In our article today, we want to focus on Parlor guitars. These guitars have been in the market for decades. In the 1880s, when the first Parlor guitars entered the market, people used them to entertain their guests in parlors. No wonder they took the name, Parlor.
During those days, these guitars were conventional guitars because they were small and cost a bit less than the larger guitars. Hence, musicians used them for blues, jazz, and bluegrass music because of their tone, primarily.
Today, these guitars have numerous uses and upgrades. For instance, because of their small size, beginners and children can use them for practice. Active travelers also love them because they are portable.
Parlor guitars also come with notable differences when compared to other guitars.
When it comes to sound, these guitars focus on producing balanced and concentrated sound on the midrange. They are also not too loud. Hence, the reason why most of them come with an added pickup for concert uses.
In our quest to find the best Parlor guitars in the market, we came across so many of them. Out of those numerous options, we thought we would pick about seven that we feel would be great for guitarists who are looking forward to buying the best Parlor guitars in the market.
Top 7 Best Parlor Guitars 2020 Reviews
1. Blueridge BR-371 – Best Buy
At the top of our list is this guitar, which brings you both vintage and modern qualities in one instrument.
Built for good sound
The Blueridge BR-371 acoustic guitar features a Sitka Spruce top, rosewood back, and sides. It also comes with a rosewood fretboard, which features with traditional snowflake position markers.
The mahogany neck is slim, which enhances comfortability when holding the guitar. Besides that, the headstock comes with a classical style with an open-gear tuning system for easy tuning.
Within the bundle, you will find a padded gig bag to facilitate portability.
Balanced low, mid ranges
In our opinion, the Blueridge BR371 is a high action guitar, which offers excellent sound, especially on the low, mid ranges. Unlike most Parlor guitars, this instrument is loud, and the string tension is terrific.
Note that the scalloped bracing on the body has a hand on the sound produced.
We also noticed that the Blueridge BR371 has excellent intonation along the fretboard. The guitar will adapt to any style of playing, whether strumming or fingerpicking.
The guitar comes at a high price, just below 2000 dollars. Hence, a perfect gift for professionals who are interested in a parlor guitar that provides quality sound.
2. Yamaha CSF-TA Parlor – Best Value For Money
If you are looking for a guitar with all the modern qualities you would want in a parlor guitar, Yamaha CSF-TA is what you should consider buying.
Why it is the best buy
Primarily, the acoustic guitar features a solid spruce top, which includes a rosewood bridge and saddle, and the SRT pies pickup.
The back and sides feature mahogany, and the rosewood fingerboard comes with small dot inlays. Note that, its headstock features a close tuning system.
You will also get a storage bag within the bundle.
We took some time to test the guitar, and the results were fantastic. It provides balanced and modern sounds. The pickup features reverb and chorus setting for special guitar effects without even needing an effects pedal.
The Yamaha CSF-TA also provides mid-range qualities and sounds like a full-size guitar.
Ideal for all players
Most parlor guitars are perfect for blues. But for the Yamaha CSF-TA, it adapts to all playing styles. If you want a concert guitar, this guitar will fit this use well since it comes with an internal pickup. However, you may still need an external amp to equalize the sound to your liking.
Besides that, all players can use this guitar since it is easy to play and learning companion.
3. Ibanez PN15 – Best Budget Buy
Beginners who would like a first guitar that is affordable and offers quality sound should purchase the Ibanez PN15 acoustic guitar.
Build for durability
The Ibanez PN15 is a quality Parlor guitar that comes with a spruce body, mahogany back, sides, and neck, rosewood bridge, rosewood fingerboard, and chrome hardware.
Its slim neck features a smooth finish to facilitate simple movement along the fretboard.
Compact and loud
When you hear the Ibanez PN15 play, you might confuse it with a full-size guitar. It is quite loud than most Parlor guitar within its price range. We also noticed that the string tension on this guitar ensures that the player has an easy time adapting to the guitar.
Overall, the guitar provides a balanced sound. Low, high, and mid frequencies are audible, whether you use a pickup or not.
Easy to play
The Ibanez PN15 was a guitar made with the beginner in mind. However, elite players will also enjoy using this guitar since the sound produced is top-notch. Students and children will have an easy time practicing with this guitar; hence, they should buy it if they want to train their musical ear.
4. Fender Paramount PM-2 Standard Parlor
The Paramount PM-2 Standard Parlor belongs to the PM-2 series. Here’s why you should buy it.
Modern Parlor guitar
If you love a guitar with quality construction, this guitar offers just that. The Fender Paramount
PM-2 Standard Parlor comes with a solid “Grade A” spruce top with a natural finish. On it, you will find a Fisherman-designed preamp, which helps in amplifying the sound for live performances.
Like any other durable Parlor guitar, it features mahogany back and sides, a C-shaped mahogany neck, and a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The headstock comes with open-gear tuning machines. Note that the guitar comes with a hardshell casing that provides safe housing for your guitar during transportation.
Though small, this guitar offers a high action guitar with high-tension strings. It is loud and vibrant on tone. When you connect it to an amp, we noticed that the mids and lows are a bit exaggerated; hence, you need to balance them to bring out the guitar’s brightness.
Regardless, you can fine-tune the sound using the controls available on the preamp.
The perfect traveling guitar
For guitarists who want to polish their skills even when they are abroad can carry the guitar anywhere they go. The Paramount PM-2 is suitable for both elite and beginners. And if you like a guitar that sounds like a full-scale guitar, this guitar offers you that.
5. Blueridge BR-341
The Blueridge BR-341 is one of the most stable guitars you will find in this list. Although it lies in the fifth position, we found some fantastic qualities that the professional guitarist would love.
Right out of the box, you will find a guitar with a solid Sitka spruce top with a high gloss finish. Its back and sides feature mahogany material, and the neck is slim enough to offer the right kind of comfort needed when playing any guitar.
The guitar’s headstock is similar to that of a classical guitar since it features an open-gear tuning system. Note that the guitar comes with a Parlor gig bag for storage and portability.
Clear and rich sounds
The Blueridge BR-341 provides clear sounds right from the word go. It is a high action guitar, and each frequency is precise and pronounced.
Another quality that makes this guitar sound so good is the scalloped bracing inside the body. It ensures that the guitar vibrates appropriately to provide the kind of sound that will make your performance lively. Note, however, the guitar does not have a preamp. You will need to fix an external pickup if you would like to perform in a large venue.
For blues and any other genre
The guitar, though suitable for any blues player, has multiple uses. You can use it for any genre.
And if you are a traveler, this guitar is easy to carry.
6. Washburn R320SWRK
If you are interested in playing fingerstyle blues music, the Washburn R320SWRK is the Parlor guitar to buy.
Takes you back to the 1880s
The Washburn R320SWRK Parlor guitar is a vintage style guitar with a solid spruce top, a rosewood back, side, ebony fingerboard and bridge, and features a continuous floral design on the fretboard. Also, the headstock is similar to a classical guitar and enhances its appeal as well.
In our opinion, this guitar is super light.
Sound is Quality
The Washburn R320SWRK Parlor guitar is a mid-action guitar. It is not too loud but delivers balanced and abundant sounds suitable for a fingerstyle player.
We listened, tested this guitar, and noticed that each sound is audible, including the bass. The string tension was perfect; thus, the reason why the guitar offers premium sound.
Ideal for a fingerstyle player
Primarily, in our opinion, this guitar is suitable for players who would love a guitar that produces quality sound with or without a guitar pick. Beginners can as well use this guitar for their practicing. On the other hand, since the guitar does not have a preamp, you might require an external pickup for amplifying the sound during performances.
7. Martin Custom MMV 0-12VS Concert Acoustic Guitar
The last Parlor guitar we are going to look at in this article is the Martin Custom MMV 0-12VS acoustic guitar.
The first thing you will note about this guitar is the robust construction it comes with. It features a Sitka spruce top with a natural finish, X scalloped bracing, Indian rosewood back and sides, ebony bridge and fingerboard, and a gold tuning pegs with an open-end gear system.
Besides that, the guitar is light, and the slim neck profile ensures that the player is comfortable while playing, regardless of the size of their fingers.
Why it is a concert guitar
First, the Martin Custom MMV 0-12VS acoustic guitar is a high action guitar and quite loud. Thus, the sound is similar to a full-size guitar.
We also noticed that the guitar offers an equal mix to the sound. Every note is bright without requiring a preamp to balance the sound output.
Easy to handle
As mentioned before, this guitar is light. Hence, it is easy to handle. It is suitable for concerts, active travelers, beginners, and children. Since it offers premium sound, you can use it for a variety of genres.
Best Parlor Guitars Buying Guide
Playing the dreadnought guitar can be boring sometimes. First, it’s loud, and second, your hand can get uncomfortable with its big body, especially if you are smaller.
Therefore, instead of saying that you’ll never play the guitar again, you need to add a different taste to your guitar arsenal, a parlor guitar. Would you like to know more about these guitars? And how can you choose the best out of the numerous options available in the market?
Stick around, because we’ll be giving you some crucial tips you can use when selecting the best parlor guitar in the market.
What they are
Parlor guitars were the commonly used guitars in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since there were no band setups in those days, wealthy people would hire guitarists to entertain their guests while enjoying a glass of wine in the parlor. That’s where they took the name.
Compared to modern dreadnought guitars, Parlor guitars were not that loud. They had a narrower body and used gut strings instead of steel strings.
In recent times, many musicians opt to use these guitars for practice, jamming, and performances. Manufacturers use modern technology such as X bracing and inbuilt amps to improve the quality to the guitar; hence, they are a worthy buy.
How to choose the best parlor guitar?
First, you need to know that there’s no standard reference to a parlor guitar. Each guitar has its qualities, albeit most of them have a narrower body and 12 frets.
So, when buying the best parlor guitar, you will come across different brands out there. How to choose them depends on different needs and factors.
1. The guitar’s construction quality
You need to know what the manufacturer uses to make the guitar model.
Look at the appeal, the finish across the entire guitar, and the technologies that the manufacturer includes. For the body, the two most common materials include spruce and mahogany. If you have to choose between the two, it’s good to know that spruce makes the guitar a bit louder. Mahogany, on the other hand, provides a chilled-out sound.
Besides that, if you have to choose between a closed tuning peg and the open types, both of them are okay. However, closed tuning machines are better since they keep the tuning gears from exposure to moisture, which leads to rusting.
2. How the guitar sounds
Similar to choosing any other guitar types, you need to know how the Parlor guitar sounds. Everyone has his or her preference for this, especially if you want a versatile instrument. On the other hand, some common factors that most musicians look at include perfect intonation, stays in tune for a long time, and no buzzing.
Most parlor guitars, by the way, provide a mid-range kind of balanced sound. But you can also find high action guitars.
Also, if the parlor guitar has electronics, be sure to test them to determine if they have any issues, especially when it comes to balancing the sound.
3. How much do you want to spend?
Everybody has his or her need. And each parlor guitar you find has its unique attributes both in construction and in sound quality.
When you think about how much you need to spend, consider how you intend to use the guitar. For instance, if you require it for performances, buying a guitar with inbuilt electronics is crucial. And that means that you have to spend more money.
On the other hand, if you a beginner, there’s no need to invest a lot of money in a parlor guitar. You can get a budget-friendly one and use it for practices.
In short, look for an instrument that fits your needs.
Last But Not Least…
As you search for the best parlor guitars, make sure to review as many guitars as possible. Some guitars may lack the needed quality, and won’t be ideal for your needs. Besides that, even though you’ll find a parlor guitar that looks like a vintage guitar, make sure that it has modern qualities, such as bracing technology and a sturdy construction material.
As you can see, Parlor guitars, compared to how they were back in the days, have had many significant upgrades to suit more needs than one. Besides being useful for blues genres, most of these Parlor guitars can adapt to different styles, which is a factor that players should note.
Note that most of the ones listed in this article are premium guitars; therefore, you can be sure that the sound and construction are top quality. Make sure, however, that you are keen on noting the differences in each instrument so that you can end up with the best Parlor guitar for your needs.
From the list, our topic Editor pick is the Yamaha CSF-TA Parlor Transacoustic Guitar. We admired the quality that this guitar brings to your musicality, the fact that any guitarist can use it, and the reverb and chorus effects that you can add while playing.