The Best Acoustic Guitar under $500 – A Comprehensive Buying Guide

Are you looking to purchase a guitar that is high quality but still affordable? Most high performance instruments are often exorbitantly priced, but you can still find decent quality without having to break the bank.

In my many years of buying guitars, especially acoustic guitars, I have found that it is certainly possible to be deceived into thinking that the best quality instruments have to be overly expensive.

While there may be more truth there than I possibly intend to admit, I have also discovered that there are great Luthiers out there that make exceptional quality instruments that do not require that you part with half your child’s trust fund.

Seeing as it is a difficult task to scour the internet trying to find one particular brand that stands out, we decided to compile a list of superior quality guitars that fall below the $500 mark.

The Best Acoustic Guitar under $500 – Comparison Table

Name of Brand
Guitar Type
Special Feature
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Yamaha FS800 - Solid Top Small Body Acoustic Guitar
Dreadnought
Scalloped bracing
Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar
Modified dreadnought
Double action truss rod
Alvarez Artist Series - AD60 Dreadnought Guitar
Dreadnought
Scalloped bracing
Taylor GS Mini Acoustic Guitar
Mini Grand Symphony
Laminated + Solid wood
Fender FA-235E Concert Body Acoustic Guitar
Concert
All laminate body

The Best Acoustic Guitar under $500 – Products Review

Yamaha FS800 – Solid Top Small Body Acoustic GuitarFeatures the innovative scalloped bracing

Easily one of the most popular acoustic guitars for beginners and professionals alike, this instrument sets itself apart as an easy to use and highly reliable guitar.

Key features

  • Has a dreadnought shape
  • Features scalloped bracing
  • Back and sides made using Nato and Okume wood
  • Spruce top
  • Small body

I have had this guitar for some time now, and I can tell you for certain that it is one of the easiest to play and most interactive instruments I have had the pleasure of using.

For starters, it is a conveniently small bodied guitar that is easy to hold and to navigate, whether you are playing standing or seated. It offers great support to the elbow, allowing your arm to relax as you go through the playing motions.

Perhaps what makes it such an incredible fit is the fact that it has a dreadnought shape.

Dreadnought guitars have long ben known to sit pretty on the lap, fitting more conveniently so you can play a good lot better. Aside from the fit, dreadnoughts also have the ability to project sounds over larger expanses since they have better depth and resonance.

This sound quality is further assisted by the fact that this guitar has a Sitka Spruce wood top.

This type of wood is one of the most commonly used to build the top board of high end guitars, and it is largely because sound transmission is well supported, and they are able to create incredible resonance so that the sound is well pronounced. Even though this guitar is loud, the sound tends to stay quite soft and well rounded so that it does not irritate the ears.

The back and side boards of this instrument are made using Nato and Okume woods which are both durable and ideal for the creation of good sound and resonance.

The fact that this guitar is actually small makes it a lighter instrument, but this factor does not adversely affect the quality of sound you are bound to experience. Its size also makes it an ideal acquisition for persons that are small bodied, or who prefer to use smaller guitars to perform.

Pros

  • Has a dreadnought shape
  • Small and easy to play
  • Sitka Spruce gives it great resonance
  • Features scalloped bracing
  • Made using Nato and Okume

Cons

  • Replacing the case is an expensive affair

Verdict

With its small size and exceptional build, you are bound to enjoy playing this guitar on a regular.

It features several impressive characteristics that give it the ability to produce all round sound and incredible resonance so that you can deliver powerful performances without having to strain too much.

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Seagull S6 Original Acoustic GuitarComes with a double action truss rod

Aside from being a great performer, this guitar is easily one of the most visually appealing, especially due to its simple yet beautiful look.

Key features

  • Has a modified dreadnought shape
  • Made using cedar and wild cherry wood
  • Has a double action truss rod
  • Tapered headstock

The Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar is easily one of my favorites, and it is largely because it combines a good deal of characteristics that set it apart from most instrument in its caliber, not to mention the incredibly friendly price.

For starters, it has a modified dreadnought shape that helps it create full sounds as well as incredible resonance so that the music becomes vibrant and beautiful on its own.

It is also a fairly large guitar, but its style and shape make it an easy to use instrument since it fits quite well on the laps and also holds quite easy as a result of proper elbow support.

One of the features that stands out the Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar is its tapered headstock.

This characteristic proves quite clever for two reasons.

The first one, and likely most important, is that a tapered headstock keeps the strings constantly tight so that you do not have to deal with fret buzz and so that the chord transitions remain smooth as you play.

The second is that a tapered headstock makes tuning your guitar a whole lot easier and faster.

Aside from this, the guitar also comes with a double action truss rod, a characteristic that sets it apart from the rest. This type of truss rod allows for the pitch to be carried more accurately so that changing it becomes an easy task.

It picks up right away, delivering smooth transitions and incredible responses.

The guitar is made using a combination of cedar and cherry wood which are also incredible for sound transmission and resonance, making this guitar sound earthy and produce rich tones with every key.

Pros

  • It is simple and elegant looking
  • Come with a double action truss rod
  • It has a tapered headstock
  • Made using cedar and cherry wood

Cons

  • Even though it ranges under $500, it is still considered a bit pricey

Verdict

The elegance that comes with this guitar is almost breathtaking. It combines a simple yet beautiful look, an incredible sound profile as well as characteristics that make your guitar playing a wholesome experience.

Even though the price is slightly high, it is worth every penny spent.

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Alvarez Artist Series – AD60 Dreadnought GuitarComes with the innovative scalloped bracing

This guitar is credited for having an incredibly good build that allows for excellent acoustics, and it still manages to remain fairly priced when compared to other guitars of its caliber.

Key features

  • Dreadnought shape
  • Solid Sitka spruce top
  • Mahogany laminate body
  • 20 frets
  • Comes with a left handed version

One of the Alvarez Artist Series – AD69 Dreadnought Guitar’s major selling points happens to be its solid Sitka Spruce top.

When you look at most high end guitars, you will realize that a good number of them have their top boards made using Sitka Spruce, and this is largely because it is able to create beautiful resonance that causes the guitar to sound bright and vibrant as you play while it keeps the tone smooth and rounded.

The fact that this is not laminate but solid spruce instead only makes this guitar better, not to mention the incredibly affordable price even with this feature.

Aside from Sitka Spruce, this guitar is also made using Mahogany laminate, and this further causes the instrument to sound even better.

Mahogany has a way of adding beautiful depth to the sound of the guitar, making it sound fuller and rounder for an incredible experience.

On top of this, it features a dreadnought shape that is also known for its ability to enhance sound production and facilitating incredible projection and depth.

Additionally, this guitar is made using the innovative scalloped bracing that has been proven to improve sound quality, as well as make it a lot hardier and more durable, giving it the capacity to handle outdoor environments that have extreme weather changes on the hot and cold spectrum.

For left handed guitarists that find it somewhat difficult to find guitars that suit them, the Alvarez Artist Series – AD69 Dreadnought Guitar proves an ideal acquisition since the manufacturers have made sure to create guitars for left handed players.

Pros

  • Has scalloped bracing
  • Made using solid Sitka Spruce wood
  • Features mahogany laminate
  • Comes with left handed versions

Cons

  • The case comes separately

Verdict

It is quite clear that this guitar was intentionally built for incredible sound.

It has a beautiful tone, and the fact that it is made using Spruce and mahogany, and that it has a dreadnought shape makes it a great guitar for playing those earthy and rich tones that are hard to discover on other guitars of its caliber.

You will also fancy how affordable it actually is.

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Taylor GS Mini Acoustic GuitarMade using a mix of laminated and solid wood

This little guitar is an easy to play instrument that most people find pretty convenient, but there is nothing small about its performance.

Key features

  • Has a mini Grand Symphony shape
  • Has a Sitka spruce top
  • Sides and back made using sapele
  • Comes with left handed version

I like myself a small guitar from time to time, and the Mexican Taylor GS Mini Acoustic Guitar is easily one of my favorites.

However, even though it is small and compact, it is able to do just as much as larger guitars can, and sometimes even better.

The reason for the incredible sound produced by this guitar is mainly attributed to its build.

The top board is constructed using Sitka Spruce wood which is known to be one of the best materials for high performance guitars.

This is because it is able to support incredible resonance as well as allow for the sound being produced to be earthy and vibrant all at once, mush to the delight of many players.

On top of this, the side and back boards are made using sapele wood. This type of wood is a hard wood that is known to be hardy and very durable, but what is most striking about it is its ability to mimic mahogany, right from the color to the consistency and the rich depth of sound produced.

With a sapele guitar, you will hardly be able to tell the difference, right from the way it looks to the way it sounds.

Another thing to like about this guitar is its portability, and it is largely preferred by people who move about a lot with their guitars. It is quite compact and light, making it easy to carry around with you wherever you go.

Also, it comes with a left handed version that makes it quite easy for left handed guitarists to get high quality instruments that are easy to play and carry around without much fret and worry.

Finally, since it is a guitar that is able to make clear and crisp sounds that are rich and earthy, it makes an incredible tool to use in a recording studio.

The sounds are easily picked up, and you will have no need for loads of editing since its clarity is incredible.

Pros

  • Small and easy to play
  • Great portability
  • Delivers incredible sound and resonance
  • Great for studio recording
  • Made using high quality wood

Cons

  • The price is still a little on the higher side

Verdict

If you are a guitarist that is constantly on the move and who has many studio sessions from time to time, you might want to consider getting yourself a Taylor GS Mini Acoustic Guitar.

You are going to love how compact it is, and even more how incredibly wonderful it sounds in different settings.

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Fender FA-235E Concert Body Acoustic GuitarComes with an all laminate body

Fender guitars are some of the most awesome and incredibly reliable instruments in the market today, and the truth is that our list would hardly be complete without one.

Key features

  • It is a concert guitar
  • Top is made with flame maple wood
  • Back and sides are made using mahogany
  • Right hand play only

For a very long time, Fender has been one of the leading producers of some of the best electric guitars and amplifiers in the globe.

Recently, though, they decided to throw their weight into the acoustic guitar market, and they have proven themselves as one of the best manufacturers of the same.

Their acoustic guitars are incredible, and the Fender FA-235E Concert Body Acoustic Guitar does not fall short of expectation.

Unlike many high end guitars that feature Sitka Spruce wood on the top board, this particular brand comes with a flame maple wood top, giving it a beautiful tiger stripe-like look that is incredibly attractive.

Further, this material supports a good deal of resonance for lovely acoustics and all rounded sound that is rich and almost earthy.

The back and side panels are made using mahogany, one of the most preferred materials for guitars since it has the capacity to create beautiful depth when the guitar is played, allowing for a more wholesome experience. It is also a highly durable wood that gives the guitar a good deal of longevity and hardiness.

The main downside to this guitar is that it does not come with a left hand guitar, making it only available to people who play with their right hand.

Pros

  • Top board is made using flame maple wood
  • Small and easy to use
  • Produces rich earthy tones
  • Made using hardy mahogany
  • Quite affordable

Cons

  • Does not come with a left hand version

Verdict

This guitar from Fender does an incredible job at facilitating rich sounds that have great depth.

It also comes with a good deal of resonance that allows for ideal sound projection while all the while remaining quite soft and pleasant.

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Buying an Acoustic Guitar under $500 – What to look out for

Type of wood

The type of wood used has the capacity to affect the kind of sound you experience and the overall durability of your guitar. Go for one that is made using material that supports resonance and that will also last a long time.

Guitar type

Dreadnought, classical, jumbo, parlor and concert guitars have different shapes and are able to deliver different sounds. Pick one that best suits the kind of music you intend to do and that also suits your physical build.

String type

There are two main types of guitar strings; nylon and steel. Nylon strings are most recommended for beginners and new learners while steel strings are for more seasoned guitarists.

Go for one that is ideal for you.

Verdict

When it comes to guitar prices, you will agree that the difference between the cheapest and most expensive is of astronomical proportions, and at times, you may not know where to look when looking for a good guitar.

Thankfully, there are may high caliber brands that make incredibly affordable instruments for beginners, armatures and even professionals, meaning that you do not necessarily have to spend an incredible amount of money in pursuit of quality.

However, if you feel like you would like to splurge, feel free to proceed. It’s one of the best investments you will ever make.

FAQs

Does the Yamaha FS800 – Solid Top Small Body Acoustic Guitar come with its own case?

Yes, it does.

Does the Alvarez Artist Series – AD60 Dreadnought Guitar come with warranty?

Yes, it actually comes with a lifetime warranty.

Is the Fender FA-235E Concert Body Acoustic Guitar a full bass guitar?

Yes, it is.

Cooper Green

Music we must say is complex but according to Cooper Green, with the right information creating good music is a breeze. Guitars are a single aspect in the complex world of music but which play a major role, the problem however, lies in finding the right guitar for the relevant application. There are so many brands of guitars, each of which are differently configured but offer the best sounds. Cooper has been in the music industry for over 10 years, he recently started interacting with enthusiasts in the various platforms and therefore, shares his knowledge on music in general and specifically on guitars. And with the markets now flooded with knockoffs, among his missions is to help upcoming musicians get good quality music instruments or guitars.

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