(left to right) Cort NDX Baritone, Guild D-55, Art & Lutherie Roadhouse
It’s easy to forget—as you delve deep into the relative minutiae of 4- and 6-stage phasers, single-coils and humbuckers, and tube verses solid-state rectifiers—that acoustic flattops offer nearly as much variety and musical possibilities as their electronic cousins. That much should be clear just from a glance at the three acoustics in this roundup. From a petite-but-punchy parlor to a baritone bomber to a luxurious classic revived, this trio of instruments are, individually, very different animals. And in terms of feel, touch, and tone they each offer a thousand different musical departure points. Indeed, there’s no shortage of inspiration in these 18 strings. Read on and find out which of the acoustic lovelies would best aid your own musical quest.