some of the guitarists that you might hear playing a Gibson acoustic guitar:

• Bruce Springsteen
• Tom Petty
• Bob Dylan
• Al Di Meola
• Neil Young
• Jimmy Page
• John Hiatt
• Lightnin’ Hopkins
• Duane Allman
• Eric Clapton

Question: What are Some of the Main Features that You Can Find on a Gibson Acoustic Guitar?

Answer: When you buy a Gibson acoustic guitar, you are acquiring a product in which you can see the results of decades of instrument building, improvements, and features that have been developed for years.

Gibson’s team of highly trained luthiers can still manufacture instruments that produce the legendary tones that we have grown used to hearing in our favorite records.

Among other features, you can expect to have quality tonewoods, superb craftmanship by the best luthiers in the USA, a strong, consistent, and balanced tone, and a classic-looking instrument that will never go out of fashion.

Question: What Other Brands are Good to Consider as Alternatives to a Gibson Acoustic Guitar?

Answer: Nowadays, there are lots of excellent brands in the market, with a variety of options where you are sure to find something that suits your style and taste.

Some of these brands are:

• Martin
• Taylor
• Takamine
• Ovation
• Collings
• Fender
• PRS
• D’Angelico

Question: What are Some of the Most Recognizable Gibson Acoustic Guitars?

Answer: Gibson has gone through many different phases regarding their guitar designs, and their acoustic offers were no exception. Over the decades, they built a catalog that varies in shapes and sizes but remains consistent in quality.

Here are some of its most recognizable instruments:

• Gibson L-00
• Gibson J-45
• Gibson Hummingbird
• Gibson SJ-200
• Gibson J-185
• Gibson The Dove
• Gibson J-29

Closing Considerations About Gibson Acoustic Guitars

Gibson acoustic guitars might come with a significant price tag, especially the vintage models. However, they are some of the finest instruments that money can buy, they look amazing, sound even better, and they retain their value as years go by, possibly even increasing in value depending on the instrument you have.

Gibson acoustic guitars are made in the USA by some of the finest luthiers on the planet, with decades of experience building some of the best guitars around.

Hundreds of legendary musicians have played Gibson guitars throughout their entire careers, both in the studio and in stages across the globe, making them instantly recognizable everywhere you go.

Models such as the J-45, the SJ-200, and the Hummingbird deliver classic tones that will not disappoint you, regardless of where you decide to use them.