Guitar World Staff Picks: Paul Riario’s Top 5 Acoustic Guitars of 2011
During this holiday season, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked to recommend a good acoustic.
Considering that there are so many great acoustics to check out, it would be difficult for me to use this space to cover each one because they are available at just about every price point, so the question actually becomes, “Well, how much are you willing to spend?”
Additionally, acoustics come in so many different body styles (dreadnought, jumbo, concert, parlor, etc.,) that you’ll have to try them all out to see which of those is most comfortable for you and, not to mention, whether you want that with a cutaway or with electronics!
I always say, money shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to finding that perfect guitar because you always want to be inspired to pick it up. With that in mind, what I will do is reveal the top five acoustics I’ve come across this past year. So fret not: Some of the ones below are affordable while others you’ll have to stretch that wallet a bit.
Paul Riario on Paul Riario: I try very hard to remain under the radar, despite being on camera as gear editor at Guitar World, but in this age of social media, it was only a matter of time before it had to come to this. So with that, I will make my blog painless and a quick and easy read so you can get on to more important things like practicing guitar and sweep picking, or if you’re like me, getting tiger blood transfusions and figuring out how to be Olivia Wilde’s boy toy. I will use this blog to inform you of things I find cool; like new gear I’m playing through and what I’m watching, reading or listening to at any given moment. So feel free to ask me anything that’s gear related — or if you have a problem with your girlfriend, ya know, life lesson stuff, I’m pretty good at that too — and I’ll do my best to answer or address it here.
05. Bedell OH-12-G
Bedell is sort of the new kid on the acoustic block, but they’ve made an impression among players with their line of handcrafted, solid wood acoustic guitars. The OH-12-G is a parlor-sized acoustic made with premium African sapele wood for its body and top, African mahogany for its neck and African ebony for its fingerboard. It’s an elegant instrument that’s not as expensive as you'd think and sounds incredible for fingerstyle playing.
04. Yamaha A Series A1M (this slide) and A3R (next slide)
Everyone’s first acoustic was a Yamaha. Yamaha wants to maintain that position but also make it your first performance acoustic as well. Enter the A Series A1M and A3R; part of eight models in the series, all of which come with electronic options in addition to having great setups. I love the A3R; the rosewood back and sides make it sound warm and full-bodied. See the next slide for a photo of the A3R.
04 (Continued). Yamaha A3R
See the last slide for info.
03. Epiphone Dave Navarro “Jane” Acoustic Electric
I love acoustics with black finishes, and the “Jane” really hits the spot sonically too. With a solid mahogany body, mahogany back and sides, and mahogany neck, this dark-sounding acoustic is a real performer at under $600. It comes with eSonic/Shadow electronics for live applications and its slim taper neck design along with the cutaway facilitates ease of playing for long hours.
02. Taylor Baritone 8-string
This is an eclectic choice for me, but I will impart to you what the folks at Taylor told me: “Just play it.” This baritone is an original design, and I can guarantee you’ll get lost in the beauty of its sound. It’s tuned from B to B, with a 27” scale and 8 strings with added octave strings to the two middle strings, and Taylor’s Expression system electronics. If you’re looking for an inspiring alternative to a typical acoustic, this is it.
01. ESP Guitars LTD Xtone AC-30EQM
If you’re primarily an electric guitar player, the transition to playing the AC30E will feel effortless. This electric-acoustic comes equipped with a gorgeous quilted maple top, cutaway, B-Band electronics, jumbo frets, extremely comfortable slim neck design and plays and sounds like acoustics far above its price. Did I mention it streets for under $400?