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Best Guitars: Part 1 – Country Music

Welcome to this installment of the Best Guitar series. This is where we take the chance to pull together a list of some of the best guitars for different genres so you can take a look at what there is. Along with this we will be looking at some of the famous guitarists who use these guitars themselves both live and in the studio. 

Welcome to this installment of the Best Guitar series. This is where we take the chance to pull together a list of some of the best guitars for different genres so you can take a look at what there is. Along with this we will be looking at some of the famous guitarists who use these guitars themselves both live and in the studio. 

Best Country Guitars at a Glance

Telecasters and D-35’s rule the wild land that is country. The telecaster provides the best twang of any guitar and responds to every note wonderfully. The D-35 comes out from the gates singing with its harmonies blowing everyone away. Both of these guitars fill in the space around them with skill and ease that you won’t find in every guitar, and many others have been made to imitate their sounds. There are, however, more guitars that sound great with country and each has its own skills and abilities. 

Country Instruments: Why They’re Unique

There is a strange combination of twang and warmth that defines country music. The guitars these bands use are some of the most versatile instruments that there are. The acoustic guitars boom low end with their large bodies (generally dreadnought) and then will provide a piercing pluck to rip through the mix and carry the rhythm. The way they get these sounds is all due to these components that are fairly common.

  • Large Bodies
  • Hollow Body Electrics
  • Single Coil Pickups

Best Country Guitars

1. Fender Telecaster

Deluxe Nashville Tele- 2 Color Sunburst
Deluxe Nashville Tele- 2 Color Sunburst

Compare Prices: Guitar Center | Musicians Friend | Amazon

Best For: Twanging Leads

Manufacturer: Fender

Why We Like It:

The telecaster has worked its way in as a top electric guitar for many country players. From just the basic style to the twangy sound the single coil pickups can get, these guitars deliver. There are many different types of Telecasters, however, this is the basic version of most of them. There are specially designed ones for guitarists such as Brad Paisley (who was featured in the video earlier). One of my favorite aspects of this guitar, is the lack of a fretboard. Every guitar I play that has no fretboard and is just straight on the wood of the neck feels perfect to me. Something about it is just smooth as butter. 

Things to consider: Look into modifications. The telecaster is one of the most modifiable guitars that can be tweaked in every way to get the right sound.

Price (before shipping): $824.99

2. Gibson SJ-200

Gibson SJ-200
00 – Antique Natural

Compare Prices: Guitar Center | Musicians Friend | Amazon

Best For: Pick and Strumming

Manufacturer: Gibson

Why We Like It:

Being considered “The King of the Flat-tops” the SJ-200 had to make it into this list. The rich sound that emanates from this guitar’s perfect for the emotional ballads that define so well the genre of Country. 

Things to consider: This is an extremely loud guitar due to its immense size. Be prepared for ti to overwhelm in a small venue.

Price (before shipping): $5,049

3. Gibson ES-235

Gibson ES-235
Gibson ES-235 – Vintage Sunburst

Compare Prices: Guitar Center | Musician’s Friend

Best For: Rockabilly

Manufacturer: Gibson

Why We Like It:

This guitar is on my list for the sole reason that roy clark used it. Period… Hands down one of the best guitarists to ever have lived. If you do not believe me watch this video. Between his showmanship and straight skill, this man was a living legend. This style of guitar with the semi hollow body and dual humbuckers is a recognizable tone within country as well as bluegrass. It provides a woody tone with a certain amount of warmth without becoming muddy.

Things to consider: With any hollow body guitar, it is best to make sure you check its condition once it has arrived (if you have it shipped). With that in mind you will also want to have your own humidifiers in the case to keep the wood in good condition.  If you want to see a more affordable option, check out the Epiphone version of the guitar on Amazon, and be sure to read up on our article about the differences between Gibson and Epiphone.

Price (before shipping): $1,799

4. Takamine P5DC

Takamine P5DC
Takamine P5DC- Natural

Compare Prices: Guitar Center | Amazon

Best For: Picking

Manufacturer: Takamine

Why We Like It:

Takamine is easily one of the most underrated guitar companies overall. I know many people who have played one of these and been blown away by how crisp and fresh they sound and feel. Blake Shelton is known for using Takamine and I believe he uses this one in particular. It is a perfect acoustic for playing rhythm along with a full band or finger-picking solo with some vocals. 

Things to consider: This guitar has a relatively bright sound, so heavier strings would be great to bring out the low end beautifully to match the high end.

Price (before shipping): $1,749.99

5. Fender Stratocaster

Fender Stratocaster
Fender Stratocaster- Black

Compare Prices: Guitar Center | Musician’s Friend | Amazon

Best For: Diversity

Manufacturer: Fender

Why We Like It:

Much like the Telecaster, The Stratocaster is perfect for Country playing due to its single coil pickups. A lot of people like to put in humbuckers and mess around with the placement but you cannot go wrong with the basic setup of a Strat no matter what you are playing. 

Things to consider: Make sure you know your Strat well. With the options and versatility available you need to know how to get each sound you need.

Price (before shipping): $349.99- $2,499.99

6. Martin D-35

Martin D-35

Compare Prices: Guitar Center | Musician’s Friend | Amazon

Best For: Rich Chords

Manufacturer: Martin

Why We Like It: 

Martin describes this guitar as, “The workingman’s dreadnought.” I think that is pretty accurate as this very guitar style was used by a musician that every working man can relate to and enjoy. Johnny Cash himself, who many hail as the king of Country. He created so many classics all while remaining behind the acoustic guitar. This guitar was perfectly designed to give that beautiful low end while maintaining a crisp bright attack.

Things to consider: The standard case it comes with is tight to the body of the D35. However, this prevents any damage to happen from jostling or bumping while in the case. 

Price (before shipping): $3,899