It often seems as though we live in a new golden age of acoustic guitars - the likes of Martin and Gibson are building superb homages to their most loved vintage models, Taylor and Lowden are pushing the envelope of guitar design with incredible results, and home-grown brands like Maton and Cole Clark are building some of their best instruments of all time. But how about at the entry-level end of the spectrum?
Affordable guitars are simply better now than they've ever been. The one-inch action and razor sharp frets that were common to beginners instruments just a few decades ago are harder to find, and it's now much easier to find an inspiring and playable guitar that can hold it's own against the pricier brands. So we put it to our staff: What's your favourite guitar under $1000AUD?
Ryan - Manager
It's an open secret that Eastman build ridiculously good guitars for not a lot of money, which makes it hard to pick out just one. But there's something extra special about the E1 OM- an all-solid, Sitka spruce and mahogany small body guitar that bears more than a passing resemblance to the utterly classic Martin 000-18. Not that it's a slavish recreation - the Eastman has an ultra-thin, vintage-vibe satin finish an airier, drier tone that suits just about any style.
Dan - Social Media and Sales
Simply put, I think the Alvarez MD60BG is the best guitar priced under $1,000 that I have ever heard! If you close your eyes and play it, you'd swear it was a Martin D-18V. Built from all-solid tonewoods and featuring forward-shifted scalloped bracing, this guitar could be twice the price and it would still be great value. The fact that it sells for $999 is simply amazing. Get on board the Alvarez MD60BG!
Nick - Repair TechI’ve been a lifelong obsessive of vintage instruments. Aside from the classics of the yesteryear, I’ve always been drawn to the oddball USA made Sears catalogue Harmony, Silvertone and Kay guitars and their unique sound and character. My favourite modern-day oddball is the Gretsch Gin Rickey. With its small compact parlour size, sleek look and crisp raunchy n’ honky tonk tone it rings true to ‘that’ classic sound of the 30’s right through the 60’s. Perfect for all players, all styles, at home, on the stage and in the studio. A great all-rounder for those chasing a great lil’ guitar that won't break the bank.
Ben - Repair Tech
These days there is a lot of choice if you’re wishing to buy a guitar under $1000. No longer do you have to spend a small fortune to get an instrument that sounds and just importantly plays great. I reckon I’d have to choose a Taylor GS Mini. At $899 they are just amazing tonally and play effortlessly. Everything you need and could ask for under a grand.
Dennis - Sales
The Katoh Alex is one of the most unique and fun nylon guitars I've played, hitting the trifecta of great sound, striking looks and excellent playability. It combines a body that is inspired by 19th century gut-string guitars, with narrower bouts that make it a joy to play for guitarists of all ages. What I love most about the Alex though is that despite its size, the sound is balanced and welcoming, with plenty of fullness across all registers, and a crisp and pleasing tone. It's equally suited for classical repertoire and folk songs, and I wouldn't hesitate to make it my go-to guitar whether it be in the living room or on the road.
Hamish - Sales
The decision for a guitar under $1000 for me was a pretty easy one - the Eastman AC122-1CE has it all for the money. All solid with a cutaway and pickup makes it a versatile workhorse. But above all (like all Eastmans) the tone is incredibly rich and sweet. The neck sits perfectly in my hand and is not as thin like many modern guitars. A joy to play and just a great value for money guitar.
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Dating back to the 1930's, was honed in the seedy bars of post-WWI Paris by travelling musicians, including the spectacularly talented Django Reinhardt - often thought of as one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.
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