5 Best Epiphone Acoustic Guitars – Buyer’s Guide

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Author: DL Shepherd

Darren has been playing guitar for over 23 years. He fronted the metal band Suddenly Silence in the early 2000’s, and also achieved recognition as an award-winning bluegrass guitarist.

A native of southwestern Virginia, and has shared the stage with many big-name acts from various genres. When he is not playing one of his many guitars, he can be found riding his Harley through the mountains of Virginia.

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Editing & Research: Teemu Suomala

Playing guitar since 2009. Mainly focused on electric guitars, although jamming with acoustics too. Has played dozens and dozens of different guitars through different amps and pedals over the years. That’s why he started this blog in January 2020 and started sharing his experience. Has produced content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar.


displays Epiphone Masterbilt Texan acoustic guitar

Best Overall Epiphone Acoustic Guitar – Epiphone Masterbilt Texan Acoustic-Electric

Reviewer: DL Shepherd

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value For Money
Fingerpicking feel

Summary

Pros:
-All solid wood construction produces an amazing tone
-60s SlimTaper neck is very comfortable to play
-Fishman Sonitone electronics produce an incredible plugged-in tone
-Classy vintage looks are eye-catching

Cons:
-Price may be a little high for budget-minded guitarists
-When played standing up, the headstock tends to “dive” a little

Who is this guitar for?
The Epiphone Masterbilt Texan Acoustic-Electric is for guitarists looking for a high-quality, all-solid wood guitar with capable electronics and a well-balanced tone. The best Epiphone acoustic guitar for most players.

4.7

How Epiphone Masterbilt Texan sounds:

YouTube video

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The Next Best:

Best for Fingerstyle Playing – Epiphone EL-00 Studio (previously called Pro)

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Small size is easy for travel
  • Onboard electronics sound full and clear
  • Classic styling of the Gibson L-00 without the price tag
  • SlimTaper D-shaped neck is super comfortable

Cons:

  • Does not have the volume of larger-bodied guitars
  • Flat picked leads can sound forced and harsh

Who is this guitar for?

The Epiphone EL-00 Pro is for the player who wants a great studio-worthy acoustic with the added versatility of onboard electronics. It is perfect for finger pickers looking for a guitar with authentic blues tones.

 

Best for Flatpicking – Epiphone J-45 Studio

displays Epiphone J-45 Studio

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Dreadnought body shape produces a dynamic sound
  • Priced right for beginners
  • Excellent string articulation
  • Classic looks are beautiful

Cons:

  • No onboard electronics
  • Headstock tends to “dive” when played standing up

Who is this guitar for?

The Epiphone J-45 Studio is for guitarists who are looking for an affordable guitar with a lot of string articulation. This is especially necessary for flatpicking leads with crystal clarity.

Best Beginner – Epiphone Songmaker Player Pack (DR-100)

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Superb construction for a beginner guitar
  • Added accessories are must-haves
  • Classic Epiphone styling and tone
  • Priced exceptionally well for most beginners

Cons:

  • Neck is a little thick for smaller hands
  • Needs a bit of setup out of the box to play better
  • They should have included a chord chart or book for quick reference

Who is this guitar for?

The Epiphone Songmaker Players Pack (DR-100) is perfect for beginners who are on a tight budget. It has everything you need to get started playing – right out of the box.

Best Budget – Epiphone J-15 EC

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Exceptional construction and amazing tone
  • Onboard electronics are noise-free
  • Great setup out of the box
  • Classic Epiphone looks and playability

Cons:

  • Cutaway takes away volume and sustain
  • Needs an onboard tuner

Who is this guitar for?

The Epiphone J-15 EC is perfect for players of all skill levels who want professional features with a beginner price tag. It is great for all styles of music.

Compare The Key Specs:

image compares key features of 5 Best Epiphone Acoustic Guitars

Compare The Tonewoods:

this graphs helps to compare tones of acoustic guitar tonewoods

Body Top: Solid Sitka Spruce

Sides: Mahogany

Back: Mahogany

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Indian Laurel

Body Top: Solid Spruce

Sides: Mahogany

Back: Mahogany

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Indian Laurel

Body Top: Solid Sitka Spruce

Sides: Mahogany

Back: Mahogany

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Rosewood

Body Top: Select Spruce

Sides: Mahogany

Back: Mahogany

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Unknown

Body Top: Select Spruce

Sides: Select Mahogany

Back: Select Mahogany

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Pau Ferro

You can learn more about acoustic guitar tonewoods here.


About Epiphone

I have heard it said by many guitarists over the years: “Epiphones are just Gibson copies made overseas.” While there is some truth to that statement in the fact that they are Gibson-inspired designs made overseas, it is far from the truth.

Many players think that Epiphone guitars are the “poor man’s Gibson”. Tell that to Paul McCartney who still plays his 1964 Epiphone Texan (the same guitar he wrote “Yesterday” with).

The truth is: they’re just as good – if not better in some respects – as their Gibson counterparts. I like to look at them as a completely different brand altogether instead of a brand that players simply settle for.

After my extensive research procedures (aka “playing them”), here are the Best Epiphone Acoustic Guitars.

If you are not completely settled on a idea of buying an Epiphone, check our other acoustic brand guides:

5 Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitars in 2022

5 Best Martin Guitars in 2022

5 Best Taylor Guitars in 2022

5 Best Takamine Acoustic Guitars in 2022

5 Best Ovation Guitars in 2022


5 Best Epiphone Acoustic Guitars – Buyer’s Guide

Best Overall – Epiphone Masterbilt Texan Acoustic-Electric

Specs

Body StyleRound Shoulder Dreadnought
TopSolid Sitka Spruce
Back & SidesMahogany
NeckMahogany
Neck ShapeTraditional 1960s Slim Taper
Fretboard20, Medium Jumbo frets, Indian Laurel
NutBone
Nut Width1.687″
ElectronicsFishman Sonitone
SaddleBone
Scale-Length25.5″

Regardless of whether you appreciate Paul McCartney or not, he was definitely onto something when he opted for an Epiphone Texan. It really is a “Masterbilt” instrument in every way.

The Epiphone Masterbilt Texan Acoustic-Electric is constructed of all solid woods. The top is a nice slab of Sitka spruce, and the body is solid mahogany. This is a winning combination resulting in smooth bass notes with enough articulation on the high-end to do some cutting leads.

The 60s SlimTaper neck is a joy to play and provides enough grip for comfortable chords. It stays out of the way when doing some flatpicked leads as well.

When you plug it in, you get a well-balanced tone that only Fishman can provide with their Sonitone pickup system. It is mounted in the sound hole and features a volume knob for easy adjustments during live performances.

But what about the looks? I mean, it’s got to look good, right?

It nails it in the looks department. The natural finish of the Sitka spruce pairs with the large parallelogram inlays on the fretboard to produce a flashy and classy vintage look.

With all of these features, one would expect to pay much more. But why? It’s the total package from fit and finish to incredible tone. This is why the Epiphone Texan was the instrument of choice for Sir Paul, Peter Frampton, Noel Gallagher, and countless others.

Another solid sound demo:

YouTube video

Pros:

  • All solid wood construction produces an amazing tone
  • 60s SlimTaper neck is very comfortable to play
  • Fishman Sonitone electronics produce an incredible plugged-in tone
  • Classy vintage looks are eye-catching

Cons:

  • Price may be a little high for budget-minded guitarists
  • When played standing up, the headstock tends to “dive” a little
What others are saying:

I’ve been playing guitar over 50 years and have had many fine acoustics. But this one is truly special. It has the perfect combination of rich tone, yet it can cut through the mix effortlessly. – John from CA

Who is this guitar for?

The Epiphone Masterbilt Texan Acoustic-Electric is for guitarists looking for a high-quality, all-solid wood guitar with capable electronics and a well-balanced tone.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

This guitar is not for someone wanting a thin-bodied acoustic. The body style of this guitar is a large dreadnought.

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Best for Fingerstyle Playing – Epiphone EL-00 Pro

Specs

Body ShapeParlor
TopSolid Cedar
Back & SidesMahogany
NeckMahogany
Neck ShapeSlimTaper D
FretboardIndian Laurel, 19 frets
NutPlastic
Nut Width1.68″
ElectronicsFishman Sonicore Pickup/Preamp
SaddlePlastic
Scale-Length24.75″

If flat picks aren’t your thing, then you owe it to yourself to check out the Epiphone EL-00 Pro!

Like, right now. Stop keyboard shopping and grab one!

If you’re familiar with Robert Johnson and other early blues greats, then you’ll recognize the EL-00 Pro. It is based on the Gibson L-00 parlor guitars of the early 1920s. These are the guitars that helped define the early blues sound, and for good reason: they pack a lot of tone into a small package.

The Epiphone EL-00 Pro is made with a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The neck and bridge are rosewood. You might assume that this is a ¾-sized student guitar.

But it’s not! It’s a 24.75-inch scale length that is incredibly easy to play. The SlimTaper D-shaped neck is full enough to get a good grip, yet easily allows your thumb to overlap the top string when you’re fingerpicking chords up the neck.

The tone is fairly well balanced for a small guitar, and it produces a surprising amount of bass. The sound is punchy yet articulate making it perfect for the recording studio.

When you want to amp it up, the onboard Fishman Sonitone electronics provide crystal clear acoustic sound that is fully adjustable with the onboard controls. This makes it a great gigging instrument. It not only sounds incredible plugged-in, but its size allows you to transport it easily.

If you’re a fingerpicker looking for a vintage-inspired instrument, you really need to give this little powerhouse a shot!

How this guitar sounds:

YouTube video

Pros:

  • Small size is easy for travel
  • Onboard electronics sound full and clear
  • Classic styling of the Gibson L-00 without the price tag
  • SlimTaper D-shaped neck is super comfortable

Cons:

  • Does not have the volume of larger-bodied guitars
  • Flat picked leads can sound forced and harsh
What others are saying:

A remarkable instrument for the price. A lot of attention to detail. – Frederick from NY

Who is this guitar for?

The Epiphone EL-00 Pro is for the player who wants a great studio-worthy acoustic with the added versatility of onboard electronics. It is perfect for finger pickers looking for a guitar with authentic blues tones.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

This guitar is not for players who are looking for a good guitar for flat picking with tons of sustain. The body size just doesn’t allow it to happen.

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Best for Flatpicking – Epiphone J-45 Studio (previously called Pro)

Specs

Body ShapeRound Shoulder Dreadnought
TopSolid Sitka Spruce
Back & SidesMahogany
NeckMahogany
Neck ShapeSlimTaper D
FretboardRosewood, 20 Medium Jumbo frets
NutPlastic
Nut Width1.69″
ElectronicsNo
SaddlePlastic
Scale-Length25.5″

To all of my fellow flatpickers out there – this may just be your next guitar. The Epiphone J-45 Studio is based on Gibson’s original “Workhorse” J-45 models.

And they live up to the “Workhorse” legacy very well!

The Epiphone J-45 Studio has a solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The dreadnought shape in combination with the tonewoods produce a full, dynamic sound with plenty of single-note articulation.

It is quite possibly the most responsive guitar in its price range making it perfect for flatpicking those tasty tunes!

When it comes to looks, the sloped-shoulder dreadnought is a beauty. Available in several finishes, the Epiphone J-45 Studio features a beautiful Indian Laurel fretboard that is equally important to the sound of the guitar as well as the looks. Dot fretboard markers and white neck binding really add to the visual appeal along with the classic Epiphone headstock.

If you want the total package, the affordable and capable Epiphone J-45 Studio is a flatpicker’s dream!

How this guitar sounds:

YouTube video

Pros:

  • Dreadnought body shape produces a dynamic sound
  • Priced right for beginners
  • Excellent string articulation
  • Classic looks are beautiful

Cons:

  • No onboard electronics
  • Headstock tends to “dive” when played standing up
What others are saying:

A great grab-and-go guitar. Came in set up well, no sharp frets or dead spots. Action is perfect, looks good, sounds good and plays great. Can’t beat it. I definitely recommend it. – 60 second review from Upstate NY

Who is this guitar for?

The Epiphone J-45 Studio is for guitarists who are looking for an affordable guitar with a lot of string articulation. This is especially necessary for flatpicking leads with crystal clarity.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

This guitar is not for players who appreciate a smaller body size or a super-thin neck.

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Best Beginner – Epiphone Songmaker Player Pack (DR-100)

Specs

Body ShapeSquare Shoulder Dreadnought
TopSelect Spruce
Back & SidesMahogany
NeckMahogany
Neck ShapeSlimTaper C
FretboardFretboard material info not given by manufacturer, 20 Medium frets
NutPlastic
Nut Width1.692″
ElectronicsNo
SaddlePlastic
Scale-Length25.5″

I never leave out the beginner when I’m researching guitars because beginners deserve the best gear their money can buy while still being budget-minded. The Epiphone Songmaker Player Pack (DR-100) gives players both things.

Let’s start with the guitar. Players get the Epiphone DR-100 guitar that is made just for beginners. The spruce top and mahogany body provide a well-balanced tone with plenty of low-end response.

Its classy looks hearken back to the classic Epiphone models of yesteryear. It looks and feels like a guitar that would cost much more and should provide a solid foundation that budding players can use to hone their skills.

But that’s not all you get…

You also get a sweet, padded gig bag, a strap emblazoned with the Epiphone “E” logo, a clip-on tuner, and some picks. The Epiphone Songmaker Player Pack is ready to play right out of the box with only a few little setup tweaks.

Skip some of the overpriced player packs and grab this one! You’ll thank me later!

How this guitar sounds:

YouTube video

Pros:

  • Superb construction for a beginner guitar
  • Added accessories are must-haves
  • Classic Epiphone styling and tone
  • Priced exceptionally well for most beginners

Cons:

  • Neck is a little thick for smaller hands
  • Needs a bit of setup out of the box to play better
  • They should have included a chord chart or book for quick reference
What others are saying:

It was my first guitar, and I was lucky in my purchase of it and was actually surprised by the quality for the money. – Jason L. from the USA

Who is this guitar for?

The Epiphone Songmaker Players Pack (DR-100) is perfect for beginners who are on a tight budget. It has everything you need to get started playing – right out of the box.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

This guitar is not for players who are expecting a guitar with exceptional action or a super-thin neck.

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Best Budget – Epiphone J-15 EC

Specs

Body ShapeRound Shoulder Dreadnought Cutaway
TopSelect Spruce
Back & SidesSelect Mahogany
NeckMahogany
Neck Shape1960s SlimTaper D
FretboardPau Ferro, 20 frets
NutPVC-plastic
Nut Width1.677″
ElectronicsNo
SaddlePVC-plastic
Scale-Length25.5″

These days, we are all looking for a deal on just about everything. Thanks to Epiphone, guitarists don’t have to look very hard. The Epiphone J-15 EC is the answer.

Let me explain what we look for in “budget-friendly” guitars. First, it has to be made of quality materials. Second, it needs to be a good choice for all skill levels. Third, it has to have a great price-to-feature ratio. Last but not least, it has to sound and play great.

The Epiphone J-15 EC nails it on all levels.

When it comes to tone, Epiphone chose the tried-and-true combination of a select spruce top and mahogany body for a tone that is simply outstanding. It has plenty of lows with just the right amount of bite on the treble strings.

The body is a cutaway dreadnought style (based on the legendary J-45), and it has plenty of volume when unplugged. If you want to plug it in, the NanoFlex pickup system is right there to provide you with a crystal clear, hum-free tone. It is truly at home anywhere you want to play – the studio, the stage, the jam room, or the bedroom.

The neck is Epiphones smooth-playing D-shaped SlimTaper and it fits the hand well. The Pau Ferro fretboard is a joy to feel and makes moving up and down the neck very comfortable.

It looks like a million bucks as well…

The Epiphone J-15 EC has the same vintage vibe that other Epiphone acoustics have thanks to the dot inlays, “belly-up” bridge design, and iconic “E” logo on the pickguard. The cutaway allows for a streamlined look while allowing easy access to the upper frets.

If you are a beginner, intermediate, or expert, the Epiphone J-15 EC would be a great addition to your arsenal – or even your first guitar! It gives you professional features without breaking the bank. What more could you ask for?

How this guitar sounds:

YouTube video

Pros:

  • Exceptional construction and amazing tone
  • Onboard electronics are noise-free
  • Great setup out of the box
  • Classic Epiphone looks and playability

Cons:

  • Cutaway takes away volume and sustain
  • Needs an onboard tuner
What others are saying:

This is my first guitar I have ever bought and it looks, feels, and plays great. I highly recommend this for beginners like me. – Bryan

Who is this guitar for?

The Epiphone J-15 EC is perfect for players of all skill levels who want professional features with a beginner price tag. It is great for all styles of music.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

This guitar is not for advanced players looking for their next “high-end” acoustic-electric. You’ll need to drop more money for an all-solid-wood guitar with more professional playability.

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Verdict

So, what do we think? We think that the best overall Epiphone acoustic is definitely the Epiphone Masterbilt Texan thanks to its overall playability and tone. The best Epiphone for fingerstyle playing goes to the small but powerful EL-00 Pro.

If you’re a flatpicker, you’ll love the volume, tone, and playability of the Epiphone J-45 Studio. Beginners will appreciate the value of the Epiphone Songmaker Player Pack (DR-100), and players of all skill levels will appreciate the price-to-feature ratio of the J-15 EC.


Runner-Ups That Just Missed The Top 5


FAQ

Are Epiphone Acoustic Guitars Any Good?

The short answer is a resounding “Yes!” Epiphone guitars are crafted of quality materials and are modeled after classic Gibson designs. If you’re wondering whether or not to just save up for a Gibson, realize that they are a completely separate company in terms of playability and tone.

They are certainly worth the price because of the professional features that many have all at a relatively low cost. You can expect to pay 2 or 3 times the money for a similar Gibson model – sometimes more. That’s where Epiphone steps in. They take away the pain of the price and produce some iconic models that are based on Gibsons but offer their own unique styling.

What Epiphone Acoustic Guitars Are Good For?

There’s an Epiphone acoustic for every playing style. The larger-bodied dreadnoughts, such as the J15 EC, Epiphone Masterbilt Texan, and J-45 Studio, really produce a full-bodied sound that is more articulate when playing up the neck.

Smaller guitars, such as the EL-00 Pro, are often favorites of fingerpickers due to their responsiveness and even tone.

With that said, it is impossible to pigeonhole a specific guitar to a specific playing style. Buy what works for you whether you are a flatpicker, fingerpicker, rock musician, or acoustic blues guitar player.

How Much is A Good Epiphone Acoustic Guitar?

Epiphone acoustic guitars are priced from around $149 to $3,999, respectively.

Should I Buy a Gibson or Epiphone Acoustic?

I recommend buying what your budget will allow and also looking at the features that are important to you. If you want an all-solid-wood, American-made acoustic, then be prepared to spend some money on it. Even the American-made Epiphone models can cost upward of $3,999.

Many Epiphone models are just as capable as Gibson models at delivering tone and playability. I highly suggest playing an Epiphone model first before dropping a fortune on a Gibson just because of the name. I personally did this and found that I liked the Epiphone version of a Gibson model better.

Do Epiphone Acoustic Guitars Hold Their Value?

Compared to Gibson, they do not hold their value quite as much unless you have a higher-end Epiphone. The current used market shows them selling for the same or slightly less than their new prices.

The bottom line is that they will most likely not hold their value as well as a Gibson unless you happen to have one of their higher-end guitars or an exceptionally rare model.


Conclusion on Best Epiphone Acoustic Guitars

These are the best Epiphone acoustic guitars that impressed us the most. Trust me, I played a lot of them. I spent so much time in the music store that one customer thought I worked there. After playing so many guitars this week, my fingers are screaming!

It hurts to type. Really.

No matter what your style might be or what your budget is, there is an Epiphone guitar on this list for you!

Happy picking from everyone here at guitaristnextdoor.com!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jeff Bennett

    What’s your thoughts on the Epiphone Dove Acoustic guitar?

    1. Teemu Suomala

      Hi Jeff! To me, it’s an all-around good budget-friendly dreadnought. Solid spruce top, maple back, and sides, and fun to play!

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