12 essential UK instrumental guitar folk albums

British instrumental folk artists
(Image credit: David Redfern/Redferns; Jinn Woo; Frans Schellekens/Redferns)

While it’s not unusual for the bulk of instrumental acoustic guitar albums to be slotted into various American primitive sub-genres, there is also a wealth of British talent – new and established – that deserves as much attention. 

Here is our selection of just some of the finest sounds from the UK’s acoustic instrumental canon, including many albums from decades ago that continue to influence today.

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Glenn Kimpton

Glenn Kimpton is a freelance writer based in the west of England. His interest in English folk music came through players like Chris Wood and Martin Carthy, who also steered him towards alternate guitar tunings. From there, the solo acoustic instrumental genre, sometimes called American Primitive, became more important, with guitarists like Jack Rose, Glenn Jones and Robbie Basho eventually giving way to more contemporary players like William Tyler and Nick Jonah Davis. Most recently, Glenn has focused on a more improvised and experimental side to solo acoustic playing, both through his writing and his own music, with players like Bill Orcutt and Tashi Dorji being particularly significant.