What is the best acoustic guitar under $4000? (our TOP pick)
The Martin HD-28
While the Taylor 814ce might make a stronger case for someone wanting a concert body style, the Martin HD-28 is overall the best acoustic guitar in the $3000 to $4000 price range. If that's your tax bracket, the historical appeal and consistent quality standards of the Martin HD series are a safe bet and an easy top pick.
For this article we've isolated the price range to run between $3000 and $4000, just so we're not overloading your options with acoustic guitars that are too far beneath the $4000 salary cap. Once you're in this tax bracket you have several of the best acoustic guitar options money can buy, primarily from the following brands:
- Gibson (to a lesser extent)
Martin and Taylor acoustics absolutely dominate this price range, at least in the current market (this article was published November of 2022). Larivee and Breedlove have a few that show up, and of course there are other boutique brands that make guitars in this price range.
But from the well known acoustic guitar brands it's all about Martin and Taylor.
If you're targeting a different brand, this page isn't going to be very helpful to you.
Otherwise, we'll keep going.
Here are a few of the features we'd look for in this price range.
- All solid tonewood (front, back, and sides)
- Mostly (or entirely) hand-made without mass-production methods
- Preferably made in the United States or Canada
- Reputable brand
- If acoustic/electric, third party preamp and pickup system (preferably Fishman or LR Baggs)
Keep an eye out for these features if you deviate from our recommendations. If you trust us totally, all the better.
All our roundups and recommendations are based on opinion and should be understood in that context. Though keep in mind that all our writers are musicians and guitar players who have direct experience with these products and brands. We do not use ghost writers or any kind of article services. Also note that we support our site by linking to products, primarily on Sweetwater, where we might earn a commission at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase. Consider using our orange buttons to buy gear. Thank you for your continued support.
Compare Other Acoustic Guitars
We'll compare the Martin HD-28 to a few other acoustic guitars in the same price range. Of particular note would be the Taylor options. These are concert body style acoustics that are brighter and more pick friendly than the Martin dreadnoughts, which are known more for their warmth and strum friendly tone profile.
If you're after a concert body shape with a brighter resonance, the Taylors - particularly the 800 series - are going to be a better option.
Pricing for the Martin HD-28
The prices of most guitars in the HD series don't change as often as cheaper guitars. They tend to be more static and/consistent between retailers. However, this table will let you check that for sure and give you a good idea of where you might be able to find a deal.
Pricing current as of: Sun, January 29th, 2023.
Multiple Popular Vendors
Price Alert (lowest price among listed vendors)
Price History (lowest price among listed vendors)
Price History for Martin HD-28 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
|Current Price||$3,199.00||November 29, 2022|
|Highest Price||$3,199.00||July 6, 2022|
|Lowest Price||$3,199.00||July 6, 2022|
Last price changes
|$3,199.00||July 6, 2022|
Martin HD-28 Specs and Features
The Martin HD-28 is made of all solid tonewood, using Spruce for the top piece and East Indian Rosewood for the back and sides. Combine that with the way Martin does their X-bracing and you get a deep bass response with a uniquely strum-heavy tone profile.
C.R. Martin Sr. actually invented the X-bracing system back in 1845.
Read more: Martin acoustic guitar X-bracing
The full term for the HD-28's bracing is scalloped forward-shifted X-bracing.
As we mentioned, the body is a dreadnought shape which adds significantly to the warmth and strumming style we mentioned earlier.
It's important to note that Martin has left out a preamp and electronics in this guitar, partly to try and preserve a more natural tone. Other acoustics in the HD series take the same approach. So if you want to record with it, you'll need to have a decent mic on hand.
We'd recommend other acoustic guitars for live performances, but mic'ing an acoustic guitar in the studio is pretty straightforward.
Why you might want to go with a Taylor
If you do want to play plugged in, the Taylor 324ce and 814ce both have the Taylor Expression System (ES2).
While this isn't a third-party brand preamp like we mentioned, the ES2 is a decent system that has been used in Taylor acoustic guitars for a long time. Though controls are more limited with only a volume and a two-band EQ.
If you're looking for the option to plug in and you prefer the concert body style (I always have), you'll need to give Taylor acoustics more consideration.
Here's a quick summary of why Taylor might be a better option for you:
- Brighter tone profile
- More cutaway options
- Concert body style
- Comes with Elixir strings
- 814ce and 324ce have electronics
- Good for lead acoustic and finger picking
This is all a matter of preference and not quality. So only you can make the call between them. Again, Martin and Taylor are essentially your only two choices in this price range.
What type of acoustic guitars do the pros use?
Martin dreadnoughts are a common choice of the pros, and Taylor isn't too far behind. James Hetfield, Chris Martin, and Bob Dylan have all been seen playing the Martin HD-28.
Read more: Martin HD-28 artists on Equipboard
Other notable Martin artists include Eric Clapton and Dave Matthews.
For the Taylor 814ce, we've seen Tom Delonge, Brad Delson, and Myle Kennedy using this particular model.
Read more: Taylor 814ce artists on Equipboard
Once you get near $4000 for an acoustic guitar, you're breathing some rarified air and are firmly in the pro-level instrument market.
Best-high end acoustic guitar brands
As I've mentioned several times, the big players here are Taylor and Martin, but there are a few others that we can keep our eye on.
Here's a more complete list:
All these manufacturers have a variety of pricing tiers.
Even Taylor and Martin, which started out as very high-end brands without economy options, now have a large inventory of budget-friendly acoustic lines. So as much as other brands might try, it's nearly impossible to unseat Taylor or Martin from their perch, especially in the high-end price range.
As Barney Fife would say - when you learn somethin' ya learn it.
Martin and Taylor have learned it quite well.
How to buy an acoustic guitar under $4000
There are a few options to consider when you're deciding where to buy your fairly expensive acoustic guitar.
The first consideration:
There are advantages to both, which are pretty clear. Used will get you a cheaper guitar, though you need to pay attention to the year model. For example, you might get a Martin HD-28 that was released in 2018.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing - just something to keep in mind.
New guitars come with a warranty and usually a timeframe of customer support, particularly if you buy from a place like Sweetwater.
Reverb is our top recommendation if you're buying used.
The best way to find your options is to browse to a retailer website that you prefer, go to the acoustic guitar category, see if they have a "view all" option, then filter by a price range like $3000 to $4000.
How exactly this is set up will depending on the retailer you're using.
Should I spend less?
If you can afford a $4000 acoustic guitar, you might as well go for it. I've found that the nicer guitars are priced higher for a reason. People fuss about cheap guitars being "just as good" as these higher-priced instruments, and I think that's absolutely ridiculous.
So if you're thinking of going down to sub-$1000 territory, I wouldn't recommend that.
But if you're thinking $2500 or so, perhaps for a different brand, that's pretty much up to you.
For what it's worth, I would never advise financing a guitar.
You can buy a lot of guitar for $4000.
There just isn't a lot of variety when it comes to brands.
If you want a wider range of brands to choose from, drop down around the $2500 to $3000 range.
In either case you're getting an acoustic that's firmly in the high-end quality tier that isn't going to have any weak spots. Remember to check on solid tonewood and to pay attention to the electronics situation, depending on what you prefer.
If you have any questions, jump into the comments section below.
We'll try and help as much as we can.