Table of Contents
- Pianos, Parlor Guitars, and No Internet
- What’s the Definition of a Parlor Guitar?
- Pros & Cons: Why Use a Parlor Guitar?
- Parlor Guitars vs. Travel-Sized Guitars
- Parlor Guitars vs. Dreadnought-Sized Guitars
- Finding a Parlor Guitar For Your Style
- Parlor guitars under $300
- Parlor Guitars Under $500
- Parlor Guitars Under $1000
- Parlor Guitars Under $2000
- Parlor Guitars Under $4000
So we’re about to go on a quest to find the best parlor guitar on today’s market, but before kicking off that epic journey, there a few quick questions we’d like to start with:
- What’s the history of parlor guitars?
- What’s the definition of parlor guitars, and their pros and cons?
- And how are they different from travel-sized or dreadnought-sized guitars?
Pianos, Parlor Guitars, and No Internet
Parlor guitars remind you of days without keypads, touchscreens, and TVs. At that age forgetten time of the 1800s, pianos were entertainment devices, something for people to gather around. And guitars — parlor guitars at that — offered the same household function
What’s the Definition of a Parlor Guitar?
To be exact about it, parlor guitars are any acoustic guitar smaller than a Size No. 0 Concert Guitar by C. F. Martin & Company; those Concert guitars have a width at their guitar body’s belly of about 13″, so anything with proportions smaller than that you could say is a parlor guitar.
Interested in getting a parlor guitar? Know that you’d be joining great company; many of the forerunners of modern music made their landmark recordings with parlor guitars. American folk blues artists in particular, like Charley Patton, Willie Brown, and Robert Johnson, performed and recorded with parlor guitars regularly.
Pros & Cons: Why Use a Parlor Guitar?
And why use a parlor guitar? Well, here’s a shortlist of the pros,
- Affordability: parlor guitars use less materials, and historically they’ve been more mass produced, which which means the costs are much more accessible.
- Physical convenience: parlor guitars are smaller so they’re often less strenuous to play, and also travel across the town or countryside with.
- Sonic traits: parlor guitars tend to produce a softer, mellower sound owing to the smaller body size, and oftentimes shorter scale length (the length from the tip of the headstock to the bottom-most part of the body).
Just so you know what you’re getting yourself into, if you’re thinking of buying one of the best parlor guitars out there, here are few reasons you might want to ask yourself about why you shouldn’t buy a parlor guitar. If you’re okay with these cons, then rest assured you’ll be happier with your parlor guitar.
- Volume: In case you want to perform to a large crowd, you’ll probably need to invest in acoustic pickups (ideally a pickup like the LR Baggs which combines a condenser mic and a soundhole pickup) to be properly heard. Though, to a big enough room, you’d need this for a normal acoustic guitar as well.
- Bass depth: Physics being physics, any lower pitches need a bigger-sized instruments, like a tuba or a big subwoofer. Since parlor guitars are smaller, you’ll have physical limitations on how much bass your guitar produces, but hopefully this is balanced by the softer, subtler sounds of the smaller size.
Parlor Guitars vs. Travel-Sized Guitars
Ever wondered in the back of your mind what the difference really is between parlor guitars and travel guitars? After all, they’re hardly distinguishable — both have those narrow bodies and a shorter neck length.
Well, technically speaking, there actually are some extremely key differences; you can think of travel guitars as normal guitars shot by a shrink ray, while parlor guitars have a shrunken body and neck, but otherwise it still handles like you’re playing a normal guitar.
- Nut width: parlor guitars have the standard nut width, while travel guitars tend to have a smaller nut width
- Fret sizes: parlor guitars have standard-sized frets, while travel guitars are shrunken
- Neck width: parlor guitars are known to have comfortable, wide necks (so the strings have more room to be separated, so they’re more individually accessible), whereas travel guitars have thinner necks
- Number of frets: parlor guitars tend to have a couple lesser frets (which doesn’t matter really on an acoustic, since the uppermost frets usally aren’t that accessible anyways), since many of their components are standard-sized
Parlor Guitars vs. Dreadnought-Sized Guitars
Now, when it comes to parlor guitars compared with normal-sized guitars, the differences are much quicker to the eye. For comparison, take a second to see the differences between a parlor guitar and a dreadnought guitar. Taking their name from the imposing HMS Dreadnought British battleship, C. F. Martin & Company gave birth to the dreadnought acoustic guitar line — the “D” series — in 1916, with a larger body, producing more volumous, richer tones. You can always distinguish “dreads” by their square shoulders, stout bottom, and the neck which usually contacts the guitar’s body at the 14th fret.
Here are some of the differences between parlor guitars and dreadnought guitars,
- Volume: parlor guitars are “softer-spoken”, having less volume than dreadnought guitars
- Numbers of frets: parlor guitars have less frets than dreadnought guitars
- Tonal range: parlor guitars don’t have the powerful mid-range punchiness, and the basses, of dreadnought guitars
- Price: Using less materials, parlor guitars are usually fairly less expensive than dreads
- Size: parlor guitars are obviously much more compact in size than dreadnought guitars.
Finding a Parlor Guitar For Your Style
Awesome! Now that you know a bit about the (1) the origins of parlor guitars, (2) the technical definition of parlor guitars, (3) the pros and cons of parlor guitars, and (4) how parlor guitars are different from travel and dreadnought guitars, you’re probably ready to see the best parlors out there, based on build, sound quality, and affordability!
To help you out with making your decision, please see our reviews of the 24 best parlors we found. Please know that these reviews are a vital way this site is funded; if you click on the links below and buy a parlor guitar, we receive a small commission that helps greatly in keeping this project alive. Much appreciation and sincere gratitude in advance.
|Taylor GS Mini|
|Seagull Coastline Grand|
|Seagull Entourage Grand|
|Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top|
|Recording King RPH-05|
|EKO Guitars NXT Series|
|Seagull Coastline Grand Guitar|
|Alvarez Artist Series AP70|
|Alvarez AP66SB Artist 66 Series|
|La Patrie Guitar, Motif|
|Art & Lutherie Ami|
|James Neligan LIS-P|
|Luna Trinity Acoustic/Electric Cutaway|
|Blueridge BR-341 Historic Series|
|Tanglewood Solid Top & Back (TW73)|
|Simon & Patrick Woodland Pro|
|Blueridge BR-371 Historic Series|
What this guide is aiming to achieve is answer the question of “What is the best parlor guitar for me?” by offering you a string of various products with different features across multiple price ranges. Here we go!
Parlor guitars under $300
Model: GS Mini
Representing Taylor, the GS Mini will strike you with its dark colors, aesthetically and sonically. That being said, this fella packs a surprisingly bright sound ideal for fast-paced strumming and chord-based jams. The guitar utilizes a tropical mahogany top and a sepele back and sides.
Further on up the road, we’re looking at a sepele neck also with a standard, somewhat shorter rosewood fretboard with 20 frets and white dot inlays. Remaining notable features include a rosewood bridge, plastic nut and saddle, a set of the company’s Advantage bridge pins, a 1-11/16″ nut width, and a 23-1/2″ scale length.
In the aesthetic department, we have to say that this fella is one of our personal favorites. The shape, the classy classic vibe, and that gorgeous mosaic rosette give this instrument an appearance of a much more expensive piece of equipment.
But don’t think even for a second that we added this fella to the list based on looks. Our decision was based solely on the punchy sound and strong durability, and the aesthetic side was merely icing on the cake.
Model: Coastline Grand
It is always good to kick things off with a trusty Seagull, hence we opted to get the party started with the company’s Coastline Grand. We placed this fella near the top because we see it as one of the top mixtures of sound quality, top craftsmanship, and affordable pricing.
The instrument utilizes a pressure-tested solid spruce top with 3-layer wild cherry back and sides, along with a quarter-sawn scalloped x-bracing, and a maple neck with a rosewood fretboards, 20 frets and dot inlays.
This tonewood combo secures a sound that is first and foremost rich, full, and packed with strong basses, but also bright and somewhat mellow. In our humble opinion, that happens to be the perfect vibe for the type of music player on smaller six-strings.
The neck is playable and free of buzz, and perhaps even more importantly – it’s sturdy and not prone to bending. Seeing that parlor guitars are often used during travels, we found that factor to be extra important in this instance.
Other notable features include a set of open gear chrome tuners, a smooth sunburst finish, a rosewood bridge with compensated saddle and white pins, as well as a rosewood headstock veneer.
Model: Entourage Grand
Since we mentioned the Coastline model from Seagull, we figured to give a nod to another one of the company’s similar top-quality six-strings equally worthy of your attention – the Entourage Grand.
As far as features go, this instrument is quite similar to the Coastline model – it’s a classic parlor size guitar utilizing cherry back and sides with a spruce top, a rosewood bridge, a strong maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, along with a total of 18 frets and white dot inlays.
As for the sound, we believe that the natural sound of maple – bright, brilliant, and rich – gets to shine through just as much on this model as the Coastline counerpart. Also, the two instruments are very much similar both in terms of durability, neck stability and the ability to properly hold the tune for extended periods of time. Mainly, the different between the Coastline and the Entourage are the cuts of the cedar wood.
In the aesthetic segment, this parlor has that clean look, sporting a gorgeous natural finish associated with some of the all-time greats.
Model: G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top
Up next, we bring you one rather nice Gretsch parlor guitar – the G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top model. It comes with an agathis body, mixed up with x-bracing, a nato neck and a classic rosewood fingerboard with 18 frets and large single white dot inlays.
This combo delivers a distinctive twangy sound full loaded with mid-range punch and clarity. Despite utilizing budget-oriented wood for the neck, the high level of craftsmanship saves this thing and even propels it to top-notch level. We noticed very little fret buzz, and that is one of the main things you’ll want.
Apart from that, the body is quite resonant, making this guitar very well suited for jazzy vibe or blues-driven fills. It has the volume and mass, but there’s plenty of soul to it as well.
Other notable features include a rosewood bridge, a double-action truss rod, a pack of six open-back tuners, a white Gretsch pick-guard, and screened white purfling and rosette.
In the aesthetic section, we like the combination of dark brown finish and its contrast with the white pick-guard and cream tuners. The price is cheap, and we can easily say that our expectations have been exceeded. Good stuff!
Manufacturer: Recording King
This thing looks cheap and well, it is cheap – BUT – it sounds surprisingly great! Coming from Recording King, the RPH-05 utilizes white wood back and sides mixed up with a solid spruce top and forward X-bracing.
What surprised us about this fella is not only the quality of the sound, but versatility. This isn’t just a twang machine you can jam blues on, it’s a genuinely solid guitar you can use to play any style and genre. The sound is full and clear, and while it’s certainly no $2000 Martin, it does a great job at producing an organic acoustic guitar tone.
The neck was crafted from nato and combined with a classic rosewood fretboard, giving decent results and acceptable playability. Also included in the mix is a rosewood bridge, satin sunburst finish, a classic Recording King headstock, along with a pack of vintage-inspired tuning keys.
The factor that rounds this package up as a stellar deal is of course the price. We’re talking under $200 here, and getting an instrument you can genuinely use not just for practice, but for live performance and recording sessions for such a low sum is plain awesome. Kudos to the manufacturer for that!
EKO Guitars NXT Series
Manufacturer: EKO Guitars
Model: NXT Series
Now here’s a pretty fella! Up next in the under $300 domain, we would like to kindly draw your attention to EKO Guitars 06217030, a modern beast loaded with vintage charm. Available in black and natural finish, the guitar utilizes an all-agathis body combined with a sturdy neck with a 25.5-inch scale length.
In the sonic region, the sound is first and foremost loud and clear. The guitar is resonant, packed with punchy middles, and almost free of fret noise. It utilizes a classic rosewood fretboard with 20 frets and a distinctive X 12th fret marker. Other notable features include a rosewood bridge and a slotted headstock with premium open tuners.
Although the looks of this fella are stellar and worthy of pros, we have to point out that you shouldn’t get too carried away and that this is a beginner to intermediate instrument after all.
If you need a guitar to take with you while traveling and not worry too much about it, or if you’re a learner with a limited budget, this six-string is more than a valid choice. If you need more, though, do consult the higher budget registry in the next section.
Parlor Guitars Under $500
Seagull Coastline Grand Guitar
Model: Coastline Grand
Picking things up a notch, we bring you the traditional values of crisp Seagull guitars summed up in a smaller package. We are looking at the company’s Coastline Grand guitar crafted in North America. Featuring a select pressure tested cedar top and a wild cherry back and sides, this instrument can stand on par with some of the best vintage parlor guitars out there.
The sound is mellow, warm and old-school, but still rich and intricate thanks to modern craftsmanship values. The neck is made from sweet leaf maple, which brightens up the sound and secures some of that clarity we’ve mentioned.
In the aesthetic department, the six-string gives a smooth feel and a strong vintage vibe, while a touch of distinctive Seagull character is added through the company’s signature small headstock.
The guitar utilizes a double action truss rod, a rosewood bridge with white pins, as well as a rosewood fingerboard with 21 frets and double dot markers on the 12th fret.
Additionally, we are looking at a tusq nut and compensated saddle, two crucial features that make action and intonation of this beast stand out way above the crowd. You can play the Coastline right out of the box, no setup needed, just jam away!
Alvarez Artist Series AP70
Model: Artist Series AP70
Praised as one of the top picks of classical players as far as parlor guitars are considered, the Alvarez AP70 packs an immense punch and exceptional clarity. Driven by resonance and a strong tone, this guitar stands out by the surprising quality of the tonewood.
We are dealing with a hand-picked A-grade solid sitka spruce top, premium rosewood back and sides, scalloped bracing, and mother of pearl inlays. The hardware selection hardly lags behind, thanks to a set of extra strong tuners capable of maintaining the tuning for extended periods of time, as well as an Alvarez bi-level rosewood bridge. These components help the guitar to shine and deliver the best sonic punch possible.
As for the tone, the rosewood bodies are known for an expressed mid-range punch and clarity, but the guitar does a fine job in producing a versatile and well-rounded audio attack thanks to warm basses and bright higher registry.
When it comes to the neck, we are looking at a solid mahogany piece, which we believe is a crucial ingredient in that well-rounded sound. Additionally, this wood is sturdy and strong, making the neck far less prone to bending. If you travel often with a guitar, this component will be of great value.
Alvarez AP66SB Artist 66 Series
Model: AP66SB Artist 66 Series
As another valid option from the mighty Alvarez, we have decided to single out the AP66SB Artist 66 Series model. This time around, the company decided to go all-mahogany and use a solid African mahogany top, back, and sides, as well as a slim mahogany neck. This combination has secured copious amounts of sonic boom and resonance, placing the guitar on par with just about any full-sized six-string you can think of.
The sound is packed with all frequencies, plenty of loudness and resonance, but still enough articulation and responsiveness to allow the player to take that sound in any desired direction.
As for other notable features, we are looking at a classic rosewood fingerboard with 18 frets and a distinctive inlay on the 12th fret. The fret job is quite alright and the level of string buzz has been reduced to a fair minimum. Additionally, the guitar features a rosewood bridge with black pins and a set of six premium die-cast tuners distributed in groups of three across the headstock.
For the listed price, which falls into the under $400 category, this is one of our top picks. Good stuff!
La Patrie Guitar, Motif
Manufacturer: La Patrie
Made in North America, our next choice is the Motif six-sting from La Patrie. The thing that really stands out with this instrument is the comfort factor – we took it out for a brief spin and ended up jamming away for hours without noticing how time went.
Apart from a masterfully crafted mahogany neck, one of the key ingredients in comfort is the radiused rosewood fingerboard that makes those strings sit in with your hands as one.
Further on up the road, we are looking at mahogany back and sides combined with a cedar top. As you might have noticed, this is not a rare combo among travel guitars, as it gives the small guys a nice boost in the bass department and secures a more well-rounded sound despite the smaller size.
When it comes to looks, the instrument comes with a good ole classy classic vibe, with a natural wood finish and a decorated rosette. For better intonation, the manufacturer has included a tusq nut and a compensated saddle. Overall, this is a pro-level instrument at an affordable price, thumbs up from here!
Art & Lutherie Ami Cedar Antique Burst
Manufacturer: Art & Lutherie Ami
Taking a walk on the wild side with some wild cherry, we bring you the Art & Lutherie Ami Cedar guitar, a vintage beast packed with old-school charm. Crafted in Canada, this instrument utilizes a top-of-the-line silver leaf maple neck combined with a rosewood fingerboard, 18 frets and dot inlays.
In case you didn’t get the pun, the body combines wild cherry back and sides with a cedar top. This sonic combo results in a warmer and slightly more mellow sound that secures plenty of resonance and a bit more of a percussive vibe.
Other notable features include a classic rosewood bridge with white pins, a set of six tuners distributed in groups of three across the headstock, and a decorated rosette.
The guitar is highly versatile and very easy on the fingers, making it perfect both for beginners with weaker fingertips and seasoned pros who spend countless hours jamming away. The only recommendation we have upon purchasing is changing the stock strings with a nice pair of crispy D’Addarios and that’s it.
James Neligan LIS-P
Manufacturer: James Neligan
Everyone likes a nice hidden gem, and in our opinion that’s exactly what the James Neligan LIS-P guitar is. In our book, this six-string wields all the qualities of a guitar that’s at least 50% more expensive. That may not be the state of things for long, so if this one pleases you, we say go for it right away!
But let’s see what we’re looking at here first, shall we? Apart from those distinctive light looks, the guitar utilizes mahogany back and sides with a spruce top. This reels in a massive sound with a slight mellow side, making the instrument versatile and capable of coping with any genre and style. Additionally, the instrument is very clear, articulate and comfortable. That comfort factor was very much secured thanks to an exceptionally crafted mahogany neck with a satin finish. This thing feels super smooth and is a genuine joy to play.
Also included in the mix is a standard rosewood fingerboard with 18 frets and distinctive inlays, as well as a subtle brown rosette. For this price, which belongs in the under $500 segment, this is one of the top deals you can get.
Model: Passport Parlor
If you like that mahogany boom and if you’re looking for an acoustic-electric travel guitar – one that you can plug into an amp or a PA system – we believe that the Breedlove Passport six-string is one of the top choices you can make. Essentially, if you want power in a small package, a parlor guitar that can stand up to full-sized models, check this fella out!
Utilizing an all-mahogany body and a mahogany neck, this thing is quite sturdy and strong, which not only shapes the instrument’s sound, but also comes in super handy for traveling with guitar.
Also included in the mix is a rosewood fingerboard with 19 frets and dot inlays, along with a pack of chrome tuners.
In the electronic department, we are looking at a Fishman ISYS preamp system with a USB pickup. When plugged in, this fella is all about sheer power and retaining the instrument’s organic sound. If you perform at clubs with PA systems and want a guitar that’s not a hassle to carry, yet delivers the boom, this is the one to go for. They say “Get a Taylor parlor guitar,” we say no, get this one right here!
Luna Trinity Acoustic/Electric Cutaway
Model: Trinity Acoustic/Electric Cutaway
We’ll round up the mid-range price domain with the lovely Trinity from Luna. The folks from Luna have found their share of the market by combining gorgeous and creative aesthetics with quality sound and craftsmanship.
Speaking of looks, the first thing that pops up is that peculiar sound hole we personally find quite pretty. But if it was just pretty looks these guitars sported, they would have been out of business very fast and simply couldn’t survive on the market for this long.
Securing that good sound, the manufacturer combined high-end rosewood on back and sides with a strong solid spruce top to secure a distinctive bright and resonant vibe. Also included in the mix is a sturdy mahogany neck combined with a classic rosewood fingerboard with 18 frets and unique Celtic fret markers.
When it comes to the sound, this guitar demonstrates in a very good way how to compensate the lack of low end smaller bodies bring – with exceptional clarity. Trinity is very resonant, clear and accurate, making the playing experience a great way to distance yourself from the classic dreadnought style. Give it a shot, changes are often refreshing!
Parlor Guitars Under $1000
Blueridge BR-341 Historic Series
Model: Trinity Acoustic/Electric Cutaway
As the first representative of the higher-end domain, we bring you a very fine instrument from Blueridge called the BR-341. As a part of the Historic series, the six-sting delivers a sound reminiscent to the classic ’20s models, including that iconic punch and twang.
With a choice solid mahogany back and sides spiced up with a solid sitka spruce top, this guitar is very comfortable and easy to play thanks to an ebony fingerboard that feels as smooth and natural as they get.
The looks are classic, but you can still feel that the finish is very much high-end from the very first glance. Further on up the road, we are looking at a solid mahogany neck, a pack of 19 frets, and some white dot inlays.
The instrument also comes with an adjustable truss rod, although in our experience this Blueridge comes with a top-notch action and intonation right out of the box, requiring pretty much no adjustments. Other notable features include an Indian rosewood fingerboard and a set of six tuning machines.
Tanglewood Solid Top & Back (TW73)
Tanglewood is another hidden gem we’d like to introduce you to as possibly the strongest contender on the list in terms of quality – price ratio. Everything about the instrument seems standard and classic, but as soon as you strum the first chord you’ll notice that the sonic punch is on par with much more expensive six-string.
So, Tanglewood’s is crafted from solid mahogany on back and sides, as well as a solid cedar top. The neck is a fine cedar piece, which is a tad non-standard as far as travel guitars go, but it turned out to be a great combo that gave the six-string a distinctive zest and zeal in the sonic attack.
Also, the fingerboard was crafted from tanglewood, which is quite rare, but worked out great when combined with the cedar neck. The combo made the neck quite sturdy and durable, but the fretboard remained mellow and easy even for newbie fingers to play on.
Other notable features include a rosewood bridge, a set of tuners, and a gorgeous “T” logo on top of the headstock.
If your sonic preference is a roaring twang from the depths of Mississippi Delta, and you like that roar delivered in a convenient, travel-sized package, get a load of the Washburn R319SWKK.
The roar was achieved through a carefully selected combination of trembesi back and sides and a solid spruce top. This tonewood mixture allows all frequencies to shine through led by a powerful mid-range punch, perfect for the blues. But do note that this is NOT a blues-only guitar, as the sonic quality and versatility allow the player to delve into a variety of musical realms.
Other notable features include a mahogany neck – which is very durable and not prone to bending – as well as a high-end ebony fingerboard and bridge. The latter two components reduce the fret noise to zero and make the strumming hand as comfortable as it can get.
The neck comes with a 24.75-inch scale, a 48 mm nut width, 16-inch radius and a V shape. The looks are dark, classy, and plain sexy.
Simon & Patrick Woodland Pro
Manufacturer: Simon & Patrick
Model: Woodland Pro
Toning things down a bit, we’d like to present you with what we see as a dream guitar of many classical guitarists who like their instruments versatile and clear – the Simon & Patrick Woodland.
Crafted in North America, this six-string comes with solid mahogany back and sides, a solid spruce top, a mahogany neck and a rosewood fingerboard. This seemingly regular combination is taken to the pro level with stellar craftsmanship and very fair pricing.
Speaking of craftsmanship, the guitar is ready to go right out of the box thanks to an integrated set neck, tusq nut and compensated saddle. The sound is clear, warm, with prominent middles and bright trebles to spice things up. The twang is always there, but so are the basses, resulting with plenty of versatility and sonic options to explore.
Additional notable features include a rosewood bridge with white pins, a pack of six tuners that do a top-notch job in keeping the instrument in proper tuning over extended time periods, as well as a distinctive logo on the headstock. The guitar packs a total of 19 frets and classic white dot markers. For the listed price tag, it’s more than worth the investment.
If you are looking for a sonically well-balanced guitar, this one is it – the Cort L900C! Despite being one of the cheaper representatives of the “under $1000” department, this fella can easily run with the rest of the pack and deliver a sonic punch to stand out from the crowd.
What grabbed our attention right from the get-go with this thing is the peculiar tonewood combination – rosewood back and sides plus a cedar top. This way, the mellow, treble-driven vibe of rosewood is mixed up with sturdiness of cedar, balancing the frequencies perfectly and making everything from the lowest bottom basses to the highest of trebles heard loud and clear in the final mix.
The guitar also features a sturdy mahogany neck with high-end ebony fingerboard and bridge. This combo is all about stability and strength on one hand, and comfort and ease of playing on the other. All of which is absolutely smashing, yes.
Other notable features include a pack of six vintage Grover tuners, white dot inlays on the fingerboard, a decorated rosette, and a light weight of 5.8 pounds.
Parlor Guitars Under $2000
Blueridge BR-371 Historic Series
Model: BR-371 Historic Series
When it comes to high-quality travel guitars, Blueridge is one of the top manufacturers out there, and possibly the best six-string they have in store is this model – the BR-371.
By utilizing top-level solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, the manufacturer took that clarity and sonic punch parlor guitars boast and simply took it to the next level, resulting in one of the clearest and most articulate tones we have encountered so far.
The six-string also utilizes a solid sitka spruce top, as well as a mahogany neck with a traditional diamond volute. The neck piece is not just sturdy, but very well balanced, requiring almost zero maintenance and boasting the ability to endure a variety of weather conditions.
Also included in the mix is a high-end ebony fingerboard, an adjustable truss rod, grained ivoroid binding on body and neck, a maple bridge plate, a 24.75-inch scale length, 1-7/8 inch bone nut, and a pack of high-quality tuning pegs.
If you were to ask us to name our No. 1 choice for a travel guitar that can match a dreadnought in terms of boom and basses, but still deliver its own thing and a signature parlor sound, there’s a very solid chance we would opt for the E10P model from Eastman.
The company opted for a somewhat standard combo of mahogany back and sides, spicing it up with adirondack spruce top. This combination allows all the frequencies to churn out like mad, securing that rough blues undertone. So regardless of which musical alley you opt for, there will always be something about this six-string that will make it seem like you picked it up from a porch in the Delta Mississippi area. Which is just fine in our book.
Overall, that distinctive twang will always be there, but so will the basses. Other notable features include an ebony fingerboard and ebony pyramid bridge, along with a two-way adjustable truss rod, hand-carved scalloped X-bracing, and an included set of .012 – .054 Martin SP Phosphor Bronze strings. The looks are gorgeous and make it very clear we’re dealing with a top-quality product from the very first glance.
Another very valid choice comes in the form of this Larrivee parlor guitar – the P-03 model.
One of the things we instantly noticed about this fella is the high-quality craftsmanship and possibly the finest piece of neck on the entire list. The fret job on this thing is just stellar – we’re talking maximum comfort and zero fret noise regardless of your playing style and hand positioning. Crafted from a solid piece mahogany and combined with an African ebony fingerboard with 18 frets, this thing is a work of art.
In the rest of the mix, the six-string utilizes an all-solid wood construction with mahogany back and sides combined with a Canadian sitka spruce sound board and bracing. It has a scale length of 24 inches, a pack of six tuning pegs, a decorated rosette and a stand-out luxurious pick-guard.
As for the sound, we are looking at a rich, resonant, articulate, and rich sonic attack. Absolutely worthy of professionals, this is one serious instrument, no doubt about it.
Parlor Guitars Under $4000
You know what they say – you simply cannot beat a Martin! It will take you around $4000 to get your hands on this beast, but well, you just can’t beat it. Coming from the company with an outstanding reputation of one of the greatest acoustic guitar manufacturers the world has ever known, the 00-28VS model is a dream come true and a genuine collectors item.
But let’s focus on those specs and sound now, shall we? The guitar utilizes a solid sitka spruce top and solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, resulting in that immaculate sonic attack we discussed while on the Blueridge BR-371. Except that the craftsmanship is at even higher level and that this is an even stronger guitar.
Anyhow, this tonewood combo reels in a sound that further elevates that clarity of parlor guitars and gives it even more room and resonance, while securing a well-balanced groove with all the frequencies covered. Is this the perfect travel guitar tone? Yes, it is.
Other notable features include a mahogany neck, a rosewood fingerboard with 20 frets, a pack of quality tuners, a circle rosette and a signature Martin headstock. Should you buy this guitar if you can afford it? Yes. Why? Because it’s a work of art. Just don’t let Quentin Tarantino near it.
Thus, in a nutshell, each of these instruments is worthy of consideration for the flattering title of the best parlor guitar on the market. It is now simply up to you to jot down your personal needs, preferences and spending budget, and single out the item that suits you the most. Once that is our of the way, feel free to purchase any of the fellas listed on our little rundown – these are all guitars you simply cannot regret purchasing and we thoroughly recommend buying each and every one of them. Neat stuff, a thumbs up from here!