What Is a Flat-Top Guitar: Explained

What Is A Flat-Top Guitar

When it comes to plucked string instruments, guitars stand out. You must have seen different types of guitars in your lifetime. But can you identify a flat-top guitar when you see one?

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced guitarist, you should know the differences between different types of guitars. The variety of guitars is pretty wide; there are acoustic guitars, classical guitars, electric guitars, archtop guitars, and hybrid guitars. But what is a flat-top guitar? 

It’s simple; flat-top guitars are guitars that have a flat top. Usually, most acoustic guitars with steel strings are considered flat-top guitars, but there can be exceptions.

Many guitars have a similar construction, so it can be tricky to differentiate flat-top guitars. We have compiled all you need to know about a flat-top guitar to keep things simple.

The Flat-Top Guitar – What You Need To Know

Basic Features Of A Flat-Top Guitar

Here’s what you need to know about the flat-top guitar.

A flat-top guitar is a type of guitar that features a flat top and round sound-hole. They are mostly designed to have a different body from an archtop guitar. In recent times, studies have revealed that most steel-string acoustic guitars produced have a flat top. This is why guitars with a flat top are often referred to as flat-top acoustic guitars.  

The dynamic of a flat-top acoustic guitar has its neck and body pulling against each other. This is a different case in other types of guitars where strings push down on the body top of guitars.

Some people will make you believe that flat-top guitars are the regular acoustic guitars you see. While there might be some truth to that, you need to understand that not all acoustic guitars can be classified as flat-top guitars. However, they are the most common type of acoustic guitars. 

Furthermore, most flat-top guitars produce a bright sound and have a shining body.

Basic Features of a Flat-Top Guitar

Basic Features Of A Flat-Top Guitar

Here are some of the basic features of a flat-top guitar.

  • Sound Hole: it features a round Sound-hole in the center.
  • Spruce Top: the spruce top of this guitar is flat and solid.
  • String Type: you’ll find steel strings on this type of guitar.
  • Body Material: they are mostly made with a wooden body.
  • Fretboard: the fretboard type is mainly mahogany and rosewood.

When it comes to features, there’s little difference between a flat-top guitar and other types of guitars. As discussed earlier in the guide, the main feature that stands out is its flat top.

Tips for Choosing a Flat-Top Guitar

Tips For Choosing A Flat-Top Guitar

When buying a flat-top guitar, here are some essential tips to keep in mind.

The Shape

The shape of the flat-top guitar matters when choosing the one to buy. They come in different styles and designs, so ensure you check this to know if it fits your purpose. Some are produced for kids with smaller hands, while some are produced for adults with larger hands.

The Wood Quality

Flat-top guitars are made of different wood materials. This includes mahogany and rosewood, but it is vital to check the wood quality before buying. For some, they have laminated wood, while others have exotic wood. Your choice is highly dependent on its sound and longevity.

The Setup

The type of setup should be put into consideration when choosing a flat-top guitar. This will determine if the guitar will be comfortable for you while playing. Because guitarists have different playing styles, some guitar types might be suitable for some, but not that comfortable to play with for others. The features to look out for include the string type and how well the guitar sits on your hands.

Overall, the type of guitar to buy is entirely dependent on your personal preference.

The Best Flat-Top Guitars

If you have to shop for flat-top guitars, it’s necessary to consider different options. This will help you make the right decision that you won’t regret afterward. Here are some of the best flat-top guitars;

  • The Loar LO-16 flat-top Acoustic Guitar – great guitar for concert players
  • The Loar LH-200-NA Flat-Top Acoustic Guitar – great guitar for songwriters
  • Gretsch Guitars 6 String Acoustic Guitar – great guitar for beginners and hobbyists 


If you look around, you’ll discover that many guitars have flat tops. This will make you wonder how to identify an actual flat-top guitar when you see one. It is simple, flat-top guitars are mostly standard acoustic guitars with flat top and steel strings. Also, they mostly produce a crispy tone from their round sound-hole. This is a guitar type widely used by beginners and pro guitarists.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I identify a flat-top guitar?

You can tell that a guitar is a flat-top guitar if the top is flat. Other features to note include a round Sound-hole and a finely crafted soundboard made of spruce, mahogany, or rosewood.

Who created the flat-top guitar that is so popular today?

The flat-top guitar was created by no other than “Christian Fredrick Martin”. He’s a German-born American guitarist. While he was in the United States, he made his first guitar in the 1830s.

What is the difference between a flat-top guitar and an arch-top guitar?

The difference between these two guitars lies in the shape of their top and the type of sound they produce. Flat-top guitars have flat tops, while archtop guitars have arched tops. The sound of the flat-top guitar envelops the player, while the archtop projects sound in front of the player.