The future of music

10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500/£500

December 29, 2023
best acoustic guitars under 500

Are you looking for an affordable acoustic guitar that will meet your needs?

Check out our reviews of the best acoustic guitars under $500/£500!

All of these guitars will serve you well for a longer period of time, even though they don’t have a hefty price tag.

Thankfully, there’s a myriad of great options on the market these days, so it’s possible to find a good guitar even with a limited budget.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best acoustic guitars under $500/£500 in the market right now. 

1. Epiphone J-200 EC Studio – Best acoustic guitar under $500 

Epiphone J-200 EC Studio - Best acoustic guitar under $500

If you’re looking for an affordable Jumbo acoustic guitar, you should check out Epiphone J-200 EC Studio.

For this price range, it’s incredibly well-made, featuring a solid spruce top and maple back and sides.

There are several appearances to choose from, including Black, Natural, Vintage Sunburst, and Vintage Natural finish.

Regardless of what you opt for, you’ll get a stylish acoustic guitar that stands out from the crowd.

But the J-200 also provides a nice sound and excellent playability.

The larger size might not be for everyone, but this beauty will certainly meet your needs in terms of quality.

All things considered, the Epiphone J-200 EC Studio is the best acoustic guitars you can buy for less than $500.

2. Fender CD-60S – Best for beginners 

Fender CD-60S - Best acoustic guitar under 500 for beginners.

Fender is hands down one of the most popular guitar brands in the world. 

And it’s absolutely possible to find a good Fender guitar for less than $500 – for example, this beauty costs less than $300! 

It offers great value for money – it has a solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides, which is pretty good for this price range. 

The CD-60 is also an ideal guitar for beginners, as it’s comfortable and rather easy to play thanks to its neck and rolled fingerboard edges.

Plus, it looks good, especially the model with the black gloss finish.

Either way, the Fender CD-60S is one of the cheapest acoustic guitars on this list, and it’s definitely worth checking out. 

3. Yamaha FG800M – Best materials 

Yamaha FG800M - Best materials 

Yamaha FG800 has excellent build quality, construction, and playability, and it’s suitable for all levels.

It’s made from high-quality woods – a solid spruce top and nato/mahogany back and sides.

Therefore, it produces a beautiful tone that will satisfy even professional musicians.

Thanks to its dreadnought body shape, it’s capable of producing some serious volume.

So, it’s fair to say that the FG800 offers exceptional value for money – and it’s actually surprisingly cheap. 

It also looks amazing – classic and elegant, yet recognizable and unique.

All in all, if you want to buy a durable, well-made guitar for a low price, you can’t go wrong with the Yamaha FG800.

4. Martin LX1E Little Martin – Best smaller-sized guitar 

Martin LX1E Little Martin - Best smaller-sized guitar under $500.

When it comes to acoustic guitars that you can buy for less than $500, the Martin LX1E Little Martin is one of the best options in the market. 

After all, Martin Guitar is an iconic brand known for making the very first steel-string acoustic guitars, and Martin Guitars are still the first choice for many professional musicians.

That being said, if you’re looking for an affordable Martin guitar that will enrich your guitar learning journey, you should opt for the Little Martin.

It’s not too big, so it’s ideal for younger players.

Despite its smaller size, it delivers a powerful tone and allows guitarists to play with dynamics.

Well, if Ed Sheeran plays it, it’s safe to say it’s one of the best-sounding acoustic guitars out there.

All things considered, it’s actually hard to believe how affordable it is. 

5. PRS SE P20E Parlour – Best parlour shape 

PRS SE P20E Parlour - Best parlour shape acoustic guitar under 500. 

If you prefer a parlour shape, we recommend the PRS SE P20E Parlour acoustic guitar.

Thanks to its smaller size, the P20E is very easy to hold and play, so it’s also suitable for younger players and players with smaller hands.

It has a mahogany top, mahogany back and sides, and an ebony fingerboard.

The all-mahogany construction gives it warmth and durability.

Plus, in terms of appearance, this is hands down one of the most beautiful acoustics on this list. 

The hardware is another advantage, as it features PRS-designed machine heads and PRS-voiced Fishman Sonitone pickup.

That said, if you’re looking for an elegant acoustic Parlour guitar with a modern feel, you should put the PRS SE P20E Parlour on your shortlist. 

6. Guild M-240E – Best concert-sized guitar 

Guild M-240E - Best concert-sized guitar under 500.

And if you’re looking for a concert-sized guitar under $500, you should check out Guild M-240E.

This unique acoustic guitar has a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides, which is incredible for this price range.

It also sounds much bigger than it actually is, and thanks to the Fishman Sonitone pickup, it sounds amazing plugged in. 

But it’s also capable of producing beautiful acoustic sound. 

That said, the M-240E is suitable for players in a band and solo artists, and it’s versatile enough for any style. 

7. Taylor Baby Taylor – Best for small hands 

Taylor Baby Taylor - best acoustic guitar under $500 for players with small hands.

Taylor Baby Taylor is the best acoustic guitar under $500 for players with small hands.

This small-body dreadnought is incredibly well-made, featuring a solid Sitka spruce top and walnut ply back and sides.

Since it’s well-constructed and durable, it will serve you well for many years to come.

On top of that, it looks really beautiful. 

After all, Taylor guitars are one of the most sought-after guitars, and they are widely known for manufacturing unique, high-quality instruments.

That said, if you need a cheap acoustic guitar that won’t let you down, Taylor Baby Taylor is a safe choice.

8. Yamaha STORIA III – Best for traditional sounds 

Yamaha STORIA III - Best for traditional sounds 

The best thing about the Yamaha STORIA III is that it sounds more expensive than it is.

You can buy this beauty for less than $500, but you’ll get an instrument that has plenty to offer.

It has excellent build quality – mahogany back and sides, a nato neck, and a walnut fretboard.

Thanks to its passive under saddle pickup, you’ll also get powerful volume.

Due to its shorter scale length of 25” and compact concert body, it’s very comfortable to hold and easy to play.

That said, when talking about the top acoustic guitars under $500, the Yamaha STORIA III definitely deserves all the attention.

9. Alvarez AD30 – Best for classic dreadnought tone 

Alvarez AD30 - Best for classic dreadnought tone 

If you appreciate a classic dreadnought tone, then the Alvarez AD30 might be the perfect guitar for you.

It has laminated back and sides, but a solid Sitka spruce top makes up for it.  

Overall, the AD30 is capable of producing beautiful sounds, and it’s very dynamic and responsive.

It has good tuners too – they’re reliable and sturdy.

All things considered, Alvarez AD30 offers great value for money.

And it’s not easy to find a well-made guitar with a solid wood top for such a cheap price. 

10. Ibanez AEG70 – Best 

Ibanez AEG70 - Best 

Ibanez is another popular guitar brand you can trust.

And the AEG70 is an acoustic guitar that stands out from the crowd. 

It has a rather unique appearance, and it’s available in a range of eye-catching colors, from Purple Iris Burst to Tiger Burst. 

It’s great in terms of electronics as well – it comes with an AEQ-TTS preamp, a simple preamp with only two control knobs, volume, and shape. 

And there’s an onboard tuner with an LCD screen.

That said, if you’re looking for an affordable acoustic-electric guitar, the Ibanez AEG70 should be on your shortlist. 

How Good Can Acoustic Guitars Under 500 Be?

The truth is, many people are suspicious of cheap guitars – how good can they really be?

But in this day and age, cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad.

Of course, expensive guitars are made of high-quality materials and they provide a better sound and durability.

But there are many good acoustic guitars (manufactured by some reputable brands) that you can get for a surprisingly low amount of money.

Acoustic Guitar

Yes, it’s possible to find a well-made acoustic guitar under $500 – but how are you supposed to pick one, and what are some features to look for in an acoustic guitar?

Well, you should always look for high-quality materials like solid wood (Sitka spruce top, for example), but that’s not so easy to find in a low-priced guitar. 

Many cheap acoustic guitars have laminated tops, sides, and backs.

Nevertheless, the quality of the materials is something to keep an eye out for.

If you’re just starting out with your guitar lessons, make sure your guitar is easy to set up.

Furthermore, look for high-grade tuning keys, tuners, and electronics, as this affects overall tone and playability.

And make sure you choose a guitar with a body shape and neck size that suits you best.

All in all, you need to find a guitar that fits your preferences, style, and goals – as much as they can, considering the price range. 

Some of the things you can ask yourself before searching for an acoustic guitar under $500 is this: 

  • Do I want a loud or lighter-sounding guitar? 
  • Do I have big hands or small hands for playing guitar? 
  • What acoustic guitar body type do I want? 
  • Do I prefer to play fingerstyle or with a pick?
  • Do I plan on plugging the guitar into an acoustic guitar amplifier or not?
  • What do I need the guitar for?

What Guitar Body Size Should I Choose?

Acoustic guitars have been around for a while now –  the credit to the steel-string acoustic guitar as we know it today is given to Christian Frederick Martin of Martin Guitars, a company established in 1833.

This is also where the first dreadnought guitar comes from, and this remains one of the most popular guitar body shapes in the market. 

Besides the widely used dreadnought guitar, there are plenty of guitar sizes to choose from, and each type has its own characteristics. 

Different Sizes of Acoustic Guitars

Dreadnought and Jumbo guitars are associated with solo singer-songwriters because they deliver a deeper sound as well as increased volume and tone.

The bigger the guitar, the bigger the sound.

So if you prefer a tighter, more precise sound, you should opt for a smaller-bodied acoustic guitar – the Grand Auditorium, ‘000’, and Parlor are popular choices among musicians who prefer smaller guitars. 

The size of the guitar also affects how comfortable the instrument is, and that’s why you should choose the shape that suits you best.

What Is the Best Wood for Acoustic Guitars? 

We’ve already mentioned the importance of quality materials – the type of wood affects the tone as well as the appearance of the guitar.

But what is the best wood for acoustic guitars, and what can you expect from an acoustic guitar under 500?

To be honest, it’s not easy to find a solid wood acoustic guitar for less than $500 – in most cases, you’ll come across laminate guitars. 

Laminate is often used for lower-priced guitars, and it may lack volume and tonal complexity.

But the type of wood is often 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.

Spruce is a strong and sturdy wood that helps produce a clear, bright tone, and Sitka spruce has a wide tonal range that fits any style.

More expensive acoustic guitars have solid mahogany back and sides – mahogany gives an earthy, mid-range sound.

But if you find a solid wood top and laminated back and sides, that’s also fine. 

Other popular woods for guitars include:

  • Engelmann spruce – it has a mature tone and it’s brighter in color than Sitka
  • Adirondack spruce or eastern red spruce – it has a broader dynamic range than either Sitka or Engelmann, but it’s expensive and hard to find 
  • Rosewood –  popular for backs, sides, and fingerboard
  • Walnut quality wood used for the back and sides 
  • Maple – produces a bright tone 
  • Ebony – an exceptionally hard wood with a bright tone

Do I Need a Pickup?

Acoustic guitars can be too quiet if you want to use them on stage.

So unless you plan to put mics in front of them, you’ll need a pickup. 

Generally, mid-range guitars come with onboard pickup systems. 

This is arguably the easiest way to enhance your sound, but if you already have a lower-priced acoustic guitar and you need more volume, you can easily buy one. 

Located underneath the acoustic guitar’s bridge saddle, piezo pickup is one of the most common electro acoustic guitar pickups.

Due to their active circuitry, piezo pickups tend to possess a more compressed audio quality, so there’s no hum involved. 

In most cases, pickup arrangements are active, which means they need onboard battery power. 

If you want to avoid the brightness that occurs with piezo pickups, you can try a mic blend – many musicians use this trick to amplify their sound, by using a small, internal mic. 

Some musicians use a transducer, a sensor that’s placed inside the guitar to pick up body vibrations.

Transducer pickups often work well as a secondary pickup, alongside a piezo or soundhole pickup.

Finally, you can fit this pickup across your acoustic guitar’s soundhole to pick up the vibrations of the strings via a magnetic field. 

Magnetic soundhole pickups can be active or passive, or humbucker or single-coil; they have a rather metallic quality of sound.

How to Take Care of Your Acoustic Guitar – Essential Tips

Whether you’re looking for a cheap entry-level acoustic guitar or a more expensive guitar for professional purposes, you’ll need to take proper care of your instrument. 

Taking care of your acoustic guitar is crucial – this way, your instrument will serve you well for a long time. 

To prolong the life of your guitar as much as you can, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Clean your hands before playing
  • Wipe the strings down after practice
  • Change the strings regularly
  • Store your guitar in the right way
  • Keep it properly humidified 
  • Avoid scratches (keep it in a case when traveling)

Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500/£500 – Final Thoughts 

Thankfully, there are many amazing budget-friendly acoustic guitars available to buy right now. 

But it’s often hard to find a reliable, well-made acoustic guitar for less than $500, especially when it comes to high-quality materials.

That said, we hope our list of the best acoustic guitars under $500 helped you narrow down your search.

All of the guitars we reviewed today are produced by reputable brands, and they will surely make your guitar-playing experience as enjoyable as it should be. 

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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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