This is a pretty simple list that curates acoustic guitars with an offset sound hole, which simply means the primary sound hole is moved off the center of the guitar to a different location on the guitar's body. Most acoustic guitars place the sound hole right in the middle of the body, underneath the strings.
Here's an example of what you're used to seeing:
But the acoustic guitars we've highlighted in this list have moved the sound hole to a different spot, usually the top of the lower bout, like in this example:
This creates a slightly different tone and a significantly different aesthetic. For those looking for an acoustic guitar with an offset sound hole, this list is a curation of all the most popular options we could find, from a range of manufacturers.
Acoustic Guitars with Offset Sound holes (full list)
In this list we've included guitars from the best-selling brands, though we also recognize there are likely some models we've missed, perhaps from boutique acoustic guitar brands that fly more under the radar. If you know of an acoustic guitar with an offset sound hole that you think should be included in this list, drop us a note in the comments section below and we'll check it out.
- Journey Instruments OF660M Overhead Carbon Fiber
- Washburn Festival EACT42S
- Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus CE44P-FKOA
- Ovation Celebrity Elite Super Shallow
- ESP LTD TL-6FM
- ESP LTD TL-6
- Gretsch G5031FT Rancher
- Ovation Adamas GT Cutaway
- Ovation Adamas MD80
- Michael Kelly Triad Port
- Michael Kelly Forte Port X
- LAVA ME 2
- McPherson Touring Acoustic
As you can see, the brands that carry these guitars vary pretty widely, though Journey Instruments, Michael Kelly, McPherson (they're really expensive) and Ovation were the four most common options we noticed.
What does an offset sound hole do?
The difference in an acoustic guitar with an offset sound hole is primarily aesthetic and a matter of preference. In the guitars we've tested - particularly the Ovation Celebrity acoustics - we didn't notice a dramatic change in tone from acoustic guitars where the sound hole is centered.
Does it sound different?
You might notice more of a dampening of your tone and perhaps less natural volume, but the distinction is going to be minor.
With that in view, an offset sound hole will certainly change the look of the guitar.
And if you want to get into more of the specifics about how tone would change, Ted in the comments section does a great job of breaking down some of the possibilities. It's a moving target, and I think to most people's ear the difference will be subtle, but there's a lot of information here if you want to get more specific.
Should I just go with a regular acoustic guitar?
Restricting yourself to acoustic guitars with an offset sound hole does dramatically reduce your options. If that's a feature that's important to you, there's nothing wrong with buying accordingly. However, we'd recommend opening up to other options if the list here isn't big enough to find something you want.
While this list is not exhaustive and there are likely additional options, it's still just a very limited pool to draw from.
For those interested in expanding their search:
Read more: Best acoustic guitars overall
Some of these acoustic guitars are from what we'd consider boutique companies and are made as specialty instruments. This means they'll tend to cost more, particularly the Michael Kelly and McPherson acoustic guitars.
Is it worth the added expense to get an acoustic guitar with an offset sound hole?
Since this is strictly an issue of preference - and not quality - only you can answer that question for yourself.
Note that the Ovation and Journey Instruments acoustics tend to be cheaper, retailing in the $500 to $700 range while the other guitars are likely to be more expensive. Washburn and ESP LTD, while they have fewer offset options, will also fall in this price range. So it's possible to find something for a variety of budgets.
Your Questions and Adding to this List
If you have questions about the acoustic guitars we've listed, feel free to drop those in the comments section below.
Also feel free to mention acoustic guitars with an offset sound hole that you think would make a good addition to this list. The list is not exhaustive, but we intend to add to it over time, so feel free to chime in and if we add your suggestion to the list, we'll give you an update credit at the top of this page.
We'll see you there.