12 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500 For 2023

When learning the acoustic guitar, it’s hard to justify spending a lot of money. But you have to ask yourself, will you be getting the best acoustic guitars under 500 dollars? Well, you will be very happy to know, there are some fantastic instruments at this price point!

Manufacturers have come a very long way when it comes to the design of lower-priced models. It was hard to come by a good instrument like this years ago. But today, we have amazing options to choose from!

The quality of your instrument when getting started is very important. The sound, feel, and fit has to be just right. If it’s not, then you might struggle when it comes to staying motivated to learn.

A cheap, beat-up used guitar is usually the reason why people lose interest in learning. Their instrument was simply not fun to play.

Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

Our top pick is the Seagull S6 original. This guitar has wonderful build quality and sound, making it the best value for money. That’s not to say the others on our list are not a good purchase. These instruments are all great and have unique things to offer guitarists.

Seagull S6 Original

Seagull S6 Acoustic Guitar

Specifications

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top material: Solid Cedar
  • Neck Wood: Silver leaf maple
  • Frets: 21
  • Scale length: 25.5″
  • Lifetime Warranty

Our Rating

  • Build Quality: 5/5
  • Comfort: 4.5/5
  • Tuning Stability: 4/5
  • Aesthetics: 4/5
  • Sound: 5/5

Overview

The Seagull S6 is one quality instrument! I would describe it as being a big sound yet soft, and has a tone that comes alive! The S6 has a cedar top with wild cherry sides and back, which is pretty unique. The solid cedar produces a warmth and depth of tone that is very rich yet bright and well-balanced.

The neck is made of maple and has a rosewood fingerboard. On the S6, we find that it has a 25.5-inch scale with a slightly wider fretboard, but it’s incredibly easy to play. This is a dreadnought-style, steel-string acoustic guitar. So it provides a good amount of volume projection as well.

The Seagull guitars are made in Canada and come with a limited lifetime warranty. This is simply incredible for an acoustic under $500 that sounds and plays this well. This is a deal that just can’t be beaten. Some players have owned them for 20 years, and they still play and sound great!

PROS

  • Build Materials and Hardware
  • Balanced and full sound
  • Easy to play
  • Made in North America
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Many S6 versions available

CONS

  • If you do not own one yet, that could be a problem!

Sounds

Cedar tops are not very common on steel string guitars, so it’s interesting to see it on the S6. They are found on classical or flamenco guitars and are a warmer-sounding material. The same is true on the S6, as it has a very warm, fat bass response.

Strumming on the S6 creates a loud volume response from the dreadnought body shape. While it’s warm, the sound is still very full and has shimmering top-end frequencies as well. It’s a very enjoyable tone that I believe is exclusive to the S6.

Who Is It For?

The Seagull S6 is a unique guitar that is a perfect fit for new and intermediate players. Some players have likened it to that of expensive Martin’s or Taylor’s. I disagree there. But I do feel it’s the best model for the price point.

This is one versatile acoustic that can be used for many music types. This includes fingerpicking.


Yamaha FG850

Yamaha FG850 Acoustic Guitar

Specifications

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top material: Mahogany
  • Neck Wood: Nato
  • Frets: 20
  • Scale length: 25.56″
  • 1-Year Warranty

Our Rating

  • Build Quality: 4/5
  • Comfort: 4.5/5
  • Tuning Stability: 4/5
  • Aesthetics: 4/5
  • Sound: 4/5

Overview

The Yamaha FG850 features a solid mahogany top, back, sides, and binding. FG850 delivers a warm, woody, rich sound, is incredibly easy to play, and has a classy look. This dreadnought-style guitar has a rosewood fingerboard and a 25.6-inch scale length.

The Yamaha FG850 is made in China, as would be expected from an acoustic under $500. But the craftsmanship is excellent and Yamaha’s engineers have designed a cutting-edge acoustic. It will offer any player an excellent experience.

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

Sounds

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.

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.


Ibanez ALT30 Altstar

Ibanez ALT30 Altstar Acoustic Guitar

Specifications

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top material: Spruce
  • Neck Wood: Maple
  • Frets: 22
  • Scale length: 25.5″
  • 1-Year Warranty

Our Rating

  • Build Quality: 4/5
  • Comfort: 4.5/5
  • Tuning Stability: 4/5
  • Aesthetics: 3.5/5
  • Sound: 4/5

Overview

The Ibanez ALT30 Alstar is a hybrid made for transitioning players. This guitar is built to be electric with an acoustic concept. Ever wanted to shred on an acoustic? Now you can. The neck on the ALT30 is an electric guitar profile with a cutaway in the body.

It feels great and has a nice thin body to make it feel like an electric model. The volume it creates is a bit less than your standard acoustic, but it’s perfect for its concept. Ibanez makes this guitar super affordable, and it’s worth checking out!

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

Sounds

When I first played this guitar, I didn’t know what to make of it. It’s a unique 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.

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.


Taylor GS Mini

Taylor GS mini Acoustic Guitar

Specifications

  • Body Shape: GS Mini
  • Top material: Mahogany
  • Neck Wood: Sapele
  • Frets: 20
  • Scale length: 23.5″
  • Lifetime Warranty

Our Rating

  • Build Quality: 4.5/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • Tuning Stability: 4/5
  • Aesthetics: 4/5
  • Sound: 3.5/5

Overview

Even though a mini, this guitar packs some serious tone! The Taylor GS Mini features a solid mahogany top, layered Sapele back and sides, and is no slouch in the bottom end. Because it’s smaller than a dreadnought, one would assume that the sound would be smaller as well.

This acoustic has been designed using the grand symphony guitar as a reference. And in doing so, they have crafted a mini that can hold its weight against some of the bigger acoustics. The sound is well-balanced and nothing less than incredible for its size.

The Taylor GS mini is assembled in Mexico and is a very well-built acoustic that is light and small. It sounds great and is probably one of the best travel units you can get your hands on.

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

Sounds

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.

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.


Epiphone Hummingbird Studio

Epiphone Hummingbird pro Acoustic Guitar

Specifications

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top material: Solid Spruce
  • Neck Wood: Mahogany
  • Frets: 20
  • Scale length: 24.75″
  • Lifetime Warranty

Our Rating

  • Build Quality: 4/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • Tuning Stability: 4/5
  • Aesthetics: 5/5
  • Sound: 4/5

Overview

A vintage look with some modern upgrades and big sound. The Epiphone Hummingbird PRO is a cheaper version of the popular Gibson model. This acoustic has a solid spruce top, which has a rich and complex tone of wood that gets better with age.

The rest of the body and the neck are made from mahogany. Also, a rosewood fingerboard provides a 24.75-inch scale length. The tone from this acoustic is bright, bold, and clear and is very easy to play.

The Hummingbird Pro comes with a built-in pickup system. It includes adjustable controls via the upper boat. The cutting-edge electronics are very good and are easy to use.

PROS

  • Build Materials and Hardware
  • Built in cutting edge pick up system and controls
  • Bright bold sound and easy to play
  • Vintage look
  • Designed by an experienced and 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

Sounds

When I first strummed 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 I thought 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.

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.


Martin OMC-X1E

Martin OMC-X1E Acoustic Guitar

Specifications

  • Body Shape: Orchestra
  • Top material: HPL
  • Neck Wood: Birch laminate
  • Frets: 20
  • Scale length: 25.4″
  • Lifetime Warranty

Our Rating

  • Build Quality: 4/5
  • Comfort: 4.5/5
  • Tuning Stability: 4/5
  • Aesthetics: 3.5/5
  • Sound: 4/5

Overview

The Martin OMC-X1E is an auditorium-sized acoustic with good bass and a lot of punch! The guitar itself is made from laminate throughout. This makes it an affordable Martin acoustic. But don’t make your decision on that. It sounds and feels great!

The neck is laminate with a rich lite fretboard. It has a 25.4-inch scale length with 20 frets. The neck on the guitar is nice and very easy to play thanks to Martin’s performing artist profile. This built-in Fish man electronics really make it versatile. The sound quality is balanced with lots of sustain and projection.

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

Specifications

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top material: Sitka Spruce
  • Neck Wood: Maple
  • Frets: 20
  • Scale length: 25.5″
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Our Rating

  • Build Quality: 3.5/5
  • Comfort: 3.5/5
  • Tuning Stability: 4/5
  • Aesthetics: 3.5/5
  • Sound: 4/5

Overview

Comprised of solid Sitka spruce, the Taylor big baby acoustic is a basic but quality guitar. This is almost a full-sized dreadnought and has a solid mahogany neck. The bolt-on neck is comfortable and playability on par for an acoustic at this price point. It’s very light and well-balanced, making it a great guitar for new players.

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.

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

Specifications

  • Body Shape: Jumbo
  • Top material: Sitka Spruce
  • Neck Wood: Maple
  • Frets: 21
  • Scale length: 25.5″
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Our Rating

  • Build Quality: 4/5
  • Comfort: 4.5/5
  • Tuning Stability: 4/5
  • Aesthetics: 3.5/5
  • Sound: 4/5

Body

The AJ80CE is a jumbo electro-acoustic guitar made with quality material and craftsmanship. This large body acoustic is very full, warm, and balanced with a strong volume projection. The solid Sitka spruce top presents not only a gorgeous finish, but a strong bass response. Not to mention a lush treble.

Neck

Being a jumbo, the acoustic has a nice neck made from maple and has 21 large frets. It’s easy to play and feels great in your hand. The nut on the guitar is made from real bone and provides wonderful performance. The premium tuners are also an impressive addition. They give this acoustic guitar a rigid tuning setup.

Sound

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!

PROS

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

CONS

  • May be big for some players

Verdict

While the guitar is a jumbo and may not fit everyone, it’s one heck of an instrument! It amazes me that manufacturers can produce instruments of this quality at such a good price. The hardware on board is impressive and provides a good experience.

Real bone nut, quality tuners, and electronics to name a few make it perfect for most players. It’s not like other guitars in some ways and can be perfect for a person new to the hobby. So if you are looking for a great acoustic guitar, you have found it!

The sound, playability, and feel are wonderful. I recommend it if you are looking for a quality instrument!


Best Budget Acoustic 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

The Epiphone song maker DR-100 is a very affordable acoustic guitar. This dreadnought-size model comes with a mahogany body and neck that is easy to use. This offers wonderful playability.

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.

There are no electronics that come standard, but we didn’t expect there would be either.


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

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

Verdict

There are many players who have purchased and use the SA-150 regularly. There are professional players who have been quite impressed with the guitar. Some people have had issues with them as the quality is lower due to the price point.

But customer service is great with Amazon and getting things fixed up or exchanged is easy. But don’t worry, there are many more good guitars reaching customers.

We recommend this guitar if you are getting started and are not sure how long you will be interested. Or, if your budget is low, you will be happy with this model.


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

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

Verdict

For the price of this guitar, we were very impressed. Takamine builds them and calls them Jasmine as part of their entry-level models. As a result, they have built it very well with lower-cost parts and materials. But this is surprisingly good for the price. And so if you are looking for your first instrument, this is the one you want!


Best Bundle Pack Acoustic Guitars

There are many guitars available, but a bundle pack is also very convenient. Not only do you get a good model, but all the accessories as well. There are some awesome bundle packs that are available, but our favorite is the Fender FA-115.

Fender FA-115 Bundle Pack

This is an acoustic guitar with a dreadnought body, and it sounds and plays great for the price. You also get a gig bag, strap tuner, and more! This makes the bundle incredibly convenient and for the price, you cannot go wrong!

Fender Fa 115 Acoustic Guitar

How To Choose An Acoustic Guitar

When it comes time to find your guitar, there are a few things to consider. First, the size is very important. It needs to fit you well and remain comfortable in your person. If it is too bulky or even too small, it may not be as fun to play.

Next, you want to make sure that the thickness of the neck is comfortable for your hands. If it’s too thick, your experience will not be as good. The acoustic body shape is also something to take into consideration. The shape and sizes of the models we have chosen in our best acoustic guitars under the 500 list have a wide range.

There is something for everyone here, it’s just a matter of selecting what’s best for you. So make sure to spend some time finding the best fit, this way you will remain inspired to play. Especially if you are a beginner!

Is a 500 Dollar Acoustic Guitar Good?

There was a time when a cheap guitar was just that. The quality of instruments today is so much better. Thanks to CNC machines and routing, guitar bodies can be made so much more efficiently. This means that better woods can be used and the time to make them is so much less.

It requires fewer hands to touch the product, which means cheaper to produce. Parts have also become easier to make. So for a person looking for a 500-dollar model, this means better quality. Manufacturers have become good at making guitars. Some lower price point models rival those worth more.

All the models in our best acoustic guitars under the 500 list are made by professional builders. They have been in the game for a long time and are pioneers that have made this all possible. So purchase online confidently. You will be getting a great instrument for under 500 dollars!

Acoustic Guitar Brands

The instruments we have chosen for our best acoustic guitar list are from experienced manufacturers. These are builders who have been around for a long time.

Most of them are also household names, and for good reason. If you have ever attended the NAMM show, you know these builders strive for quality. In an industry with many builders, every manufacturer must be competitive.

If not, word of mouth could quickly hurt a brand. But because these manufacturers have so much experience, awesome instruments are easy. And not only are they awesome guitars, but they are also affordable.

Best Acoustic Guitars under $500

Which Guitar Brand is Best?

It’s hard to crown one brand as the best at making acoustic guitars. There are so many professional builders making instruments today that it is hard to go wrong. Even some new brands to the market are doing some wonderful things.

New shapes are being introduced each year. Manufacturers continue to get better at design and manufacturing. We selected our best acoustics in this list based also on the brands that make them. And so here are some of the better manufacturers that you should stick to in order to get a great guitar.

  • Seagull
  • Yamaha
  • Taylor
  • Epiphone
  • Fender
  • Martin
  • Squier

These are some well presented brands that show up at the NAMM show.

What is the Easiest Acoustic Guitar to Play?

If you are just starting out, then it is important to have the best acoustic guitar that is the right fit. This isn’t the same for everyone and needs to be considered before making a purchase.

The easiest acoustic guitar to play will be the one that fits your body and hand size best. While larger acoustics can also be played by smaller people, it’s best to learn on the right size for you.

If you are a player of average size, then the dreadnought guitar is a pretty commonly used model. If you are on the smaller size, then you may want to look into models like:

  • Seagull S6
  • Ibanez ALT30
  • Taylor GS MINI

These are guitars on our list that are slight to very much smaller than a dreadnought. Primarily by their shape and body sizes. These instruments are a better fit for smaller players starting out. Just make sure to include a regular practice schedule to get used to your new 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 guitar, 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. Have a played any of these models? Let us know below.