1. Cort, 2. Crafter, 3. Corona Guitar, 4. Samick, 5. Roxy, 6. Peerless, 7. Shine Guitars. Despite being known for producing large volumes of instruments in massive factories for other companies, Korea's own brands of acoustic guitars are highly respected and regarded as some of the best in the industry. If you are a beginner, this list of the best Korean acoustic guitar brands can help you choose which suit your needs, from traditional to modern designs.
Cort Guitars is a South Korean guitar manufacturing company headquartered in Seoul. With over 50 years of experience, the company has a passion for creating high-quality guitars that deliver great value to passionate musicians around the world. Cort is committed to constantly studying and innovating to create the best guitars possible.
Cort is a global instrument manufacturer that produces and exports over one million guitars and 300,000 amplifiers per year worldwide. With its accumulated technology and experience, Cort launched its own guitar brand, which quickly became a highly sought-after name in the global instrument market for its high quality and excellent design.
Cort guitars are built in state-of-the-art production facilities in Indonesia and China using professional knowledge and experience from skilled builders. The company places a high emphasis on wood selection and drying facilities, advanced CNC equipment, and painting processes to maintain its core ability in guitar building. Cort continues to invest heavily in the development of facilities and human resources to deliver great guitars at a reasonable and diverse price range for various types of players.
Founder: Jung-gyu Park
Headquarters: Seoul, Korea
Instagram: @cort_guitars (197k followers)
Photo by @cort_guitars via Instagram
Crafter is a Korean guitar manufacturer that stands out from many of its peers as they don’t primarily function as an OEM manufacturer. The company was founded in 1972 by HyunKwon Park and three of his friends who started building classical guitars in the basement of his home. Initially, they focused on the local Korean market, but after gaining recognition for producing high-quality instruments, they began exporting them overseas.
Today, Crafter produces over 50,000 guitars annually, with the UK being their single biggest market. The company is dedicated to producing high-quality guitars, and they offer a wide range of acoustic guitars in various body types and tonewoods.
Crafter’s notable models include the T035 series, which features an Engelmann Spruce Top with rosewood back and sides and an Indian rosewood fingerboard. The company is known for its attention to detail in craftsmanship and uses carefully selected tonewoods and high-quality components.
Crafter’s commitment to innovation has resulted in several patented technologies, such as the CRAFTER SAT (Sonic Arch Top) and the CRAFTER BlueTone system. These innovations have helped Crafter to establish itself as a respected Korean guitar brand, catering to musicians of all levels and musical styles.
Founder: HyunKwon Park
Instagram: @crafter_korea (6855 followers)
Photo by @crafter_korea via Instagram
Corona Guitars is a small Korean guitar company that stands out for its meticulous craftsmanship and handmade guitars. While their instrument designs have nods to other established brands, Corona guitars offer exceptional quality and attention to detail that is often only found in smaller companies.
While their acoustic range is small, their instruments are highly regarded for their quality. English reviews of their guitars are always well-praised and speak to the care and craftsmanship that goes into each instrument.
Notable models include the CF-100, which has an orchestra-sized body and features a Sitka spruce top with Sapele back and sides. The neck is made of mahogany with a rosewood fretboard, providing an even tonal balance.
In general, Corona Guitars is a small but highly respected Korean guitar company that offers exceptional quality and craftsmanship in its handmade instruments. While their range may be limited, their attention to detail and dedication to producing high-quality instruments make them a brand worth considering if you’re in the market for a handmade guitar.
Founder: Jeong Mo Ahn
Headquarters: Incheon, Korea
Instagram: instagram.com/schoolmusic_insta/ (1723 followers)
Photo by @schoolmusic_insta from Instagram
Photo by Corono Guitars from coronaguitar.com
Samick ranks first in this list of the best Korean Acoustic Guitar Brands. Samick is a Korean brand that primarily manufactures musical instruments, such as guitars, pianos, and violins. The company was founded in 1958 and has since become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of musical instruments, with factories in Korea, Indonesia, and China.
Samick has collaborated with several well-known brands in the music industry, such as Epiphone, Squier, and Greg Bennett, to produce high-quality instruments at affordable prices. The company’s products are sold in over 160 countries worldwide, and it has received numerous awards for its innovative designs and quality. While Samick is primarily known for its musical instruments, the company has also diversified into other areas, such as furniture and construction materials.
Founder: Hyo Ick Lee
Headquarters: Eumseong-gun, South Korea
Instagram: @samick_official (1252 followers)
Photo by @samick_official via Instagram
Roxy is a lesser-known Korean guitar brand that has minimal overseas presence and mainly focuses on the Korean market. Although they are not as well-known as some of the other Korean guitar brands, people who have encountered them have spoken highly of their instruments.
Roxy produces a range of acoustic guitars and has collaborated with some well-known Korean players to create signature production guitar models. The company seems to be doing well in the Korean market and has a loyal following among local musicians.
However, getting a Roxy guitar outside of Korea may prove difficult, as the brand does not have a significant international presence. Their official website and social media pages are also not frequently updated, suggesting that their focus is primarily on the Korean market. Anyways, while Roxy may not be as well-known as some of the other Korean guitar brands, they are still worth considering if you have the opportunity to try one out. With a range of acoustic guitars and collaborations with well-known players, Roxy has established itself as a respected brand among local musicians in Korea.
Facebook: facebook.com/roxymusickr/ (343 likes)
Photo by Roxy Guitars from Facebook
Peerless guitars, like Samick, began as an OEM manufacturer for larger brands such as Fender, Epiphone, and Gibson. The company was founded in the 1970s in Busan, South Korea as a subsidiary of Fujigen, a Japanese musical instrument manufacturer. Over time, Peerless gained notoriety in export and began producing their own domestic Korean guitars under the brand name ‘Peerless’.
Despite being considered a smaller boutique company, Peerless has gained a reputation for producing premium-quality instruments. They specialize in acoustic and archtop guitars, and their instruments are known for their superior craftsmanship and the use of premium materials.
In addition to their standard production models, Peerless also has a custom shop and produces a range of “special” guitars. However, as with many premium instruments, these models come at a high price point, with even their cheaper models starting at $1500 USD. Peerless exhibits their instruments at major industry events such as the NAMM show in Anaheim and Musikmesse in Germany, where they showcase their range of exquisite acoustic and archtop guitars.
Headquarters: Incheon, South Korea
Photo by Peerless via peerlessguitars.com
Shine Guitars is a lesser-known in-house brand that is part of Sein Musical Instrument Co., which was established in 1991. While Sein Musical Instruments primarily produces instruments for other companies, they also have their own line of guitars called Shine.
Shine doesn’t focus on innovative design but instead offers well-made and affordable replicas of American counterparts like the 355, SG, or Martin D. The company’s strength and appeal lie in its ability to produce high-quality instruments at an accessible price point.
Shine guitars go through the same high-quality Sein QA process as all of their other guitar models, ensuring that their instruments meet the same standards of quality and craftsmanship.
While Shine may not be as well-known as some of the other Korean guitar brands, they offer solid replicas of classic American guitars at an affordable price point. If you’re in the market for a well-made guitar that won’t break the bank, Shine guitars are definitely worth considering.
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Photo by Gabriel Gurrola from Unplash