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Are Johnson Acoustic Guitars Good? (Honest Opinion And Brand History)

Looking for an affordable and reliable acoustic guitar? Discover the features, sound quality, and durability of Johnson guitars. Learn more here!

Johnson acoustic guitars could refer to Johnson Guitars USA, based in Arizona, or Johnson Musical Instruments with guitars made in China. Confusingly, the brands are not affiliated and have no connection. As Johnson Guitars USA is already a well-known brand, I will be more focusing on the acoustic guitars from Johnson Musical Instruments in this blog post.

Chinese-made Johnson guitars from Johnson Musical Instruments are generally considered good value for money. They have a reasonable reputation for build and sound quality, although inevitably the ones you hear about will be the ones that aren’t so good.

The only way to make up your own mind is to try one yourself at your local guitar shop and see what you think. You could be pleasantly surprised.

Johnson Guitars (Brand History And More)

As you already know, there are two companies making guitars with the Johnson brand. Johnson Guitars USA is based in Arizona and has been in business since 1986. Johnson Musical Instruments has manufacturing facilities in China and is not connected with Johnson Guitars USA in any way. They have been active since 1993.

Johnson Guitars USA makes their own designs of semi-acoustic and solid body guitars which have a good reputation. They also make guitars in shapes similar to Fender and Gibson. The range is competitively priced for the market but cannot under any circumstances be described as budget.

Johnson Musical Instruments makes a range of budget guitars – acoustics and electrics – as well as resonators, folk instruments, and amps. Their instruments are made in China. They have distributors all over the US through The Music Link. Their market is definitely pointed towards beginners, new students, and anyone who needs a cheap guitar rather than risking damaging a more expensive or sentimentally valuable instrument.

What Guitars Did Robert Johnson Play?

Despite many musicians’ immediate thoughts, neither brand is associated with Robert Johnson, apart from sharing the same name. Robert Johnson is known to have liked the Kalamazoo KG-14 flat tops made by Gibson and was holding one in one of the few photographs of him which have been identified. He is also thought to have owned a Kalamazoo arch top. Another photograph, used for the cover of Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings, shows him with a 1929 Gibson L-1.

It is thought this guitar was loaned to him due to its expense at the time. The KG-14 retailed for $12.50, whereas the L-1 was $50. Robert Johnson is also known to have played a Stella guitar, in common with many of his peers. Like Kalamazoo, Stella was a budget brand.

Are Johnson Acoustic Guitars Good? (My Honest Opinion)

Are Johnson Acoustic Guitar Good

Johnson Musical Instruments acoustic guitars are a budget brand so they may not be the best on offer. However, they are suitable for beginners, who will be more concerned at the start with the playability of their new instrument rather than the sound or brand.

These guitars are widely seen to be standard entry-level dreadnoughts. The advice seems to be to buy new rather than used, but as they are budget brands, they will be cheap enough anyway. Potential buyers should ideally check them out in a guitar store before purchasing to see whether they are suitable for their needs. If you choose to buy a used model online, then you may need to be aware of potential issues.

These may not be flagged up by the seller, as the original instrument was cheap enough already, but they may catch out a beginner. If possible, potential buyers should be able to try the instrument before purchase, regardless of whether it is a new or used guitar.

What About Other Types Of Guitars From Johnson?

Apart from acoustic guitars, Johnson Musical Instruments also produce a range of electric guitars, resonators, folk instruments, and amps. These are widely available in the US through distributors. The company aims to serve the budget market with a range of instruments that appear to suit many players with a range of differing requirements.

Johnson Guitars (China)

Johnson Guitars (China), officially Johnson Musical Instruments, are a maker of acoustic and electric guitars. They also produce resonators, folk instruments, and amps. The ranges are aimed at the entry market and more advanced players who need a cheap acoustic for any reason, perhaps to compose on or to travel with.

This range is widely distributed in the US as well as sold on second-hand sites. The fact that they are made in China should not deter potential buyers, as they are reasonably made instruments with a decent sound and build quality for their budget price.

Musicians who appreciate the tone, quality, and playability may be pleasantly surprised with Johnson Musical Instruments’ output. They are affordable but also seem to have a reasonable review on many sites.

Johnson Guitars (USA)

Johnson Guitars (USA) designs and manufactures guitars and basses. These are semi-acoustic and solid-body instruments of their own design. They also make versions of Fender and Gibson models, among others.

These brand versions are of decent quality and accuracy, besides being relatively affordable, even if they’re not in the budget bracket. This will naturally appeal to beginners as well as more experienced players. Beginners will feel as if they are playing the real thing, while seasoned musicians will likely appreciate the feel as well as the price.

Johnson Guitars USA also makes unique designs to show off their artwork. The “Assault” range is based on modern military aircraft and weapons. The “Exotic” range is based on fantasy and extreme animals. The artwork on these designs is part of their appeal, but they are also pretty reasonable instruments. Playability, quality, and affordability are often bandied around, but Johnson Guitars USA brings that and then some.

Johnson Acoustic Guitars

In fact, Johnson Guitars USA has found its own copies being copied in turn by other manufacturers, so faithful is their reproduction of the classic instruments.

Which Is The Best Brand For Acoustic Guitars?

Popular brands for acoustic guitars include the usual suspects (Epiphone, Taylor, Martin). The best brands for you personally will likely depend on your expectations and budget. You could go to a big box store and buy a perfectly serviceable Chinese-made unknown brand of laminate acoustic guitar for or less, or you could choose to pay a little more from a specialist guitar shop or general music store for a recognizable name.

It depends entirely on what you need the guitar for and your (or the recipient’s) level of ability. Most of the budget-end acoustic models will do perfectly well for beginners and intermediate players, as well as those who need a cheap acoustic for backup, touring composition, or as a travel companion.

Which Guitar Brands Are The Best For Beginners?

Students and beginners are likely to go for a guitar that’s cheap and sounds reasonable, rather than a named brand that costs more. If you’re a beginner, you are probably going to be more concerned with learning the basics such as how to hold the guitar, feeling comfortable with it, and fretting the chords correctly.

The sound of the instrument will come second to all of those requirements. A cheap guitar, often a lesser-known brand, is likely to be best for a student, in case they (or you, if you’re the student) do not take to the instrument and give up in a short while.

Can Cheap Acoustic Guitars Sound Good?

Cheap acoustic guitars can sound good. Laminate is a very versatile material, from which most entry-level acoustic guitars are made. They may sound basic to an expert player, but for the average musician, a cheap acoustic guitar will fit the bill for many uses. It could be a main or backup guitar, a rehearsal instrument, one to take when traveling with friends, or to have for visitors to play.

Most mid-level players will not even notice the difference in feel or sound between a cheap acoustic and a named branded model. In that case, it might be better to save the outlay and buy a cheaper model.

If you’re looking for a guitar for a beginner or a guitar student, a cheap acoustic guitar is likely to be more than enough for your needs.

Is It Worth Upgrading A Cheap Acoustic Guitar?

It can be worth upgrading a cheap acoustic guitar if it appears that the original model isn’t up to the task. If it sounds wrong, thin, or lost in the rest of the tune, then it might be worth considering an upgrade.

However, if you’re a beginner who is not concerned with playing in a group or in public, then a cheap acoustic will do the job well enough. A cheap acoustic may not have the sound quality of a named brand, but if you’re happy playing it and it’s comfortable for you to play, why change what you’re used to?


Q. Should I Buy Johnson Acoustic Guitars?

You can buy Johnson Musical Instruments Chinese-made acoustic guitars if you’re looking for a budget brand to use as a student or for composing or when traveling. The brand has a reasonable reputation for build quality and will fulfill any requirements for basic guitar use as well as potentially being a good brand for a backup guitar. The brand is widely available across the US from many distributors. Models are also available on second-hand resale and auction sites, although as these are sight unseen, then you might need to be wary.

Q. Where Can I Buy Johnson Guitars?

There is a network of distributors around the United States. Second-hand models may be available on well-known resale sites, but when they are so cheap to buy from new, if you have a stockist nearby, you should perhaps talk to them before buying any guitar, new or second-hand.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, Johnson acoustic guitars are a great option for players of all levels looking for affordable and reliable instruments. Many Johnson guitars offer excellent sound quality, durability, and playability, making them a popular choice among beginners and intermediate musicians.

While they may not have the same prestige as some high-end guitar brands, Johnson guitars can still provide a great playing experience at an accessible price point. Ultimately, the quality of any given Johnson guitar will depend on its specific model and construction materials, so be sure to do proper research before making your final purchase decision.

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