Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

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Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

Acoustic guitars are what many people learn to play on, and most beginners spend less than $300 on their first instrument.

When you progress past that learning-to-play stage, it’s natural to start wanting to upgrade your instrument. And so you should! You deserve to, after all that work you’ve put into learning, and higher quality instruments are often easier to play, easier on the ear and generally more pleasurable.

We’ve found out about the best acoustic guitars available if you have a budget of $500, and reviewed them to help you to decide which one’s right for you.

Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

Don't have time to read the whole article? Here are our top 10 electric guitars under $500 in 2018, at a glance:
    
Takamine G Series GF30CE Cutaway Acoustic GuitarTakamine G Series GF30CE Cutaway
(4.8 / 5)
See Price
The Loar LH-204-BRThe Loar LH-204-BR Brownstone Small Body
(4.8 / 5)
See Price
Breedlove Discovery Concert CEBreedlove DISCOVERY CONCERT CE
(4.8 / 5)
See Price
Epiphone Pro-1 Ultra Solid Top Acoustic ElectricEpiphone Pro-1 Ultra Solid Top Acoustic/Electric
(4.7 / 5)
See Price
Yamaha FG830Yamaha FG830 Solid Top
(4.7 / 5)
See Price
Taylor BBT Big Baby TaylorTaylor BBT Big Baby Taylor
(4.5 / 5)
See Price
Traveler Guitar AG-450EQ Acoustic-Electric GuitarTraveler Guitar AG-105EQ
(4.3 / 5)
See Price
Seagull S6 The OriginalSeagull S6 "The Original" Acoustic Guitare
(4.3 / 5)
See Price
Yamaha APX500III Thinline Cutaway Acoustic-Electric GuitarYamaha APX500III NA Thin Line
(4.3 / 5)
See Price
Martin LX1 Little MartinMartin LX1 Little Martin
(4 / 5)
See Price

Buyers’ Tips: Things To Look For When Buying An Acoustic Guitar Under $500

1) A Solid Spruce Top

2) A Rosewood Fretboard

3) A Cutaway

3) An Electric Option

So, here we go, our top 10 acoustic guitars under $500, in some more detail…

Takamine GF30CE

Takamine G Series GF30CE Cutaway Acoustic Guitar
Sound: (5.0 / 5)
Build: (5.0 / 5)
Value: (4.5 / 5)
Average: (4.8 / 5)

Takamine have an excellent reputation in the world of acoustic guitars, and this is one example of why that’s so well earned. Its solid spruce top, with Mahogany back and sides and a Rosewood fretboard and bridge, scream, “Quality!” However, this guitar far from screams: it sings and rings beautifully. There’s a richness of sound here that will get you hooked on playing, and it’s comfortable and smooth to do so. It’s also got a plug-in option, so you can take it out to gigs in its included hard case!

 

Pros:

  • Very stylish looking with its black body and pick-guard.
  • Comes with a hard case.
  • The solid spruce top with Mahogany back and sides, combined with a Rosewood fretboard and bridge, make it durable, rich-sounding and clear.

Cons:

  • Apart from the case, accessories will need to be purchased separately.
  • It might seem a bit small to players with a larger frame.
  • You may wish to get it set up in order to get the best out of this guitar.

 

The Loar LH-204-BR

The Loar LH-204-BR
Sound: (5.0 / 5)
Build: (5.0 / 5)
Value: (4.5 / 5)
Average: (4.8 / 5)

The Loar is a stylish-looking guitar which is made of Mahogany, Rosewood and a Solid-Sikta top. It sounds great, plays smoothly and also holds its tune very well. There’s no plug-in option, but this instrument is perfect for those who want a natural, acoustic sound.

 

Pros:

  • Solid Sikta Spruce top for the highest quality of sound and resonance.
  • Rosewood fretboard on a Mahogany neck makes it sound warm and feel good to slide your fingers across.
  • TonePros tuning machines offer stability of tuning.

Cons:

  • There’s no cutaway, so reaching high frets will be uncomfortable.
  • Accessories will need to be purchased separately.
  • It might seem a bit small to players with a larger frame.

 

Breedlove Discovery Concert CE

Breedlove Discovery Concert CE
Sound: (5.0 / 5)
Build: (5.0 / 5)
Value: (4.5 / 5)
Average: (4.8 / 5)

The Breedlove is a great guitar to go gigging with. It’s electro-acoustic, so you can become amplified with ease, and it even comes with a gig bag to encourage you to do just that. It has a Solid Sikta Spruce top which gives it excellent resonance, and the neck and sides are reliable Mahogany. This is a very comfortable and good looking guitar, which will especially suit smaller players.

 

Pros:

  • The small body makes it very comfortable to play, and it has a smooth feel.
  • The Solid Sikta Spruce top gives the guitar clarity and depth of resonance.
  • There’s a cutaway, so you can get high!

Cons:

  • Aside from the gig bag, you’ll need to purchase accessories separately.
  • There’s no pick guard, so you are likely to scratch the body.
  • It might seem a little small in the hands of larger players.

 

Epiphone PRO-1 Ultra

Epiphone Pro-1 Ultra Solid Top Acoustic Electric
Sound: (5.0 / 5)
Build: (4.0 / 5)
Value: (5.0 / 5)
Average: (4.7 / 5)

The Epiphone PRO-1 Ultra has some great features for those who have been struggling on their first guitar. There are jumbo frets, which make it easier to find the notes, and the body is also a little thinner than usual, making it more comfortable to hold. The strings included are also extra-light, which is easier on your fingers. The woods used are Mahogany and Rosewood, so you know you’re getting high quality and rich sounds, and this guitar has a plug-in option should you wish to use it.

 

Pros:

  • The Rosewood fretboard and bridge, and Mahogany neck and body give it a warm, rich sound.
  • The solid spruce top gives it a superior resonance.
  • There’s a cutaway, so reaching the high frets is no problem.

Cons:

  • The tuners aren’t as high quality as on some more expensive guitars.
  • The strap buttons are a little unusual: one doubles up as a jack and one is underneath the neck. This might not suit some people.
  • Accessories will need to be purchased separately.

 

Yamaha FG830

Yamaha FG830
Sound: (5.0 / 5)
Build: (4.0 / 5)
Value: (5.0 / 5)
Average: (4.7 / 5)

The Yamaha FG830 is a Dreadnought guitar which is large, reliable and rich sounding. It has chrome die-cast tuners, so it will hold its tune well, and it’s made of the highest quality woods: Rosewood and Nato. The top is solid spruce, which makes it ring beautifully, and there’s a good looking Turtle pick-guard to protect the body from scratches. This is a purely acoustic guitar: there’s no plug-in option.

 

Pros:

  • Solid Spruce Top offers a superior resonance.
  • Comes as part of an impressive bundle, including a hard case!
  • Rosewood fretboard, back and sides for rich overtones and a smooth playing experience.

Cons:

  • You may wish to adjust the action before you start playing this guitar.
  • The tone is quite high, which won’t be to everyone’s taste.
  • There’s only one strap button, so you need to tie a strap at the nut.

 

Taylor BBT Big Baby Taylor

Taylor BBT Big Baby Taylor
Sound: (5.0 / 5)
Build: (4.0 / 5)
Value: (4.5 / 5)
Average: (4.5 / 5)

 

Taylor are another brand with an excellent reputation for building high quality acoustic guitars. This model doesn’t disappoint, as its Solid Sikta Spruce top gives it a warm, deep, satisfying ring. The Mahogany neck also contributes to this richness of sound, as does the size of the guitar. It’s just short of a fullsize dreadnought. There’s no plug-in option here, but it’s perfect for those who want a natural sounding acoustic guitar.

 

Pros:

  • There’s an Ebony fretboard here, which will suit those who prefer a brighter, Maple-like tone.
  • The Solid Sikta Spruce top gives the guitar clarity and depth of resonance.
  • The Mahogany neck contributes to the richness of the sound.

Cons:

  • It’s pretty big, so might not suit the smaller player.
  • There’s no cutaway, so reaching the high frets will be uncomfortable.
  • Aside from the gig bag, accessories will need to be purchased separately.

 

Traveler AG-105EQ

Traveler Guitar AG-450EQ Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Sound: (5.0 / 5)
Build: (4.0 / 5)
Value: (4.0 / 5)
Average: (4.3 / 5)

This guitar is electro-acoustic, so you can plug it in at gigs or for recording if you wish to. There’s also a built in tuner, which is handy, and the tuning system itself is innovative and reliable. ‘Streamline’ tuning is controlled at the bottom of the guitar, which means that there is no need for a headstock. This looks a bit strange, but it does make it more travel-friendly, in keeping with its name! The woods used are Rosewood and Mahogany, so you know that you are getting a quality product that will live for a long time and produce rich and beautiful sounds.

 

Pros:

  • It’s short guitar, so good for those with a smaller frame.
  • The solid spruce top enables excellent resonance.
  • There’s a Rosewood fretboard, and Mahogany back and sides, so it will play smoothly and sound rich.

Cons:

  • The ‘Streamline’ tuning system is a bit unusual, and the way this sticks out beneath the guitar might make storage less convenient.
  • Though it’s great for travelling, its small size might make it unsuitable for players with a large frame.
  • There’s no pick guard, so it is likely that the body will get scratched.

 

Seagull S6 ‘The Original’

Seagull S6 The Original
Sound: (5.0 / 5)
Build: (4.0 / 5)
Value: (4.0 / 5)
Average: (4.3 / 5)

This guitar is more substantial in size, so will suit those with a larger frame. It has a Solid Cedar top, giving it superior resonance, and the Wild Cherry back and sides are durable and warm-sounding. This guitar comes with a hard case and stand, so you can both store it and travel with it easily. It’s purely acoustic: there’s no plug-in option.

 

Pros:

  • Solid Cedar top makes it sound very rich and natural.
  • The Rosewood fingerboard and bridge are reliable and feel smooth.
  • It comes with a hard case and a stand.

Cons:

  • There’s no cutaway, so reaching high frets will be tricky.
  • The headstock shape is very unusual, and might not suit everyone’s tastes.
  • It’s very large, so smaller players might feel very strange/uncomfortable with it.

 

Yamaha APX500III

Yamaha APX500III Thinline Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Sound: (4.0 / 5)
Build: (4.0 / 5)
Value: (5.0 / 5)
Average: (4.3 / 5)

The Yamaha APX500III is an electro-acoustic guitar, so it’s great for those open mic nights you keep meaning to play at. It’s also small and portable, and has a slim neck to make the playing experience smooth and speedy. The top’s spruce, but not solid, however, it makes up for this by having an oval sound hole to thicken out the lower mid-frequencies and leave the low range notes ringing. This is a great guitar to start gigging with, and it comes with all the accessories you need to get going.

 

Pros:

  • There’s a cutaway, so playing high frets will be no problem.
  • It comes as part of an impressive bundle, with everything you need to get playing.
  • Rosewood fretboard for a smooth playing experience, and warm sound.

Cons:

  • The top isn’t solid spruce.
  • It might seem a bit small to players with a larger frame.
  • You might wish to upgrade some of the included accessories.

 

Martin LX1 Little Martin

Martin LX1 Little Martin
Sound: (4 / 5)
Build: (4 / 5)
Value: (4 / 5)
Average: (4 / 5)

The Martin LX1 is a shortened scale guitar which is often the preferred choice for guitarists with smaller hands. It’s is largely made of Mahogany, giving it warmth and richness, whilst the top is Solid Sikta, making it reverberate excellently. It’s quite small, so it’s ideal for travel, and it will hold its tune well with the chrome tuners. It’s a purely acoustic guitar, so if you wish to amplify it, you’ll need a microphone or a pick-up.

 

Pros:

  • Solid Sikta Spruce top for a superior richness of sound.
  • Chrome tuners offer stability of tuning.
  • The shortened scale is perfect for those with smaller hands.

Cons:

  • There’s no cutaway, so reaching higher frets will be uncomfortable.
  • The shortened scale won’t suit everybody.
  • The fretboard is sometimes Micarta, which isn’t as rich sounding or as smooth as Rosewood.

 

Our Favourite?

All of these guitars sound beautiful, play smoothly and are well built. However, we chose a favourite, and that’s the Takamine GF30CE. This guitar uses the highest quality of woods: Mahogany and Rosewood, to produce a professional sound that is rich, warm and clear.

There’s also a cutaway, so reaching high frets won’t be a problem, and it’s available in the superiorly stylish black body / black pick-guard option. And there’s a hard case included!

If you’re looking for something with all accessories included, the Yamaha FG830 or Yamaha APX500III are the obvious choices to pick between.

If you’re looking for something larger, the Seagull S6 ‘The Original’ or the Taylor BBT Big Baby Taylor will suit you, and those with a smaller frame might prefer the Traveler AG-105EQ or the Breedlove Discovery Concert CE.

Whichever guitar you decide is right for you, we hope that it serves you well as you enter the next stage of your journey as a guitarist.

Happy Strumming! 🙂

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