Why Acoustic Guitars with F-Holes Continue to Captivate Musicians

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In the rich tapestry of musical history, few designs captivate quite like acoustic guitars with f-holes. These instruments, a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation, are celebrated for their distinct sound and the intricate design patterns that evoke nostalgia.

Delving deep into the F-Hole acoustic guitar’s legacy, one uncovers tales of iconic musicians and landmark performances that have cemented their place in music lore. Whether you’re a budding guitarist seeking to understand the nuances of these beautifully crafted instruments or an enthusiast looking to purchase a timeless piece, our exploration of the most popular and recommended options will strike a chord.

Let’s get started!

The F-Hole Acoustic Guitar Explained

This is a picture of an archtop guitar that features an F-Hole sound hole in the body. The photo is a close up shot of the f-hole and the guitar is a dark red color.

Remember the cursive ‘F’ from our school days? Well, more guitars borrowed that design, not just for flair but function. The F-hole isn’t merely for show. It’s where the guitar finds its voice, letting its hollow or semi-hollow body release harmonious tunes into the world. Each strum is amplified, and each melody is enriched—all thanks to this unique design.

Decoding the ‘F’ in F-Holes

You might be wondering why it’s called an ‘F-hole.’ Simple, it’s named after its ‘F’ shape. But acoustic guitars aren’t the only instruments that feature F-holes. The violin family, including violas and cellos, have been flaunting this design for centuries. And trust me, it’s not just about looking good. It’s the secret sauce behind the distinct sound these instruments produce.

A peek into the gear history reveals that this design isn’t a recent trend. Beyond just grabbing attention, these cutouts amplify each instrument’s unique sound.

Shaping Sound: The Story Behind the ‘F’ Sound Hole

Have you ever stared at the night sky, admired the crescent moon’s curve, or felt a sense of completeness gazing at the image of a circle? Shapes have a story. The F-hole’s journey began with similar observations.

Centuries ago, violin makers (the heroes behind stringed instruments) sought the perfect design to magnify their instruments’ resonance and projection. As referenced from Open Culture, they meticulously experimented with shapes. Through countless iterations, aesthetics met acoustics, and the F-hole found its iconic place in music.

Spotting the F-Holes on a Guitar: A Mini Treasure Hunt

Alright, fellow music enthusiast! Now that we’re jamming on the same wavelength let’s zero in on the F-hole’s hideout on a guitar. Generally, these beauties sit on the guitar’s body. Sometimes solo, perched at the top, or other times, they come as a twin-set, symmetrically balancing both sides of the acoustic guitar frame.

Here’s a curveball: Not all guitars follow the F-hole tradition! Take a look at Ovation guitars, for example. They ditch the typical F-hole design for circular sound holes up top and below. And why? To reduce feedback and amplify their tunes. And then, there’s ESP guitars, with a claw-like sound hole, aiming for that perfect resonance balance with a modern look.

Be it Ovation, ESP, or a classic style, every sound hole, F-hole or not, narrates a story and belts out its melody.

The Dance of Design and Sound: Guitars as Masterpieces

We’re all friends here, so let’s keep it real. While a guitar’s melody tugs at our heartstrings, its design draws our eyes. That’s the magic – a guitar has to sing and dazzle.

  • Design Intricacies: The F-holes aren’t just acoustic wonders; they add a dash of elegance. Their classic shape speaks to fans, whispering tales of old-school grace.
  • Kaleidoscope of Finishes: Be it a sunburst glow, the authentic charm of naked wood, a metal resonator’s shine, or a vibrant splash of color, a guitar’s face can be love at first sight. It’s more than an instrument; it’s a partner, a visual and musical treat.
  • The Embrace Factor: How a guitar feels against your body isn’t just about the look. It’s about the balance, the weight, the contour. It’s vital, especially deep into a late-night jam, lost in the music.

Finding the F-hole acoustic guitar that resonates with you is a blend of science and soul. Maybe you’re into jazz-infused archtops, perhaps bluesy semi-hollows call to you, or you’re folk-driven with resonators. Dive deep, explore, and you’ll find the musical partner for your journey.

Spotlight: Godin’s 5th Avenue Series Archtop Acoustic Guitars with Those Eye-Catching F-Holes

Spotlight: Archtop F-Hole Guitars
Godin 5th Avenue Series

  • Canadian wild cherry body that's not just for show
  • From the classic P90 to the dual humbuckers and the fantastic P90-humbucker mix, the pickup choices are music to our ears
  • Timeless design meets today's must-haves
  • Sounds kind of like maple but with its own vibrant twist

Channeling vintage vibes with modern mojo, Godin's 5th Avenue Series has a siren call for those bridging the old and the new.

From blues and jazz to rock, this baby promises to be your loyal sidekick, faithful to the Godin legacy.


  • The craftsmanship? Top-notch. Seriously, every bit screams quality
  • That Canadian wild cherry body? Unique sound alert!
  • The pickup range means more ways to find your unique sound
  • Godin delivers, whether you're splurging or hunting for mid-range magic


  • If you're all about those overtones, it might leave you wanting
  • Not your go-to if you're on the hunt for that ultra-modern edge

A Closer Look:

The 5th Avenue Series by Godin? It’s a time machine with a sprinkle of the now. Visually, it’s a throwback to the golden days of jazz and blues. But that wild cherry body? It’s a modern masterpiece, echoing the crisp sound of maple with its distinct and clear voice.

Now, get close and personal, and Godin’s obsession with perfection stands out. They cater to every guitarist, from the intricate detailing to the vast pickup options like humbucker and P90 pickup-equipped guitars. And playability? A dream. Navigate its neck easily, making those complex chords feel like a walk in the park.

In an era of mass production, the Godin 5th Avenue is a refreshing nod to genuine craft and innovation. It’s not just a guitar; it’s an adventure waiting to happen.

Redefining Fusion: Enter the Taylor T5z Acoustic-Electric Guitar Hybrid

Spotlight: Acoustic-Electric F-Hole Guitar
Taylor T5z Series
  • Versatile Sound Range: Capable of producing both authentic acoustic and edgy electric tones
  • Comfort for Electric Guitarists: Designed to feel familiar for those transitioning from electric guitars
  • Lightweight Design: Ensures ease of handling and optimum player comfort

The Taylor T5z? It's the future, blending the heart of an acoustic with the soul of an electric.

With unmatched versatility and next-gen features, it's the pick for boundary-pushers looking to explore. Dive into new horizons with the Taylor T5z.


  • Oh, the versatility! From authentic acoustic to edgy electric, it's got it all
  • Makes you feel right at home if you're transitioning from electric
  • Customize your sound with the five-way switch
  • It is lightweight, fits just right, and is oh-so player-friendly
  • Adjust on-the-go? With these controls, it's a cinch


  • Top-tier features mean a top-tier price
  • Pure acoustic or electric buffs? It might not be your endgame
  • With so many sound options, it could be a bit much for some

A Closer Look:

The T5z by Taylor Guitars isn’t just a guitar; it’s a game-changer. Whether you’re serenading under the stars or shredding on stage, this bad boy’s got your back. And it’s not just an ‘either-or’ switch between acoustic and electric. The T5z is a sonic playground.

Aesthetically, it’s a beauty, blending the best of both guitar worlds. The sleek shape? Electric enthusiasts can rejoice. The f-holes? An ode to its acoustic roots.

The electronics? Pure Taylor genius. The five-way switch is your ticket to a tonal journey, and the dual humbucking pickups, especially the magnetic acoustic body sensor, are your canvas of sound.

Comfort? Taylor’s got you. From its feather-light touch to its ergonomic shape and intuitive controls, it feels like an extension of you.

The Taylor T5z isn’t just breaking barriers; it’s setting new standards. This isn’t just about playing music; it’s about experiencing it.

The Reverberating Echo of History: F-Hole Resonator Guitars

From the moment you strum your first chord, resonator acoustic guitars evoke memories of bygone eras. Their signature sound transports you back in time, and for good reason. Let me share with you a couple of my favorites – one for the pros and one for those keeping an eye on their bank balance.

A Timeless Classic for the Experienced: Gretsch Resonator Guitars

Spotlight: Best Resonator Guitar
Gretsch Resonator Series

  • Rooted in history since 1883
  • A choice between a resonating metal top or a classic wooden top
  • Designs inspired by the bluegrass heydays
  • Perfect for blues, gospel, and folk tunes

Experience musical tradition with the Gretsch resonator.

Merging old-world charm sound with modern flair, it's a treat for music lovers and history buffs.


  • Delivers a sound that's great for both fingerpicking and rhythm
  • Stands out even when jamming with loud instruments like horns
  • Truly captures the spirit of blues, gospel, and folk
  • A beauty with its striking design and comfortable to play
  • Slide guitarists will love its amplified tones

  • Some feedback about fret ends needing better finishing

A Closer Look:

Gretsch and music go way back. Starting with banjos in 1883, they’ve since added ukuleles, mandolins, and, of course, those iconic guitars.

Holding a Gretsch resonator is like shaking hands with history. Whether you go for metal or wood, it’s a testament to their dedication to timeless artistry. And while Gretsch might be more known for drums and electric guitars, their resonators play a pivotal role in the American music tapestry.

Retro Vibes on a Dime: Recording King Resonator Guitars

Spotlight: Best Budget Resonator Guitar
Recording King Resonator Series

  • Celebrating the craftsmanship of 1930s America
  • "Thin C" neck profile for smooth playing
  • Designs reminiscent of the Prohibition era's intrigue

Craving for that old-school charm but on a budget? Recording King's got your back.

Marrying the past's elegance with today's craftsmanship turns every tune into a nostalgic trip.


  • Modern playability with a retro touch
  • Quality craftsmanship without the hefty price tag
  • Designs that transport you to the speakeasy days
  • Versatile neck for all kinds of musical vibes

  • Its distinct vintage look might not be everyone's cup of tea

A Closer Look:

Born out of a collaboration with Montgomery Ward, Recording King takes us back to when radios were the heart of entertainment. More than instruments, they provided solace during the challenging 1930s.

Today’s Recording King acoustic guitars echo that sentiment. They’re not just musical instruments; they’re time capsules. Opting for one means excellent value for money and stepping into a rich musical legacy. It’s a bridge connecting live stage performances of the past with today’s radio and streaming culture.

Their irresistible price points ensure this musical journey through time is within everyone’s reach.

The Ebb and Flow of Acoustic Guitars With F-Holes

The first time I picked up an F-hole guitar, it was like unearthing a piece of history. With their rich sound and distinctive appearance, these unique guitars have always been both a point of allure and contention among musicians. Here’s my take on them:

The Highs:

  1. Soundscapes Unmatched: The design of F-hole guitars gifts them with brightness and volume you won’t find in traditional sound hole variants. It’s like adding a dash of magic to every performance, lending a certain depth to your tunes.
  2. Eye-Catching Elegance: More than just instruments, these guitars are pieces of art. Their vintage design ensures they’re the center of attention, a perfect fit for those wanting to stand out.
  3. Genre Fluidity: Whether you’re swaying to the blues or tapping to rockabilly, F-hole guitars gracefully dance across musical genres. Perfect for those like me who love mixing things up.

The Lows:

  1. Feedback Foes: Amplifying these guitars with an F-Hole opening can sometimes be a nightmare. They’re prone to feedback, and you might find yourself battling unwelcome noises, especially with hollow-body varieties.
  2. A Divisive Tone: Their unique tone is a double-edged sword. While I personally love it, I’ve seen some raised eyebrows. The sound of F-holes in an acoustic guitar is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Stars Strumming on F-Holes

  • Django Reinhardt: The French maestro, wielding his F-hole archtop acoustic guitar, changed the face of gypsy jazz. Listen to his “Minor Swing” and be prepared to be awed. Dive into Django’s world here.
  • Charlie Christian: When you think of American jazz and F-hole acoustic guitars, Christian’s name invariably pops up. Songs like “Solo Flight” are classics. Check out his iconic solos here.
  • Chet Atkins: I remember hearing Atkins’ country tunes in Back to the Future. His F-hole shaped sound holes shaped the tones in “Mister Sandman.” Journey through his hits here.
  • Justin Vernon (Bon Iver): Ah, the hauntingly beautiful “Skinny Love.” Vernon showcased the emotional range of a resonator acoustic guitar like few could.
  • Oliver Anthony: A sensation of 2023, his “Rich Men North of Richmond” had everyone talking. The sound he has created has the Gretsch Resonator front and center, a perfect blend between past and present.

Parting Notes

Acoustic guitars with F-holes are timeless. They’re musical relics that have found their way into today’s charts, offering a blend of sight and a different sound that few can match. Their tones can make a song soar, but they can be a tad temperamental.

So, if you’re considering giving acoustic guitars with F-holes a go, Dive right in, but like any instrument, take your time to understand them. Once you do, it’s a musical affair you won’t forget.

Happy strumming!

A picture of Brad Johnson (Owner & Writer of Song Production Pros) playing and testing a guitar at the Sam Ash Westminster Store. The guitar being played is a Taylor 814ce.

Why you can trust our content

Brad Johnson, the creator of Song Production Pros, researches and writes these reviews.

He's been playing music since he was nine and has played, used, and owned many instruments and pro audio gear. His reviews are based on hands-on experience, user-generated reviews, and subject matter expert reviews.

Please refer to our page, Our Review Process, for more details on how we approach writing our review articles.

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Brad Johnson
Brad is the creator of Song Production Pros. He writes songs and surfs on the weekends when he's not too busy with family or this website. He writes music under the moniker FJ Isles, and can be heard on all streaming services.