Roundup of the Best Parlor Guitars

The Best Parlor Guitars

Drawing from our extensive data on parlor guitars, we present you with the best parlor guitars, updated for 2018. This list is meant to help you easily visualize and compare top-rated and crowd favorites, and find the ones that match your playing style, cosmetic preference and budget.

This guide is focused on traditional steel string guitars - we have separate guides for Acoustic-Electric and Nylon String parlor guitars.

I've arranged the cream-of-the-crop parlors into three groups based on pricing. First of which is the affordable sub $200 range, next is the under $500 middle tier, and finally, the third bracket features instruments priced between $500 to $1000.

Note that Many of the parlor guitars featured here come with alternative finishes and wood combination variants, so don't hesitate to look for one that appeals most to your eyes. In addition to finding the right tone and looks, you should also consider comfort and familiar playability by comparing the scale length and nut width to the guitar that you are most comfortable with.

BTW - if you plan to record with a parlor, then you will find this gear guide on Gearank.com to be most helpful: The Best Microphones for Recording Acoustic Guitar. And if you're looking for something other than a parlor see The Best Acoustic Guitars.

Best Parlor Guitars under $200

This is the price range that majority of guitarists are willing to pay for a small body guitar, thankfully this budget is plenty enough to get you a great sounding instrument. You will find that there some in this bracket with good tonewood and build. Check out what we consider as the best in this competitive market.

Fender MA-1 Parlor Guitar

Fender MA-1 Parlor Guitar

Detailed meta-review below

A budget friendly 3/4 scale compact parlor guitar from big name manufacturer Fender.

Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy

Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top

Detailed meta-review below

The Jim Dandy Flat Top has become a crowd favorite, thanks to its dirt cheap price, great quality and genuine '30s era aesthetics.

Ibanez PN15

Ibanez PN15 Parlor Guitar

Detailed meta-review below

Oldschool sunburst finish parlor guitar with Ibanez' brand of modern playability.

Fender CP-60S Parlor Guitar

Fender CP-60S

Detailed meta-review below

The Fender CP-60S is a distinctly shaped parlor guitar with a solid spruce top.

Best Parlor Guitars under $500

This is where tonewood options broaden, with some offering solid top builds that crafted from various types of wood.

Washburn WP11SNS

Washburn WP11SNS

Detailed meta-review below

The Washburn WP11SNS is an affordable solid top parlor guitar with boutique like aesthetics.

Gretsch G9511 Parlor Guitar

Gretsch G9511 Parlor Guitar

Detailed meta-review below

With its solid cedar top and blues box profile, the Gretsch G9511 is a sure standout in terms of looks and tone.

Best Parlor Guitars under $1000

This price range is where you'll find better specifications.

Alvarez MPA66

Alvarez MPA66

Detailed meta-review below

Sporting a solid mahogany body built through Alvarez' meticulous production process, the MPA66 is sure to impress.

Blueridge BR-341

Blueridge BR-341

Detailed meta-review below

This all solid wood parlor guitar from a not so well known manufacturer offers pro level specs at mid-tier pricing.

 

Detailed Meta-Reviews:

Fender MA-1

Fender MA-1
Manufacturer: Fender

With experience and technology on their side, Fender is more than capable of mass producing affordable parlor guitars with good quality. The MA-1 is a good example of this, a cheap guitar that does not feel cheap, nor does it look cheap. Rather it has the Fender label stamped on its headstock, with aesthetics and build quality that lives up to the brand name. The body of the Fender MA-1 is crafted using alternative wood, laminate agathis for the top, and laminate sapele for the back and sides.

These alternative wood are used because they are affordable and readily available, plus they sound very similar to familiar tonewoods. The resulting sound is good enough to please the ears of students and beginners, which this guitar is aimed at.

As for neck specifications, the scale length is 3/4 smaller than regular acoustics at 23.3", and it has a nutwidth of 1.69". The neck joins the body at the 12th fret, completing the simple yet eye pleasing look of the guitar. This parlor guitar from Fender is well worth considering for those with limited budget.

 

Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top

Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top
Manufacturer: Gretsch

Although relatively new, the Jim Dandy Flat Top has become a crowd favorite, thanks to its dirt cheap price, great quality and genuine '30s era aesthetics. I for one could not believe how affordable it was when I first saw it released! The design is inspired by the entry level instrument from the '30s called Gretsch Rex, sporting a retro look that you will want to show off to your friends or keep on a stand on your living room.

This ultra-affordable guitar does not look cheap at all, rather it has a premium feel and look to it. The small body is crafted from Agathis wood, which features the same properties as the pinewood used on guitars in the first half of the 20th century. Popularly used by house and ship builders, agathis has taken the place of pinewood because of its improved stability and reliability. Gretsch also designed the body to be slightly elongated, which together with the Agathis body add substantial sound projection to this rather small bodied instrument.

Comfortable playability is ensured by its 24" short scale length and 1.69" nut width. Much like old designs, the neck meets the body at the 12th fret, and it has a '50s style Gretsch square tapered headstock with rounded edges to complete its old school look. With an instument this cool and affordable, there really is no excuse for you not to have a great value couch guitar at home!

 

Ibanez PN15

Ibanez PN15
Manufacturer: Ibanez

While they are mostly known for the shred machines that they build for virtuosos like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, Ibanez is a strong contender in the acoustic guitar market, particularly in the entry level price range. So it is not at all surprising to see them securing a spot in our recommendations with a good quality parlor guitar like the PN15. Build-wise, the Ibanez PN15 does not stray far from conventional guitar builds, with laminate mahogany used for its side panels and laminate spruce for the top.

But what separates it from others in the price range is Ibanez' consistent quality across their entire line of products, where in they do not compromise aesthetics and playability even at lower price points.

While others will have a stripped down look, the Ibanez PN15 comes with bindings and a premium quality finish that can be mistaken for something that's more expensive. Ibanez' reputation for smooth playability is also present in this parlor guitar, with its soft action 24.4" scale neck, with 1.69" nut width.

 

Fender CP-60S

Fender CP-60S
Manufacturer: Fender

Thanks to big brands like Fender, we can enjoy a good solid top parlor guitar in the entry level price range. And this is precisely what the the Fender CP-60S is all about, a distinctly shaped parlor guitar with a solid spruce top. Giving this guitar its distinct shape is its narrow upper bout. Completing its body are back and side panels that are crafted from laminate mahogany. But it's not just about aesthetics, because its compact profile and solid spruce top design results in a vibrant and bright tone that works great with fingerpicking.

It can also give you a more cutting tone when jamming with friends who play regular size acoustic guitars.

The guitar's mahogany neck is topped by a rosewood fingerboard with rolled of frets. Action and playability is similar to that of regular sized guitars, with a scale length of 24.85", and a nut width of 1.69". The neck joins the body at the 14th fret.

Finally, the Fender CP-60S is available in either natural or 3-tone sunburst finish.

 

Washburn WP11SNS

Washburn WP11SNS
Manufacturer: Washburn

When it comes to acoustic guitars, Washburn does not compromise aesthetics for specifications, and vice versa. And this is the reason why many love their acoustic guitars, like the WP11SNS, which for the price gives you good solid top construction and convincing old school style aesthetics. This guitar is definitely a pleasure to look at, thanks to its early 20th century aesthetics, which include having a neck joint at the 12th fret, and a nice looking slotted headstock with inlays.

Its solid cedar top also adds to the overall earthy appeal of the instrument, while giving it a tone that's warmer and snappier than those with spruce tops. The back and side panels are crafted from laminate mahogany, which follow after traditional designs.

The neck is also crafted from mahogany, and topped with a 20-fret rosewood fingerboard. It is carved into a C shape profile that offers familiar playability with its 24.75" scale length and 1.73" nut width. With its superb looks, great value for money and good playability, the Washburn WP11SNS is highly recommended.

 

Gretsch G9511

Gretsch G9511
Manufacturer: Gretsch

The Gretsch brand is known for their eccentrically styled instruments, and this design philosophy applies nicely to the G9511. It sports a design similar to the mail order parlor guitars of the yesteryears, only this one has the reliability and playability of modern acoustic guitars, along with a solid top for improved tone and response. This parlor guitar has a very intricate and detailed sound, thanks to its compact parlor style body with its laminate mahogany back and sides, and solid sitka spruce top.

The downside to this is that it tends to sound muddy when played hard - but this downside is also what makes it attractive to blues and folk players.

While it does sport an old school 12th fret neck joint, playability of this guitar is within familiar territory with its 24.75" scale length. Note that nut width is a bit wider at 1.73".

If you're looking for a parlor guitar that you can play your favorite roots and acoustic blues pieces on, then do check out the Gretsch G9511.

 

Alvarez MPA66

Alvarez MPA66
Manufacturer: Alvarez

There's just no substitute for a good all-solid wood acoustic guitar, they are generally more responsive and feel more alive as the body resonates with every string you pluck. But it's not just about having quality materials, because build quality also plays an important role. The all-solid Alvarez MPA66 parlor guitar is a great example of quality materials and build coming together, resulting in an instrument that looks as good as it sounds.

At the core of the MPA66 is its all solid mahogany wood body, which gives it a warmer and rounder tone, compared to those with spruce tops. This combination helps balance out the inherent midrange emphasis of its small body, resulting in a sound that's fuller than what you'd expect. Matching mahogany wood on its body and neck also gives the guitar a more uniform look, while the slotted headstock completes its traditional appeal.

This guitar features a mahogany neck that joins the body at the 12th fret, and it has a rosewood fingerboard. Action is expected to be smooth with its shorter scale length of 24", but note that the nut is a bit wider at 1.75", yet still within standard specifications. If you're looking for a quality all-solid mahogany parlor guitar, then this is your best bet.

 

Blueridge BR-341

Blueridge BR-341
Manufacturer: Saga Music

With its all solid wood body and quality construction, the Blueridge BR-341 is easily comparable to guitars that are priced twice or more. It sports a solid Sitka spruce top that's supported by forward shifted scalloped X braces and solid mahogany back and sides - all of which are features that you usually have to pay top dollars for. And it is not just about the specs, and getting more for your money, because its projection and tone is just as impressive.

Even those who own more expensive parlor guitars have good things to say about the BR-341. It also scores good points with its boutique guitar appeal, thanks to its elegant binding, soundhole rings and slotted headstock design, which complements its natural finish.

The slim profile neck has an Indian rosewood fingerboard with a 1 7/8" wide nut and 24.75" scale length.

All these features add up to a familiar yet comfortable playability. If you're looking to get the most out of your money then check out the Blueridge BR-341.

 

 

If you feel there's a guitar we've missed which should be in the list above, please tell us about it in the comments below.

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Comments

Parlor guitars

Rainsong Parlor rules period

I like Rainsong's guitars too

I like Rainsong's guitars too - they also look really good and have a range of colors that you don't often see on acoustics.

That's because they're made

That's because they're made from carbon fiber - you can't get wood to look like that and I doubt they could ever sound as good as proper wood does like on a Gibson.

We've removed the Rainsong P12 6-String

After much consideration, and despite the fact that I personally like the Rainsong P12 6-String, we have removed it from our list of recommended parlor guitars. We've decided to stick with guitars that more closely resemble traditional parlors and the Rainsong's carbon fiber construction doesn't really fit here.

No BR-371?

What is your reason for excluding this fine parlor?

Cort L1200P Parlor

I would like to see and hear the L1200P parlor from Cort
guitars.
and also hear some opinions from those who have owned one.

Cort L1200P is now included above

We looked into the L1200P and we agree - it deserves to be in this roundup - thanks for the tip!

seagull natural grand sg

Dear friends,

Was the seagull excursion natural grand sg considered when you were preparing this roundup? I can't find one to try where I live but was well impressed with what I could hear online. What are your views on it?

Thank you.

It's no longer available

I don't remember if we previously recommended the Seagull Guitars Excursion Natural Grand SG, however it has sold out at all the major online US retailers. It is a good guitar with a solid build but we only recommend guitars that are widely available.

It's good but hard to find

The Jack & Danny AP-30S is good value considering how low the price was, but it's nearly impossible to find at online retailers anymore so we haven't included it in our list above.

Larrivee parlors

What about larrivee parlors?

larrivee

Larrivee parlors are all solid wood and can be bought new for under $1000.00. The build quality is excellent and they use the best materials in their price range. They should be reviewed.

Alvarez parlors..?

Surprised the Alvarez AP70 or AP66 doesnt get a spot in this round up...

Alvarez Parlours

I was surprised too, that the AP60, 66 or AP70 never got mentioned. I just bought an AP70 for a friend and it is a very fine guitar.

Cubley Guitar

I recently came upon a parlor named that says made by Edwin Cubley, Ravenswood. The Larson Brothers wirked there between 1885 and when the factory burned down in 1893. I have seen nor heard of a Cubley Guitar. I have asked many people that are involved with Cubley banjos and even someone writing a book on the Larson Brothers, but nothing on a Cubley guitar. Any help? Thanks, Bill

Takamine P3NY

I love my P3NY.

Thanks for this great reference on different small body acoustics. Even though I already purchased my Takamine, I still enjoy the demos and the reviews.

Ironically I stumbled across my P3NY while I was shopping for a 00 sized one. When I sat down and played it, I was hooked.

Sigma 00R-1STS-SB

Anyone looking for a Parlour guitar should check out the Sigma 00R-1STS-SB. I have one and absolutely love it.

Parlor Guitars

What about the Taylor Parlor? They made 35 of the most beautiful parlor guitars ever made in 2009--why no review?

We appreciate your love for

We appreciate your love for Taylor guitars, but the list above features those that are currently available in the market. Still, it would be nice if they have a parlor guitar that's consistently in production.

Richwood

If you want a wonderful price/value ratio for a solid top parlor guitar, buy Richwood P 65 VA - for 390 EUR it is an amazing deal. This Richwood (Asia made though) is comparable to Sigma 00R-28VS or Blueridge 341. It leaves behind Ibanez, Gretsch, Cort, Recording King and other massively distributed cheap brands.
If you want a wonderful price/value ratio for an all solid parlor guitar, buy Pono - few known brand, but excellent instruments.

Art & Lutherie

The Art & Lutherie Ami is a really nice cedar parlor guitar that is still available. I have the older blue cedar, a beautiful little guitar for my daughter.

Seagull

The Seagull Coastline Grand shouldn't be overlooked.

Fender PM 2 Deluxe

I’m a bit surprised Fender PM2 is not mentioned...?

Kala Guitars -

Hi - do you have a view of the Kala Parlor guitar KA-GTR-PLR? Many thanks...

Parlor guitars

I purchased a Collings c10 parlor and have fallen in love.

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