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15 Best Budget Guitar Acoustic Under $500: Top Choices For Beginners And Pros

Yes, we understand that picking up a hobby like guitaring does not guarantee that you will stick, because of which, choosing the first instrument which must be affordable and newbie friendly is important. Or maybe you have already gained some skills and want to purchase a guitar for gig and studio recording but don’t have a thousand bucks lying around the room. Then worry no more, in this article, we introduce a well-screened list of the best budget guitar acoustic that despite their price tag, will not disappoint you. In case you are looking for electric guitars instead, have a look at our budget electric guitars for 2020.

We understand that the market is now filled with so countless “imported cheap guitars” from who knows where, hence, it can be tricky to evaluate whether one is worth what it cost you. Below not only do we provide or recommend options when it comes to your best budget guitar acoustics but also the guidelines on choosing and inspecting the instruments that meet your demands as well. 

Wait no longer, let’s dive in.

best budget guitar acoustic Comparison 2020

** Below, you will find our detailed reviews of the best budget guitar acoustic, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Detailed Reviews Of Top best budget guitar acoustic

best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Top: Spruce Wood
  • Back and sides: Mahogany
  • Neck: Nato Wood
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 21 ¼”
  • Frets: 20
  • No of Strings: 6
  • Electronics: None

Be introduced to our list of best budget guitar acoustic by a candidate from the well-known international standard manufacturer of Yamaha. 

The JR1 is a perfect option for players that prefer a somewhat travel size due to its compact scale length of 21 ¼”, which equals to ¾ the standard length. This is a laminated acoustic instrument, effectively preventing damages caused when moving around. The body features spruce and nato wood whereas the fretboard is made of rosewood, which is probably best for this part. 

Although the size provides great portability, the sound it produces may not be as loud as other full-sized competitors. But the sound and tone quality is out of the question thanks to its Yamaha standard, making it a good choice for budget players. 

Let’s not say it is cheap right here because in spite of the humble price tag, the quality it offers is not “cheap” at all. Plus, this one is very friendly to beginners. Definitely consider this if you have a tight wallet but are still into the path of the music.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Great quality with a humble price tag
  • Entry-level
  • Compact size
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Grand Orchestra
  • Top: Laminate Spruce
  • Back and sides: Sapele
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 25.5”
  • Frets: 20
  • Tuners: Chrome
  • Electronics: None
  • Left-handed: No
  • Strings: Phosphor Bronze Light Gauge

This Jasmine S34C is a stunning guitar in grand orchestra style, featuring a rich, harmonic sound and stylish Venetian cutaway design. Considering the value it offers, this is a great deal for a guitarist. 

One significant advantage of this instrument is the tone wood opted to construct. The top is made of laminated spruce whereas the back and sides are sapele wood. These kinds of choices just make sense perfectly. You have nothing to worry when it comes to the build quality. The stylish cutaway also makes it easier to handle the guitar, allowing the player to reach all tones on the fretboard. 

For this kind of price, some may not expect to receive much about the hardware. However, The Jasmine S34C features a synthetic compensated saddle, standard die-cast tuners and a rosewood bridge. There is no way you are gonna think this is a dirt cheap instrument.

About the sound, Jasmine S34C offers a great volume thanks to its jumbo size of 25.5” (scale length). Some find that it lacks some mid range tones, but not that much of a big deal. 

In sum, you won’t need to worry much about the quality and durability of this guitar since the brand is well-trusted among the community.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Great build quality
  • Jumbo size but easy to handle
  • High volume sound 
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Concert
  • Top: Laminate Whitewood
  • Back and sides: Laminate Whitewood
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Simulated Rosewood
  • Scale length: 25.4”
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Undersaddle Piezo 3 band EQ Preamp
  • Left-handed: No

This instrument has been standing among the best budget guitar acoustic for a while. The acoustic electric RA-090 Concert Cutaway is a brother of the newbie friendly RA-090, hence, they share many similar traits. The extra value that the Concert Cutaway offers is the additional electronics and preamp to support more purposes. 

As the name has described, this guitar features a cutaway in the design, allowing the player to reach higher tones on the fingerboard. The tone wood building up this guitar is laminated whitewood (top, back and sides) which is not very high end but acceptable for this price. 

Offering a C-shaped neck of nato wood, you should find handling the guitar really comfortable.

The fun part, as I said, is that the Rogue RA-090 Concert Cutaway has electronic parts, letting you perform plugged-in. It possesses volume controls, 3-band EQ supporting bass, middle and treble and a phase control switch along with a digital tuner. Apparently, there is nothing more you can ask for a budget acoustic electric guitar.

Despite its smaller size, the guitar can still produce large volume sound and quite balance tones. In case you need to amplify the sounds, an additional amp is, of course, compatible.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Acoustic Electric with versatile nature
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable C-shaped neck
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Back and sides: Agathis Wood
  • Neck: V
  • Nyatoh Mahogany Neck
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 650mm
  • Frets: 20
  • Tuners: Chrome covered tuners
  • Electronics: No
  • Left-handed: No

As the market becomes more attractive, more and more famous brands enter and offer high quality products with a friendly price tag. The same phenomenon applied to the reputable manufacturer of Ibanez, one of the greatest brands for rock guitars. But still, this acoustic option from them has literally nothing to complain about.

The Ibanez IJV50 has a pretty simple, tidy and friendly design, featuring the original dreadnought shape. The top is made of laminated spruce and the back and sides are Agathis wood. Although they are quite average, the guitar still preserves its standard quality. 

The mahogany neck, offering a traditional rosewood fingerboard of 20 frets, makes the guitar quite playable. If you expect more from the string set, you can always make a change thanks to the replaceable feature. 

When it comes to sounds and tones, there is nothing much to tell as well. That is a good sound quality level for beginners since the guitar is comfortable to practice with and provides great versatility. 

All in all, buying a whole set of Ibanez IJV50 is just enough for a starter. You shall possess a friendly acoustic guitar with great manufacturing quality from Ibanez and a lot of accessories along, supporting various purposes.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Low price for an Ibanez
  • Newbie-friendly
  • Standard quality
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce with Thunderflex scalloped bracing
  • Back and sides: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany Neck
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 25.5”
  • Frets: 20
  • Tuners: Chrome covered tuners
  • Electronics: No
  • Left-handed: No
  • No. of strings: 6

Despite, the brand name of Samick might not sound very familiar to guitar players, this Korean manufacturer produces countless ranges and models of guitar every year and they know exactly what a guitarist desires. In collaboration with the American guitar designer Greg Bennet, Samick has introduced this loveable acoustic guitar for budget players. 

About the design, it is an elegant dreadnought body shape with old-school finish (vintage sunburst or natural wood color). The top is made of solid Sitka Spruce and offers a so-called Thunderflex scalloped bracing, allowing the player to produce sounds with more resonant effects. 

At this price, although you should not expect some quality electronics, the hardware of this instrument is still impressive. The headstock has Chrome covered die-cast tuners and at the other end you shall find a fine rosewood bridge. 

Had it not been for the quality build and tone wood material, the Greg Bennet GD100S would not be able to produce such large and full sound. The tone is well balanced thanks to the spruce and mahogany making up the structure of this guitar. As I have introduced above, the Thunderlfex bracing also offers more resonant sound.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Great quality tone wood
  • Big, robust sound
  • Extra resonance
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Orchestra
  • Top: Spruce Top with Jasmine Advanced X Bracing
  • Back and sides: Sapele Wood
  • Neck: Slim Nato Neck
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 24.75”
  • Frets: 20
  • Tuners: Chrome
  • Electronics: None
  • Left-handed: No
  • No. of strings: 6 strings
  • Strings: Phosphor Bronze Strings Gauge

Again, for those who are looking for a best budget guitar acoustic, this comfortable JO-36 Orchestra from Jasmine is definitely worth having a look because it is a lot of quality on a very little amount of money to pay. 

As the name has described, the Jasmine JO-36 possesses an orchestra body style with no cutaway, providing more comfort and manageability. Although constructed with laminated wood as a budget cutting solution, the tone wood quality is not something you should worry about because it still sounds as perfect as it looks. The top is equipped with Jasmine’s Advanced X bracing bringing better sound definition. 

Being a pure acoustic guitar also means no electronics, pickups or preamps included. However, the instrument does have a rosewood bridge with synthetic compensated bone saddle and nut, just like other Jasmine’s candidates on this product round-up. Additionally, there are chrome die-cast tuners which are quite stable. As the price suggested, nothing to high end right here, but enough for a budget player.

Despite the cheaper laminated material making up the instrument, the sounds and tones are still clear and well balanced. Thanks to the Advanced X bracing by Jasmine, this guitar can still produce great volume as well.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Affordable
  • Great sound and tone quality
  • Suitable for any levels
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Orchestra
  • Top: Spruce Top with Jasmine Advanced X Bracing
  • Back and sides: Agathis Wood
  • Neck: Slim Nato Neck
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 25.5”
  • Frets: 20
  • Tuners: Chrome covered tuners
  • Electronics: None
  • Left-handed: No
  • No. of strings: 6 strings

As the third Jasmine on this list, the S35 also features great values of Jasmine manufacturer, and of course with a humble affordable price. Despite not being as well-known as other brands like Fender or Epiphone, Jasmine does know the way to standout in the budget marketing. Hence, their products still hold a significant rank among the best budget guitar acoustic. 

You will have a classy elegant guitar with dreadnought body and stunning satin finish. Of course, you are not encouraged to expect too much for this kind of price when it comes to tone wood material. For this model they have laminated spruce and agathis for the top, back and sides. The neck, featuring a slim design, is made of nato wood and is glued to a comfortable fingerboard of rosewood. Overall, this kind of design is stylish enough for a starter. 

Nothing is extra about the hardware though. S35 features a synthetic bone compensated saddle and nut along with a bridge of rosewood. At the other end, the headstock has a set of chrome-covered tuners that you will find really easy to use. 

When it comes to the sound, you will surely be surprised by the quality it offers. The sound can be delivered with large volume and the tone is just as well-balanced as other Jasmines on the list. You will not have to worry about outgrowing this budget guitar’s level either.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable handling
  • Well-balanced tone with great volume.
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce Top
  • Back and sides: Mahogany Wood
  • Neck: Mahogany Neck
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 25.5”
  • Frets: 20
  • Tuners: Premium Die Cast
  • Electronics: None
  • Left-handed: No
  • No. of strings: 6 strings

Finally, we get to an Epiphone. You know, save the better for the later. Like Ibanez above (and below this one), Epiphone has already entered the market and produced the best budget guitar acoustic. This DR-100 is a bright star among those, offering Ebony, Natural and of course, stunning looking Vintage Sunburst finish. 

Possessing a dreadnought body shape with well screened tone wood (spruce top and mahogany body), the DR-100 never lets one heart down. Despite its lower-tier price of this guitar, Epiphone equips it with a SlimTaper profile which helps players perform at greater speed. 

For hardware, Epiphone features a no less powerful system than any other competitors on the list: rosewood bridge, synthetic compensated saddle and nut and a set of Chrome Die-cast tuner (which they called premium die cast). 

To sum up about this one, it is a great deal to hold an Epiphone instrument on your hand at this kind of price.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Pretty low price for Epiphone standard
  • Great build quality
  • Premium hardware
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce Top with scalloped bracing
  • Back and sides: Laminated Nato / Okoume
  • Neck: Nato Neck
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Scale length: 25.5” 
  • Frets: 20
  • Tuners: Chrome Die Cast
  • Electronics: None 
  • Left-handed: No
  • No. of strings: 6 strings

Being a member of Yamaha’s honorable FG series, the Yamaha FG800 earned its place among the best budget guitar acoustic thanks to its standard quality design and playability. 

Featuring a classic but still beautiful dreadnought body shape, stretching 25.5” in scale length, you won’t need any extra things else. The top is constructed from solid sitka wood and equipped with scalloped-brace. Back and sides are laminated nato wood. Because of the classic shape, you will find this guitar easy to handle. 

The hardware features quite similar traits to other suggestions on the list which are chrome die cast tuning systems, quality rosewood bridge. The saddle and nut are urea. 

The sound and tone quality is what makes this FG800 one of the best choices you may have when it comes to the best budget guitar acoustic. The sound is delivered with great volume and resonance thanks to the scalloped bracing whereas the tone is well balanced, sweet and warm.

You won’t find any guitar like this below 200 bucks.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Yamaha standard
  • Beautiful sounds and tones
  • Solid top
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Mahogany top with X bracing
  • Back and sides: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany Neck
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 25.5”
  • Frets: 20
  • Tuners: Chrome Die Cast
  • Electronics: None
  • Left-handed: No
  • No. of strings: 6 strings
  • Strings: D’Addario EXP

Now in case you haven’t loved the Ibanez IJV50 above, then the AW54OPN might become your favourite due to the harmony of every part that this guitar brings about. Ibanez is no longer well-known solely for their electric line but the acoustic line either, and this one as well will not disappoint a player despite its low price. 

Start with a body, you will find that id does not feel as cheap as it is at all. Featuring a classic dreadnought body shape and a solid mahogany top, this trait alone can make the AW54OPN the brightest candidate on the list. The neck is, also, constructed with solid mahogany, providing great sounds and tones. You will be surprised by the quality of this acoustic guitar, given that Ibanez is respected for their heavy metal nature. 

Although this model does not support any electronics, you can pay a visit to its brother Ibanez AW45CE. For this one, the hardware is pretty standard. You won’t need anything more than a chrome die cast tuning system, a standard rosewood bridge and an Ivorex II saddle and nut anyway.

The sounds and tones of the Ibanez AW54OPN, in deed, live up to your expectation for a budget acoustic guitar, offering a warm lovely tone thanks to the mahogany tone wood.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Solid Mahogany
  • Standard hardware
  • Entry-level 
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Dreadnought
  • Top: Laminated Spruce top with X bracing
  • Back and sides: Basswood
  • Neck: C-shaped Maple Neck
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 25.3”
  • Frets: 20
  • Tuners: Chrome Die Cast
  • Electronics: None
  • Left-handed: No
  • No. of strings: 6 strings
  • Strings: Fender Dura-Tone coated phosphor bronze strings.

Another option for Fender lovers. This dreadnought features a C-shaped neck, providing more comfort along with a standard rosewood fretboard for great flexibility. 

Equipped with a synthetic compensated bone saddle and nut, along with Chrome die cast tuner, Fender FA-100 produces rich, full sound and heavenly vibrant tones. 

Starters can also benefit from a lot of accessories included in the package. All in all, there is nothing much to concern when it comes to a Fender, isn’t it?

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Affordable
  • Great bundle
  • Fender standard
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Back and sides: Tech Wood
  • Scale length: ¾ full scale
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Left-handed: No
  • No. of strings: 6 strings
  • Strings: D’Addario Acoustic strings

This acoustic instrument from Oscar Schmidt is another great option for smaller players since it is designed in a shorter scale of ¾ full standard size. The price is incredibly low compared to other products by Oscar Schmidt. 

The back and sides are reportedly made of tech wood, which is a combination of Catalpa and several other wood types. The guitar features and adjustable truss rod and a comfortable thin neck, providing more comfort for smaller hands. This is in sum, a perfect option for your kids who would love to start learning guitar, not to mention its D’Addario acoustic strings.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • ¾ scale for smaller players
  • Great sounds and stones
  • Stylish colors variety
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: ¾ travel guitar
  • Top: Koa Wood
  • Back and sides: Koa Wood
  • Neck: Natural Stratabond
  • Fretboard: Richlite
  • Scale length: 23”
  • Frets: 20
  • No of strings: 6

Another option for music-loving wanderer, the 23-inch size of the Martin offers great portability with durable build, preventing damages caused when moving, thanks to its strong laminated 1-style Sitka spruce bracing. The Martin manufacturer is also the inventor of the original dreadnought design that many acoustic guitars are based on. 

The fretboard scale is also reduced to fit the demands of the instrument’s target customers, allowing the player to perform comfortably, reducing the final price for buyers as well. Despite the travel size, the sound it produces is reported to be surprisingly loud.

The Koa tone wood, originated in Hawaii, offers beautiful sounds with great resonance and adorable vibe. 

One of the few complaints against this Little Martin is that it is constructed with High pressure laminate, which is also known as HPL for short. Speaking in English, it is plastic that is designed to look and feel like wood. This explains a lot why this one is so affordable. But you will barely notice this because the quality of sounds it offers is almost flawless. So this HPL thing should not be a big deal.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Smaller fretboard for better handling
  • Great harmonic sounds
  • Compact size for travellers and smaller players
  • Affordable
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Orchestra
  • Top: Solid Mahogany
  • Back and sides: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Scale length: 25.5”
  • Frets: 20
  • Tuners: Chrome die-cast
  • Electronics: Fishman Presys II 301T preamp w/tuner
  • Left-handed: No

Inheriting the body shape of the old-school Martin OM, this Woodline WLO12SE possesses the stunning orchestra style, featuring a tight, controlled bottom end and sub-dreadnought dimensions with standard sparkling highs. Thanks to the quality Mahogany tone wood that makes up the instrument from top to bottom, the bold tone of Washburn is enhanced, making it the best budget guitar acoustic for fingerstyle players. 

Equipped with the Fishman Presys II preamp, you can be sure that the sounds can be delivered losslessly  when plugged in an amplifier. The system also offers treble and bass controls in case you are interested.

With a relatively low action, the nicely built C neck is slim, providing a comfortable experience when performing. Overall, this Washburn can compete well with many other candidates from larger brands like Fender or Ibanez to be the best budget guitar acoustic in town.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Suitable for fingerstyle guitarists
  • Sparkling highs and tight, defined lows
  • Slim neck for easy handling
  • High quality build
best budget guitar acoustic

Specifications:

  • Type: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid mahogany
  • Back and sides: Laminate mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 25.3”
  • Frets: 20
  • Tuners: Chrome
  • Electronics: None
  • Left-handed: Spruce-top natural finish only

It is definitely a great bargain to choose the Fender CD-60S since the build quality and produced sound of it come with a very, very humble price tag. This is the perfect choice for players looking for a newbie friendly and affordable guitar to start with. Plus, you might not outgrow this one soon. 

Built with stunning quality tone wood of Mahogany from top to body, this Fender features a beautiful, chiming mid-range brightness, making it a top-notch product when it comes to an acoustic guitar. In case you wish, the CD-06s can be also tweaked to play bass, not to mention the just fine intonation, tuning and string action of it.

Online vendors provide various good deals with additional gears like straps, extra set of strings, padded gig bags, etc. They also make an acoustic-electric version if you are interested. In sum, there is nothing you can ask more at this price.

  • Pros

  • Cons

Things we liked
  • Value based price
  • Beautiful tone

Guidelines on choosing your best budget guitar acoustic

Nylon strings vs. Steel strings

best budget guitar acoustic

Depending on what styles or genres you prefer, you will want to make a decision about whether you need a nylon-string or a steel-string acoustic guitar since they have some significant differences, in some way they can even be called two different instruments. 

If you are keen on classical music or the vibe of Latin music like flamenco, then a nylon-string guitar with rich, mellow tones and sounds is more of a good companion to you. 

On the other hand, if you want to play country, pop, rock or blues, a steel-string instrument is more preferable thanks to the clear, crisp sound it produces. 

However, if you are not sure and just want something to learn basic guitar first, then I recommend you choose nylon strings since they are more friendly and comfortable to learn and get used to.

Moreover, some models offer replaceable string sets. And strings can be easily purchased separately too. That kind of trait might be what you are looking for in your best budget guitar acoustic then.

Tone woods of an acoustic guitar

As a price-cutting solution, cheaper but acceptable tone wood like Spruce is what you should find in those guitars. But still, the material may vary such as: Koa, Mahogany, Walnut, Ovangkol, etc. Overall, you may find them a little bit different from one another when it comes to tones, sounds, volumes and resonance. 

best budget guitar acoustic

In this article above or in many reviews/ specifications on guitars, you will bump into the terms laminated wood and solid wood quite often. Now, solid wood is easy to understand: it’s just a single piece of natural wood cut into the shape of the instrument. Laminated, on the other hand, consists of a few layers of plywood glued carefully together. Each type has their own pros and cons. Whereas solid wood is better for the sound quality and resonance, laminated wood is cheaper and is less prone to cracking and possesses better durability. The sound produced by a laminated instrument tends to remain the same while solid wood instruments will have mellower sound as time flies.

Depending on your purposes when it comes to your best budget acoustic guitar: whether you are a new learner or an experienced guitarist looking for something new, you should choose the material that meets your demand the best.

Extra tips when it comes to “budget” guitars

best budget guitar acoustic
  • Let’s say no to such “imported” instruments with somewhat plasticky parts, such as the bridges, tuning systems or saddles. They are NOT SUPPOSED TO be included in a quality guitar, not to mention that those dirt cheap things are very likely to fall apart and offer no good tones and sounds. Budget does not mean disappointment. 

  • Let’s not expect too much for “premium standard instruments” at this price, although there might still be some vendors providing great quality stuff. You should be looking for good tone wood anyway. Usually spruce, laminated or solid, is acceptable. 

  • Find a trust-worthy brand, it is always wise to purchase from a reputable manufacturer and not fall for dirt cheap but disappointing products. However, to live or die by brands or price is not recommended. 

  • Taking time inspecting your instrument carefully will save you a lot later. No need to rush. Try to feel the material of the thing, don’t help yourself from trying to play some notes to see if it really is your best budget guitar acoustic. Take a closer look at the details, are there any cracks or loose screws. For further knowledge, here’s a video on how you should inspect an acoustic guitar.

Final Thoughts of best budget guitar acoustic

Have you found the reviews on best budget guitar acoustic and the guidelines above helpful? In case you still can not choose. We have narrowed down the options to 5 as the following. Keep in mind that these are just my own preference and there’s no problem at all if you happen to find other choices attractive.

So what is your choice? 

Let us know your best budget guitar acoustic in the comment below and stay tuned for further articles on your favourite instrument.  

See more best seller of budget guitar acoustic on Amazon and find the best option for you here!

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