Gibson is one of the leading manufacturers of both acoustic and electric guitars today. And like all well-built guitars, they tend to tonally open up and sound even better after years of playing. If you've progressed to the level of buying a Gibson, you may not be sure which is the right option for you and your style of music.
In this article, we've chosen our seven picks for best Gibson acoustic guitar. We have included guitars suited for many different genres of music in order to help you find your next guitar.
Our Top 7 Picks for Best Gibson Acoustic Guitar
1. Gibson J-45 Studio
Best Folk Guitar
No discussion of iconic acoustic guitars is complete without the J-45. This guitar has been a favorite of folk and blues performers for decades, and the studio version features updating styling.
Its round-shouldered dreadnought body has the same look as the original J-45, but the advanced-response neck gives it a playability like no other. This guitar has an L.R. Baggs VTC pickup system, and it has a solid Sitka spruce top with solid walnut back and sides.
Our Star Rating
Because of its quality playability an versatile tone, we give this one four out of five stars.
2. Hummingbird Original
The Hummingbird is another iconic Gibson, and it's been widely loved and played for over 50 years. This guitar has a classic tonewood configuration--spruce and mahogany--meaning that it's tonally suitable for many different genres.
It comes in Heritage Cherry Sunburst with the distinctive etched pickguard that has set it apart for deacdes. For playing live, it comes with L.R. Baggs Element VTC electronics
Our Star Rating
Because of its excellent build quality and balanced tone, we give this one five out of five stars.
3. Gibson Dove Original
Best for Live Performance
The Gibson Dove is a guitar whose legacy is entwined with the politcal and social upheaval of the 1960s. Today, it's still one of the most distinctly beautiful Gibson guitars offered.
With a Sitka spruce top and maple back and sides, it's a guitar that's designed for bright, clear projection. It also has beautiful appointments like peraloid inlays, a bone nut and saddle, and a distinctive, etched dove pickguard.
Like many other high-end Gibsons, it comes with an L.R. Baggs VTC pickup system.
Our Star Rating
We think this guitar is especially for those who like a clearer sound when playing live, and we give it four out of five stars.
4. SJ-200 125th Anniversary
Best Special Edition
The SJ-200 is a jumbo guitar with a boomy, full voice that's perfect for fingerpicking and flatpicking. This guitar has been a fixture in country music, and the 125th Anniversary SJ-200 pays tribute to that tradition.
It has a responsive Lutz spruce top with stunning figured maple back and sides. Its luxurious inlays and L.R. Baggs electronics make it a stage-ready instrument.
Our Star Rating
This guitar is a work of art that's especially good for country musicians. We give it four out of five stars.
5. Gibson L-00
Best Blues Guitar
You don't often see high-quality parlor guitars made, but the L-00 is an exception. It has the look of old "blues box" guitars, and its small body makes it a tonally sound choice for those who want to play the blues.
It has a solid Spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides, which give it the rich, midrange-heavy tones loved by many blues players.
And while its antiques sunburst finish may make it look like a relic, it comes with high-quality L.R. Baggs VTC electronics for when you want to play on stage.
Our Star Rating
This guitar may not be right for all types of music, but it's a top-of-the line blues instrument. We give it four out of five stars.
6. Gibson Songwriter
Best for Solo Artists
If you're a songwriter who also performs solo, you may not need the extra-full voice of a larger acoustic. Gibson's Songwriter is a dreadnought that's slightly smaller than most, making it easier to handle and more playable than many larger guitars.
Its hand-scalloped bracing adds all the resonance you need, and the solid rosewood back and sides add rich and complex overtones to your sound.
The Songwriter features a distinctive pickguard and dazzling abalone rosette, and it comes with L.R. Baggs VTC electronics for natural sound onstage.
Our Star Rating
We think this guitar is an especially good choice for solo performers, and we give it five out of five stars.
7. Sheryl Crow
Country Western Supreme
Best Signature Model
Gibson doesn't often offer signature models, but this one is worth a look. Designed in collaboration with Sheryl Crow, this model is a classically styled dreadnought that's especially useful when fingerpicking or flatpicking.
It has a solid Sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides for rich overtones and a balanced sound. It comes with Amulet M electronics, which roll off extra bass response in order to avoid feedback issues.
Our Star Rating
We think this is one of Gibson's best signature guitars, and we give it four out of five stars.
Buying Guide: How Do You Choose the Best Gibson Acoustic Guitar?
Gibson has been making quality guitars since 1902, and today, their instruments are still regarded as some of the best in the world. When shopping for a Gibson acoustic, you don't need to worry about purchasing a quality instrument--these guitars are made with solid, hand-selected woods for great tone and an appearance to match.
The most important thing when buying a Gibson is to choose one that suits your style of playing. Here's what to keep in mind:
Gibson uses quality tonewoods in all of their guitars, and some of these are very unique. here are some of the woods featured on guitars on our list:
Sitka spruce is a sustainable tonewood that has been used to build acoustic instruments for centuries. It has a rich and fairly well-balanced tone, although it tends to favor midrange and higher notes. It's one of the most common top woods used on acoustic guitars.
Lutz spruce is a hybrid of Sitka and white spruce, and it's the type of wood that responds to a strong attack (like strumming or vigorous picking). This makes it a great choice for larger-bodied guitars like Southern jumbos.
Mahogany is a beautiful tonewood that favors midrange sounds, meaning it provides a tone that's suitable for many different musical genres. It can be used as a wood for the top of guitars, but it's also commonly used on the back and sides of instruments. It tends to pair well with a spruce top, since the mahogany balances out the brightness of a spruce top.
Walnut is less common, but it's commonly used on guitars geared toward blues playing, since it has a fairly dark tone and projects well. It falls between the tonal properties of mahogany and maple, and Gibson uses it on some models of J-45.
Body Style and Size
Body style and size is one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for your Gibson guitar. Here are some of the body styles included on our list.
Double Zero Acoustic guitars
Smaller guitars like this parlor-style model are great for those who play music that emphasizes treble frequencies. These guitars are often used in blues music, as blues playing is easier on guitars that can project and don't have a lot of sustain. They also are easier for smaller players to handle.
Many players believe that the round-shouldered dreadnought takes off some of the bass sound of traditional dreadnoughts, and this is part of the thought behind round-shouldered guitars like the J-45. Round-shouldered dreadnoughts also have a vintage look about them, which is especially appealing to some folk and blues players.
This classic, square-shouldered guitar shape has been favorite over the decades. It provides plenty of bass response and is ideal for creating complex overtones. Many of Gibson's most famous acoustic guitars are standard dreadnoughts.
This large-bodied guitar may not be the right choice for everyone, but it's an excellent performance guitar. Its large body creates a boomy, bass-heavy tone that takes especially well to both fingerpicking and flatpicking. These guitars may be somewhat difficult for smaller-bodied players to handle. However, they are especially popular with country musicians.
Because Gibsons are professional-class acoustic guitars, most models come equipped with electronics. Most come with the L.R. Baggs VTC system. This is a state-of-the-art pickup system that avoids the artificial sound of the common piezo pickup systems often found in acoustic-electric guitars. The VTC system is designed to read the response of your guitar's soundboard, amplifying sound in a way that sounds much more natural. The system also includes a dynamic EQ, which adjusts based on your playing. This helps you avoid feedback issues, and it helps keep you sounding your best.
Due to their superb sound and excellent build quality, you can't really go wrong with any Gibson acoustic. That said, our top pick is the Hummingbird. This guitar has a tonewood configuration great for any musical style, and its distinctive look makes it an eye-catching choice for any performer. A great runner-up is the Songwriter, a slightly smaller guitar that offers classic good looks and excellent playability. When shopping for your Gibson, be sure to look closely at specs and choose one that suits your music, and you'll be on your way to selecting the guitar of a lifetime.