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Among guitar aficionados, the choice of the right acoustic guitar is almost a sacrosanct decision; life-long fans of Martin-brand acoustics can spend days arguing with Gibson devotees about which company makes better guitars.

With some of the biggest acoustic guitar makers and luthiers in the world making startling changes to their classic lineups in 2019, it is worth examining which acoustics are leading the pack in today’s market. Here are just a few of the best acoustic guitars available this year, and why they can make a big difference in any player’s sound.

The Absolute Classic: The Martin D28

Without a doubt, the Martin D28 is the single most important model of steel-string acoustic guitar ever made. Famous owners of the D28 include Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Nick Drake, Noel Gallagher, and countless other musicians. Martin has revamped the mighty D28 this year, and by all accounts, the new model stands as another great addition to the Martin line.

The Contender: The Gibson J45

In the annals of music history, the Gibson J45 comes second only to the Martin D28 in its status as a classic acoustic guitar. With its unique slope-shouldered design and mahogany back and sides, the J45 has a crisp, warm sound that is legendary among players of rock and country music. Famous users of the J45 include Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mississippi John Hurt, Woodie Guthrie, and Bruce Springsteen. Gibson has had its share of troubles in recent years, but the J45 remains the company’s most compelling acoustic offering. The 2019 model is definitely worth checking out.

The Newcomer: The Taylor 110e

Compared to Martin and Gibson, the Taylor guitar company is very much the new kid on the block in the acoustic market, but loyal adherents of the brand will tell you that guitars made by Taylor have a lush sound that the older companies can’t match. At a fraction of the cost of a D28 or J45, the Taylor 110e model also remains a great bargain for acoustic players of all ages and styles. The 110e’s unique visual presence and stunning design will undoubtedly make it a favorite purchase for intermediate and expert players alike in 2019. This is definitely a guitar that should not be overlooked.