The future of music

Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners

December 29, 2023
Acoustic guitar laying down.

Searching for the best acoustic guitars for beginners can be overwhelming, given the array of options.

My guide simplifies your search, highlighting top picks known for their playability, sound, and value.

Dive into detailed reviews that consider a beginner guitarist’s needs, ensuring a match that encourages an easy learning journey.

Quick answer: what are the best acoustic guitars for beginners? For beginners, I personally recommend the Fender CD-60S, Epiphone DR-100, and Yamaha FG800 as the best acoustic guitars. Each of these models offers easy playability, robust build quality, and clear, vibrant sound, crucial for those just starting their musical journey. They provide an excellent blend of quality and affordability, encouraging a smooth learning experience without compromising.

Top Beginner Acoustic Guitars Ranked

Here is a quick list of the best acoustic guitars for beginners based on my hands-on analysis:

  1. Fender CD-60S – Overall best acoustic guitar for beginners
  2. Epiphone DR-100 –Best for well-balanced tone
  3. Yamaha FG800 – Best-selling acoustic guitar
  4. Taylor GS Mini – Best for traveling
  5. Martin LX1 Little Martin – Best smaller-sized acoustic guitar
  6. Epiphone Hummingbird – Best for that Keith Richards look
  7. Ibanez AW54CE – Best for full sound
  8. Seagull S6 – Award-winning acoustic guitar
  9. Gretsch G5024E Rancher – Best for unique shape and vintage feel
  10. Ibanez AEWC400-TKS – Best for asymmetric and comfortable neck profile

I’ve also made a video on the top acoustic guitars for beginners for those who prefer watching a video:

10 Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners Reviews

When I test acoustic guitars, I focus on these key areas:

  1. Build Quality: I examine the guitar’s structure, checking the body, neck, machine heads, and bridge for sturdiness, ensuring it’s well-made, even for budget models.
  2. Fretwork: I inspect the frets, looking for uniformity to avoid any playability issues like buzzing or accidental cuts.
  3. Playability: Comfort is crucial, so I assess how the guitar feels when held, focusing on the neck shape and body design.
  4. Sound: I play using different techniques to test the guitar’s tone range, listening for good balance and projection in various styles.

1. Fender CD-60S – Overall best acoustic guitar for beginners

Fender CD-60S - Overall best acoustic guitar for beginners.

Fender’s CD-60S stands out as a top pick for new guitar players, known for its quality build and affordable price.

This guitar boasts a full sound from its dreadnought body, with a design that beginners find easy to play.

Its solid top and sturdy back ensure it lasts, offering great value for beginners.

Unlike some low-cost options, the CD-60S maintains Fender’s reliable standard, making it an ideal start for learners without the high-end model cost.

2. Epiphone DR-100 – Best for well-balanced tone

Epiphone DR-100 – Best for well-balanced tone.

The Epiphone DR-100 is a top choice for beginners, backed by Epiphone’s reputation for crafting quality guitars.

It delivers a balanced tone, with a build featuring a spruce top and mahogany body, common in many pro-level acoustics.

For those watching their budget, the DR-100 offers excellent value and deserves consideration.

3. Yamaha FG800 – Best-selling acoustic guitar

Yamaha FG800 – Best-selling acoustic guitar.

The Yamaha FG800, known for its popularity, stands out as a top pick for beginners.

This guitar boasts superb craftsmanship, ensuring top-notch performance for new and seasoned players alike.

Its solid spruce top and nato or mahogany body contribute to a rich tone, while its dreadnought shape promises strong volume, perfect for various settings.

Remarkable in appearance and quality, the FG800 offers great value, blending unique style with affordability.

4. Taylor GS Mini – Best for traveling

Taylor GS Mini – Best for traveling.

The Taylor GS Mini, a compact option perfect for beginners, is easy to take along to lessons.

Featuring a sturdy build with a Sitka spruce top and laminated Sapele for the neck, back, and sides, it promises durability and smooth play.

Despite its travel-friendly size, quality isn’t compromised, appealing to both new players and experienced guitarists.

Its comfort enhances playability, making the GS Mini a top pick for anyone’s first acoustic guitar.

5. Martin LX1 Little Martin – Best smaller-sized acoustic guitar

Martin LX1 Little Martin – Best smaller-sized acoustic guitar.

The Martin LX1 Little Martin stands out among smaller beginner acoustic guitars.

As a top brand, Martin made the first steel-string guitar and remains a favorite among pros.

The Little Martin, affordable and ideal for beginners, is compact, perfect for younger players, and known for its rich tone and dynamic range.

Even Ed Sheeran plays it, proving its quality among the best-sounding acoustics available.

6. Epiphone Hummingbird – Best for that Keith Richards look

Epiphone Hummingbird – Best for that Keith Richards look.

The Epiphone Hummingbird, famed and used by the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, is a top pick for beginners.

This dreadnought has a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides, known for its clear, rich sound.

Its soft nylon strings are beginner-friendly, and while it’s not the cheapest, its lasting build and quality make it a worthy buy.

7. Ibanez AW54CE – Best for full sound

Ibanez AW54CE – Best for full sound.

The Ibanez AW54CE is a top choice for new players, known for its solid mahogany build and clear, full tone.

Its standout features include a Fishman Sonicore pickup and an Ibanez preamp with a built-in tuner.

This guitar blends quality and playability, making it ideal for beginners.

8. Seagull S6 – Award-winning acoustic guitar

Seagull S6 – Award-winning acoustic guitar.

The Seagull S6, with its solid cedar top and wild cherry body, stands out for its premium build and durability, rare in beginner guitars.

Though slightly pricier, it offers significant value, justifying the cost with its quality and longevity.

This guitar is an investment for learners, ensuring years of reliable use.

9. Gretsch G5024E Rancher – Best for unique shape and vintage feel

Gretsch G5024E Rancher – Best for unique shape and vintage feel.

The Gretsch G5024E Rancher, a beginner acoustic guitar, catches the eye with its unique shape and vintage sunburst finish.

Not just about looks, this model, with its solid spruce top and mahogany neck, produces a rich, balanced tone.

It suits any style, perfect for those ready to play live and make an impression.

10. Ibanez AEWC400-TKS – Best for asymmetric and comfortable neck profile

Ibanez AEWC400-TKS – Best for asymmetric and comfortable neck profile

The Ibanez AEWC400-TKS stands out with its flame maple top and dark, striking look.

While its unique shape and asymmetrical neck may not suit everyone, many beginners find it comfortable.

This guitar goes beyond the typical dreadnought, offering a fresh feel.

Its quality electronics enhance its solid performance, ensuring it’s a reliable choice for new players.

Brief History of Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitars boast a rich history, dating back centuries, with numerous models available today.

Their roots trace back to the ancient Greek kithara0 around 700 BC, which later merged with Western European culture through Roman influence in Spain0.

Over time, the instrument underwent several transformations, notably Gibson’s introduction of the archtop guitar, featuring unique sound holes and a curved body0.

Christian Frederick Martin, founder of Martin Guitars in 1833, revolutionized the music world by creating the modern steel-string acoustic guitar.

His company, still a leading guitar producer today, originated the famed dreadnought shape, a favorite among players worldwide.

How to Choose Your First Acoustic Guitar

I hope my reviews of the best acoustic guitars for beginners help you narrow down your search.

Nevertheless, finding the right acoustic guitar for you might be a bit daunting.

Luckily, the fact that you’re looking for an entry-level acoustic guitar already makes your list of options a bit smaller.

Beginner acoustic guitars are usually easier to play, and they tend to be less expensive than professional, high-end guitars.

But don’t opt for the cheapest beginner acoustic guitar.

Of course, if you’re on a budget, you’ll look for something affordable – but if the guitar won’t meet your needs or last you long enough to achieve your goals, then it’s not worth the money – even though it’s cheap.

Now, besides your budget, there are some other things you should factor in. 

What Acoustic Guitar Size is Best for Beginners?

One of the most important factors that will affect your decision is the guitar’s size.

Acoustic guitars come in different shapes and sizes, so it all depends on your needs and preferences.

But what type of acoustic guitar should you choose if you’re a beginner?

Acoustic guitar sizes chart.

Smaller-bodied acoustic guitars tend to be easier to play for beginners.

Some experienced players like them for their tight, precise sound. 

They’re also more portable, which is great if you plan to take it with you to your guitar lessons.

But players with smaller hands might find smaller-sized guitars like mini or baby acoustics somewhat inconvenient. 

Also, larger-sized guitars usually have a more powerful sound.

In other words, the bigger the guitar, the bigger the sound.

Dreadnought and Jumbo guitars usually deliver a deeper sound and an increased volume and tone – and that’s why they’re preferred by solo singers-songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Sheryl Crow, and so on.

Dreadnought is probably the most popular as well as versatile guitar shape, offering a blend of excellent playability and beautiful sound.

At the end of the day, you should opt for an acoustic guitar that fits your goals and preferences. 

What Is the Best Wood for Acoustic Guitars?

There are many different types of wood used to make acoustic guitars, and the type of wood the guitar is made of affects the tone.

Wood may be different for the top (soundboard) of the body, the back and sides of the body, the neck, the fretboard, and the rest of the guitar.

Since they’re highly resonant, spruce and cedar are the most frequently used woods for the soundboard of an acoustic guitar.

Spruce is a rather strong and sturdy wood that helps produce a clear, bright tone, and when it comes to the sides and the back of the guitar, mahogany gives an earthy, mid-range sound.

Other popular woods for guitars include Koa, Maple, and Rosewood. 

Person playing acoustic guitar.

When it comes to budget-friendly acoustic guitars for beginners, there’s a high chance you won’t come across high-quality materials.

In most cases, entry-level guitars are fully laminated – so, you won’t hear much of a difference between different materials.

Of course, solid wood is a better option, but if you’re just starting, getting an affordable beginner-friendly acoustic guitar made of cheaper materials will do you just fine.

Do You Need a Guitar Pickup?

Compared to their electric companions, acoustic guitars produce a quiet, tender sound. 

But if you want to amplify your acoustic guitar, you can get a guitar pickup.

Using a built-in pickup is the most convenient way to enhance your sound, but you can also buy a guitar pickup for your beginner guitar. 

There are many awesome acoustic guitar pickups to choose from, and which one suits you best depends on your budget and your preferences.

How Much Should You Spend on a Beginner Acoustic Guitar?

Thankfully, there are many affordable acoustic guitars for beginners worth checking out.

Also, beginner acoustic guitars usually don’t cost more than $500. 

Most good entry-level acoustic guitars cost around $200.

It’s also possible to get an acoustic guitar for $100, but don’t expect a lot from it – if you want to get a reliable instrument for your guitar lessons, avoid the cheapest options. 

Either way, beginner guitars are not very expensive. 

But if you want to get a more professional, high-end guitar, you’ll have to be ready to spend more money. 

For intermediate and advanced players, acoustic guitars usually cost between $400 and $1,200, and professional acoustic guitars can go up to $10,000. 

Nevertheless, if you know a bit about instruments, this shouldn’t be very surprising – pro instruments tend to be quite pricey.

But if you’re looking for an entry-level acoustic guitar, don’t worry – you’ll have to invest some money in it, but it won’t break the bank.  

How to Take Care of Your Acoustic Guitar

If you’re ready to buy your first acoustic guitar, you should learn how to take care of it.

Expensive acoustic guitars are well-built and durable, but if you want them to serve you well for a long time, you’ll need to take proper care of them.

Even cheaper acoustic guitars require proper care, and that usually includes: 

  • Cleaning your hands before playing
  • Wiping the strings down after practice
  • Changing the strings regularly
  • Storing your guitar in the right way
  • Keeping it properly humidified 
  • Avoiding scratches (keep it in a case when traveling)

If you take good care of your acoustic guitar, it will pay you back and serve you well for many years to come!

How to Tune a Beginner Acoustic Guitar

Generally, an acoustic guitar can be tuned ‘by ear’, by using a reference note from another instrument to tune one of your strings.

But if you’re a beginner, this might be challenging – and that’s where guitar tuners come in!

There are plenty of great clip-on guitar tuners to choose from, and they’re excellent solutions for newbies.

Chromatic tuners are the most common type of tuners, and they can tune to each of the 12 notes of Western music’s chromatic scale.

Finding Beginner Guitar Lessons 

Once your new acoustic guitar is safe in your hands, you’re ready to start playing!

But starting is not always easy.

Acquiring guitar skills can be a challenging task, and that’s why you should think about the best ways to learn how to play guitar.

Luckily, learning guitar has never been easier – there are many different options and formats to choose from, including:

  • Guitar learning apps
  • Online guitar lessons
  • Traditional learning (music schools)
  • Lessons with a private teacher
Person learning how to play guitar using their laptop.

If you want to learn how to play acoustic guitar quickly and conveniently, you can opt for online guitar learning.

Online guitar classes and guitar learning apps offer lessons that are usually short and fun, but they’re designed smartly and effectively, so you can be sure to learn something.

However, many students prefer in-person lessons – this certainly has the advantage of being able to communicate with your teacher in real time and get valuable direct feedback.

Getting feedback is crucial in the beginning, as it allows you to work on your weak spots. 

Music learning apps and online programs tend to provide feedback as well, but that kind of feedback is usually based on notes, rhythm, and so on – and learning how to play the guitar well is more than just playing the correct notes.

Either way, online learning is a cheaper and more flexible option; after all, you can take lessons from the comfort of your home.

Moreover, online guitar programs have evolved a lot over the past few years, so it’s possible to find a reliable source that will help you achieve your goals.

But don’t expect to become a guitar pro overnight – gaining guitar skills takes time, and you shouldn’t rush it.

So, find a source that suits you best, take your time, and practice regularly.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many amazing entry-level acoustic guitars to choose from.

From budget-friendly acoustics to well-built acoustic guitars that will serve you well for many years to come, my list of the best acoustic guitars for beginners has something for everyone.

And once you find a perfect guitar for you, you can start looking for guitar lessons.

Now is a great time to start learning guitar – with the emergence of online guitar lessons, apps, and programs, guitar learning has become affordable and convenient. 

So, pick a guitar that meets your needs, find a good learning source, and start playing!

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Sources:

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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