Are you looking for the best parlor guitar around? Check out our top parlor guitar picks for 2024 based on our extensive research and data here on parlor guitars. Scrutinize and compare each to find the best parlor guitar that fits your playing style, aesthetic preference, and budget.
Affiliate Notice: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
In the rich tapestry of acoustic guitars, the parlor guitar is a timeless and intimate instrument cherished for its compact size and distinctive tone.
As musicians begin to balance good tone with portability, sooner or later, they will explore parlor guitars as viable options. Parlor guitars offer a good balance of comfort and affordability while having a distinct tonality and appeal.
What better way to explore and truly appreciate the distinct charm of parlor guitars than by recognizing the creme de la creme!
This guide delves into the best parlor guitars, unraveling the nuanced craftsmanship, tonewoods, and design intricacies that define a superior parlor guitar.
We used our vast amount of research on Parlor.guitars, and our data on Gearank.com to help us evaluate and honor the creme of the crop. Featured here are the best parlor guitars of three groups based on pricing. Starting with affordable gems in the sub $200 range, then up the under $500 middle tier, the third bracket features instruments priced between $500 to $1000.
Whether you’re a seasoned player seeking the next addition to your collection or a novice eager to embark on a musical voyage, this guide will let you choose from the best parlor guitars to find the right parlor guitar for your needs.
Several parlor guitars showcased here offer various finishes and combinations of woods, so feel free to browse and find the one that catches your eye. Along with the tone and appearance, you should also consider the comfort and familiarity of playing by comparing the scale length and nut width to the guitar you are already comfortable with.
BTW – if you plan to record with a parlor, you will find this gear guide on Gearank.com to be the 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 most guitarists are willing to pay for a small body guitar; thankfully, this budget is plenty enough to get you a great sounding affordable parlor guitar. You will find some in this bracket with good tonewood and build. Check out what we consider the best in this competitive market.
Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy
The Jim Dandy Flat Top has become a crowd favorite thanks to its dirt cheap price, great quality, and genuine ‘30s-era aesthetics. Detailed meta-review below
Fender CP-60S Parlor Guitar
The Fender CP-60S is a distinctly shaped parlor guitar with a solid spruce top. Detailed meta-review below
True to form compact blues box with Ibanez’s modern playability. Detailed meta-review below
A solid mahogany top parlor sized guitar that turns heads without burning a hole in your wallet. Detailed meta-review below
Best Parlor Guitars under $500
This is where tonewood options broaden, with some offering solid top builds crafted from various types of wood. But don’t expect premium features like all-solid wood construction, solid mahogany neck, and the like.
Kala Solid Cedar Top Parlor Guitar
Traditional style parlor guitar with solid cedar top and slotted headstock. Detailed meta-review below
An all mahogany body parlor size guitar with vintage sunburst finish, sporting their ’66 era vintage style designs. Detailed meta-review below
Best Parlor Guitars under $1000
This price range is where you’ll find better specifications.
Guild P-240 Memoir
A premium parlor guitar that marries vintage aesthetics with modern craftsmanship at an accessible price. 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-review below
Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top
Although relatively new, the Jim Dandy Flat Top has become a crowd favorite, thanks to its dirt cheap price, excellent 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 Gretsch Rex, sporting a retro look you’d want to show off to your friends or keep on a stand in your living room.
This budget-friendly parlor guitar does not look cheap; instead, it has a premium feel and looks 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 shipbuilders, Agathis has replaced pinewood because of its improved stability and reliability. Gretsch also designed the body to be slightly elongated, which, together with the Agathis body, adds substantial guitar 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.
Are parlor guitars good for beginners? With the balance of value and quality that the Gretsch G9500 provides, the answer is a resounding yes.
With this cool and affordable instrument, there is no excuse for you not to have an excellent value couch guitar at home!
Thanks to big brands like Fender, we can enjoy a solid top parlor guitar in the entry-level price range. And this is precisely what 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 result in a vibrant, bright tone that works great with fingerpicking. fingerpicking. It can also give you a more cutting tone when jamming with friends who play regular-size acoustic guitars. A rosewood fingerboard with rolled frets tops the guitar’s mahogany neck.
Action and playability are similar to that of a typical acoustic guitar, 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 a natural or 3-tone sunburst finish.
Ibanez is a brand that covers a lot of ground, covering different types of electric guitars and acoustic guitars. This includes parlor guitar shapes like the PN1MH, which combines traditional elements with Ibanez’s brand of modern playability.
Speaking of playability, this parlor guitar sports a smooth-feeling neck, which is suited for beginners but will also appeal to musicians who want an easy-to-play-beater instrument.
Ibanez opted for sustainable alternatives to traditional tonewoods, using sapele for the top and Nyatoh for the back and sides to keep costs low. This is a common wood configuration for many affordable guitars; thankfully, it doesn’t compromise the sound as much. It helped give this guitar a distinctly mellow tone, perfect for blues, folk, rock, and similar styles.
The body of this guitar is very narrow, which makes it easier to store and carry around. But it will also feel awkward for those used to regular-sized acoustics. I often get asked this question: are parlor guitars easier to play? the obvious answer is yes. But there are some drawbacks. Given its compact design, it would be unfair to expect good projection and a balanced tone.
For the price, the quality of the tuners is quite good, a stark contrast to other acoustic guitars in the entry-level price range. I’m not a fan of its headstock, I wish guitar makers would standardize slotted headstocks for parlor guitars.
For those looking for an affordable and easy-to-play parlor guitar, the Ibanez PN1MH is a good choice, despite potential compromises in volume and cosmetics.
Benton CLP-15M is an interesting entry from a relatively new brand. Nonetheless, it is a worthy contender, offering an enticing blend of affordability and quality craftsmanship. Its ability to catch the eye without straining the wallet is quite special.
In terms of cost-effectiveness, this guitar presents a compelling proposition, boasting a solid mahogany top, which gives the Benton CLP-15M a rich and resonant tone characterized by warmth and depth. Despite its diminutive size, its tonal output is surprisingly robust, delivering articulate and dynamic soundscapes that defy preconceptions.
However, it’s pertinent to note that the finish may not cater to every taste. Additionally, some players may find minor adjustments necessary upon initial setup, though these are typically minor and easily rectified.
The neck profile offers a comfortable and ergonomic feel, facilitating smooth transitions across the fretboard. Notably, the action is commendably low, akin to most modern guitar setups, allowing for effortless playability and enhanced responsiveness.
Don’t let its relatively unknown brand get in the way of you getting this hidden gem. It is worth getting if you want a good quality solid mahogany top parlor-sized guitar.
Kala Solid Cedar Top Parlor Guitar
Kala Brand Music, renowned for its ukuleles, has expanded into acoustic guitars, precisely the parlor guitar shape. This is a logical expansion, given their expertise in small-bodied string instruments.
The Kala Parlor is a short-scale model featuring a solid cedar top, which is more often used on classical guitars than steel string acoustics. The top is supported by mahogany wood for the back and sides, completing its classical guitar-style wood configuration. This results in a warm tonal character, with accentuated midrange frequencies that synergize well with the inherently mid-focused tone of small-bodied guitars. This warm sound makes it ideal for folk music and traditional blues.
It also looks the part with its vintage style design, including having a slotted headstock. Build quality and attention to detail is also top-notch for the price.
Crafted from mahogany, the neck features a 19-fret rosewood fingerboard, maintaining the traditional aesthetics of old parlor guitars. With a 24.75″ scale length similar to a Les Paul and a 1.75″ nut width, this guitar feels familiar. Following tradition, the neck joins the guitar body at the 12th fret, culminating in a slotted headstock that adds to the instrument’s vintage allure.
Cosmetic embellishments include herringbone purfling, rosewood binding, and a pearl headstock inlay accentuated by chrome side-mounted tuners echoing Kala’s distinctive headstock shape. The natural satin finish enhances the guitar’s retro charm.
Priced at just $349, the Kala Parlor guitar offers remarkable value for its solid cedar top and elegant aesthetics. This is for you if you’re looking for a warm-sounding parlor guitar with vintage-style looks.
Alvarez presents the AP66SB, a visually striking parlor guitar with an all-mahogany body and vintage sunburst finish, part of their esteemed Artist Series. Featuring a deep, glossy finish and scalloped abalone and mother-of-pearl inlays, it embodies vintage ’66 era designs.
The solid mahogany top, paired with forward-shifted scalloped X-bracing, delivers a warm tone with enhanced lower midrange emphasis, ideal for fingerstyle playing used in various musical genres.
The bi-level bridge and real bone nut ensure optimal connection between the strings and the body, or optimal string-to-body connection, resulting in a resonant and powerful sound profile.
Crafted mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, and bridge enhance its vintage appeal and tonal resonance. However, some may find the guitar’s shorter 24″ scale length and wider 1.75″ nut width less comfortable for certain playing styles.
Additionally, while priced affordably at just under $360, some players may expect higher-end hardware options. If you’re looking for a stage guitar, then an acoustic-electric model would be a good parlor guitar option.
Overall, the Alvarez AP66SB combines impressive features with vintage aesthetics at an accessible price point. Definitely worth checking out if you have the budget.
Guild P-240 Memoir
The Guild P-240 Memoir Parlor blends vintage aesthetics with premium craftsmanship at just over $500. Constructed with a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides, Guild’s meticulous attention to detail ensures an instrument that looks, sounds, and feels incredible. Everything about it is more premium than it is.
Acoustically, the P-240 impresses with its detailed sound, offering impressive treble and presence alongside adequate bass for its size, though it lacks the booming resonance of larger-bodied guitars. The satin finish enhances the instrument’s understated elegance, allowing the natural beauty of the wood to shine through.
In terms of playability, the vintage “C” profile neck provides a comfortable and accessible experience, catering to both fingerstyle and strumming techniques. However, some players accustomed to contemporary neck profiles may need an adjustment period.
Premium features such as the bone nut and saddle contribute to enhanced sustain and resonance, reflecting the instrument’s craftsmanship. While the price is justifiable for the quality, it may pose a challenge for budget-conscious buyers.
Ultimately, the Guild P-240 Memoir Parlor is perfect for you if you want an authentic parlor guitar experience.
With its all solid wood construction, the Blueridge BR-341 is comparable to an uber expensive dream parlor guitar – but more accessibly priced.
It sports a solid Sitka spruce top that’s supported by forward-shifted scalloped X braces and solid mahogany back and sides. You’d normally pay top dollars to this feature set from popular brands like Martin & Taylor.
And it is not just about the specs and getting more for your money because the guitar’s tone and projection are just as impressive for a small guitar. Although it won’t have the big guitar sound of dreadnoughts, but it is quite full and big sounding for its size.
Even those who own other parlor guitars priced much higher 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 want to get the most out of your money, check out the Blueridge BR-341.
There you have it, the best parlor guitars of the three price groups. If you feel there’s a guitar we’ve missed that should be in the list above, please tell us about it in the comments below.