Can a cheap acoustic guitar sound good?


Fuzz Meister General
Feb 8, 2011
Naked in NC
Looks like a luthier built custom with distinct design features.Very attractive guitar!
If you are talking about mine it pretty unique. it’s a Lowden F-35 70th Birthday model. #5 of 70 made last year in honor of George Lowden’s 70th. The top is western red cedar and the back and sides are ancient Bog Oak that was submerged in a Bog in France and was carbon dated to 5,300 years old. The arm bevel is flamed maple and the tuner buttons and fretboard are ebony. The inlay at the 12th fret and rosette were custom done for this model in Irish abalone. My dealer had to get a North Carolina fish and wildlife license to be able to import it. All the braces are hand carved and George signed the labels in the body on each one.

Only 12 were sent to US stores and 2 made it to NC stores. When I bought mine last April it was the last one for sale new, all 49 others were bought. A few days after I bought it I posted it on the Lowden FB page and someone offered me $2,500 more than I paid for it. He had the prior birthday and anniversary models and was trying to complete his collection and had missed out on these when new.


Dr. Stratster
Oct 16, 2018
Sure. I've had two all-laminate Ibanez "kit" acoustics - the cheap ones that come with a book and a stand and a string winder for $129. Still have one. Both sound significantly better than my old '90s Takamine with a solid Spruce top. Wouldn't say they sound good like an all-solid Martin or Taylor, but they sound good enough for someone like me who only picks up an acoustic once in a while for fun.

Just bought an Ovation Celebrity Deluxe recently - it sounds pretty good too for the $375 I paid for it.

I got mine (Ovation) a few years ago. It has had a few scars along its journey. I don’t remember if the case came with it.

I leveled the frets, and fine-tuned the intonation and action. It plays like an electric guitar now.

I don’t get it, all the disdain these guitars garner. I figure if they are good enough for Neil Diamond and Glenn Campbell, they are probably good enough for me.

Frank Roberts

May 3, 2006
Lucius, your query reminded me of an old story. After a performance an admirer came up to Chet Atkins and said, "That guitar sure sounds good!" Chet, reportedly, set the guitar down on a chair and. said, "How's it sound now?"

Rather like the eternal question, Is it the singer, or the song?

I think your Saturday noodle sounded good.


Fuzz Meister General
Feb 8, 2011
Naked in NC
Special guitar for sure!
Thank you. It’s definitely a very special guitar. I took my wife to Casino guitars to meet my buddy the owner on Good Friday last year after buying a Custom Shop Strat from them that Wednesday. I took a Bedell Custom Shop I had at the time to show him. We started talking about Lowden guitars and he pulled this one out of the humidifier case on the wall. It was incredible. On the hour drive back home from the shop we were both talking the whole time about how awesome the guitar sounded. Called my buddy when we got home, worked a deal with the Bedell as trade plus cash and we drove down the next day to get it. Haven’t looked at or played another acoustic since.


Dr. Stratster
Silver Member
Aug 24, 2015
Va. Beach, Va
I rarely play an acoustic, started on electric so that's always been my home base. I've played some nice acoustics, Martin's at about 15K, a Taylor or two, Ovation, etc, but my favorite one was a Hohner that a friend of mine had back in the 80s. That one just felt great to me. But it ended up in NC pawn shop

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Silver Member
May 20, 2020
Sante Fe, NM
Solid vs laminate is dumb debate at a certain point. not all laminate woods are the same. Many of the Kay models we rebuild have laminated wood sides and backs, but the mahogany laminate is mahogany laminated with mahogany, or maple laminated with maple unlike modern laminates where only the outside veneer is the premium wood. These old guitars with laminated mahogany or maple sound just as good as all solid wood guitars. Fun fact: vintage Harmony guitars made before the mid 1970’s, even the cheapest 3/4 Stella models, are always all solid woods.

Many of the 60’s and 70’s Yamaha guitars made with laminate woods are also amazing sounding guitars.

world class acoustic guitar tone starts and ends with its design where the different woods just color that sound in much the same way different microphones sound different on the same source.

Also, to the OP. Some really expensive, all solid wood, boutique acoustic guitars sound pretty terrible.


Senior Stratmaster
Mar 24, 2013
Los Angeles

Can a cheap acoustic guitar sound good?​

I have a Taylor 814ce (expensive-ish) and a '67 Martin D35 (expensive-ish) and a cheap Yamaha (about $150 new).

The Taylor's sound is nicely balanced. The Martin has a boomy bottom end. The Yamaha sounds like the Taylor, but with about half the volume. So...yes. Recording with the Yamaha proves it.