Best Acoustic Guitar for Strumming (our top pick)
Martin's high-end acoustic guitars, like the D28 and D35 series are some of the most iconic strumming acoustics of all time. But for a more accessible price tag, we're a big fan of the D-15M, which gives you a fantastic strumming dreadnought at a more manageable price tag.
For a strumming acoustic we'd recommend focusing on the following:
- The Martin brand
- Dreadnought body shape
As a general rule, the larger the acoustic body, the warmer and more "strum friendly" it will be. Thus, the dreadnought body is the traditional strumming acoustic guitar shape, while the concert or grand auditorium body style is a brighter acoustic, better known for lead style acoustic playing and fingerpicking.
That's a broad brush stroke, but we'd almost always recommend a dreadnought if you're after an acoustic that will primarily be used for strumming.
And it just so happens that Martin makes the best dreadnoughts.
So, as a general rule:
- Martins are better with the dreadnought body shape
- Taylors are better with the concert body shape
Let's take a closer look at the D-15M and some comparable options.
More acoustic guitars that are great for strumming
This comparison table includes some acoustic guitars that we like for strumming and are similar in price to the D-15M. You can use the compare buttons to see basic specs and live pricing updates.
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Epiphone Hummingbird Studio
Compare More Acoustic Guitars
You can search our database for more acoustic guitars to add to the comparison bar that pops up at the bottom of this page. We don't have everything, but we have a lot, and many of the most popular acoustics.
We have a list of acoustic guitar brands that we're familiar with and trust. These are brands with the most acoustics that we've played and tested, guitar-in-hand. Our list includes the following:
Read more: Best acoustic guitar brands
These are the brands we tend to focus on when making recommendations. From there, we gravitate towards guitars we've actually played, giving you a first-hand account and not just rehashed reviews.
All of our recommendations are from actual musicians that are familiar with the instrument market.
You can read more about our favorite acoustic guitars and criteria for evaluating on our parent acoustic page.
Read more: Best acoustic guitars overall
Martin D-15M Price Guide
This section has live pricing tables and resources for the D-15M. Note that the StreetMaster and left-handed versions are included here.
Prices updated on Wed, June 07th, 2023.
Price History for Martin D15M StreetMaster with Gigbag
|Current Price||$1,144.00||June 6, 2023|
|Highest Price||$1,599.00||May 2, 2023|
|Lowest Price||$1,144.00||May 23, 2023|
Last price changes
|$1,144.00||May 23, 2023|
|$1,599.00||May 2, 2023|
What about the StreetMaster version?
The StreetMaster version has a distressed look, which makes a significant aesthetic difference.
It also uses Katalox for the fingerboard, as opposed to solid Rosewood in the regular version. Both guitars are all solid Mahogany, so the difference in price is a little hard to pin down.
I would just buy which ever one you think looks better. The StreetMaster is pretty cool. I'll give 'em that.
Most of the features we like have already been mentioned, but here are a few specifics we want to make note of in an easy-to-read list. The tone and voicing are perfect for those wanting a strumming acoustic.
- All solid Mahogany gives you a rich and full tone
- Darker voicing than a Spruce top
- Solid Spruce bracing
- Solid Rosewood for fingerboard and even the bridge
- Sounds smooth and inviting with full, open chord progressions
- Very comfortable guitar for strumming
- No electronics
What type of wood is best for strumming?
Mahogany, as mentioned, tends to have a darker and warmer voice, which is why it's often used in electric guitars with dual humbuckers. We'd recommend having at least Mahogany back and sides, and preferably a Mahogany top, like the D-15M. Spruce is the other common top tonewood, which we see in a lot of Taylor acoustics.
How important is the size and shape of the guitar body for strumming?
While you can strum an acoustic guitar of just about any size, it's advisable to narrow in on a dreadnought body style acoustic. Dreadnought bodies are cut larger with a wider lower bout, and less of a waist. Generally speaking, the larger the body of an acoustic guitar, the more percussive and heavy the tone will be. For a good strumming acoustic, target normal-size, dreadnought acoustic guitars.
Ideal string gauge?
For strings, I'd recommend going a bit larger, in the .054 to .056 range, and preferably a coated string. Elixir or Martin Lifespans are both good options.
How much should I expect to spend?
Though pricing can certainly vary, we'd recommend planning to spend somewhere in the $800 to $1800 range. Of course, this depends heavily on your skill level and budget. Acoustic guitars in this price range tend to fall in the intermediate to advanced skill category.
Read more: Best acoustic guitars for intermediate players
Should I go acoustic-electric guitar or just acoustic?
As I mentioned, the D-15M does not have a pickup installed, so you would have to mic it to do any recording. Alternatively, you could add a removable acoustic pickup.
Read more: Best acoustic guitar pickups
But in terms of strumming, acoustics with or without a preamp can work. If you don't want/need the electronics, you can save some money by going with an acoustic-only guitar.
Some might argue that having the guitar intact would make a difference in tone quality (no hole for the preamp/pickup to sit in), but I think the difference from that is going to be pretty subtle.
Hopefully you've found this helpful.
Even if you don't like the Martin D-15M, you can take the information provided here and go find a more ideal acoustic guitar for strumming that works for you.
If you have questions about our recommendations, feel free to drop them in the comments section below. I answer every comment so I'll jump in and help directly, as best I can.
See you there.
Written by GC Editorial on Acoustics & Roundups
Written by Bobby Kittleberger on Acoustics & Roundups
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