11 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

Welcome to the enchanting world of acoustic guitars! You are in the right place if you’ve been dreaming of strumming melodies without breaking the bank. In this Killer Rig run down, we will jump into the best acoustic guitars under $500.

Best Acoustics Under $500

My top choice is the Breedlove ECO Discovery S. This guitar has wonderful build quality and sound, making it the best value for money.

That’s not to say the others on this list are not a good purchase. These instruments are all great and have unique features to offer guitarists.

Breedlove ECO Discovery S

Breedlove Eco Discovery in my studio.

Build Quality

The ECO Discovery S stands out for its impeccable build quality, a hallmark of Breedlove Guitars. As you inspect the instrument, you’ll notice the attention to detail and fine craftsmanship that has gone into creating this eco-friendly guitar.

Constructed with a mahogany top, the guitar exhibits exceptionally warm tone with bold projection.

The layered eco-friendly wood used for the back and sides not only contributes to the guitar’s sustainable nature, but also enhances its durability without compromising on sound quality.

In terms of aesthetics, the Breedlove ECO Discovery sports a natural satin finish that showcases the beauty of the wood grain.

This finish not only adds to the guitar’s visual appeal, but also serves a practical purpose by enhancing the resonance and overall tone of the instrument.

Comfort

The slim, comfortable neck profile is another highlight of the ECO Discovery’s build quality. It caters to a wide range of hand sizes and playing preferences. This ensures optimal playability for beginners and experienced guitarists alike.

The Breedlove ECO Discovery showcases its concert body shape. A defining characteristic that highlights Breedlove’s innovative approach to guitar design.

This compact and curvaceous body shape not only contributes to a sleek, modern aesthetic, but also offers a comfortable playing experience for guitarists of all levels.

Sound Performance

From the moment I strummed my first chord, I was taken aback by the warmth and depth that resonated from the guitar. The all-mahogany construction provides a balanced sound with pronounced midrange frequencies and a mellow, yet rich tonality.

This combination creates a full and resonant tone that is perfect for various playing styles, from fingerpicking to strumming.

When fingerpicking, the guitar delivers remarkable clarity and articulation, allowing each note to be distinctly heard. The sustain and resonance are also noteworthy, providing a beautiful foundation for melodic lines and intricate picking patterns.

During strumming, I found that the guitar produced a rich, robust sound that filled the room without becoming overpowering.

The well-balanced tonal spectrum ensures that chords ring out with a pleasing warmth and definition, making it an excellent choice for singer-songwriters and accompaniment purposes.

You will be able to see just how full and rich the sound is in this video. Have a listen!

Who Is It For?

The Breedlove ECO Discovery S is a wonderful fit for new and even intermediate players. The warm yet bold tone and beautiful finish will provide most players with exactly what they need.

You won’t find electronics built in, but at this price, most people are not looking for them anyway. But you end up with a well-made acoustic with good sound and nice wood grain finish.

PROS

  • Build Materials and Hardware.
  • Balanced and full sound.
  • Comfortable to play.
  • Wonderful Finish.
  • Concert body shape.

CONS

  • No electronics.

Cost and Value

Breedlove has been making great acoustic guitars for a long time. They know how to craft an acoustic, and now they have even made it from sustainable materials.

The value of this acoustic far outweighs what you will pay to purchase it. And even then, it’s so affordable at just under $500 that you just can’t go wrong.

Breedlove at Sweetwater.

Yamaha FG850

Yamaha FG850 Acoustic Guitar.

Build Quality

The Yamaha FG850 is known for its solid build quality! This is reflected in its durable construction and attention to detail.

A real nice feature of the guitar is a solid Sitka spruce top. It’s known for its resonance and tonal clarity. You will also find rosewood back and sides, which add warmth and depth to the sound.

NATO wood was used to create the neck. It has a rosewood fingerboard, which makes playing it smooth and comfortable. Scalloped bracing is used to support the body. This improves the instrument’s resonance and projection.

Comfort

With its ergonomic design, the Yamaha FG850 is comfortable for players of all sizes. It has a conventional dreadnought body shape and a comfortable slim neck profile. The guitar’s playability is also enhanced by the rosewood fingerboard and bridge.

The guitar’s low string action and excellent intonation also make it easier to play. Overall, the Yamaha FG850’s comfort features make it a great choice for all kinds of sessions.

Sound Performance

Because the guitar is made exclusively from mahogany, it has a very warm nature to the sound. The low mid-range punch and volume projection are wonderful with each strum. I did enjoy the fact that it still had a very present treble response without being overly bright.

It has a scalloped bracing which is supposed to increase the low end and I will have to say, they nailed it.

Of all the guitars I tried in this range, this one has a very broad bass response that was still quite balanced. The video below is a great resource to see just how the FG850 sounds.

Who Is It For?

I found this guitar to be an exceptional strumming acoustic. It has a very mid-range focused sound that is bold yet balanced. I would suggest it to anyone playing country, bluegrass, or modern rock.

It really came to life when my strumming became more aggressive. The way the body resonates seems to begin to produce overtones that then complement the low end.

PROS

  • Quality hardware.
  • Warm, full tone with strong mid-range.
  • Easy to play.
  • Looks beautiful and feels good.
  • Designed by an experienced and well known brand.

CONS

  • Some have complained that the action was high until properly set up.
  • Tuners are generic.

Ibanez ALT30 Altstar

Ibanez ALT30 Altstar Acoustic Guitar.

Build Quality

Ibanez is known for making great guitars. The ALT30 is no different. It’s a unique guitar as the neck is similar to one you would find on an electric.

The body is well constructed and is like a dreadnought, but smaller and slimmer. The bracing is good and the neck to body joint is rigid.

The tuners are of good quality and feel nice when turned. They also hold tune well, which is obviously the main consideration. The onboard electronics are also very good and not cheaply made. Overall, this is a great build from Ibanez!

Comfort

One of the strengths of this guitar is the comfort level. The body is smaller and slimmer, which makes it easy to hold. It fits in your lap and can fit most people, big and small. The trade-off is less volume projection, but it’s not too bad.

The neck plays like an electric guitar. The action is lower and very comfortable. I appreciated the neck because I’m more of an electric player myself. So it was very easy to get into this guitar! Overall, one very comfortable guitar!

Sound Performance

When playing this guitar for the first time, I didn’t know what to make of it. It’s a very different acoustic that is also part electric.

But after a few minutes with it, I realized it has a very cool sound to it. It’s not overly loud and doesn’t have the rich tone that some others do, but it’s quite good unplugged.

Plugged into my Fender Acoustasonic 90 amplifier and dialed in right. I was able to get some excellent sounds.

This one’s deceiving because it’s so similar to an electric guitar. You just feel like rocking out on it. Watch the video below to see how it performs, both in sound and playability!

Who Is It For?

This is for a player who likes to transition between an electric and acoustic guitar. Without any radical difference in the neck. The Alt30 is more like an electric guitar, so it’s easy to move between them.

Looking for an acoustic for a big, bold, balanced sound? You won’t find it here, and I suggest you choose something else. But it’s perfect for players who also want an acoustic tone.

PROS

  • Design and Hardware.
  • Concept is Genius.
  • Easy to play.
  • Built in electronics.
  • Can shred on an acoustic in a whole new way.

CONS

  • Has a different look to it that may not be for everyone.

Taylor GS Mini

Taylor GS mini Acoustic Guitar.

Build Quality

The body on the GS Mini was inspired by the Grand Symphony. And being a Taylor, it is very well-made.

The body is small, so it feels very rigid as the construction is good. The neck is a patented design and is well assembled. The frets are well-dressed and easy to run your hands across.

The hardware used is also of good quality. I found the tuners to work very well and feel smooth. The nut and bridge are also good as they are made of Nubone and Micarta. So you have some great quality right out of the box!

Sound Performance

This is an interesting guitar because it still has quite the volume projection. I was most impressed with the sustain and compression it seems to have naturally. It’s not overly present in the low end, but the mid-range sure is!

It reminds me of a Taylor 314ce in a much smaller format, but not as full sounding. A very impressive instrument for the size. The video clip below will allow you to hear it in action.

Who Is It For?

This is a traveler’s dream guitar. Nice and light, small, and still packs a punch. If you want the full sound of a larger acoustic, you won’t find it here. But it’s still perfect to have sitting around. Especially when you just want to play quickly and not take out a bigger acoustic guitar.

PROS

  • Presents bigger than it actually is.
  • Excellent sound quality.
  • Perfect travel acoustic.
  • Thin neck makes it easier to play.
  • Designed by an experienced and well known brand.

CONS

  • Some have complained that the action was high until properly set up.
  • A bit pricey for the size.
  • Tuners are generic.

Epiphone Hummingbird Studio

Epiphone Hummingbird pro Acoustic Guitar.

Aesthetics

The Hummingbird was a popular guitar, primarily due to the way it looked. This new version falls right in line with the original! If you’re looking for vintage, this is where it lives. The bright, bold look screams old school and is perfect if this is what you want.

Sound Performance

When first strumming the Hummingbird Pro, I was very happy to hear a rich, warm, and pristine tone from the guitar.

Epiphone makes some awesome guitars and this one holds true to their craftsmanship. Not only does it sound good, but it’s also quite loud and full, which I would expect from an acoustic of this size.

For the electronic test, I did something a bit different. I plugged it onto the Vox VT40X and selected a model that would be a good vintage tone.

I was not wrong! The sound from the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro was perfect. It was just as clear and full through the amp as it is unplugged.

Playing loud and aggressively. Had a bit of amp breakup mixed lightly in the background. It was quite the experience. I really enjoy the Hummingbird Pro. Have a listen to how this guitar sounds in this video.

Who Is It For?

The Epiphone hummingbird pro is for players who like a vintage sound and look. It’s also a wonderful sounding acoustic, perfect for strumming and finger-picking. The electronics built-in, and EQ controls are intuitive, and the tone is wonderful. No matter how you use it, this acoustic guitar will serve you well.

PROS

  • Build Materials and Hardware.
  • Built in pickup system and controls.
  • Bright, bold sound and easy to play.
  • Vintage look.
  • Designed by a well known brand.

CONS

  • Some have complained that the action was high until properly set up.
  • No built-in tuner.
  • Potential fret buzz if not set up properly.

Martin OMC-X1E

Martin OMC-X1E Acoustic Guitar.

Build Quality

I was not sure what to expect from this guitar when I ordered it. I was concerned that because it was all laminate, that the quality would be poor. But because it was made by Martin, I did expect good construction.

Now that I’ve played it, I can assure you, it’s a great guitar! The laminate doesn’t mean poor quality at all. In fact, it’s a very sturdy instrument. The build quality is good and plays like a guitar made from tonewood. The tuners are of good quality, and I’m satisfied with it.

Sound Performance

Most players are skeptical about this one because it’s primarily made of laminate. But it has the great Martin projection and sound, for sure!

It’s bold and warm and has a good volume level to make it one of the best options at this price point. So don’t worry about the laminated wood, it sounds great!

To get a good idea of what you can expect, watch the video below. It will show you how the guitar sounds and what music style it will fit best!

Who Is It For?

The OMC-X1E has an orchestra body, so the lower bout is larger. Anyone can use this guitar, but smaller people might get tired faster because of the larger size. So keep this in mind when looking at it. The advantage, however, is that the sound is also larger, which is worth it!

PROS

  • Build quality and hardware.
  • Bold Presence and Volume.
  • Balanced sound overall and easy to play.
  • Electronics on Board.
  • Designed by an experienced and well known brand.

CONS

  • Laminate Build Might Not be Acceptable To Some.

Taylor Big Baby

Taylor Big Baby Acoustic Guitar.

Comfort

One of the metrics that some people are concerned with is the comfort of this guitar. The name alone sort of gives it a bad rap because you might think it’s huge! But even though it’s called the Big Baby, the guitar is comfortable.

It has a dreadnought sized body and is no different from the rest. If you have ever played a dreadnought guitar, then the Big baby will fit you just the same. The neck is also easy to play and has good action.

Sound Performance

The sound is warm and bright, having strong mid-tones that are crisp and well-defined. The lack of a cutaway limits the accessibility to the upper frets.

But this is perfectly fine for this acoustics body shape. There are no electronics built in. But the acoustic does project well enough to be heard with its bold volume.

Who Is It For?

The Taylor Big Baby is a popular entry level guitar. The size is good for most people and the tone is warm and large. It’s a great first instrument for beginners! But also a fine player for intermediate and even advanced guitarists.

PROS

  • Good Playability.
  • Warm well-defined sound.
  • Comfortable and balanced.
  • Durable.
  • Looks good.

CONS

  • No cutaway.
  • No electronics.

Alvarez Artist AJ80CE

Alvarez Artist AJ80CE Acoustic Guitar.

Sound Performance

The AJ80CE is an impressive acoustic guitar made for beginners and professionals alike. It has a big loud bold sound that is powerful and present! The bass fills a room while still being brilliantly alive in the treble frequencies.

This is just what we would expect from a model of this size and is a great acoustic guitar! Check out the video below to get an idea of just how bold it sounds!

Who Is It For?

The AJ80CE is a jumbo-sized acoustic. If you are a smaller person, you might not find it to be comfortable. Anyone can play a jumbo, but it will tire some players out faster. So keep this in mind if you are looking to buy one.

It’s an acoustic with a very large sound. This is one of the benefits of a jumbo. So I recommend it to you if you need a larger tone and are not afraid of the size.

PROS

  • Good balanced sound for price.
  • Jumbo size.
  • Electronics onboard.
  • Comfortable neck.
  • Beautiful.

CONS

  • May be big for some players.

Best Budget Guitars

There are a number of acoustic guitars that are cheaper yet but are of good quality. These are picks that are great for people with little money to spend. Or for people who are not quite sure if this will be a long-term thing but want to try it out.

Epiphone Song Maker DR-100

Epiphone DR-100 Songmaker Acoustic Guitar.

1 Year Warranty

Body

The Epiphone song maker DR-100 is a very affordable acoustic guitar. This dreadnought-size model comes with a mahogany body that is easy to use. This offers wonderful playability. It’s comfortable and creates great volume projection.

Aesthetically, it looks very nice and has a classic look. The traditional pickguard adds to the look and offers protection to the finish. Most players should have no issues with this size.

Neck

A Slim taper C- profile neck gives the player a comfortable experience and is perfect to learn on. It looks beautiful and sounds great for a guitar at this price point. The tone is full and bold with plenty of volume projection. The neck is easy to play, and the frets feel good.

PROS

  • Good value.
  • Comfortable.
  • Easy to play.
  • Classic look.
  • Well-made.

CONS

  • No electronics.
  • May need a setup on arrival.

Squier SA-150

Squire SA-150 Acoustic Guitar.

Body

The Squier SA-150 is built with a mahogany body featuring scalloped X bracing. This body is a dreadnought shape and offers a beautiful look at hardwood stained top. It’s ultra-light and is a good value for a guitar in the entry-level price range.

Neck

The neck on the SA-150 is made from Nato wood with a nice stained hardwood fret board.

It features 20 frets and comes stock with fender Dura-Tone strings. We find a plastic nut on the neck and die-cast tuners which are quite good for the price point but are generic.

Sound Performance

The SA-150 being a dreadnought style guitar sounds very big and bold like one would expect! The projection is wide from this full-sized body.

Not only that, but the quality of sound is quite impressive as well. We found that the stock strings were a bit lifeless compared to a higher-quality set. But not to the point that the guitar performed poorly.

PROS

  • Good Sound For Price.
  • Full Sized Dreadnought.
  • Comfortable and Light.
  • Easy to play neck.
  • Looks Nice.

CONS

  • Tuner quality is poor on some guitars.
  • A bit of a rattle from string pegs.

Jasmine S34C

Jasmine S34C Acoustic Guitar.

Body

The Jasmine S-34C is a great-looking grand orchestra-style acoustic guitar. The top is made of spruce with an X-bracing support. We find Agathis wood back and sides and a cut away which offers comfort and convenience.

Neck

The neck is slim and features a rosewood finger board and bridge. This makes the guitar very easy to play.

It has a 25.5″ scale and thanks to the body cut away, which makes it easy to access the higher frets. We find a synthetic bone nut and saddle which helps offer better play ability and sound.

Sound Performance

The sound of the Jasmine S-34C is very good! The body presents wide projection and the sound quality is well-balanced. I was surprised at how good it is for the price point. Being a Takamine budget model, the craftsmanship supports the tone.

PROS

  • Good sound.
  • Easy to play.
  • Comfortable.
  • Looks good.
  • Takamine budget guitar.

CONS

  • Durability of some guitars is poor.
  • Tuners are generic.
  • Stock strings are not quality.

How To Choose An Acoustic Guitar

Selecting the perfect acoustic guitar that fits your needs, preferences, and budget can be a challenging process.

To make the selection easier, we’ve broken down the key factors you should consider when looking for the best acoustic guitar under $500. Here are a few important aspects to consider if you are a beginner:

Tonewood and Materials

Different tonewoods and materials can significantly impact the sound, durability, and overall quality of an acoustic guitar.

Explore the various tonewoods and materials available in your price range and consider how they affect the guitar’s sound, resonance, and playability.

Body Shape and Size

The body shape and size of an acoustic guitar will influence its sound projection, tonal balance, and playability. Consider the various options, such as dreadnought, concert, and grand auditorium, and how they match your playing style and comfort.

Neck Width and Profile

The neck width and profile play a crucial role in determining the playability of an acoustic guitar, especially for those with smaller hands or specific playing styles. Compare different neck widths and profiles to find the one that best suits your needs.

String Type and Gauge

Acoustic guitars can be equipped with steel or nylon strings, and they come in various gauges. Understand the differences between string types and gauges and how they impact the guitar’s sound, playability, and tension to find the right fit for you.

Electronics and Pickup Systems

If you plan to amplify your acoustic guitar, it’s essential to consider the available electronics and pickup systems.

Choose a guitar with a built-in pickup system, or consider the aftermarket options that best suit your needs and performance style. Just be aware that at this price point, there are only a few options.

Brand Reputation and Warranty

Lastly, it’s always a good idea to research the reputation of the brands you’re considering and the warranty they offer on their products.

A reputable brand with a solid warranty will give you peace of mind and ensure that you’re getting a quality instrument for your investment.

Man holding up an acoustic guitar.

Conclusion

Not only are the acoustics great for all players, but they are also amazing backup or travel guitars. So if you are an experienced guitarist, you will find something perfect for a small amount of money.

When you are new to the instrument, these options will be the best place to start. Not only are they built well, but they come with awesome warranties. So not only can you enjoy the wonderful sound, but peace of mind as well.

If you have a few extra dollars to invest into an instrument, we suggest you take a look at an acoustic under 1000! The higher the quality of your instrument, the better your overall experience will be.

Take your time, read some of our other guides and choose the guitar you feel will fit you best. This way, you stand a better chance when it comes to long-term learning.

FAQs

Is a $500 dollar guitar good?

Yes, a five hundred dollar guitar can be wonderful! The quality can vary depending on factors such as the brand, model, and of course any personal preferences.

Individual experiences may differ, as some people may find that a $500 guitar satisfies their requirements and produces an excellent sound. However, others might choose to invest more in a higher-end instrument.

How much should you pay for a decent acoustic guitar?

The cost of a good acoustic guitar can differ significantly. This is all based on factors such as the brand, model, and other features.

Normally, beginners will have no issues finding a suitable acoustic guitar in the price range of $200 to $400, offering pretty decent quality.

As for players with more experience, they may consider choosing to invest more in a premium instrument, which can range from $500 to $1500 or even higher.

Is it worth buying a cheap acoustic guitar?

Purchasing an inexpensive acoustic guitar can be a worthwhile choice for beginners looking to begin their musical journey. It can also be a suitable option for individuals who have infrequent or short-term playing intentions.

Nonetheless, for those who are committed to playing guitar seriously, allocating resources towards a higher-quality instrument can yield improved sound and a more satisfying playing experience.