If you’re interested in the best OM guitars and which Orchestra Model guitar is best for you, then you’ve come to the right post!
OM Guitars: What Are They?
Acoustic guitar models are partially defined by their body dimensions and other features. So it’s not unusual to have other attributes added to their designated name. People usually call these body shapes or body sizes. But it’s just a bit more than that.
In particular, we’re interested in so-called OM acoustic guitars. OM is short for Orchestra Model. Just like most other variants, it’s based on Martin’s old designs. They designed this one sometime in the first half of the 20th century.
For the most part, OM guitars are the same thing as 000 guitars. We have specific body dimensions. The length is 19.3 inches, the depth is 4.1 inches, and the width at the lower bout is 15 inches.
And then we have a scale length of ~25.5 inches. This is the only notable trait that differentiates them from 000 models which have slightly shorter scale lengths around 24.9 or 25 inches. Additionally, they come with 1.75-inch nut widths.
There might be some variations to these dimensions. However, the instrument always retains its relatively balanced tone.
Best OM Guitars
Of course, Martin’s OM-28 is an unavoidable mention here. This one comes with a spruce top and rosewood back and sides. There’s also scalloped X bracing on the inside of the top.
The instrument’s looks are also worth mentioning. OM-28 also has a wonderful binding that goes great with the tonewood colors.
There’s also a special so-called dovetail joint. And it’s more than just for the instrument’s structural integrity. It really helps the neck vibrate, helping you feel every note.
Sure, it’s an expensive one. But OM-28 is one of the best guitars that money could buy. Fingerpickers, in particular, love it. But with its flat response and super-comfortable neck, it’s great for anything.
Another Martin OM model, OM-21 is a more modest variant of OM-28. We have the same tonewood formation with a spruce top and rosewood back and sides. There’s also the same type of scalloped X bracing.
The most noticeable difference, however, is the aesthetic aspect. The guitar doesn’t have the same binding. Instead, it comes with a more basic Brown Faux Tortoise binding option. It doesn’t make it worse, it’s just a simpler-looking option.
There’s also no special neck and body joint. It’s a more conventional acoustic guitar. Nonetheless, it’s still one of the best OM models that you can find on the market.
In all honesty, Washburn acoustics are some of the most underrated on the market today. One great example is their Woodline O12SE, which bears an OM shape and an all-mahogany body.
This is also accompanied by a mahogany neck and a rosewood fretboard. Along with this comes a scale length of 25.5 inches. This is just a 0.1 inch longer than usual for an OM.
An all-mahogany body gives it a slightly darker tone. It’s a great option for playing open chords and singer-songwriters. But it can find its use as a solo instrument as well.
This is further boosted with a light X-shaped bracing. Such a design helps it transfer vibrations better, which improves its tone.
I might be a bit subjective on this, but mahogany also looks great. I especially love the contrast that it makes with the rosette and binding.
Along with this comes a piezo pickup and active electronics. We’re looking at the Fishman Isys+ system.
Washburn Woodline O20SCE
Then we have Woodline O20SCE which is a single-cutaway variant of the OM design. Aside from a spruce top, it also comes with Pau Ferro back and sides. And its mahogany neck is also fitted with an ovangkol fingerboard.
So this isn’t your standard configuration. But on top of all this, we have improved quartersawn X-shaped scalloped bracing. Along with other features, it brings a full and relatively balanced tone with great projection and loud volume.
It sounds like a good choice as a lead instrument. Although mostly balanced, you can notice some mids and high-ends cutting through the mix. In addition, you get the Fishman Presys II 301T system. Just plug it into a PA and you’ll get an incredibly realistic tone.
We all know the great stuff that Guild has to offer. But what’s incredible about OM-240CE is that it’s a great guitar for its price.
This wonderful OM comes with a spruce top and mahogany sides and back. In addition, the back is arched, giving this instrument a more unique tone. This is in the style of old-school Guild guitars.
There’s a slightly longer scale, measuring 25.5 inches. The guitar’s neck has an old-school C-shaped profile although it’s a pretty comfortable one.
And on top of that, you get a Venetian cutaway. It’s both a functional and aesthetic feature. Combining all these features, you get a pretty unique guitar model at a reasonable price.
I’d also mention Guild’s OM-120, which is an all-mahogany model. The measures and the basic features are as same as with OM-240CE, that is except for the cutaway and the arched back.
Once again, I need to express my love for an all-mahogany build. This time around, we have a pretty dark shade which goes great with the so-called Black ABS binding. The rosette also gives a great visual boost here. Its vintage-ish vibes are also improved with open tuning machines.
A warm and rich tone comes out of this instrument. It’s a great accompanying instrument for a singer who also plays guitar. And, on top of all that, it’s not even too expensive.
Takamine Kenny Chesney KC70 Signature Model
If you’re wondering whether you should buy that Takamine guitar that you’ve been eyeing for a while, I’d recommend that you go for it. You won’t regret the money you’ve invested.
I can say the same thing for Takamine’s Kenny Chesney Signature model. First off, you have a cedar top with mahogany sides and back. But then there’s also a set of unique visual traits. Most notably, you’ll see Kenny Chesney’s signature as the inlay around the 17th fret.
There’s also a split-saddle design which improves its tuning stability. And on top of that, strings don’t go through the body. You put them through the bridge. So there’s no need for pins.
This guitar just shines through the mix while keeping a somewhat balanced tone. There’s also a CT4B II preamp with a piezo.
Yamaha LS6M ARE
Yamaha has a pretty solid collection of acoustic guitar models. A lot of them are fairly reasonably priced. And yet they keep all the awesome qualities of some higher-end guitars.
LS6M ARE is one such instrument. What’s more, it even looks like a high-end instrument with a cream and black binding.
There’s the standard spruce top with mahogany back and sides. There’s also a mahogany and rosewood neck with a slim profile.
Things are rounded up with a passive SRT Zero Impact pickup. This one comes with individual elements for each string.
This is an all-around awesome guitar with a pretty full tone. For its price, you probably can’t get a better guitar.
I hope this article has helped you think through these guitars and which might be best for you!
And if you want to read more about guitar recommendations on this blog, then check out:
Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!