10 Best Acoustic Guitars Around $500

Acoustic guitars are easy to come by.

However, there are so many variations.

Some of them are expensive and some are more reasonably priced. But if you’re on a budget, how do you know which acoustic guitar to buy without compromising on quality of instrument?

We have put together a list of the ten best acoustic guitars for under $500. All of these guitars have been selected for their merit in the market.

They are all stand up examples of what a moderate budget can allow you to buy.

We will also cover what you need to look for before buying an acoustic guitar. So, you never have to compromise on quality when shopping on a budget.

Without further ado, here are the top ten hand-picked acoustic guitars for you to peruse. We’ve got a selection of different styles, something to suit every player.

EPIPHONE J-200 SCE

Epiphone EJ-200SCE Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic /Electric Guitar, Natural

Key Features

Maple & Spruce

The combination of a maple back with a spruce front body and soundboard makes for a versatile acoustic model.

The maple gives warm tones juxtaposing the brightness of the spruce wood. Overall, the sound is very pleasing to the ear.

Preamp & Tuner

You can get the electronic sound by hooking this guitar up to an amp. Not only will you get more volume, but you will be able to hear just how crisp and satisfying every note is.

There’s also an in-built and super handy tuner so that you never miss a note and can tune your instrument as you go.

Pros

  • Unique Look: This acoustic definitely brings a rock and roll feel along. There are a few variations in design and color, but the overall feel stays the same.

Cons

  • Too Many Features: Too many features can detract from the overall simplicity of the acoustic guitar. Though these features may be cool, the draw of the acoustic is its gentle and uncomplicated nature.

Cort Core-OC Mahogany

Key Features

Simple Design

Cort Core-OC looks like the picture perfect acoustic guitar. It has a cutaway shaped body. This is ideal for leaner and shorter guitar players.

This acoustic boasts an ‘open pore’ finish on the wood at the front. Open pore is ideal as it allows the vibrations to resonate and constrict less, giving way to a more authentic sound.

Mahogany

The main wood used s mahogany. There are some smatterings of Ovangkol, for example, this is what makes the fretboard.

When used together, mahogany and ovangkol create the ultimate melting, relaxing tones. These are perfect for acoustic songs.

Pros

  • Award Winning: An award wining product is probably not going to disappoint you. That can be said for the Cort too. It has won not one, but several awards to add to its accolades and recommendations.
  • EQ System: You can do whatever you want with your sound with a solid EQ system behind you. This acoustic has an integrated EQ system so you can alter the musical aspects to suit any type of song.

Cons

  • Not great for strumming: If you like to strum chords instead of finger or pick, this is probably not the best suited model for you. It is more suited to a slightly more delicate style of playing.

LX1 Little Martin

Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar

Key Features

Mahogany & Spruce

The LX1 is made from mahogany and spruce. It is laminated mahogany, which can detract from overall quality. However, the overall sound produced by the different works working together is still a great one.

Concert Style

The body is that classic concert style that we see time and time again. It is great for smaller players and smaller audiences, as it can produce a softer sound.

It also makes the Little Martin very portable, light enough to carry around to wherever you want to play.

Pros

  • Electro Choice: It can sometimes be fun to mix up your style. The LX1 gives you the choice between pure acoustic playing and electro-acoustic styling. It is preamp ready, so all you have to do is plug it in to amplify the sound.
  • Unique Strings: Martin guitar have their own brand of guitar strings. They are soft and subtle. They last, and they turn out a vibrant, acoustic audio experience.

Cons

  • On the Small Side: Though smallness has its advantages, it doesn’t suit everyone.
Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
  • Mahogany pattern HPL (high pressure laminate) textured finish, solid sitka spruce top
  • Rust Stratabond neck, shortened 3/4 scale
  • Chrome small-knob tuners. Tusq saddle.
  • Solid Morado or East Indian Rosewood fingerboard
  • Includes padded gig bag

Alvarez Artist Series AD60

Alvarez Artist Series AD60 Dreadnought Guitar, Natural/Gloss Finish

Key Features

Spruce & Mahogany

We see this combo featured heavily across acoustic guitars. But it does work really well. So well, in fact, that this particular model has won awards for its design and function.

Dreadnought

The AD60 has a dreadnought body design. This design makes for a steadfast companion in your acoustic. It will be hardy and reliable, though some people of a smaller build may steer towards a concert body.

The dreadnought body allows for a bolder sound.

Pros

  • Wood Combination: There is definitely an expert blend of wood at play with the AD60. The way the different woods work together create a blend of sound that is akin to the traditional acoustic styling.

Cons

  • Manufactured Look: This guitar sort of looks like it’s been made on a production line. What we mean by that is that it doesn’t really have any stand out features that give it the wow factor on appearances.
Alvarez Artist Series AD60 Dreadnought Guitar, Natural/Gloss Finish
  • Hand selected, ‘A’ grade, solid Sitka spruce top
  • Hand sanded, scalloped bracing
  • Mahogany back and sides; Tuner:Premium Die Cast; Binding:Ivory ABS
  • Paua abalone and mother of pearl inlays
  • Lifetime limited warranty

Taylor GS Mini

Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar , Sapele, Mahogany Top

Key Features

Mini

The main talking point of this guitar is its size. It is smaller than your average acoustic by a long shot, and is in fact a mini model of the Taylor GS.

It is made for smaller and slighter players, but don’t worry. You aren’t missing out on any quality, even though the size is small.

Mahogany

The mahogany wood coupled with the smaller sized body make for a unique sound result. The sound is dark and alluring, and it still manages to resonate in a pleasing way.

Mahogany is the only wood used, which you don’t find all too often with budget guitars.

Pros

  • Color Choice: Customization is always an attractive quality for the consumer. You can pick from a selection of colors in this model.
  • Great Sound: Yes, she may be small, but she still is mighty. The sound on this Taylor is phenomenal. You will be pleasantly surprised that it manages to maintain acoustic goals while being compact.

Cons

  • Specific: Even though this is a great guitar, it really is catered for a specific type of person. So, if you don’t meet the criteria, you miss out on a great instrument.
Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar , Sapele, Mahogany Top
  • "Body Body type: Taylor Grand Symphony Mini Cutaway: No Top wood: Solid Mahogany Back & sides: Layered Sapele Bracing pattern: GS Mini With Relief Rout Body finish: Matte 2.0 Orientation: Right-handed Neck Neck shape: Taylor GS Mini Profile Nut width: 1-11/16"" (42.8mm) Fingerboard: Genuine African Ebony Neck wood: Sapele Scale length: 23-1/2"" Number of frets: 20 Neck finish: Matte 2.0 Electronics"
  • "There's something undeniably inviting about the Taylor GS Mini's scaled-down size, yet a single strum reveals the impressive voice of a full-size guitar
  • That mix of portability and musicality has proven to be a winning combination that fits into so many scenarios in life, from the couch to the campfire to the concert hall
  • It's not too big, it's not too precious, and it's not too expensive
  • That broad-based accessibility has given it a resounding universal appeal, not to mention a built-in fun factor

Yamaha FG800

YAMAHA FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar,Natural,Guitar Only

Key Features

Dreadnought

A dreadnought body is a sturdy one. It gets its name from the dreadnought battleships, built for power and presence.

This guitar emulates that in its delivery. It is thick and durable.

Spruce & Mahogany

Alongside the classic spruce and mahogany, there are also rosewood and nato wood. The fretboard is made from rosewood, which holds the string’s tone very well.

Nato wood is used alongside mahogany for the back panels, and spruce covers the front body and soundboard.

Pros

  • 5 Colors: Not many guitars give you the option to pick a color. Thanks to Yamaha, you can choose from five color options.
  • Hardy: This instrument is intended for being carried around and played. It is built with that in mind, and is very hard and durable. It can withstand many hours of playing and stay in tune with a crisp sound.

Cons

  • Simple: Slightly controversial here, but stay with us. This guitar is a simple one. It is a simple design with basic features. This is often desirable in an acoustic. After all, acoustic music lends to a blissful simplicity.
YAMAHA FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar,Natural,Guitar Only
  • Solid sitka spruce top
  • Nato back & sides
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Rosewood bridge
  • Diecast tuners

However, when held up against the other options on the list, it comes out as lacking in versatility.

Fender FA-235E Concert

Fender FA-235E Concert Body Style Acoustic Guitar - Rosewood Fingerboard - 3-Tone Sunburst

Key Features

Laminate, Mahogany & Maple

Warm tones, soft melodies. That’s what this guitar will give you. Especially when combined with the electronic features. The laminate gives a lighter colored front, while the mahogany helps keep the tones pure and rich.

Maple adds to the clear cut note projection.

Preamp Ready

This model is electro-acoustic. It is equipped with an electronics panel to make sure the sound is authentic. You can plug in and enjoy a bigger sound as and when you please.

Pros

  • Trusted Brand: Fender knows what they’re doing when it comes to making guitars. They have been in the business for so long, they are oozing with expertise. It’s a name you can trust.
  • Looks Great: A tidy little concert style acoustic, for sure. It looks great, (and sounds great), with a classic acoustic style look.

Cons

  • Small: This is a concert style bodied acoustic. Concert bodies are generally smaller and yield less projection. However, there’s not a major compromise on sound, you may feel less comfortable if you’re tall.
Fender FA-235E Concert Body Style Acoustic Guitar - Rosewood Fingerboard - 3-Tone Sunburst
  • Concert Body style
  • Flame Maple top
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Fishman preamp and built in Tuner

Roadhouse Bourbon Bust

Key Features

Cedar, Maple & Rosewood

Cedar body, maple neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. These three kinds of wood work together to create a gentle, not overpowering sound that still maintains a grand presence. It is well suited for intimate performance settings.

Nylon

Nylon strings are very melodic. They create the classic, acoustic vibes on any guitar. And, the Bourbon Bust is no exception. The nylon strings really add to the overall excellent sound of the instrument.

Pros

  • The Look: This guitar has gone for a vintage feel, which definitely comes through in the main design. The mahogany gives it a darker finish, and it looks neat and hardy.
  • The Sound: Regardless of how you play it, this acoustic produces a versatile sound capable of stunning regardless of setting.

Cons

  • Rosewood: Rosewood is considered an endangered species. It is banned in a lot of countries. Though it doesn’t feature heavily, there are elements of it. It creates a nice sound, but it is hard to come by and even banned in some places.

SE Ps3220

PRS SE P20 Tonare Parlor Satin Black Top

Key Features

Light

The SE PS3220 from PRS is a lightweight guitar. Though, the lightness of the body doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on sound.

PRS still manages to create an acoustic with a fantastic, highly rated sound.

Mahogany

Mahogany wood is a popular choice in acoustics. There is also an ebony fretboard. The two in conjunction make for a warm and sharp performance.

Pros

  • Accessories: It’s always enjoyable to get freebies with a big purchase. This guitar comes with a ‘gig bag’, aka a handy case to carry your guitar around in.
  • Warm Tones: Mahogany wood always gives warm, inviting tones. This combined with the nylon strings makes for a very melodic and rich overall acoustic tone.

Cons

  • Strong Look: This might not be a con for everyone. However, it’s still worth noting that this particular acoustic has a specific design that will only appeal to certain tastes.
PRS SE P20 Tonare Parlor Satin Black Top
  • 6-string Acoustic Guitar with Mahogany Top
  • Ebony Fingerboard - Black Satin
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Sides
  • Back

Yamaha Storia III

Yamaha Storia III Acoustic Guitar

Key Features

Amp

The Storia III can be plugged into an amp. So you can get the biggest and best sound that you can imagine. On top of the already rich and inviting tones, you get the added bonus of extra volume with no compromise on sound quality.

Mahogany & Walnut

The body of the guitar is made from mahogany wood. Mahogany leans towards a smooth and rich sound when played.

Walnut is used on the fretboard and there is even Nato wood used in the neck. The combination of all these woods creates a beautiful tone.

Steel Strings

Steel stringed guitars have a sharper sound than the alternative nylon. They are crisp and great in a performance with lots of players. The steel combined with the mahogany wood makes for a very strong sounding acoustic.

Pros

  • Design Variety: This guitar can be bought in a few different style choices. It’s always nice to have the choice of color and the overall look of your guitar, without having to compromise.
  • Trusted Brand: Yamaha is a well-established music company. They have been producing instruments for a long time. You can trust a Yamaha that has been designed by an expert with musicians in mind.

Cons

  • Heavy: This guitar is quite heavy compared to other acoustic. It is heavy to carry about, but also heavy on the fingers. Especially for beginners.
Yamaha Storia III Acoustic Guitar
  • STORIA III delivers a strong, earthy midrange tonality
  • Solid Mahogany top
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Black, wine Red and ivory inlay
  • Luminous gloss finish

Buyer’s Guide: Handy Tips When Purchasing An Acoustic

Types Of Acoustic Guitar

Safe to say, acoustic guitars come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Let’s take a look at the four staple acoustic categories to give you a better idea of what to buy and what you’re drawn to.

Nylon Stringed Acoustic

First up, nylon strings are arguably the classic acoustic guitar sound. They are soft, calming, and are used to create the warm tones of acoustic music.

Nylon stringed acoustics are very well paired with mahogany and other denser wood.

The softness of the strings combined with the soft, heavy wood creates a rich and tingly sound that inspires all the senses into a state of relaxation and peace.

Steel Stringed Acoustic

Steel stringed acoustic guitars are a modern updated version of the classic Nylon stringed acoustic guitar models.

With a steel string, you will find when you pick or strum that the sound resonates more clearly, for a longer time, and in a brighter way. They move away from the traditional softness of nylon stringed instruments.

Electro-Acoustic

An electro-acoustic guitar is a traditional acoustic guitar, with a slightly different shape. It creates the classic acoustic guitar sound while having the additional capacity to be connected to an amp to create an electrical, amplified sound.

The mainstream acoustic guitar creates a unique sound, but it’s not especially loud. An electro-acoustic gives you all the powerful sound of an electric while maintaining the beautiful soft tones of an acoustic.

It is a special hybrid, and quite popular.

Resonator

A resonator acoustic guitar gets its name from the resonators that are placed in the guitar. Resonators are small, metal cone shaped contraptions.

They resonate, as their name suggests. The sound from the strings is vibrated through to the bridge.

The overall effect is a somewhat tangy sound. It can be described as grating, but it is also a strong and beautiful sound in the right ears.

Guitar Wood

Every guitar differs slightly, even if they have been mass produced.

The wood on one guitar can be different from the body to the neck of the guitar. However, we’re going to focus on the body wood and the soundboard in particular.

This lies at the front of the guitar and is the wood directly around and underneath the hollow hole, or sound hole.

This is because that wood has the most influence on the overall sound of the guitar.

So, which type of wood is best? And, does it really matter about the wood type? The answer is, yes, it does matter. Different wood creates different sounds.

Don’t worry. We’re here to help you brush up on your wood knowledge to understand the effect it has on the guitar sound.

Laminate

Laminate can sometimes be used in low-budget acoustic guitars. It is a cheap wood type material, that can be produced at a low cost in big quantities. It’s made by binding cheap layers of wood together.

However, it doesn’t make for a great acoustic guitar sound and is best to be avoided when possible.

Spruce

Think, Christmas trees. That’s spruce wood. It is a popular choice for guitar bodies and soundboards.

It’s popular because of the sound that it produces. Spruce resonates the sound fantastically while playing. It can cope with both heavy and light strumming.

It also manages to create the classic, acoustic guitar sound that we all know and love.

Furthermore, it is lightly colored, and a light feeling wood in general.

Mahogany

Mahogany is a classic, dark wood. It is quite heavy and creates a somewhat denser sound. That doesn’t make it undesirable, though, quite the contrary.

Mahogany is less popular than spruce, but still a popular choice for any guitar soundboard and body. It looks and sounds beautiful. Mahogany tends to have a more powerful sound than spruce, and other woods.

That means mahogany guitars are suited for playing in an ensemble, as the sound won’t be lost or overpowered by the other instruments.

Koa

Koa is less common because the source is harder to find and in low supply. However, with koa soundboards, you can expect a similar sound to mahogany.

Like mahogany, koa is quite heavy. It suits technical songs with lots of finger movement, as opposed to songs that are chord heavy and require lots of strumming.

Koa changes as it ages. A brand new guitar with a koa soundboard and body will sound fresh, gentle but strong. As it ages, the sound will soften even more and begin to resonate more clearly.

If you play in a band and perform regularly, koa is best to be avoided, as it can often be drowned out by bigger sounding instruments.

Rosewood

Rosewood is a controversial wood. It is classed as endangered in some places, and therefore banned from being used for any purpose other than growing.

However, where it is allowed, rosewood is a popular choice for guitar necks. It is subtle but sturdy. It allows the fretboard and strings to breathe and resonate, while still holding tune.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is An Acoustic Guitar?

An acoustic guitar is a guitar that produces its own unique sound without external input. It is essentially a long necked, hollow bodied instrument with nylon or steel strings.

What Are The Notes Of A Guitar?

A guitar is tuned to treble clef. There are six strings on a guitar, and therefore six different notes (tones). These are E, A, G, D, B, and E.

Can You Buy A Decent Acoustic Guitar On A Budget?

Yes. You can buy a decent acoustic guitar on a budget. It just takes a bit of research and savvy. All of these guitars on our list are around or under $500.

Remember, top range guitars can be sold for excesses of $5,000.